Why Christians Should Embrace Science

A book I recently read to better prepare for our Connections Class a week and a half ago is Science and Faith, by John Collins. Dr. Collins was my Hebrew and Old Testament professor at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis. He was one of my favorite professors because he had a high level of enthusiasm for Hebrew, of all things, and often taught in an engaging way (i.e., he often stated his oft-opinionated opinions in a provocative way). I enjoyed Science and Faith because it reminded me of why I enjoyed his class lectures. It’s a rather thick and intensive book and so probably not for the casually interested, but it is available at our bookstore at The Crossing.

Toward the end of the book (p. 344ff), Dr. Collins states that everyone who really embraces the Christian faith SHOULD also value the sciences. And that’s a statement with which I wholeheartedly agree. There are four reasons why the Christian faith should motivate us to love the sciences.

First, because God created the universe as a testimony to his glory and creativity. There are seemingly an infinite number of elements, compounds, plants, creatures, planets, stars, galaxies, and other unknowns as of yet—all to show forth the wonder and glory of God. To study just a fraction of this universe is to study the wonder of the God who is also intimately involved in every detail of my life—a life that I should want to live more and more for the glory of my Creator.

Second, because God has made humans with the need to satisfy our curiosity. Curiosity is part of what it means to be created in the image of God so that we can image God as his rulers and caretakers over his creation. The more we learn about creation, the more we can fulfill what it really means to be created in the image of God. We were created to be curious learners—to develop a life of the mind so that we can better develop life in God’s creation.

Third, the sciences allow us to better serve humanity and creation. The sciences have allowed us to harness the powers of nature (medicines, foods, transportation, etc.) for the sake of human good and the good of creation. And more and more we need Christians with minds, hearts, values, and ethics better formed by Christian teaching so we know how to apply the sciences for greater good.

And fourth, the sciences allow us to better answer the claims of unbelief. In the book, The Weight of Glory, in the chapter, “Learning in War-Time,” C.S. Lewis wrote a rather provocative call for more Christian intellectuals:

“If all the world were Christian, it might not matter if all the world were uneducated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now—not able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work not only against cool intellect on the other side, but against the muddy heathen mysticisms which deny intellect altogether…. The learned life then is, for some, a duty.”

This is certainly a call for more Christian intellectuals in the sciences. And therefore it is a serious call for Christian parents, who are raising the next generation of Christians, to endeavor to develop their children to be able to rise to what will certainly be the intellectual challenges of their own future culture. This is our call as a church as well.

In my next blog post, I will discuss some very helpful ways that John Collins provides for parents to meet this challenge.

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