On an unseasonably warm, sunny day at the end of April in my fourteenth year I experienced the synergy of science and faith in my own life. Walking to the library I passed through the piebald branch pattern of shade by a neighborhood school and looked up at the tree throwing it there. I stopped. Surveying the movement of the branches in the cooling breeze I thought about the complexity of each part of the tree, the tree itself, and the tree in its environment. Then, I raised my hand, splaying my fingers simulating what the oak looked like and was overcome by the complexity of my hand, the human body, and then all of us together. My observation (a step in the process of science) connected to the limited knowledge base I had at my disposal at the time (my starting point or bias) led me to a supposition that only my heart could spiritually verify (faith) and all the evidence that I would carefully review (interpret) later would fit it better and better: only God could make the tree…and me! You can reconcile faith and science, in fact, the best science happens inside the framework of the best faith. Galileo, Newton, Faraday, Linnaeus, Boyle, Kelvin, Mendel, Copernicus, Herschel, Pasteur, Dalton, Ramsay, Pascal, and Kepler were all highly recognized scientists who trusted God at His word and then pursued science with astonishing, beneficial results.1
20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.2
Scientists use the word prediction. Prediction is a step in the scientific method.3 It is clear to me that Scripture calls us to avoid simply deriding a prophecy or a prediction but to critically examine what has been predicted and ferret out what is beneficial. Scripture calls us to do science.
An astrophysicist, Dr. Jason Lisle, has written compellingly, “If the universe and our minds are simply the results of time and chance, as the atheist contends, why would we expect that the mind could make sense of the universe? How could science and technology be possible?” Dr. Lisle continues with, “Rational thinking, science, and technology make sense in a Christian worldview. The Christian has a basis for these things; the atheist does not. This is not to say that atheists cannot be rational about some things. They can because they too are made in God’s image and have access to God’s laws of logic. But they have no rational basis for rationality within their own worldview.” 4
True science is discovering more and more about what God has said. We best understand what he has said by making our starting point His word, submitting every prediction to his logic, the biblical framework that convinced Isaac Newton and all the other scientists mentioned above and many others besides that they really could discover the truth. They really could unravel the mysteries of God’s creation and provide beneficial service to their brothers and sisters in that pursuit.
Please do some extracurricular reading. For a logical approach to this issue start with one of Dr. Lisle’s books, The Ultimate Proof of Creation.5 Then go to the three engaging websites mentioned next. Use the search terms “science v faith” with these two: www.creation.com, www.icr.org, and download and read the Adobe PDFs at http://www.wernergitt.de/down_eng.html. Start with “Scientific laws of information and their implications-part 1”. I invite you to E-mail me to share the details of your journey with faith and science. Also send specific questions and comments and ask for other sources of study on this topic at email@example.com.
Review the following scriptures on your own and in groups this week as you read through the materials above: Acts 17:22-31, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Exodus 20:11, Proverbs 1:7, Colossians 2:2-3, John 3:12, Romans 1:20, and Hebrews 11:1.
Discuss with members of your group and ask yourself:
1. Since we do not have to check our brains at the door of the church OR the lab; how do we address apparent conflict with our faith and science?
2. Describe your early journey with science and faith.
3. What does the phrase “loving the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength” stir up in you?
4. Discuss with your group or write for yourself your plans to understand how the best science happens inside the framework of the best faith.
Memorize: 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21
Additional personal or group actions and questions:
1. Rate your trust of God’s word with one being marginal, if any, and ten being total. Write or say a brief sentence about why this is so.
2. What early mile markers (like my experience with a tree) exist in your life that has helped determine your starting point or bias?
2 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 NLT