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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Scriptural Principles that Relate to Science

In a previous post, I list some scientific principles that tell us about God.
Here are some scriptural principles that relate to science:
1. God is creator. There is no unassailable proof of this statement. The Bible, itself, does not attempt to prove it. It just starts out by saying that God created. Genesis 1:1 doesn’t say how, or why, or when, just who. The Bible, itself, says that the best evidence that God is creator is our faith (Hebrews 11:3). The Bible further points out that the principal agent in creation was God the Son (John 1:1-5, Colossians 1:16-17.)
Christians have several views about the timing, and other details, of how things began. However, the most fundamental truth is that God created.
Creation was called good as it was, not good as a tool for humans. Psalm 104:24-5 speaks of the marvelous diversity of creation. Humans have never yet seen many of the organisms that are alive on earth today, let alone found uses for them. They are still important, because God made them.
2. God sustains the natural world. Colossians 1:16-17 and Hebrews 1:3 indicate that God not only created, but that Christ is presently involved in holding things together, including your body and the monitor you are reading this on. Do we understand this? No, and we aren't capable of understanding it. God is omnipotent and omniscient. We aren’t.
3. Humans have some responsibility for the world around them. Humans were put in charge of God's "very good" creation. (Genesis 1:26, 28). Since the Fall, there have been problems with the natural world, but scripture teaches that it is still important to God, (Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50:10-11) so it should be to us, as well. The Israelites were supposed to take care of their land by letting it lie fallow every seventh year (Leviticus 25:4-7), and their failure to obey this command was one reason for their captivity (II Chronicles 36:21). Proverbs 12:10 says that a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.
4. God is revealed to us through nature. Psalm 19:1-4, Acts 14:17, and Romans 1:20 say that we can learn something of what God is, and how God works, through a study of nature. In other words, through science. Some of the greatest scientists of all time, like Johannes Kepler, have believed this:
I give thanks to Thee, O Lord Creator, Who hast delighted me with Thy makings and in the works of Thy hands have I exulted. Behold! now, I have completed the work of my profession, having employed as much power of mind as Thou didst to me; to the men who are going to read those demonstrations I have made manifest the glory of Thy works . . .
From The Harmonies of the World by Johannes Kepler, 1619, translated by Charles Glenn Wallis. (The Great Books, Chicago: Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1952, volume 16, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, p. 1080.)
Science is not God’s only, or main, means of revelation. (Others include the Bible, our consciences, the Holy Spirit in our lives, and, most importantly, the incarnation of Jesus Christ.) But it is one means. Properly understood, scientific findings and scripture do not conflict. However, humans don't completely understand either scientific or scriptural revelation.
5. God is a God of order. The Bible begins with a portrayal of God’s orderliness in creation. Literal or not, the description describes order and sequence. The Ten Commandments, the covenants established with Abraham, and with the Israelites, and God’s promise, in Genesis 8:22, after Noah’s flood, declare that God is a God of order. Some historians of science have written that, without the Judeo-Christian concept of God as a God of order, the development of science would have been impossible. (There were other influences, including Greek and Arab thought, in the development of science.) There were some technological developments in China before similar ones in Europe, but science doesn’t seem to have developed there as a discipline, perhaps because this sense of order wasn’t part of the prevailing world-view there at that time.
6. The responsibility that humans have for nature (principle 3, above) includes responsibility to learn how it works.
Psalm 111:2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them. (ESV)
There is delight in such learning (See also principle 4) and it is our responsibility, as good stewards. Some individuals are specially gifted in the area of learning about God's creation -- in other words, God gives some gifts that help people be scientists.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. My purpose is not to restrict use, but to prevent anyone else from restricting the use of this material by copyrighting it. Other uses are welcome!

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On April 15, 2005, I fixed a link in this post (I hope). Thanks, John Dekker!

On May 15, 2007, I added principle 6.

On January 27, 2012, I added a scripture reference, and some tags.


Laura said...

I really like this blog and will probably use it as a link in my next blog. I know that God drew me towards science because He is everywhere in it. The more I study about the body and life, the more it confirms that God is. I am amazed at how complex the human body is, but how different each body is as well. When taking Gross Anatomy I remember that there are some nerves that can differ and even the fact that not everyone has a Palmaris Longus, but our bodys still function just fine... and those people don't even realize there body is slightly different. After all of the years (even though they seem few to some) I've study science it's hard for me to understand how other scientist can say that there is no God. Here they have laid out for them the complexity of life and they can not even see God in it.

John Dekker said...

Yes, I love that Kepler quote - I used to teach physics, and would read it out to the class when we got to Kepler's Laws.

The "several views" link needs fixing.

Myxite said...

I do not understand when people have the opinion that there is no God when they live on the very earth which was formed by the creator of heaven and earth. Which 'God' is referred to by the unbelievers??

Martin LaBar said...

July 17, 08: Thanks for your comment, myxite.

They simply don't believe, and/or accept, that the earth is the product of a Creator. I don't think there is any argument that will directly persuade most of such persons, maybe none of them. As to which God they refer to, that varies, but many of them don't believe in any god at all.

Trust me, there really are such people.

plukosi said...

I am a high school science teacher.I am amazed at the way people can not see beyond, as the young man who played Powder said in said movie, the spot on their forehead. We live for the here and now, for ourselves, and fail to recognize even the physical consequences of our actions. Now how much more do we choose to blind ourselves to the realities of science; realities which may not be proof of a Creator but are pretty convincing. Let the unbelievers get in a spaceship and head out in any direction for as long as they want and for as fast as they want and ask them after one day if the spot on their forehead has been washed away...

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks. I haven't seen that movie, but the evidence is there, for those who haven't blinded themselves to it.