The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Science opens up faith

It takes faith to do good science

I no longer do church work. Oh, yes, I'm lector on an occasional Sunday. I tie quilts once in awhile and I lead the women's Bible study. But I'm through with church council, teaching Sunday school and confirmation, being on synod committees and commissions, and attending conventions and assemblies.

Yet, I'm leading a Christian life. One even more fulfilling than when my volunteer time was spent in "church work."

What do I do? I'm a docent in a science museum. Yes, a science facility with its emphasis on fact rather than faith. An institution that insists on replicable results rather than miraculous occurrences. A place that considers space-time, origin of life, evolution, plate tectonics and all the rest.

During a year, I'll guide several hundred schoolchildren, teenagers and adults in discovery of the wonders of the universe, specifically those found here on Earth. Seekers all, inquisitive spirits, curious souls looking for answers to the everyday questions that beset contemporary living. What about beings from outer space? Is there life out there? Can stem-cell research make us immortal? Can we go on and on replacing our worn-out body parts? What's the universal meaning of life? Is it simply procreation, survival of the fit and the chance to reproduce? Are we something more than animals, yet something less than gods?

What on earth does all this have to do with Christian living? I like to think I cause my listeners to question, to think for themselves, to ponder and consider. And, in doing so, I inspire them to look beyond the simple "facts." Regularly I intersperse comments such as "scientists think" or "researchers are attempting to show ...." I don't give them pat answers because the questions they ask demand more than that. Instead I demonstrate that science and faith aren't disparate and that both are ongoing. (See also, page 12.)

It takes faith to do good science, a belief that answers exist; and good science opens avenues to faith, to an understanding of a Creator God who not only places the wonders of the universe within the grasp of our human intellect but also helps us interpret them daily.

If I can help them find "the universe in a blade of grass," they'll find a God-filled life, as I have, one that speaks to the redemption of all Creation and isn't totally dependent on "church work."




Posted at 10:39 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/4/2008

Thank you for that brilliant article!  I am taking a religion class and one of the questions asked is, "Are science and religion friends or enemies?"  This article explains to me that they are friends!  Thank you very much!

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