I love Science. I’ve always loved science. It’s not that I am a scientist, or even that I fully understand the mechanics of all of the things that thrill me --- but they thrill me. Sometimes I try to explain it to people with, “It makes me catch a glimpse of something so big- that I think I glimpse eternity for a split second”. But I never seem to be able to fully communicate the thought.
The other day I was reading in Acts chapter 3 and something about the story of Peter and John healing the lame man at the gate Beautiful struck me. After the miracle in verse 10 the Bible says that the people were filled with “wonder and amazement”. They didn’t fully understand the mechanics of what they saw- but it thrilled them! It was this state of “wonder and amazement” that prepared them to receive the gospel in verse 12. Wonder and amazement opened their hearts to the eternal. The latter would not have been as effective without the former. Once you notice it- you will see a pattern of this throughout the New Testament. Wonder and amazement preparing the way, opening the heart.
Can science do the same thing? Can we become so dull of seeing and hearing, so jaded with the here and now that we can’t hear what God would say to us? How do we remedy that? How was it remedied in Acts? By dishing out some wonder and amazement! This is what I have had a hard time explaining- something about wondering at the amazing world of science opens my heart to the possibility of other things beyond my comprehension. The eternal. God.
As a parent my greatest desire is that my children would know and love our majestic Creator and Savior. Of course I lay the foundation of God’s word- we practice the disciplines of prayer, worship, and participate in church community. But without wonder and amazement… are their hearts open? Is there the vital spark or are we just arranging the lumber for the fire we hope will come? Wonder and amazement seem to have been some sort of prerequisite for God to have access to the heart. Of course he can, and does, do miracles today- but there are miracles all around us in the world he created if we have eyes to see them.
When viewed this way, science is a vital subject for everyone, not just for the budding scientist. Charlotte Mason understood this. The study of the universe is not optional. Scientific study, far from being dry and tedious, can be the catalyst that sparks the one thing that ultimately matters- our children’s hearts being opened to the eternal.
The study of science primes with wonder and amazement, thus preparing them to receive the gospel. How can we relegate this pivotal study to the back burner for all but a few? Dare we trust this spark to a dry textbook?
Don’t think for a minute that it must be a “Christian” science book (though there are some great ones out there). All true science is imbued with the essence of the Creator. There is no division between the spiritual and the physical. It is all here; it is all God’s, and he wants to use it- in fact, *needs* to use it- all of it.
Listen to this quote from Charlotte Mason.
“We do not merely give a religious education, because that would seem to imply the possibility of some other education, a secular education for example. But we hold that all education is divine, that every good gift of knowledge and insight comes from above, that the Lord, the Holy Spirit is the supreme educator of mankind, and that the culmination of all education (which may, at the same time, be reached by a little child) is that personal knowledge of and intimacy with God in which our being finds its fullest perfection.” Charlotte Mason (School Education p. 95)
This is why I created a true Living Book Study for the High School Sciences. Wonder and amazement shouldn’t be restricted to elementary school, nor should scientific study within your family be relegated to the children. If your spiritual barometer is falling a little low- you might want to try adding some wonder and amazement. You might try adding a little Science!
A few days after writing down the thoughts above my daughter and I read the following passage in our scheduled readings from Ourselves:
“We say “The Creed” glibly enough, and think we understand it, until now one article and now another is challenged by the skeptic then, because we have nothing to reply, we secretly give up one clause after another, and think that we hold to the rest. It should help us to know that not a single article of our Creed appeals to our understanding. We know no more about the Creation than we do about the Incarnation, no more about the forgiveness of sins than about the resurrection of the body. All is mystery, being what the heart of man could not conceive of unless it had been revealed.
“Great is the mystery of godliness: God manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” And what a barren and dry land should we dwell in if our spirits were narrowed to the limits of that which we can comprehend! Where we err is in supposing that mystery is confined to our religion, that everything else is obvious and open to our understanding. Where as the great things of life, birth, death, hope, love, why a leaf is green, and why a bird is clothed in feathers- all such things as these are mysteries; and it is only as we can receive that which we cannot understand, and can discern the truth of that which we cannot prove, and can distinguish between a luminous mystery and a bewildering superstition, that we are able to live the full life for wish we were made.”
Wonder and amazement in the physical world- prepares us for wonder and amazement in the spiritual. Humbles us.
I thought it fit. I also considered that, immediately following her life, some of the scientific things she wondered at seemed to be explained with some explanations attempting to do away with the need for a Creator. But further up and deeper in as Science is always advancing, it turned a corner and once again was faced with mystery. I love to think how Charlotte Mason might have wondered with me over the exciting new fields of Quantum Theory, Particle Physics and a host of other mind blowing ideas that give tantalizing hints at realities and worlds beyond our understanding.