Science

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Our world is knowable with astounding specificity. We record the birth of stars, track the paths of electrons, and decode genomes of living entities. When we ask questions of the natural world, we receive consistent answers about how the world operates. Science reveals to us an ordered world—a world consistent with an orderly God. It is inseparable from his continued revelation of himself to humanity. For this reason, science serves as a unique path in our pursuit of who God is and how we are to live faithfully before him.

 

Our Approach to Science

Introduction

For many, science and theology might best be described as having “irreconcilable differences.” Discourse around the two topics often results in confusion, division, and even hurt. This reality has not always been the case, nor must it continue to be. Theology and science are both searching for truth and a better understanding of how humanity relates to the created world of which it is a part.

The MI Approach to Science

Why Christians Should Care About Science

Our modern world has been uniquely characterized by the preeminence of science and scientific approaches to the pursuit of truth. This is understandable, since the discipline of science has answered questions that would grind the gears of any other discipline to a stop. Science has undoubtedly impacted our lives; scientific products help us live longer, produce more, and undertake new endeavours. Growing in our understanding of the scientific world allows us to better appreciate its work, and see how it complements the Christian life. 

Why Scientists Should Care About Christianity

The Christian story expands the impact and significance of science and its endeavours by providing a setting within which science has deep and prevailing meaning. As an act of love, God both allows for the world to demonstrate his created orderliness and yet continually upholds this order that sustains it. This broader story gives science the freedom to do what it does best: carefully investigate the way the world is, theorize how it came to be that way, and project the changes it will undergo. The Christian story provides a wider body of knowledge within which science and other complementary disciplines can be properly understood. While each academic discipline has its own set of limitations, they can together—when viewed in light of a biblical framework—provide a far more comprehensive response to a much broader range of questions.

The Compatibility Between the Bible and Science

Conversations between scientific and faith communities have not always been productive. Historic conflicts such as Galilean and Copernican defense of heliocentrism against the largely geocentric stance of the Catholic Church, and the Scopes Trial over the inclusion of evolutionary theory in education, are well known. Science and theology, however, share common ground in that they love truth and desire to seek it out.

Since our world is coherent, whatever is true is consistently true—whether that be gravity’s force or God’s love for the world—and remains true across all the different disciplines, even if not always apparently relevant. Historical problems, then, have not been the result of conflicting facts, but of conflicting perspectives (e.g. Galileo’s reading of the sky and the Catholic Church’s reading of the Bible). Science and theology both serve Christianity when they seek to answer questions appropriate to their discipline. When reading the articles that follow, consider which discipline is being asked to address the issues articulated.

Science as a Response to God’s Call to Humankind

Genesis tells us that part of our human vocation is to “subdue” the earth and exercise “dominion” over that which lives in it (Genesis 1:26,28). Science, through its investigation of the natural world, is vital to our fulfillment of this call, because it provides informed knowledge about the world in which we live. When we take into account the complex nature of human impact on the earth, scientific contributions become especially important. For instance, knowing how to best manage a river that is shared by millions of creatures demands a level of insight into the cumulative impact of individual actions that scientific methods uniquely provide. Science reveals to us how creation works, and adds richness and depth to the work of God’s hands we have been commissioned to cultivate.

How Scientists Can Serve the Church

As a scientist, exploring a world created, ordered, and sustained by God allows you to make a unique contribution to the church. Within the church, you can help Christians fall further in love with creation by explaining how the natural world works, and revealing how we fit within its processes. Your methodological approach to our love and pursuit of truth can encourage the church to strive for more precise answers, not settling for “rough and ready” answers. As an ambassador for the church in specialized and technical fields, you can provide an exemplar of someone whose discipline highly values logical progression and someone who is also full of faith. You are also well placed to voice the limitations of science, modeling a respect for other disciplines as more appropriately equipped to answer certain questions. In response to the articles that follow, consider how the church could be served by what is being presented.

Featured Resources

Other Science Resources

The truth about technology's greatest myth

Article: Tom Chatfield
Source: BBC

What My Daughter Wants You to Know About Prenatal Testing

Article: Amy Julia Becker
Source: Christianity Today

Medical practice: Reflections on the art of compassion

Article: Cameron Pierce
Source: Marketplace Institute

Part 6: The Metaphors We Use to Speak about God and Creation

Article: Paul Arnold
Source: Marketplace Institute

Standing up for GMOs

Article: Bruce Alberts et al.
Source: Science Magazine

A Beautiful Christian Bioethics

Article: John V. Gerardi
Source: Ethika Politika

Part 5: The Opening of Natural Science: Including God in Creation

Article: Paul Arnold
Source: Marketplace Institute

Part 4: The Entrenchment of Natural Science: Ignoring God in Creation

Article: Paul Arnold
Source: Marketplace Institute

Part 3: The Closing of Natural Science: Removing God from Creation

Article: Paul Arnold
Source: Marketplace Institute

Part 2: The Nature of Scientific Knowledge

Article: Paul Arnold
Source: Marketplace Institute

Part 1: A Theology of Science and Divine Action

Article: Paul Arnold
Source: Marketplace Institute

The "Most Significant" Photo Recently Taken from Space

Article: Megan Garber
Source: The Atlantic

Good Science Vs. Bad Science

Article: Julia Belluz
Source: Macleans

Did Scientists Really Discover the 'Gene That Makes Us Human'?

Article: Dave Unander
Source: Christianity Today

The Eugenic Impulse

Article: Nathaniel Comfort
Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Battle Ready? It May Be Possible to “Vaccinate” Soldiers Against the Trauma of War

Article: Unknown
Source: The Economist

Searching for a Cure to Violence

Article: Sharon Weinberger
Source: BBC

What Galileo's Telescope Can't See

Article: James K.A. Smith
Source: Christianity Today

Science and Faith in the Life of Michael Faraday

Article: Colin Russell
Source: The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion

It Ain’t Necessarily So: How Much Do Evolutionary Stories Reveal About the Mind?

Article: Anthony Gottlieb
Source: The New Yorker

How Are the Ages of the Earth and Universe Calculated?

Article: BioLogos
Source: BioLogos

Science, Such a Sweet Mystery

Article: David P. Barash
Source: LA Times

U.S. Students Know What, But Not Why

Article: Cathy Tran
Source: Science Insider

"God Particle" Found? "Historic Milestone" From Higgs Boson Hunters

Article: Ker Than
Source: National Geographic

Scientists and Belief

Article: David Masci
Source: The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

We Are All Cyborgs Now

Video: Amber Case
Source: TED: Ideas Worth Spreading

Humanity 2.0

Article: Steve Fuller
Source: RSA

Arguments from Design Don’t Prove; They Show

Article: John Stackhouse
Source: Stackblog

A Faith Journey in a Medical Science Career

Article: John Pohl
Source: BioLogos

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