Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cosmos, Evolution, Relationship, and the Mystery of God

It seems we've always had a clear dichotomy in religious approaches to creation (or at least, publicly we've had a dichotomy) - either God controlled the process of creation or it was random. This has become the great divide between science and faith.

I've really been loving the new Cosmos series Seth MacFarlane and Neil deGrasse Tyson put together (Sundays at 9pm on FOX), but, as many people have noted, the script has been less than kind to the integration of faith and science. On the one hand, I can understand this. For most of its history, science has been denounced and attacked by religious authority (which was basically "authority" for most of that time). Now that science has the power in the relationship, it may be difficult to kiss and make nice.

Tyson used phrasing when talking about the evolution of life that sounds downright religious in and of itself. I'm not sure about his particular beliefs, but that certainly is the attitude of some scientists - nature is awesome, complex, and inspirational enough on its own, there's no real need for deity.

I can see that. I continue to marvel at the majesty and intricacy of nature - for me it only helps to expand my perspective, enlarge my frame of reference, and increase my wonder at the marvels of God.

I truly believe any scientific discovery that some think capable of removing the need for God has, in its sights, a God too small. I also think people of faith might not be giving nature, or God, enough credit when it comes to creativity and ingenuity.

When I think about relationship, true relationship, I believe it must be devoid of control. Both philosophically and theologically, I believe love can be the only genuine motivator in true relationship.

That being said, why couldn't God have created through a process of loving freedom? Why does every step, every mutation of the evolutionary process have to be directed by God?

To me, God is more awesome, more holy, more amazing if God's process of creation and interaction with creation is truly free.

I don't have to believe God dictates the details of life to affirm God has the future under control. I just don't. In fact, I think I like life - and God - better when that's the case.

It's not a firm conclusion, but what if God created a creation with a mind of its own - with a complex system of development that would produce intelligent, self-aware life in some form or another? It seems to me, if this is the case, it makes a lot of sense with an image of God as both powerful and loving.

People tend to reject new suggestions or observations that contradict the world they've created around themselves. Change is difficult - I hate it more than most - but if we're approaching the world with open arms and an open mind, the discoveries of science become wonderful additions to the rich tapestry of life. We may have to change the way we approach God or think about life, but that just makes the true faith commitments even more exciting and breathtaking and magnificent.

Scripture says that perfect love drives out all fear. There is no fear in God's good news; fear has no place in faith. There is nothing to fear in science because God is God of all.

1 comment:

Zee said...

Just this morning, I've read about the entire controversy. With all what's going on in Ukraine (the country where I live), I lost track of scientific stuff.

It bugs me that there's this divide between the religion and science. Not even from scientists' side, but from religious folks. But if they believe God created this world, then why deny the laws this God-created world is governed by? It doesn't make sense. If anything, Christians should embrace science, yet through it show the glory and majesty of our God.