[su_note note_color=”#d5d5d5″ text_color=”#91201f”]The following is the Letter from the Editor for Volume 4, Issue 9 of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine: “Because SCIENCE.” You can subscribe to Christ and Pop Culture Magazine by becoming a member and you’ll receive a host of other benefits as well.[/su_note]
Hang around a child for any length of time, and the questions will come. The who-what-where-when-why-how will drain you of answers and energy, but the curiosity of that young mind will keep on.
We are born curious, hardwired for discovery. No one sat us down as kids and told us to ask questions, but soon after gaining some language skills, the inquiries began to spill out. And depending on our nature/nurture mix, at some point we decide how to handle the unknowns in this world. Some are set upon the path of discovery and wonder, while others send their questions about the unknown underground.Science is one pursuit where the curious gather to pursue answers to those unknowns.
Science is one pursuit where the curious gather to pursue answers to those unknowns. The discipline welcomes those willing to test theories, question the status quo, and consider the impossible. Its seeming boundlessness has made plenty of people suspicious throughout history—especially those of the faith.
It seems the certitude of the faith-filled is at odds with the wonder-laden curiosity of the scientist. But shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t the scientist, in pursuit of solid answers, be the stoic ones? And shouldn’t the faith-filled one, secure in the One, be the wonder-laden?
In this issue of the Christ and Pop Culture Magazine, we look to ways that faith and science complement and enhance one another. Allison Barron’s “Playing God Till You Run out of Cake” skillfully weaves together video gaming (the Portal worlds), anime (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood), and TV (Dollhouse) to demonstrate that:
“God created us with minds that have this tendency to dream, adapt, and create (we just keep on trying till we run out of cake, as GLaDOS would say). We’re constantly pushing for new discoveries and knowledge. In fact, on average, the sum total of human knowledge doubles every year.
“I understand the draw of wanting to know how something works and, even more, the desire to create and manipulate (hence my obsession with writing and video games).
“My concern is when that desire for power goes so far that more important things are sacrificed in the name of human advancement.”
And that is why science and discovery can be scary to people of faith. Power does strange things to us, which may be why God was withholding the knowledge of good and evil from Adam and Eve at the dawn of creation. Still, we were made to learn, curiosity is drives us to seek mystery and to marvel at, as the hymnist wrote, “all the worlds Thy hands have made.”
We marvel even more when science unfolds a mystery of the universe that supports our faith and what God has made known to us in the past. In “Wondrous Explorers: How Science Reveals the Mystery of Ourselves,” James Hoskins explains:
“Of course, the Christian answer to all of this is that the human mind and the physical universe are both creations of a transcendent Rationality, called the Logos (John 1:1–3) and that both reveal His nature in some way. This belief led early modern scientists—such as Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and others—to expect the universe to be intelligible. They believed they had been endowed by their Creator with rationality—sharing, in a dim way, a bit of His nature—and thus given the faculties to search out and explore His creation, which He structured in a rational way.”
Our pursuit of the unknown, our hunger for figuring things out—it is reflects the One who made everything. Will all roads of curiosity eventually lead us to Him? I think that’s possible. By cultivating that desire to ask, seek, and find, we honor the One who is at the end of all mystery, just as Alicia Rollins proposes in “Good Vibes to Be Had in the Science World”:
“We must follow scientists, for they afford us the opportunity to watch God’s plan unfold. He wants us to continue exploring, discovering, and building, and scientists are leading the way on this front. God has riddled the entire created order with so many treasures yet to be found. Die-hard scientists are giving us riches untold with their discoveries through dedicated, passionate pursuit.”
Any concerns we have about science and those who pursue understanding of the universe can be placed before the One who created every speck of it—including the curiosity that drives us to learn more.