Science and Religion

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The heavens declare the glory of  God; 
And the firmament shows His handiwork. 
(Psa. 19:1)

Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Rom. 1:20). 

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Talk to people of deep faith about science, and you're likely to get a skeptical response. Talk to people of science about religion, and the reaction will no doubt be equally disdainful. For a long time, science and religion have been antagonists in a bitter struggle for the hearts and minds of society.

This hostility need not be, if both parties would take the trouble to understand the other side. 

Religion, especially the Judeo-Christian variety, has provided a stabilizing influence through the ages. Unfortunately, there have been enough counterfeits and frauds to give the entire venture an ugly reputation. There's plenty of good and bad to go around. (See Ross Douthat, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, 2012).

Likewise, science has made notable contributions to human flourishing, but it has plenty to be embarrassed about, too. All the human foibles that corrupt religion are present here as well: prejudice, confirmation bias, jealousy, dogmatism, deceit, and so forth. (See Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 2nd ed., 1970).

In other words, whatever our philosophical predispositions on this question, we all have need of a great deal of humility. 

Since the early days of the Enlightenment, scientists such as Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Faraday, etc., grounded their discoveries in their faith. They believed that the God of the Bible left His fingerprints on His physical creation, and sought to understand how His laws of nature worked. Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, that synergy between science and religion collapsed as the philosophy of materialism gradually pushed religion to the margins. 

However, scientific discoveries over the last several decades promise to restore the connection between theistic faith and science. Stephen Meyer's recent book, Return of the God Hypothesis (2021), highlights three independent streams of evidence that together build a compelling case for an intelligent designer: from astronomy, evidence that the universe had a beginning; from physics, evidence that the universe has been finely tuned for life; and from biology, evidence that life is the product of a remarkable information system encoded in DNA. Science and religion are not as far apart as we've led to believe. Indeed, God's "invisible attributes are clearly seen" through what has been made. 

Science and religion, each properly understood, need not be in conflict. Our challenge is to approach both fields of inquiry with an open mind, evaluating all the evidence from the Book of God and the Book of nature to learn the truth about ourselves and our world.