- Thursday, April 11, 2024

Throughout history, science and religion have often been framed as adversaries locked in an enduring conflict. This portrayal implies that believing in God necessitates rejecting rational thinking, setting it against the principles of scientific inquiry.

Many millennials and Gen Zers have stopped believing in Christianity because they think that science and faith cannot coexist.

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Is that true? Is our faith simply blind allegiance to what we cannot know?

In her remarkable work, “Why Science and Faith Need Each Other,” Elaine Howard Ecklund notes how the seemingly contradictory realms are complementary solutions by stating, “Science can inform our faith by offering new ways of thinking about the natural world, and faith can challenge science to consider the ethical implications of its discoveries.”

This article explores how faith and science coexist harmoniously despite operating in distinct realms and how key scientists have embraced both.

Do you struggle with knowing what to say and how to say it when a controversial topic arises? “Challenging Conversations,” hosted by author and expert Jason Jimenez, is designed to help Christians overcome their fears and learn to engage people of different belief systems respectfully.

Science unveils the how, Faith unveils the why

When I refer to “faith,” I don’t mean it is simply a religious belief lacking evidence or proof. On the contrary. Faith, in the context of Christianity, means “to trust; to rely on.” The Greek word is pistis, which comes from the verb peithō, which means “to be persuaded or convinced.”

At the core of the Christian worldview is the belief in a rational, orderly universe created by a rational God. This view is not only compatible with scientific inquiry; it encourages it. The Bible and science affirm that the universe operates according to laws and can be understood through observation and reason. In Romans 1:20, the apostle Paul highlights how God’s qualities have been evident in creation since the beginning of time.

You see, science excels at explaining the “how” of the universe. Through observation, experimentation, and analysis, it uncovers the natural laws governing our world. The Bible, on the other hand, delves into the “why” of existence. It explores questions of purpose, meaning, and morality, offering a framework for understanding humanity’s place in the universe. Yet, that doesn’t mean that faith and science are non-overlapping magisteria. In fact, they complement and enrich each other. Again, as Ecklund observes, “Despite their differences, science and Christian faith, at their best, share a deep appreciation for the complexity and wonder of the universe.”

Therefore, science and the Bible are not at odds. However, there can occasionally be disagreements between theology and science, which is understandable since scientists and theologians are human and can make errors. Nevertheless, they are continuously making discoveries about nature and biblical interpretations.

Long line of scientific believers in God and Christianity

Another area in the narrative that faith and science are incompatible is that it ignores the substantial contributions of contemporary scientists who are devout Christians. History is filled with brilliant minds who were devout Christians and accomplished scientists. From Johannes Kepler, who saw the laws of physics as reflecting God’s order, to Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, an Augustinian friar, countless individuals have embraced both realms of knowledge. Their work demonstrates that scientific inquiry and faith can coexist within a single mind.

  • Isaac Newton: Despite being a notable contributor to physics, astronomy, and mathematics, Newton believed that the Divine Creator (i.e., God) was responsible for the order and laws governing the universe, which reflected its divine design.
  • Francis Collins: A renowned geneticist known for his leadership of the Human Genome Project, Collins is a devout Christian who has written and spoken extensively on the intersection of science and faith. He sees no contradiction between his scientific work and his belief in God, advocating for the compatibility of the two.

These individuals navigate their fields of study with a framework that harmonizes their scientific work with their faith. They contribute to advancements in biology, cosmology, chemistry, and more, all while maintaining a belief in the Christian God. This ongoing participation in the scientific community demonstrates that faith and science can coexist in a productive and meaningful dialogue.

Science and the Bible need not be locked in an eternal struggle. Instead, they can coexist as distinct ways of knowing, even illuminating each other. Christians can and should embrace reason and faith as they navigate the world’s complexities and seek their place within it.

Jason Jimenez is the founder and president of Stand Strong Ministries and is a respected Christian-worldview speaker, and faculty member at Summit Ministries. He is the best-selling author of “Hijacking Jesus: How Progressive Christians Are Remaking Him and Taking Over the Church,” “Challenging Conversations: A Practical Guide to Discuss Controversial Topics in the Church,” and “Parenting Gen Z: Guiding Your Child through a Hostile Culture.

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