Both scientific and religious viewpoints of creation can contribute to a meaningful understanding of the world around us.
The debate between creationism and evolution is a rhetorical minefield, and adherents on either side would have us believe that reconciliation is impossible. Yet Dr. Daniel J. Fairbanks has a foot in both camps: he is a professor of biology and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How can one be so deeply invested in both religion and science?
In “The Arts, the Sciences, and the Light of the Gospel,” Dr. Fairbanks details how his appreciation for nature preceded both his scientific and religious education. As he accumulated both religious and scientific knowledge, he saw an opportunity to broaden his understanding of the natural world, not narrow it.
Dr. Fairbanks explains, “I now view creation not as something that occurred long ago but as a process that continues today in which we are given the sacred privilege to participate.” As Dr. Fairbanks suggests, an evolutionary understanding of creation does not mean a rejection of religious creation; rather, it can mean a deepened appreciation of religious creation and our role in it. He concludes that the two approaches can prove surprisingly complimentary: “As we study the sciences, we are studying the details of creation.”
We can apply Dr. Fairbanks’s ideas as we attempt to understand the world around us. Rather than shutting out new or different ideas, we can use both religious and scientific knowledge to increase our appreciation for the complexities and wonders of the natural world.
Uncover more insights on religion and science from Dr. Fairbanks’s talk, “The Arts, the Sciences, and the Light of the Gospel.”
Source: BYU Speeches
—Simon Laraway, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY AVINASH PATEL
Find more insights
Find more perspectives on science and religion in Jamie L. Jensen’s talk, “Faith and Science: Symbiotic Pathways to Truth.”
Discover more about the correlations between science and faith in Robbyn Merrell’s article, “Hypothesis: Faith and Science are Symbiotic.”