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Scientific discovery requires a dedicated thorough process. An idea, or a theory, is formulated. Questions are asked. Through a series of experiments, we search for answers and find meaning, purpose and value. The Scientific Method can be a wonderful tool of discovery. It is the exploration of the unknown, known or maybe the previously known. Science develops conclusions from facts, data and evidence. Tests are done to prove or disprove theories. Science can help prove something exists.
Take a drive down memory lane with me. The scientific world was all a flutter post World War 2. I wonder if one day in the future we might name this time period a mini ‘Scientific Age.’ Space exploration, nuclear power and the theory of relativity ignited the scientific world and stoked the flames of human desire for discovery. The Soviet Union launched the first man into space in 1961. President Kennedy responded by saying, "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” The Moon Race was on!
I was born in 1966. The twentieth century Scientific Age influenced my generation greatly. Science was part of our DNA. The whole world was awash in colorful ideologies of discovery like free love, drug experimentation, Civil Rights and the threat of communism to mention a few. The word revolution was used. John Lennon wrote a song. Evidently a rock band could easily influence the world with a crazy guitar riff and some very challenging lyrics. Funny thing about a revolution I learned from a science teacher. She noted, "A perfect revolution of a wheel will take you right back where you started."
The Scientific Age of the twentieth century influenced the church in very complex ways. I found an interesting article from Religion News Service this week about the 60 year decline of religion here: https://religionnews.com/2014/01/27/great-decline-religion-united-states-one-graph/. Church leaders wonder where everyone is on Sunday mornings and why people don’t attend church anymore. The decline didn’t happen over night. Maybe you’re familiar with the term ‘post Christian.’ Google the term. Familiarize yourself with it. I’m pretty sure we currently live in the ‘POST” era: postmodern, post Christian, post Scientific Revolution.
Maybe my science teacher friend was onto something. Maybe the revolution did take place. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we wound up right where we started?
Can we reconcile science and faith? Certainly. I believe God intended for humanity to explore the intricacies of the created order from the very beginning. Read through Genesis 1. Discover the great progression for yourself. The piece de resistance is Genesis 1:28. God gave the command and waits with an expectation. The Imago Dei would do something with what God created. Challenge yourself to consider what God says:
1. Be fruitful—have something to show for your work.
2. Increase in number—become many or great, diversify, multiply.
3. Fill the earth— accomplish, dedicate, endow.
4. Subdue—kabash when things get wild and out of control.
5. Rule—a royal decree: you’re in charge.
Consider the themes represented in this passage as you consider the expansive themes throughout the bible. Fruitfulness, become great—do greater things, accomplishment—disciple making and church influence, kabash wildness and wild living and rule with royal responsibility as you become part of the royal priesthood. Imago Dei, you’re the steward and you’re in charge.
Join me at our Naperville campus Sunday as I offer a response to the question: can we reconcile science and faith? You may want to attend worship at our Oswego campus to hear Pastor Derek’s last message with us. There will be a Summer Picnic meal at the Oswego campus following worship. Bring a dish to pass. Visit with Pastor Derek and his lovely wife Breann. Join family and friends as we celebrate Derek’s contribution to Wheatland's ministry.
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. Genesis 1:27-28 NRSV