Laura Rorem (Courtesy Photo)

Laura Rorem (Courtesy Photo)

Living & Growing: Are science and faith compatible?

Open-minded belief in God and science are very compatible.

  • By Laura Rorem
  • Thursday, October 6, 2022 11:02am
  • Neighbors

I grew up next door to Iowa State University in Ames. Veisha, ISU’s annual spring celebration of each department, was a highlight in the community. School was dismissed for students to watch the parade and participate in the activities on Campus. The educational demonstrations were a highlight that amazed me with the wonders of the scientific experiments occurring before my eyes.

Our neighbor, Don, was a physics professor. One year, mom’s annual fruitcake Christmas tree would not stand up! Don was summoned to rescue the project scientifically! Don believed in science but not God. My parents did not try to convert him but planted the seeds of faith. When he moved to UCLA, our friendship continued. Years later, Larry and I visited them shortly after their son died by his own hand. Don was fighting a battle between his heart, soul, scientific mind and God. He reached out to Pastor Larry. His belief in science did not meet the needs of his heart, spirit and soul. He eventually found science and faith compatible.

Are science and faith compatible? Can one believe in science and God?

I began pondering the compatibility of faith and science when my scientifically minded grandchildren began questioning their belief in God.

My faith is central to my being. Science, at its core, requires faith and both complement each other. Faith, science and knowledge come from God. Scientists help expand our knowledge of God’s vast mind. Science shows us “how” and faith shows us “why.” Science and math are ways for humans to explain what God has done. The faith of a scientist is one that humbly seeks answers to scientific questions based on what we know at the time, realizing there’s a lot we are continually learning. Science can bolster faith. Science tells us that the universe is expanding; so must our understanding of God, the creator of the universe: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 1:1.

Science says that we need at least four basic elements to survive: Water; Air; Food; Light. Jesus tells us: I am the Living Water; I am the Breath of Life; I am the Bread of Life; I am the Light of the World, which meets the needs of our hearts, spirits, bodies and souls.

Biblical writers were very limited in their understanding of the universe; therefore stories in the Bible are a narrative of God’s love for his people and creation and not intended to be historical or scientific. Science definitely shows us Jesus’ absolute compassion for humankind, which reflects the heart of our creator God, newness of life, and unfolding creation.

Open-minded belief in God and science are very compatible. God is implied in everything of what science teaches us about our reality and existence. Therefore absolutely everything in the universe is a spectacular miracle, often beyond our understanding and comprehension, but it is there for us to appreciate and savor.

God gifted us with knowledge, curiosity, discovery, and inquiry. My hope is that my scientifically minded grandchildren and all of us use our gifts of knowledge, curiosity, discovery and inquiry for the betterment of all humankind and creation.

May the wonder of new scientific discoveries increase your faith, and may we be grateful for the amazing balanced way God created the world.

• Laura Rorem is a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church, who writes to honor Pastor Larry Rorem’s legacy of love, compassion and understanding for all humankind, especially the most vulnerable. ”Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.

More in Neighbors

Jane Hale (Courtesy Photo)
Coming Out: At the pool

This column is a kind of conscientious objection…

Recognitions for the week of March 19

Juneau students earn academic honors

This photo shows AWARE’s 2023 Women of Distinction (left to right) Kate Wolfe, Jennifer Brown, LaRae Jones and Susan Bell. (Courtesy Photo)
Thank you letter for the week of March 19, 2023

Thank you, merci, danke, gracias, gunalchéesh.

During winter 2022-23, contractors replace the awning structure on the 1904-1913 Valentine Building. The historic building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Its location at the corner of Front and Seward streets is also within Juneau’s Downtown Historic District. (Laurie Craig / For the DBA)
Rooted in Community: The historic Valentine Building and the Findley Family

Many shops have occupied the Seward Street storefronts while Juneau Drug anchors the corner space.

Joab Cano (Courtesy Photo)
Living & Growing: Trust in God

Do you trust in God?

"Bald pride abounds," writes Geoff Kirsch. "In fact, a Bald Men Club of Japan holds an annual Bald Man Competition. In this Olympic-style international tournament, two men stick suction cups to their heads, attached to a single red rope, and then attempt to pull off their opponent’s cup, tug-of-war style. Better start training for next year; I wonder what the rules say about Spider Tack…" (Unsplash /  Chalo Garcia)
Slack Tide: The good, the bald and the ugly

A look at merely a few benefits of being bald…

Jane Hale (Courtesy Photo)
Coming Out: A brief desultory digression

Wisdom in Willie and Waylon and veritable virtue in Virgil.

Rotary Club of Juneau recently announced recipients of Annual Vocational Service Awards. They were Marjorie Menzies, Marc Wheeler,The Financial Reality Fairs’ Sponsors and Organizers,The Teal Street Center and Juneau’s Legislative Delegation  (Sen. Jesse Kiehl, Rep. Sara Hannan and Rep. Andi Story. (Courtesy Photo)
Rotary Club of Juneau presents Annual Vocational Service Awards

Each year, the Rotary Club of Juneau’s Vocational Service Awards, honor businesses,… Continue reading

Laura Rorem (Courtesy Photo)
Living & Growing: Finding strength in vulnerability

Vulnerability is at the heart of being human.

Matthew Schwarting, a Montessori Borealis Public School seventh grader, recently won the Juneau School District's spelling bee. (Courtesy Photo)
7th grader maneuvers into top spot at spelling bee

The Juneau School District recently held its annual district spelling bee.

Alaskan Brewing Co. staff presents a check to Southeast Alaska Food Bank director Chris Schapp on Tuesday as part of the company’s “Cheers to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank!” celebration. The evening also celebrated the selection of Alaskan Brewing Co. next year recipient SEADOGS. (Courtesy Photo / Erin Youngstrom)
Alaskan Brewing Co. selects 2023 nonprofit partner, donates $8,000 to food bank

Tasting Room event celebrates 2022 donation to Southeast Food Bank.

Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File 
A long line of residents stand with bags in hand, digging through scarce supplies on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in Juneau at the Southeast Alaska Food Bank. Next Saturday, Juneau’s Rotary clubs are teaming up to help collect food for the food bank.
Rotary clubs team up to fight hunger

Next Saturday, the Juneau-Gastineau and Glacier Valley Rotary clubs will join forces… Continue reading