By Matt Keppel
Have you ever walked outside at night and looked up at the sky? I’m not talking about the night sky in Boston, or LA, or any other city. When you walk outside in the middle of wilderness, the very middle of nowhere, look up at the sky. There is something absolutely spectacular about the Universe. Sometimes when I do it, I feel so disconnected. My very being feels as if it is being swallowed up by its vastness. It’s so huge, and me, well I am left to wonder at what is before me.
If you have never taken a meaningful science class past high school, then I highly encourage you to take the time to brush up on your perspective of the world. Of course, I can hear the complaints now: “Oh, physics is just too complicated to understand,” “I don’t care about what’s going on in science,” or “Christians don’t really need sciences to lead good lives.” I beg to differ on all accounts!
Granted, these sciences and their mathematical principles can become complex and cumbersome, but take some time with the theories themselves. In essence, they are built upon logic formulas pioneered thousands of years ago. And, while our perceptions may change, and what drives the logic is better understood (we are pretty certain that flies are not derived from spoiled meat) the basics never change.
I get it, this whole complex world of formulae and theories is distant: a world comprised of nerds arguing over minutia of details. However, like the good Catholic I am, let me strike a little fear into you; a reason to care, if you will. Are you aware how close we were to being hit by a solar storm in 2012? This wasn’t just something to mess with your cell phones, either, but a storm that could have fried the world’s electronics! No more Interweb kitties after that one!
So, as Christians, why else should we care? Well, do you remember that whole logic principle thing? Those principles were developed at a time when people were trying to understand the world better. It was a time when discovering the natural world was synonymous with understanding the gods, which eventually became, more clearly, the search for God as we know it. From Heraclitus to Aristotle, Augustine to Nicolaus Copernicus, and Gregor Mendel to Teilhard de Chardin, each one made an indelible mark in their quest to know the world and, in that way, God. Let’s face it folks, that search never ends. If we are to believe that God created the world, then, like knowing an artist through his works, we too have the ability to uncover pieces of God through God’s own work. The sciences are much more than vain attempts at glory, but instead are another way to plumb the depths of God’s utter mystery beholden before us.