Too often today we hear that science and religion, like so many other things, are just not compatible. On one hand, the heathens reject us on “scientific grounds,” and on the other, faithful Christians fall into the trap of ignoring science because they think there is a discontinuity as well.
This is false.
Yet another false dichotomy. But we have to remember that if there is a false dichotomy, there’s someone who thinks it isn’t false, and we need to understand why they think that way.
To begin with, we need to establish that the Word of God is sovereign over the word of man. Creeds, confessions, books, sermons, dissertations, theses, scientific discourse and the like are all good things, but they are all man-made and thus fallible. The only thing that is infallible is the Word of God, His Holy revealed Scripture.
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. – 2 Pet. 1:19-21
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. – Gal 1:10-12
First, I’ll address the Christians who ignore science. In other words, why is science, research, and the advancement of technology important for Christians?
Well, we are made in the image of God. The word in the Hebrew in Genesis 1:26 refers to a representative image, such as an ambassador. We see from this that we are to be like God, which I’m sure most of you know already.
What is God like, that we are to follow Him? In this area of studying the world, I’ll let the Bible speak for itself.
He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet the clouds are not broken under it. He covers the face of His throne, and spreads His cloud over it. He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke. He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm. – Job 26:7-12
“Have you entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war? By what way is light diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth? Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, or a path for the thunderbolt, to cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, a wilderness in which there is no man; to satisfy the desolate waste, and cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass? Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen. Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the belt of Orion? Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, ‘Here we are!’?” – Job 38:24-35
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north; the wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again. – Ecc. 1:6-7
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. – Isaiah 40:22
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. – Ps. 19:1-6
We see from this plethora of verses what the world itself proclaims to us: “God is great, and He made us, and not we ourselves.”
We may say to ourselves, “of course we knew that,” but all too often we either forget or sweep it under the table. We don’t want to appear simple in front of the searching eyes of the world, and so we hide our faith. Conversely, we proclaim our faith, but at the detriment of true knowledge of the world God has created.
There does not need to be a distinction here. The scientists who propelled our world into its current age never saw this distinction. Sir Isaac Newton, famous for his laws of motion, actually wrote more biblical treatises than scientific work throughout his life. He is little known for saying,
Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.
Leibniz, one of the fathers of calculus along with Newton, viewed God as a mathematician, and gave praise to Him for it.
Johannes Kepler, who formulated the laws of planetary motion, ended his book on the subject with this phrase:
Crying out with the royal Psalmist: Great is our Lord and great His virtue and of His wisdom there is no number: praise Him, ye heavens, praise Him, ye sun, moon, and planets, use every sense for perceiving, every tongue for declaring your Creator…To Him be praise, honour, and glory, wourld without end. Amen.
So we see that for these men, there was no distinction between faith and science. They didn’t feel they had to choose between God and research. In fact, they studied the motions of the heavens and physics of the earth because God had created them, and because he gave these men the skills to do so.
We have lost this view. The rift between science and religion grows ever greater. Many great scientists, however, have begun to reform. The Institute for Creation Research is a group of such scientists, who study their fields for God’s glory.
Even if our lives do not immediately meet science on the pagan’s own ground (doctors, engineers, physicists), it is still important for us to have a united view of the world. We are not Platists – this world is not dirty. We are not leaving this universe. Christ is coming back to stay. We have a duty to understand the world God made for us if we are to truly take dominion in His Name.
Don’t leave it to the ungodly.