Monday, August 4, 2014

The Heavens and the Ants - Why Teach Science?

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  (Genesis 1:1)

Why should every Christian should know something about science?

According to the dictionary, science is the systematic study and knowledge of the physical and material world.

Two Views of Science
There are two views of science in our culture.  The evolutionary view says that man is evolving upward and science is the answer to life’s problems.  Crime? Just a problem with the criminal’s genetic make-up, or maybe a result of bad experiences in his past.  Disease?  Don’t worry, with enough research, we will find the cure for every disease.  Pollution and species extinction?  We’ll re-engineer our factories and set aside more national parks to take care of those difficulties.  And the list goes on.  If you can think of a problem, an evolutionist will probably come up with a scientific answer to it.  Unfortunately, evolutionists tend to rely heavily on theories, rather than proven fact.

The biblical creationist’s view is different.  He has the written Word of God concerning our world and he believes that all life and matter are created by God for God’s glory.  Because man sinned, God cursed creation so now we are dealing with an imperfect world.  However, God has still preserved natural laws and it is man’s duty to study those laws in order to better glorify God with the creation He has given us.  A Christian studies science because God gave us dominion over the earth (Genesis 9) and we should be good stewards of it.  A good Christian scientist makes sure his theories are backed up by biblical truth and factual evidence.

Because a Christian starts with God’s Word, he views problems differently.  Crime?  The Bible declares that each person is responsible to God and society for his own actions.  Scientifically “fixing” a criminal will not ultimately work because the real problem — sin — is spiritual.  Disease?  Yes, Christians can and should seek cures for illness.  But they realize that until Christ returns and our imperfect bodies are glorified for eternity, we will always deal with some form of sickness.  A Christian can work to cut down pollution and to save species from extinction, but he understands that there are priorities.  Growing food to feed the hungry must come before saving Rare Hiccupping Toads.  Producing necessary items in factories must come before eliminating every shred of haze in the atmosphere.

Why Teach It
So let’s bring this down to Johnny Homeschooler’s level.  He doesn’t want to study biology this year, or maybe he’s tired of chemistry or else physics has him stumped.  Does it really matter to God whether he studies this stuff?

Yes!  Passages like Psalm 19 tell us to consider the heavens to learn more about God.  Proverbs 6 says to go to the ant for an example of industriousness.  God cared so much about scientific issues that He gave laws concerning farming, health and cooking in the Old Testament.  In the New Testament, Jesus constantly used examples from vineyards, orchards and farms.  For example, He used grafting as an example of our relationship to the body of Christ.

Doing everything for the glory of God requires us to know at least the basics of science because understanding science is key to many essential life skills.  Have you ever combined vinegar and baking soda to create a big fizz?  Did you know that the same principle of acids and bases is what makes biscuits rise? Try leaving baking soda out of a muffin or bread or cookie recipe.  The result is pretty bad — and it’s all due to God’s scientific laws!

Growing a garden requires some knowledge of biology (just try planting tomatoes in complete shade and see what happens!).  Driving a car demands at least a fundamental knowledge of physics (think words like “momentum,” “velocity,” and “mass”).  Keeping ourselves healthy every day calls for an understanding of the human body (what grows on your teeth when you don’t brush?).

Everyday Science
Relating science to every day life can help your child enjoy and see the benefit of studying it.  Here are some fun questions to ponder: Why does water flow uphill out of the pipe below the sink when you turn on the faucet? Talk about water pressure and water towers.

Why are incandescent light bulbs warm when they’re on?  Talk about electricity creating light and heat. Why do pools have chlorine in the water?  Discuss what makes algae grow and how chlorine prevents it.

How does a thermometer work?  Or a barometer?  Pluck guitar strings, watch them vibrate and talk about sound frequencies. The list is endless - just look around where you are right now and I'll bet there are three or four good science topics to explore!

I still remember the first day I understood the physical explanation of a rainbow. I had a great sense of awe to know for sure that Noah was facing the receding clouds, his back warmed by the sun, as God made light frequencies bend through the subsiding rain.  Science is the observation and discovery of God’s world and it can be pretty exciting!

The more knowledge we have of God’s creation, the more effective we can be in doing good deeds for Him. Particularly in our culture, science is viewed as the answer to nearly everything.  A Christian who knows the basics of true science can help others understand what science can do — and more importantly, what it can’t do.

Only God, not science, can provide answers to life’s ultimate questions.  But in providing the answers, He often sends us to study the lofty heavens — or the lowly ant!

Written by Heather Sheen

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