I need to remember to bring a note pad next time I see Sue and Gary. I have napkins and scraps of paper with notes written all over them from our last get-togethers. You see, Gary is a physicist and he and his wife and I just devour metaphysics.
Our last meeting, Gary summed up the relationship between science and religion. It is simply that science is able to answer the question how things work. But religion is able to answer the question why something works.
Cambridge University's John Polkinghorne agrees. Dr. John Polkinghorne is a physicist, theologian, and Anglican priest. In an interview, he shares:
'Science and religion are not mutually exclusive, Polkinghorne argues. In fact,
both are necessary to our understanding of the world. “Science asks how things
happen. But there are questions of meaning and value and purpose which science
does not address. Religion asks why. And it is my belief that we can and should
ask both questions about the same event.”'
And there is so much more to be said here.
He goes on to explain:
As a for-instance, Polkinghorne points to the homey phenomenon of a tea kettle boiling merrily on the stove.
“Science tells us that burning gas heats the water and makes the kettle boil,” he says.
But science doesn’t explain the “why” question. “The kettle is boiling because I want to make a cup of tea; would you like some?
“I don’t have to choose between the answers to those questions,” declares Polkinghorne. “In fact, in order to understand the mysterious event of the boiling kettle, I need both those kinds of answers to tell me what’s going on. So I need the insights of science and the insights of religion if I’m to
understand the rich and many-layered world in which we live.”
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016