Opinion: Faith and science do not have to be separate

The “battle royale” between science and religion is needlessly being forced upon society by factions that have something to gain from the struggle. The Scopes Monkey Trial was a political and public relations explosion where newspapers and agitators managed to gain fame and funding by pitting religion and science against each other.

To this day, the evolutionism versus creationism struggle continues to create division which people, such as Bill Nye and Ken Ham, capitalize on to increase their own fame and to advance their ideology. These people are further enticed to try to gather more notoriety when large media outlets such as CNN agree to participate and promote the event.

However, these petty debates do bring an important pair of questions to the surface. First, what is the role of science and spirituality in the foundations of life? Second, are spiritual and scientific viewpoints compatible with each other?

The two-sided events help perpetuate the thought that there are only two sides to the issue of the origin of life. One is either an evolutionist or a creationist and there is no other stance on the issue.

Is it not possible to believe that God created life and also created a mechanism of sustaining God’s creation in the form of changes in allele frequency over time? I believe that God created the universe and designed it with many mechanisms that help keep it running.

Readily recognized mechanisms include the body’s organ systems that function together in tandem to keep the body functioning, the citric acid cycle that supplies energy to our cells, the water cycle that keeps the earth filled with the vital molecule for sustaining life and the list goes on and on. God created a world filled with mechanisms and evolution is just another such mechanism that keeps creation moving along.

For many within the church, just the utterance of the word “evolution” stirs up emotions and anxiety. I encourage all Christians to take the leap of faith, ignore the negative feelings and discover what God has created within this world through the eyes of a scientist. The psalmist said, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

Each time I step into the lab, I see the work of God’s fingers in each cell I look at. There is so much to discover in this world and the creation of humans is just one part. I do not know the full extent of how God created humans, but I do know that God decided to bridge the relational gap spiritually between God’s creation in humanity and Godself through the coming of Jesus Christ.

I personally think that God uses evolution and its supporting mechanisms to further God’s physical creations here on earth. The complexity of evolution is another sign of a beautifully complex, yet functioning system here on earth that will help creation continue to thrive. The evolution/creationism debate will not go away, but I hope that as Christians we can learn to see God in everything, including evolution.

This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily represent the views of Calvin Chimes, Calvin College or the Christian Reformed Church.