12 February 2009

A Reflection on Faith and Science on Darwin's Birthday

Celebrate the Eucharist, then give some of the consecrated elements to a scientist. They will tell you that there is nothing there, save bread and wine. Yet we believe that Christ is truly present. We do not rely on science to prove it; we accept it on faith.  

Take a human being, then give him over to a scientist with a goal of finding a soul. They will look at you puzzled, do what they need to do, and will determine that the individual has a physical body and a mind that works it and comprehends the world around it. They will not find a soul. Yet we believe that the soul is a reality. We do not rely on science to prove it; we accept it on faith.  

Take the story of Joshua stopping the Sun and Moon in its tracks, and give it to a scientist. They will ask you if you are just trying to get them to parrot that e-mail from a few years back that said that NASA proved it occured when, in fact, they had not. They will then do a bit of research and will let you know that if it had happened, we'd all be dead due to tidal forces and gravitational issues. They will declare it impossible. Yet we believe that it happened. We do not rely on science to prove it; we accept it on faith.  

Go back even further to the Exodus. Give the basic parameters to a scientist. They will spend forever trying to determine where it happened, will proclaim that -if it happened at all- it was a crossing of a shallow lake, and they will go on to tell you all kinds of things about how Israel wasn't in Egypt, that there weren't enough Israelites to make the kind of journey the story tells, etc. They will declare it either improbable or impossible. Yet we believe that it happened. We do not rely on science to prove it; we accept it on faith.  

How about the Tower of Babel. Take it to a scientist. They'll tell you that the societies of the earth split apart far too long ago for the Tower of Babel to account for the world's many and varied cultures and ethnicities. Yet we believe that it happened. We do not rely on science to prove it; we accept it on faith.  

Yet again, the Flood. It was, at best, a local flood... that's what most scientists will tell you, because they contend that there isn't enough water on the earth to result in a flood of the magnitude that the Bible describes. They will declare a global flood impossible. Yet we believe that it happened. We do not rely on science to prove it; we accept it on faith.  

So why is it that we can accept all these things on faith, but when it comes to the age of the earth, we have to compromise with modern scientific theories that have changed again and again over hundreds of years. If we cannot accept the Creation account on faith, than we must disregard every other belief we hold fast to until we have concrete proof...  

And yet, even if we had proof of creation, many would still not believe. 
Even if we had proof of a global flood, many would still not believe. 
Even if we had proof of the Tower at Babel, many would still not believe. 
Even if we had proof of the Sun and Moon standing still, many would still not believe. 
Even if we had proof of the existence of a soul, many would still not believe. 
And yes, even if we had proof of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, many would still not believe.

1 comments:

John Roop February 13, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

Father Rob+,

Your timely reflection reminded me of a passage I recently read in "The Mountain of Silence," by Kyriacos Markides. The Abbot, Father Maximos, who was introducing Markides to the Athonite mystical tradition, noted that all scientists use the tools appropriate to their respective disciplines: astronomers use telescopes of various sorts, but not stethoscopes; biologists use microscopes, but not particle accelerators, and so on. Those wishing to explore the realm of the Spirit must likewise use the appropriate tools: prayer, fasting, Scripture, liturgy, faith -- and not the tools of science. The saints are the true scientists of the Spirit and their witness -- based upon the evidence of their lives -- supports our faith.

Peace of Christ,

John

All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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