Faith or Science?

Email Devotion, Easter 5

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”

–Psalm 19:1

I’m currently reading a book called Spook, by Mary Roach.  It is a scientific and investigative examination of a wide variety of experiences made by those who claim to be in touch with spirits in the afterlife.  Ms. Roach is an amazing researcher, traveling the globe and researching the past and present, so as to explore topics like reincarnation, spiritual ectoplasm, mediums, ghosts, and scientific attempts to “weigh” the soul. She is a comprehensive researcher; she has a dry and hilarious sense of humor; and she is a sceptic about all things otherworldly and transcendent.  As you might expect, she is not a person of faith.  Thus her conclusions about the afterlife in just about every case, land on the side of skepticism, usually due to the dishonestly of the claimants.  It is a great read.

I share this because as I was listening to Sister Dottie’s sermon today, and talking with our kids in the Children’s sermon, and thinking about today’s spiritual gifts of Knowledge, Wisdom and Teaching I found myself wondering why so many in the world take an “either/or” perspective on faith and science.  Either you’re a believer in God and a person of faith, or you place your trust in science and see yourself as a person who trusts in facts.  I’ve always struggled with the exclusive nature of this particular polarity.  Why can’t a person embrace both perspectives?  Why can’t we see in God’s created world of beauty … the symmetry, logic and verifiability that much of science offers to us?  Why can’t the two walk hand in hand?  I found myself thinking of one of our saints triumphant, Burt Hofferth, who joined God’s Kingdom a little over five years ago.  Burt was an accomplished chemist, and also a person of deep faith.  He was a weekly attendee at my Wednesday Morning Bible Study, and regularly asked questions and made observations that sought to blur the line between faith and reason, allowing one to speak to the other.  I think of some of the scientists and mathematicians and doctors who walk among us now, and their ability to allow some cross-pollination between logic and faith … between the world of faith and the worlds of physics and biology and chemistry.  And I give thanks.

So, whether you find yourself reflecting on the marriage of faith and science because of today’s spiritual gifts of Knowledge, Wisdom, and Teaching, or because you can’t believe that the Lord of the universe can’t weave a little quantum theory and calculus and endocrinology into the wonder of creation … take a few moments this week to observe the beautiful rhythm God plays throughout the universe between faith and reason.  Look at the splash of color that “scattering” creates in a summer sunset, and ponder the God who envisioned such beauty.  Marvel at the symmetry of a polynomial math formula, and think of the logic the divine mind conjures.  Consider Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation and gaze in awe at the myriad of ways in which that law enables you to drive a car, or throw a baseball or climb a ladder. And remember along with the psalmist, “The heavens are telling the glory of God.”

Walk softly upon the earth.  May its beauty forever surround you, its wonders forever astound you.  May its wisdom delight you, its music invite you to dance and to play and to sing.  May you love and be loved by all that you meet; may you know and practice compassion.  Rejoice in the earth and in all of creation.  Rejoice in life.

From “A Parting Blessing” Alfred V. Feda

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.