How should Christians do science?

Posted by Josiah Hemp on 7/8/24 5:27 PM

Dr. Mike Jackson talks with us about what it means to do science as a Christian at Patrick Henry College

How do we approach science as Christians? And what does PHC have to offer to students wishing to pursue a vocation in the sciences? We talked with Dr. Mike Jackson, PHC’s Associate Professor of Biology, and asked him to tackle these questions. 

How should we approach science as Christians?

Science is both a collection of facts and theories about the way the physical world operates, as well as a set of techniques and approaches for trying to gather those facts and test those theories. In that context, there is nothing that is specifically either religious or atheistic.

science postScience is limited as it must be done by fallible humans and any kind of intellectual endeavor requires us to make assumptions about the world around us. So the conclusions that we come to are only going to be as good as those underlying untestable assumptions that we make.

If we start from materialistic assumptions . . . then you’re going to come to incorrect interpretations of facts—wrong theories.

Doing science as a Christian is first and foremost a recognition that there is a Creator God and that what we do in science needs to be informed by what He has revealed to us through His word.

Dr. Jackson Pull quote

There are things in God’s Word about how creation started, what its purpose is, what man is, what woman is. All these things preexist our scientific methods, and whatever we do in science needs to be done in light of what God has already revealed to us.

We believe that God is a God of order and that creation is orderly and understandable. While it is true that Jesus upholds the universe by the word of His power, it is also true that in upholding it he has made physical things impact other things in ways that we can often trace and understand.

Why we should bother to study science

When we are doing science, we are looking at material connections between things, but when we are doing that, we need to be mindful of things that we know from Scripture have supernatural involvement.”

You often speak of the dangers of “thus saith the science.” Could you tell us more about that?

As a culture, we threw out the priests with the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution. We kicked out an existing voice of authority for why the world is the way it is, and why things happen in a certain way, but as humans, we can’t operate without the voice of authority, so something else needs to fill in the gap. What has stepped into place in our increasingly materialistic culture are the scientists. We look to them to to say what is happening in the world, why it is happening, and what we can do about it.

Bio lab, science, student looking in microscope, specimen, 15

Even without the hard materialism aspect of it, you can run into ‘thus saith the science’ problems because any individual scientist and any individual scientific study can be biased, either explicitly or implicitly; scientific observation can be incorrect or incomplete; and the connection between a fact that we can observe in the world and what we should do about it as a policy is very rarely linear.

Learn about the Environmental Science & Stewardship major at PHC

In Biology at Patrick Henry, one of the goals is to train students to have enough understanding about how science happens in the real world. Should they get one of these pronouncements of ‘This is what the scientific facts are and what you should do about it,’ PHC students are equipped to evaluate that critically.

Why is biology an important part of PHC’s Core Curriculum?

  1. Biology is the most personal of the sciences. Everybody has a body. In biology, you learn more about how you are fearfully and wonderfully made and God’s incredible power and creativity in the natural world.

  2. Scripture is full of imagery and metaphors that involve the biological sciences. We get all sorts of metaphors of branches, seeds, lambs, harvesting, sowing, and reaping. In many cases, the more we understand about biology the better equipped we are to appreciate the depth of the meaning of those metaphors. By studying biology, we are better equipping ourselves to study the Word of God in a way that we don’t see with chemistry, geology, or astronomy.
    Read why science is part of PHC's Core

  3. Biology is the most necessary science for an atheist, by which I mean that atheists need to have some sort of explanation for why we see the diversity of life, and the appearance of life being designed, without there actually being a designer. An atheistic interpretation of biological facts has brought about the idea of evolution. By studying biology and understanding the true intricacy of all living things, we understand the incredible improbability of that atheistic, materialistic explanation for life. What we see in the real world is much more consistent with God’s creation than evolution, and we equip students to understand and interact with the argument that these things are all a result of natural processes.

  4. Biology is the battleground science within our culture. No one in chemistry is trying to claim that ammonia has a gender or that baking soda and vinegar react because of white supremacy. But those claims are being made in biology. There are academics saying with straight faces that disease in minority communities is caused by white supremacy and are claiming that a human can have a gender that is distinct from their sex. Studying biology from a biblical worldview helps us to understand and refute these false arguments.

What do you see as the Environmental Science & Stewardship major’s biggest strengths?

The biblical foundation all the way through. We teach science from an explicitly biblical and young earth creationist worldview. I think the program is really part of PHC’s overall endeavor to train people not just in what we know today, but how we got here, and what’s the course of Western history, philosophy, theology, etc. Where do ideas come from, and why are they worth holding on to and defending? We’re teaching science out of one branch of that tree that is growing from Athens and Jerusalem.”

ESS (1)


 Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.


Search LearnPHC posts by keyword(s)

Popular Posts

Browse by Category

See All