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).

On Seurat, Science, and Faith: The Value of Theology in the Lab

Source: webexhibits.org
Source: webexhibits.org

How does theology contribute to science? This is a question that developmental biologist Jeff Hardin has answered many times. I met Jeff several years ago when I first interviewed him for the God in the lab book, and was immediately intrigued to learn that he has studied both of these subjects. In today’s guest posts, he explains his own perspective on science and theology.

As Americans go, I’m a bit of an odd duck. Before my PhD in Biophysics at the University of California-Berkeley, I received a Master of Divinity degree, focusing on theology and philosophy. For me, it is important that theology and science fit together, not just as an intellectual exercise, but Continue reading

The Trees Clap their Hands: What does it mean to say that creation praises the Creator?

trees dolomites birch crop
© Ruth Bancewicz

Are the Bible passages about trees and rivers that clap their hands, and mountains that burst into song simply metaphors about how creation inspires people to praise God, or does the non-human creation actually worship God in some unconscious way? This is the question that Mark Harris, lecturer in Science and Religion at Edinburgh University, asked in his seminar at the Faraday Institute earlier this year. This is a particularly relevant to the current series of posts on how a scientist’s faith is enhanced through their own work, and links to Jeff Hardin’s own thoughts on how learning more Continue reading

Jellyfish: Beauty, Ecology, Wonder and the Bible

© David Patras, Creative Commons license 3.0
© David Patras, Creative Commons license 3.0

How can faith and ecology work together? Dr Robert (Bob) Sluka, a marine biologist who works for the Christian conservation organisation A Rocha, has given a lot of thought to this question. In today’s guest post he shares his thoughts on integrating the Bible and science, prompted by a family day at the beach.

A few weeks ago our family spent the weekend at the seaside. The beach, in England, in January, is not the most inviting place. However, we were all needing to see the ocean and indeed half our family ultimately heeded its siren call to jump in. Continue reading

Star Gazing

© Ben Earwicker, www.garrisonphoto.org
© Ben Earwicker, http://www.garrisonphoto.org

What kind of star did the Magi think they were following? Coming from east of the Holy Land, they may well have been from Babylon or Persia, both of which had a rich tradition of astronomy. They would probably have had a very sophisticated understanding of the movements of the heavenly bodies. On the other hand, they (understandably) knew nothing about plasma and the nuclear fusion that powers every star in the sky.

The idea of tracking a great flaming ball of gas and energy might sound less romantic than the wise men’s tale, but it does stir the imagination. To my mind, the formation of a vast and ancient universe is a magnificent prelude to the visit of God himself in human form.

2014 has seen an unprecedented level of space exploration. Continue reading

Beauty, awe and vulnerability: The sea and Scripture

© Karin Lindstrom, freeimages.com
© Karin Lindstrom, freeimages.com

My father loves sailing and anything to do with the sea, so I grew up hearing him joke from time to time, ‘I’m a bit worried about going to heaven, because the Bible says there will be no sea!’ I think the part he was referring to was Revelation 21, ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more.’ Of course my dad knows that the writer of Revelation was using metaphor to describe the future, but his quips have left me thinking about what the sea meant for people at that time.

Meric Srokosz, the Associate Director of the Faraday Institute, shares my father’s interest in what the Bible has to say about the sea. Continue reading

Considering Beauty

Lime tree, microscopic view. K Szkurlatowski, 12frames.eu
Lime tree, microscopic view. © K Szkurlatowski, 12frames.eu

I have often written about beauty here, and Francesca Day mentioned it last week, but without defining the word itself. William Edgar is a musician and theologian based at Westminster Theological Seminary, and in his lecture Beauty Reconsidered he gave a history of the concept of beauty and proposed a form of aesthetics that I think will resonate with the ideals of many Christians working in the sciences.

In the 1960s, it was said anyone who pronounced something ‘beautiful’ was trying to exert power over it. That power was rejected, and the concept of beauty went into hibernation – at least in academic circles in Europe and North America.

It’s impossible, however, to suppress our sense of beauty. In the 1990s, philosophers started Continue reading