Here is my latest article for the ‘Credo’ column in the Newark Advertiser. It appeared in today’s edition.
I have just submitted my last pieces of coursework for my Theology degree. If I’ve been successful I will graduate with a BA in October. It has taken me 6 years of part time study spread over 8 years in total to get to this stage. I’m looking forward to a rest.
Almost exactly 40 years ago I was studying for my final exams for my first degree. I graduated in 1979 with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry. Two completely different subjects – but I’m really glad I’ve had the chance over my lifetime to study both science and theology.
You see both science and religion are part of the same thing: the desire that people have always had to understand the world, indeed the universe, that we live in. Despite what many people think, or are led to believe, science doesn’t have all the answers. What’s more it never will have. It’s true that science has explained a lot of things, particularly over the last few hundred years. Before science some religious texts tried to explain things like how the world was formed and how living creatures came to be. Now we know about the Big Bang and evolution so the early ideas people had can be left behind. As a Christian I certainly don’t believe that the whole of the world was made in 6 days, with all the plants and animals in it. Religion wasn’t necessarily very good at scientific explanations.
But science isn’t very good at answering some types of questions at all. When we ask ourselves not about how things came to be, but instead look for answers to some of the biggest questions of all, like why is there a universe, a world, or life at all science not only doesn’t have the answers but it can’t. It’s beyond the remit of science to answer those type of questions. It fills me with wonder when I think about the vastness of the universe, when I see the glories revealed by astronomy. And when I consider how it is that in all that immensity the single most amazing thing of all is something we all have – a human brain that can not only appreciate the beauty we experience but can also work to comprehend it, I ask myself ‘Why should that be?’
My answer to that comes from my faith, from my theological studies, not my scientific ones. I accept that I’ll never know everything about God (even if I studied for another 40 years). No one ever will. But it’s important to recognise that there are deeper truths than science can ever explain.
Deacon – London Road Congregational Church