Guest Post: Science and Psalms

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Today’s guest post comes to us from AJ Daltorio. AJ is a pizza dude with a bachelor’s degree and a heart for God. He blogs here. 


Piano keysphoto © 2011 Stefan van Bremen | more info (via: Wylio)

“One who contended that a poem was nothing but black marks on white paper would be unanswerable if he addressed an audience who couldn’t read. Look at it through microscopes, analyze the printer’s ink and the paper, study it (in that way) as long as you like; you will never find something over and above all the products of analysis whereof you can say ‘This is the poem’. Those who can read, however, will continue to say the poem exists.” 
-CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

This quote had me on the verge of shouting, “Yes!” while alone in a coffee shop. It resonated with me because when it comes to the divine, I’ve been on both sides. There has been Tony the skeptic, and Tony the believer. I’ve seen humans as nothing more than highly evolved primates, but I’ve also seen them as made in the image of God; I’ve seen children suffering and been convinced there is no God, but I’ve also sensed God’s presence as I’ve reached into that same suffering; I’ve convinced myself that doing whatever I wanted was the most exciting way to live, but I’ve also found abundant life in being humbly obedient to Jesus.

There will always be two sides when it comes to the supernatural, and both sides can be true. Think of music. Yes, music can be explained. Pluck a guitar string, and it vibrates. This vibration sends sound waves into the air, and when sound waves work together in a certain way, we call it music. Really, there’s nothing divine or supernatural about it. But obviously there is! You’d have to be deaf and dumb to believe music is nothing more than sound waves! If you told me that, I’d stop being your friend.

The same principle holds true for everything around us—smiles, laughter, friendship, art, sunsets, nature, earth, the stars, the universe. All these things can be broken down and explained, but if we are alive, honest, and brave, they also point beyond themselves. We can, and should, look at the world in the way biologists and chemists do, but we should also look at it in the way poets and children do. Psalm 19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of the God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”

My prayer is that you are living in a beautiful world today, one that is filled with so much more than black marks on white paper. Listen for music instead of sound waves, and you will begin to notice things that lie even beyond the songs. There are black marks, but then there are words; there are words, but then there are poems; there are poems, but then there is art; there is art, but then there is beauty; there is beauty, but then there is God.

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