School of Divinity

God and the Book of Nature: Building a Science-Engaged Theology of Nature

£2.44 million international project to explore theologies of nature, funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

In this project, an international, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research team investigates theologies of the natural sciences and theologies of nature.

Research team members

Host institution Mentor(s) Postdoc Postdoc email
University of Edinburgh Mark Harris and Sarah Lane Ritchie Tripp Fuller tripp.fuller@ed.ac.uk
Cambridge University Andrew Davison William Simpson wmrs2@cam.ac.uk

Oxford University

(Laudato Si’ Research Institute)
Celia Deanne-Drummond Bethany Sollereder bethany.sollereder@theology.ox.ac.uk
University of Leeds Robin Le Poidevin Simon Kittle simon@simonkittle.com
University of Nottingham Michael Burdett Megan Loumagne megan.loumagne@chch.ox.ac.uk
University of Exeter Chris Southgate Andrew Jones jonesaj16@cardiff.ac.uk
University of Helsinki Aku Visala Rope Kojonen rope.kojonen@helsinki.fi
Samford University Josh Reeves Edward Epsen edward.epsen@kcl.ac.uk
Boston University Wesley Wildman Fred Simmons frederick.v.simmons@gmail.com
Duke University Warren Kinghorn and Norman Wirzba Matt Elia verbalcontent@gmail.com
Colour head and shoulders photo of Mark Harris

Mark Harris

Mark Harris is Professor of Natural Science and Theology in the Scool of Divinity, University of EDinburgh. As a physicist working in a theological environment, he is interested in the complex ways that science and religion relate to each other. Active in physics for many years, he is known (with Steve Bramwell of University College London) as the discoverer of 'spin ice', currently a major research area in the physics of magnetism. After his ordination as an Anglican priest, and spells in ministry, he now combines his academic interests in physics and theology. Research interests include the relationship between the physical sciences (especially physics) 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 earth science provide a new way of looking at miracles. 

 

Colour head and shoulders photo of Sarah Lane Ritchie

Sarah Lane Ritchie

Sarah Lane Ritchie is Lecturer in Theology & Science at the University of Edinburgh, and Co-PI of the God and the Book of Nature project, along with Mark Harris. In addition to broader discussions about the relationships between science and religion, her research focuses on the intersection of theology and the various brain sciences, as well as various forms of naturalism. Her 2019 book is titled Divine Action and the Human Mind, published by Cambridge University Press. Prior to her current position, Sarah was a Research Fellow in Science-Engaged Theology at the University of St Andrews. She has completed a PhD in Science & Religion at the University of Edinburgh, an MSc in Science & Religion at the University of Edinburgh, an MDiv at Princeton Theological Seminary, and a BA at Spring Arbor University.

 

Megan Loumagne

Colour head and shoulders photo of Megan Loumange

Megan Loumagne is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Theology and Science at the University of Nottingham. For her undergraduate degree, Megan studied education, Scripture, and English Literature at Biola University, and is a perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute. She taught high school English and Theology for five years after graduation. After partially completing a Masters in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care at Talbot Seminary, Megan moved to the east coast in order to complete a Masters of Divinity at Boston College as a Baker-Arrupe Fellow.

Megan's doctoral research under the supervision of Prof Graham Ward at the University of Oxford (Christ Church) focused on the doctrine of original sin and, in particular, on the challenges and opportunities for the doctrine in a post-Darwinian world. Her thesis constructed a framework for considering original sin in conversation with the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis and updated information about the evolution of sexual difference.

As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, Megan's research focuses on theories of sexual selection and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, and their relevant points of intersection with theologies of nature. Major themes of this research include the role of desire and beauty in evolution, divine action, and creaturely agency.

Megan is very interested in questions related to theology and science, especially evolutionary biology and anthropology, and the intersection of these fields with Christian theology. Besides this project, her theological interests include contemplative spirituality, feminist theology, Teresa of Avila, and the theology of Edward Schillebeeckx.

 

Colour head and shoulders photo of Simon Kittle

Simon Kittle

Simon studied computer science, before turning to theology and then philosophy, completing a PhD in philosophy in 2015 at the University of Sheffield.  His research has focused on free will, action theory, and now centers on the nature of mind and agency.

 

Colour head and shoulders photo of Wesley Wildman

Wesley Wildman

Wesley J. Wildman is Professor of Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics at Boston University. He is a philosopher of religion specializing in the scientific study of complex human phenomena. Author or editor of 19 books and 140 articles and book chapters, his research and publications pursue a multidisciplinary, comparative approach to topics within religious and theological studies. The programmatic statement of a theory of rationality underlying this type of integrative intellectual work is Religious Philosophy as Multidisciplinary Comparative Inquiry: Envisioning a Future for the Philosophy of Religion (State University of New York Press, 2010). In Our Own Image: Anthropomorphism, Apophaticism, and Ultimacy (Oxford University Press, 2017) details and evaluates his distinctively apophatic, anti-anthropomorphic approach to ultimate reality, while Science and Ultimate Reality (in progress) analyzes that way of thinking about ultimate reality against modern scientific worldviews. Science and Religious Anthropology (Ashgate, 2009) presents his multidisciplinary interpretation of the human condition, and Religious and Spiritual Experiences (Cambridge University Press, 2011) presents a multidisciplinary interpretation of religious experience. Effing the Ineffable: Existential Mumblings at the Limits of Language (State University of New York Press, 2018) further articulates an apophatic approach to ultimate realities while illustrating religious philosophy in a wide diversity of modes. The three co-edited volumes of Science and the World’s Religions (2013) demonstrate the ways in which all religions have something at stake in science-religion dialogue, and the two co-edited volumes of Encyclopedia of Science and Religion (2003) survey the field. Human Simulation (Springer, 2019) introduces the application of computational modeling and simulation to university humanities disciplines, including the academic study of religion. God Is…: Meditations on the Mystery of Life, the Purity of Grace, the Bliss of Surrender, and the God beyond God (Wipf & Stock, 2019) introduces apophatic thinking through sermons, while the pair of books Lost in the Middle? and Found in the Middle! (Alban Institute, 2009) analyzes and engages moderate Christians and moderate churches. He is Executive Director of the Center for Mind and Culture, an organization devoted to non-partisan scientific research into the mind-culture nexus (www.mindandculture.org), and founding co-editor of the Taylor & Francis journal Religion, Brain & Behavior. He is founding co-editor of the Taylor & Francis journal Religion, Brain & Behavior. For further information, see www.WesleyWildman.com.

 

Colour head and shoulders photo of Christopher Southgate

Christopher Southgate

Christopher Southgate is Professor of Christian Theodicy at the University of Exeter. Trained originally as a biochemist, Chris has since been a bookseller, a house-husband, a lay chaplain in university and hospital settings, and a trainer of Christian ministers. He was on the staff of the South West Ministry Training Course for sixteen years, serving as Principal from 2013-17. He has taught the science-religion debate, and its implications for ecotheology and ethics, since 1993. He edited the important science-religion textbook God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark 1999; 2005; 2011) and in 2008 published The Groaning of Creation: God, Evolution and the Problem of Evil (Westminster John Knox) which has become a seminal text in evolutionary theodicy. His most recent monograph is Theology in a Suffering World: Glory and Longing (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He directed the project ‘Tragedy and Congregations’ which has led to the edited book Tragedies and Christian Congregations: the practical theology of trauma (Routledge, 2020). Chris is also the author of a number of collections of poetry, the most recent being Chasing the Raven (Shoestring, 2016) and Rain falling by the River (Canterbury Press, 2017).

 

Colour head and shoulders photo of Celia Deane-Drummond

Celia E. Deane-Drummond

Celia Deane-Drummond is Director of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute, Campion Hall, and Senior Research Fellow in theology at Campion Hall, University of Oxford. She is also honorary visiting Professor in Theology and Science at the University of Durham, UK and adjunct Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, USA. Her recent publications include The Wisdom of the Liminal: Human Nature, Evolution and Other Animals (2014), Technofutures, Nature and the Sacred, ed. with Sigurd Bergmann and Bronislaw Szerszynski (2015), Ecology in Jürgen Moltmann’s Theology, 2nd edition, (2016), Religion in the Anthropocene, edited with Sigurd Bergmann and Markus Vogt (2017), Theology and Ecology Across the Disciplines: On Care for Our Common Home, edited with Rebecca Artinian Kaiser  (2018), The Evolution of Wisdom Volume 1: Theological Ethics Through a Multispecies Lens (2019).

 

Fred Simmons

fsimmons@bu.edu 

As part of the God and the Book of Nature Project, Frederick Simmons is examining what basic biological findings may mean for Augustinian ethics and faith.  More broadly, his research and teaching concern the natural sciences’ implications for Christian thought, the ethical and political significance of Christian theological commitments, and the Christian import of natural aesthetics.  He has taught at Princeton Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, Amherst College, La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, and La Universidad Politécnica Salesiana; he has also served as the Houston Witherspoon Fellow in Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Center of Theological Inquiry.

colour head and shoulders photo of Rope Kojonen

 

Rope Kojonen

Dr. Erkki Vesa Rope Kojonen is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He is the author of The Intelligent Design Debate and the Temptation of Scientism (Routledge 2016) and an upcoming monograph on evolution and teleology. He is currently working on a research project relating social epistemology and the science and religion-discussion.

 

Josh Reeves

Josh Reeves is Assistant Professor of Science and Religion in the Biblical and Religious Studies department at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a graduate of Cambridge University and Boston University and completed a postdoctoral position in the Heyendaal Program for Theology and Science at Radboud University in the Netherlands. He is author of “Against Methodology: Recent Debates on Rationality and Theology” (Routledge, 2018) and co-author of “A Little Book for New Scientists” (IVP, 2016) and has published articles in journals such as Zygon, the Journal of Religion, and Theology and Science. He is currently working on a book on Christian skepticism towards scientific experts.