10 Reasons Christians Should Care About Science
by Dr. Thomas Jay Oord
Faith and science have often been at odds. Can they reconcile?
For some Christians, the science-and-theology dialogue is peripheral to their faith. The heat from disagreement, conflict and unresolved questions repels them. By contrast, I think Christians should care deeply about science—and they should intentionally engage the theology-and-science dialogue.
Here are 10 reasons Christians should care about issues emerging from the science-and-theology interface and an argument for why engagement in the dialogue is fundamental, not peripheral, for Christians interested in an intellectually responsible faith.
1. Knowing God
We cannot know God as well as we otherwise might if we fail to study creation’s witness to its Creator. The Apostle Paul puts it this way, “Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible attributes—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20, NIV).
Christians throughout history have appealed to two “books” as providing knowledge of God: the book of Scripture and the book of nature. Neglecting either is detrimental. Deeper knowledge of God requires engagement with both theology and science.
2. Biblical Interpretation
Christians cherish the Bible. It provides the primary—but not only—resource for knowing God, knowing how humans ought to live and knowing some things about the universe. But Christians also know biblical texts can be interpreted in diverse ways.
Discussion about scientific theories—e.g., evolution—should prompt Christians to ask about the Bible’s basic purpose. Christians should reflect together on how best to interpret biblical passages in light of established scientific theories, including theories opposed to biblical texts when such texts are interpreted literally.
3. The Human Person
Science strongly influences how Christians think about human anatomy and human nature. And yet few ponder what scientific views of sexual reproduction, circumcision, epilepsy, menstruation, neurology, health care, etc., mean for thinking about the human person today.
Developments in contemporary psychology and sociology are also important for Christians to consider when accounting well for what it means to be human. Both ancient Christian wisdom and contemporary science must be brought to bear on what it means to be human.
4. Creation Care
In the first two chapters of Genesis, God gives humans a special task: care for creation. Taking care takes many forms, depending on the contexts. At their best, Christians draw from science when considering how to be care-full toward all God’s creatures.
For instance, Christians should respond appropriately to the overwhelming evidence for global warming when considering how best to fulfill the call God has given them. They must also heed ecological research on species conservation, even when conservation means changing the way they play, farm, hunt or develop the land.
While Christians may not agree on how best to proceed in response to difficult issues such as these, science should play a central role for finding better ways to care for the world God creates.
5. Cultural Engagement
Christians do not live in isolation. They exist in communities, societies and cultures. In fact, a huge part of Christian theology emphasizes the relationship Christians have with broader culture.
Science has a loud voice in the public square today. The Christian ignorant about science is easily sidelined or even cut off from cultural conversations about the common good…
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