|A Question of Faith|
|January 17, 2012|
We insist that our faith should be heard in the arena of scientific endeavor.
Nothing about science essentially excludes philosophical or theological concepts from entering into its very fabric.
- J. P. Moreland, Christianity and the Nature of Science
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
- Romans 1:19
All scientific activity is pursued on the basis of certain faith convictions.
Put another way, the most fundamental components of scientific thinking and method are not provable by the methods of science but must be assumed. They must be embraced as tenets of faith. They are assumptions based on belief, not on scientific proof.
Those most basic assumptions are revealed by God - the orderliness and knowability of the universe, the legitimacy of scientific endeavor, the fact that life has meaning and purpose and value, and much more. The modern scientific enterprise began from within the intellectual framework erected by Christian thinkers (as I show in our Themelioi columns). The Enlightenment attempt to eliminate the necessity of God and spiritual realities did not jettison those most basic assumptions; it simply appropriated them without acknowledging their provenance. That condition continues to exist today.
Science as we know it could not function without those most basic assumptions. This is because the universe is what God says it is and scientists are made in the image of God and must function as God's image-bearers in God's creation. Materialists will not acknowledge this to be so - how could they? But it is true nonetheless.
Faith plays a major role in the scientific enterprise. However, it is a faith that is not acknowledged and, thus, is practiced only inconsistently, only pragmatically. The naturalistic scientists believes truths not germane to his own most basic convictions, but he will not admit that he knows God, borrows from God's truth to suit his own purposes, and refuses to give credit to God for his achievements.
But he does know God, even though he has chosen to live as if he does not. At the same time, he uses God's most basic truths to promote conclusions and propositions that deny God a place in the most important questions of human experience.
The Christian is a person of faith as well. But he, too, if he is a scientist, may be living an inconsistent faith, at least in his chosen field of endeavor. For if, knowing this to be God's world, and knowing himself to be made in the image of God and a steward of God's world, and knowing the relationship between Christ and all knowledge and wisdom - if, under those conditions, the Christian working in the sciences simply allows inconsistent - and, frankly, dishonest - secular scientists to define the terms and conclusions of all science, then he is living an inconsistent faith as well.
We need people with consistent Christian faith working in the sciences. Otherwise, science will remain captive to unbelief, hypocrisy, and lies.
It is nothing to apologize for that we should insist that our faith be heard in the arena of scientific endeavor.
The secular scientist, after all, does it all the time.
T. M. Moore
Senior Theologian and Historian