and Technology: A Brief
The marvels of modern
science are awesome to behold and to use. This very chapter is
only possible by the computer and the Internet, surely two of
the greatest inventions of the 20th Century. I am
sure that each reader would have his own favorite. There is the
simple plastic straw, which as McDonald’s size, one can suck
down a whole milkshake in record time! There is the microchip
that makes every appliance and gadget “programmable” and
adaptable (but not necessarily easier to use!).
Perhaps, at the top of
the list would be manned space flights and interplanetary
exploration. Space travel for people is at our doorsteps,
fulfilling the dreams of young boys and astronomers who have
ever gazed and wondered at “what is out there” for generations.
So, what does The Book
that dates back several thousands years and written in cultures
foreign to the “modern scientific mind” have to say about such
science and technology? Actually, to presume that an omniscient
God would not have known all that has been and will be developed
is to make God smaller than He is -- for He is omniscient!
Cannot Determine Its Own Destiny
The first worldview
principle towards science and technology is that neither can determine its
own destiny, that is, what will be developed and how it will be
Science, by its own nature of hypotheses and constructs, cannot
select what will be developed or investigated. No one would
argue that any industry or society has unlimited resources
(time, money, equipment, and researchers). They are limited by
budgets. Thus, inescapably choices of research and development
have to be made. Those decisions are not made by the science
or technology department, whether in business or government.
In business, the
marketing department is likely to make those decisions, that is,
what will grow the business best. In government, the budget
analysts make those decisions. I am simplifying this process
somewhat, but the point is that the producers and researchers
develop their budgets and submit them to a “higher authority”
who will determine whether they will get the funds to proceed.
The scientists do not make these decisions.
These decisions come
face to face with ethics: what is right or wrong in worldview
In business, virtually always the decision is made on what
profit the company can make. In government, decisions are made
for a variety of reasons: the greatest good for the greatest
number, the greatest good for the best lobbying group, the
greatest good for those deemed “worthy” (the elderly, the poor,
the homeless, the crippled, the minority, etc., etc.). (The
reader should note that medical science is included
Now, any student of
biblical worldview will recognize the “value” words above: “profit,” “good”,
“greatest,” and “worthy.” No area of science or technology
within its own areas of expertise has any principle to govern
such a decision. Choices are made on values outside the
science and technologies themselves.
Thus, the dilemma that
is sometimes encountered by Christians and other moralists with
the gigantism and wonder of modern science is false.
Experimental and applied science can neither determine their own
direction, nor even their own continued existence. Forces
(values) outside of themselves will always do that for them. A
pure worldview of science and technology does not exist!
There is no science or
technology that within itself is either bad or good (moral or
ethical). The science of the atom can be used to generate
electricity for thousands of people or it can be used to kill
and maim thousands in a horrible way. The science of smallpox
can eradicate it from existence or unleash disfigurement and
death. The automobile gives great freedom to people around the
world, but also kills tens of thousands and injures far more.
Genetic engineering has the potential to cure ravaging diseases
or create an army of superman soldiers.
Perhaps, these examples
will suffice to demonstrate that no technology within itself
is to be feared. As the Bible tells us, “the heart is
deceitfully wicked.” The evil is in individuals, groups, or
government who are in positions of power to use science and
technology to achieve their own goals.
More than a century
ago, theology had been considered for centuries as the “Queen of the Sciences."
(See below.) In
that sense, Noah Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 is
helpful. Science is:
1. In a general
sense, knowledge, or certain knowledge; the
comprehension or understanding of truth or facts by the
mind. “The science of God must be perfect.”
philosophy, a collection of the general principles or
leading truths relating to any subject. Pure science, as
the mathematics, is built on self-evident truths; but
the term science is also applied to other subjects
founded on generally acknowledged truths, as
metaphysics; or on experiment and observation, as
chemistry and natural philosophy; or even to an
assemblage of the general principles of an art, as the
science of agriculture; the science of navigation. Arts
relate to practice, as painting and sculpture…
3. Art derived
from precepts or built on principles…
4. Any art or
species of knowledge...
5. One of the
seven liberal branches of knowledge, that is, grammar,
logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and
- Authors have not always been careful to use the terms
art and science with due discrimination and precision.
Music is an art, as well as, a science. In general, an
art is that which depends on practice or performance,
and science that which depends on abstract or
speculative principles. The theory of music is a
science; the practice of it an art.)
location of the website where Webster's 1828
Dictionary may be found, see Reference at the end of
This rather long quote
is necessary, for “science” has become distorted in its meaning.
(The person who is not interested in precise definition will
never be competent in any area of knowledge, including his or
her Christian experience. I make no apology for this approach)
Re-phrasing Webster’s “1”, we could say that “science is a
systematic knowledge of any subject” (as theology was the queen
of the sciences). But, “science,” today, as it is generally, and
even formally used, applies to such subjects as physics,
chemistry, biology, medicine, and mathematics or all lumped
together as “the sciences.”
Herein is a serious
problem of distortion. First, today’s use of “science” strongly
implies that any subject matter outside these disciplines is not
“scientific,” and therefore is a lesser form of knowledge.
Second, “science” includes both the exact disciplines of
physics, mathematics, and chemistry with the much-less-exact
disciplines of biology and medicine. My medical training began
over 40 years ago. I have seen diagnoses change markedly and new
ones developed. I have witnessed significant changes in
treatments, and in some cases, the exactly opposite treatment is
recommended for the same disease process! Such is the nature of
Perhaps, the worst
example of this subtle inclusion of exact sciences with the life
sciences is psychology. Psychology has several hundred theories
of explanation and treatment. To say that psychology is a
science is to generalize the word beyond any meaning at all. It
would be more accurate to say that psychology is a very large
group of theories with little experimental evidence. It will not
compare to the precisions of physics, for example. Thus,
psychology and the other life sciences receive a greatly
substantive standing that is false, simply by their inclusion in
the general category of “science.”
So, each discipline
must be evaluated as to its scientific validity on its own
merits. Theology, as it was seriously practiced at the time of
Noah Webster, should again be the “Queen of Sciences,” for
indeed, all natural revelation (including man’s theories and
experiments) must be evaluated in the light of God’s Revelation.
For a person or scholar who is a Bible-believing Christian not
to make this evaluation is the most serious blunder to be made
in ethics (or any worldview area).
After the above was
written, I found this "classic definition" of science by Carl F.
H. Henry: "any clearly defined subject matter that yields valid
knowledge communicable from mind to mind and from generation to
generation." Thomas Aquinas named theology as "the queen
of the sciences." (God, Revelation, and Authority,
Volume 1, page 202.)
Epistemology and a
philosophic discussion of truth is beyond our scope here.
However, it is central to the commonly accepted authority of
science today. Simply, truth is reality; any subject or object
in all its relations to everything else in the universe. The
quick student will recognize that only God can know truth by
this definition. That is one point. The second point is that
because God has revealed Himself and other matters in His Word,
we can know the truth that he has revealed. We can know no other
(Again, I take great
leaps in a philosophical discussion, but I believe that I have
stated these two points accurately within philosophical and
epistemological certainty. See the following reference for a
greater explanation of these leaps.)
Thus, science does not
produce truth. Science is either theoretical or experimental.
Theory is never truth by its own definition. It is hypothetical.
Now, we are to the crux
of the matter. Experiment does not produce truth by its own
design. What does a scientist do in setting up an
experiment? He sets rigid guidelines by which the experiment
will be conducted. He must be precise, limit variables, and
attempt to anticipate everything that might go wrong. Thus,
any results that he achieves will be limited to his experimental
parameters. The results, then, dear reader, is not truth.
Truth is all things in
relation to all other things in the universe (above). Scientific
results are only related to the conditions of the experiment.
Note the contrast here. Truth relates to the entire universe;
science is limited to its severely (relative to the universe)
limited design. Science can never be truth by its own
limitations. It is very narrowly and specifically applied to
the conditions of the experiment.
Take the simple formula
for a falling body in the footnote above. Its design is limited
to an object falling in a vacuum. Please tell me where a vacuum
exists on earth at sea level, where the formula applies.
Nowhere. That limitation in reality is true of all scientific
Now, here is the bottom
line, science has great practical value, but it is not truth.
The formula for a falling body and many other laws of gravity,
propulsion, motion, etc. are sufficiently practical to send a
manned mission to the moon and back, but none of that
information is truth. Thus, the gigantically pragmatic value
of science has been grotesquely distorted to be truth when it is
actually only experimental results within a strict paradigm.
Any reader new to this
discussion will have to work at this matter. You will likely
need to read other books. (See Recommended Reading). Most
moderns are so ingrained in being unable to think
philosophically while being indoctrinated with false reasoning
that this process is indeed difficult.
So, here is the
contrast. On the one side is the only truth available to
mankind, The Holy Scriptures. On the other side is science,
which can neither speak to its own ethics while limited to
theory and an artificial construct (experimental design). It is
the omniscient, “only wise God,” vs. a-morality and man-made
Once more, we must give
great credit to the functionality of science, but we
cannot give it either a status of truth or any credence to speak
to morality. Science has nothing within itself to gain status of
either of these latter roles.
Scriptures as the Cause of Modern Science
By any system of
chronology, mankind lived on earth for thousands of years before
the practices of modern science were developed. Why did not
science appear earlier? Surely, the causes were multi-factorial,
but two points should be made.
First, the large
majority of the scientists who laid the foundations for modern
science were Christians: Leonardo da Vinci, Johann Kepler,
Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, Galileo, Isaac
Newton, Michael Faraday, Samuel F. B. Morse, Rudolph Virchow,
Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, and Gregor Mendel (to name only 13
of 52 listed by the late Henry Morris). Thus, there is no
conflict between faith in God and the Bible and modern science.
In fact, the opposite occurs. Faith in the One who “is the same
today, yesterday, and forever” gives confidence to explore the
wonders of His creation.
Second, the knowledge
of the Bible in the hands of the common man changed a worldview
that had boxed and fixed science for more than 1500 years. The
Greeks saw the universe as fixed and limited the elements of
fire, water, wind, and earth. The Scriptures showed a universe
created by God who fixed its laws and made it predictable. The
Bible energized men to create instruments (for example, the
telescope, microscope, and stethoscope) to see and hear things
that were never possible before.
developments are commonly attributed to the Renaissance, what
occurred simultaneous with the Renaissance? The Reformation. As
God’s laws for the church and society found new meaning and
application, His laws were being discovered in nature by His
people (above) that were foundational to modern science.
Only the monotheistic
religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Mohammedism) describe a
universe created and inhabited (immanent and omniscient
presence) by God according to fixed laws and holding a knowledge
that is broad and deep, as a fitting testimony to its Creator.
1. The values that
determine what science will do, and where it will be applied,
lie outside of the scientific world.
2. Science and
technology within themselves are strictly a-moral. Their
morality is determined in how they are applied in the lives of
3. In its modern use,
“science” has a denotation of truth, when in actuality, it is
either theory or limited to a precise experimental design.
“Science,” in its historical and accurate use, can be applied to
any area of systematic study.
4. The Holy Scriptures,
systematically applied, should once again be the “Queen of the
5. The great
functionality of science and technology belie their claim to
truth (#3 above).
6. Most of the great,
early scientists were Christians, and their Biblical worldview
led them to great achievements in science.
1. What criteria are
used by industry and governments are used to determine what
scientific studies will be done and applied to mankind? Name
more than were cited above.
2. Is the science of
the atom beneficial or harmful to mankind? What are your ethical
principles that determine your answer?
3. What is the
historical and accurate use of the word, “science?” What is
truth? Try to wrestle with how truth may be known. Remember that
truth never changes, as God never changes.
4. Why did modern
science develop when it did? Is modern science incompatible with
the Scriptures, all of which were written from 1000-3000 years
Clark, Gordon. A
Christian View of Men and Things. Unicoi, Tennessee: The
Trinity Foundation, 1952.
The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God. Jefferson,
Maryland: The Trinity Foundation, 1987.
Davis, John Jefferson.
Frontiers of Science and Faith. Downers Grove, Illinois:
InterVarsity Press, 2002.
The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the
Twilight of the Scientific Age. New York, NY: Broadway
Books, 1966. Secular philosophers and scientists discuss
their own limitations and expectations of modern science.
This book gives insights to scientists' own concerns that
usually do not get media attention. It is valuable as a
resource for Christians with arguments from secularists
Moreland, J. P.
Christianity and the Nature of Science. Grand Rapids: Baker
Book House, 1989.
Rushdoony, Rousas J.
The Mythology of Science. Nutley, New Jersey: Nutley Press,
Webster's 1828 Dictionary