Chris Ellis

I grew up with a worldview that was skeptical of science. I was (unintentionally?) taught that science and faith were in opposition. Science was the real enemy because they sought to disprove the existence of God and undermine faith because they didn’t take the Bible literally.  One could either believe in science or the Bible, but not both. I even remember going to a conference that spent 3 days debunking Evolution and teaching a 7 day literal interpretation of the Genesis creation accounts. I then remember my religious smugness while thinking my 8th grade science teacher had it all wrong and I had it all right. It wasn’t till I was in college that those patterns (and chains) of thinking began to be broken, and I knew I could no longer discount science because of the “godless scientists” who didn’t believe in a literal interpretation of  Genesis.  It wasn’t really until after seminary that I found a way to integrate what many call the Book of Nature and the Book of Faith. Each asks a separate set of questions that Christians must reckon with if we claim to be seekers of the Truth. 

Integrating The Book of Nature and the Book of Faith has been the task of our Wednesday night series, Science and Faith. We’ve been struggling with questions like:

  1. What happened in our universe during the first 3 minutes after the Big Bang? Did something come from nothing? Or, is it better to look at the creation of the universe as a Big Bounce? What might those theories say about God?

  2. Does natural selection/evolution say anything about God or how God might choose to interact with the world? Why is there tension between Evolution and creation?  What made God interact with humans differently than other parts of creation?

  3. Would finding other intelligent species make humanity less significant? Or, does being alone make us less significant? How might aliens interact with God? Would they be considered fallen? Would God need to incarnate into their own world and suffer death again?

  4. How should humans interact with Artificial Intelligence? Will machines ever have self awareness, and if so, does that mean they have a soul?  Fee will? Should they have some form of “human rights”?

  5. How much technology integrated with the human body is too much? At its very essence, what does it mean to be human? If you could separate your mind from your body, would you cease to be human?

  6. For our upcoming cosmology session, we’ll stargaze and tell the story of the cosmos and contemplate trillions of planets in billions of galaxies – more planets than there are grains of sands on the Earth.

  7. For our upcoming Quantum Mechanics session, we’ll examine the ways Newtonian Physics completely breaks down at the Quantum level and what that means for the oneness of our world. And, we’ll ask what that might say about the way God interacts with the world?

I wish someone would have told my younger self that science can’t prove or disprove my faith. Science can merely say that nature is “consistent” or “isn’t consistent” with a particular view or understanding of God. It’s then up to people of faith to discern how to interpret both the consistencies and inconsistencies. And, if we’re to truly listen and hold in tension the Book of Nature with the Book of Scripture, it will force us to continually process the God who not only created the world yesterday, but sustains it today and will sustain it tomorrow.  As you can imagine, we’ve had some mind bending, and might I dare say even holy, moments of conversation. The more I contemplate the intersection of science and faith the deeper my questions about life and God become- and that’s a good thing. It’s good because it requires that I move closer to the Truth and as I move, I find myself transformed. 

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