Science and faith: not the enemies you think they are

Science and faith: not the enemies you think they are

Many people trust scientists but think that Christians are backward and anti-scientific. After all, many Christians express doubts about evolutionary theory, which most assume to be correct. Christians also have different ideas about sexuality based on what the Bible says. It seems odd to many that there will be people in the modern world who base their lives and opinions on an old book while not agreeing with cutting-edge scientific conclusions.

This is a big topic, and blog posts are not good at unpacking a lot of interrelated issues. If you’re keen on more depth, you can find the sermon I recently preached on this here. But for now, let me point out a few issues you should keep in mind.

Being a scientist means to look at the evidence, to look at the world thoughtfully, and to draw conclusions about what you see. It means being critical and not just accepting something to be true. If you want to think about faith and the Bible scientifically, that means not assuming it is all rubbish before you even start. Many people assume that the Bible is old and irrelevant because it teaches a different view on sexuality to what most hold today, but logically that doesn’t hold. It might be possible that the Biblical view on sexuality is correct and the prevailing view in our culture is incorrect. Popularity doesn’t make something right or wrong. If you want to examine the Bible, please do! But don’t assume it is wrong before you start; that’s bad science.

Many Christians are also scientifically trained. The Bible has a logic to it, a consistent worldview that is taught across many books and cultures and times. It is right to read the Bible and think about how it describes the world. It is right to think about who the Bible claims Jesus is and to consider what it might mean for our lives. But there will always be room for faith. There are things we don’t understand but we trust to be true.

Christians need to be comfortable with mystery. That can be hard for people. We know that the Bible is both the word of men and the word of God. We know that people are called to come to Jesus in repentance and faith and they are also chosen before the beginning of the world. We know that God exists as a Trinity, one God in three persons. Can I explain all these things perfectly? No. And that’s fine. God is bigger than us and it makes sense that we don’t know all there is to know about God. We do know enough, and we trust him even though our knowledge is limited. That’s faith.

Science and faith are not enemies. The Bible tells us to think about the world, to examine it, to see if it is true. If you’re sceptical about the Bible and Christianity, fair enough. But don’t just write them off. Look at the Bible with an inquiring mind. It can hold up to scientific examination.