The mistaken religion of Science!


I don’t know whether anybody has been watching the TV series at 21.00 on Monday nights on BBC4, described by the Sunday Times TV Guide as:
Rain – new series looking at the science behind weather
Snow – documentary looking at the science behind snow

I’m sorry to have missed it so far – my guess would be that this is both an interesting and instructive series. However, regardless of the actual content of the series and how good it is (or isn’t) in itself, what is remarkable is the depiction of the series by the Sunday Times – the science behind (?!!) the weather; the science behind (?!!) snow.

These statements are simply untrue! and the fallacious world-view they imply, and its dissemination by one of the more intellectual of the Sunday papers, is somewhat worrying. The implication is that science is somehow the cause of weather and snow and that science somehow can explain the reason behind why things happen. We don’t need to know all the technicalities, but we can rest assured that science is, or will provide, the answer.

However, there is no science behind weather; there is no science behind snow. Science is not a cause – neither, is it a reason. Science is simply a way of describing things – it’s a language!

The reason science is such a powerful tool, is because we live in an ordered universe where the laws of that universe tend to apply consistently throughout the world and over time. If we do something that causes something to happen, if we then do it again we can expect the same result to happen again. As we learn these “laws” of physics and chemistry and biology by observation of the ordered world in which we live, we can learn and repeat them and then extrapolate and think what if and experiment.

The wonder of science is really the wonder of what man has been able to do with the building blocks we have found in the world in which we live; ie the wonder of our own creativity and invention. As we have learnt about the world in which we live, we have to a remarkable extent been able to harness the power of nature and the way that the elements of our physical world combine and separate so as to materially change the immediate environment in which we live – for better and for worse!

One wonder of science is therefore ourselves and what we have been able to do with the natural world in which we live. The other wonder of science which is too often missed, is to look in the other direction from the natural world with all its wonderful beauty, diversity and order towards its cause and creator – God!

Paul tells us at the beginning of his letter to the Romans, For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes are clearly visible and there to be understood by the things that are made (Romans 1.20).

Indeed, let’s think about what’s behind snow. Let’s remember how beautiful Bromley looked just a few weeks ago in that snow. Let’s think about what’s behind the weather. Let’s use science to describe and learn and marvel at this wonderful world of ours , but don’t let’s think science is behind it! No, let science help lead us to what is behind it, to whom is behind it!

When we think of what science “has achieved”, the thing to be marvelled at, is not science; ie, the language, but the driving force behind science – mankind! And more than just mankind, we should marvel at the whole of creation – and when we look at creation through the eyes of science (or the eyes of art), we begin to get an inkling of the beauty, the power, the majesty, the perfection, the reality of the Supreme Being, the Creator, God! who has not just revealed Himself in the natural world, but by His revelation in the Bible and more particularly, His specific revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ!

God is the ultimate cause and it’s God that is behind the natural world and the marvellous way it’s ordered. And then God created man in His own image; ie, with free-will and thereby the unique ability of being a cause ourselves (albeit somewhat limited).

We can use this life for good or for evil. We can use this world for good or for evil. We can use science for good or for evil. Science is not a cause, or reason or faith or religion above us – it’s us who have a will and must make the choice – how are we going to live our life? how are we going to use the things of this world? how are we going to use the things of God? how are we going to treat each other? And our choice makes a difference – we are a cause – and we must bear the consequences of our actions.

The fundamental problem with the world is man’s rebellion against God and therefore these two causes being in conflict – God’s will and our will. The only solution is for us to recognise this and turn back to God – for us to will that our lives be in accordance with God’s will. The crucial practical question then is, how? Thank God, there is an answer – through Jesus Christ!