C.S Lewis once argued, “men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a Lawgiver.” The quest for man to ‘discover’ these laws must have first been inspired by the fact that they exist.
It then follows, that one of the best avenues and opportunities to worship God is in the corridors of nature and science labs. For a long time, some scientists have tried explaining away any subject Christian faith and some Christians have responded in kind. Religion and Science have been pitted against each other as if they are mutually exclusive.
Science is a great pointer to God-the intelligent and genius architect of the universe and every created thing. After He was done creating, He was satisfied with His creation therefore with a deep sense of assurance He said, “It is (very) good”. For this ‘goodness’ or equilibrium to exist He must have put a few principles both on nature and humankind. Scientists can only but ‘discover’ these principles.
Historically, Christianity has been and still is a patron of sciences. It has been prolific in the foundation of schools, universities, and hospitals, and many clergies have been active in the sciences (Wikipedia)[i]. Time fails me to list the Christians [ii]in the sciences, dead and living, who have had a significant contribution to science as we know it.
The Miracle of Scientific Discoveries
According to Pulpit commentary of ‘It is the glory of God to conceal a matter’ (Proverbs 25:2a) they say,
“That which is the chief glory of God is His mysteriousness, the unfathomable character of His nature and attributes and doings. The more we search into these matters, the more we find our ignorance to be; finite faculties are utterly unable to comprehend the infinite; they can embrace what God chooses to reveal. Secret things belong unto the Lord our God (Deuteronomy 29:29).” [iii]
The fact that scientists discovered that there are scientific laws that seem cast on stone and are empirically verifiable and logical is indeed a pointer to the genius of God and His excellent handiwork. The same way God providentially takes us through our everydayness is the same providence through which scientists get ‘eureka’ moments. Some scientific discoveries have been ‘accidental’ or didn’t happen in labs; like the use of quinine that was used by Jesuits in as early as 1600 to treat malaria affecting the native Andean population.
The original discoverer found these properties with a stroke of luck. The original story, though not well documented, involved an Andean man suffering from malaria who got lost in the jungle. Due to thirst and fatigue, he quenched himself from a pool of water at the base of a quina-quina tree. The waters’ bitter taste made him feel that he’d become sicker but the opposite happened; his fever subsided and he was able to go home and tell the story of the curative tree. Such is the story behind the discovery of x-rays, the pacemaker, penicillin, super glue, etcetera.[iv]
In the wake of the novel coronavirus, (by now we know that it is not ‘novel’ to God) a couple of findings have been made on the nature of the disease. We indeed thank God for the scientific strides that have been taken to slow the spread and flatten the curve. Christians can express this gratitude by following the safety measures prescribed by the scientists through the government.
Praying to A Sovereign God
In this season where a preponderance of humanity is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, God is still Sovereign. He can use or bypass scientists who are busy looking for the cure of this deadly virus. In our praying for a solution, we can ask for a myriad of things concerning the affected and infected, but we can also pray for God’s providence in this season and that can include asking Him for a breakthrough in the labs. With 3,664,494 people having tested positive and 252,758 succumbing to the virus[v], the ‘golden bowls’ carrying the prayers of the saints (Revelation 5:8) might as well be full of COVID-19 related petitions.
“Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God, if God is not sovereign, we have no assurance that He is able to answer our prayers. Our prayers would become nothing more than mere wishes. But while God’s sovereignty, along with His wisdom and love, are the foundation of our trust in Him, prayer is the expression of that trust.” Jerry Bridges[vi].
The beauty of praying to a Sovereign God is that He has the advantage of knowing the beginning from the end and He has His own (and many) ways of doing things that can go beyond our wildest imagination (Isaiah 46:10 & 55:8-9). This should inspire us the more and drive us to pray, to pray in hope and not in fear. John Piper best captures this by saying “the presence of hope in the invincible sovereignty of God drives out fear.”[vii] So be of good cheer, everything is on God’s table; Science Included!
[i] Online. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_science , Accessed on April 12, 2020
[ii] Online https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christians_in_science_and_technology Accessed on April 12, 2020
[iii] Online. https://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/proverbs/25.htm Accessed on May 5, 2020
[iv] Online https:/www.sciencealert.com/these-eighteen-accidental-scientific-discoveries-changed-the-world Accessed on April 21
[v] https:/www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ Accessed on May 5, 2020 these numbers keep changing
[vi] Is God really in control? Trusting God in a world of hurt by Jerry Bridges, copyright 2006, p. 69-70.
[vii] This momentary marriage-A parable of permanence, Desiring God foundation, 2008 pg. 97.