Foundations of Science

The following is taken from Science & Its Limits: The Natural Sciences in Christian Perspective by Del Ratzsch. I think it sums up well the relation between Christianity and the foundations of science:

“… Christians saw the world as a creation (thus orderly and uniform) of a Person (thus rational) who had created freely (thus requiring empirical investigation) unconstrained by our prejudices and expectations (thus requiring open-minded investigation). So the basic character of science grew to be what one could expect from a Christian outlook. That is not to say that one could deduce the basic outlines of a scientific method from Christianity but that those outlines fit well with Christian doctrine. And besides the more general themes, there are more specific characteristics and presuppositions of science that Christianity either anticipates or provides justification for.

It is generally presupposed within science that an objective, independent reality exists outside of and beyond us which science studies (contrary to various forms of both idealism and relativism). That is exactly what one would expect if the nature science studies were a creation. God created it independently of us, according to his plan and without our concurrence or consent.

Another key presupposition is that of the uniformity which underlies the belief in nature’s predictability and which also provides support for the usual requirement that scientific results be reproducible. But Scripture tells us of God’s faithfulness in the governance of the cosmos. Uniformity is what we would expect of a creation that is established by a God who is faithful and that is governed by his edicts.

It is a further assumption of science that nature is comprehendible, that we can understand it. That is what we might expect, given that God created with wisdom and that the reason by which we try to understand the creation was created by the same God” (pp. 136-137).

About this entry