This Christmas, think about how our wise, loving, patient God entered the ancient Middle East—“Taking the very nature of a servant”—and trusted himself to the developmental processes that had been created through him.
I knew R.E.M. shaped the outlook of an entire generation in some important ways, but I had not heard them acknowledge the very quest I was on in the 1990s. These were the years I was owning my Christian faith while studying physics at Northwestern.
God’s love transforming every believer should propel them to practice works of love for their brothers and sisters. In other words, caring for those in need calls for an attitude of humility, genuine benevolence, and gratitude towards the Creator. Since God’s love is actualized in Christ Jesus, we should establish a Christian presence that incarnates his love through tangible actions.
Barth’s “dialectical” method involved a “No” with a “Yes” when he addressed any particular topic or theological doctrine. It is particularly evident in his approach to modern science.
My takeaway from hundreds of conversations with thoughtful Christians in the sciences—some direct and others enjoyed secondhand through lectures, podcasts, articles and the like—is that they want to hold the following tension, delicately. They want to trust the regularity of natural processes without limiting God’s ability to act.
The folks sitting in our pews believe in miracles—some even see them everywhere all the time. These same folks are afraid of any science that they feel threatens their belief in God’s ability to perform miracles.
For many of the folks outside our churches, and even some of the science-y types in our churches, miracles are an honest hindrance to faith. They are seen to be violations of the demonstrated rules that guide all natural processes.
What are we to do?
Wesley’s passion for understanding God’s creation helped him imagine and pursue a kind of ministry (i.e., Christian stewardship) that understood we are called to care for creation as a whole.
The science is clear: “More” and “better” don’t make us happier, and it makes us more individualistic, which is not a recipe for flourishing for a species designed to be in community. Instead science suggests how we can counter the pressure to achieve.
Greg interviewed the Rev. Dr. Jessica Moerman, a climate and environmental scientist, pastor, educator, and advocate. We think Jessica is one of the most exciting and hopeful emerging voices in the field of climate science and Christian faith.
Reading Paul’s ideas of a creation that groans for its redemption and incorporating an understanding of the book of nature can help us see the adverse effects of human activity on God’s creation in a new light. It may even suggest a new domain of action where we can become catalytic agents and partners in God’s redemptive impetus.