Did you know that the schools for Jewish children in the time of Jesus used what we now call the Old Testament to teach all subjects – including science? The schools were held in synagogues and since they knew God created “science” then of course the Bible had a connection to science.
Fast forward to our era and Christianity/God are painted as being anti-science – especially regarding topics in which there is what is perceived to be a stark difference between the beliefs of many secular scientists and Christians and/or Christian scientists. There is even a narrative in which a “good” scientist cannot be a Christian or a strong Christian shouldn’t engage with science – depending on which side you are on in the debate.
The truth is that in any occupational field there will be differences in how Christians and non-Christians view various aspects of the job. For example, in sales, there are non-Christians who think lying is part of being successful and Christians who think one should never lie – even if it costs them a sale. If anything, we should encourage more Christians to join the various fields in science in order to have a platform for these godly differences.
The problem is that training for these fields is started with children and teens whose faith is still maturing. They are impressionable and are often taught by scientists with not just a secular worldview but a strong, vocal anti-Christian bias. So how can we influence a field like science while protecting the faith of young minds? The answer is not to disengage from science entirely, but to give Christian scientists a platform to teach science with a godly world view.
One of the problems is that far too many Christians have accepted the worldly view that Christian scientists aren’t “real” scientists. This stems from a mistaken understanding of science and the idea of “fixed” science. A true scientist views even simple things like gravity as up for debate – if not entirely, then at least aspects of it. If some scientist can produce a contradictory theory, backed by evidence that is able to be replicated by others, then the scientific community will adapt their understanding of that topic. Good science should never be considered “fixed”. Just because a Christian scientist has a theory that differs from a prominent secular scientist or popular scientific principles, doesn’t mean he or she is a bad scientist or even wrong for that matter.
Unfortunately, scientists are as likely as anyone else to be reluctant to give up ideas that are attractive or important to them or question their worldview in some way. What makes it even worse is that even when secular scientists begin accepting the findings of Christian scientists, that information is often not shared in mass media or in school textbooks. This can lead Christians into thinking something is fixed science – like macro evolution/Darwinism – even when a critical mass of secular scientists have shifted away from that concept and moved more towards the Christian scientists’ beliefs (even if not yet fully accepting of the idea of God as the Creator).
We need to spend time with the young people in our churches teaching them that science is not to be feared or rejected entirely, but that it must factor in the scientific principles or ideas that God has shared with us. That science that rejects God is biased to reject anything a Christian scientist discovers. That there is pervasive peer pressure and bullying in science to adhere to a popular narrative rather than continue to seek truth – even if that truth points back to God. That science shouldn’t be about politics or popularity. That every scientist (secular or Christian) has a bias, because they are all human. That “fixed” science should be reconsidered – especially when it differs from the biblical explanation of something – and adapted when new evidence is found. That science that entirely rejects God is problematic. That all good science is rooted in God, because it was created by God.
Some of you, like me, may not have had the best science teachers in the world and have a weak understanding of anything related to it. That’s okay. There are plenty of resources to help you begin to work science from a godly world view into some of your Bible lessons. A great science based group with books, articles explaining new discoveries from a Christian versus secular worldview and other helpful resources is Answers in Genesis. Many of their materials were developed to be used with children and teens. You can search for articles on almost any scientific topic that explain the popular scientific view, the Christian scientific view if it differs and any evidence that gives weight to one side of the debate or the other. (www.answersingenesis.org)
If you want to do some simple science activities with your Bible class, our website has science activities with meaningful ties to various Bible stories (www.teachonereachone.org). Originally designed for homeschoolers and faith based tutoring, they can be used in Bible classes with the intent of reinforcing that God and science are connected because God created all true and accurate science.
It is not necessary to teach children and teens to reject science. Nor is it wise to teach them to reject biblical principles rejected by popular science. Rather it is crucial to teach them how to engage with science with a strong, active Christian faith.