(My thanks to Mike Parsons for some of these ideas)
Must science and religion be inimical to one another? By no means. I think it is feasible to speak of each as having a specific role and addressing very specific questions that the other does not. To clarify, on the topic of creation . . .
Science can answer the question how and how long.
Religion can answer the question who and why.
Not everyone will be happy with this propsal. That’s fine. I don’t intend for it to be all inclusive or cover all the bases. It does, however, seem to have some potential.
It is interesting to look, then, at what arises when the roles and questions become confused.
When religion attempts to answer the how and how long:
“Heaven and earth, centre and circumference, were created all together, in the same instant, and clouds full of water,” and that “this work took place and man was created by the Trinity on October 23, 4004 B.C., at nine o’clock in the morning.”
Dr. John Lightfoot, Hebrew scholar
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, 1644
When science attempts to answer the who and the why:
“The cosmos is all that is, and all that ever was, and all that ever will be” and “we are snowflakes on the hearth.”
Carl Sagan, scientist
Neither of these statements is terribly persuasive, in my estimation. The questions and roles have been confused. This can lead to obvious difficulties.
To close, I would like to cite three specific prominent scientists on the matter of creation and science. These sum up quite nicely the distinctiveness as well as the possible synergy between science and religion:
“The probability of life originating from accient is comparable to the probability of the unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in a print shop.”
Edwin Conklin, Biologist
“Believing the first cell in the universe originated by mere chance is like believing a tornado ripping through a junkyard full of airplane parts could produce a Boeing 747.”
Fred Hoyle, astronomer
AND my favorite quotation . . .
“Faith gives life to my discipline. I have someone to thank when I admire beauty in nature–and I do admire it, even when I know how it works (such as a beautiful sunset, an eclipse, or a rainbow). In scientific research I feel I get a chance to think some of God’s thoughts after Him . . .”
Dr. Greg Benesh, physicist, Baylor University
This final quotation is truly a beautiful way to put it.
Thoughts, reflections, reactions?