Does scientific discovery contradict faith? The answer depends on what faith you are talking about. When you take a close look at what the Bible states and the historic and scientific evidence, we find that Biblically-based faith and science are not at odds. In truth, they complement one another.
Let’s look at two things scripture states and the supporting evidence.
A Faith Perspective on Creation (Psalm 104:24-25)
In Psalm 104, Kind David takes the creation account in Genesis 1 and makes observations about the creation he sees all around him. David states in v.24, “How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures.” The words David uses here, “How many are your works” and “In wisdom you made them all”, point to observations about life around him. This life is varied, distinguished and interconnected. This immense and interconnected creation leads David to worship or be in awe of the Creator behind the creation.
God’s Word, thousands of years before the advent of modern science, recognized something about creation that science has verified in multiple ways. Look at the scientific discovery and understanding of “the food chain” or “eco-system”. Science has discovered that life on earth is both varied and interconnected. David was inspired by God to see and know this long before science arrived.
In v.25, David goes on to use the oceans as an example: “There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number”. David did not have the advantage of taking a deep sea dive with equipment or a submarine to know this, yet he recognized how vast life was in the sea. The term “vast” not only refers to large in magnitude, but distinguished and of great value. We see scientific discovery and Biblical faith complement one another.
Faith Pursuit in Life (Proverbs 2:1-5)
In Proverbs chapter 2, King Solomon calls us to actively and passionately pursue “wisdom” and “understanding” (v. 2). In fact, he used three “if” clauses to emphasize the importance of making the effort to pursue insight (vv. 1-4). He then arrived at v. 5 where he shifts to “then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” This means that if you as a follower of Christ will passionately pursue insight, you will become aware of the presence of God (“fear of the Lord”) and begin to understand what God knows (“find the knowledge of God”).
Biblically-based faith does not call us to squelch curiosity, avoid knowledge or run away from questions. Just the opposite! The call here (and other places in scripture) is to encourage curiosity, to pursue knowledge and truth, and to address questions that arise. You may not have all the answers, but through scripture you have the basis to look for them.
If science did contradict Biblical faith, then why would so many followers of Christ have been instrumental in establishing scientific discovery? In his book, How Christianity Changed the World, Dr. Alvin J. Schmidt gives a myriad of examples in history of believers who impacted science as we know it.
Just to name a few:
- Robert Grosseteste (1175-1253) was the first to propose the inductive, experimental method.
- Roger Bacon (1214-1294) argued all discoveries must be verified by observation.
- Jean Buridan (1300-1358) introduced the theory of probability.
- Johann Kepler (1571-1630) discovered the elliptical movement of planets.
- Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) laid the foundation for modern genetics.
In all, Dr. Schmidt documented 26 different examples of Christ-followers who had a hand in establishing science, as well as being involved in significant scientific discovery throughout history.
Does science contradict faith? Not Biblically-grounded faith. But don’t take my word for it. Do what the Bible calls you to do, to seek the truth and discover for yourself.