Do scientists (and theologians) suck the beauty from the universe?.

An artist can appreciate the beauty of a flower. Can a scientist? Or, does the scientist get lost in detail and analysis, forgetting to enjoy the sheer beauty of what he or she is studying? That’s the question Richard Feynman leads with in this video, arguing that knowing something better just adds to our appreciation of its beauty. Looking closely at the flower doesn’t mean that we miss its beauty; it means that we get to see aspects of its beauty that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

As he was talking, I was struck by how similar this is to theology. Many worry that theology turns God into an object of analysis. Theologians study God like a beetle under the microscope, forgetting exactly how amazing and beautiful this wondrous God actually is. And, I’m sure that happens. But, that’s not theology. If theology is about reflecting deeply on who God is so that we get to know him better, it should only lead to a deeper appreciation of his beauty. Theology is about looking closer.

This is really just the first two minutes of the video. In the rest, Feynman discusses scientific knowledge and doubt in an uncertain and mysterious universe. And, he comments on why he finds all religious explanations unsatisfying.

Check it out. If nothing else, the pictures in the video are stunning.

(via BoingBoing)


About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on October 7, 2011, in Theology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Indeed the beauty of Holy Scripture is the “form”, and God’s own Incarnation perfects the whole ontology and aesthetics of created Being, and here that form is the image of existence itself…illuminated by the archetype of Christ! The Incarnation itself uses created Being at a new depth, “as a language and means of expression for the divine Being and essence.” It is here too that both Dogmatic and Biblical Theology are really found together. But we must look! So Theology is hardly an analysis alone, as itself a form of discovery, a tool in Revelation.

  2. I appreciate how you compare probing the depths between both science and theology. Physics and theology both ask the same fundamental questions. The part that hurts me the most is when theologians bash physicists and when physicists bash theologians because neither usually has a good understanding of the other.

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