Science can be daunting for those who don’t study one of its myriad disciplines on a daily basis. It can be even more intimidating when trying to navigate the delicate intersection of science and faith.
Faculty in the STEM fields at Grove City College excel at making both approachable.
Dr. Jeffrey Wolinski, a professor of physics at Grove City College, recently said during an interview with Word FM’s The Ride Home with John and Kathy that there is more to science than complex formulas and theorems, which tend to be a scary proposition. Rather, it’s important to take a look around and absorb the fascinating things in our midst because they are universal and should be the “critical focus of discussion” at all times.
“Science is something that, although it’s probably most effectively done by the kind of people you read about like Nobel Prize winners and extremely talented people that have deep insights, every single human being enjoys the physical world and asks questions about the physical world,” Wolinski said. “Just because you can’t do differential equations in your head it doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the physical world that we live in.”
Examining the physical world is a cornerstone of determining if Christianity is tangible. Because, while we may not have proof for Christianity, it is possible to look for evidence via physics and other disciplines.
Wolinski said he cannot pinpoint specific phenomena in physics that clearly indicates that Christianity is “correct.” Rather, it is important to look at the world through the eye of a believer and determine if Christianity is consistent with the things that are observed in science.
“I’ve never seen any issue, any showstopper, that would suggest to me that Christianity is not very plausible, and, in fact, an extremely attractive worldview to have,” said Wolinski, who received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and his master’s and Ph.D. from Harvard University.
There are indications that we live in an ordered world, and those evolve from learning to grow in your faith individually and being open to subjects that are unfamiliar or you know little about. Then, strive to serve God honestly by being excellent in those pursuits.
“There are a lot of things through my career that I’ve seen that are very interesting and have applications in our walk with God. And I think they are probably, ultimately, the thumbprints for the Creator,” Wolinski said. “You have to see that from a distance. You can’t look at it and say, ‘Oh, that obviously means God exists.’ But you can look at it and say, ‘That’s consistent with God.’”
Looking at it from a macro level, the key is living out your faith in everyday life by looking at statements in scripture and putting your own “weight” on them. And the more you believe in what you’re doing, Christianity becomes more evidently valid.
“If I claim to believe something about God, and then I wonder if it’s true or not – I don’t have fiery handwriting in the sky every time I want some answer to prayer or something, it just doesn’t happen – so how do I become more convinced that my faith is genuine and it’s not a bunch of hooey?” Wolinski said.
In paraphrasing Second Peter, Wolinski noted we are directed to add qualities like faith, knowledge, perseverance and self-control to our lives to be effective and productive in our knowledge of the Lord in order to establish the “certainty of our calling.” That also includes the certainty of our whole belief system.
Like many, Wolinski would love for there to be scientific proof of God’s existence. That answer is one “we just can’t get,” however. What we can get is indications toward an answer, again by looking at what is available to us.
“You acquire evidence and try to make sensible decisions based on looking at all of the aspects of the problem or question,” Wolinski said. “But we’ll never have a proof in symbolic logic that establishes with mathematical certainty just about anything in life. That’s the way it goes.”
In fact, Wolinski said that’s exactly what scripture says is supposed to be the case. We are to “walk by faith not by sight, and without faith it’s impossible to please God.”
“I think that’s really something critical to keep in mind at all times about the issue of science and faith,” he said.