Love is an amazing thing. The book of Proverbs talks about this (30:18-19): There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship in the heart of the sea, and the way of a man with a woman. This is a good passage for young couples today, because it has to do with love, and it has to do with science. Of course, the ancient proverb doesn’t ask any scientific questions outright. It looks at the world simply.
With amazement. But if you know anything at all about science, you know that amazement is not one of the principles. The very things that amazed ancient people, science can now explain. Like “the way of an eagle in the sky.” No doubt a bird in flight seemed magical at one time, but now we know there’s no miracle involved. The lift force is created by the action of air flow on the wing. Flying is science—just like snakes. The verse says that a snake slithering across a rock is amazing, but any seventh-grade science student can tell you that serpentine movement is an effect of scale friction and dynamic weight distribution. Science, people, explains it all.
The proverb can’t understand “the way of a ship in the heart of the sea,” because Archimedes had yet to explain the principle of upthrust or buoyancy. It gets less amazing when you know the science. But wait. The proverb counts not three but four amazing, incomprehensible things; and the fourth is when a man loves a woman. Surely, when we get to women and men and love, we’ve left the purview of science. Now we’re talking the magic that happens between a boy and his girl.
Scientists now tell us, however, that love isn’t magical at all. The human experience of love is not mysterious, and it’s not even limited to humans. Prairie voles and Eurasian beavers fall in love and are monogamous for life. Neurobiologists tell us that what we describe as love is actually a set of natural behaviors common in response to neuropeptide expression. Turns out love is science, too. Of course the biblical proverb doesn’t ask any scientific questions. It looks at the world simply.
With amazement. Science, however, doesn’t deal with amazement; and because it doesn’t, there are facts of our lives that science can’t talk about. Science describes, but it can’t explain. And when something can’t be explained, we stand amazed. Love is one of those things. We can tell a love story, but love itself can’t be told. There’s mystery and magic with it, amazement. It’s amazing, because love is from God.
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