I had the pleasure of hearing UCI Dean and Vice-Provost Michael Dennin, a physicist, speak on “Understanding Creation and Evolution: How the Bible and Science Provide Insight Into Our Origin.” Much of his talk is detailed in his book, Divine Science: Finding Reason at the Heart of Faith.
At the risk of oversimplifying his argument, I’ll comment only on one particular metaphor that struck me as powerful. He explains that the Fullness of Reality includes the physical world AND the world outside our understanding that is other parts of God’s creation. Science describes the rules that govern physical reality as accepted through experimentation. He likens physical reality to the existence of a fetus in the womb, evolving but knowing only what its limited senses can perceive. The Fullness of Reality is like the mother who nurtures that fetus. She is a creator whose reality extends beyond what the fetus can experience. Only after the fetus emerges from the womb can it understand the Fullness of Reality.
It’s not perfect, but this metaphor works for me to account for the mysteries of faith and the yet-scientifically-unknown. For example, my own babies seemed to recognize the “Jeopardy” theme shortly after birth. I attribute that to my watching the show almost every weeknight of my pregnancies.Years later the internet abounds with articles on how to teach your baby in utero by placing headphones on your pregnant belly.
We have added so much to our scientific body of knowledge over the centuries, but I doubt we’ll ever learn the Fullness of Reality without embracing more than our five senses or instruments that augment them. Emotion? Intuition? Faith? I wish more than ever I could time-hop or visit parallel universes.