Galileo and the Harmony of Faith and Science

Anxious Bench | 2/19/2019 | Staff
katz1234katz1234 (Posted by) Level 3
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On Saturday we took our kids to one of their favorite places: the Minnesota Science Museum. For five hours they learned about science through music, nature, sports, and even video games. Well, that last exhibit — brand new, and instantly popular with 9-year olds and 39-year olds alike — may have been pushing it. But right before they explored the, ahem, science of Sonic the Hedgehog, our kids watched a live demonstration dedicated to walking them through the principles of the scientific method. They thought about hypothesis, experimentation, modeling, and demonstration.

Most importantly, they learned that science begins with questions.

Truth - Scientists - Christians - Kids - Science

That’s not a truth that has always endeared curious scientists to nervous Christians, but I’m glad that our kids get to think about science not only in museums and school, but at our church.

We got a preview of how that happens in a recent adult class taught by our associate pastor (like my wife, a biology major in college). Sara walked us through the science and faith curriculum used with 9th grade Confirmation students. Do faith and science have to be in tension?, confirmands are asked. Not necessarily, she said: both seek after answers… but to different questions, using different sources.

Sara - Fields - Biology - Chemistry - Physics

For Sara, fields like biology, chemistry, physics, and geology (and history, I wondered) are wonderful at answering what, when, where, who, and how questions, while faith helps us wrestle with a question that is beyond the reach of the scientific method: why? Or perhaps, what does it mean? Answers to that kind of question can be found in reflection on Scripture, while those posed by science require another God-given text: the “book of nature.”

It’s a familiar resolution to the problem, one that I teach when we come to the Scientific Revolution week in our Christianity and Western Culture course. Students discuss a...
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