Over the last few years I have been asking the question, ‘What do scientists who believe in God say when they are asked to speak about their faith and work in a positive sense, rather than reacting to controversial issues?’ Of course it’s important to respond, but sometimes we also need to set our own agenda.
This is something that the theologian Alister McGrath said when we interviewed him for the Test of FAITH documentary. Scientists of faith do need to get involved in the debates, but they should also be on the front foot, speaking about how their work can enrich faith.
So I decided to spend some time speaking to working scientists who are also Christians, and doing some research to explore a number of areas that they are interested in. Much of the fruit of this work has been posted as articles on this blog. My book God in the Lab: How Science Enhances Faith, published by Monarch, brings these ideas together and works them out more fully.
The main aim of this book is to show how faith can flourish in a lab. It explores the ways in which imagination and creativity are important in science, and looks at a researcher’s experience of and response to beauty, wonder and awe. It also asks, ‘What are the links between science and theology, or spiritual experience’?
The scientists featured are: Dr Harvey McMahon, a neurobiologist from Cambridge; Dr Ruth Hogg, a vision scientist from Belfast; Prof Jeff Hardin, a developmental biologist from Madison, Wisconsin; Dr Rhoda Hawkins, a theoretical physicist from Sheffield; Dr Jennifer Siggers, a bioengineer from London, and Dr Robert (Bob) Sluka, and marine conservationist based in Oxfordshire and Kenya,
“Many books have been written from a faith-friendly perspective, showing how the Christian faith creates intellectual space for the natural sciences. Dr Ruth Bancewicz, a former research biologist, has given us a work that moves this discussion up to a higher level… Readers will find much within these pages that is helpful, stimulating, and challenging.”
Professor Alister McGrath, Andreas Idreos professor of Science & Religion, Oxford
“Ruth Bancewicz … demonstrates that there is no great discontinuity between science and other human quests for truth, including religion.”
Revd Dr John Polkinghorne, KBE, former President of Queens’ College, Cambridge
“Written with rigour, creativity, and the day-to-day insight of a true scientist. [God in the Lab] has widened the horizons of the science and faith debate by bringing new and needed perspectives. I heartily recommend it.”
Dr Sharon Dirckx, Tutor at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, author and former brain imaging scientist
“Highly readable … Peppered with interesting facts and anecdotes, this is for everyone interested in the conversation between science and faith.”
Dr Denis Alexander, Emeritus Director, The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion
“On a topic so often dominated by the culture wars, Dr Bancewicz brings a fresh and much-needed emphasis on wonder to conversations about science and Christian faith. She reminds us that the beauty, awe, and creativity of the natural world points to its Creator. This readable book would make a great gift for a pastor or student.”
Dr Deborah B. Haarsma, Astronomer and President of BioLogos
“Ruth Bancewicz’s beautifully-written book demonstrates how science enhances faith, with many examples from real scientists who are Christians, and many memorable quotations. This is a great book to give to those who believe there is a conflict between science and faith.”
Professor Sir Colin Humphreys, Director of Research at Cambridge University and President of Christians in Science
“[God in the Lab] is both well researched and contains a fresh and inspiring personal narrative. It should reignite in others a passion for the friendship between science and religious belief.”
Revd David B. Rowe, Warden of the Lee Abbey Community