Sunday, March 25, 2012

God and Science

There is a common belief that science and religion are in conflict. This is usually the result of a “God of the Gaps,” theology which holds that anything unexplained is done by God and anything with a physical explanation is not done by God but is independent. If one follows this vein of thought, then the more phenomena science explains, or purports to explain, the smaller God becomes. One then might see science as a threat to one's faith or lose one's faith because of science. If one instead first accepts the tenant that God is the Creator and sustainer then this assertion falls apart. If God created the universe and life, then the mechanisms by which they work are also His creation and are the work of God. Whether someone is a proponent of theistic big bang/evolution or a literal creationist, he or she declares that God created and directed the process.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


At the start, I want to stress that this happened to me, Loyal Philip Hall. It did not occur to a friend or a friend of a friend. It has been a rough 2 years. My wife and I lost 3 unborn children during that time. Each was a traumatic experience. After a battery of tests, we found out it was an easily corrected hormonal imbalance to blame. We are now 5 months pregnant but it doesn't end there.

About a month ago, on Valentine's Day we had an ultrasound. Everything was going wonderfully- we found we were having a little girl, she was moving around a lot, her growth was exactly at the 50 percentile. But then the technician zoomed in on our little girl's heart to take some measurements. She stepped out of the room and the room began to fill with doctors. We new something was wrong. Eventually one of the doctors started talking to us. "Your baby's heart is malformed. The wall separating the atriums is missing, as well as the wall separating the ventricles. This is a serious heart defect that occurs in 0.5% of pregnancies. She will be fine for now because she is receiving all her oxygen from her mother and the heart doesn't need to direct blood to and from the lungs. But at birth she will need immediate heart surgery." Then we were whisked to a genetics counselor who informed us that this defect is often associated with trisomy of a chromosome (it could be Downs Syndrome, but it could also be different extra chromosome). We should get an amniocentesis that day to find out; there is only a small risk. We decided not to- we did not want to pose a further risk to the baby with an invasive procedure when we knew that it would not change how the doctors would monitor her development or treat her and we knew we would love and cherish our daughter with or without a disability.

We went home and spent Valentine's Day crying and praying for our daughter. We knew God is good, whether our daughter was born healthy or not. We asked God for faith and comfort. But that didn't mean we were not going to ask for a miracle. We prayed for her every day. Friends and family were also praying for her. Two weeks later we had a follow-up ultrasound. The upper chambers of the heart were now divided. This past Friday, 3/16, we had an ultrasound with the pediatric cardiologist. He was looking at the ultra-sound and began by saying, "Everything looks good. The chambers are all divided, the valves are in place and working properly, and the vessels attached to the heart are all in place. There is a little brightness here that might be some sort of scar tissue on the dividing septum between these chambers, but otherwise everything is healthy." He was genuinely surprised when we told him why we were there. "No, she won't need any surgery. I'd like an EKG done at birth just because of that possible scar tissue, but otherwise everything is fine and you can deliver wherever you like." God healed our little girl's heart.

I am praising God right now. We live in a world warped by sin and that warpedness includes fetal development going awry. There are lots of people who are praying to God whose children are not healed. I don't believe God healed our little Ester because we prayed right or he loves us more than other people or that we were "due." God could have said "no." He did so for 3 of our other children and I believe He has His reasons. God healed Ester because he chose to for some reason. In a broken world, broken by our own sin, supernaturally intervening to make anything better is mercy. God is good. Praise him and don't loose faith.