Science and faith

My interest in science and faith was initially prompted by a science teacher who shared his interest but developed at university when I realised that much of what I was reading about psychology reflected what I had been taught as a Christian and where I had Christian friends who were studying maths and science.

It developed through my reading of Carol Gilligan, which made me realise that the gospel writer, Luke, had focused on the feminist themes in Jesus’ teaching, and of Fritjof Capra, who opened my eyes to the systemic nature of creation and relationships and led me on to an understanding of how much of Jesus’ teaching both makes sense of scientific discoveries and suggests areas for further exploration.

When I was on my management course, I gasped to discover that the central chapter in Porter’s Competitive advantage: creating and sustaining superior performance was about relationships. This, combined with my earlier encounter with Drucker's concept of the manager as the servant and my growing interest in systems ideas, led me to explore the extent to which relationships can be seen as the key to everything that happens in the universe.

My exploration of systems ideas led me to taking up again my interest in mathematics and, along with a number of other maths courses, I studied MA290 ‘History of Mathematics’ with the Open University and came across Wertheim’s Pythagoras’ trousers: God, physics and the gender wars which combined my interest in gender issues with my interest in issues of science and faith.

I have kept an eye out for further works by these authors and was delighted when in 2014 a Christian friend gave me The systems view of life: a unifying vision by Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi for my birthday. Apart from one small blemish where they misguidedly quote a discredited nineteenth century theory, it is a tour de force summary of the latest scientific ideas.

For the Serampore College Bicentenary Conference held at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, on 19–20 October 2018, I prepared a paper From the Enlightenment to modern missions which, among other things, outlines the intellectual climate at the time the first missionaries went out to India and argues that

If Christianity is to recover in the pagan West, it needs to recover the vision ... that ‘the book of nature’ is as important as the ‘book of God’ for understanding God’s revelation.

The PDF God's divine love revealed through science summarises without references the key areas of my scientific interests; it was first presented as part of the North Halifax Churches Together Lenten series on ‘God’s divine love revealed through …’ at Holy Nativity, Mixenden, Halifax on 11 March 2013. The ones following it were presented from 2012 to the present as part of the ‘Science and faith’ series at Lee Mount Baptist Church, Halifax, and offer more detailed, and fully referenced, accounts of some of my thinking.


Fritjof Capra (1982) The turning point: science, society and the rising culture London: Wildwood House 0 7045 3054 6

Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi (2014) The systems view of life: a unifying vision Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 978 1 107 01136 6

Carol Gilligan (1982) In a different voice: psychological theory and women's development London: Harvard University Press 0 674 44543 0

Peter F Drucker (1989) The practice of management Oxford: Heinemann 0 434 90389 2

Michael E Porter (1985) Competitive advantage: creating and sustaining superior performance New York: Free Press 0 02 925090 0

Margaret Wertheim (1997) Pythagoras’ trousers: God, physics and the gender wars London: Fourth Estate 1 85702 583 0