A Relational Framework for Science and Faith

© Svilen Milev, efffective.com
© Svilen Milev, efffective.com

What if science can best be described in relational terms? It would certainly open up more opportunities for a dialogue with faith. At a gathering of scientists who are Christians in Cambridge last year, Harvey McMahon gave some reasons why this approach might work. In this final guest post in the God in the Lab series, he explains his thinking.

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Life in the Lab: Experiments, Beauty, and Making Sense of the World

The most fun part of life in the lab is doing experiments, because only then do you get to find out new things. In today’s videos, neurobiologist Harvey McMahon explains what he enjoys most about scientific research, and how his faith and work affect each other.

For more, read God in the Lab: How Science Enhances Faith (Monarch, 2015).

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The Usefulness of Imagination – Jennifer Siggers

For mathematician Jennifer Siggers, imagination is vital to both her work and faith. In today’s podcast Jennifer explains why she expects to find a solution to the biological problems that she is studying, and why a Christian should be enthusiastic about doing science.

To find out more about Jennifer’s work and faith, and the importance of imagination, beauty and awe in both science and Christianity, see God in the Lab: How Science Enhances Faith (Monarch, 2015).

Jennifer Siggers: The Science I Love, and How it Points to God

© Krishnan Gopakumar, freeimages.com
© Krishnan Gopakumar, freeimages.com

Einstein wondered why is it that we can make sense of the universe. This is a question that today’s guest author, Jennifer Siggers, has also asked. Jennifer is a mathematician based at Imperial College London who applies her skills to Continue reading

Life in the Lab: Science and Faith Working Together

For Rhoda Hawkins, her belief in God was one of the factors that led her to study science. In this series of videos, Rhoda explains why she is a scientist and a Christian, how the two fit together, and the role of wonder in her work and faith.

To find out more about Rhoda’s work and faith, and the importance of wonder and awe in science, see God in the Lab: How Science Enhances Faith (Monarch, 2015).

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Faithful to Science: The Role of Science in Religion

241
© Revati Upadhya, freeimages.com

This absurd cathedral which struts about

on flopping slabs of meat,

flip-flop, flip-flop,

This crazy lug-eared moon,

Big Ben whose driven face

helplessly ding-dongs

its incidental time and place,

This masked intruder

on the African plain,

Peerer through twin key-holes,

Bearer of a vastly hidden space,

is the entirely given vehicle

and the lovely means of grace.

This poem, titled ‘Grace Notes’, was written by the Oxford Physics Professor Andrew Steane. He used it to open his seminar on The Role of Science in Religion at the Faraday Institute earlier this year. Blending references to different branches of science with other types of knowing, it communicates that everything we are and have is a gift, enabling us to give something back. In this way, religion adds nothing to science, but it also adds everything.

Science, said Steane, also adds something to religion. For a start, it highlights the difference between genuine faith and ignorant superstition. A Christian can also celebrate science and do it well, not as an add-on to his or her spiritual activities, but alongside everything else that is part of ‘God’s kingdom’.

Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, James Clark Maxwell, J.J. Thompson, Lord Kelvin, and Arthur Eddington, were all famous for their contributions to physics. They also made known their deeply owned and reflective faith in God, worshipping him with all of their heart, soul and mind. Steane’s own contribution – his seminar, book, poetry and blog – demonstrate this point more than adequately, so I will simply finish with another of his poems.

Red shift

Courtesy of NASA
Courtesy of NASA

Held by an image of our outer space:

Spots, dots, and whirls of white and red,

Time-tunneling in silent grace,

Parsecs where only thought can tread.

 

Blue blazes of the younger fire,

Red smudges of the ancient mist,

Vast mergers of the flowing gyre

Down ages of the world persist.

 

These distant forms of space and truth

Work back upon the thoughts we frame;

Prayer wrestles with a shaping sieve:

Dead words or else a larger name.

 

Come, heart, and ask in mindful voice,

Draws over there that which can love?

Lights there a dance which can rejoice?

Rests there a hold of things above?

241cAndrew Steane’s recent book, Faithful to Science: The Role of Science in Religion, is available from Oxford University Press for £19.99. He blogs at grievingturtle.com, and an explanation of his poem Red Shift can be found here. Poetry reproduced by permission of the author.

Teaching the Beauty of Biology: Jeff Hardin

Belief in God can lead to a greater appreciation for science. This is the experience of Jeff Hardin, author of this week’s guest post. In today’s podcast he shares how for him, scientific discovery leads to worship. He also speaks about the work of Abraham Kuyper, and C.S. Lewis’s idea of ‘patches of Godlight’.

To find out more about Jeff’s work and faith, and the importance of beauty in both science and Christianity, see God in the Lab: How Science Enhances Faith (Monarch, 2015).