Science & The Spirit
The need for curriculum and learning that involves our spirit and mind is evident to me when I start to think about one of my favorite scriptures: “The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44).
I see religion being pitted against science pretty frequently in our modern world. One easy example is the creation of the earth: scientists often believe there was a “big bang” that occurred, creating our galaxy all at once, but we know there is a Supreme Creator who created and organized everything. However, I always like to think of the whole thing as less of a debate between the two options and more as two sides to the same story. I mean we know, according to the law of conservation of mass, that mass cannot be created or destroyed. So if there was some “big bang” that didn’t involve a Supreme Creator, it didn’t create any mass or matter; it merely changed it. This means it would still make sense that there is a Supreme Creator from the beginning who created all of that matter. Plus, Abraham 4:1 tells us that “they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth” (emphasis added), which makes sense because we also know that “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void” (Genesis 1:1–2). So perhaps there was a big bang, which came about when the Lord created all of that matter at once, and then Jesus came down and simply (well, not simply) organized all of that matter into what we know as the earth and galaxy.
I consider myself a pretty big geology nerd, and analyzing and exploring all of the specific organization and functioning of rocks, minerals, volcanoes, tectonic plates, stars, and planets always makes it all the more clear to me that, just like Alma said, all of these things are absolutely a testament of a Supreme Creator and Organizer. For example, volcanoes are literally vents for the earth’s inner gases and hot air. Scientists believe volcanoes played a large role in cooling the earth’s mantle enough to form an outer crust that consisted of solid rock and that could support life. The ash released from the volcanoes also contributed to cooling the atmosphere in general, again contributing to a cooler surface that could support life.
In a similar vein, “impurities” in rocks and minerals give them beautiful and crazy cool colors. Iron alone leads to red, purple, yellow, and even greenish colors in rocks. Rose quartz is pink from aluminum and phosphorus impurities, and smoky quartz is “smoky” as a result of silicon. What a great example of how purposefully our earth was created for us so that the Lord could show us beauty and bring us joy in this life. Plus, if “impurities” are what make rocks and minerals unique and beautiful, how much more beautiful is it that we were all created with differences and unique qualities? Our imperfections and differences make us human and mortal, but they also add contrasts and complementary variations that allow us to lift each other up and help one another.
I love seeing science and the gospel work together like this, and I think there are so many instances when that happens. But above all else, I think this proves the need for us to receive an education in both temporal and spiritual matters. One without the other is only half of the story, and we need both sides in order to really understand things the way the Lord wants us to and to grow both our mind and our spirit.
- The Mindful Heart