“Children … well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science …” – Daniel 1:4
There are those who believe that science and religion are in conflict and that someone must choose whether they want to believe in science or believe in God. This is a false assertion.
Consider these thoughts from Do You Have to Choose Between Science and Religion? (whatwouldyousay.org): Many of the founders of modern science were Christians. Men like Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Faraday and Clerk-Maxwell were all firm believers in God. They weren’t scientists despite being Christians. It was their faith that moved them to want to discover more about the world they lived in.
As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Men became scientists because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a legislator.”
Far from hindering modern science, faith in God was one of the motors that drove it.
Many of the best scientists today are people of faith. Between 1901 and 2000, over 60 per cent of Nobel Laureates were Christians. If our best scientists are people with deep, sincere religious faith, there may be a misunderstanding by some about what religious faith is, but there cannot be an essential conflict between being a scientist and faith in God.
Science explains how. The Bible explains why.
Imagine there is a boiling pot of water and someone asks, “Why is this water boiling?” You could say, “Because heat energy from the gas flame is being conducted through the base of the pot and is agitating the molecules of the water causing the water to boil.”
This is a true statement. But, you could also answer by saying, “Because I wanted a cup of tea.” Though very different, this is also a true statement. One answer explains how the water boils, while the other answer explains why.
So, it is with science and the Bible. They are not in conflict, they are complimentary as we seek to understand both how and why.
Science can’t explain everything. Science describes the laws and nature, but it can’t explain where matter came from. It can’t explain how life began. It can’t explain the purpose of our lives, what it means to love, or why we desire to do things we know we shouldn’t do. It would be strange to not be curious about these big questions as well as scientific questions. It’s not only ok to think about things beyond the realm of science, it’s healthy.
Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church