And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with
knowledge and depth of insight’ (Philippians 1.9).
Our love for God and therefore for our fellow humans can grow in knowledge and depth of insight through a deeper understanding of creation. This is an important part of the experience of science for a Christian, and can include us all – not just those with science degrees.
My days in the lab are far behind me, but I still love reading nature writing books. I find that the more I learn about the created order, its intricacies and beauties, the more I am inspired to praise and worship the one who made it all.
I studied genetics and developmental biology, and spent a good amount of my PhD research watching tiny zebrafish embryos develop, forming and folding to eventually produce a recognisable fish. In thinking about the incarnation, I therefore often imagine the first twelve weeks of gestation, when Christ’s body would have been going through very similar processes. It is hard to fathom how the God of the universe could become so vulnerable. I find I can only respond in gratitude and wonder.
This week I listened to a podcast about the immanence and transcendence of God. One of the speakers was reflecting on the fact that in the first advent Jesus was simultaneously developing inside Mary’s womb and sustaining the whole of creation. That took my sense of wonder to the next level, helping me to grasp a little more how a tiny blob of cells could be both fully God and fully human.
Do a little scientific exploration: outdoors, online or on TV. What intrigues you or sparks joy in you? How does what you observe or learn deepen your love for God? What theological insight does it provide?
Many scientists are happy to share their feelings on making a discovery or appreciating beauty in their work. Do you have scientifically minded colleagues, friends or family who you could ask about this? Do they have their own story of awe to share?
Discuss the results of your mini scientific experience with this person. Do they share your wonder? What do they think of your theological musings?
Help me, Lord, to appreciate the wonders and the beauty in your creation that are revealed by science. Help me grow in knowledge and depth of insight, so that I can love you more fully and worship you even through difficult times this advent.
This post was first published on the God on Monday blog, which is produced by Faith in Business in partnership with the Church of England, and is reproduced here with permission of the editor.