When I Pray What Does God Do?
Revd Professor David Wilkinson
The question of how, and whether, God answers prayer has been intellectually shaped by the rise of science, the problem of evil and the nature of the biblical records. Scientist and theologian David Wilkinson shares his own struggles with the question of how God answers prayer.
Science does not rule out God acting in the universe in surprising ways; the Bible shows a God who acts in the world in response to people’s prayers. Yet there is always a mystery about the nature and outcome of prayer, not least in the experience of unanswered prayer.
The author shares his struggles with praying in the midst of his wife’s long-term illness. What we believe affects how we pray.
God is neither a slot machine, nor an indulgent parent, nor a divine dictator, nor a ruler in absentia. How does God work in a world of science? Why doesn’t He answer more often? Has God acted in history? How did Jesus pray? How, in a world governed by law and grace, should we pray?
Faith and Wisdom in Science
Professor Tom McLeish
Tom McLeish takes a scientist’s reading of this ancient text as a centrepiece to make the case for science as a deeply human and ancient activity, embedded in some of the oldest stories told about human desire to understand the natural world.
Drawing on stories from the modern science of chaos and uncertainty alongside medieval, patristic, classical and Biblical sources, Faith and Wisdom in Science challenges much of the current ‘science and religion’ debate as operating with the wrong assumptions and in the wrong space.
Its narrative approach develops a natural critique of the cultural separation of sciences and humanities, suggesting an approach to science, or in its more ancient form natural philosophy – the ‘love of wisdom of natural things’ – that can draw on theological and cultural roots. Following the theme of pain in human confrontation with nature, it develops a ‘Theology of Science’, recognising that both scientific and theological worldviews must be ‘of’ each other, not holding separate domains. Science finds its place within an old story of participative reconciliation with a nature, of which we start ignorant and fearful, but learn to perceive and work with in wisdom.
Surprisingly, science becomes a deeply religious activity. There are urgent lessons for education, the political process of decision-making on science and technology, our relationship with the global environment, and the way that both religious and secular communities alike celebrate and govern science.