Due to the prevailing influence of neo-orthodoxy, natural theology diminished in importance during the 20th century. However, in Science and Theology, Polkinghorne remarks that "a contemporary revival of natural theology is taking place, more at the hands of the physical scientists than at the hands of the theologians." He remarks that this newer version is more modest in its claims that the medieval Catholic version:
"Its discourse is of insight rather than proof. It does not assert that God's existence can be demonstrated in a logically coercive way... The new natural theology looks to the ground of all science's explanations, the laws of nature that it has to take as the assumed and unexplained basis for all its explanation, and it asks whether there is more to be understood about these laws beyond their mere assertion." This approach leads to "the God whose steadfast will is held to be expressed in the laws of nature that science discovers but does not explain."Any constructive engagement between science and theology will require a robust (albeit modest) natural theology. Without it, the two fields will either remain completely isolated or one will be consumed by the other. But can Barthian theologians reconcile themselves to this modest natural theology, or will they simply toss aside any insights that science may provide regarding the nature of the Creator? Is revelation possible through reason, or is it always a miracle - an "impossible possibility"? It seems to me that a major theological challenge is to reconcile the "miracle of faith" with the "miracle of science"; namely, the astounding fact that humans are capable of understanding the physical universe through reason. As both miracles are gifts from the same God, they should not be kept apart forever.