I have often been puzzled by the notion that if you are a thinking, rational, scientific person, there is no room for faith in your life. I want to strongly suggest that this is a flawed assumption. If it were not for people of faith, who believed in a God who created our world with order and meaning, there would be no science. I know that today science rejects faith, but it was not so in the beginning.
I have a degree in biology and a love for science. I also have a degree in theology and have an even deeper love of Christ Jesus. I strongly believe that these two spheres can live in harmony with one another. They do not have to be adversaries as they are today.
Science seeks to answer the question, how do things work. Science is based on observation and experimentation. It carefully examines the components of an object or situation and seeks to understand the mechanism by which it functions. So, for example, biology seeks to understand the mechanisms of living things. When I was in college I took a class in endocrinology. Through varies experiments we learned how hormones and the organs that produce them affect the individual. We know that certain hormones produce certain traits in the individual. Remove the hormone from the system and those traits are diminished or disappear altogether.
Theology seeks to answer the question, why do things work, or why are things the way they are. Theology also uses observation but informed by revelation. It begins with the premise that the world was created with both order and purpose. Theology focuses on the meaning of life, not just the mechanics of life.
One of the ways in which science and theology differ is that science is focused on a pragmatic approach to life, while theology is focused on a moral and ethical approach to life. I am not saying that science ignores ethics. It just starts from a different place. In its efforts to expand our knowledge about our world, science tends to run far ahead of ethics. Their mantra is, “Is this possible?” Theology begins from the other end. It examines the possibilities and asks the question, “Is this moral or ethical?”
One of the hallmarks of science is having an open mind to all possible explanations, no matter how unlikely. More than once, the unlikely explanation has turned out to be the right one. Yet, when it comes to the Divine, many scientists reject that possibility out of hand. They sneer at religion as superstition, myth and fantasy. A form of social elitism as permeated the soul of science. They look upon people of faith as backward and unintelligent. Science has succumbed to that ancient temptation to want to be God. By eliminating the possibility of a transcendent God, science has taken His place.
By eliminating God from the picture, science has opened the door for the dehumanization of mankind. Without God there is no ultimate meaning in life. Without God we are just another animal form fighting for a temporary existence on an insignificant planet. Without God meaning is drained out of life itself. Without some outside, ultimate standard by which to judge our actions, anything goes.
Let me return to my original idea. Science and faith do not need to be at odds with one another. In no way does belief in a transcendent God hinder the work of science, except in holding us accountable for how we use our discoveries. Belief in God does not stop us from exploring to the fullest extent the world in which we live. Belief in God gives meaning and purpose to our discoveries. Are we really improving the quality of our life by expunging any real meaning and purpose from it?