Science and Christianity: Not Oil and Water

Today, I’m pleased to feature an exclusive guest post by my friend, Melissa C. Travis—a graduate student in the Science and Religion program at Biola University. She’s also a fellow apologetics blogger. Melissa blogs at http://www.hard-corechristianity.com.

Hot Topic: Science and Religion

Mature Christians have an insatiable desire for knowledge of God. We study Scripture to learn what He has to teach us through Special Revelation, and we study His creation (Natural Revelation) through which we perceive a number of of His attributes. Romans 1:20 says:

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Natural Revelation involves the various scientific disciplines that have developed over the ages to unlock the secrets of the heavens, the earth, and life.

Science vs. Christianity?

Unfortunately, there is the common misperception that science and Scripture are either in a stalemate conflict, or they are mutually exclusive, having no bearing upon one another whatsoever. Both views are incorrect. Science and theology do seek to answer some of the same questions about the world and about life; Scripture isn’t silent on the subject of nature and not all scientific theorizing is religiously neutral (contrary to what the secular scientific community claims). Therefore, we cannot simply compartmentalize science and theology, and we shouldn’t avoid the sciences completely, as if they are some kind of dreadful menace to our faith. I believe J.P. Moreland said it best in Christianity and the Nature of Science:

In order to be a fully actualized and integrated human being and a mature Christian with no secular/sacred dichotomy, one needs a coherent, intellectually satisfying Christian world view. Such a world view involves, among other things, fitting science and theology together in a harmonious way (141).

Truth in Harmony

So, what is the appropriate relationship between the two? I share Stephen Meyer‘s view that they should co-exist in qualified agreement (See his essay in Science & Christianity: Four Views). When the sciences and theology are each properly understood, the truths they elucidate will be in harmony with one another. What’s more, the natural sciences have revealed evidence for cosmic fine-tuning and biological design, which points to an intelligent agent that transcends the universe—a designer that is compatible with, and offers philosophical support for, Judeo-Christian theism.

A Stepping-Stone Apologetic

Take caution, though. Where the discipline of Christian Apologetics is concerned, it isn’t accurate to say that “the sciences prove the existence of God.” Rather, our claim should be that the sciences are increasingly offering evidential support for theism and for the associated truth-claims of Judeo-Christian Scripture. I have come to think of the study of the sciences–within a theistic paradigm–as a “stepping stone” apologetic: essential for a cumulative and comprehensive argument for Christianity.

Study the Relationship of Science and Christianity

For the Christian (scientifically inclined or not) who has realized that they have much to learn on this subject, I would like to offer just a few resource recommendations so that you’re not overwhelmed by all the choices at your disposal.

Web Sites on Science and Christianity

DVDs on Science and Christianity

Books on Science and Christianity

About Melissa

Melissa is a graduate student at Biola University, studying for the Master of Arts in Science and Religion. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology and worked in biotechnology and pharmaceutical research for five years after obtaining her undergraduate degree. She has spent more than a decade studying the science and philosophy pertaining to the origins debate and is also currently working toward her certification in general Christian apologetics from Biola. She directs The Woodlands, Texas chapter of Reasonable Faith and welcomes opportunities to speak and teach on scientific apologetics to youth and adults. Her blog is www.hard-corechristianity.com.

Note: Purchasing resources via the links on this page will help support Mikel’s blog. You can also help by using this link when you shop at Amazon.com: http://ApologeticsGuy.com/Amazon

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5 Responses to “Science and Christianity: Not Oil and Water”

  1. Mike Print June 20, 2011 1:45 PM
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    Great post completely agree with you and think people on both sides could do with realising how they relate. here is my post on the same subject:

    http://mikegprint.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/creation-vs-evolution-does-it-really-matter/

    Thanks

    Mike

  2. Aaron June 21, 2011 8:48 AM
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    Have ya’ll ever heard of the ‘God Particle’? It’s real name is a neutrino (or positron?). It’s supposedly this particle in an atom that bears proof of an ‘intelligent creator’ or something of that nature.

    It’s pretty compelling stuff, if they can ever isolate it and study it.

    The thing to remember though is, does it matter if we scientifically KNOW that God created the cosmos? It is better to just have faith I think.

    Aaron
    The Signs Daily – Bible Prophecy Studies

  3. Lisa June 28, 2011 8:54 AM
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    “When the sciences and theology are each properly understood, the truths they elucidate will be in harmony with one another. ”

    Amen! Scripture supports science in more ways than people are willing to admit. In my opinion, the issue of evolution vs. creationism is more of an attempt to pull people away from a loving, saving relationship with Jesus than 100’s of millions of years of chaos becoming ‘order’.

    But then again, I’m a simpleton and think that it takes much more faith to believe in random chance over intelligent, orderly design!

  4. Scott Ross September 28, 2011 8:44 PM
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    Love the post. I think the whole “Faith vs Science” issue is a classic propaganda technique in which a false dichotomy is presented. A mythical dilemma is created and even those who purport to “solve” the dilemma are embedding the idea that a dilemma exists in the minds of the culture.

    Christianity not only is supported by science, but has been the greatest proponent and advancer of scientific causes. Where a conflict exists is between the “religion” of naturalism and Christianity. When the naturalistic worldview is put over as science we run into issues, but these are issue that true adherents to the scientific method are quick to side with Christians in addressing.

    • Apologetics Guy September 28, 2011 10:47 PM
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      Great point about the false dichotomy. If you get to cosmologists together in a room (one being a theist and the other being an atheist), you’re not going to get a conversation asking “Is it science or religion?” It’s going to be more like “God or luck?” God or luck. That’s really what a lot of the alleged “Science vs. Religion” debate boils down to. I also appreciate you comments about Christianity actually supporting the advance of science. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Scott!