by Matt Slick
Christianity is not against science. But, before we get into this further, let's define what science is. "Science is that branch of study which seeks to observe, discover, and understand the nature and principles that govern our universe, our world, and ourselves. The result of this process is a systematic categorization of knowledge with the goal of predicting and manipulating events according to discovered natural laws."1
Christianity is not against the scientific method, nor is it against scientists learning how the world operates through observation and experimentation. In fact, science owes a lot to people who were Christians and/or heavily influenced by Christianity.
- Copernicus, died in 1543, taught that the sun was the center of the solar system.
- Francis Bacon, died in 1626, helped to develop the scientific method that is used today.
- Johannes Kepler, died in 1630, developed the laws of planetary motion.
- Galileo, died in 1642, was a great inventor and is well known.
- Blaise Pascal, died in 1662, was a mathematician and physicist.
- Isaac Newton, died in 1727, invented calculus.
- Michael Faraday, died in 1867, worked in electromagnetics.
- Gregor Mendel, died in 1884, the founder of the science of genetics.
- Louis Pasteur, died in 1895, developed pasteurization.
- Lord Kelvin, died in 1907, worked heavily in thermodynamics.
- Guglielmo Marconi, died in 1937, developed the radio.
- Max Planck, died in 1947, Nobel Prize in physics.
- Werner Heisenberg, died in 1976, theoretical physicist.
- Wernher von Braun, died in 1977, worked in rocketry.
To many Christians, the idea that God existed and brought the universe into existence meant that the universe could be understood because God was a God of order and his character would be reflected in creation (Rom. 1:20). Instead of a Pantheon of gods who ran the universe in an unpredictable fashion, Christianity provided the monotheistic bedrock (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5) upon which the scientific study of nature could be justified. Many Christians expected to find the secrets that God had hidden in the universe and were confident in being able to discover them. This is a critical philosophical foundation that is necessary if an emerging culture is to break the shackles of ignorance and superstition in order to discover what secrets exist in the world around them.
Christianity, the Bible, gives us foundational principles upon which scientific thought can be justified. It teaches us that the universe had a definite beginning (Genesis 1:1), which means time is finite in the past, that motion had a beginning (laws of physics), and that the universe is ordered (Genesis 1:3-31). It tells us that the universe is running down, i.e., entropy (Psalm 102:25-26), that the earth is suspended in nothing (Job 26:7), that the stars are innumerable (Genesis 15:5), etc.
Only in Christianity can a worldview be offered that can explain the very nature of logical absolutes upon which rationality and mathematics are built. We're not saying that non-Christians don't use logic and mathematics, but we are saying that only the Christian worldview provides the necessary preconditions which make the universal laws of logic possible - and therefore usable by the scientific community. Likewise, only in Christianity are moral absolutes sustainable as a philosophical proposition. Though scientists may be moral and are obligated to report their findings honestly, the scientific method cannot substantiate the existence of moral absolutes which urge their honest objectivity. So, the scientific method works, not because it is independently validated, but because it rests upon the Christian worldview which can account for universal laws of logic and the existence of moral absolutes, both of which are necessary for the scientific method to work.