For most of the modern era, there’s been this misconception that science and the Christian faith are at odds—that one must be a adherent to science (in essence treating it as a worldview, instead of a discipline) or a believer in Christianity, and ne’er the twain shall meet.
Which, of course, is poppycock.
Now, to be clear, a naturalistic worldview and Christianity are entirely incompatible. One presupposes that all that exists is what we test, measure and otherwise verify (except what we can’t). That there is nothing outside the system in which we exist. The other hinges on there being something other than the system—a Creator outside of the creation. But engaging with scientific disciplines and maintaining a strong Christian faith are not at odds, despite their protestations of many in our day.
Believers across the generations have held these truths in unity—that we can be thinking people, who can study the world around us, who can glimpse into the wonders of the world God has made, and be filled with an even greater sense of wonder. And this is the testimony of Scripture, for as the Psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1, HCSB).
All that is is made for this purpose—to declare the glory of God, to proclaim his name. It is no wonder that Spurgeon said,
Strange is it that some who love God are yet afraid to study the God-declaring book of nature; the mock-spirituality of some believers, who are too heavenly to consider the heavens, has given colour to the vaunts of infidels that nature contradicts revelation. The wisest of men are those who with pious eagerness trace the goings forth of Jehovah as well in creation as in grace; only the foolish have any fears lest the honest study of the one should injure our faith in the other.1
Spurgeon’s words hear are important—it is foolish to think that honest study of “one book” should injure our faith in the other. It is folly to for Christians to behave or believe as though one must abandon their convictions to naturalism to be an honest scientist, just as the atheist or naturalist is foolish for behaving as though all worldviews must be checked at the door of the lab.
One cannot, as James McCosh described it, set the works of God against the Word of God. He said,
Let not science and religion be reckoned as opposing citadels, frowning defiance upon each other, and their troops brandishing their armour in hostile attitude. They have too many common foes, if they would but think of it, in ignorance and prejudice, in passion and vice, under all their forms, to admit of their lawfully wasting their strength in a useless warfare with each other. Science has a foundation, and so has religion; let them unite their foundations, and the basis will be broader, and they will be two compartments of one great fabric reared to the glory of God. Let the one be the outer and the other the inner court. In the one, let all look, and admire and adore; and in the other, let those who have faith kneel, and pray, and praise. Let the one be the sanctuary where human learning may present its richest incense as an offering to God, and the other the holiest of all, separated from it by a veil now rent in twain, and in which, on a blood-sprinkled mercy-seat, we pour out the love of a reconciled heart, and hear the oracles of the living God.2
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.” Look on, admire and adore—and be led from the works of God to the Word of God.