January 2013


Rowan_WilliamsPhoto credit: Marcin Mazur

As Dr. Rowan Williams steps down as Archbishop of Canterbury it worth drawing attention to his reflections and contributions to Science and Faith interactions/issues during his time as Archbishop.  The Archbishop of Canterbury website is very good and contains a database of all Rowan Williams’ sermons, talks, interviews, publications etc during his time in the job.  There really is a wealth of useful material here.  Helpfully the contributions have been tagged according to category and so we can pull up all those that relate to Science, see link below:

http://rowanwilliams.archbishopofcanterbury.org/tags.php?action=view&id=209

Rowan Williams’ dialogue with Richard Dawkins can be found here, but for me the highlight is this excellent lecture and the question and answer session that followed.  Much to ponder, here are some quotes:

“Scientific research seeks to identify the causes of particular phenomena and clusters of phenomena, including of course that remarkable cluster of phenomena which is the observable universe as we now know it. Faith states, not as a matter of explanation but as matter of trust, that any form of energy whatsoever, at any stage of the history of the universe, depends upon the free initiative of God.

“religious faith can and ought to support and encourage science: science as a practice, with an impressive morality and spirituality, a commendation of attention and humility, the setting aside of self very frequently in the context of addressing the most painful vulnerabilities of the human world; a practice that trains selfless, even contemplative approaches to the world.”

Note that materials related to Rowan Williams are now stored on an archive site as Justin Webly takes over as Archbishop.

Dr. Rowan Williams (104th Archbishop of Canterbury)

Justin Welby (soon to be (current!) Archbishop of Canterbury)

Happy Christmas and New Year – better late then never!

“We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 (NIV)

I’ve posted on the star of Bethlehem before (see here), but I’ve just come across some interesting thoughts by Greg Boyd that I’d like to share.  In my previous post I laid out three possible astronomical explanations for the ‘star’ of Bethlehem (1. a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, 2. a comet, 3. a supernova); at the time I concluded that none of them really fit the biblical account which says “… the star … stopped over the place where the child was.” (Matthew 2:9).  However, Greg Boyd explains that this is just a turn of phrase, like we might say “oh look at the moon over the mountains” – obviously the moon isn’t really stopped over those particular mountains!  He then goes on to summarise Molnar’s hypothesis (option 1 above) as being interesting and worthy of consideration.  Check out the short video: