God and the Book of Nature

God and the Book of Nature was a Multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research investigating theologies of the natural sciences and nature.

This project received £2.44 million in funding from the John Templeton Foundation [Grant ID. 61507]. It began in September 2019 and lasted for 33 months.

Research Vision

The project addressed three areas organised around our central theme, starting from existing work in science-engaged theology but aimed specifically towards building theologies of nature.

In spite of decades of theological research into the doctrine of creation and its scientific ramifications – much of it falling inside the science & religion field – this enterprise has brought us no closer to a meaningful unified view of the natural sciences, nor even of nature as the singular created arena of the sciences. The problem is that the unity of science/nature is assumed in such work but is not addressed directly. There still remains little in the way of theological reflection on science per se, still less the reasons why science (and thereby 'nature') is so varied, diverse and disunited. What is needed, we suggest, is not more theological work on creation so much as theological work which engages the content, objectives and methodologies of the contemporary natural sciences in all their diversity and disunity.

Thus, instead of trying to unify the 'sciences/nature by adopting an external theological perspective ('creation'), we suggest a revival of the early modern (and internal) perspective characterised by the 'two books” metaphor. Hence, we are suggesting the need for work which regains the lost metaphor where the natural sciences are God’s Book of Nature, in spite of the philosophical unifying questions which nevertheless remain.