Chapter 7

 

The Rise of Modern Science

 
Christianity is the mother of modern science because it insists that the God who created the universe has revealed himself in the Bible to be the kind of God he is.
  • The rise of modern science did not conflict with what the Bible teaches: indeed, at a crucial point the Scientific Revolution rested upon what the Bible Teaches. Both Alfred North Whitehead and J. Robert Oppenheimer have stressed that modern science was born out of the Christian worldview.
  • The worldview determines the direction such creative stirrings will take, and how–and whether the stirrings will continue or dry up.
  • Living within the concept that the world was created by a reasonable God, scientists could move with confidence, expecting to be able to find out about the world by observation and experimentation.
  • Christianity is the mother of modern science because it insists that the God who created the universe has revealed himself in the Bible to be the kind of God he is.
  • Newton, like other early scientists, had no problem with the why because he began with the existence of a personal God who had created the universe. In his later years, Newton wrote more about the Bible than about science, though little was published.
  • Michael Faraday held the position “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent.” In the conviction that knowledge concerning God’s creation is for all the people to enjoy, and not just a professional elite, he gave famous public demonstrations of his pioneering work in electricity.
  • Albert Einstein in the London Observer, April 5, 1964: “I cannot believe that God plays dice with the cosmos”
  • Another result of the Christian base was that the world was worth finding out about, for in doing so one was investigating God’s creation. And people were free to investigate nature, for nature was not seen as full of gods and therefore taboo. All things were created by God and are open for people’s investigation. God himself had told mankind to have dominion over nature, and as we saw from the quotation from Francis Bacon, to him science had a part in this. There was a reason for continuing one’s interest and pressing on.
  • What was the view of these modern scientists on a Christian base? They held to the concept of the uniformity of natural causes is an open system, or, as it also may be expressed, the uniformity of natural causes in a limited time span. God has made a cause-and-effect universe; therefore we can find out something about the causes from the effects. But (and the but is very important) it is an open universe because God and man are outside of the uniformity of natural causes. In other words, all that exists is not one big cosmic machine which includes everything. Of course, if a person steps in front of a moving auto, the cause-and-effect universe functions upon him; but God and people are not part of a total cosmic machine. Things go on in a cause-and-effect sequence, but at a point of time the direction may be changed by God or by people. Consequently, there is a place for God, but there is also a proper place for man. This carries with it something profound–that the machine, whether the cosmic machine or the machines which people make, is neither a master nor a threat–because the machine does not include everything. There is something which is “outside” of the cosmic machine, and there is a place for man to be man.

Cover Photo: Nicholas Copernicus Monument in in Toruń, Poland

This post contains quoted and paraphrased passages of How Should We Then Live? by Francis A. Schaeffer. 50th L’Abri Anniversary Edition, © 2005 by Crossway Books.
 

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