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Science and God

As Christian young people, we often face difficult problems in our relationship to the world. Not the least of these problems arises when we are confronted with the world of science. We study the physical world around us in order to determine or establish general facts, to categorize these facts, to find relationships between these facts, to determine laws explaining these relationships and to find ways of using the laws and accumulated facts in a manner beneficial to man.
Lest anyone condemn this very general definition of science on the basis that it excludes God, let me point out that it only excludes God if you refuse to admit His Presence there. Rather, I feel that it is both possible and necessary to carry on all the activities in the field of science in a way that is pleasing and glorifying to God.
Through science we have learned that disease is caused by viruses and bacteria rather than by evil spirits and humours as the people of ages past have feared. Has not this new knowledge given us a better understanding of God’s creation, enabling us to see God in His handiwork? Already in the beginning of time, Adam was given the mandate to have dominion over the earth and to replenish and subdue it (Gen. 1:28). This mandate is no less binding for us today. Science, far from being anathema to the Christian, is and ought to be a door open to the fulfillment of this command of God.
All of us almost subconsciously fulfill this command of God. We are all amateur scientists. When we go to bed each night, we know that the sun will rise the next morning unless God intervenes. But why are we so certain that the sun will rise? Of course, there is the matter of trust in God. We have faith that He will cause the sun to rise as usual. Still, what gives us the idea that the sun is supposed to rise in the first place? When the first awareness of life around us dawned on our being, the sun was following its course in the heavens. Through the years of our lives we have been constantly collecting data, both consciously and subconsciously, to the effect that the sun rises each morning. You collected data, then made the generalization that the sun rises each morning. You have made a scientific observation, you too are a scientist!
Not only are we all scientists, but we can and should use the accomplishments and knowledge provided by the professional scientist in the fulfillment of our God-given tasks. And we ought to be completing these tasks to the glory of His name. Indeed, we can be thankful to God for the achievements He has wrought through the professional chemists, biologists and physicists in such areas as drug development, surgical techniques, electricity, the telephone and the kinetic theory of matter. The list is almost endless. The fact that these gifts were given by God through sinful man ought not to obscure their use by Christian man to the glory of God’s name. How much more difficult our ministry of the Truth of God to a Godless generation would be if it were not for the radio. Science itself is not necessarily Godless, rather, it is some scientists who try to function without God.
Why is it then that we do not give thanks for the fact of science and for the opportunity we are given to exploit science for God’s glory? Why is science constantly pictured as a wicked tool in the hands of Satan? Why are we constantly warned that the Devil is using science to draw is away from God and the truth of the Scriptures? How often have we not heard that “Science tries to do away with God and the Bible,” or “science steals God’s glory by trying to explain the wonders of the creation in physical terms”? The attitude and approach often seems to be one of constant condemnation.
I do not intend to imply that the Devil is not using scientists to draw us away from God and His Word. It is all too obvious that many professional scientists are dedicated to the destruction of the Church and of God’s Truth. But this does not mean that all science is therefore evil. Nor does it mean that we should shy away from all worldly scientists and their observations. It is not our duty to isolate ourselves from the scientific community. Rather, it is our calling to sift through all of the developments, accomplishments and theories of the professional scientists and then use whatever we can in a way pleasing to God. We can, for example, use the radio to broadcast the Truth. We also ought to be able to better appreciate the wonder of God’s handiwork through the study of the cell. Furthermore, we should encourage capable young people to enter fields of science in the hope that they may aid in the development of theories and techniques to further reveal God in the world around us. In a real and vital way, we, as scientists can say with the psalmist: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.” Ps. 19:1.

Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 3 May 1969