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Christians and Science

Is Christianity the Enemy of Science?

Christianity, not the Enlightenment, started the Scientific Revolution.

Although many believe the myth that Christianity and science are enemies, nothing could be further from the truth. Christianity gave birth to science.

Huh? What about the battle between Galileo and the Church? What about the rejection of Darwinism? How could those hillbilly Christians possibly be the friends of science?

This historical revisionism (that Christianity is the enemy of science) can be somewhat attributed to the now disputed writings of  John Draper and Andrew Dickson White who attempted to develop a “conflict theory” between science and religion, but this theory is now being challenged by more and more historians. *

The truth is that the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on deism, was a result, rather than a cause, of the revolution in science which was started by Christians. Deism is dependent on the belief in a First Cause. That there was an original mover was one of Isaac Newton’s arguments, and Newton was a Christian who was motivated by the desire to discover the mind of God in His creation.

Because I Corinthians 14 claims that “God is a god of order” and Psalms 19 says that “the heavens declare the glory of God,” Newton set out to discover the way that God thought and designed. It was a fascinating quest for Newton! And what he discovered characterized him as one of the greatest minds in the history of the world. Yet all Newton was doing (as a hobby) was trying to understand the way God’s mind worked when he was creating and designing the world.

Johannes Kepler was also fascinated by the pursuit of knowing God through His creation, and his discovery of the laws of planetary motion would lead him to rejoice at the intelligent designs of God, seeing “how God, like a human architect, approached the founding of the world according to order and rule and measured everything in such manner.”

The other advancement in science came as a result of Sir Francis Bacon’s development of the empirical method. This was a direct attempt to overthrow the Aristotelian deductive method. Bacon believed that truth could only be discovered by observation and induction from the data, rather than starting from reason or philosophy. (This Aristotelian philosophy had a stronghold in the medieval Catholic Church! It was the emphasis on Greek philosophy that Galileo was arguing against in his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. For example, Galileo mocks the Church through his character Simplicio, who is painted as being stupid because he was a follower of Aristotle and Ptolemy.)

But Bacon was a Christian who declared, “There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of creatures [his creation], which express his power.”

Robert Boyle, who is considered the father of modern chemistry, was a charter member of the Royal Society of Great Britain (whose motto, “Nullius in Verbia,” which means “nothing in word,” was a direct rejection of the Aristotelian system, revealing instead that they were proponents of the empirical method of experimentation proposed by Bacon) would also emphasize that truth came from observing physical evidence in tandem with the revelation of Scriptures.

He rejected the Aristotelian viewpoint that all things were composed of the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water, saying “I ignore not that only Leucippus, Epicurus, and other atomists of old, but of late some persons, for the most part admirers of Aristotle’s writings, have pretended to be able to explicate the first beginning of things, and the world’s phenomena, without taking in or acknowledging any divine Author of it.”

John Ray, considered by some to be the father of biology, also rejected the Aristotelian concept of spontaneous generation. (Isn’t this Darwinism? I fear saying that it is because somebody out there will write in and say that I’m stupid and obviously don’t understand evolution. Does anybody? The definitions and parameters are always changing.)  Ray said that his “observation is that there is no such thing in nature” and that it was “the atheist’s fictitious and ridiculous account of the first production of mankind and other animals.”

I’d like to set the record straight. Christianity is not the enemy of science. It founded true science.

*See Ferngren, Gary, “Introduction,” Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2002), ix.

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About Diana Lesperance

I'm passionate about Jesus and I love to defend the gospel of grace and truth. I have a large and active family that keeps me busy and overwhelmed on a daily basis.

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Books

Why am I WAITING for “Shalom?”

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven . . ."
(1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10a)

The word "shalom" in the Hebrew has many meanings which indicate restoration, renewal, friendship, peace, safety and so on. At one time, God placed his creation in a perfect garden--a place of safety, security, provision and peace--and we disobeyed God, losing 1) our relationship with God and 2) paradise.

Since that time, we've attempted to bring back both of these losses in our own way. Religion is our attempt to gain back our relationship with God, and politics is our attempt to gain back paradise.

The solution to both of these losses is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet the world refuses to believe the good news! Instead they try to attain the restoration--the shalom--in their own way through their own effort.

I believe that the kingdom of God is restored in the hearts of men as they receive Christ's finished work, but the kingdom of God doesn't come physically to earth until Christ comes.

Any effort to bring about the promise ahead of time in our own strength is akin to Abraham going to Hagar for fulfillment of the promise instead of waiting with Sarah for the birth of the promised child through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.

The evangelical church is rushing en masse to bring about shalom through their own effort, power, and influence. Men like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Jim Wallis, and Donald Miller are losing their faith in the promise of Christ that he would prepare a place for them and they're attempting to restore paradise now.

I want to let it be known that I'm WAITING for shalom. I won't be a part of their dream. They are moving ahead of God rather than waiting on God and they will create another Ishmael as a result.

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