Christian Philosophy and the Origin of Science

QUESTION: Christian Philosophy and the Origin of Science

ANSWER:

An examination of the history of modern science reaffirms the supernaturalist’s premise that science is not hostile to the Christian position. Modern science was founded by those who viewed the world from a Christian perspective. Francis Schaeffer writes, “Since the world had been created by a reasonable God, [scientists] were not surprised to find a correlation between themselves as observers and the thing observed—that is, between subject and object. . . . Without this foundation, modern Western science would not have been born.”1

Christianity was “the mother of modern science.”2 Norman L. Geisler and J. Kerby Anderson’s Origin Science contains a chapter titled “The Supernatural Roots of Modern Science.” Both Alfred North Whitehead and J. Robert Oppenheimer defended this view. Philosopher and historian of science Stanley L. Jaki notes that historically the belief in creation and the Creator was the moment of truth for science: “This belief formed the bedrock on which science rose.”3 Jaki powerfully defends this position in the Origin of Science and the Savior of Science. Rodney Stark comes to the same conclusion.4

Christian Philosophy and the Assumption of an Orderly Universe
Re-examine the statements by Schaeffer and Jaki for a moment. Notice that each claim is grounded on the fact that science assumed an orderly universe. If we believe the universe is disorderly or chaotic, we would not have the philosophical basis for modern science, which assumes matter will behave in certain meaningful ways under controlled conditions. On earth, we always expect an apple to fall down rather than up because we believe in consistent law— the Law of Gravity. Lewis says people became scientific because they expected Law in Nature and “they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator.”5 In other words, the origin of modern science itself provides grounds for the teleological argument—the argument from design to Designer.

Notes:

Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1976), 134.
2 Ibid.
3 Stanley L. Jaki, The Road of Science and the Ways to God (South Bend, IN: Regnery Gateway, 1979).
4 Rodney Stark, For The Glory Of God (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003).
5 Kilby, A Mind Awake, 234.

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