“But Christianity Contradicts Science!”
I’m confident that as Christians living in the West, we’ve probably all heard at one time or another that “Christianity contradicts science.” Is this the case? I don’t think so. In fact, Christianity gives us a unique worldview among all the philosophies of life that compete for our allegiance. In their book, The Soul of Science, Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton brilliantly argue that much of modern science was able to get off the ground because of metaphysical assumptions (i.e. basic assumptions regarding the nature of reality) that only “click” with the Christian worldview. In fact, the book presents a wonderful argument that states that without the biblical account of God, creation, man, sin, and redemption, modern science is left without a foundation for its project.
Here’s a concise summary of their main points (most are theirs, some I’ve added to). The Christian worldview encouraged the development of modern science in a variety of ways, chiefly by providing a network of presuppositions that acted as a spark for scientific activity.
First, only in Christianized Europe, and nowhere else, did the explosion of modern science occur.
Second, Contra pagan forms of pantheism or monism, where all reality is thought of as fundamentally one (removing the distinction between God and His creation and considering nature divine) Christianity’s influence lead to the “de-goding” of nature, opening up nature to the possibility of being an object of study rather than religious devotion.
Third, the bible’s presentation of metaphysical realism teaches that the external world was really there, not merely a projection of our minds, and detailed study of it could lead to a true understanding of the world rather than merely biographical insights (opposed to worldviews that teach reality as maya, illusion.)
Fourth, the biblical anthropology of mankind created as the image of God coupled with a logos epistemology, which teaches that God has created the world with a rational structure and likewise has modeled our thinking to match (more or less) this rational structure.
Fifth, the existence of abstract universals such as the laws of logic, numbers, etc., are all things that the study of science is completely dependent upon (think of all the mathematical equations and formulas used) all served as springboards in the development of science as we know it today.
No Christianity, and all of these springboards for the development of modern science are taken away. No modern science, no “scientific” objections to the faith. So, in reality, the scientific ground on which the objector to Christianity is firmly rooted on biblical soil! To wrap this up, I’ll pass the torch to Cornelius Van Til:
Created reality may be compared to a great estate. The owner has his name plainly and indelibly written at unavoidable places. How then would it be possible for some stranger to enter the estate, make researches in it, and then fairly say that in these researches he need not and cannot be confronted with the question of ownership? To change the figure, compare the facts of nature and history, the facts with which the sciences are concerned, to a linoleum that has its figure indelibly imprinted. The pattern of such a linoleum cannot be effaced till the linoleum itself is worn away. Thus inescapably does the scientist meet the pattern of Christian theism in each fact with which he deals.