I’ve never understood the opinion or belief that one must choose faith in God or belief in science. And I’ve heard this from both religious people who feel that faith should be enough and those who don’t follow a faith tradition, choosing instead to focus only on what the material world can prove to them as “real.” But I’m uncomfortable pitching my tent in either of these camps. Why does it have to be one or the other, all and nothing?
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16 (ESV)
Wouldn’t not investigating creation be choosing to ignore a very important part of who we are? After all, “great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them” (Psalm 111:2 ESV). The apostle Paul also said, “His [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20 ESV). When we consider this, wouldn’t not exploring our world also mean not learning more about God? We can learn about the created world and universe and still know, honor and worship the Builder (Hebrews 3:4).
Sometimes I wonder if people of faith are scared of science, worried that a natural, God-given sense of curiosity will somehow lead them to discover something that will undermine their belief in God. But science is nothing more than the pursuit of truth, trying to uncover the how and why behind everything we see around us. And what is God but truth (John 14:6)? Both science and faith point to truth, but in different ways. I wouldn’t try to glean morals or theology from a rock. Nor would I go trying to find answers to scientific questions in the Bible. Just as we have 2 hemispheres in our brains that work differently but in unison, so can science and faith be mutually supportive. Science leaves me in awe and wonder of the complexities of God’s creation and the Bible reminds me of God’s great love for me, you and all of humanity.
It’s not a this-or-that proposition. We don’t have to leave our intellect, our curiosity, our natural urge for inquiry at the church door. We can—and in my humble opinion, should—embrace both science and faith. Actively learning and asking questions helps us live up to the full potential God gave us. And when we engage in any kind of scientific pursuit—even if it’s just learning more about a new discovery—we honor God by better appreciating His design, His handiwork.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Psalm 19:1 (ESV)