Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him: Christians Can Believe In and Teach Science - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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July 15, 2020

Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him: Christians Can Believe In and Teach Science

Can people of faith also believe in science? Can Christians teach science and remain faithful to their beliefs? Some people are convinced that science and Christianity are incompatible, that these two terms are at odds with each other, like oil and vinegar. However, with the proper approach, science and Christianity mesh together naturally, as the Creator intended. Just as oil and vinegar create an appetizing salad dressing, anyone who desires to do so can find well-orchestrated compatibility between the Word of God and science.

British evolutionary biologist, ethologist, popular-science author and atheist, Richard Dawkins, is a staunch supporter of the former point of view and believes that good science can destroy religious faith. In his book, The God Delusion, he declares, “If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.” He contends that science and religion are incompatible.

On the other side of the coin, science can’t provide all the answers. In the Church by the Bay’s video, Christ and Science, the speaker provides an excellent example demonstrating the relationship between science and God. The speaker held up a freshly-baked cake and explained that science and scientists can provide lots of information about the cake: A physicist could give us the cake’s dimensions and specifications, a chemist could address the chemical properties of the cake’s ingredients, and a biologist could tell us about the living organisms that went into the making of the cake such as the wheat, eggs and yeast. But no amount of science can tell us who made the cake, why it was made and its intended purpose. That specific information can only be provided by the person who made the cake–the baker.

Scientists can provide all kinds of information about the planet and all that it contains, but just as the baker (creator) of the cake is the only one who can provide this information about the cake, only God, our creator, through His revelatory Word, can answer the questions of who made the world, why it was made and for what purpose.

Although science isn’t faith-based, nor is the Bible a science book, the Bible reveals certain scientific truths concerning the earth even before man became aware of them. In Isaiah 40:22, the Bible reveals the earth is round, referring to “the circle of the earth,” yet early scientists believed the earth to be flat. Job 26:7 tells us the earth is suspended in space saying, “He (God) suspends the earth over nothing,” imparting this knowledge to us long before science understood it. Early scientists also believed the earth was the center of the universe but the Bible tells us in Psalm 19:6 that the sun, moon and earth have a circuit, saying this about the sun, “It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other.”

Although the Bible contains scientific facts such as these, it was never intended to be a book of scientific facts. Instead, the Bible is a history of God’s relationship with man. Additionally, it is a book that teaches us about God, his eternal covenants, and what he expects from us, His creation. Attempting to force the Bible to be a scientific book is like taking a history book or a book on relationships and trying to force either of them to follow scientific rules.

Therefore, a Christian can believe in the Bible and science because the Bible is intended for use by those who are seeking a deeper, permanent relationship with God. Galileo Galilei, a devout Christian who viewed religion and science as interrelated, described this relationship saying, “God is known by nature in His works, and by doctrine in His revealed word,” and the “Bible teaches men how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”

And, despite many atheists’ desire to believe they have a monopoly on intelligent reason, Christianity and science can coexist. In fact, many well-known scientists, such as Galileo, were also devout Christians. Many Christians are responsible for the scientific advances that form the foundations of modern science.

Consider the controversial Charles Darwin. He explicitly denied being an atheist, yet his theories and scientific beliefs were in direct conflict with religion. He repeatedly used the word “Creator” in his writings, wrote a poem mocking atheism and stated that there was no reason a person couldn’t believe in evolution and be religious at the same time.

Unlike Darwin, whose theories conflicted with religion, there are plenty of other well-known scientists, who experienced no conflict between their faith and their scientific beliefs.

The father of microbiology, the developer of pasteurization, and one of the founders of bacteriology, Louis Pasteur, had deep religious convictions and was a well-known scientist. His son-in-law said this about Pasteur, “Absolute faith in God and in Eternity, and a conviction that the power for good given to us in this world will be continued beyond it, were feelings which pervaded his whole life; the virtues of the gospel had ever been present to him.”

So, yes, you can be a Christian and teach or believe in science. When you do, you’ll find yourself in very distinguished company. In fact, many Christian scientists believe that scientific pieces of evidence discovered in nature cannot be correctly interpreted outside the framework of the Word of God.

Other well-known Bible-believing scientists include George Washington Carver, Carl Linnaeus, Francis Bacon, Johann Kepler, Blasé Pascal, Lord Kelvin and Samuel F. B. Morse. Johann Kepler coined a phrase that became a motto that was adopted by many Christian scientists, indicating that scientific research, ideas and discovery were “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” He also believed that scientists must guard against the propensity to “glorify our own minds instead of giving God the glory.”

If a career in science is your calling, you’ll join the ranks of many other men and women who glorify God through their scientific endeavors. Geneva has several programs that will equip you to serve God and pursue a career in science. If you like to learn more about a science profession or any other profession that enables you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your education goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email admissions@geneva.edu.