RIVERSIDE CHURCH

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2011 Bolton Rd NW Suite 100

Atlanta GA 30318

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A Gift (not another Christmas cliche)

December 12, 2014

 

It's Christmas Season! I thought I should give you a gift. Not just any gift, but one of the greatest kinds: wisdom & understanding. I asked my good friend to write an article for us on the place of science and faith. Check it. (Thanks Tony!)

 

Faith and Science
Can't we just get along?

 

I have been an organic chemist for around 40 years. Graduate school was a long time ago. Since that time, science has advanced at an unbelievable rate. When I was a young chemist, we did not know the universe was expanding, we understood that electrons, protons and neutrons were the fundamental particles and there was no such thing as a singularity. In 40 short years, we have made fundamental advances in our understanding of science. It was not long ago that the accepted theories were as such: the world is flat, everything revolves around the earth, and spontaneous generation was an accepted concept. We have indeed come a long way and we will continue to discover more and more. Humankind have a God-given curiosity to understand. Our scientific method is critical to our understanding. It requires hypothesis, experimentation and modification of our hypothesis to match our data. It requires we accept that science is in the realm of what we can measure, test and understand. It requires that we are sometimes wrong, otherwise the hypothesis would come last in the process.

 

The fundamental difference between science and religion is that religion requires faith. Faith and salvation are the ultimate gift, not of man, but of God. The reason why we have problems with a grand unifying theory that unites religion and science is due to our scientific ego. While science requires a testing mind, it is limited by the power of that mind. Look at how wrong we had it 40 years ago. Scientists look to understand the "mind of God". While this a laudable goal, it is much like a monkey looking at a fine Swiss watch. We can discover something, but our understanding will be so minimal. We humans have quite an ego.

 

There is no inherent conflict between religion and science. They are two complementary and non-overlapping approaches to understanding our world. With each breakthrough, we know more and understand how little we actually know. We need to practice the understanding that it is by the grace of God we understand that science requires discipline. With each new scientific advance, our meager understanding of the power and glory of our Creator should be increased, not decreased.

 

-Tony O'lenick

 

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