I read an article in the May/June issue of CT Christianity Today written by Edward J. Larson. It was a book review of Magisteria: The Entangled Histories of Science and Religion by Nicholas Spencer. Many find science and religion compatible. Others don’t. It’s been an ongoing discussion since Galileo’s sun-centered theory clashed with the Papacy in the Middle Ages.
Spencer notes humans are both material and spiritual. He quoted geneticist and theist, Francis Collins, who said that religion and science cannot be “cordoned off from the natural world…”
Makes sense. However, I have a problem with another quote Spencer attributed to Collins. “Science will certainly not shed any light on what it means to love someone, what it means to have a spiritual dimension to our existence, nor will it tell us much about the character of God.” (my emphasis)
I was with Collins until the last clause. I believe science tells us volumes about the character of God—as well as us, who are made in his image. Look at just four characteristics of God that negate Collins’ assumption.
We think we are brilliant when we make new scientific discoveries and then manipulate them for our purposes. In our hubris, we make ourselves minor gods who need only our superb minds to reach limitless potential.
Actually, we merely discovered what already existed, what a transcendent God had already created, millennia ago. Mirrian Webster defines “transcendent” as “extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience.”
Since something cannot come from nothing, the creation of something out of nothing is beyond our ordinary experience. I can’t bake a pie without flour, apples, sugar. I can’t bake a pie out of thin air.
Yet something made galaxies and everything in them, down to the atomic level. So I would say, one of God’s characteristics we see in nature is transcendence.
I think I love God’s immanence the most. This God, who spoke galaxies into existence, created something as small and intimate as one of my body’s cells. Years ago, when I studied anatomy and physiology, the cell reminded me of an egg. It had the vital nucleus (yolk) surrounded by cytoplasm (the egg white).
I see a life- sustaining factory when I look at the anatomy of a cell today, (https://www.britannica.com/science/cell-biology). The nucleus is only one of many organelles. There are mitochondria for energy transaction. Lysosomes digest unwanted material in the cell. And those are only a few of the elements that work in this tiny factory.
God is as close to me as the air I breathe. I love his character of intimacy. He is a God who reaches far beyond anything I could imagine, to the very building blocks of my existence.
I have yet to see a work of art that outdoes God. Some of our best paintings merely reflect what he already created. Even abstract art would be impossible without God’s creativity. He created light, the UV spectrum, and thus color exists.
I’m thankful this is one part of God’s character that he poured into us when he created us in his image. We too, are artists. From stone etchings to the Mona Lisa, we create art. We sculpt everything from statues to modern structures and shapes in materials God already provided—wood, stone, bronze, etc.. We write, we speak, we make music. We are Imago Dei!
Think God doesn’t have a sense of humor? Take a look at the Blue-footed Booby. ‘Nuff said.