The Science of Christianity

My name is Noah Cho. I am currently a third year and studying Integrative Biology because I am fascinated by science, work in a research lab that focuses on genetics and evolution, and I am a Christian.

Usually, when people hear the words “biology” and “Christianity” near each other in the same sentence, flags begin to shoot up. The two ideas appear to contradict each other and consequently, we are expected to either choose only one of them.

As someone with a science background, it is easy to see why this is the case. So many ideas seem to clash: creationism vs. evolution, altruism for personal gain vs. compassion, and many more.

Here, however, I’m not going to write about which ideas are correct or which are wrong. I’m not going to pull up facts from one side in order to prove the other one incorrect. Instead, I’m going to explain how I, as a biologist and Christian, came to have them coexist in a way that is harmonious and beautiful.

God is infinite. Yes, there are facets of our Creator that we can slowly learn, but if we ever try to grasp the idea of God, it’s impossible. An entity that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent is overwhelming. We can see this in Psalms, where it says, “Great is our Lord in power; his understanding has no limit.[1]” This is also seen in Isaiah, where it says, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.[2]” Not only do we see God’s infinite power and knowledge, but in the latter part of the verse it says that “no one can fathom” God’s understanding. No one. If this is the case, then why bother at all? Why try to learn more about God when it is impossible to fully understand Him?

This, for me, is where I always thank God for blessing us with science. The Merriam dictionary defines science as: “knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation.[3]” It involves natural laws that the world obeys, and the more of these laws that we understand, the more knowledge we possess for everything. Science conflicts with Christianity because there is no need for a God if these laws exist. There is no need for creationism if there is evolution, and no need for miracle healings with medicine.

To me, science is something that is not in conflict with God, but is something that He has given us to help understand his unfathomable self.

I believe that God is the creator of everything. The best way that I can think about this is how an artist creates masterpieces. In Psalms, it says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands[4].”

Let me bring up an actual example that I’m sure you have heard of before. There is a phenomenon in this world known as “photosynthesis.” This is a widely accepted belief for how plants are able to metabolize energy.

With this idea, I don’t see a question of whether plants are able to receive energy and function because God wants them to have energy, or if they receive energy because they have evolved that way. I believe that plants are able to exist, provide oxygen and sustenance for us, and they are able to survive because of a process that God has created to allow plants to survive.

If we look at another topic, things become more applicable to my life. I have family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. There’s always the question of whether people are supposed to undergo chemotherapy and curse God for allowing the tragedy to happen, and there are people who are more extreme that will just pray and believe that it is God’s will.

I do believe that it is God’s will for these tragedies to happen. Again, God is all-powerful and gives and takes everything. I think that humans are to accept this, but at the same time praise God and use what He has given us to try to treat the patient. This includes undergoing chemotherapy and taking whatever medical precautions are necessary, for at this point, God has given us the knowledge to understand the laws of nature and how to fight them.

Some of my loved ones have beat cancer, and others have passed away. Does this mean that God failed? Not quite. Can we blame the medicine in this case then? Not entirely. God has bestowed upon us the knowledge to understand the human body and how it can and cannot work, and has given us some knowledge to cure it. If it fails, however, then it was entirely in God’s will.

God has given us the necessary tools to see miracles every day. When my uncle passed away due to cancer, I was devastated. I couldn’t understand how God would allow that, but it made me realize that it was his time to pass away and be with God. When my aunt survived cancer though, it gave me so much joy. While it may seem that it was the chemotherapy that cured her, even that is a miracle from God.

This is what has allowed me to see God through science. With something as tangible and accessible as the laws of physics and the power of medicine, I am able to see God working all the time. There are moments when I still have no idea why things are happening, but there are also times when I see the power that God has and how perfectly he has created the world. It is through this that I have come to not reject Christianity or science, but see the two work together.

[1] Psalms 147:5, NIV
[2] Isaiah 40:28, NIV
[3] “Science.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2011. Web. 8 May 2011.
[4] Psalms 19:1 NIV

Photo credit: clarita from morguefile.com.

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