Things Unseen

Hebrews 11:1-16

In providing us with such marvelous brains, the Lord-God established three gifts for seeing the unseen. We have the natural sciences for discovering why inanimate objects behave the way they do. We have the social sciences for explaining human behavior. And, if we want to know why we exist, how we should live, and what lays beyond the seen world for ourselves and the people we love, we have faith. I know this is a simplification, but it may be helpful to speak it publicly from time to time. The three epistemologies above are often in conflict (cognitive psychologists fight with those who favor materialistic bio-mechanical models of human behavior, for example) and often in each other’s pockets (what do you mean creation didn’t happen in six days?), but we all benefit from accepting each others strengths and keeping the lines of dialogue open.


I have a brilliant niece who spends her workday flipping mice, examining their genes, and, hopefully, working on research that will lead to tomorrow’s cancer cures. In her leisure time she reads Marx for an insight into the social sciences. Where I like to say with the author of Hebrews that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. She would say, “No, science allows us to have conviction about things unseen.”  I am glad for her faith in science as she explores the inner workings of our cells, but I also wish to advocate a faith in faith. Faith recognizes that we are more than a mere collection of biochemical reactions. We are individuals of worth and value, something that cannot be proven by science alone. The best that natural philosophy can do in giving us a reason for ethical behavior is Kant’s rather dim approximation of the Golden Rule. Marx may lean on Darwin for his faith in a unseen dialectic guiding human history, but this is puny compared to our faith that God will lead His-story to glory and light in the end.


C.S. Lewis wrote a support for everyday Christian apologetics in his great little book, Mere Christianity. In it he says: 

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world cannot satisfy, 

the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

By letting us see the invisible, science often opens the door for wonder and faith
Pentecost 14