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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Science, Religion, and Easter

I have spent the better part of my theological career dealing with "science." Ever since my days at seminary working for the Chicago Center for Science and Religion to recent work on conservation issues with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, I have found science, particularly as it relates to biology and ecology, to be very helpful in understanding the Bible. A recent book by a friend, William P. Brown, entitled "The Seven Pillars of Creation" got me to thinking about science and the Bible once again. And then Easter appeared on the calendar...

Easter is where the Christian religion and science often stop dating...it is the event in which both sides call off the romance, and decide to look for more compatible partners...Easter, you see, flies in the face of science. Easter proposes that the immutable law of death can be bypassed by the power of God...in other words, Jesus got up. Now, if the Christian religion would admit that Jesus wasn't really dead, or that some other shenanigan occurred back then, well, maybe science would go out for pizza one more time...but Christians tend not to relent on this issue. He was dead. He rose, and now he's not dead. And science shakes its head...

Basically, for those who believe in the resurrection of the dead, we go it alone...science, various other religions, and people of a more empirical bent, wish us bon voyage...(and sometimes good riddance!) What makes the Christian religion even more suspect is that not only did Jesus' resurrection controvert the law of science, but in the future that law will be broken for everyone who participates in God through Christ Jesus...that often becomes too much for the scientific mind to bear...So as Christians we walk this valley of the shadow of death, not because we understand death, but because we trust God to bring life again on the other side.

I know many scientists who are Christian, but that is precisely because at this point (Easter) they relinquish their science...and I know many scientists who are not Christian because they will not relinquish science...So Easter is an important day for both scientists and religious people because it tells us where we differ, and gives us a place to start our conversations...right in front of an empty tomb with the question being: "How--exactly--did it get that way?" Happy Easter!

2 comments:

Diane said...

Hi Scott, very VERY well written and explained. Have a blessed Easter!

dakotapastor said...

Perhaps some common ground might be found when one considers that the resurrection was confirmed by eyewitnesses. For what is science if not the observation of things which actually take place? We might not be able to explain exactly how the resurrection took place, apart from the power of God, but the fact of the resurrection is rooted, not in a pious hope or a myth, but in the eyewitness testimony of those who ate and drank with Jesus after he rose from the dead.