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Does God have a higher purpose for us as Christians in our interactions with science than fighting atheists?
I sometimes make the lame joke that English is my second language, because math is my first. I experience math in the same place I experience my deepest awareness of God's delight in me. Math is my most native, most peaceful, and purest form of worship. It's also a lot of fun.
 
I wish I could say the same for science, but my relationship with science got off to a rockier (and, in hindsight, embarrassing) start. Growing up, I sought books and resources to help me refute evolution and proudly wore a t-shirt proclaiming the many ways the duck-billed platypus supposedly stymied evolutionary biologists in their supposedly epic battle against the Divine. Because if you're smart and want to be a good Christian girl, that's what you do, right?
 
The one who convinced me I was wrong was God. And he used a very dirty trick: math. I was pre-med for the first 20 years of my life, and a chemistry minor at Arizona State University is only two semesters beyond the requirements to get into medical school, so I decided to minor in chemistry. I had already begun to wonder in my biology classes why I had thought this contradicted my faith, and more importantly, why I had been so afraid.
 
Then came quantum chemistry. Quantum chemistry is basically the math of an atom. Every day was like a worship sevice, as God spoke his greatness in my language.
 
I began to understand that my attempts to discredit scientific theories revealed a corruption of my own heart, the fear that God was somehow not big enough to be the source of every scientific truth I discovered. The more I let go of this fear, the more I recognized science as a manifestation of Divine imagination. Furthermore, studying what I previously feared provided the opportunity to release my preconceptions in all areas of faith and accept God for who he reveals himself to be in reality.
 
As I embraced the evolution of my soul, I started wondering what the Bible actually said about science. In one sense, it says nothing. You could convincingly argue, and I would agree, that science is the scientific method, the actual process of discovery that involves hypotheses, variables, and conclusions commensurate with experimental evidence. And the Bible was never meant to be a scientific textbook. But in a broader sense, science is studying the details of creation. So I began to study passages in Scripture which prompt the reader to look at the details of creation; specifically, I studied the purpose of each passage.
 
Here's what I found: in Luke, Jesus tells his disciples to consider the lillies and the ravens in order that we may release worry and seek first his kingdom. In Jonah, God uses a vine to teach the prophet compassion and perspective. In the Psalms, the people of God are consistently instructed to observe the world around us with the purpose of worshiping God.
 
There are other passages, and I'm still studying (I will always be studying because there will always be greater depths to mine), but even a surface-level reading reveals a depth that gets overlooked if we're preoccupied with culture wars.
 
It is this depth that I want to explore, and to help others explore. I am now in what I hope is the final year of my PhD in physics, and last year I also won an award for my studies in Biblical Hebrew. If you are interested in exploring with me, please visit my Experience page.

© 2017 Allison Boley
Banner photo © 2017 Dave Anderson, used with permission
I chose this photo because the birds are intentionally headed somewhere. Hopefully, so are we.