Entry Level Theological Truth [14]

Entry Level Theological Truth 13

“Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:19-20

There’s a common misconception that modern science and theism are completely incompatible. To borrow divorce court language, God and scientific endeavor suffer from “irreconcilable differences.” In actuality, there is no incongruity between the Creator and rigorous examination of His creation. We derive the English word “science” from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge.” Our Maker is not a “check your brain at the door” type of deity. From the beginning of the creation, God has encouraged mankind to investigate His works which display His wisdom and power. This is readily seen in His treatment of our first father Adam in the garden.


What’s In A Name


As the verses at the head of this post demonstrate, Adam was given meaningful work to do for the Creator. In modern science this discipline is known as taxonomy. It involves rightly classifying and naming different living organisms.

In recent centuries this discipline was pioneered by the famous scientist Linnaeus. Nevertheless, this work goes on today as researchers discover more and more animals, plants, and microorganisms. To do this job well, one has to have acute powers of observation coupled with the ability to analyze data and topped off with old fashioned creativity. Adam learned all of these skills in the garden in preparation for his work of subduing and developing the inchoate world for the realization of the Almighty’s purposes for it.

Adam’s antediluvian taxonomy also revealed that he was unlike the lower forms of creation; that is to say, he was not merely a higher order of animal, nor a naked ape as some have imagined. Rather, he is a creature created in the image of God, and therefore is invested with glory and potential greatness befitting his responsible standing before God. Unlike the animal creation, he possesses a spiritual and rational dimension which is implanted for the purpose of responding to and knowing God. His taxonomical work also acutely demonstrated his need of a helper who was of the same kind. The Lord provided this shortly thereafter in the person of Eve.


Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him


Through the centuries, many of science’s greatest advancements have been the product of the diligent scientific efforts of prominent theists – many of them Christian theists. Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Kelvin, Faraday, Simpson, and many others conducted outstanding theoretical and practical experiments while simultaneously holding to the belief in a personal Creator God. Likewise today, Christians labor in many scientific fields assiduously applying themselves to scientific pursuits because they believe that this world is not here by accident, and that it has a Creator.

The fact that scientists expect this world to operate upon fixed logical and mathematical principles inferentially points to a creative mind behind the universe. Thus, the only conflict between modern science and belief in the true and living God comes from those who make the philosophical decision that the universe is purposeless and offers no possibility of a personal Creator. This is more an article of faith than a statement of science.


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Photo credit: Chris Buggins, used with permission.


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