Science & the gospel, i

  • Sumo

The point of this series is to consider how faith in Christ transforms our view of science.

And I’m using Two Ways To Live (TWTL) to shape the series: six TWTL points – six posts on science. Each point has an image in addition to short summary statements.

The first part of TWTL is this:

God is the loving ruler of the world.

He made the world.

He made us rulers of the world under him.


Creation is a good place to start!

God made things. He made everything good. He made all things with order, coherence and purpose. The purpose is essentially relational, as opposed to mechanical: God is loving ruler. People are part of creation and consequently not above creation. Yet people are also different from the rest of the made things – we have been given a task that is somewhat God-shaped: God is the ruler who has given some rule to us.

What does this mean for Christians and science?

This gospel truth establishes a fundamental condition for science to exist: order. If there is not order, then nothing is predictable or repeatable. Both repetition and prediction are assumed in science – and in life generally. I think they are so basic to modern life that we don’t even notice them. But why should it be so? Why should it not be that today is 24 hours but tomorrow 24 minutes? Why is the gravitational constant constant?

Science has the tools to investigate order. Science does not have the tools to explain order itself. The Bible does. Order is a gift from God, a demonstration of his kingly mastery over all that we can see.

True science, therefore, honours the mighty kingship of God the creator. Every discovery uncovers what God has desired, achieved and known from start of time. Science has a genuine, ‘Wow! That’s how it works!’ – be that at the subatomic scale, terrestrial scale, or universal scale.

A further point: the story of creation shows us that science is essentially human. God himself needs no test tubes, of course, so science is not divine. Neither does a horse or a dolphin perform the sort of investigations that we label ‘science.’ Animals do not make scientific discovery, because their given role does not include to ‘rule the world under him’.

I deliberately chose the word essentially. Science is one way that the essence of all humanity comes to expression. So what? The big deal is: you can do good science with no regard at all for God. All you need is to be human, even if you are a human out of relationship with the Creator. God does not revoke his gift of ‘humanness’, even if a scientist is extremely ‘angry-atheist’. It’s not a good thing to ignore God, of course! But ignoring God does not nullify scientific discoveries made by an unredeemed investigator.

There’s plenty more to say about science at this point, but I will make just one more point. Creation is full of relationship, so science also is relational. God’s rule is loving. We find out, over the course of the biblical narrative, that the true God is one and yet also in trinity. That is, love is an eternal and internal dynamic of the Creator. No wonder love is his stamp on the world!

Further, when people are created in the image of God, this is both male and female (Genesis 1:27). Humans are made in and for relationship: with each other, with God, with the rest of the created order. Science done well reflects this. Consider how problems are solved in teams. Or the comment of Newton crediting modern insight to the ability to ‘stand on the shoulders of giants.’ Even think of the scientific culture (sadly eroded by proprietary secrecy and patents) that all data are to be shared openly, being published for all to read.

Science needs creation. Or to flip this coin over: God created science. Science done well is one of the many human tasks that points, however feebly, to the worthiness of God the creator.

Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power
for you created all things and by your will they existed and were created.
Revelation 4:11