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Listen while you read: "Jesus Friend Of Little Children"1 (Lyrics)
Having recently retired from being a Professor of Biology, I find the transition strange. No longer Professor, I am Professor Emeritus, and have the privilege of carrying on what I have been doing over the last couple of decades: on the biological side, exploring the physiology of sexual reproduction in blood-feeding insects, and on the theological side, more fully understanding the relationship between science and my Christian faith. When I am asked, "How is retirement treating you?" it is difficult to say. Except for not having courses to teach, I haven't really stopped doing what I have been doing. But the transition has occurred, and like any recent retiree, I do need to consider that my life has changed, and to ponder how I can be used by the Lord in the future.
As I now take stock of where I am, and where I might be heading, I can truly empathize with the apostle Paul when he wrote:
1 Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (KJV)
With my insect research, there are some things that we know in part, but more studies and more experiments need to be conducted before we can truly know the whole story. From my experience, I have found that science actually works like that. Every time we publish a paper answering one particular question, another question rises from our work which also needs to be explored and answered. When people assure me that science has proven without a doubt that such-and-such is a fact which is beyond question, I do have a bit of a chuckle. Let them wait a decade, or a year, or even a week, and that fact could very well be superseded by yet another scientific study.
Similarly, the study of faith and science has given rise to a number of theories and world views, each of which often depends on the prevailing scientific opinions, and the thoughts of well-respected philosophers and theologians. As with the case for many scientific theories, every time a particular explanation or interpretation of a passage of the Bible is proposed — and has even gained popular support — it often leads to even more questions that need to be answered.
What I have learned from this life experience in science and Christianity is that the more we discover, the more we realize that what we do know, we know only in part. Moreover, it is also very important that we continue to ask and seek answers to questions. If we accept the latest popular scientific theories or interpretations of Scripture without question, and believe that we know the whole truth, we will be missing out on what science and the Bible can really tell us. I once heard of a Christian who no longer reads the Bible. Why? He read the Bible once, so why read it again? He hasn't realized that the Bible is full of wonderful mysteries and stories that come alive as we diligently explore the questions that they pose.
Will we ever know everything? According to Paul, not on this side of eternity. He had the best theological educator of the time, and he may have even visited heaven. Yet, he still admitted that he knew only in part. Like Paul, I hope that all Christians will continue to have questions that will prompt us to delve into the Scripture and to get to know our Lord and His Word more deeply. Now that's something to look forward to!
Prayer: Dear Lord, we pray that we will never stop seeking to know more of You and more of Your love for us. Keep our minds open to explore Your Word and Your works, and empower us to share the gospel by filling our hearts with Your love. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Thanks for the good word, Gary.
A great testimonial linking God, science, and faith. Thank you.
What a great devotional you wrote.
Thank you, Gary, for sharing this thought-provoking devotional with us today. Blessings.
Amen. Amen. Amen. Thanks for contributing a devotional. You write very well, and I look forward to reading more from you in the future.
Great devotional Mr. Chiang. Thank you. We must never stop learning and listening with an open mind and more than anything … and open heart.
Thank you for your inspiring devotional. Maybe one of your new ‘vocations’ will be to write more devotionals.
I enjoyed reading “Now I Know In Part.” What a perspective to have the scientific background and be able to relate it to your faith! Thank you.
I enjoyed your words so much. I often wonder why people believe that they know how things will be when they die and who will be there!! Very interesting thoughts. Thanks.
Thank you so much for wonderfully balanced comment. I am married to an Emeritus Prof whom I love dearly but has been a non-believer as long as I’ve known him and is totally dismissive of scripture. I wonder if your piece will stimulate discussion? I pray that it will!
Thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking devotional.
I attended a retreat whose theme was Celtic Christianity.
It was a subject that I didn’t know anything about and I learned a lot. Also, about the Iona community in Scotland.
It made me think a lot and in a different way. And it brought me great peace.
Thank you for this devotional. Very thoughtful words to ponder, and seeking the Lord’s direction in our lives is an interesting aspect each day as we discover what he has planned for us.
Dear Gary, your comments are true and inspiring. Even Bible passages I have read and loved many times when read again contain a new concept I missed before. The Holy Spirit makes the Bible relevant and timeless. I have never retired. I have many unfinished tasks. These get interrupted and delayed by current events and attitudes every day. I am 97 and still learning fresh outlooks on political, social, extended family and spiritual issues.
Dear Dr. Chiang,
Thank you for a very meaningful devotional!
May you have a blessed retirement and may your continued research result in wonderful new truths about God’s Word and world; and may you continue to be stimulated by intriguing new questions.
Grace and peace.
Thank you for your devotional today.
You wrote: (that the Bible is full of wonderful mysteries and stories that come alive as we diligently explore the questions that they pose.)
The Bible does in fact have many wonderful mysteries and stories one of my favorite mysteries is found in Ephesians 3:3 where Paul speaks about the mystery that God revealed to him concerning the gospel of grace. Thank you for writing.
Thank you for your thoughtful devotion, Gary, and congratulations on your retirement. My husband and I have our retirement years busy and fulfilling. I have just about completed reading through Eugene Peterson’s Biblical interpretation, “The Message.” Your devotional reminded me that when I finished reading the third chapter of Revelation and Peterson’s commentary, I was reminded as I often am… goodness, there is so much I have to learn.
Thank you again.
Your very encouraging words concerning scientific discovery and faith were so helpful to me today. Growing up in an academic setting, I have heard all the usual old platitudes about the spiritual life being incompatible with true science. Words from a real scientist who is still discovering mean so much in this context. Also wonderful to me was your use of plain English to make very clear a complex life work and on top of that, how it relates to the Christian life – without any blinkers on at all! Yay for an ability to enhance understanding! I will always see this scripture, now, in the light of your words.
This was a very interesting devotional, thank you! When I got to the part, ‘prompt us to delve into the Scriptures’ etc. made me want to send you info that you might find very interesting and maybe you know about it already.
The small groups at my church, and there are several, are doing a series, I think it is called, Living the Story. One of my friends who has been leading small groups for many years told me, it is really great, people are getting into it and getting something out of it. A closer relationship with Jesus and a better understanding of the Scriptures.
Thank you for your thoughtful devotional. I am a retired pastor-chaplain who will soon be 87 years old, and I majored in biology and was always fascinated with chiropractics and reflexology and especially like how the Psalmist talks about how God knit us together –Psalm 139:13-14 so He must have a knitting plan for our bodies to heal and renew us. I am now reading the Bible more than ever before reading the Daily Lectionary Readings as well as reading 5 Psalms and 1 Proverb every day beginning the 1st of the month. I am also blessed by attending Bible Study Fellowship. I appreciate your challenge to study more and keep on learning what God is saying to us as the Holy Spirit helps us and inspires us to walk humbly with the Lord.
Retiring. Well when my husband retired at 60 it was a perfect timing for daughters as they had children who needed minding. My husband enjoyed minding the girls – the younger one took on the job of making sure grandpa had a nap. She had to lie down with him. This was one way to get the little one to nap toddlers can be very insistent they do not need a rest.
By the time I retired the grandchildren were in school all day so only needed us on break times.
That little one was worried how was Grandpa ever going to get naps since she would not be here to look after him.
Enjoy your retirement.
Dear Gary Chiang,
Keep thinking and writing. I pray for a God-directed retirement time for you.