Christianity and Science

It is very untrue to say that science is the enemy of Christianity. Science is an attempt to explain, to investigate, to look into what is all around us in the natural world. It should help us to have a better understanding of the world which God has made and not conflict with a belief in God.

The Bible, however, is not a scientific book. This doesn’t mean that it is scientifically inaccurate, but it never sets out to be a scientific book. It’s a book about God, the world and man and how he can be rescued. Along the way it will be accurate in what it teaches but it doesn’t set out to give us a list of scientific laws.

The easiest way to understand this is to see that science has to do with mechanism, whereas the Bible has to do with meaning. Science tells us about the how, and the Bible tells us why. Science can tell us about how the body works and the Bible tells us who and why we are. Of course the Bible does make scientific mechanical claims about the world and so it isn’t a completely clean separation, but it’s a good first rung on the ladder.

Can you imagine a man saying to his wife: 

I really love you for what you are; fat enough for 7 bars of soap, iron enough for 1 medium sized nail, sugar enough for 7 cups of tea, enough lime to whitewash 1 chicken coop, enough phosphorus to tip 2,200 matches, enough potash to explode a TV and sulphur enough to rid one normal sized dog of fleas!

It might be very true! But it’s not exactly sufficient to build a good relationship is it? She would be unlikely to be gazing back into his eyes lovingly after that description! She would probably prefer that she was loved for who she was, not just for what she was. We all know something of what we are but we struggle with understanding who and why we are.

One professor wrote:

Sometimes people ask if religion and science are opposed to one another. They are, in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hand are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped.

Albert Einstein said:

Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.

And C.S. Lewis makes the point that

The laws of motion do not set billiard balls moving; they analyse the motion after something else … has provided it.

© 2005 Nick Cuthbert

This article is reproduced here by the kind permission of the author.