Creation through the Eyes of a Scientist: Experiencing God’s Creation

How important is it that scientific theories are beautiful, simple and elegant? How important is the way in which scientists do their work, to the discoveries they make and the theories they formulate? Join us in conversation with Geoffrey Woollard, a structural biologist, computer scientist in training and co-host of our Beauty of Creation series. Together, we’ll explore the role of beauty, simplicity, elegance, and seeing God in the practice of doing science, as well as recap the ground we’ve covered in the Beauty of Creation series as a whole, looking ahead to new syntheses.

Geoffrey Woollard was trained as a biophysicist and structural biologist. His scientific passion is energy, information, causality, and life at the microscopic scale. Geoff is now working on his PhD at the University of British Columbia where he seeks to apply perspectives from computer science, statistical learning theory, optimization, and high fidelity physics simulations to describe the 3D shapes of molecular life. He is the President of the Vancouver chapter of the Society of Catholic Scientists.

Further References:

William A. Wallace – the Modelling of Nature
Benedict Ashley, OP – The Way towards Wisdom
Benedict Ashley & John Deeley – How Science enriches Theology
Mariano Artigas
‘Philosophy of Nature’
‘Knowing things for Sure’
‘The Mind of the Universe’ – understanding science and religion
Stacy Trasancos – Particles of Faith
Stacy Trasancos – Science was Born of Christianity
Christopher Baglow – A Catholic History of the Fake conflict between Religion and Science
Rodney Stark – Bearing False Witness
Ronald L. Numbers (ed.) – Galileo goes to Jail: And other Myths about Science and Religion
Paul Haeffner – Creation & Scientific Creativity: A study in the Thought of Stanley Jaki
Robert Rosen – Life Itself
Tom Mccleish – the Poetry and Beauty of Science
Anthony Rizzi – Institute for Advanced Physics

God’s Revelation through Nature Scientific and Theological Perspectives

In this webinar, we asked – how do scientists understand theology and theologians understand science? How can we see the logos – the order, rationality, beauty, and intelligibility – in nature through the extraordinary coherence of physical reality? What does nature tell us about God? The team at Catholic Conscience were grateful for the occasion to have a wide-ranging exploration of these matters with Rev Dr Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti.

Meet our guest:

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.

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

Caring For The Whole Person

A conversation with two Catholics trained in neuroscience and psychiatry. During the discussion, we explored health, the unity of body and soul, and the nature of human well-being, synthesizing science and Catholic wisdom about the human person. A webinar in our Beauty of Creation Series.

DISCLAIMER: this is a philosophical and theological discussion of health and does not constitute medical advice.

Extra Resources Mentioned:

Movies that demonstrate the dynamic of the Masculine and Feminine Genius:

Our Guests – Fr Peter Turrone & Dr Natasha Fernandes:

Fr Peter has a background in medical science and neuroscience, working as a research scientist at Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) on the side effects of antipsychotic drugs before he was called to the priesthood. After 5 years at the Newman Centre at UofT, Fr Peter is now Pastor of the Forest Hill parish in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Dr. Fernandes is a general Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor who specializes in the care for adults with developmental disabilities. She works in the Adult Neurodevelopmental Services outpatient clinic and provides consults to the Emergency Department and Inpatient units at CAMH.

Bearing the Image of God: The Nature of the Human Person

Catholic Conscience presents:
A webinar in our Beauty of Creation series
Bearing the Image of God: The Nature of the Human Person
Ft. Professor Sonsoles de Lacalle
In Partnership with: Society of Catholic Scientists

We spoke with Professor Sonsoles de Lacalle – physician, neuroscientist, professor, and Chair of Health Science at California State University Channel Islands – about gender, sexuality and identity, highlighting the synthesis between rigorous science and the Catholic intellectual tradition. We discussed our sexually dimorphous nature, masculinity and femininity, our inherent complementarity, the purpose of sexuality, healthy development and the importance of the family, among other things.


Sonsoles de Lacalle obtained her M.D./Ph.D. from the University of Navarra (Spain) in Neuroscience. In 1990 she moved to the US with a Fulbright Fellowship to train in research at the University of Chicago. Her academic experience includes teaching and research in a medical setting (University of Chicago, Harvard Medical School, and Ohio University’s College of Medicine) and in predominantly undergraduate institutions (CSU Los Angeles, Charles Drew University and currently CSU Channel Islands).

Her research has focused on structural plasticity and brain responses to selective cell loss, and the extent to which the aged nervous system reacts to signals that can promote synaptogenesis and neural regeneration. Dr. de Lacalle has mentored undergraduate, graduate and medical school students, directed training programs and served as Program Director in NIH grants. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and has presented many invited lectures at international symposia and universities.


On identity

  • O’LEARY, Dale, The gender agenda. Redefining equality, Vital Issues Press, Lafayette (Louisiana) 1997
  • TAYLOR, Charles, Sources of the Self. The Making of the Modern Identity, Harvard University Press, Cambridge 1989
  • BURKE, Cormac, Man and Values: A Personalist Anthropology, Scepter Publishers, New York 2008
  • TRIGG, Roger, Ideas of Human Nature. An Historical Introduction, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford 1999
  • O’CALLAGHAN, Paul, Children of God in the World. Introduction to Theological Anthropology. Catholic University of America Press, 2016
  • MACHOWSKI, Marty, God Made Boys and Girls: Helping Children Understand the Gift of Gender. New Growth Press; 1st edition, September 2, 2019
  • ANDERSON, Ryan T., When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment. Encounter Books, 2019
  • SHRIER, Abigail, Irreversible damage: the transgender craze seducing our daughters. Regnery Publishing, 2020.
  • THE COMMISSION ON CHILDREN AT RISK, Hardwired to connect. The new scientific case for authoritative communities. Published by the Institute for American Values, 2002.
  • AMERICAN COLLEGE OF PEDIATRICIANS, Gender ideology harms children. In:, 2017.
  • SAMUEL, Ana, Sex, Gender and Identity.
  • Heyer, Walter, “I Was a Transgender Woman”, Public Discourse, 2015,
  • De Solenni, Pia, A Hermeneutic of Aquinas’ Mens Through a Sexually Differentiated Epistemology of Woman as Imago Dei, Apollinare Studi, 2000.
  • JOYCE, Helen, “The New Patriarchy: How Trans Radicalism Hurts Women, Children—and Trans People Themselves”, Quillette, December 4, 2018
  • SULLIVAN, Andrew, “The nature of sex”. NY Magazine 2019,
  • TRUEMAN, Carl R., The rise and triumph of the modern self: cultural amnesia, expressive individualism and the road to sexual revolution. Crossway 2020
  • PLUCKROSE, H. and LINDSAY, J., Cynical theories. Pitchstone Publishing 2020
  • SOHL, D., The end of gender. Debunking the myths about sex and identity in our society. Threshold Editions, 2020.
  • MITHEN, Steven, The singing Neanderthals: the origins of music, language, mind and body. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2005

On theology of the body

On creation

  • HAFFNER, P., Mystery of Creation, Gracewing/Fowler Wright Books, Leominster (England) 1995
  • RATZINGER, J., In the Beginning…: a Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, T & T Clark, Edinburgh 1995
  • ELDERS, L.J., The Philosophy of Nature of St. Thomas Aquinas. Nature, the Universe, Man. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1997
  • SCHMAUS, M., God and Creation, Sheed & Ward, London 1969
  • WHITNEY,W.B., “Beginnings: Why the doctrine of Creation Matters for the Integration of Psychology and Christianity”. In:
  • JAKI, S.L., Cosmos and Creator, Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh 1980.
  • THOMAS, Joseph, An Introduction to the Theology of Creation, Scepter Publishers

Green Thomism

Co-sponsored by the Society of Catholic Scientists ( Professor Christopher Thompson—professor of moral theology at the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity—joined us to explore his idea of Green Thomism, which “seeks to integrate the wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas with the questions of environmental stewardship, sustainability, and awareness… [and] interprets the signs of the times to indicate the need for a renewal of some of the most basic principles of Thomistic thought: the goodness of created things, the purposive structure of created being, the inescapable embodied character of human existence, the capacity of reason to discern an order of creation which is to be respected, the contemplative nature of human happiness… All of these claims are rooted in St. Thomas’ vision of creation, the human person, and God; each of them has the capacity to enliven the best of what is happening in the ever-growing movement of environmental concern.”

We discussed:

Bringing our Church’s philosophical and theological tradition into environmental thinking;

  • The critical role of contact with nature in our spiritual lives;
  • Confidence in the natural world; and,
  • Building a relationship with the natural world informed by the immense Creation wisdom of our Catholic faith, and how such a relationship differs from a technocratic or transhumanist vision.


Christopher Thompson is a professor of moral theology at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity where he also serves as the Academic Dean since 2006. He has written and lectured extensively on the subject of integral ecology, its place in the moral imagination and its implications for a theological appropriation of creation and the dignity of the human person. He also serves as a team mentor and formator on behalf of Catholic Rural Life, a national organization dedicated to the formation of rural pastoral leaders through professional and spiritual development. His book, The Joyful Mystery: Field Notes Toward a Green Thomism, (2017) outlines what he describes as a Green Thomism, the integration of ecological attitudes and the spiritual tradition inspired by the medieval saint, Thomas Aquinas. He has written and lectured extensively on such themes in the United States and around the world. He is one of the principal drafters of The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader, an international collaboration including global agricultural communities and the Vatican.


Joyful Mystery: field notes toward a Green Thomism
by Christopher Thompson

Catholic Rural life

The Vocation of the Agricultural Leader

Ecological Conversion

In Laudato si’, Pope Francis calls us to ecological conversion, and writes that “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue.” Watch our conversation with Sister Damien Marie Savino, a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist and Dean of Science and Sustainability at Aquinas College, as we explore:

  • This call to ecological conversion and its meaning;
  • The Catholic idea of integral human ecology, and its synthesis with the health, environmental and ecological sciences; and,
  • The way forward for integrating care for God’s creation into our daily practices of discipleship.


Sister Damien Marie Savino, FSE, Ph.D., is a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist and currently serves as the Dean of Science and Sustainability at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this position she oversees the Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography and Environmental Studies departments and the college’s Center for Sustainability. Sister Damien Marie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biogeography from McGill University, her Master of Science degree in Soil and Plant Science from University of Connecticut, her Master of Arts degree in Theology from The Catholic University of America and her Ph.D. degree in Civil (Environmental) Engineering from The Catholic University of America. She has lectured and written widely on Laudato Si’ and integral ecology, as well as on themes related to ecological restoration and resilience theory, ecological health, ecology and theology, and science and faith.


The Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia on Religion & Science:

Placuit Deo – A letter to the Bishops on Salvation: what fulfills us and the tendencies of Gnosticism and Pelagianism:

Trans Mission: What’s the Rush to Reassign Gender?


  1. The Mutual Ennobling of Science and Faith: From Rev. John Zahm, CSC to Laudato Si’, University of Notre Dame Founders’ Day lecture, 2021:
  2. Christian Imperatives for Environmental Care, The Grand Dialogue in Science and Religion, Kaufman Interfaith Institute, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, 2021:
  3. An Approach to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si’, Talking with Francky, Salt and Light Media, 2021 (podcast):
  4. Dismantling Environmental Racism: Promising Tools in the Laudato Si’ Toolbox, The Catholic Information Center, Grand Rapids, MI, 2020:
  5.  Faith in a Time of Crisis: Salt and Light TV Special on Laudato Si’, 2020:
  6. Banana Peels and Climate Change: A Daily Examen, with Dr. Phil Sakimoto, 2019:
  7. Evangelizing through Land-Based Experience and Dialogue with Science, McGrath Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame, 2018:
  8. Entrusted with the Environment: GIVEN Institute, 2016:
  9. Sr. Damien: Pro-Life, Pro-Creation, The GIST, the CatholicTV Network, 2016:
  10. Women in the  Church, Salt and Light Media, Vatican Connections, 2014:

Journal Articles

  1. Savino, Sister Damien Marie (2021, in press). “Evangelizing through Land-Based Experiences and Dialogue with Science.” In John Cavadini and Donald Wallenfang, eds. Global Perspectives on the New Evangelization, Volume 3. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications.
  2. Savino, Sister Damien Marie (2021, in press). “No Such Thing as Catholic Chemistry? The Catholic Difference in Teaching Science,” Review for Religious, Special issue on Science and Religion.
  3. Savino, Sister Damien Marie and Clarage, James (2021). Reconnecting Catholicism with the Sciences: A Model for Teaching Science and Religion Core Texts. In Bridging Divides, Crossing Borders, Community Building: The Human Voice in Core Texts and the Liberal Arts, Selected Papers from the 23rd Annual Conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC), Dallas, April 20-23, 2017, eds., Tuan Hoang and Daniel Nuckols (ACTC Publications, ACTC Liberal Arts Institute).
  4. Clarage, James, and Savino, Sister Damien Marie (2021). Teaching the Big Bang and Cosmological Education in the Core. In Bridging Divides, Crossing Borders, Community Building: The Human Voice in Core Texts and the Liberal Arts, Selected Papers from the 23rd Annual Conference of the Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC), Dallas, April 20-23, 2017, eds., Tuan Hoang and Daniel Nuckols (ACTC Publications, ACTC Liberal Arts Institute).
  5. Savino, Sister Damien Marie (2018). Proposing an Examen for Living the Ecology of Daily Life and Building a Culture of Care. The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy. Vol. 34, No. 1. Special issue on Laudato Si’.
  6. Disputatio on the Distinction between the Human Person and Other Animals: The Human Person as Gardener.” Paper presented at Expanded Reason Congress in Rome, co-sponsored by the Benedict XVI Foundation and the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, European University of Rome, September 24 -26, 2018.
  7. Savino, S. D. M. and Hittinger, J. P. (2016). Loss of Creation and its Recovery Through Aquinas and Bonaventure. New Blackfriars, 97: 5–21. doi:10.1111/nbfr.12161
  8. Savino, Sister Damien Marie (2015). Facilitating Social-Ecological Transformation of a Vacant Lot on an Urban Campus: the Houston-Congolese Connection. Cities and the Environment (CATE): Vol. 8: Iss. 2, Article 4. Available at:
  9. Savino, Sister Damien Marie (2015). Nature, Soil, and God: Soils and the ‘Grammar of Nature.’ In Peter Casarella, ed., Jesus Christ: The New Face of Social Progress (pp 311-323). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
  10.  Savino, FSE, Sister Damien Marie (2009). Atheistic Science: The Only Option? Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture,12(4), 56-73. 

Human Uniqueness

This is the opening discussion in our series on Faith & Science, called ‘The Beauty of Creation’, where we’ll be engaging with leading scientists, philosophers and theologians. We hope to learn from them as we look for new syntheses that build upon and deepen our understanding of the world from the perspectives of science and faith, which are mutually enriching.


Chris Baglow, P.h.D., is Professor of the Practice in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and the Director of the Science and Religion Initiative of the McGrath Institute for Church Life, where he creates and directs programming that assists Catholic leaders in bringing the Catholic faith and modern science into dialogue for the sake of the New Evangelization. He has led programs of academic integration at two Catholic high schools, including the STREAM™ Program at St. Mary’s Dominican H.S. in New Orleans, LA. In 2011-2014 Baglow directed the Templeton-funded Steno Learning Program in Faith and Science for Catholic Secondary Educators (SLP), a week-long seminar experience for Catholic science and religion teachers. Baglow is the author of Faith, Science and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge, 2nd ed.(Midwest Theological Forum, 2019). Professor Baglow is a member of the executive board of the Society of Catholic Scientists and serves as chair of its Theological Advisory Board.

Resource Links:

Catholic Conscience newsletter

Society of Catholic Scientists

John Paul II letter to Scientists

Forthcoming book (November 5th, 2021) from Professor Baglow: Creation: A Catholic’s Guide to God and the Universe

Faith & Science textbook: Faith, Science and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge, 2nd ed.(Midwest Theological Forum, 2019)

The Beauty of Creation: Introductory Panel

Exploring the glory and majesty of God’s created world, as revealed through science, natural philosophy, and our Catholic faith.

An introductory panel discussion for our new webinar series on the beauty and integrity of God’s created world.

From August 2021 to February 2022, Catholic Conscience is excited to present a new monthly webinar series called The Beauty of Creation—on the glory and majesty of God’s created world, as revealed through science, natural philosophy, and our Catholic faith.

This video is an introductory panel discussion on the integrity and beauty of creation, and the opportunities and challenges of humanity’s increasing mastery over the natural world.

The conversation will feature:

Geoffrey Woollard
Graduate student at the University of British Columbia

Peter Copeland
Thinker and writer

Matthew Marquardt
Founder & President, Catholic Conscience

Brendan Steven
Executive Director, Catholic Conscience

References mentioned in the video:

Scientia et Fides article critiquing transhumanism

Reference to “Christian materialism” in a famous homily “Passionately Loving the World” by St Josemaria Escriva

Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft

Aquinas and the Environment Symposium, Nova et Vetera, Winter 2012 (Vol. 10, No. 1)|

Translate »
Skip to content