Chemistry is the science of matter that deals with the composition, structure, and properties of substances and with the transformations that they undergo. Chemistry also investigates the interaction of matter with energy. In other words, chemistry is extremely important to understand and manipulate the "stuff" of the physical universe; as such, it is often called the central science.
From a Unification perspective, several points can be made:
- The study of chemistry has led to (a) theoretical understanding of the materials studied, and (b) their practical applications. The theoretical development demonstrates that materials not only have their unique, external structures and properties, but also that these structures and properties are governed by invisible physicochemical principles. Unification Thought points out that all entities have these two dimensions: an internal, invisible dimension (corresponding to the invisible principles); and an external, measurable dimension. These two dimensions form a complementary pair, and both are needed for the entity to exist and function.
- Many compounds are made up of cations and anions, which are balanced such that the overall compounds are electrically neutral. In other compounds, atoms are held together by covalent bonds, which involve the sharing of electron pairs, rather than by cation-anion interactions. Although the atoms themselves are electrically neutral, covalent bonds depend on interactions between the negatively charged electrons and the positively charged protons in the atomic nuclei. The pairing of positively and negatively charged entities constitutes another example of complementary pairs found in the natural world, and the interactions between the charged entities demonstrate "give-and-take" (or giving and receiving) interactions between complementary pairs of entities. As noted by Unification Thought, interactions between complementary pairs of entities form the basis for the existence and action (function) of entities, and for the generation of new entities (such as new molecules).
- Many chemicals are essential for life. They are present in our foods and beverages, and many are produced in and used by our bodies to help keep us alive. Chemical substances are also widely used in laboratory research and industrial processes. Thus, these compounds are part of the natural order and they serve our needs in diverse ways. In Unification Thought terminology, they "serve the purpose of the whole."
- A number of chemicals are poisonous and can harm human health and the environment. Yet, by investigating the properties of both toxic and nontoxic chemicals, handling them responsibly, and using them in beneficial ways, we manifest intellectual and creative capabilities that are far superior to those of any other species in the natural world. These faculties of intellect, creativity, and responsible action are connected to our spiritual dimension, which other species lack. In addition, they give us the ability to exert stewardship over the created world, an ability that is part of God's blessing to humanity.
- The division of chemistry into various subdisciplines has been a matter of convenience for researchers who wish to focus on one area or other. However, there is much overlap among the various subdisciplines, demonstrating that the natural world is not compartmentalized in this manner but forms a unified whole. Unification Thought encourages us to consider nature from an overall, unified perspective, and to think about the unity of the sciences in general, so that we do not get lost in the details of various specializations.
- The contribution of chemistry to the larger good is a reflection of the nature of the Creator, who is committed to living for the benefit of all of creation. One lesson we can learn is that we too need to develop generosity of spirit and live for the sake of others. As we grow in our ability to bring God's love to others, we can create the climate in which others can experience and express God's love as well. In this manner, we can create an environment of peace and happiness in our world.