Research Seminar on ‘natural praise’ at the Faraday Institute, Cambridge

I recently had the pleasure of being invited to Cambridge to give a research seminar at the Faraday Institute. Since I have been thinking quite a lot about the topic of ‘natural praise’ recently (ever since giving a talk on the subject at the Knowing Creation conference in St Andrews in August 2014), I decided to re-visit this topic in the Faraday seminar, which means that (due to a lack of imagination on my part), I even ended up using the same title: “The Trees of the Field shall Clap their Hands” (Isaiah 55:12): What Does it Mean to Say that Creation Praises the Creator?

The audience appeared to be as intrigued by the subject as I am, and they gave me a number of useful things to think about to develop this further before I finally commit it to paper. Just as usefully, they also filmed the talk, and have made it available online. You can see it here –


2 thoughts on “Research Seminar on ‘natural praise’ at the Faraday Institute, Cambridge

  1. I stumbled, thank you Providence, upon these lectures by John Hedley Brooke and Mark Harris. I so like the partnership of Science and Religion (though I prefer to use the term – Spirituality), because I find that together, they make remarkable good sense of Life and the Universe. On this premise, I would dearly like to comment on one particular outcome of this whole approach.

    As a geologist, searching at one time for uranium, I became acquainted with the physics of the atom. Then I came to live in the Community at Findhorn, and that interest morphed into a concern for the metaphysics of the atom. It is the whole subject area of ‘nuclear power’ where I find ‘Science and Spirituality’, as they combine, become especially informative. Their two kinds of information, objective and subjective, work together to highlight the social nature of the particle world, and the spiritual nature of nuclear energy. But this understanding could only grow in me because I had had personal experience(s) of nuclear energy (when I worked at Dounreay). It feels important that we have a balance of each form of data.

    On this same theme, I think it possible for nearly everyone to develop a dualistic perception of nuclear energy: by reading in some detail about the objective nature of the “four interactive forces” that physics identifies as being within every atom: and then working personally and inwardly to identify how these same four forces, in a subjective format, are at work and play in our lives, and in our relationships with others. By this fairly simple process, the universal nature of the energy in ourselves and in the atoms can be recognised.

    I wanted to respond to Mark Harris, when you were wondering if a stone sings praises to God, that as a geologist (working in mines and dam sites) I never picked up on that quality. But then I became a stonemason, and would say – ‘contributing and being useful’ is a central tenet in the life of stone.

    I have developed a website , that seeks to encourage the Church(es) to look with interest and even approval at the source of energy that drives the Trident submarines and lives uneasily in the weapons. It is an hotch potch of insights. I’m not an academic, working more by the seat of my pants. It means I am free to examine the idea that John Knox helped set in motion the intellectual inquiry that today has us scrabbling for a way to contain our nuclear adventure. Which I think must be a disciplined collective spiritual process that we can begin to imagine, for this helps it then happen.

    My daughter is a graduate of New College. About 2003. Her Bulletin brought me to the on-line discourses. Thanks and good wishes. Ian Turnbull. Findhorn. Moray.

    • Thanks Ian, for stopping by, and for your comments. Coincidentally, my original background was in earth sciences too (before I turned to physics after my PhD).

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