Friday, February 5, 2010

Science is good, but we give it too much credit

A. W. Tozer believes that science is good but that we have allowed it to put us at a remove from God, at least in our thinking.

We are today suffering from a secularized mentality. Where the sacred writers saw God, we see the laws of nature. Their world was fully populated; ours is all but empty. Their world was alive and personal; ours is impersonal and dead. God ruled their world; ours is ruled by the laws of nature and we are always once removed from the presence of God. (The Knowledge of the Holy, ch. 12)

He then explains that the word "law" applied to nature is "erroneous."

And what are these laws of nature that have displaced God in the minds of millions? Law has two meanings. One is all external rule enforced by authority, such as the common rule against robbery and assault. The word is also used to denote the uniform way things act in the universe, but this second use of the word is erroneous. What we see in nature is simply the paths God’s power and wisdom take through creation. Properly these are phenomena, not laws, but we call them laws by analogy with the arbitrary laws of society.

Then he celebrates science, and explains that science is only possible because of the particular attributes God possesses.

Science observes how the power of God operates, discovers a regular pattern somewhere and fixes it as a ”law.” The uniformity of God’s activities in His creation enables the scientist to predict the course of natural phenomena. The trustworthiness of God’s behavior in His world is the foundation of all scientific truth. Upon it the scientist rests his faith and from there he goes on to achieve great and useful things in such fields as those of navigation, chemistry, agriculture, and the medical arts.

But science must not separate us from God himself.

Religion on the other hand, goes back of the nature of God. It is concerned not with the footprints of God along the paths of creation, but with the One who treads those paths.

Thus he touches on something that can easily be true of Western Christians. We attribute incidents in our lives to the nature of things instead of directly to God.
  • I got over my cold because I took medicine and ate chicken noodle soup.
  • My battery died in my car this morning to because it was old and the temp was near zero.
But isn't it more true to attribute these things to God?
  • God healed me of my cold.
  • God allowed my battery to die this morning to teach me patience, prayer, and dependence upon him.

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