I so enjoyed Mike Webb’s Adult Forum presentation on science and faith this past Sunday. It was the first of three parts, so mark your calendars for May 9th and May 16th if you’d like to catch the rest! Mike taught us about evolution–the timeline (which is so much grander than I ever remember!) and the types of variety and adaptation present in nature. He also brought up some of the big questions that evolution can raise for us as Christians, as well as the contradictions evolution presents for certain Christian branches and theologies.
I have always loved science, and am never worried that somehow learning or exploring will hurt God. I feel very sure that God is big enough to handle any discovery or question we have! I’m not sure that humans are wise enough to handle carefully the knowledge and power that we gain as we learn, but that’s not a reason to stop learning–it’s a reason to pray more! And to preach and teach more, to share the Good News we have from God.
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who died last year, is one of my favorite thinkers and leaders in this area. In the Introduction to his book, The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning, he writes, “Science is about explanation. Religion is about meaning. Science analyses, religion integrates. Science breaks things down to their component parts. Religion binds people together in relationships of trust. Science tells us what is. Religion tells us what ought to be. Science describes. Religion beckons, summons, calls. Science sees objects. Religion speaks to us as subjects. Science practices detachment. Religion is the art of attachment, self to self, soul to soul. Science sees the underlying order of the physical world. Religion hears the music beneath the noise. Science is the conquest of ignorance. Religion is the redemption of solitude.”
Although science and religion are partners, many people don’t intuitively grasp this. Of course, most of us learn as children what parts of life make sense together and which don’t. Some of us had to unlearn as adults the idea that science and religion were enemies.
Those of us with children in our lives can help plant the right seeds. We can pray, “Thank you God for all the wonders around us,” and “Thank you God for giving us minds to learn and explore,” and “Thank you God for these brilliant scientists and what they learned,” and “Help us to keep our eyes open and our attention on all that you give us.”
As spring continues to unfold around us, I hope the Lord will grant us curiosity and wonder, and stir up in us a greater love for all that God has made!