The goal of this blog is to share my own thoughts and matters that I find edifying or intriguing as I am venturing through my faith and academic journeys. For words and works that aren’t mine, I will be sure to include references and links to the original content. Featured within the blog are some of my art and photography pieces as well as those of my dear friends. I do not claim to be an expert of anything; I am simply a wanderer and seeker of Truth who possesses many weaknesses.
A Seeming Paradox
Someone recently asked me, “How do you reconcile between being a Christian and a scientist surrounded by scientists who don’t believe in God everyday?” Honestly, I didn’t think that anyone would ever ask me this question in such a direct manner. I was somewhat puzzled and, for a brief second, I thought I got lost in searching for the answer. Was I supposed to find the answer in my mind or my heart? Was I supposed to answer as a scientist or as a Christian? Or both? What a confusing moment!
After the few seconds of confusion, I answered what was in my heart and mind. I answered as a scientist and a Christian. I answered the truth that lived in me and the hope that enabled me to be a scientist who is also Christian. I said something along these lines:
I believe that God created the world. He created nature and everything in it including humans. As a scientist, I study how the human body works. All I am doing is study what God already created and try to understand how He made it and how it functions. I find it both amazing and wonderful. There is an intricate design and machinery that makes the body function as it does. The cellular processes that go on inside each cell are beyond amazing. The organization itself is simply fascinating. These are mysteries that reveal the power of God to me.
In my personal experience, being surrounded by scientists who don’t share the same beliefs as I do has not been a hindrance for me in the past. In fact, my colleagues respect my faith. They know what it is; I do not hide it because I am not ashamed of it.
A Fallen Being Seeking What is Beyond
Yet, prior to this moment in my career as a scientist I had found it very challenging sometimes to believe in God. If He existed, then does He care about me? If He cares about me, then why doesn’t He show it? If He shows it, then why cannot I see it? Isn’t He able to make me see that He exists and reveal Himself to me in a powerful way?
Wait a second…
Realistically, my questions had nothing to do with me being a scientist! They had everything to do with me being a fallen and sinful human. Science seeks to understand God’s creation and how it works: to uncover the secrets of nature. Within science, whether evolution is true or not is not actually related to my belief in God and being a Christian. Evolution is a scientific theory, which requires observations, testing, and collection of evidence. It is not the answer to why there is existence. It is also not in opposition to the truth that God is. (yes, this was the end of the sentence)! God simply is. Yet, He is not simple for us to understand or comprehend by our human minds. Our minds might ask “why does God exit?”, “how did God become in existence”, “when did God start existing?”, and “where did God come from?” Don’t expect an answer from me about this questions. I don’t know.
Let me go back to elaborate more on me being a fallen and sinful human being…
God is the Source of Life. With Him, there is life. Separation from Him is death. Sin entered into the world when humans chose not to be with the Source of Life. Basically, we chose death over life. In death, which is sin, we become eager to find something that resembles life again – because we were originally made to experience life or to be alive. Our sins, which may provide temporary relief from the pain of this fallen world, become our masters. Then, we want them more and always, because there is no satisfaction. The further we dive into sin with open arms, the further away our hearts move from God, who is life. Despite our own choice to separate ourselves from God, we begin to blame Him for our pain and suffering that we inflict on ourselves from our own bad choices and the emptiness inside – the death inside. If our hearts never become softened, we continue to be stubborn and refuse to accept any healing from God. Our suffering becomes compounded: external pain and internal pain. We become completely blind to God’s mercies and His love and then ask “Where is He?” and “Does He even exist?”. My point here is that we choose to refuse God’s existence because of our own false expectations of Him based on our own desires. If He doesn’t fit a certain description, then He is not God or doesn’t exist.
To connect it all together, science and Christianity are not at opposition. The real conflict between science and Christianity is within a person, within their heart and mind. A person can choose to cling to the Source of Life or not to cling to Him. If there is a God who is the ultimate Creator, why is it OK for those whom He created to fully understand Him and His Creation in order for them to believe in Him? If we aren’t meant to fully understand Him, then can we call Him a dictator? If we do, then we are simply judging Him and not actually denying His existence. We would be refusing to believe in something we have already confessed to be true. Then, can we say that He doesn’t exist because we don’t understand Him? If we say that, then we are actually saying that a created thing is supposed to be smarter and more perceptive than its creator. We would be demanding a right that is not ours. Moreover, this would be a denial of what is true based on our own limited understanding of reality. Looking through a peephole and seeing one figure is not the same as entering a room and seeing the whole place. Just because we don’t see what is behind the door doesn’t mean that the whole room doesn’t exist. In fact, we have faith that despite our limited vision, a large room exists behind the door. This is the same with God, just because we can see some things with our limited eyes and understand certain things with our limited brains doesn’t mean that other things beyond our scope of vision and understanding don’t also exist. We simply have to believe that He is there and incomprehensible.
Science and Orthodox Christianity
I have found that within Orthodox Christianity there are things we call Mysteries, such as Holy Communion and Repentance and Confession. I will not pretend to understand them all, but I will confess that I have experienced these Mysteries and their indescribable role in my life. This experience is that of longing – longing to be closer to God through the mystical life of the Church. When we come close to the Bread of Life in the church, we are stepping closer to God – we taste the bliss of life. Then, within Orthodoxy, I have come to gain a new appreciation towards science. This appreciation is beyond my fascinating with the created world. I have realized that we naturally have a desire to understand our world and how it works and how we can manipulate it. I started asking the question of why we do this…and I don’t have a full answer, but I have made speculations. I think that we gravitate towards knowledge because God is all knowledge – He has all knowledge and all knowledge is contained within Him. He knows the past, the present, and the future. Since He made us to be alive and live through Him, we must return to our original place where we find our meeting place with Him. So we essentially are seeking God in our pursuit of knowledge, even if we don’t know it yet.