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What Incarnation Tells us About Faith & Science

Posted 12/03/2019 in , ,

This piece was originally shared in the December 2018 edition of our STAR Newsletter, but if you missed it then, here’s a something a little faith&science-y to kick of 2019’s Advent season.

The STAR Office is working on a reunion of sorts. There’s a way of looking at the world that for many people, has become divided, and it ought not to be. The work of “reunion” is bringing science and faith back together into one cohesive worldview. “Science & Faith” is a phrase that’s repeated ad nauseam around here, and even that ampersand is an ugly reminder of a cultural “great divorce” we work to repair. Twinkles of hope are threaded throughout as we develop and complete each project, moving toward our goals. We like to think we’re actualizing a little more “peace on earth” as we go along, which is, of course, a very Christmassy thing to do.

When we talk about bringing faith and science together, we explore the relationship between God and the created order; we acknowledge the chasm that’s appeared between them in some cultural settings, and how they could be mutually nurturing in others. Early Christians baffled their culture with just how immanent they believed their transcendent God to be—after all, in God we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Paul warned us sternly, that we must not worship the creation over the Creator (Rom 1:25), yet we hold in balance that the creation continually “pours forth speech” (Ps.19:2) pointing to God, communicating divine glory, manifesting God’s hidden qualities, so much so, that we humans are “without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

Ilia Delio writes, “When the divine Word becomes flesh (incarnation), God transcends the boundaries of separation (between divinity and creation) to become something new.” December has arrived yet again to remind us of the miracle of little baby Jesus Christ (probably less than 10 pounds of flesh) born a couple thousand years ago. Just like that, the Word became flesh and lived among us (Jn. 1:14), a lot like the olden days in the Garden of Eden, except this time, God was uniquely entwined with muscles, bones, tendons, body fluids, guts, a beating heart, and breathing lungs. Two kinds of “stuff”—human and divine—came together in one person. Jesus was so human that we are scandalized if we talk about it in too much detail, and so divine that he walked around healing illnesses and telling people to love their enemies. And for that nugget of time (33 years of human history) God and nature were indistinguishable. Like the Christmas carol says, “Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see; Hail, the incarnate Deity.”

We hope you’re able to spend some of this holiday pondering this special mystery in a way that brings unity, healing, and love into your life and the lives of those around you.