Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
One day gushes the news to the next,
and one night informs another what needs to be known.
Of course, there’s no speech, no words—
their voices can’t be heard—
but their sound extends throughout the world;
their words reach the ends of the earth.
Do you ever just look up at the sky and feel amazed? Maybe it’s the stars at night, or a perfect sunset, or a clear blue sky all the way to the horizon. And have you seen the pictures of other planets and galaxies, brought to us by the diligence and creativity of astronomers? The marvels of the heavens we can see with our own eyes are multiplied and magnified by telescopes. Whether we look with our own eyes or see through a telescope, the wonder of the universe is an announcement of God’s creative handiwork.
So much of science is discovery that reveals how truly incredible God’s work really is. The way ecosystems work in balance between plants and animals? Amazing! The way sound waves can create images of the inside of a human body? Incredible! The way cross-breeding plants can create sturdier or better-producing crops? Fantastic! The way vaccines can be developed to prevent disease? Wonderful! In all these and more ways, science can tell us about an incredible world designed by an incredible God.
Science and faith can and often do coexist harmoniously. At times, science and religion have had a somewhat strained relationship, though they do not need to. Science and religion are not rivals, but rather more like coworkers. They have different jobs, asking different questions and offering different answers.
Science primarily asks the question: how does this work? How do stars shine, how do plants grow, how does a virus work, how old is the planet? Science answers these questions well. Science is a gift from God, helping us to understand how God’s world works. Faith asks different questions. Who am I? What is God doing? What is right and wrong? Who is my neighbor? Faith gives us hope for eternity and guidance for each day.
What’s wonderful about faith and science each having their own questions to answer is that those questions can then work together. When science tells us about the structure of an atom, faith marvels at the God who gave life to such an intricate universe. When faith tells us that human lives are valuable, and science tells us how vaccines protect life, then together those answers can guide our actions. These questions and answers are not at odds with each other, but rather partners in guiding us in our lives as individuals and communities. If they ever feel like they are at odds, it is probably because one is trying to answer a question that should be asked of the other.
And so thanks be to God for the gift of questions and answers, for the gift of thoughtful scientists and faithful religious leaders, for the gift of wonder at God’s creation. May we truly appreciate and use these gifts God has given us.
God, I am in awe of your magnificent creation, from the heavens to the human heart, from ocean waves to microwaves. I am in awe of your glory, your grace, and your love for me. Keep me always in faith and hope. Amen.