Using Our Minds to Discover God’s World
Author: Paul A. Bartz
Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.
Discovery and learning are highly valued in our age. Often Christians are seen as being against discovery and learning. And, with evolution and the other claims of our day which seem to run against Christianity, sometimes we are led to believe that we should oppose these values.
But is this really the case? God gave us minds and a command which requires the use of them. Look up Genesis 1:28. How many actions are listed here in God’s command to man? Can you list at least four examples of each? To which of these actions do discovery and learning apply most directly? How does this command ask more from us than memorizing facts and Bible verses?
Genesis 1:28 is often called God’s science commission to man. These things are all part of our human activity on earth because they are the vocation which God has given man for his earthly life. In order to do this, we study the creation to learn how to make it best serve our needs. This has been referred to as “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.”
But our ability to reason and clearly understand what God has made has been impaired by our sin. Therefore we must return to God to be equipped to make the best use of the creation. Scripture gives us some guidelines on this. Matthew 22:37 gives us a primary commandment for all activities. What are the three parts of our being listed here? Which most relates directly to our study of the creation in order to use it for our improvement? Are the others excluded? How does this instruction from God relate to our discovery and learning activities? (Note: the word used for mind stresses “intellect.”)
But can science (which is what discovery and learning is) be accomplished by those who do not love, honor, or even know the God Who reveals Himself to us in the Bible? For an answer to that, look at Psalm 111:10. The word for “wisdom” here in the original language means wisdom plus skill, not just knowing something, but skill in making it profitable. How does the discovery and learning (science) of the person who does not fear the Lord compare with the same activities being carried out by one who knows and fears the Lord?
How does the fact that the work of one who fears the Lord will be spiritually superior relate to the earthly value of that work?
What Can be Learned?
Now that we have established a biblical basis for how to do discovery and learning, we are ready to begin to “think God’s thoughts after Him.” Even non-Christian writers have remarked that without the basis for understanding our world which is provided by the Bible, modern science would not have come into existence. Is it true that the Bible not only encourages science but lays out some basic scientific principles? Let’s see.
Specific statements about the orderliness, and therefore the “knowableness” of the world, abound in the Bible. Take a look at Genesis 1:11.
What principle of reproduction is mentioned here? Can you make a scientific prediction based on what is revealed here? What science has grown up around this principle?
Since God chose to design things so that living things reproduce after their kind, we learn a little about the way in which God thinks. What would it tell us if a corn seed might grow wheat, an oak tree or ragweed – or almost any kind of plant? What if, when an animal gave birth, the offspring could be almost any kind of animal? What would this suggest about God? What overall principle about the workings of the creation is presented in Genesis 1:11?
If you still have not arrived at the right word perhaps Genesis 8:22 will help. Here we see the same principle applied to the passage of the seasons. The same principle is also found in a largely related passage in Genesis 1:14. Can you now name this principle?
Science depends on the fact that events happen in a predictable fashion. We are able to predict that cats will have kittens, superior corn will produce superior corn, and a properly assembled radio will operate because God’s creation is orderly.
We take this for granted, but the fact is, many cultures and most religions of the world do not assume that the world is a real, orderly place. That’s why they never developed science which works as well as what we know today. But here we have seen that the Bible not only tells us God’s will that we exploit the creation (in the good sense) for our well-being, but the Bible also gives us the basic scientific principles which will enable us to do this.
You may want to compare the points we have learned from the Bible in this study with some of the claims of evolution. How are they different? From this you can develop some reasons as to why current evolutionary thought could never have developed our modern science.
You may wish to close with a reading of Psalm 139.
1987 Bible Science Newsletter.
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