Thursday, November 14, 2013

God in science...and science in God

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

Those are bold words, spoken by a man who wasn't afraid to stir things up a bit--Albert Einstein. And though it may go against my better judgment (or maybe it just makes me nervous) I'm going to take a chance at stirring things up a bit myself...

I still find it hard to believe at times, but I'm in the world of science. I still hesitate to call myself a scientist and don't know if I'll ever really feel like I can call myself a physicist, but after all life's twists and turns I've found myself right in the middle of a world that somehow seems both disconnected and intricately blended with the world of faith in which I grew up.

Some people, it seems, think those two worlds--one of science and one of faith--should never collide. I'm not sure what chaos they think might come about as a result, but surely it would be something terrifying and life shattering.

You know what?
I think that's a tragedy.

I have never been one who was content with the answer I was given just because somebody told me it was true. I've always wanted to find things out for myself, to test what people tell me. I'm a questioner.

There's a sad tendency in Christianity for questions to be discouraged. So many people are taught that having faith means believing blindly, just going along with whatever is preached from the pulpit. Being a good Christian means never wondering or digging or probing--
--almost as if people are afraid that if they dig too deep, they might uncover something they don't want to find.

It frustrates me to see how some Christians react to advances in science. They attack without first studying, and in doing so they seem almost afraid of science. It is as if the words "scientific advancement" are synonymous with "anti-God" in their minds.

Because surely anything that comes from the world of science is heretical and shouldn't be trusted.

On the other side of the battlefield, there are many in science who think all Christians are unintelligent, uneducated, naive people who believe a fairytale mainly because they haven't gotten the chance to see how the real world works.

They look at the power man has gotten through science--
the power to kill or heal
to harness the energy of subatomic particles and use them for our own purposes
and now even the power to control life to an unbelievable degree--
and come to the conclusion that there is no need for God, therefore He doesn't exist.

They dismiss those of faith without hardly even a second glance. They seem to see themselves as too intelligent to be misled by myths.
 Here's another radical thinker: Galileo Galilei. He said, "I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reasons, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

Everything should be scrutinized. It should be studied and tested and double checked. If something can't stand up to the scrutiny, it should be disregarded and thrown out. In science, that's part of the scientific process. If you ask me, it's a great process.

That thought makes some Christians nervous, but you know what?

Not me.

You see, I believe in a God who is strong enough to stand up under the pressure. He can be 
scrutinized 
poked and prodded
or examined
and what will be revealed is
ultimate creative power
the One who glues protons together in a nucleus
and wisdom beyond compare.

In Job we are told, "To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His." (12:13)

Jeremiah 10:12 says, "But God made the earth by His power; He founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding."

In Colossians, Paul tells us that he wants everyone to "know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (2:2-3)

One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 11:3 that says, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."

I look around me and I see amazing details and unbridled creativity that can be explained in no other way than is laid out in Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I see natural phenomena like lightning that physicists are still trying to model with equations (I've played around with some of those equations--believe me, they are a bit overwhelming) and am nothing short of in awe of the One who "sends lightning with the rain" (Jeremiah 10:13).

I am saddened by the fact that so few seem to be willing to mix science and faith mainly because I see so much beauty in how the two fit together. 

I see the physics hidden not so subtly in verses like the one in Hebrews which tells us that everything is made of subatomic particles (come on--you see it, right?). 

Even less subtly, I see God in the amazing design that went into our DNA and how it is replicated and repaired.

I would love to see what could happen if both sides of the argument would take off their blinders for a bit and look around, maybe take a chance and talk to one another. It would be amazing to see the great things that could be accomplished.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ever lost yourself?

There's a Faith Hill song called, "Someone Else's Dream."

The chorus says this:
She was daddy's little girl
Momma's little angel
Teacher's pet, pageant queen
She said "All my life I've been pleasin' everyone but me,
Waking up in someone else's dream"


Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever looked around and realized that you were living the life other people expected you to live, but you really don't know how it happened?

Or am I the only one who has ever felt that way?

On the off chance that I'm not alone, I'm going to keep writing.

Gulp.

Believe me, I would rather just let this particular subject slip quietly away. It hits a bit close to home and reveals a bit more than I would willingly show people. However, way back in January I chose the word "follow" for 2013, and right now that's what I'm doing.

Following. Dragging my feet a bit to be honest, but still following.

So, in the spirit of following where I think God is leading and being transparent and truthful here with all of you...here goes nothing!

All my life, I've been concerned with making sure I live up to other people's expectations. I've always been a bit of a perfectionist and a people pleaser, and I've never really been one to rock the boat.

I worked hard to be the best I could be at just about everything I did (cleaning isn't one of the things on that list, just in case you were wondering!). 
I worked hard in school K through 12 and was always at the top of my class. 
I strove to be the best cheerleader I could be and ended up with a state championship ring and my name on a banner in the gym. 
I held it all together when my brother died because that was what was expected of me. 
I try my best to make sure my kids grow up right, that they're respectful and honest and trustworthy. 
I went into physics in college mostly because other people told me I could do it, and ended up a senior fellow in the department before I graduated. 
I went off to grad school with a plan all laid out.

I am a
daughter
sister
wife
mother
friend
student.

I answer to titles and fill roles
...but somewhere along the way, I lost who I am.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change the titles (except maybe student. I've had that one just about long enough and am more than ready to get rid of it). They are all very much a part of who I am.

The thing is, there's also a dreamer and a world-changer who have faded into the background. There's a writer who has slowly struggled and fought to reach the surface and gets to step out every once in a while, but not often enough.

More importantly than all of those, though, is the daughter of the King who has somehow forgotten she holds that title.

She used to carry herself with grace and poise because she knew who her Father was and she had daily conversations with Him. She would sit at His feet and revel in hearing His words, in getting to know more about Him--in just being with Him.

She could shrug off hurts and fears because she knew they didn't matter in the view of eternity. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, she could laugh at the days to come.

She was joyful and bright and giving and optimistic--maybe a bit of a Pollyanna.

Somewhere, she got a bit lost. She became a bit of a pessimist and lost some of her shine. Her grace and poise became unsure timidity. She started counting up all the ways things could possibly go wrong in the future, to say nothing of the present. She started questioning herself, making decisions based on what other people would think.

And it all started because she stopped spending time at her Father's feet.

She got busy filling all the other roles in her life, so her times with Him got shorter.

At first she would stop by for a quick chat each day...
then most days...
then she would pop her head in every once in a while to say, "I'm sorry I don't have time to talk today. I'll come see You when I have the time"...
then, eventually, even those stolen seconds disappeared.

And in the chaos that was life, she didn't even notice.
I didn't even notice.

Not until I was suddenly overwhelmed by the realization that I didn't--don't--have any idea who I am anymore. That I've spent so much time worrying and fussing and trying to fit that I've lost what's really important.

So now I find myself falling humbly before my Father, asking Him why in the world He stuck around so patiently, why He waited for His wayward daughter to finally realize that she had lost herself.

I beg His forgiveness for ignoring Him, tears streaming down my face. I admit that I have fallen apart, that I've spent too much time trying to be who I'm expected to be to know who I'm supposed to be.

And my Father, my King, lifts my face and wipes my tears. He tells me that He knows, that He's been waiting patiently for me to come to my senses and come back to Him. He whispers that He has plans for me, that He knows just who I am supposed to be--even though I don't have a clue. He tells me to stay close to Him, to sit once again at His feet, to listen so He can tell me who I am--
               by revealing who He is in me.

Maybe you're like me. Maybe you've gotten so caught up in the busy-ness of life that you've stopped spending time at your Father's feet and as a result have forgotten who you are--a child of the King, one chosen for a purpose. 

And He has a dream for you.