Faith-Filled Science

—Pew-Thian Yap, Ruling Elder

 Have you been told that the Christian faith is at odds with science? Have you ever struggled with understanding how miracles fit into your scientific worldview? Is science more real and tangible to you than your faith? Or do you lead a contradictory life “limping between two opinions” (1 Kings 18:21) and check your faith at the door when you walk into your laboratory? 

 Scientific endeavors are not pursued in a neutral arena untouched by philosophical convictions. The Bible is nothing short of disruptive in my understanding of science.

 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Gen. 1:3)

 He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. (Psa. 147: 15)

 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth. (Psa. 104:14)

 God creates and rules the universe by his words of power and command. The laws that govern the world are hence verbal and personal in nature. This is in stark contrast to the common conception that the laws of nature are impersonal and mechanistic. Science relies on the faithfulness of God and the regularity of his rule. In fact, it is due to God’s faithfulness that natural laws appear to be mechanistic, making science possible. The personal aspect of the created world also means that the laws of nature can be shaped by God as he pleases, deviating from the regularities that scientists are accustomed to and hence resulting in what we perceive as miracles. An impersonal view of the physical law is deistic.

 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Rom. 1:19-20)

 I am often perplexed by why it is even possible that we can understand the laws of nature. If our brains are purely a product of matter, how is it possible that we can fathom the interactive forces in the nano realms and the planetary activities in the heavens? Is our perception of nature reliable? Can we believe our senses and trust what we see, hear, and feel? The philosophical debate on how we know what we know has evolved throughout the centuries but often ended up with some form of scepticism. The Bible’s answer is clear: Humans are made in the image of God, and therefore we can think God’s thoughts after him on a creaturely level. In addition to constantly depending on God’s faithfulness, scientists rely on their minds being created in the image of God, so that they have hope of comprehending the speech by which God rules. Science is real because God is real.

 Science is dependent on faith far more than we realize. All human knowledge is finite and tainted by sin. God is intimately and actively involved in the created world and is the ultimate reason why science is possible and meaningful. Unexamined faith in science is exchanging the truth about God for a lie (Rom. 1:25).