11th November 2013

Science and Theology: Different Keys

“But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”
1 Corinthians 2:10 (NIV)
 

Galileo Galilei once wrote that: “The universe cannot be read until we have learnt the language and become familiar with the characters in which it is written. It is written in mathematical language…without which means it is humanly impossible to comprehend a single word.” The language of mathematics has developed considerably since his time and the sentiment expressed is even more relevant today. Paul Dirac, probably Britain’s greatest theoretical physicist since Sir Isaac Newton,  and who was honoured with a memorial plaque in Westminster Abbey, derived an equation which combined quantum theory with special relativity. This equation (inscribed on the memorial plaque) was also found to predict the existence of anti-matter, a previously unknown phenomenon. It was several years later that the first experimental evidence of antimatter was obtained. Such is the power of mathematics not only to describe but to predict the properties of the physical universe. Although the physical world often proves counter-intuitive and radically different from our prior expectation, the key to unlocking its physical secrets has been found to be the abstract subject of mathematics. A balanced approach is necessary, however, when discussing theoretical physics and mathematics; theory needs to be anchored to reality by experimental verification, as was the case with Dirac’s predictions. The further apart theory is from verification the closer it becomes to mere speculation. Experiment seeks to confirm or discount theory, and theory seeks to interpret experiment. 

God has created a physical world that is deeply intelligible and open to human beings, made in the image of God, who are capable of rational enquiry. This makes science possible. As Albert Einstein once said, “The only incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.” Theology leaves the how question of creation to human endeavour through science. 

The key to understanding spiritual matters is not to have a mind that deeply understands mathematics, but to have God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13), and who enables our minds to understand spiritual realities and what God reveals in the Bible, particularly about himself. True knowledge of God comes only from God. As the Bible states,”…no-one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1Corinthians 2:11). “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1Corinthians 2:14). The most fertile ground to receive God’s revelation is a humble attitude that is willing to listen to and accept his word. 

No mathematical equation will reveal that God loves and cares for us, and that we are here because we are meant to be here in the presence of God who created us and redeemed us. This comes only through the Spirit by revelation. 

Prayer
Father, we thank you for your extravagant generosity in creating this universe and for the gift of your Holy Spirit who is the key to understanding the mystery of the Who and Why of creation.
Amen
 

Study by Eddie Marsh

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eddiemarshAbout the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, Grace Communion, Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion, Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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Comments

One Response to “11th November 2013”

  1. John Magowan on November 11th, 2013 11:12 am

    Interesting material today for people with a scientific mind Eddie, but you kind-of lost me with all that scientific jargon. Your last two paragraphs were excellent and which were designed to focus our attention back to God who holds the secret things of life and matter. Day by Day studies need to be kept simple and readable for the majority of us to digest. Your previous studies have been most enjoyable…so thank you and keep up the good work!

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