Traveler’s Aid at JFK
Science & Religion News 6 (Summer 1995): 9
Since science seems to explain most if not everything, how can we understand the workings of God? How might God work so that God doesn’t compete with science?
When I was 14, I thought I could answer life’s questions. Then I read this in my church newsletter:
The sun rises in the morning because otherwise we would sleep too long and wouldn’t finish our work. The Divine designed it that way because we need to work.
Something’s fishy here, I thought. I had learned in school that the sun rises because of the spin of the earth. “Well,” my inner voice said, “maybe God made the earth to spin because we need to work.” This, I felt, was far fetched. I believed that God had made the heavens, the earth, and all in it including us through the process of evolution. Did this mean that God nudged the evolution of the sun and earth with our need to work in mind? I didn’t think God would nudge for such a relatively trivial matter. God didn’t design the sun and earth to fill our needs; rather, we evolved to sleep and work on a planet whose sun rises and sets every 24 hours.
So, how does God act? We call upon science to explain most everything and it can explain a lot and perhaps a lot more. How does the Divine act when science seems to explain most if not everything?
We could say the Divine brings everything into existence both at the big bang and throughout time. The sun rises in the morning because of the physical properties of it and the earth and the interactions between them. The carrying out of these properties in the ways that physics describes is the Divine at work. Science describes how God works. This understanding of how the Divine interacts with the universe sits comfortably with the findings of science, in comparison with what the church newsletter said about the rising of the sun. No confrontation will ensue because whatever science finds, that is how God acts.
I first came to the
A woman behind us in the line for the phone asked where we
were headed. My wife told her. “Would you like a ride?” she asked. She and her
husband were going to
Perhaps the rescuers’ phone rang and God told them to meet us. Or perhaps the divine planner had influenced events from way back so their plane landed just after ours and they had to use the pay phone to find out the condition of their daughter who just happened to contract tuberculosis two hours before.
This can’t happen if we take science seriously. If a plane
These questions sit high on the agenda of those who think about how scientific and spiritual thought relate to one another. The answer, I think, lies in how we further understand what or who God is.
Copyright © 1995 by Kevin Sharpe.