Sunday, July 7, 2013

Test of Faith

I am the kind of person who likes to ask questions – and I guess that’s been part of my story from the beginning.  I like to ask why things are as they are, how they came to be.

As a Christian I find myself asking questions too … questions about my faith.

They are questions many echo … not least as these scientists who are also Christian believers have discovered on the Test of Faith website.

Who are we?

Are we just the sum of our rain impulses?

Is there something more to the human person than just our genes?

What if science could manipulate and enhance human beings?

What if our very identities could be cloned?

But can faith survive the challenge of science?

Can science and faith go hand in hand?

Is faith being tested to breaking point?

The virtue of wisdom,

Exploration a divinely Christian activity

Reasons for my faith


Many things we don’t know beyond the domain of science

Science cannot replace faith

It’s been my 60th birthday this year, last week we celebrated the 60th anniversary of Eric Burton’s ordination.  It’s been the sixtieth anniversary of the coronation, of the conquest of Everest and of the discovery of DNA.

That’s a story I have been reading up on and going to at the Science Festival – Felicity even had the Cubs making DNA in jam jars – wonderful experience.  And at Sunday Special we have been exploring Creation.

It’s associated with Crick and Watson – Wilkins another name. 

But equally important is the story of a remarkable scientist Rosalind Franklin – who did the key research including a photograph that was significant in proving DNA – and Crick and Watson did not credit her – she died without knowing that her work had been a key part of proving it – an inspiration for women as scientists ever since …

More recently has been mapping the human genome.

It’s fasinating to see that the person responsible for that – one of two on Time Magazine’s front cover celebrating the 10th anniversary is a Christian,– Francis Collins.

And so as soon as one is willing to set aside an insistence on that ultra literal interpretation of Genesis 1  then you arrive at a conclusion that is quite comfortable for me as a believer and for me as a scientist … that yes, Darwin was right in that brilliant insight he had but all he was really doing was to deduce the mechanism of God’s creation.  In fact it is the case that shortly after Darwin published his amazing book, The Origin of Species, many leaders of the Church embraced this and recognised this as an answer to the How question of God’s creation but in no way saw this as a threat to the idea of God as being the author of all of this.

That’s it for me.

Genesis is not scientific writing.  It is wonderful poetry and marvellous story telling that gets across the wonderful truth that God created the world.  That story of creation I delight in and wonder at.  And I for one am with Francis Collins … and in now way see evolution as a threat to the idea of God as being the author of all this … the ceator of this wonderful world.

I then want to know what this God of creation is like.

It makes sense to me that if God were real – then not only would we reach out towards God – but God would reach out towards us.

That makes sense – and that’s what my Christian faith claims.

The  Christian faith makes a claim that there is a moment , in a particular life, of a real person Jesus Christ when we have a window on to what this God is like.   The genius of Christianity then is that we can use another discipline – the discipline of history and historical research to dig into who this Jesus was – and that’s what I have spent a lifetime doing – and the person of Jesus is real –

A life that broke the conventions of his day and shared a life of love where people were hurting, mapped out a way of life to follow that makes a difference to individuals, families, society – the world – and that way of life is built around love for God, love for others for  God is Love.

How do I know that is real?

Because of the impact it makes on people …

One of the youngest of Jesus’ followers during his earthly ministry lived to be one of the oldest people in the early church.

His name was John.

And in 1 John 4:7-11 he tells how knowing Jesus made a difference to him and threw light on what God is, the very nature of God, and on how we should live our lives.

Reading:   I John 4:7-11

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

So – I can figure out the questions – science doesn’t contradict my faith.  Historical research helps me understand this Jesus.

I see the impact Christ makes on people down through the ages – and on people I know.

Time to put someone on the spot – Ruth and Geoff …

And then show a video.

People too make a difference – and this Christian faith is worth following and something really important.

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