To know God and to make Him known.

Percolating Awe

Last week in my Challenge B class, I was fervently attempting to cover our introductory material for chemistry. There was plenty to discuss and the concepts were new to the students. Hence, I knew there would be some deer-in-the-headlights reactions to some of the concepts.

Contrary to my expectations, as we talked through the material many questions arose. I explained that the electrical charge of the infinitesimally small electron was exactly equal to the electrical charge of the much larger proton. Figuring this concept was easy enough to understand, I was a bit perturbed when the questions came. “Why?” they asked. “Why is the charge the same? If the sizes are so drastically different, why is the charge the same?” “They just are,” said I. We needed to move on to other concepts. “What if they were different?” was the response.

At this point, my frustration dissolved as I began to realize that this was one of those “teachable moments” we often hear about. However, this teachable moment… was for me. I was learning that this is what it looks like when people wonder at God’s creation; I was watching awe percolate to the surface. The students were filled with wide-eyed wonder at how amazing God’s creation is. And because of that, they were learning first-hand the art of inquiry: discover, marvel, contemplate, and inquire.

As an admittedly unashamed advertising pitch, I highly recommend attending this summer’s 3-Day Parent Practicum, as you will be taken through the same process!

Why is it important to marvel, to be filled with awe, to inquire about God’s creation? Romans 1:20 tells us that “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” And while God’s qualities, His nature, can be found in any subject, for me the study of science simply places God’s characteristics right before my eyes.

What can we learn by inquiring into God’s creation? Every science course in the Challenge program teaches us about God’s characteristics. In Challenge A, for example, the students learn that bees communicate in ways that (smart as we think we are) we cannot yet understand. Are these communication methods the product of random chance? Students can see God’s purpose in everything He has created. Challenge B gives them a first glimpse into chemistry, showing them that God’s creation—while marred by human sin—still has so many indications of His perfection that one would need to be deliberately blind not to see it. In Challenge I, physical science takes the students on a journey through God’s earth. They learn amazing things about a wide variety of our earth’s physical aspects. They learn that God’s power is evident in all things in all places; they begin to discover the omnipresence of His power. Challenge II launches the detailed study of biology. The students begin to see the remarkable intentionality of God when they understand that He created cells that are self-sufficient, self-replicating, with specific designs for specific tasks. In the Challenge III chemistry class, the students learn how math is intricately intertwined with life. They learn that a few fairly basic things make up all that exists. They discover that the effects of chemical interactions can be predicted with absolute certainty, whether they occur yesterday, today, or tomorrow. They experience the unchanging consistency of God’s nature. And in Challenge IV, their physics class imparts to their eager minds the astonishing utility of His natural laws. They learn that only the incomprehensible intelligence of God could have crafted such sophisticated, yet straightforward, laws.

In my mind, God created all that exists for two simple reasons: He created so we could discover Him and He created because of His indescribable love for His highest creation, humans, whom He created in His own image. That is a humbling thought. With this in mind, how can science ever be boring? Take a few minutes each day to marvel at God’s astounding creation and experience awe as it percolates to the surface.

CATEGORIES: Articles, Big Ideas: Truth, Beauty, Goodness and more!, Dialectic Stage (ages 12 to 14), Grammar Stage (ages 4 to 11), Homeschooling Life, Rhetoric Stage (ages 14 to 18)

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