Noted scientist and best-selling novelist Alan Lightman, a Memphis native, asks what are the boundaries between science and religion, the two greatest forces that have shaped human civilization. What are the different kinds of knowledge in science and in religion? And how do we come by those different kinds of knowledge? Members of the Faith in Memphis panel respond.
I believe faith is necessary to yield a comprehensive synthesis in understanding life and the universe. Faith according to Hebrews 11:1 is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. The physical side of life is only one dimension of existence. In fact, without faith I believe it is impossible to fully explain scientific phenomena. For example, according to atomic theory and the law of electro magnetism the physical universe beyond the element of hydrogen does not make sense. Positively charged protons within the nucleus of an atom should repel each other causing the atom to split apart and hence, the resulting disintegration of the physical universe. The only explanation that I have found for this not happening is contained in Colossians 1:17, which states “… by Him (Jesus Christ) all things consist.”
On the other hand, faith that is only used to explain gaps in human knowledge is not faith. I agree with the theologian Paul Tillich, who wrote that “argumentum ex ignoratia” is a “weak and disgusting form of apologetics.”
In summation, historians divide the Middle Ages from the early Modern period by labeling the former the Age of Belief and the latter the Age of Reason. I would suggest that this is an artificial compartmentalization. For example, Saint Thomas Aquinas believed because he reasoned. Hence, he had a reasonable faith.