Seeing God in Nature

By: Jim Virkler; ©2013

Our reference to the flow of genetic information is summarized by the famous biological flowchart DNAà RNA à Proteins. This representation is the essence of truth in the world of life forms. Knowledge of the world of biology radiates from this fundamental statement. If we experience wonder at our elementary awareness of this amazing sequence, we must keep in mind that even more extensive knowledge augments our wonder exponentially. Sometimes the wonder seems difficult to grasp, but a word of caution may be appropriate.

Carried to extremes, boundless overconfidence in our ability to “see” God and God’s actions in the natural world could amount to worship of nature. Some scientists and philosophers have erred in pronouncing that nature IS God–that the universe which surrounds us is identical with divinity. This extreme belief is termed pantheism.

We deal with the “interaction between science and Christianity” in our blog. Stated another way, we investigate “the harmony of scientific discoveries and Christian faith.” Many Christians are intimidated by this linkage for various reasons. We discuss three: (1) Intimidation may relate to simple dislike of the subjects of science and math. When my wife announces she is a math educator, it is surprising how many announce unashamedly that they did not care for math, or worse. The same phenomenon occurs with science, perhaps less frequently. (2) While interacting with our leaders in the church, we deal with various priorities ranging along their vision of gospel outreach–emphasis on conversion, social engagement, or fellowship and interpersonal relationships. (3) Lack of confidence exists in the truth of scientific conclusions ranging from the age of the earth, to evolution, to controversial findings in the field of medicine.

What shall we say to those who perceive that Albert Einstein’s exuberant pronouncement regarding his “rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law” leads us to faith in God? In Einstein’s case, he declared his amazement to be a “religious feeling.” It is doubtful that Einstein ever developed a truly theistic worldview notwithstanding recognition of his religious feeling.

And what shall we say, then, to secular or religious friends who are not spiritually impacted by the wonders of DNA structure, RNA function, or the plethora of proteins and protein folding into particular shapes to accomplish specific bodily functions? Do we join with Einstein to proclaim our rapturous amazement without recognizing a divine Designer?

We recognize several simplified levels of awareness. One level sees nature as a god, but not the God of the Bible. At another level, fellow believers give lip service to the Creator, but other priorities prevent them from making this awareness a vital part of their apologetic scheme. At another stage of awareness, those who endorse theistic evolution may recognize God “created everything” at the beginning, but do not see the Creator taking an interventionist role since then. Finally, there are those filled with wonder at God’s creation of life, at the sudden creation events along the geologic timeline including the sudden creation of modern man in God’s image, and the phenomenal implications of DNAà RNAà Protein when fully understood.

The fourth awareness level in the paragraph above holds the most significant promise for promoting the “harmony of scientific discoveries and Christian faith.” We rely on a continuance of astonishing new discoveries to bring us ever closer to the knowledge of how the Creator of our physical universe has also acted to bring us to the knowledge of His loving plan of redemption.

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