Faith and religion can be believed in tandem, according to Robert Kaita, the principal research physicist for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. Kaita spoke on this “One Truth” during Wednesday chapel in the Neely Dining Hall.
“My parents taught me about the world around us and the Bible in the same way,” said the Princeton University professor. “God wrote the book of nature when he created the world and he created the book of the Bible when he gave people his Word.”
During his lecture, Kaita outlined several early scientists that believed in God. Among them was Johannes Kepler, who authored the three Laws of Planetary Motion.
“When he has returned from church and entered on the study of astronomy, may he praise and glorify the wisdom and greatness of the creator. Let him not only extol the bounty of God in the preservation of living creatures of all kinds by the strength and stability of the earth, but also let him acknowledge the wisdom of the Creator in its motion, so abstruse, so admirable,” Kepler wrote in Astronomia Nova.
Isaac Newton explained gravity and believed God set the planets into motion, Kaita said. Other scientists he cited were physicists Richard Feynman and James Maxwell and Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes.
“Faith is necessary for the scientist to get started. You have to have faith that the universe is comprehensible in order to understand science,” Kaita said. “On the other hand, I am a realist and understand the conflict between faith and science. The debate on creation and evolution has nothing to do with fossil records and how it fits with genealogy. The fundamental issue is your world view versus mine.”
Kaita will return to Belmont next summer for the American Scientific Affiliation’s 2013 National Conference, of which he is program chairman. The conference to take place on campus is the largest annual meeting of Christians in the sciences.