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Kayleen Schreiber was working towards her Ph.D. in neuroscience, which is the study of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. She writes that many people asked her, "How do you stay close to God while being bombarded by all that science?"
Isaac Asimov, a biochemist and the author of the novel I, Robot, observed: “Science doesn’t purvey absolute truth. Science is a mechanism. It’s a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature. It’s a system for testing your thoughts against the universe and seeing whether they match. And this works, not just for the ordinary aspects of science, but for all of life” (Interview by Bill Moyers on Bill Moyers’ World Of Ideas, Oct. 21, 1988).
Kayleen started out with a core belief that God’s Word is the foundation of all truth (John 17:17). Because she compared everything she learned to what God says, her scientific journey actually helped her grow closer to God in a few distinct ways.
It’s easy to find information that matches what we already think is right, but Kayleen knew God expected more (Matthew 12:36-37). The scientific method made Kayleen question whether she really loved truth.
In scientific investigation, when an hypothesis is disproven, the approach and thinking about the issue has to be adjusted. We need to have the same attitude in our spiritual life. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:6 to “rejoice in the truth.” Therefore we cannot try to interpret God’s Word the way that we want it to go. We have to be humble enough to seek God’s truth, even when it goes against what I think should be true or convenient for us.
One of the reasons Kayleen decided to pursue neuroscience was because there was still so much to learn in order to understand how the human brain works. As she delved deeper and grew in the knowledge of how detailed, organized and beautiful God’s creation is, she realized the Eternal God and the spirit world must be so much more amazing that we can't even begin to comprehend it. Studying God’s physical creation helps us all maintain an awe and reverence towards our Creator that can so easily be taken for granted.
The results we get from science experiments are far from indisputable facts. As a scientist Kayleen realized that there is always some amount of uncertainty and risk incorporated into everything we do. Our experiments, our measurements, even our senses aren’t perfect.
We will never have all the answers, and we can never be completely sure of what we know. That is why God’s Word is so comforting and so indispensable. It is the one thing we have that we can truly be sure of. God hasn’t provided the answers to everything yet, but He gave us enough information so that we can have successful lives, grow in character and have hope for the future.
In Job 38:4 God asks: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” and in verse 36 He adds: “Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart?”
It is easy to forget what a limited outlook humans have, although science has allowed us to expand our perspective so that we can now see cells, molecules and atoms, and some galaxies in the universe.
The fact that science allows us to expand our knowledge is important because it is so easy to forget about the much bigger view God has. He knows us better than we know ourselves (1 Kings 8:39), and He knows how everything works together (Job 38).
The more Kayleen studied God’s creation, the more she comprehended how much God loves diversity and creativity. He created millions of species for us to discover, explore and care for.
God is involved in every little detail, and the more we learn about His creation, the more we learn about Him. He is caring, thoughtful and perfect. Paul expressed this beautifully: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
Compass Check (Summer 2016)