Thursday, April 12, 2012

Science and God

Notice, I said, "Science AND God," not "Science OR God," which is significant.  People like to put things neatly away in little categories, whether it be socks, kitchen utensils, or "biggies" such as politics and religion.

And once these things are labeled and categorized, they are to stay where you placed them, right? Politics party candidate X says that, "blah, blah, blah" and if you identify with Party X, you agree, right? Not necessarily. But that's a debate for another day.

Back to science. There are those, especially those that see themselves as "Ultra Christians" (whatever that means) or UC, that view science with disdain. Obviously, science and religion are on opposite ends of a spectrum! At the very least, science is evil.

Really? Well, let's look at science. Due to scientists, and scientific thinking, we can now treat illnesses as little more than annoyances that might have been deadly a century ago. "Okay, that's cool," says UC. And scientists learned about nutrition, and can prevent diseases from even starting. (UC is still nodding, okay) Scientists discovered components in plants that can actually heal people. (UC is looking wary.) Then, scientists learned that by using stem cells from the patient's own body, heart tissue can be regrown. "Whoa! Stem cell research? that's awful!" says UC. Even if it saves a person's life?

Okay, forget biology for a moment. What about chemistry? Learning how things are made up, and combining with other things, changes the world! "Like atomic bombs?" says UC. I was thinking more along the lines of DNA information, and drug combinations that save lives, but yes, bombs, too. But this same power is used to blast through rocks, enabling roads to be built through mountains... not always bad, eh?

Physics tells us what things are made of, how it works, and what is happening. It's learning about the depths of the ocean floor and the vastness of the universe. I saw an interesting article today, called "Myth Busting," in the Religion + Life series by Elaine H. Ecklund. She interviewed scientists about their religious and spiritual beliefs, which are not necessarily one and the same.  Many unscientific people feel that there's little spirituality in the scientific community.

"Ecklund found instead, "a kind of searching spirituality" among scientists. Approximately 70% see themselves as spiritual."   (How many professed Christians view themselves this way?) Ecklund continues, "Even those who are outside of the faith community are looking for higher order meaning and purpose.""

My POINT? I don't think it's a matter of 'Science OR God' but instead, 'Science AND God' at work here. God provided plants that have many hidden benefits. God designed us with a sense of curiosity about the world around us. He gave us a sense of caring so that we try to help others. God gave us brains - so I don't think He intended us to sit around and not use them.

In college, I took some physics classes from Dr. Sears, who was an astro-physicist before teaching. He spent many hours looking through telescopes at quasars, and distant stars beyond our galaxy, and searched for black holes.  Of all the things he said during the 4 classes I took from him, I most remember two things.

During the "Physics for Elementary Teachers" class, we were learning about light and color. He explained how rainbows were formed, and why grass was green and the sky was blue. But he said, "If your students don't understand the science, you can just tell them, 'Because that's how God wanted it' and they'll be satisfied."  (This was in the 1970s, before God was kicked out of schools.) 

Then I took an Astronomy class from him. It was hard, since it was for physics students, not elementary ed majors, but was still quite interesting. (He answered my questions, no matter how dumb, the way he did in the other classes, while at the same time using "sciencey" words for the Physics majors that understood them.)  One day, in a lecture on the vastness of the universe, a student questioned him about how it was created.  He said, "I used to be an atheist, convinced that science explained everything, and that there was no God. Then, the more science I studied, the more I saw the perfect orderly way things were composed and the great vastness of it all, and the more I realized that there HAD to be a God, so I went searching for Him until I found Him." 

Like me, Dr. Sears has no problem with balancing a belief in God with the 'Big Bang Theory' as they do not have to be exclusive of one another. We once had a conversation over a Coke at the student center about it. I said that this theory made sense to me, as it could very well have been the way the universe was created, a process of different atoms doing whatever it is they do, causing a huge explosion, creating everything and moving out towards space. My theory is that it was all caused by God, just not some random occurrence. He agreed.

Some seek to understand how God created the universe. Others believe the Big Bang moment created it. I believe that God created the Big Bang in order to create the earth. It's Science AND God, not or.

want to know more about Ecklund's article? Here it is:
And yes, the term "Ultra Christians" was coined by me. This explains why you've never heard of it. 
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