This week Spurgeon’s Bible College asked me if I could send in an academic CV – I’ve applied to do further studies with them. In the process of doing it I remembered an article I did for a science journal, The Biochemist, in my early days at my last church when my science background was still fresh and recent. They were putting together a themed volume on the topic ‘Faith in Science’ and wanted a scientist who was a practising Christian to offer their opinion. Putting the article together was something I found highly enjoyable and gave me the chance to think deeper on this topic which inevitably is important to me. I have always struggled with being both a Christian and a scientist, not because I found they conflicted, but because I so often found that my friends who were scientists assumed that Christianity contradicted what they held to be true and vice versa, without ever really listening carefully to what was being said.
In writing my attempt to show that they needn’t be seen as contradictory I came across a wonderful illustration which helped me immensely. Imagine you’re watching a cricket match. The game is played by rules which if you watched it long enough you could work out. It makes sense and appears self-contained. Zoom out, if you will, and you’ll discover that there is more going on than meets the eye. Zoom out and you discover that you’re not watching the match ‘in the flesh’ so to speak, but are watching it on a TV set. This means that for you to enjoy it, you require the work of the camera men, producers and directors. In the same way we can see and explain the way the world works by science without reference to God. You can observe and deduce the scientific rules of nature without requiring to put him into the equations you use. But, if you zoom out, you can see God is at work, just as the camera man, producer and directors are, in order to bring that scientific contained world to you. Science doesn’t prescribe how God must work – it describes what he normally does (this incidentally explains miracles as the occasions when he chooses to do things differently). It isn’t a case of either or, but both.
Why am I sharing this now? Not just to encourage us to see science as good and not an enemy as Christians can do, but to encourage us to see God’s work in a much broader way that just religious things. The everyday working of the world we live in from the rain drops that fall, to the joy of a smile, to the sight of the comet currently cruising through the sky can be explained through science and explained through God, but I reckon they are all best enjoyed and appreciated when explained through both.