Hi Aunt Teresa!
I have been recently working a new job and I had a co worker ask me an interesting question that I thought you might be able to help me with. He asked me where I drew the line between when I believed in science and when I believed religion. I thought that was a good question and one I didn't really have an answer to, so I thought I would ask you about it. Do you have any thoughts and what are your thoughts on evolution and the origin story of the Bible.
I believe it all fits together I just can't quite see how
Dear (and darling!) Nephew,
Thanks for asking about science and religion. I have a strong opinion about this, an opinion I hope to be able to articulate and justify.
There should be no conflict between science and religion. Both are valid, powerful, effective ways of knowing. Science is a way of knowing based on evidence, observation and measurements and shared consensus. Religion is a way of knowing based on faith, revelation, and personal experience. They are different ways of knowing and, as such, are used in different ways. Science helped me know how to administer to my grandmother when she was physically ill. Religion helped me know how to minister to my heart when my grandmother passed away. They are different ways of knowing, not conflicting ways of knowing. Which is more useful, a hammer or a screwdriver? The answer is that it depends on what the tool is being used for. Which is more useful, science or religion? Again, it depends on what you are using it for. There should be no conflict between the two.
Having said that, there are a lot of perceived conflicts between science and religion. Evolution is one of those...and is a favorite of mine. Evolution means change over time. Organisms change over time. . It happens. To deny it happens is like denying the sun rises in the east. It is stupid and pointless. Does the fact that organisms change over time mean that God is not the Creator? Heavens no!!!! What if the Creator created evolution?
Creationists love to use the analogy of the watchmaker to “disprove” evolution. They say the presence of a watch necessitates the existence of a watch maker. I say, what if the watchmaker were able to make a watch that repaired itself? A watch that could adapt to changing situations and evolving environments? If ice covered the land, the watch could adapt itself to work in sub-zero conditions. If climate change happened and the Earth became unbearably hot, it could develop a cooling system. Would not that watchmaker be more skilled, more awe inspiring than a watchmaker that simply made a superbly accurate, magnificently crafted but static watch? Evolution is an amazing, incredible, brilliant mechanism that allows life on Earth to adapt to changing environments. HOLY COW! To me, evolution is another indication that a Creator exists. It is a misconception that one must choose evolution OR creation. It is not an “or”; it is an “and”. One can accept evolution and creation.
People get hung up on timing. What about a six day creation or a 6,000 year old Earth? The scriptures tell us that time is relevant only to man (Alma 40:8) and the theory of relativity tells us that time is relative; it can expand and contract in relation to speed and location. If God does not measure time and man’s measurement of time is relative, how can we justify trying to fit the Bible’s events into an Earth-based time frame? We should not be surprised that they do not mesh. We also should not use the fact that they don’t mesh to discount either the Bible or the theory of relativity.
There are other things that do not yet mesh between science and religion, things like Adam as the first man and the skulls we have of primitive humans.. What is the story there? I don’t know yet. Notice I use the word “yet”. Science does not yet know all there is to know about the universe. New discoveries are being made at phenomenal rates. Religion does not yet know all the mysteries of God. Revelation is occurring at phenomenal rates. I am fully confident that one day there will be no distinction between science as a way of knowing and faith as a way of knowing. Until then, I will use each for the purpose for which it is best suited.