David Lee: Science and the church's song

As a Geophysics undergraduate at Durham University (Grey College) a major part of my dissertation was the computer interpretation of geomagnetic anomalies in Upper Teesdale in the underlying Whin Sill to determine the buried course of part of the pre-glacial River Tees near Langdon Beck. This interest led to undertaking an M.Sc. in Computing Science at Newcastle University.

My career has been in IT closely associated with science research: nearly thirty years at Durham University, over eight years at ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) in Berkshire and now at the UK national synchrotron, Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire.

As a lifelong, Bible-honouring, evangelical Anglican, I have always had an interest in the interplay of "origins", from both geological and theological viewpoints. And as a lifelong church musician, hymnwriter and songwriter, I have always recognised the central role that corporate worship plays in Christian formation and discipleship.

Bringing together all these, I have long lamented the failure of our worship to engage with science, and the resulting tensions generated for some Christians.[1] I long for the day when the church begins to appreciate, honour and teach the very different, yet complementary, natures both of God-given science and of the Ancient Near East cultural settings against which God-given scripture gradually took shape.

Some of my psalm paraphrases and hymns allow such resonance to come to the fore. In particular the hymn In chaos and nothingness specifically brings together modern science and wisdom passages of scripture; Peter Enns' book Inspiration and Incarnation was a particularly influential background in its shaping. The hymn was recently chosen by BioLogos for their annual conference.

[1] This is especially evident in the Bible-abusing heterodoxy of so-called and badly misnamed "biblical creation" (Young Earth Creationism) which dishonours much relevant scripture and actively drives people away from the Christian faith.