I was a science major in college (major in Environmental Science with minors in Biology and Mathematics). I’m certainly no scientist, but I’m still fascinated by it. I didn’t start studying theology until seminary, two years after finishing college.
I still enjoy science and think highly of science as a way to understand the world around us. It doesn’t answer all the questions, but where science leaves off, theology steps in and visa versa. I never saw them as being in conflict. What is true about this world is God’s truth, is it not?
I still enjoy reading about science and there are fascinating and tantalizing questions out there. Quantum physics presents us with observations and questions that boggle the mind. An issue I have found fascinating is the question of consciousness. How is it that a mass of inanimate matter can become organized not just to function and replicate, but to actually become self-aware?
I won’t try to delve into such questions here, but I will just point out an oft quoted verse in Sunday’s Psalm 139, click here to read it): “For you yourself created my inmost parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” I, for one, do not believe that science will ever satisfactorily explain the existence of life or consciousness. I think we must look to God in order to make sense of such things. I’m sure the Psalmist was not pondering how atoms and molecules and quarks and whatever else relate to consciousness, but he came to understand that the only reasonable source is God.
Have you thought about the complexity just of your body? How two tiny cells combine into one then explode into billions of precisely differentiated and interdependent cells? How that mass of cells becomes self-aware and rational? How it becomes self healing? How it defends itself from constant attack? Have you considered that even with the wondrous science of vaccines, we still cannot create the immunity. Vaccines simply trigger your body to create the antibodies that provide the actual protection.
I could go on. I can really geek out on this stuff. But I think you get the idea.
Take time to be amazed at God’s handiwork, in everything from the wonders of cells to the wonders of the heavens to the fact that you can perceive and wonder at these things. And give thanks!
Then realize that this God can probably handle whatever may perplex and beset us today.
This column appeared in the January 17, 2021 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.