27 April 2020 devotional

John 4:45–54; Acts 7:47–60; Hebrews 11:1–16 (read online ⧉)

“What is life? How does it begin? Are we alone?

These are some of the questions we ask in our quest to learn about and share the wonders of the universe.”

From the About us section of the SETI Institute website

SETI (the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) Institute searches the universe for signs and proofs that we are not the sole planet containing intelligent life. They work with scientists, other scientific organizations, government agencies to analyze the heavens above to answer questions for which humanity has since the beginning sought answers, such as, why are we here, and how did it all begin?

In history books, we are taught to despise the Roman Catholic church for its ex-communication of Galileo, notwithstanding that there was more at stake than just whether the sun or the earth was at the center of the solar system (actually, both argued for Creation). In the Church of the Nazarene, there is still a theological debate between those that believe in a literal 7 day Creation and those that believe the 7 days are figurative.

Proof of God’s existence for some is impossible, for no matter what you say they will not believe. For others, proving God exists is simple when one watches the sunrise or a bumblebee fly.

Proof is often requested. That’s no surprise. It was demanded of Jesus that he prove his validity. Miracles and teachings should have been sufficient, but it wasn’t. Even those that were, supposedly, of the same faith challenged him. They didn’t believe what was right in front of them.

The story of Israel includes casting out, beating, and even killing prophets sent by God. Israel would raise up and support and follow those that opposed the prophets of God. The prophets were not all highly educated. They weren’t always from influential families. There is some question if anything “qualified” them to be a prophet of God. That’s the human perspective. The one who called, also qualified…God.

We are at a time when science appears to reign supreme. Culturally, it does. Often it was because religion vilified what it feared or did not understand. Honestly, just as science does today in regards to religion. Often, we are called to defend our faith with “proof”. No scientific proof will likely prove to an atheistic scientist that God exists. It will be something that we will be wrestling with for generations to come.

It comes down to the question being asked. Science asks what and how (in a systemic sense). Religion asks about why and how (in a motivational sense). Often times things seem to be in conflict, however, the reality is (as Christopher Stasheff once wrote) that any conflict between science and religion is either a science believer who doesn’t understand religion or a religious person who doesn’t understand science.

This is an incredibly volatile time. There are far too many people full of fear and ignorance, and too little deep information out there. What there is are people who take the pieces they do have and weave something together that fits for them. Often, though, the result ends up having an unexpected growth beyond anticipation that increases blind fear resulting in the wrong action in response.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have given us minds that seek to understand you and your Creation. Help us balance these views that often seem to be in conflict so that we can live out the life that your son, Jesus, has called us to. Holy Spirit, guide us into all truth as Jesus said you would. Amen.

Questions

1) Do you tend more to the science side or the faith side? (There is no wrong answer)

2) Do you struggle to balance science with faith? How about others you know?

3) What is the great science revelation you can think of? What is the greatest faith revelation you can think of? Do these conflict?

Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at