Many people have the impression that Christianity and Science are at odds. It is ironic then that one of the first truly "modern" scientists, and arguably the father of chemistry, was a deeply committed Christian, Robert Boyle (1627-1691). Boyle's great contribution was to transform chemistry from medieval mysticism and charlatanism into an effective branch of science based firmly on experimental evidence. He is credited with the discovery that the pressure of a gas is inversely proportional to its volume, something that introductory chemistry students learn as Boyle's Law. He had no trouble reconciling his Christian beliefs with his science, and in fact his belief in the orderliness and logic of nature devolved directly from his belief in the intelligence and orderliness of the Creator.
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), one of the great thinkers of Western civilization, a mathematician, inventor, and physicist, was by his own admission first and foremost a lover of God. Pascal wrote that God can be known only through Jesus Christ by an act of faith, and that man's need for God is made evident by his misery apart from God. James Joule (1818-1889) is renowned for the articulation of the thermodynamic law of conservation of energy. Lecturing in a church hall in 1847 he made the statement, "Believing that the power to destroy belongs to the Creator alone...I affirm...that any theory that demands the annihilation of energy is necessarily erroneous." Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), perhaps the greatest scientist who ever lived, believed that his scientific discoveries were communicated to him by the Holy Spirit, and regarded the understanding of scripture as more important than his scientific work. Admittedly he was unorthodox in his religious beliefs and eccentric, but it is difficult to argue with his results.
As a college student studying science I turned my back on my Christian upbringing. For eleven years I was determined to live a life based on intellect, of logic and reason. To accept this Jewish Messiah was seen to be a sellout of intellectual life, a pure leap of blind faith. I certainly was not going to accept that a man two thousand years ago could have any immediate effect on my life today. Especially the part about his dying for my sins. What did that even mean? He must have been a very good man and great moral teacher, but God in the flesh he was certainly not. If I was going to accept Jesus' death on the cross as somehow substitutionary for my sins, I was going to need to understand by what "mechanism" this could come about. Otherwise I could not accept. It wasn't until I was reading C. S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity that I became converted. It came about when I considered his statement:
A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him. A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works: indeed, he certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it.
That hit me like a thunderclap. I DID NOT NEED TO UNDERSTAND IT INTELLECTUALLY. There are gazillions of things we accept every day without intellectual understanding, including eating our dinner. It was at that moment that I first trusted in Jesus to make me whole. I felt a quiet peace come into me. There was a freshness and newness of life. And now I do understand the mechanism of His saving me. By my act of surrender and at my invitation, I allowed a supernatural Being, the Spirit of God, to come into my being. There was no break of physical law, because the supernatural simply superseded it. I have now come to realize that to believe that this Universe became what it is WITHOUT an intelligent creative Designer is the utmost blind leap of faith. That takes more faith than to believe in the essential doctrines of Christianity. To me the most logical, reasonable, rational thing anyone can do is to accept Christ. The evidence is overwhelming. I am writing this to the intellectual community that I love and with whom I labor every day. Please consider Jesus of Nazareth. Research Him. Study Him. Accept Him. He is more than Plato or Aristotle, Buddha or Mohammed. He is Commander-in-Chief of all things, and desires you to know Him.
@ copyright 2007 by Scott H. Northrup. All rights reserved.
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