I am a bible-studying, praying Christian of many years. I have an inexplicable assurance that God is real as is the Son He sent and the Spirit He gifts to every human who professes Him and believes. What I feel and know about God is the very definition of faith. I have been a student of science even longer than the bible because my father was a science teacher and, by the time I was four, he had this little girl perched on a stool to dissect a mushroom, recite dinosaur species and identify stratification in cutaway rocks on the roadside. I didn’t make my profession of faith in church until I was ten. God is my priority, but… yeah. I love science, and it’s difficult not to have faith in what you love.
The fall of my senior year in high school there were thirteen of us who had taken all the science classes the school had to offer. Some of us issued a hue and cry leading to the creation of an advanced biology II class—college freshman level. I was elated, and for more reasons than landing a lab partner who turned out to be the man I married. Yeah. Science is my favorite discipline. Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, whether it’s fact or fact-founded fiction or out-and-out space opera, I’m a believer.
Claiming you have to choose between faith in God versus lab-verified fact has tried my patience for decades. Anyone who has spent five minutes immersed in astronomy, geology, botany, zoology, chemistry, physics and most certainly biology, should stagger beneath the weight of (admittedly spirit-breathed) truth: only God could possibly put together the interconnected milieu of our universe and the yet uncounted forms of life it contains. I love that humans want to explain that universe, but the arrogance in supposing that our investigation can ever completely do so is my biggest eye roll. Yet, one reason I’m such a proponent of scientific advancement is the perpetual curiosity it piques, a curiosity that typically processes, then depends upon, a great deal of experimentation and data. The path through these findings is certain, verifiable, amazing, one worthy of deep faith, but (if you pursue it far enough) it inevitably concludes, “We don’t yet know.”
These days, my husband Mark and I rise at 4:00 a.m. to read scripture and commentaries, and to pray in an attempt to begin our day with His perspective. That’s not a boast. That’s an admission of dread and trepidation to dare begin a day without Him. So, my faith in God is strong enough to push my feet over the bed’s edge at 4:00 a.m. when I’m sure that getting up is the worst moment of the day. However, even with this conviction, I run into walls between God and myself that have “I don’t know” graffitied all over them. Even after bible study? Yes. Even after listening prayer? You bet. How can He be God if I know as much as He does? Was the universe created in six literal days? I don’t know. Does hell actually burn with the chemical reaction we call fire? Not a clue. Why didn’t God destroy Satan? I can speculate, and I’ve heard convincing theories, but I don’t know the answer.
By the same wisdom, how can God be the Creator if He can’t devise systems so incredibly, wonderfully complex that scientists have spent… will continue to spend – centuries of effort to peel back the layers and explain? I believe God revels in our exploration. I envision Him chiding and cheering and challenging respectively, “Not that way, Pea Brain! There! That’s it. Bravo! You finally figured out that stem cells can actually heal stroke patients! Now explain how you’re going to unify gravity and strong nuclear force using string theory! Or, what happened when the universe emerged just after the instant of creation! How about that?”
The “I don’t know factor” is honestly the coolest part of our frontiers in both spirituality and science. That factor will never go away. It is their common ground, the vast places of the unexplained, a no man’s land because no man has the brain space to grasp them. That commonality is what offers the best exhilaration of faith in both God and science. In fact, what is faith if not a conviction in truth and inexplicable power? I can’t begin to explain either one, but I 100% believe in the One who made it, the ones He made in his image and their gutsy determination to chase down or break down the pieces that make it all come together.
I love the mystery hidden in ‘no-chance-of-mastery’. I love that ‘curiosity about the veracity of a literal bible’ will die no faster than the question of ‘what’s at the bottom of a black hole?’. Quite honestly, both lead to the same inquiry… the same invitation: can we, after intense academic exploration, exercise blind commitment and take a leap with our hearts?
My answer is yes.
My answer is faith.
The closet where I meet with God and the investigator’s lab are bordering fields that overlap so closely I can plant one foot in each at the same time while I whisper into the ethos, “I believe God. I believe He did it. I believe He does it. All.”