Science versus Faith

Proverbs 25:2

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”

Ever since the expulsion from the Garden of Eden people have been trying to figure things out with varying degrees of success. Curiosity about the world around us is just a part of what makes us human. Whether it is a baby discovering and exploring his or her own fingers and toes or an astronomer peering through a telescope, humans have this need to understand the world around us. Most times this is a good thing, but like anything else it can be taken too far. Today I want to look at science, particularly how it stands in relation to faith. I personally think that science is a basically good thing, for it has led to an understanding of Creation that is broad and deep and technological advances that have transformed our world, for better or worse. Without science we would not have refrigerators to keep our food fresh or the Internet for you and I to communicate with each other. Without medical science we would know next to nothing about cancer or Hepatitus C or any number of diseases; without medical science I and probably some of you would not be alive to have this conversation. But science can be taken too far. I define science as the means by which we learn about the mechanics of how God ordered this universe, from the farthest galaxy to the tiniest subatomic particle. That is, at the core, all that science can hope for. Understanding the mechanisms by which God has ordered the weather to work has given us the sometimes iffy field of meteorology and the ability to forecast deadly storms such as hurricanes. Science is based on what can be observed through one means or another, and when they stick more or less to that they are on fairly solid ground; when they start talking about esoteric theoretical ideas like string theory they lose credibility with me. But like everything else, science can fall short of the goal, and scientists themselves are flawed and fallible people just like every other person on the planet. I’m reminded of how for many centuries the science of astronomy erroneously taught that the earth was the center of everything and that the sun orbited the earth, until guys like Copernicus and Galileo showed otherwise and the old Ptolemaic system had to be scrapped. I remember when I was a preteen the big debate in geoscience was the at the time relatively new theory of plate tectonics, whih has been since shown accurate and very few people, and fewer geologists, argue against. But we can take it too far, and with typical human short-sightedness we cannot see where it will lead us. Pushing science and technology too far has led to the controversial science of genetic engineering, the rise of RFID chip technology, and of course nuclear weapons. One mistake we have made is to assume that scientists always know what they are talking about; they do not. The biggest mistake I think we have made relative to science is to elevate science and its practitioners to godlike priority over everything else, and that brings me back to my original point, which is the relationship between science and faith. Some people see science as being some kind of Satanic wool pulled over our eyes, while others see it as the ultimate judge of what is real or not. Both positions are dead wrong. Science, when used properly and with the right mindset, can be a blessing to the human race. Remember, God gave us minds that think not just because He could, but so that we would use them, and it is interesting to note how many scientists through the centuries have firmly believed in God. But we must keep science in its proper place. Science, once again, merely studies the mechanics of how God has ordered Creation, but it does not explain the bigger question of why. But where most people go wrong is when they try to eliminate God from the equation. The big bang theory is a pretty good way of explaining how the universe came into being, but it cannot address what existed before our universe exploded into being nor can it explain why it happened in the first place. What matters to me is not so much the hows and whys it was done, but the fact that it was done in the first place. Human arrogance assumes that we should be able to figure everything out scientifically, but when you try to avoid taking God into account you will just fail miserably. Science is like everything else we humans do, it is flawed and limited and often wrong. We are told that blessed are those who believe without having seen and I agree with that completely. We aren’t meant to understand it all, at least not in this age. Pursue scientific knowledge and technological advancement, particularly in those fields that help other people, but do so in submission to God and acknowledging His supremacy as Lord and Creator. If you can do that you are doing pretty well, I think. Look at Luke, the gospel writer, who was a physician, which made him a man of science; but he was also a man of great faith, and when it comes down to it that is why we remember him. Don’t try to condemn humanity to barbaric ignorance, but at the same time don’t lose sight of what is most important, submission to God and faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Peace and grace be unto you all.

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