“I am an attorney and would like to speak to you.” Those can be ominous words, but it was actually a request for help.
Please allow a biographical note. I received a theological education after becoming a licensed civil engineer. My area of expertise is stormwater. This has implications for bridges, roads, lakes, and drainage systems. I continued in practice until a few years ago when I accepted an instructor position.
The heart of stormwater engineering is understanding the part of the hydrologic cycle that predicts volume and rate of rainfall runoff. So, when the attorney called and said a business was suing the city over flooding, he wanted me to determine what happened and how to prevent it. The hydrologic science tells the story.
Do science and theology mix? Of course! The Creator reveals much of Himself through the predictable order of nature. One of the world’s greatest scientists admitted as much. Einstein said that the pursuit of science makes you aware of “a spirit vastly superior to that of man.” He was amazed that mankind could describe the universe in mathematical formulas. Engineers rely on that predictability.
Science and theology mix when science is an apt metaphor for a spiritual truth. The hydrologic cycle is such a metaphor. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth. It will not return to Me empty without accomplishing what I desire” (Isa. 55:10-11).
What an image! God’s word gives life, refreshes, and cleanses. It is predictable, visible, and constantly at work. And it produces what God desires. The power of God’s word is evident because it brought the universe into being. “The worlds were prepared by the word of God” (Heb. 11:3). We know that Word to be a person, Jesus, through whom all things came into being (John 1:3).
What does God’s Word accomplish? How does His Word not return to Him empty? The answer is in this: “I desire compassion, and not sacrifice, for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:13). God showers compassion on you by creating you and the world you live in. He has compassion by calling you to receive His great gift from the cross, forgiveness of sins. When you are reconciled to God by faith, the Word accomplishes what He desires. The cycle continues when others see the power of the Word in you.
God designed nature to be predictable and to reveal its Creator and His purposes. When the rain falls and the creek swells, it proclaims that God’s Word does not return to Him void. Send it forth, Lord!