Faith versus Science. They are often paired against each other. Scientists argue that faith can’t be proven and therefore is false. People with faith have felt the quiet assurance from the Spirit and know the truth, but can’t prove it to the scientists. Sometimes arguments ensue. Is there a way that faith and science can be compatible? Or do we always need to pick a side?
Christ is Always the Same
We need to remember faith and science are both compatible—as long as we keep in mind that faith doesn’t change, but our understanding of science often does. In Hebrews 13:8 the author wrote, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” God’s doctrines never change. Programs yes, but doctrine no. We can always have faith in God. He knows all things. He teaches us the absolute truths. If faith and science are telling us different things we know we can rely on God even if current scientific views say otherwise.
Scientific Law versus Scientific Theory
The laws of science are constant and don’t change. An example of this is the law of gravity. Scientific theories, on the other hand, are not settled and often change. An example of this is nutrition. Studies show certain foods are good for you. Other studies show those same certain foods are harmful. We should be wise in differentiating between scientific laws and scientific theories.
Scientific Theories Change
Scientists and experts change their minds. Scientific theories change as new information is learned. Scientific theories change as new knowledge is gleamed from new studies and discoveries. Science evolves, refines, and grows. Scientific “truths” change as we gain understanding.
A scripture hero who understood this well was Daniel. That’s what we love about him. He fearlessly stood by God’s laws. Daniel 1 tells us all about his story. Daniel’s people were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Daniel and his friends were taken into the King’s court to be trained with other young men who were among the best of the best.
The king wanted them to have the best so they could become the best, so he gave them all delicacies and wine from his own table (v 5). Daniel and his friends did not want to break God’s laws and eat the food that was forbidden them, so they asked for only vegetables and water. At the end of the three years of training, “the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel [and his friends]” (v 19).
Daniel understood God’s laws were perfect and the king and his experts did not have all the absolute truths. He also understood that faith and science are compatible. He learned from the experts. He learned all the knowledge they were able to teach him. He learned their skills. But Daniel also applied his learning from God and relied on Him for the absolute truths.
Because Daniel and his friends followed God’s laws and were guided by God during their studies and training they excelled. They excelled to such an extent it says, “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.” That is faith and science working together at its best!
Christians are Pro-Science
God is the ultimate scientist! He created all things. He knows all things. He encourages us to experiment, theorize, and learn. Science is good! Science helps our communities grow and our opportunities increase. It makes so many aspects of our lives easier! Daniel didn’t reject the learning and the training. He simply relied on the Lord to teach him the absolute truths and expand on the things he was learning while at the King’s court.
Prove through Testing
There is an interesting correlation between faith and science. They can both be confirmed through testing. Whether we are following the Scientific Method or conducting ‘experiments’ in our spiritual lives we learn something, we form our hypothesis (scientific or spiritual), and then we act on it. We conduct our experiment. We then analyze our results and form our conclusion.
For example, both faith and scientific theory can be compared to a seed. If you were conducting a scientific experiment, you might plant the seed. If you give that seed sunlight, water, and care you will see the plant grow if it’s a good seed. If it does grown you can taste the fruit. If its fruit is good you can conclude it is a good seed that brings forth good fruit.
Spiritually speaking your seed might be attending church. You hear that attending church will bring you closer to God. You realize that might be true. You then plant your seed. You start attending church regularly. As you attend church you feel closer to God. You learn Christ’s teachings. You apply them to your life. You feel more joy in your life. You realize your seed has grown and the fruit is good. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22).
Application for Our Lives
So what does this mean for us? Like Daniel, we can rely on God’s laws even when the experts tell us something contrary. We can take the best science has to offer—and be confident that with God’s help we can incorporate science in our lives and receive additional truths. Let’s commit to following Daniel’s example! Let’s study and learn, while always keeping in mind that scientific theories will change as we learn and grow, and God will teach us the absolute truths.