This Is Our Father's World: Science and Theology (Part I)

June 2, 2023 at 9:07 AM

This Is Our Father’s World

First of all, let me put you at ease. This article does not have to do with physics, chemistry, gravitational force or the Theory of Relativity. I also want to make clear that this is not an article about the marriage of modern science and the Bible. It will not discuss creationism and evolution. Creationism is, of course, the presupposition of this article and God’s creation of the world will certainly be mentioned – but that is not the purpose of writing this. Instead, I’d like to discuss the integration of science and theology. In other words, I’d like to examine, from a Scriptural and theological perspective, why we ought to study our Father’s world and science.

When I say that we ought to study science, I don’t mean that everyone must get a degree as a scientist. In its most basic form, however, science is simply gaining knowledge of the natural world. We can all gain knowledge about our world simply by observing it and thinking about it – and anyone can observe and think about the world! The next most obvious question, then, is why we ought to bother, as Christians, observing and thinking about the world. After all, aren’t there more important things to observe and think about? Shouldn’t all our spare thoughts be devoted to observing and pondering Scripture?

Well, I’d argue that there is great value in observing and thinking about the created world as Christians, and that’s what we really want to consider this article. As Christians, what is the Scriptural basis for observing and thinking about our Father’s world? I believe there are two primary reasons that are biblically based and that apply to all of us, scientist or not: (1) We study science because God has revealed His character in the created world; (2) We study science because God has created us to be caretakers of the world.


God Has Revealed His Character in the Created World

As Christians, we believe that God Almighty is the Creator of the world and everything in it (Gen. 1-2; Ps. 24:1). But have we ever stopped to wonder, “Why did God create the world?” God certainly was not lonely – the Father, Son, and Spirit existed in perfect fellowship for all eternity! God didn’t need to create, nor does He depend on His creation, nor is He somehow more complete or more at ease because He has made everything.

So why did God create the world? I suggest a couple reasons. Foremost, God created the world to bring glory to Himself. He didn’t create the world for you and I – He created it for Himself, to glorify Him and bring praises to Him. Colossians 1:16 indicates: “all things were created through him and for him.” Romans 11:36 similarly teaches, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Creation is for God, and the things created are thus to bring Him the glory He is due forever.

That is the first reason, but there is a second reason God made the world. It is, in fact, related to the first reason; namely, God reveals His character in the created world. Creation is one way God reveals who He is. Psalm 19:1 implies this, saying, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” This verse also supports the above proposition, that God’s glory is the reason He made the world. Regarding God’s revelation, though, we could also point to Romans 1:20, which makes perfectly clear: “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” God’s attributes are clearly seen in creation. We learn about who God is by looking at creation – learning, as Romans 1 says, of God’s eternal power and His divine nature. And by learning about who God is from creation, we can also accomplish our primary purpose as created beings: we can better glorify Him as He has designed us and creation to do!

Let’s put this all together, seeing it in some real-world examples. Consider a thunderstorm. Have you ever stopped to admire a thunderstorm? Consider the crack of the thunder, the flash of the lightning, the force of the wind, the beating of the rain. Alternatively, we can think of a great white shark. Picture the shark heaving its massive body entirely out of the water to devour a little seal.[1] Or still, we may think of a camp fire, with the orange flames devouring brush and log and paper plate and marshmallows left too long on skewers. The thunder storm, the shark, and the fire all are great demonstrations of power in the created world. And by looking at these spectacular displays, we understand that God must be a powerful God indeed to create such forces in the universe! In this way, through thunder storm and shark and fire, we get a glimpse of God’s power as mentioned in Romans 1:20. And it is one thing to know, “God is powerful” by reading a theology book. It is another thing to behold the power God has put into the created world – what a response of praise and thanksgiving to God does admiring creation produce in us!

This makes observing and thinking about creation of great value. In science, we can glorify and give thanks to God, learning more of His attributes! By studying the world, we can fulfill the very purpose for which God created the world: Giving Him glory. We can behold His power and His gentleness, His beauty and His mysteriousness, His wisdom and His delight, His supremacy and His immensity, His unity and His diversity.


[1] This feat is truly remarkable. If you are interested in observing power on display, you can watch a shark leaping in this episode of a documentary called Planet Earth. Watch from 37:00 to 39:10. Please note that, while the Planet Earth documentary series contains amazing footage of animals and nature and can be quite edifying, it is not Christian, contains some evolutionary content, and, for those more sensitive, will not shy away from showing animal carcasses, bloody and wounded creatures, or predators ripping apart their prey. The video of the shark and the seal, however, is not bloody. You do see the seal in the shark’s mouth.