Faith & Science: Where Angels Fear To Tread

Some of you may know that I studied Physics for 2 years as an undergraduate at Cal, and once even entertained the notion that I would spend my life as a professional astrophysicist. Well I didn't get along too well with higher mathematics, so I eventually realized my calling in life was probably not to be a scientist!

But while I'm hardly a science expert I do still have an interest in the sciences, and this interest came up again recently. I've been writing a series of brief articles which look at life from the perspective of a Biblical worldview. In wrapping that series up (links to the whole series can be found here) I found myself pondering the long-running tension between science and faith.

I've thought a fair bit about this tension over the years, and about the way science is understood by those who have made a career of it, as well as those who haven't. Questions such as:

  • Do we have to rule out the idea of God in order to do science effectively?
  • For a Christian, do the findings of science represent what the Bible calls "man's wisdom" (which, in the Bible, is bad) vs. "God's wisdom"?
  • While it will probably always be a challenge to figure out how faith & science relate to one another, are they actually opposed to one another?
In asking these questions I know I'm getting into deep waters; waters that have been sailed in by people smarter than me! But they are important questions to ask if we're going to see all of life through the lens of the Bible. After all, science and technology are a big part of "all of life." With that in mind, here are some of my thoughts on the topic including what I think is the real culprit in the tension between faith & science. I'd be interested in your thoughts too.

(Image above of the Eagle Nebula courtesy of NASA)

Global Caring

In Sunday morning's message at church I described the New Age movement, and how many New Age ideas enter the thinking of many Americans without them even realizing it. One example I gave was people pushing environmental concerns. It's one thing to encourage people to recycle and use "green" energy, but often this is accompanied with a view that the earth is our "mother." The idea that the planet is a living being which gives us life comes from ancient pantheism, and is a common element of contemporary New Age thinking which Biblically-grounded Christians naturally resist.

But this raises another question: should Christians resist concern for the environment altogether? Or just the New Age ideas that get smuggled into some environmentalism? How do we separate the two? Should we even try?

I wrote a few thoughts on a Biblical view of environmental stewardship -- as opposed to the enviro-hysteria that's all too common these days -- at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. I'd love to hear your thoughts too!

Why Strength Exists

I recently spoke at our church's monthly Men's Breakfast (and for the record, Rod Talley and Tony Dugan grill up some seriously outstanding bacon!). We were wrapping up a year of such gatherings which has been guided by Micah 6:8, where God says he doesn't want external obedience to religious standards, but rather he wants followers who have hearts characterized by 3 things: doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.

My summary for tying these ideas together is captured in the title of this post. Why does strength exist, from God's perspective? Why did he make it, and for what purpose does he bestow it on people? I think what the Bible is saying is that strength exists for the nurture and defense of the weak.

That's what the Micah passage is getting at:

  • "Do justice" refers to the many commands in the Bible to care for the poor, to deal honestly in business, to protect foreigners who have a lesser legal standing, etc. It is the call to create a just society - one in which the powerful don't dominate the weak.
  • "Love mercy" means that deep down in my heart I am passionate about serving, protecting, and providing for those around me who are in a position of relative weakness. This includes employees if I'm a boss, kids if I'm an adult, the poor if I'm wealthy, and outsiders if I'm an established member of a group.
  • "Walking humbly with God" means living in a way that reflects the simple fact that God is God and I am not. His values hold sway.
In all of this, the plight of those in a position of relative weakness is the issue for those in a position of strength. Strength exists for the defense and nurture of the weak.

In our day and age this is as radical and counter-cultural a point as ever. What is a life worth? And how can you tell? These questions become acutely important especially when we deal with the weak: the ill, elderly, disabled, etc. These folks often consume more resources than the average person, and can typically generate fewer resources. But is that how we should measure the worth of their lives?

I developed a short Bible study (which can be downloaded here) that explores the Scripture's answer to those questions, What Is A Life Worth? I hope you'll take a few moments, perhaps with the aid of this brief study, to reflect on what a life is worth and how we should express that in myriads of different ways.

What strength do you have? How can it be put to use for the benefit of those in a position of relative weakness?

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