Summary: One question I’ve wanted to ask God is, do science and Christianity conflict?
I have a question to ask God and it’s this - - is there a conflict between science and Christianity?
Some people believe that science and Christianity are completely opposite and will never be reconciled. The argument has included debate about …
• Astronomy (Is the earth the centre of the universe or is the sun?)
• Geology (How old is the earth?)
• Biology (Did we evolve from apes?)
And as the debate has moved from one science to another, it’s also moved from one Christian doctrine to another.
• The doctrine of creation (How did the world come to be?)
• The doctrine of humanity (Are we just animals?)
• The doctrine of the nature of God (Is there really a God – an intelligent designer?)
For some people, science and Christianity are seen to be in direct conflict. However science and Christianity do not oppose one another at all.
1. The History
It’s a well established fact that throughout history, science and Christianity have been allies – not opponents. Here are some examples …
• Copernicus (1473-1543) laid the foundations for modern astronomy. He was the first to suggest that the world travelled around the sun. He was also Canon of Frauenburg Cathedral in Poland. He described God as “the best and most orderly workman of all.”
• Galileo (1564-1642) was a mathematician, physicist and astronomer. He also argued that the world was not the centre of the universe. This was revolutionary in the days of Copernicus and Galileo because most people thought the world was flat and that if you walked far enough you would fall of the edge! - - Galileo was a devout Catholic and once said, “There are two big books, the book of nature and the book of supernature – the Bible.”
• Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727) is considered one of the greatest scientists of the modern era. He is most famous for his formulation for the laws of gravity. He was an expert in the field of optics, astronomy and calculus. He was responsible for the first ever correct analysis of white light. He also believed in the inspiration of scripture – and he wrote many Christian books as well as scientific books.
All of these leading scientists were Christians.
2. Science and Christianity are not contradictory.
So with all these Christian scientists, why is there a perceived conflict between science and Christianity? One of the reasons is because people have not understood the nature and purpose of the Bible.
The Bible is concerned with the revelation of God, whereas science is concerned with information about the world.
Galileo said, “The aim of the ….. Holy Scriptures is much higher than that of teaching us the wisdom of this world.”
“Science may solve the problem of how the universe began, but it cannot answer the question: why does the universe bother to exist?” (Professor Stephen Hawking Cambridge University)
The Bible tells us is who brought the world into being, and why he did it. And this is the primary purpose of scripture. John explains that …
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made
(John 1:1-3 NIV).
This tells us who created the world.
We might ask, “How did you come into existence?” Science would trace the biological process. We might begin with the development of a single cell; then continue through conception and birth and growth through to your current complex, adult form. And all that is concerned with what actually happened biologically speaking.
But if we ask science “Why did you come into existence?” There are no answers. If we ask science, “What is the significance of this biological process?” Or “What does it mean?” Or “Why am I here?” Science has no answers.
But the Bible says … God created you because he loves you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).
So scientific research and Christian theology are not at odds. They simply bring their own unique angles to the same questions.
3. Science and Christianity are complimentary.
Towards the end of his life, Charles Darwin wrote of:
The impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe including man as a result of blind chance …. When thus reflecting, I feel compelled to look to a first cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man and I deserve to be called a theist.