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. 

Contact us to be added to our monthly mailing list.

Our next meeting:

Monday 12 March 2018, at 7.45 p.m.

"Matter of Fact or Matter of Faith"

Prof Tony Bell FRS
Professor of Physics, University of Oxford 

Tony Bell is a theoretical plasma physicist researching into high energy astrophysics and laser-driven fusion energy.  He is best known for his work on the acceleration of high energy particles, known as cosmic rays, arriving at the Earth with energies far exceeding those achieved at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland.  He followed a first degree in Natural Sciences with a PhD in Radio Astronomy, both in Cambridge.  He held positions at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and at Imperial College before moving to the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society.  He has been awarded the Hoyle Prize of the Institute of Physics, the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Alfven Prize of the European Physical Society.  He has been a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church since 1994.  He was a Minister in the Methodist Church from 2003 to 2008, and during this period he spent two years as pastor of three churches in Oxford.

Science is arguably the great achievement of our age. In us, the Universe has come to a knowledge of itself, knowing its own beginning and inner working.  Powerful though it is, limits on the reach of science are evident in quantum indeterminacy and classical unpredictability.  Also, science points to a reality beyond itself.  Many-worlds and multiverse theories stand on the boundary between physics and metaphysics.  Material systems act as a vehicle of transcendence through the self-organising capacity of complex systems which include human beings and their society and culture. Reductionist science gives an incomplete account of reality.  Some regard God as an explanation paralleling science.  But God falls into a different category that extends beyond human rationality. The God of the Bible defies rational expectation by dying on a cross, in Jesus entering life at the point at which he is fatally excluded.  Jesus stands with us at the far horizon of all realities, teaching us how to say 'Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth' when this is plainly untrue, and to find wisdom in the cross that, to quote St Paul, is foolishness.  Mary Magdalene met the risen Jesus, thinking him to be the gardener, recognising him as he spoke her name and said to her, 'Do not hold on to me.' Faith is to engage with a personal reality beyond science that cannot be grasped; Faith lies on the boundary of perception and recognition.

This lecture represents the contribution of Wesley Methodist Church to the University of Cambridge Science Festival 2018.

Programme for 2017/18

Listen Again

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