December 12, 2017

Three Views of Science (1)

Al Isaak

When you feel the sting of sleet on your face, you are a participant in scientific faith-for-the-familyactivity. Perhaps you have always thought of a scientist as someone surrounded by test tubes, bunsen burners, and chemicals. But science, by definition, is a compilation of observable phenomena, or more accurately, those events and processes which humans can sense. If you can see, touch, smell, taste, hear, or somehow measure an organism, substance, or occurrence in nature, then you are involved in science.

Daily involvement in science is almost inescapable. Science may be as simple as admiring the beauty and symmetry of a bright, red rose or the thirst-quenching ability of an ice-cold, orange soda; it may be as complex as the fallout pattern after an atomic explosion or the delicate research required to find a vaccine for measles. The technology which has transformed our lives is largely due to science. Science influences the books you read and the ideas you discuss with friends and associates. The science professor, the research physicist, and the microbiologist hold a view of science, but you must also hold a view of science, no matter what your vocation happens to be. As Christians, it is important that we see the fallacies in antagonistic and compromise views, and understand fully why we should hold a true view-a Biblical view of science.

The Antagonistic View

“One of the curses of our day,” many preachers shout, “is the over-emphasis on science. Science has become so important that it has replaced God in the lives of many people. Science has confused the minds of our young people with its teachings of evolution and the inherent goodness of man. What we need today are fewer scientists and more preachers!” Perhaps you have heard similar statements which are a mixture of truth and ignorance; perhaps you have even decided that the study of science is not entirely honorable before the Lord. Yet, is there any dishonor in studying God’s creations? Isn’t it possible to have a closer relationship with the Creator by examining and marveling over His creative works? Whether we observe the constellations in space or earthly rocks and minerals, aren’t these reminders of God’s power and organization? As we study the details in the life cycles of plants and animals, don’t these manifest God’s providence? Our study of God’s creation should result in a greater sense of gratitude for His daily care. Since all of nature is God’s handiwork, we should be using his masterpieces to praise Him. “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion” (Jeremiah 10:12).

How do we become acquainted with an artist whom we haven’t seen? By reading his biography and examining his paintings. And don’t the paintings mean much more after we have read about the artist? A Christian, then, is better able to appreciate and understand his environment than an unbeliever because the Christian has not only read about the Creator, he has personally experienced Him. It is only proper that we desire to know more about God’s creation so that we can demonstrate and illustrate the omniscient and omnipotent attributes of our heavenly Father.

Scientific activity, however, must not be designed to bring recognition and honor to the scientist. This is a dangerous area: the scientist may become so interested in his research that he forgets the purpose of his activity. Since our very breath is not our own (Acts 17:24, 25), certainly our scientific capabilities are not our own either; they are a gift of God, and our gratitude for all things from Him must be genuine (Ephesians 5:20). If it is not, we may become fools (Romans 1:21, 22).

Studying plants and animals in their natural environment has sometimes been misinterpreted as worshipping nature. A non-Christian may actually worship nature — the events of his daily routine may seem so confusing and depressing that he escapes to the serenity of the mountains, the desert, or even a cave, as a few people have done in recent years.

When a Christian seeks recreation away from urban areas, his gain should be far richer than the unbeliever’s experience. The Christian doesn’t need to worship nature, but he can be inspired by observing scenic beauty. He is able to enhance his fellowship with the Lord by refreshment from God’s creative works. The mountains, streams, lakes, trees, animals, and rocks do not become a substitute for Bible study and meditation; they can, however, serve to reinforce what we have read about the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

To be continued tomorrow

Originally published in Faith for the Family, January / February 1974. Republished here by permission.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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