God and science
Sean Stoker, Staff Writer
Illustration by Trevor Robertson
Growing up, I was raised to look at the universe with two eyes: one being logic, the other faith. I vividly remember being five-years-old and camping with my father, the two of us looking up at the brilliant night sky you can only see in the wilderness. He tried his best to teach me the constellations–which he knew by heart—explaining to me that each star was at least thousands of times larger than the earth, and millions, billions of miles away.
“God created this all for you, son, for all of us,” he told me. My grandfather was a rocket scientist for ATK Thiokol, my father is a biomedical engineer and my older brother is a materials science engineer. But each one of these men was and are devout men of faith, which doesn’t strike me as odd at all. Brushing elbows with these men has blurred the line between theological and scientific discussions. Both have become essential tools for deciphering the mysteries of the universe.
Recently my childhood idol Bill Nye “the Science Guy” debated Ken Ham, CEO of the Creation Museum, on the evolution vs. creationism argument. The debate has drawn the religious and scientific alike out of the woodwork, adding fresh fodder to the timeless debate: logic or faith?
I submit to you, why not both? I’m not suggesting that the Spock-like scientists on the left, and the religious zealots on the right have to join me here in the middle of the spectrum. To each their own. But I want to point out that there is a middle ground between these two views, and that it’s a great place to hang out.
One major bone of contention between the religious and the scientists is the Big Bang theory. Based on scientific observations, we know that the universe is constantly expanding, and mathematical models imply that the whole universe originated from a single point. Literally, at the moment time began, this speck exploded outward, creating the universe as we know it.
Many religious people have a hard time with the big bang because, to someone who believes in an intelligent Creator, it can seem kind of random and anti-climactic. The universe exists…just because?
Though you may believe whatever you choose, I see no reason why the Bible creation story and the Big Bang theory can’t coexist or even work together. After all, who pushed the start button on the universe? Would it be unreasonable to reconcile one’s beliefs with science by considering that God might have initiated the big bang? The Bible tells us that God created the universe, but it doesn’t explicitly state how, which is where I believe science can fill in some blanks.
The same goes for evolution. Since Charles Darwin published his theory of natural selection, many religious people have seen it as blasphemy to suppose that mankind, created in God’s image, could have descended from chimps.
While personally, I’m not sold on the concept of man evolving from lower life forms (I can hear the staunch scientists slapping their foreheads, but my faith guides me here), I am completely open to the concept of species changing over time. We have known for years that animals can adapt to their environments over the generations to survive. And what more is evolution than an accumulation of adaptations leading to the dawn of a new species?
I understand that not everyone is comfortable with mixing science and religion. But if there’s anyone out there who, like me, likes to dance in the middle ground, they should know that there’s no shame in being a moderate.