Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Birth of Science

Science, contrary to popular thought, did not arise out of secularism, but out of Christianity. Moreover, Christianity provided the only stable worldview on which science could develop. I know this may be a shocking statement and there will be those who tell me it’s a completely unsubstantiated claim. However, let me expound.

Historically you have the age of the ancient Greeks and Romans followed by the Middle Ages and then the Modern Era. The Middle Ages are often referred to as the Dark Ages. It is said that because the Church was in power in those days that creativity and human reason was stifled. This is not entirely true. Science is often solely attributed to rise of the secular Modern Era. However before the word “scientist” was coined there were parson-naturalist studying nature during the Middle Ages. Additionally, most all the scientist from the 1500’s to the 1800’s were Christians and many of them major contributors of renown.

Many of the contributors to the foundations of science adhered to the Christian worldview such as:

Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) established mathematically that the planets revolved around the sun.

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1627) known for establishing the “scientific method”.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) a brilliant mathematician and scientist. He came close to discovering the universal gravitational pull before Newton ever came on the scene.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650) a mathematician and scientist known as the “father of modern philosophy.”

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) a genius and great contributor to science and chemistry. Also known as a devout Christian.

Robert Boyle (1791-1867) a scientist known for “Boyle’s law” in chemistry. He is also known as a devout Christian and defender of the faith.

Johann Gottlob Frederick von Bohnenberger (1765 – 1831) gave us the electroscope, commencing the development of scientific electrical devices. He was a learned theologian and Priest.

Christianity provided the firm foundation on which to birth such great scientific discoveries. How so? Christians believe that the natural world is real and orderly. Christians believe God has given humanity sufficient cognitive abilities to learn about the real world including the ability to logically reason deductively and inductively. The ancient Greeks did not birth the sciences because they believed that nature was evil and disorderly. The orient countries believed nature to be an illusion and thus nothing of substance to discover. The pagan societies deified nature giving it a place of awe and respect which did not lend itself to scientific intrusion upon it.

Secularism was not rampant in those days and did not develop as a cultural thought until later in the Modern Era. It may have adopted science as an acceptable means of knowing the world, but it did not birth it as such. However, secularism has produced a view of science that disrobes it from its foundation. Secularists teach that nothing exists outside of nature and all that can be known can only be known scientifically. Thus, the logic, reason, and trustworthy cognitive abilities all are unproven scientifically and the rug is pulled out from under meaningful science.

Christians today often take one of two positions with regard to science. Either we dismiss it as secular and appeal to unsubstantiated “faith” alone or we try and fuse modern scientific theories into our Christian worldview. The former choice communicates that Christianity is devoid of evidentiary substance and must be accepted on blind faith. The second communicates that the Bible is in error and in need of scientific revision.

Let me suggest a third more legitimate position. Science is what needs an overhaul. It needs to be returned to its proper foundations in order to produce adequate science. When one works from a faulty worldview all that follows is tainted. There exist scientists who do have the proper worldview foundation and do produce science that does indeed confirm the reliability of Scriptures, but those scientists are often suppressed and discounted because their worldview is simply not accepted in today’s scientific community. The media and the schools only show the world the science that’s congruent with the culturally prevalent secularism. Do not settle for what you have been taught in school or learned through television.

We cannot substitute the infallible authority of Scripture for the fluctuating scientific discoveries. Exciting discoveries that firmly support Scripture are being made all the time; you just have to do a little digging to find them.

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