Faith and Science

appalachian_mtns-usgsWe have a lot to appreciate through the study of science. Advances in medical research and developments in technology can be attributed to the study of science. The religious may argue that science is the enemy but in many ways our lives are blessed because of the study of science.

Dr. Hannah Gray, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, recently prescribed a treatment that “functionally cured” a baby girl with a HIV infection. She is a pediatrician whose specialty is pediatric AIDS treatment. This is a powerful discovery that can be created to research and scientific discovery. Dr. Gay happens to also be a committed follower of Jesus. In a newspaper interview she says, “My faith affects everything I do. It defines who I am. It is actually everything I do and that includes my medical career.”

Is science and faith truly opposed to one another? Can we hold the two together? Is it possible to believe in some of the tenets of science while still being a committed follower of Jesus?

A lot of the topics that scientist are wrestling with today have implications of faith. Evolution, medical ethics, climate change, nuclear energy, and human sexuality are complex topics that require all the knowledge and wisdom we can get.

Science can tell me “how” certain things occur in nature but it cannot answer the metaphysical “why.” Science can explain to me the reality of physical laws but it cannot explain what makes something beautiful.

How do we define beauty? Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Others may point out that beauty fades or beauty changes. And yet, we look at a sunset over the Appalachia Mountains and we describe it as beautiful. We listen to a piece of music and the harmony strikes us as beautiful. The moment that beauty evokes awe, gratitude, or reverence then we move beyond scientific inquiry and begin to ask “why?’

The poet in Psalms 19 says, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” We can study, research, and evaluate but the moment we attempt to pin it down the beauty of creation it begins to elude. The beauty of creation speaks a language that is complex. We experience it. We stand in awe of it. But the language it speaks is one of mystery.

Could it be that the beauty we discover in our world is simply pointing us to Someone else? The Psalmist describes heaven and earth as full of glory, a glory that refuse to be reduced to a simple explanation. As a follower of Jesus, I believe it is the voice of a creator that I hear echoing in the sunset or the laughter of a child.

The beauty we discover in creation directs us to an amazing artist who reflected on his masterpiece by calling it good.

“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).


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