Not long ago, on a nighttime ride through the Nicaraguan countryside, the members of our small medical team could not help but notice the sky. Away from the dense electrical grid of the US, we could see the stars as our ancestors did. Imagine, for example, the Jews in the Sinai– ascending the mountains under the clear desert sky of old…what an amazing sight they must have seen. How could they not be in constant wonder, thinking about all of creation and the awesome power of the God who made it?
That’s not how we of modernity view the world, of course. We created our own lights on earth that blot out the ones in the sky…and now even create our own universe which we carry in our pockets or on our hips. We even create our own creatures, if you know anything about Pokemon Go. We manipulate our own bodies, and dream of changing even our DNA, all to make ourselves masters of our fate, our own saviors, the creators of our own existence.
This is nothing but blind self-pride, by which man lays his hopes on the altar of science and our own creations.
But I think that while many study science, few truly learn its lessons. Few contemplate that science has revealed the number of stars in the universe is far beyond the thousands our ancestors saw, and may number 100 octillion. The discoveries of science should make us humble, not self-proud, and even more amazed at the power of God.
I remember in medical school, as we learned embryology, the formation of a person in just a matter of weeks, we commented to each other that it was remarkable that it ever turned out right—that there is too much required, too much precision needed in time and space.
Such knowledge should lead to greater faith, not less.
Even something in the practice of medicine such as giving a pill should be understood as an article of great faith—that this chemical could permeate the complexity of the human body and achieve our intended good.
So this is perhaps the unspoken lesson of science: to understand that the only reason we are more than the dust on this earth, from our original creation as mankind to our own ultimate end, is because of a Creator of incomprehensible power and goodness.
This then becomes our commission in modern society—and the necessary foundation of the field of bioethics: to tell and show others, through our words and deeds, that to be created in God’s image is a reflection of his glory, not ours.