Wesley Methodist Church

A church for all in the heart of the city

Science Meets Faith

Second Monday of the month from October to June, 7.15 pm for 7.45 pm


We present world class lectures on issues of Science and Faith, sponsored by Cambridge University Press. 

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Our next meeting:

Monday 9 October 2017, at 7.45 p.m.

Creation not creationism: What does the Bible have to say to science?

Dr Mark Harris

Senior Lecturer, Divinity Department, University of Edinburgh

The topic of creation is at the heart of the debate between science and Christian belief. Many claim that the natural sciences have made faith in a Creator redundant (along with the biblical texts of creation), while many others respond by rejecting or revising the science and insisting upon a literalistic reading of Genesis; still others attempt to harmonise by assuming that the texts are ‘metaphor’ or ‘poetry’. Almost never brought to bear in the debate are the complex historical and critical questions raised by over two centuries of sustained biblical scholarship of the texts. This talk will explore some of the ways in which the debate changes completely upon gaining a deeper appreciation of these issues. It will, for instance, examine some of the many creation texts outside of the book of Genesis, which are almost always overlooked in the debate, but which bring very different issues to bear in conversation with modern science. Since some of the most important biblical texts describe the work of Christ and the Spirit in creation, the talk will also explore the Christian idea of God as Trinity as a constructive means of building the relationship between science and belief. 

Active in physics for many years, Mark Harris is known (with Steve Bramwell of University College London) as the discoverer of 'spin ice', currently a very active research area in the physics of magnetism. Midway through his scientific career he discovered theology, a moment of awakening, not unlike that provided by his first chemistry set at the age of ten. After ordination as an Anglican priest, and spells in university chaplaincy at Oxford, and cathedral ministry in Edinburgh, he now combines his academic interests in physics and theology by running the Science and Religion programme at Edinburgh.

He is currently working on a project to create online distance learning programmes in Philosophy, Science, and Religion (funded by the John Templeton Foundation), along with his colleagues Dr Jamie Collin (Divinity), and Prof Duncan Pritchard (Philosophy). His research interests include the relationship between the physical sciences and theology, and the impact of science on modern views of the Bible, especially in thinking on miracles and divine action. He is currently working on a book project on naturalism (the philosophical basis for the natural sciences), and the ways that historical debates on naturalism in geology provide a new way of looking at miracles.  

Programme for 2017/18

Listen Again

Recordings of many of the lectures from last year's series are available to listen again.