In my early adulthood I found myself enrolled in a religious college and majoring in Geology. This experience started a life long interest and reflection on how this earth was created (yes, I do believe it was created) and how the concept of creation and my geology textbook can augment one another. Geology has increased my understanding and belief in God.
At that time, in addition to my studies in Historical Geology, I was also enrolled in a religion class that went through the Christian account of the Creation. Concurrently having a requirement to write a somewhat lengthy English paper I chose to compare what I was learning in Geology and Religion thereby combining the study of three classes into one project. What I expected to find was a list of contradictions and indeed, there were a couple but just a couple. The major difference of course was the time line. One discovery however, I found quite fascinating. The account found in Genesis (written by Moses) gave a progressive or logical order to the “days” or creative periods that was an exact match to the one taught in my Historical Geology textbook. Science detailed exactly what had to happen in order for us to have today’s life supporting environment. It explained why life had to come from the oceans and why the plants had to come before animals, etc. Geology was providing some of the detail that was missing in the very brief description recounted in the Bible.
Moses lived about 1300 years AD. The question that intrigued me then and still does today is: how did Moses, without an understanding of modern science, chemistry and/or geology get the seven days or periods of the creation in correct order without understanding any of the details? Perhaps through divine inspiration?
The second thing that has fascinated me over the years is the incredibly intricate detail, complexity and variety found in the earth’s design and interacting systems; the solar environment in which this earth exists and especially in the life that is found here. It is this sophistication that has convinced me that the Earth must have been planned and not merely the result of some cosmic accident or event. It is this detailed interplay that speaks to there being a creator, a God.
Such a belief however, leads us to a different God. It leads to a God that is a master planner, an incredible chemist; an artist beyond comprehension, an engineer, a mathematician, a botanist, a mammalogist, an environmentalist, an astro-physicist, and the list goes on. In fact it leads to what we mere mortals can only describe as omniscience. But even beyond that it leads to a God who not only understands the universe but one who can act upon it to bring to pass his desires. It leads to the conclusion that God is God not in spite of science but because of science; not in spite of knowledge but because he has all knowledge. God is a scientist and that understanding can be extremely liberating.
It liberates us to embrace truth no matter where it is found. It liberates us to believe in God and science. It liberates us to investigate and ponder perceived differences with confidence. I can embrace a young and imperfect science. I can also embrace God knowing that my understanding of him and his work is imperfect. I am freed by the understanding that I may not be capable of fully comprehending right now, but someday, maybe God will share his knowledge with me either through the blessings of science or through his divine inspiration as he did with Moses. It all comes from the same source. It all speaks to God and there is no contradiction.
By Samuel Waen Jensen