Talking about Science

Science offers many opportunities for enriching conversations.

The Disciplines of Knowing: The Sciences (7)

Science provides a conversational avenue to Christ.

“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Matthew 6.27-30

Wonder, worship, witness
I was having some tests done at the local hospital, one of which involved measuring the flow of electricity through the nerves in my legs and feet.

I watched as the graph on the screen bounced up and down and the neurologist looked back and forth between it and the needles he was kindly prodding into my leg. I asked what he was measuring. He said this test was designed to determine the amount and flow of electricity through my legs, which, he explained, was a measure of how much deterioration had already occurred.

I asked, in sincere curiosity, “Where does the electricity in the body come from?” He looked up with a kind of surprised glee; then he paused to explain that the chemicals in each cell act like the chemicals in a battery, combining to create an electrical charge that combines with the charges from other cells to provide just the amount of electricity the body needs to continue functioning. We went back and forth on that idea for a few minutes, I seeking more clarity, and he happily explaining the marvelous workings of the human body.

I was amazed at the simplicity of it all (which I honestly didn’t understand until that moment). I said, “Wow! That is truly amazing!” He replied, “Yes, it is.”

And then I felt a nudge in my soul, and I said, “And to think that they want us to believe that all this came about and continues by mere chance.”

He blurted out, “I knew that’s where you were going with this!”

Well, I didn’t know that’s where I was going, but it’s where the Spirit took us. He went on to explain that he had been raised in a Christian home, and always had an interest in science, since he was a little boy. But the church he and his parents belonged to discouraged his interest in science, telling him that science was no friend of faith. When he went off to college, he abandoned the faith and devoted himself to science. I was able to say a few words about how science bears witness to the reality of God and His love, but we didn’t get any further than that.

Susie and I talked afterward about how sad that was. His own church had driven him into the arms of a secular worldview, when it might have equipped him to be a powerful witness for Christ in his field of endeavor.

Science is no enemy of the faith. It can be one of our best friends, in helping us to know and love Jesus Christ, and one of our most valuable tools in bearing witness to His sovereign power and grace.

Who cares about science?
Everybody cares about science. Watch people reading labels at a drug store or grocery store. They’re looking at ingredients and comparing what they read with other similar products. They know enough about the science of what’s good for them to choose the best combination of ingredients for the best price.

Or consider how people snap up the latest technology, and especially the latest apps and social media platforms. They don’t know how this stuff works, but they love what it can do for them. I don’t know how it works either, but it has something to do with capturing, harnessing, and directing light.

Think about that for a while.

Since all people are immersed in science and its products all day long, they can’t help but be interested in it, curious about its workings, and perhaps open to talking about science with folks like us.

Everybody knows that science is a powerful instrument for knowing things about the world and how to make use of its resources. That is, everyone is affected by the scientific worldview to some extent. They learned about science in school. Indeed, science curricula are crowding out and overwhelming nearly every other course offering, focusing increasingly on science, technology, and mathematics.

So everybody has an interest – if only latent – in science. This creates many wonderful opportunities for us to use the work of science to introduce people to the Treasury of all knowledge and wisdom, even our Lord Jesus Christ.

Science, grace, and the Gospel
How can we go about this? It’s really quite simple. Take an object, any object. Everything in our lives is shot through with science! Think and pray and meditate and talk to yourself until you begin to see what this object has to say to you about Jesus. Its order, simplicity, beauty, utility, and ubiquity (like a ball point pen) can remind us of many virtues and attributes that inhere in Christ, and that can only be explained by His upholding power. Chance can’t make anything remain the same for very long. Only Jesus can do that.

Share your observations with a Christian friend. Invite comments and additional input, and make sure to tie everything back to Jesus. Now you’re training yourself and your soul to be at the ready when an opportunity arises for science to create an avenue for journeying toward Jesus.

Think about the people you will see in the week ahead. Do they have one of these objects you’ve been contemplating? Do you ever have an opportunity to chat with them, even if only for a few short minutes? You could explain that it is the common grace of God that makes such wonders possible. This will pave the way for you to explain the saving grace God has for us in Jesus.

You can do the same with books or articles, television programs, video games and apps, the latest technologies in film, and much, much more. Or use something you’re not familiar with to start a conversation in which you can learn, and perhaps bear witness, if only in passing. Train yourself. Talk to yourself about such things. Journal about them. Talk with Christian friends, and let their questions and observations improve your appreciation of whatever you’re discussing. Then pray and plan and prepare to use what you’re learning to talk with others about the grace of God, which is everywhere present in the work of science, and the greater grace that comes only through the Gospel.

For reflection
1. Make a list of objects or topics in science that you will contemplate over the next few weeks. Start with the first one, and focus on it prayerfully until it yields the glory of Jesus He has concealed there (Prov. 25.2). Start a journal of such observations, and work on it regularly.

2. What opportunities do you have throughout the week for getting together with someone for conversation? How might you create more such opportunities?

3. What else can you do to bring more of science into your growth in the Lord and your witness for Him?

Next Steps – Conversation: Review the previous studies in this series on the sciences. Begin letting science have a larger role in your quest to increase in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

T. M. Moore

This is part 6 in the series, “Know, Love, Serve”. All installments in this series may be downloaded for further study by clicking here.

Science has been taken captive by the secular temper of the times, and we need to understand how this has happened. Our book,
Understanding the Times, is a valuable guide to understanding the world we live in and how we as Christians can understand how to live in it. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore