Theology at its best is a language — a language that helps individuals understand their relationship with God while not contradicting or denying one of God’s other important languages: science.
It’s important for God’s children to have access to the language of uplifting theology. This is because not all of God’s children can easily understand or relate to the language of science. This is okay with God. In fact, it’s more than okay. God’s children (one of whom would be you) are not all the same. God’s children are all different from each other, although we share some traits in common, such as the ability to love and forgive.
Your soul wasn’t created by God the Mother and God the Father with a batch of dirt and a cookie cutter (Genesis 2:7 notwithstanding). In all of Creation (and it’s a pretty darned big Creation!), there’s no other soul quite like you. There’s no other soul who thinks exactly the way you think, no other soul who expresses love exactly the way you express love. You’re one of a kind.
This means you “get” some languages better than you get other languages.
Maybe you totally get music, which means you feel the rhythms, feel the harmonies, deep in your bones without anyone ever really teaching you how to do it. You just “get” it so deeply that your whole life is transformed by it, each and every day.
Maybe you totally get poetry. That’s a language, too. It’s not the same as prose. Somehow it triggers different feelings and different responses in you than prose does. You read a few verses of exquisite poetry and BAM — powerful insights descend upon your soul, and you’re forever changed.
Now don’t laugh, but I react to chemistry the way many people react to music and poetry. It’s not that I don’t like music or poetry, it’s just that, well, I really, really “get” the language of chemistry.
If you’ve studied a lot of chemistry, you know that chemists don’t think in quite the same way as physicists, or biologists, or computer scientists, or mathematicians. Physicists get excited about field theory. Biologists get excited about energy transfer in living organisms and ecosystems. Computer scientists can think in binary code (an amazing skill!). And mathematicians live and breathe for the wonder of tautologies (showing how two sides of an equation are actually equal).
But chemists spend most of their time dealing with bonding. Molecular bonding. They want to know what holds atoms together into molecules. They want to understand the relationships between the constituent parts of both atoms and molecules. They spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to coax one little ion or electron from one spot to a different spot so it can do a different job. A chemist’s stock in trade is the probability wave functions of electrons, those tiny little negatively charged particles that are so much smaller than an atomic “nucleus” and are so damned fussy about where they’re willing to be located at any one time. Yet where would our material world be without them?
Even though physicists now estimate that “ordinary matter” (that is, atoms and molecules) accounts for no more than 4% of all known energy in the known universe (they call this ordinary matter “baryonic matter”), baryonic matter has a lot to tell us about the nature of God. And this baryonic matter is what chemists really “get.”
A number of physicists these days are pulling out all the stops to try to find a unified theory of nature. (Hence the construction of the multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider). But, you know, for my part, as a chemist and as a mystic, I’m wary of anyone in any field who starts to look for a simple unified theory about anything. This smacks of monism, the longstanding religious belief that when you get to very heart of Creation, there exists only a singular, undifferentiated, divine “oneness.” Plato’s middle writings, such as Phaedrus (247c), speak of this colourless, shapeless, all-inclusive oneness, and many neo-Platonic Christian mystics have followed suit in the monism department.
Needless to say, I’m not a monistic or apophatic mystic.
Me, I think it’s okay for us to listen to what God is saying to us through the language of chemistry. Even though baryonic matter (including the ordinary atoms and molecules that make up Planet Earth’s waters, lands, and atmosphere, plus all life on Planet Earth) represents only 4% of the universe’s energy, it’s the only part of Creation we can directly access as human beings, and it’s the only part of Creation that God seems to think we need while we’re living here as angels-in-temporary-human-form, so I figure it’s worth paying attention to!
And as I said above, chemistry is all about bonding.
It’s all about the relationship and balance between the tiny negatively charged particles we call electrons and the much larger positively charged particles we call protons. It’s all about the relationship and balance between certain probability wave functions and certain forces such as gravity, etc.. (I’m simplifying here, and am purposely skipping the whole subatomic particle thing, as it would needlessly complicate the discussion at this point).
When you think about a molecule such as sodium chloride (table salt), you probably think about it as salt. Me, I think of God the Father’s negatively charged electrons dancing a beautiful electron orbital dance of harmony, balance, intentional cooperation, and divine love with God the Mother to help her unite her much larger sodium ions with her equally large chloride ions in a very specific and useful scientific way that helps them together, as God, create the necessary biological building blocks used by the many forms of individual life that have lived here at one time or another over the past 3.85 billions years or so.
There you have it — my one-sentence rebuke of Creationism.
In my opinion, Creationism is an example of the language of theology at its worst.