On Science And Religion

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. I Kings 4:29

There is a widely held belief that, to borrow the words of Albert Einstein, “science without religion is lame; [and] religion without science is blind.” As a Christian, I hold the existence of God as a matter of faith. Unlike some of my sisters and brothers, I do not feel the necessity to prove the existence of God by scientific method, historical infallibility, or inerrancy of the Biblical witness. I testify to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, and the possibility of the Spirit’s witness in yours, without the need for your understanding to mirror mine.

While this belief is not proof, or empirical in a scientific sense, I don’t feel my belief threatens the knowledge and data that science contributes to our world. The Creator God endowed the human species with an intense curiosity and the intellectual gifts to grasp the complexities of both the creation and the creature. I celebrate this.

While we are finite and cannot fully comprehend the fullness of God’s creation, science has, through history, brought us developing gifts of healing, safety, control, and progress. How can we not be grateful?

I broke my back over a year ago. One hundred years ago this would have meant an excruciating recovery, through the long-suffering care of loved ones, and likely a kind of immobility that would have paralyzed any chance of returning to normalcy. Because of science, within months I was returning to work in a relatively normal routine. Today, I have macular degeneration. Because of science, treatment now allows me to continue to see, when even 30 years ago, I would be blind by now. I had bacterial meningitis a few years after I was ordained. I was hospitalized and with treatment, I was delivered from what would have been, even fifty years ago, a death sentence. WOW!

How we think about our faith and its relationship to science has risen to the level of life and death in our time. In the face of a pandemic, if you believe that science and religion are at war it will affect how you think about what scientists are telling us is necessary to stem the tide of the coronavirus that has killed, already, 136,000 Americans, and over a half million human beings world-wide. If left to its own natural progression it will continue to kill until we change our behavior. The question is how our faith views the gift of science. If you believe it threatens your faith, you may be tempted to ignore science as a way of proving your love of God and God’s love for you. In so doing you put yourself in unnecessary danger. When you view science as a gift from God, albeit fallible at times, science can literally be the gift of life. I see no reason in scripture to be at war with the gifts intelligence brings us.

On the other hand, to be at war with science can not only pose a danger to yourself, but it can create a dangerous environment for your neighbor. God is the creator and sustainer of all life. That is what I believe. If you do too, which seems to you more consistent with the nature of God, life or death? If science can bring us the gifts of life, how can a Christian be at war with it?

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