God and Geology

Sometimes people are surprised when they learn that I am both a geologist and a Christian.  This is because they assume that physical science is somehow in conflict with the idea of God being the only cause and creator.  This blog is not about the theories of creationism vs evolution.  I don't debate ideas.  I only report my personal experience. I have found the laws and theories that the science of Geology is based on to be important to my daily work as a geologist.  But, I have also found in my work that it indispensable to listen to what God is saying about His creation.  Here is one of many experiences I've had during my career which illustrate the advantage of listening to God.

A coal mining company encountered some severe mining conditions in an area of their underground mine.  The conditions were unsafe and costly to mine.  The viability of the mine was threatened.  A consulting geologist visited the mine, but he could not explain the cause of the geologic features or predict the location and prevalence of these features within the remaining mine reserve.

The company asked if I could help them.  Prior to my visit to the mine, they sent me photos, maps, and drilling records of the area where they were encountering the problems.  I examined this information, but my extensive geologic training and experience did not provide any answers.  I put the geologic information aside and quietly prayed.  I did not request anything from God.  In accordance with Jesus's promise, "Know the truth and the truth will make you free", my prayers were an affirmation of the truth as I have learned it in the Bible and another book that helps me understand the Bible, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  I acknowledged that God created and governed all, that God is all-knowing.  Because, as the Bible explains, man is the image and likeness of God, we can always have the information that is humanly needed by listening quietly and humbly to God.

As I sat quietly listening, an idea came.  It was an idea you will never find in a geology text book.  I had never heard of this idea before or since.  God was the sole source of the idea.  I looked again at the information the company had sent me and found that using this new idea, I could have predicted all the areas where they encountered problems.  I then made a map predicting the boundaries of the area of bad mining conditions.

Later that week, I visited the mine and gave them my map and the explanation for their problems.  They were skeptical at first - this was a new idea.  However, when we went into the mine and visited the problem area, it was clear that the idea could be used to correctly delineate the area of severe mining conditions as well as predict where else on their property these conditions could be present.  This explanation not only helped the company mine that area of their property, but allowed them to successfully expand their mine into adjacent areas.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science and the author of the book that I referred to earlier, understood how a knowledge of God could bring practical benefits to any aspect of our human experience.  She wrote "A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man.  It extends the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms.  It raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity."


laoghaire said...

Your mind gave you the idea, not God, not Jesus and not Mary Eddy Baker. You are the creator and sole owner of all that resides in your head and heart.

Cool though, how ideas come about. Do we already have all the knowledge there is to know inside us and it surfaces when needed? How did Einstein come up with the theory of relativity and not someone in Buttburp, Saskatchewan? What if he had lived 400 years ago, would he still have thought of it?

I am not Christian I am Canadian, and no, those two things are not mutally exclusive, but I found this an interesting topic.

Colin said...

Laoghaire, Thank you for your comment. It caused me to ponder: "How does one know if an inspired thought comes from the Christ or one's own human mind?".

Just over 2000 years ago, an obscure Roman governor asked a related question as he struggled to decide whether to allow the execution of man who was deeply hated by the Jewish authorities. "What is truth?" asked Pontius Pilot and then, not discerning the answer, he washed his hands of responsibility and allowed the execution of Jesus to take place.

History doesn't tell us if Pilot ever found a satisfactory answer to his momentous question, but it does tell us about another man who was certain that Jesus was a fraud and his teachings false. Saul of Tarsus was so certain of this that he went around killing and imprisoning Christians. One day though, the Christ appeared and spoke to Saul and the man was so transformed by this encounter that he changed his name to Paul and spent the rest of his life preaching Christ Jesus throughout the Roman empire.

What determines whether people discern the presence and influence of the Christ? Only a few wise men and some watchful shepherds discerned on that first Christmas day in Bethlehem. Why do some people discern this Christ-presence while others say that it is the imagination of our own thought? My blog entry http://thechristheals.blogspot.com/2005/12/christmas-story-and-you.html considers this question.