Christ and science 4

By Gerry Straker, 20 Jul 2020

Christ and science 4
We're picking up our little series, based on our  back at the beginning of June, which you can watch here. It’s my hope that these articles will:
  • Help you think rightly about science and Christianity in the face of pressure and misinformation.
  • Get you excited about God, His creation, and exploring it with his gift of scientific endeavour.
  • And reassure you that you can help people with questions about science and Christianity - you really don’t need to know a whole lot about the details of science to engage with the big questions.
In the first article we saw that there isn't a battle between Christianity and science at all. In the second article we saw that science depends on Christianity. In the third article we saw that science is less important than Christianity as it cannot answer questions of meaning, morality or mortality, and that science is less certain than Christianity since: it is about questions; it starts from man; and it keeps changing. Whereas the Bible offers answers; answers that are from God; and answers that are complete and will never change.
As we've been seeing, there really is not a battle between science and Christianity. But, there is a battle... 
  1. The Real Battle
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:3-6: ‘If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.   In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.   For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’
People are blinded to the gospel by ‘the god of this age’.  People have a spiritual problem. They supress the truth and have become futile in their thinking (Romans 1:18-21), and the devil has blinded them! This means no one is neutral; no one is objective; and no one can assess evidence in an unbiased manner, despite what some scientists claim. The Bible’s assessment is that we are all warped. We are all thinking and engaging with minds that are affected by our upbringing, the sum of our experiences, our worldview, and our sin. No one can do science from a neutral point of view. Indeed, we are anti-God in our natural bias. People are programmed by their sin and by the devil to reject their creator. That’s the spiritual battle we are facing.
All people including scientists, are fundamentally irrational. Just think back again to the garden in Genesis. The issue is who we believe; faith is the battleground. The whole human race follow our first parents into believing the serpent instead of God. We can’t believe the truth even if we wanted to, and we don’t want to.[1] We are irrational. We believe lies rather than the truth. In our human nature we are utterly biased in our anti-God approach.
But by God’s grace and the gift of faith, when a Christian believes, the image of God is being remade within them, we are being restored to our creation settings and we start thinking as we were created to think.
'The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.' (Psalm 19:1-2). Believers can see the truth of these words: the creation sings the glory of God! But unbelievers suppress that knowledge and twist the truth into idolatry.
Some of those words that people use to describe Science in our first article actually properly belong to Christianity (logic, reason, evidence and thinking). Christians are those who have had their eyes opened by grace to see the truth about God, the world and people.
Of course not perfectly, and Christians have certainly got many things wrong. But only Christians can think clearly about God and his world. When we find discrepancies between the Bible and science we need to look for where we have gone wrong – it could be our interpretation of the Bible is wrong, or our interpretation of the data, or both. When there are issues, the problem is not in the speaker of the Word, or the speaker of the world, but in us, the hearers.
And so, it is Christians engaging in the science process who are best placed to interpret things rightly, as they do their work as Christians, under God and for his glory! And so humbly, aware of our own failings, it’s believers who are best placed to do science properly!
That doesn’t mean that, by ‘common grace’, we can’t learn from unbelieving scientists. By the grace of God, good can still come from scientists who deny God! It’s just they are have no interest in giving God the glory – and so their goals are completely wrong, and so their science has lost its proper moorings from Christianity. Unanchored in the Word of God, it denies reality.
And when their interpretations deny the Word of God, or when they start declaring that there is no God - well that's  because of their blind faith, wishful thinking, make-believe, biased, subjectivity!
The battle we face is a spiritual one.
How can we fight it? How can we help our friends to see the truth about God and creation? To see the truth about themselves?
  1. How to fight
How are we going to fight this battle? Well, not with the traditional arguments for the existence of God. You might have covered these in RE or Philosophy at school.[2] Nor the new arguments for the existence of God. [3] I think these arguments are true. But they only convince people who are Christians, who already believe. When we think rightly about God and his world then they make loads of sense. But because non-Christians are blind to the truth about God, they will not find them convincing. (By all means, use those arguments if someone has genuine questions, they might find it helpful to know that there  are Christians who have engaged deeply with these issues).
But fight the spiritual battle with the weapons God has given us. The same means he used to open your eyes…
  1. The Word
 2 Corinthians 4:5 tells us to preach Jesus. Don’t get bogged down in discussions about the history of Genesis 1-2. Instead, get your friends to meet Jesus. Encourage them to read the Bible for themselves. Get them to hear the preaching of the Word. Read through Mark’s gospel with them. Encourage them to examine the evidence of the New Testament, first and foremost by reading it.
  • The Word is powerful
‘For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.' (Hebrews 4:12). 
  • The Word is how God works
'You received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.' (1 Thessalonians 1:6). 

And so the good news is you really don’t need to be an expert in science to ask people to examine the evidence of Christianity.
  1. Prayer
What we’ve been saying might sound arrogant to an unbeliever. We are making a clear claim on truth. But we are not saying that we are better people. We’ve just benefitted from a miracle. And so we are to pray for others to have their blind eyes opened and to be re-created. We pray for a miracle. The simple way to help those who question us on Science is to show them Jesus and to pray for them.
Francis Collins led the human genome project. He is the director of the National Institutes of Health. Collins grew up in a secular home, where religion was irrelevant. At Yale university, as a graduate student, he moved from agnosticism to atheism. He was a junior doctor when his atheist belief system started to crumble as he treated patients and was struck by the faith of some of his patients and the comfort it agave them in their suffering. One conversation shook him particularly - an older woman with severe and untreatable pain shared her faith in Jesus and she asked Collins: ‘Dr, what do you believe? Collins writes: ‘I felt my face flush as I stammered out the words ‘I’m not really sure.’ He realised he had never before considerd the evidence for God. That simple question started him on a a journey of exploration and research that ended in him accepting Jesus as Saviour! As he put it: ‘The God of the Bible is the God of the genome.”[4]
This incredibly important scientist started on the road to becoming a Christian because of an old Christian lady who was suffering asked him a question! 

[1] Human reason, like Peter when he tries to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross, is of the devil, and the devil is the father of lies.
[2] Traditional arguments for the existence of God include the cosmological, teleological, ontological, moral, and aesthetic.
[3] New arguments for the existence of God include the ‘fine-tuned universe’ and ‘Irreducible complexity’.  
[4] Rebecca McClaughlin, Confronting Christianity, (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2019), 118-119.

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