Science, Knowledge and God
Many young people ask about the relationship between science and Christianity – because they are fed the false philosophy that science and faith are diametric opposites. Here is how I answered one young person who asked the above question (this is from the ASK book – which is available from the resources section)…
BIBLE READING: Romans 1:18-23
TEXT: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
The devil is the father of lies. Lying is the way he operates. He tries to separate us from the Father of truth by causing us to doubt God’s Word. In this regard one of his greatest and most successful lies is that science and Christianity are opposed.
It is really important that when we use words we know what they mean – and what others mean when they use them. Science is the study of what God has created. Christianity is the faith based upon what God has revealed in his Word – especially about Jesus, his Son. God has given us two books – the book of nature and the book of Scripture. They don’t contradict each other.
The question also implies that, whereas science gives us certain knowledge of the world, the Bible doesn’t. But that is to misunderstand both science and the Bible. Science works on a principle of falsifiability – if there is no possibility of testing it for falseness then it can’t be called science. It’s a great method of working and finding out knowledge. But it isn’t always ‘certain’ and even more importantly there are lots of things that science does not tell us – and will never be able to tell us. For example, if you are boiling a kettle, science can tell you how the electricity works, and what temperature causes the water to boil, but it cannot tell you why the kettle was being boiled in the first place (you want to make a cup of tea for your granny). In other words science is great at answering the ‘what’ questions, but not so good at answering the ‘why’ questions.
The Bible is not a science textbook – but it is a revelation of the God of science. All wisdom is found in Jesus Christ. Our verse tells us that whilst science might tell us about nature, nature tells us about God – and the Bible tells us what God says. There is no contradiction. Science and the Bible are not two opposed ways of knowing – they are complementary ways of knowing.
So can it be proved scientifically that God exists? The answer is both yes and no. Everything about the creation, points us to the Creator. In that sense the answer is yes. But if you are asking it in the way that so many atheists do – ‘Can you put God in a test tube and conduct an experiment to prove he exists?’ – the answer is no.
I once heard Professor David Wilkinson of the University of Durham speaking at the University of St Andrews on the subject of God and the universe. He was asked, ‘Are you saying that science proves God?’ He answered, ‘No … I am saying that science points to God’. Just as nature points to God so does science.
Let me give you one example that comes from Professor John Lennox. The human genome, the genetic code in each human cell, contains 23 DNA molecules each containing from 500 thousand to 2.5 million-nucleotide pairs. DNA molecules of this size are about 5 cm on average. You have about 10 trillion cells in your body, so if you stretched the DNA in all the cells out, end to end, they’d go for around 750 million miles. The sun is 93,000,000 miles away, so your DNA would reach there and back about four times! What’s equally amazing is that all this DNA consists of four building blocks, A, T, C and G. And every human genome is unique. In other words we are all made of this information.
It’s such an amazing code. Lennox asks: ‘If you went down to the beach and saw the words ‘I love you’ written in sea shells on the shore – would you just assume that they had been washed up by the waves, or would you think that someone had done the arranging? The answer is obvious. Given that the human DNA code is a million times more complex than that, why should there not be an equally obvious answer as to why we have such a code? The glories of God are seen as much in the human genome as they are in the billions of stars!‘
CONSIDER: Given the overwhelming evidence for a Creator, why do you think some people refuse to believe in him? What does Romans 1 give as the reason why people ignore the evidence? Why is knowing that there is a Creator, not enough to save us?
RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING:
God’s Undertaker – John Lennox
PRAYER: Lord God, you are the Creator of heaven and earth. You are the one who made the billions of stars beyond me, and the billions of cells within. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Help me to marvel at your works and to worship you the Creator, rather than the creation. For your glory. Amen.
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