“How can I believe Christianity when it is opposed to science?” The question was surprisingly honest but not uncharacteristic coming from a very factually based individual. Media reports events that often pit science and religion against one another: debates about the origins of the universe, stem-cell research, climate change, gender identity, and many other areas of research. The appearance of conflict causes many people to believe that you can either be a rational person or you can be a faith-based person, but you can’t be both.
But research and science does not bear out this conflict. In 1997, Edward Larson and Larry Witham asked people in the field of science if they believed in a God who activity communicates with humanity. In reply, 40% believed God communicates with humanity, 40% disagreed, and 20% were unsure. Many scientists are religious people, demonstrating that faith and science do not have to conflict.
Consider Galileo: he was a Christian who believed “that the glory and greatness of Almighty God are marvelously discerned in all His works and divinely read in the open book of Heaven”1 Many scientists in the past and today are Christians who see no conflict between their scientific work and their faith. Many areas of scientific study (i.e.: the migration patterns of birds or the interior of atoms) do not raise any theological or Biblical concerns.
Science and the Christian faith are often pitted against one another when they ought to be seen as complimentary. The Bible is wholly true and was given by God to show us our need to be saved from our sin and selfishness. God’s aim was to reveal our need for Christ – something that science cannot do – so that we might see how all things are held together by Christ (Col. 1:17). We can see God at work in our world by his incredible design in creation (Ps. 19:1-2), but that knowledge is insufficient for salvation (Rom. 1:18-32).
Ultimately, it is not belief in biblical creation that will save anyone but in the Lord Jesus Christ. Science cannot show that I am a sinner and in need of a Saviour; but Christianity does. Science cannot prove that there is or is not a God; Christianity can. Thus when people find that science and faith conflict, it is best to encourage them to stop and remember what St. Augustine said: faith does not come by understanding, but understanding by faith. Seeking first the kingdom will not inhibit scientific knowledge but reshape it.
Science does not hold all the answers to the universe; the Lord Jesus Christ does! So encourage others to trust in the One who holds all things together by the word of his power (Heb. 1:3)!
Missional Action Plan: What questions do you, your children, or grandchildren have about science and faith? Write down your thoughts and ask another Christian how they have wrestled with these ideas.
Missional Action Prayer: Lord, we know that faith comes before understanding. Would you help us to encourage others to trust that Christ came into the world to save us so that they might see that the heavens declare your glory? Amen.