Vodka and mayonnaise don’t mix
Vodka and mayonnaise don’t mix. Or so I’ve been told. I can’t say that I’ve ever tried.
I’m not a vodka drinker and I just like mustard on my sandwiches.
But I do know that there are certain things that don’t mix well: the Canucks and Bruins; work and dating; driving and trimming your toe nails.
There is one other thing that people say do not mix: religion and science. At least that’s what I’ve been told.
But being the rebel I am, I’ve spent most of my lifetime mixing unmixable things.
Being a Christian – and a minister, at that – I’m convinced that the bible is true, Jesus lived, died and came back to life again, and God created the universe.
But I’m also a scientist (at least I used to be). I have a PhD in physics from the University of Manitoba, where I used massive lasers, supersonic jets, and extremely rapid cooling to study biological molecules.
And I still believe in a Creator – more so than ever.
So how does one resolve this issue?
One way is to go back, way back, and consider some of the founding fathers of modern science.
First, there was Galileo, who invented the telescope. He said that the Bible cannot err (He got in trouble with the Roman Catholic Church not because of science, but because he insulted the Pope, who was actually a friend of his).
Pascal, who pioneered the study of pressure and gas-flow, was a devout believer in God.
The same can be said of Faraday, who revolutionized physics with his breakthroughs in electricity and magnetism’ and Mendel, who discovered many of the laws of botany; Kepler, who was the first to predict the orbits of planets.
I could also speak of Planck, Boyle, Stokes, Maxell, Bacon and Lord William Kelvin.
Most scientists today consider Kelvin to stand alongside of Einstein and Newton as laying the foundation for modern physics. This guy was so stunningly brilliant that he held a string of “letters” (honors, doctorates) behind his name that dwarfed anyone else in Europe at the time.
But Kelvin was not only a monolithic scientist (who helped us understand the mysteries of heat and entropy), but also a devout believer in God. He was so committed to his faith that he travelled and lectured extensively about the reliability of the Bible.
And, of course, I should mention Sir Isaac Newton –Mr. Planets, Mr. Gravity, Mr. Calculus. Without a doubt, Newton was the single most influential person in the history of science. But what most people do not know is that Newton’s real passion was in the study of the Bible. He dedicated more of his time and energy to studying the Scriptures than to the study of nature.
To these men, there was no conflict between science and Scripture. Faith and nature walked hand in hand to them.
And so we today, who claim to be people of science, can also study the Bible with full confidence.
These two things mix very well.
John Martens is pastor at The Connection.