Participants

Ted Peters is research professor emeritus in systematic theology and ethics at the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) and the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California. An ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, he has worked extensively in the field of science and religion. For nearly four decades, beginning with the publication of UFOs: God’s Chariots? Flying Saucers in Politics, Science, and Religion in 1977, he has been developing a branch of theology, known as astrotheology, that provides a critical analysis of contemporary space science in relation to classic Christian doctrines, particularly those of creation and Christology, for the purpose of understanding our human situation in an immense cosmos. Dr. Peters also has written about astroethics in response to a growing body of work in astrobiology. A graduate of Michigan State University, he earned a M.Div. at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and received a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Chicago in 1973. He has served as pastor of Lutheran churches in Chicago and Diamond Point, New York. Dr. Peters began his teaching career as an assistant professor of religion and philosophy at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina, a position he held from 1972 to 1976, a period when he also served as an adjunct professor at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. Moving on to Loyola University in New Orleans as an associate professor of religious studies, he taught there for two years and also was an adjunct professor at Notre Dame School of Theology in New Orleans before accepting a professorship in systematic theology at PLTS in 1978. He was simultaneously Distinguished Research Professor of Systematic Theology there and at GTU until his retirement in 2012. Dr. Peters has been the visiting Martin E. Marty Professor of Religion and the Academy at St. Olaf College, and he has served as acting dean of GTU, where he was also the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer in 1990, as acting director of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) in Berkeley, and as director of the Theology and Ethics Institute at PLTS. He is a member and a past chair of the CTNS board of directors, a fellow of the Brighter Brains Institute, a former member of the board of advisors of the John Templeton Foundation, and an affiliate member of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. The recipient of honorary degrees from Wittenberg University and the University of Lund, he holds the Joseph A. Sittler Award in Theological Scholarship of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, a Professor of the Year Award given by Newberry College, a University of Chicago Divinity School Alumni of the Year Award, and four Templeton Foundation book prizes. Dr. Peters was the editor of Dialog: A Journal of Theology for fourteen years and currently serves as co-editor of CTNS’s Theology and Science. The author of some 290 papers published in academic journals, he has been the editor or co-editor of ten books, most recently (with Derik Nelson and Joshua Moritz) Theologians in Their Own Words (2013), the co-author of four books, and the author of fourteen books, including, in addition to UFOs: God’s Chariots?, five others that explore issues at the interface of science and religion: Playing God? Genetic Determinism and Human Freedom (1997 and 2002), the winner of a Templeton Foundation Book of Distinction Award; Science, Theology, Ethics (2003); Anticipating Omega: Science, Faith, and Our Ultimate Future (2006); The Stem Cell Debate (2007); and The Evolution of Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Life (2008). An early theological work, GOD the World’s Future: Systematic Theology for a Postmodern Era (1992, 2000, and 2015) has been widely used as a textbook in systematic theology. His most recent book, Sin Boldly? Justifying Faith for Fragile and Broken Souls, which was published this summer by Fortress Press, is an experiential examination of the human condition in light of the theology of grace that interprets a central doctrine of the Reformation for our time.