A weekly dose of science for the church
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To do missions today, we need to understand unbelief. Sure, it is good to track the demographic trends, but it is far more important to understand the mindset of the unaffiliated, the agnostic, and the atheist.
Our appreciation of creation and the Creator come less from understanding the Galileo affair or responding to Richard Dawkins’ anti-religious screeds, and more from looking at what science can tell us about the glory being told by the heavens and how fearfully and wonderfully life has been knit together.
What is the imago dei? How are humans unique from the rest of life and made special by God? This is an important—and highly contested—topic in the history of theology. And today, it’s best approached in dialogue with science.
Yes, we know—in ways the biblical writers didn’t—how huge that world, or the cosmos, is. But we also all know God’s love. And so it’s natural to ask: If Christ saves us on Earth, what if there are other “worlds”? What do we do with Jesus’ atonement?
What do we do once that first detection of extraterrestrial life has been made? How do we react, be it friend or foe? This area has been dubbed astroethics, and it’s our focus in our continuing series on astrobiology.
How are we finding all of these “exoplanets”—planets beyond our solar system? And how can we tell if they might host life? That’s our focus as we continue our astrobiology series.
The search for life “out there,” whether or not we find it, can be relevant today. When we consider science and the meaning of life, we ask one of the great questions of any age.
Whether we find it or not, the possibility of life on other planets remains scientifically and theologically significant.
All in all, we know that technology accelerates life, and it increasingly feels like we can’t keep up. For centuries, theologians and mystics have reminded us that we need to slow down in order to find God, and that deep relationships with our God and our friends grow slowly in the soils of time. Science tells us many of the same things (naturally, with some scientific haggling), particularly about how excessive use of technology impoverishes ourselves and our relationships.
The religion-vs.-science narrative persists in our wider culture, but that’s clearly a false narrative when it comes to the interface between religion and health. Study after study shows positive connections between health and things like church attendance, religiosity, and religious coping.
It is hard to let go of wrongdoing and to make it right. We need help. That help can come in many forms. Of course, it begins with Scripture and the Holy Spirit working in us and the saints that support us. But it may also come in the form of . . . science? Yes, science.
Atkins believed all those “nothing but” statements—nothing but atoms, chemical elements, genes, and neurons—and for him, that meant there is nothing more. Davies saw an amazing picture of the natural world that suggested more—mystery, meaning, and maybe even purpose.