God’s Revelation through Nature: Scientific and Theological perspectives – The Beauty of Creation series

Time Stamps:

  • 00:00 Opening Prayer
  • 2:12 Introduction to the Topic
  • 3:22 How Science enriches Theology
  • 5:51 Part 1: God’s Revelation in Nature
  • 8:32 Opportunities and Difficulties
    • laws of nature;
    • beauty and order in nature;
    • ultimate questions on the origin of the natural world;
    • the metaphor of the ‘Book of Nature’
  • 13:07 Recent Magisterium
  • 18:47 Theological Reasons for considering Nature as God’s true Revelation
  • 21:12 Relating the Bottom-up and Top-down modes of revelation
    • natural/supernatural, nature/grace,
    • words/works, non-historical/historical,
    • universal/specific, first stage/second stage
    • Is God’s revelation in nature associated to a form of supernatural faith?
    • Must one understand God’s revelation in creation (Book of nature) to understand God’s revelation in the history of Israel (Book of scripture)?
  • 24:47 Revelation as relation between God and human beings
  • 28:22 What processes and standards of knowledge are associated with knowing through the book of nature and that of scripture?
  • 31:17 How can the church & science work closer together?
  • 34:17 How do the tools of analogy, faith, and coherence contribute to knowledge of God?
  • 36:12 Part 2: God’s Manifestation in Nature, between Religious Experience and Scientific Worldviews
  • 38:47 Scientific Worldview and its influence on Contemporary culture – is there any room for a Divine Revelation in Nature?
    • Scientists naturally become aware that nature is made according to a logos that is, according to order, beauty and rationality – as coherent and intelligible and as a source of meaning
  • 44:37 Mystery, miracle, wonder, awe, and the overflowing meaning above & beyond the material world. Questions that are within and outside of the scientific method.
  • 47:12 Does God’s Revelation in nature rest upon a ‘sacred’ view of nature? Ambivalence of Nature: Does Nature reveal, or rather deny, the existence of God?
  • 52:32 The Personalistic dimension of Human Enquiry about the Foundation of Physical Reality
    • 54:12 Nature as a gift from a donor
      • Nature presents itself as ‘given’
      • The formal properties of material reality
      • The relationship between form and its source, information
      • Contingency of the natural world and its gratuity (gift)
    • 58:12 Nature as a work of art
      • Universality, ability to communicate emotions and feelings, the mastery of the author and the power of the meaning of the work to transcend its causal inputs
  • 1:01:42 Nature as a gift and work of art and the implication that nature is a sign
  • 1:04:17 Can the relationality that underpins the intelligible features of the world be reductively explained?
  • 1:06:07 Physical evil – if God’s revelation is found in nature, given that we see so much suffering and fragility in the natural world, does that mean that nature is evil?
  • 1:09:57 Part 3 – The Role of God’s Revelation in Nature in the Human Assent to Christian Faith
  • 1:10:57 Faith in God Creator is preliminary to understanding the history of salvation – Theology of Revelation has to begin with God’s revelation in creation
  • 1:17:12 Recognizing the Word-Logos in Creation is Propaedeutic (i.e., preparation) to the Proclamation of the Gospel to Contemporary Culture
  • 1:18:37 Creaturely Revelation is propaedeutic to acknowledging a Filial Revelation
  • 1:24:07 Audience Questions
  • 1:34:37 Fr Giuseppe’s future work
  • 1:37:37 Closing Remarks




How do scientists understand theology and theologians understand science? How can we see the logos in nature through the extraordinary coherence of physical reality? What does nature tell us about God? On February 5th, 2022, Geoff and I had the great pleasure of speaking with Fr Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti for a wide-ranging exploration of these matters. Available HERE.



Fr Giuseppe is a Full Professor of Fundamental Theology at the School of Theology, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, as well as an Adjunct Scholar of the Vatican Observatory. He was formerly part of the Italian C.N.R. fellowship and an astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory of Turin. He is also a member of the International Astronomical Union and is currently Editor in Chief of the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science

You can find his work on his website and look forward to his forthcoming book – ‘Scientific Perspectives in Fundamental Theology: Understanding Christian Faith in the Age of Scientific Reason’, published by Claremont Press.


Geoffrey Woollard is a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. He helped organize the Toronto Chapter of the Society of Catholic Scientists while at U of T, and is the President of a new University Chapter serving Metro Vancouver. His interdisciplinary writings on faith-science dialogue have been featured in the Torch, Scientia et Fides, and the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science.

Further Resources:

  • John D. Barrow, The Artful Universe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995)
  • Marco Bersanelli and Mario Gargantini, From Galileo to Gell-Mann. The Wonder that Inspired the Greatest Scientists of All Time (Conshohocken: Templeton Press 2009)
  • Alister McGrath, The Re-enchantment of Nature. Science, Religion and the Human Sense of   Wonder (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2002)
  • Alister McGrath, Re-Imagining Nature: The Promise of a Christian Natural Theology   (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016)
  • Tom McLeish, The Poetry and Music of Science. Comparing Creativity in Science and Art   (Oxford: Oxford University, Press 2019)
  • Michael Heller, The World and the Word (Tucson AZ: Pachart, 1986)
  • David C. Lindberg, Ron L. Numbers (eds.), God and nature. Historical essays on the   encounter between Christianity and science (Berkeley – London: University of   California Press, 1986)
  • Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, Scientific Perspectives in Fundamental Theology, Claremont Press, CA, forthcoming (Spring 2022)
  • Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, “The Book of Nature and the God of Scientists according to   the Encyclical Fides et ratio”, in The Human Search for Truth: Philosophy,   Science, Faith. The Outlook for the Third Millennium (Philadelphia: St. Joseph’s   University Press, 2001), 82-90
  • Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti, “The Two Books prior to the Scientific Revolution,”   Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 57 (2005), n. 3, 235-248
  • Series overview available HERE
  • Human Uniqueness with Professor Christopher Baglow available HERE
  • Ecological Conversion with Sister Damien Marie Savino available HERE.
  • Green Thomism with Professor Christopher Thompson available HERE.
  • Bearing the Image of God with Professor Sonsoles de Lacalle available HERE.
  • Caring for the Whole Person with Fr Peter Turrone & Dr Natasha Fernandes available HERE.


Contemporary civilization is characterized by a technological paradigm, in which our increasing control over nature challenges our interpretations of the essence of what is natural, what is good, and what is properly human. This has major implications for civic life, in areas such as bioethics, medicine and the dignity of the human person, the state of the environment, and our relationship with the rest of creation. In this speaker series, we engage with leading scientists, philosophers, and theologians whose work is nourished by a Catholic Christian understanding of the world. By listening to and dialoguing with them, and going deeper into the body of work they are engaging, we can wisely engage and critique the technocratic paradigm and the transhumanist attitude. Through their work, as well as an engagement with Catholic Social teaching and the latest work in the Magisterium of the Church, we come to a greater appreciation of the integrity and beauty of creation that is a hallmark of Catholicism.

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