During the summer months, I like to kick back and read some romances, maybe get involved in a fun thriller book series, or re-read some old favorites. I find it unnecessary to say that “SCIENCE, ART, AND CHRISTIANITY: CONTRIBUTION TO A THEOLOGY OF NATURE FOR OUR TIME,” by biologist Rudolf Bernhard Brun, is not what one would exactly call a “beach read” but it was a thought-provoking experience to say the least.
Scientists with their equations, tests, and measurements have answered how we were created in terms of the Big Bang and evolution. Philosophers use logic and theories to try to explain the mind/body connection. Theologians have their ideas on God’s existence and his (or her) influence on man. In this three-chapter, PDF-only (with the occasional typo) book, Brun puts forth that these branches of the sciences are not mutually exclusive and that “the freedom of nature to become itself must be the foundation for the bridge between science and Christianity.”
The first chapter relies heavily on scientifically proven phenomena. Brun explains the theory that there is no interference of a “super-nature” or God in the evolution of the universe and more specifically the human mind. He puts forth a well-rounded science lesson on the creation of earth and all its elements, molecules, DNA, Darwin, Mendel, etc. These are things you learned in high school physics, biology and chemistry condensed into one all-encompassing chapter. The conclusion he asserts is that “the forces of nature emerged within the historical natural process. Therefore, the laws of nature originated from within nature; they were not created or designed by super nature!” We are all here from the natural phenomenon of “Synthesis”. And through this Synthesis emerged the “Gestalt phenomenon”. This states “namely that a genuine unity of parts has qualities that the separated elements by themselves do not have. In short, wholes are more than their parts not only in quantity but also in quality”
The main purpose of the second chapter is to “suggest that our mind is capable of creating art because art emerges from synthesis, the same creative source that brought forth all of nature, including our brain.” In layman’s terms, the synthesis of atoms and molecules into more complex entities mirrors the evolution of art and music. For example, a single note, through complex combinations with other single notes, becomes a symphony. Much is the same in the evolution of the brain to BE ABLE to create the complex symphony from a single note. If the first chapter was a combination of physics, biology and chemistry, this one incorporates art history and music theory with a dash of neuroscience thrown in for good measure.
While I understand his thinking, Brun goes back to detailing the scientific tenets of “Synthesis” to more thoroughly explain his theories on the origin of the mind’s creativity. I just don’t feel there was a need to do so since he had just detailed all of this in Chapter 1. In a three-chapter book, spending time summarizing the details of a preceding chapter seems a bit excessive.
Chapter 3 is where we get into the nitty gritty of how Christianity can possibly survive in the midst of modern data that contradicts teachings of the church. However, the author puts forth a notion that science, in fact, supports the Christian beliefs of God’s role in the universe. The author states that “The thesis of this writing is that God is love and that therefore creation is God’s gift. Any true gift is given away, departs from the giver so that it can be truly received by the one who gets the gift. As a consequence of giving a gift away it belongs now to the one who receives it.” In other words, God, through his love, gave us nature and because it was given in love, it was free to evolve as it seemed fit.
I am no scholar, but as someone who likes answers to questions but understands there would be no such thing as belief if all questions had definitive answers, this seems as good an explanation as I ever heard. Belief wouldn’t be necessary because either it is or it isn’t. As hard as the scientific community may try, while some things cannot be proved, other things cannot be disproved. No matter how many scientific theories get accepted as fact, there will always be mysteries that no experiment or observation could ever definitively answer for someone who doesn’t need proof to believe in a higher power. That’s why it’s called “faith” after all.
Obviously, since this is a book regarding science and religion, there are no definitive answers. But if you have ever had an internal conflict of belief and logic trying to reconcile faith and science, this book may be an answer to your prayers.
You can learn more about Author Rudolf Brun and his thoughts, as well as his other books on his website. You can also purchase an e-copy of his books there.
Published by RBB Publication.