Danville Express

Newsfront - October 26, 2007

Science meets religion

Symposium to address bridging the two disciplines

by Natalie O'Neill

A shooting star. The fleshy green patterns of a leaf. The stillness of the ocean before a storm.

When it comes to these natural phenomena, some people think "God" and other people think "Science." At Peace Lutheran Church in Danville, it doesn't have to be one way or the other.

The church will host a science and religion symposium called "Must Science Be Atheistic?" at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28. And the laws of nature are only part of what could help bridge theology with biology, cosmology or physics.

Peace Lutheran Pastor Steve Harms says like religion, observing science creates a wonderment and appreciation for the universe.

"Why is it that we've lost our sense of 'Awe'? Without it, human beings can't thrive. To stand aghast and say, 'Look at what I'm a part of' - that's a critical thing our world needs, to delight in this gift of life," he said.

Harms explained that scientific patterns, theory and hypothesis are given meaning when accompanied by dialogue about God to give the data context.

He noted one scientific conclusion which suggests that, had the earth been located only 10 miles closer to the sun, life on the planet would have burnt up. The same conclusion shows that, had earth been only 10 miles further away, life would have essentially frozen, he said.

It's discoveries like this, for example, that give us gratitude and praise, he said.

"This is the way mystics have been speaking for thousands of years," he said, noting another theory that everything is in a constant flux. "They just came to it through another practice - prayer."

Dr. Ted Peters, professor of systematic theology at Pacific Lutheran Seminary, and Dr. Robert Russell, founder of the Center for Theology and Natural Science, will also speak at the free event.

"Our intelligence is a profound gift," Harms said. "We are beings of inquiry."

The event will be held at the church, 3201 Camino Tassajara. For more information, call 648-7000.


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