Science: A Discipline That Magnifies to God "How Great Thou Art"

January 31, 2024
Tai-Danae Bradley

In today’s society, science is sometimes viewed with skepticism because of its uses and abuses. But when approached rightly through the lens of Scripture, the sciences — and related fields including mathematics, engineering, and technology — can be a beautiful endeavor that greatly honors the Lord Jesus Christ. It plumbs the depths of what He has done in His created universe, and in doing so inclines our hearts to overflow with worship as we say back to God, “How great Thou art”!

Abner Chou beautifully expressed this connection to the beloved hymn in a sermon at last year's Math3ma Symposium, and today's blog post reviews four aspects of this wonderful reality, as found on the pages of Scripture.

I gratefully acknowledge Abner Chou and Monica Vroman for their insightful feedback and help for this article.

1. Science can illustrate the power of God.

“Great is our Lord and abundant in power; His discernment is infinite.”  - Psalm 147:5 (LSB)

God’s display of power in creation is stunning. A familiar, breathtaking illustration is seen in the first days of creation, and modern science continues to shed light on God’s ongoing work in sustaining the universe. Current understanding of quantum physics, for example, gives a small glimpse into the depths of what is involved in Christ’s continual upholding of all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3), which includes the subatomic forces within all matter throughout the known universe. It also highlights the staggering power God will display when He uncreates the universe (2 Pet. 3:10) in preparation for the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:1).

Advancements in technology and artificial intelligence likewise illustrate God’s sovereignty over history, reminding us that everything is running according to His perfect timeline. Genetics and molecular biology accentuate the precious details of God’s design of little ones within their mother’s womb (Ps. 139:13–16). Medical science and neurology enable us to uniquely appreciate the power of Jesus’ healings during His earthly ministry. And the ubiquity of mathematics across a diverse scientific landscape — uniting biology, chemistry, physics, geology, medicine, and even art, music, and more — powerfully illustrates the mind of one glorious creator, our great God and Savior (Ps. 95:3).

Praise Yah! Praise Yahweh from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! … Let them praise the name of Yahweh, For His name alone is set on high; His splendor is above earth and heaven.
- Psalm 148: 1, 13 (LSB)

2. God’s revelation is above human reasoning.

“And we have as more sure the prophetic word…” - 2 Peter 1:19 (LSB)

In His wisdom, God designed His creation to reflect certain aspects of His nature. The vastness of the night sky reminds us of His grandeur. The intricacies of the hydrological cycle remind us of His wisdom. The infinitude of fractals reminds us of His eternality. The list goes on. In each case, Scripture is the source of God’s revelation to man about Himself, whereas scientific discoveries merely play the role of illustrating those truths.

To put it another way, God has allowed mankind to discover the depths of what He has done, and in turn, those discoveries illuminate and expound upon what He has already established in His word. Making this careful distinction to interpret science through the lens of Scripture — rather than the other way around — is of utmost importance for the Christian, for it keeps us grounded in the authoritative, timeless truth of God’s Word and guards against the temptation to elevate human reasoning above God’s infinite wisdom. For as the apostle Peter wrote, Scripture is more sure than even our own experiences and observations (2 Pet. 1:16–19).

What’s more, recognizing God’s revelation as above human reasoning also equips those believers working in the scientific community to make sense of their research and work. Without the answers provided by Scripture, it is natural for scientists to sometimes wonder about the value of their contributions. But Scripture informs us that every discovery gives a deeper look into what God has ordained, as revealed in Scripture, and those glories are beautiful and always worth pursuing.

"Theologically speaking, when people observe the character of God manifest in His created order, the created order is not the source of that information. Scripture is where that revelation takes place. That is where people have learned with certainty about who God is. They then apply what they have learned to their discipline."
- Abner Chou, “The Queen of the Sciences”, Math3ma Journal, Issue 1

3. Academia and industry are mission fields.

“So then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as God is pleading through us. We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” - 2 Cor. 5:20 (LSB)

The Lord has called a number of Christians to pursue a career in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics as graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, professors, research scientists, data scientists, medical doctors, software engineers, and more. Working in these scientific or technological disciplines comes with unique opportunities to share the gospel with people who may otherwise not have an opportunity to hear it. In this way, the sciences are a mission field, and a precious one at that, as relatively few Christians have the opportunity to “travel” there. Of course, rather than traveling to a foreign country, that field may simply be within academia, industry, a corporate setting, or other institution.

This is yet another way in which the sciences can bring honor and glory to the Lord. When others see our allegiance to Christ and commitment to the authority of Scripture, the Holy Spirit may use our testimony to draw others to Him. When we faithfully share the gospel in boldness with those around us, we are serving as ambassadors for Christ, as we follow the heart of the Christian calling and urge people to be reconciled to God.

"We literally have been signed as representatives of a foreign kingdom to be in an alien environment with a message of reconciliation. That’s why we’re here…. The only reason the Lord didn’t take us to heaven when we were saved is because He wanted to use us to reconcile sinners."
- John MacArthur, “The Message of Reconciliation”, Math3ma Symposium 2023

4. True science is a powerful act of worship.

“Let them praise the name of Yahweh, for His name alone is set on high; His splendor is above earth and heaven.” -Psalm 148:13 (LSB)

The origins account in Genesis 1 tells us how the world came into existence. By simply speaking, God created light, water, earth, vegetation, animals, man, the universe, and the laws of nature woven throughout it all. Only later did mankind begin to understand the depths of this work and attribute labels to it — labels such as gravity, electromagnetism, Newton’s laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics, and much more. To this day, through scientific advancements, people continue to discover the marvels of what God has done.

What an incredible reality that God made His creation so intelligible that it can be systematically understood and quantified. It is equally amazing that God gave mankind the intellect and ability to understand and quantify it (Ps. 111:2, cf. Rom 1:20). In the book of Colossians, the apostle Paul explains that “all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16) — that is, for the Lord Jesus Christ — so that “He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (v. 18). In His kindness, the Lord has put His glory brilliantly on display in creation so that we might offer our praise and worship back to Him.

So, the sciences allow us to probe the depths of God’s creation, which in turn increase our worship and adoration of Him. In this way, our hearts are moved to sing loudly with the beloved hymn to the Lord: “When I, in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder Thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art!”

"The sciences engage in the discovery of all that is in our Father’s world. Their purpose is to illustrate how truly everything has been created for His glory…. This is true science, one that is done according to truth, filled with worship, and offering true hope."
- Abner Chou, “The Queen of the Sciences”, Math3ma Journal, Issue 1

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