I, William Todd Cade[a], make a confession. I am a confessing scientist[b]: a scientist in the Church and a Christian in science, serving the common good with a truthful account of what I have seen. I love my scientific work, but I found something greater.
I confess that God created all things, and I know this because I encountered Jesus, the One who rose from the dead. For this reason, I trust Scripture as God’s Word, and know that in Jesus I found something greater than science. It is outside science, in Jesus, that I find my Hope.
I also confess that the evidence in science for evolution and an old earth is strong. Nothing in science, not even evolution, unsettles my faith. I found a confident faith in Him; a world that makes sense in light of Him.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else”- C.S. Lewis
As a scientist at Washington University, I observe, study and discover the wonder of God’s creation on a daily basis. Over the past several years, this inquiry has reshaped my understanding of the creation of the earth. Raised a Young Earth Creationist (YEC), I was taught that faith and mainstream science were at odds. I had to choose a side, one side or the other. However, seeing how science worked first hand, my views on creation “evolved.” Nonetheless, I can empathize with Christians on all sides of the origins debate. We may disagree, but there is something greater that binds us together. This is why I appreciate the intent of Peaceful Science[c] in trying to harmonize believers with differing beliefs on creation. Although what Christians believe about creation is important, is it not the core of Christianity. Our faith, instead, rests on Jesus.
I am a confessing scientist.
I have been thinking about this identity more carefully. What is the real meaning of this confession for me? A clearer answer came to me during a cold, December afternoon run. My confession is more than a statement of belief, but it brings me to answer of a deeper question: where do I place my hope?
Some personal challenges in my family have made this clear. Recently, my family and I have been walking through a difficult season of life. It is easy to become discouraged during these times. However, placing my hope in something other than my present circumstances allows me to not just persevere, but to thrive and have joy in the suffering.
We all hope for things. We hope to get the right present at Christmas, we hope our marriage will get better, we hope our children will turn out well and be successful, we hope the cancer will go away, we hope the political discourse will become civil and reasonable, we hope we can stop worrying every day. But we all place our hope ultimately in something. For me as a Christian and as a scientist, I do not place my ultimate hope that someday man will discover a cure to all ailments or that evil can be eradicated through ethics and anger management education. I don’t place my hope that someday we will have proof that evolution is false or that God created the world in a literal six days. No, I place my hope in the One who was raised from the dead, the God-man Jesus. That is my hope not only because Christianity of all religions makes the most sense to me (it does). It is not only because of the evidence for the claims of Christianity is believable[d] (though it is). It is because this Jesus is knowable (John 17:3, Phil 3:8, John 10:14), gives life (John 20:31) and changes lives (the entire books of Acts). He has indeed changed mine.
Hope is especially poignant during the Advent season, where Christians worldwide are to reflect on God entering humanity as a little baby, giving his life as a ransom for us. We are also to remember his promise that he will come again and make all things right (Acts 3: 21, John 14:1-3). This idea is portrayed in an Advent song entitled “Light of the World”[e]. The song goes “The world waits for a miracle…The heart longs for a little bit of hope…Oh come, oh come Emmanuel (which means “God with us”)…Glory to the light of the world…Behold your King…Behold Messiah…Emmanuel, Emmanuel”. What does it mean for me to be a confessing scientist? It means for me to confess my hope in Jesus Christ, a man from Nazareth, who reorders my world.
Science studies what is seen. I, however, find hope in things unseen. I am reminded of a verse:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12, NIV).
Even as this world presents difficult challenges I am walking through, I’m confident in an unseen reality too. That is where my hope lies. My longing is for the tree of life, and it is fulfilled in what I find in Jesus. That, ultimately, is my confession. As much as I love science, I found something greater in Him, where all the difficulty of my world makes sense. That is why I follow Him.
I, Dr. Swamidass, believe confessions like this have very high significance to our culture at large, but also also our personal relationships. If you are scientist who wants to a confession of your own, please contact me. Whether you make your confession here, or elsewhere, we want to know.
Jan 4, 2018
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