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 second part of TWTL is:
We all reject the ruler-God-by trying to run life our own way without him.
But we fail to rule ourselves or society or the world.
What will God do about this rebellion?
After the beauty of creation comes the ugliness of human evil. This problem is universal: every person is evil, all creation is touched with the resultant confusion.
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside …
One consequence of sin is disorder in creation. When humans stepped out of their right role and correct relation with God, the whole of creation changed. It’s still creation, and the truth of order we noted in part (i) is still true. But now order is muddled up with disorder. Creation remains God’s wonderful work of art, now defaced with acid and sledgehammer.
As a result, some parts of science have only been possible since sin’s entry to the world. For example, cancer research, or psycho-pathology. In other words, theologically we can divide science into a science of order, and a science of disorder. Is there any difference in method between the two? I think not – the methods all arise from God’s gift at creation. Sin does not add anything to the world, all it can do is break what God made good.
A second consequence of sin has very serious implications for science, however. Bad science will be inhuman & un-relational. The sin of Genesis 3 led to discord between man and woman, and between God and people. Formerly the relationships were loving, trusting and open. Afterwards the relationships were bitter, full of accusation and hiding.
Therefore, I am never surprised at unloving science. Scientists are gossips and self-promoters, as in any work place. (I believe this is the kind of behaviour exhibited in climategate.) Scientists will cheat the data and lie about who should receive credit. And scientists will perform disgusting experiments (witness Dr Mengele).
A final scientific consequence of sin is that science can never again point us towards God (if it ever did before sin). As I said, science has two strands: order and disorder. These strands are indivisible. To give an extreme example, the results from Dr Mengele’s evil experimentation are still medically useful to us.
In other words, scientists bring their beliefs to the lab. No one discovers God (or atheism) in a test tube. A theistic believer will see evidence that conforms with his or her theism. Those with different beliefs will have those beliefs confirmed. One will sing, All things bright & beautiful. The other, All things dull and ugly. Science will confirm what’s already known (though I think science will better confirm Christian theism – this will fit better because it is truth).
To recap, sin and the consequences of sin touch science with confusion. Science investigates a confused world. Science in practice is not noble, but characterised by confused and malicious relationships. And if we use the results of science to draw metaphysical conclusions, these conclusions will be confusing.