Man's Creativity: Science
Colossians 1.'15-17: "He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn aver all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on each, visible and invisible, whether thrones ar powers ar rulers ar authorities: all things were created by him and far him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
Hebrews 14:3: "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, as that what is seen was nat made out of what was visible."
John 45:5.' `Without me you can do nothing."
A. What Is Human Creativity?
"To create" means ta cause to exist. to originate. God is the only true Creator; man's creativity is part of God's image and likeness given to him at creation (Gen.1 :26-28). It is a reflection at God and cannot stand on its own. There is a fundamental and unbridgeable difference between God as Creator and man as "created creator" so to speak' God alone is Creator out of nothing ("ex nihilo," an often used Latin term), while man can only "create" out at something. This is part at the Creator-creature distinction we studied in Lesson 1,
Man is wholly dependent upon God in all his creative activities. This is because (1) his very ability to "originate" things comes to him tram God: (~ his very existence--breath, heart beat. digestion. health - only "holds together" in Christ by God's grace (Acts 14:17; Col.1:17: Ps.90:3; Luke 12:20. etc.]. Finality. (3) man never creates "out of nothing," but he must always use pre-existing things he himself did not make to bring forth something new. This is plain to see tar man's creativity with material things in agriculture, horticulture, technology. economics (see Lesson 6), and so on. All these activities are in tact part at God's dominion mandate given to man at man's creation [Gen.1 :26-28). They are the outworking at God's command to man to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and till the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion
Man's dependence upon God by way at God's creation at pre-existing things man himself did not make is also true far less tangible areas, such as architecture and sculpting. where a design or form of man's invention and making, originally copied from design and form already existing in nature, is added to stone and clay.
(*)Lastly, man's ultimate dependence upon God is true for the "humanities" properly speaking, that is, literature, music and the arts. In literature man did not invent its "raw material," language, given him at his creation as part of his likeness to God the Word Himself. In music the pre-existing God-given foundation is the fixed relationship of sound intervals (harmonies), created by God in the very beginning `When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy' (Job 38:4-7). In pointing man did not invent the indispensable primary colors and their inexhaustible potential for varying combinations, already given to him by God at creation. Man merely applies these colors in his own, derived creativity.(*) Christians, then. exercise their creativity by "thinking God's thoughts after Him." This can be done in agriculture, economics, architecture, literature, music, painting and all areas whatsoever. Unbelievers, still brokenly reflecting God's image though fallen and more or less consciously rebelling against God, can also produce creative works of value, especially in technology, medicine, and other "applied" sciences. In these practical areas they are compelled to submit to God's creative design because they will almost instantly reap what they sow. It they submit to God's creation by studying and then working on the basis of God's created identity of the various substances and creatures in the world. then they will benefit themselves and help their fellow men. If not, they will suffer and may even cause death. as when medicine is replaced by poison (or an overdose of what in small quantity would help). (`)This is a parallel in science to what C.S. Lewis said About man himself and society: man and all his work is supposed to run on God Himself as "fuel" (see Lesson 1).(*)
B. Modern Science the Result of the Biblical Christian World View
Modern science is the result of the biblical Christian world view, beginning with and consciously based upon biblical creation and its personal, orderly, trustworthy Creator and Sustainer. This is a proven historical fact which ought to be mode known to modern unbelievers as often as possible, It has been confirmed by numerous scientists and historians of science. (*)Perhaps the best and most complete account of how belief in the God of the Bible made modern science possible only in the Christian West is contained in two important books by the historian of science Stanley Jaki, Their titles are Science and Creation and The Road of Science and the Ways to God Jaki points out that "Only once. in the period of 1250-1650. did man's scientific quest muster enough zest to grow info an enterprise with built-in vitality." This achievement was due to "belief in a personal. rational, absolutely transcendent Lawgiver, or Creator" and when this faith "had truly permeated a whole culture." Jaki believes that man's future rests upon this faith, to which science "owes its very birth and life." (Science and Creation [New York: Science History Publications. 1974], viii.) Dr. Francis Schaeffer in his famous How Should We Then Live? makes the same point. Jaki abundantly documents the truth that(') modern science could not arise in other societies because of their belief in cyclical history (see Lesson 2 and Lesson 3). This is because there is no meaning and progress in an ever-recurring sequence of events. OS in the cosmic evolutionist "Great Year" of antiquity. Ancient pagan people were not less intelligent than Christians. Their knowledge of astronomy was excellent. and they made a number of practical inventions such as gunpowder and printing long before the West. What was lacking was the scientific method.
This scientific method is based upon an assumed orderliness of the universe open to rational investigation. and this orderliness can be assumed only due to creation by the God of the Bible. This God alone is "not the author of confusion" (I Cor.14:33), and His creation alone, free from any evolutionist elements of inherent change, can be trusted to remain identical (the "fixed kinds" of Genesis 1). Pagans believed instead in the evolution of all things in a monistic world (nothing exists outside this world, especially not the God of the Bible). They also believed that this world is ruled by fate, chance and change. Therefore they distrusted reality as "not really there" or illusion ("maya", as Hindus, Buddhists and all pantheist mystics including some New Age thinkers still do today (see Lesson a). This is only logical, for without the God of the Bible man has no guarantee for and cannot help distrusting an orderly, reliable character of the world.
(*)Stanley Jaki predicts a decline in science because the Christian world view which gave modern science its birth and flowering is being denied today. He may well be correct. At the present time, a new "chaos theory" of science is being developed. It does not concentrate on the study of subatomic particles which had run into a dead end (see below). Unlike classical science it attempts to deal not only with the world's "natural laws" or "observed regularities" but also or even preferably with exceptions from such "laws" or "irregularities." Some modern scientists have found order underlying extreme observed complexity, as for example in the contour of a coast line ("fractal" geometry), or the "butterfly effect" in meteorology (the notion that small causes may have huge effects, so a butterfly's flight in China can affect a later storm system in New York). There are some encouraging aspects in this "chaos theory" from the biblical Christian point of view. On the other hand, some find in this theory confirmation of the world's unpredictability in which no effect may be reliably traced back to its cause(s). Certainly the emergence of this new theory is a sign of today's growing disillusionment with science as a purveyor of truth.(*)
C. Disillusionment with Science
Today's growing disillusionment with science is a welcome change from the arrogant "scientism" still rampant among lower rank worldly scientists, they had made an idol of "science" without and against God. This disillusionment with idolized science began in earnest after World War II. (*)For example, H.G, Wells, the socialist author of the popular science fiction novel War of the Worlds, wrote in his Outline of History' (published 1920) of his generation's "evolutionary idealism, faith in progress, and complete optimism," But shortly before his death Wells wrote in his 1945 book The Mind at the End of Its Tether that "there is no way out, or around, or through the impasse [facing modern society). It is the end." Significantly, the clever and popular book debunking scientism, Science Is A Sacred Cow by Anthony Standen, himself a chemist (and likely a Christian), appeared in 1950. It contains a fine debunking of evolutionism as well (pp.100-108) (*) Part of the disillusionment with science came with the discovery of the "uncertainty" or "indeterminacy" principle in subatomic physics by Werner Heisenberg in 1927. This principle states that the speed and the location of a subatomic particle cannot be determined at the same time, and the observer affects that which is observed Though Albert Einstein, the twentieth century's most famous scientist, maintained that "God does not play with dice" (this despite the fact that Einstein remained an agnostic all his life) when confronted with Heisenberg's Indeterminocy Principle, his own relativity theory also contributed to the loss of hope for absolute meaning in the world.
(`)lt is noteworthy that while all the early pioneers of modern science were Christians and believers in biblical creation as were many of their successors the number of Christian believers in the sciences decreased down to our own generation. Among famous scientists who were Bible-believing Christians were Robert Boyle, Francis Bacon. Blaise Pascal (see Lesson 2), Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell and Louis Pasteur, to name but a few.(*)
D. "Natural Laws" vs. God's Providence
We have become accustomed to speak of "nature" as a self-regulating entity which issues as it were "laws of nature" for its own proper or regular functioning. Thus we speak of the "law of gravity." What we actually mean by this is that when we hold up an object, say a pencil, and then let go of it, it will fall to the ground. "Gravity' is also the name given to the attraction of bodies with mass to each other. The "law of gravity" was first formulated by Sir Isaac Newton (by the way, a diligent student of the Bible but possibly a unitarian). Newton himself abstained from formulating hypotheses about the cause of "gravity." "Gravity" is simply an observed regularity in the behavior of natural objects.
Robert Boyle, the father of modern chemistry and a dedicated Christian, objected to the term "law of nature." Instead, he believed in the so-called "atomistic" functioning of creation. attributing its regular behavior as well as irregularities, including biblical miracles, to the moment-by-moment sustenance or providence of God Himself. What has come to be conceived as impersonal "nature" he biblically saw as God's personal acts moment by moment. Boyle's view would fit in well with Heisenberg's Indeterminacy Principle in that the behavior of subatomic particles (after all, the building blocks of all matter) allows only statistical but not individual prediction. Even so God's providence in His creation through history has been marked by regular patterns as well as exceptions from these regularities. (*)Remember the statement of A. W. Tozer who called the "laws of nature" "the paths God's power and wisdom take through creation Science observes how the power of God operates, discovers a regular pattern somewhere and fixes it as a "law." ... The trustworthiness of God's behavior in His world is the foundation of all scientific truth." (Lesson 2; from Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy, p.66).(')
Unbelievers in their godless impersonal world must ultimately ascribe both the regularities and the irregularities observed in it to randomness or chance. For the Bible-believing Christian, on the other hand, nothing whatsoever happens by chance, but all things exist and move by God's providence or eternal decree in accordance with Acts 15.18: "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." God Himself personally determines the exact time of our birth (Genesis 18:14), the exact development of our bodies in the womb of our mothers (Ps.139:15-16), and the precise length of Our lives. which He extends or cuts short as He pleases (2 Kings 20:1-5, Acts 12:23, etc. etc.). Moreover, "all things work for good to them that love God. that are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
The idea of a self-contained, self-regulating natural process going on by itself impersonally and randomly comes to us from cosmic-evolutionist paganism, not the Bible. and it is radically opposed to the Christian-biblical world view. This idea led to "deism." the belief of the eighteenth-century rationalistic Enlightenment that God at first created the world, together with its self-regulating "laws of nature." and then left the world to itself. This deistic god is closely related to the god of theistic evolution (see Lesson 3). and he is NOT the God of Scripture!
E Godless Science Against Man
Godless science has progressively diminished man's role in the world. From his biblical position as viceroy over the world under God man has now fallen to equal or even lower status compared to the rest of "nature" or even sophisticated machines of his own making (such as computers). In addition. man's marvelous technological inventions ore increasingly used against man himself. Pre-born children are killed by modern suction machines. We now have advanced devices for surveillance, as in the Soviet Union for the control of dissidents. Ever more destructive weapons of war threaten all mankind. Truly, "as we sow, so shall we also reap" (Col.6:7) when using science in rebellion against God's law and contempt for His very Person and existence. Only man's acknowledgment that "the earth is the LORD's. and the fullness thereof: the world. and they that dwell therein" (Ps.24:1-2) can prevent all modern society's descent into barbarism,
1. What is the difference between God's creation and man's creativity?
2. How would you explain the creative activities and contributions of unbelievers?
3. Why did modern science arise only in the Christian West?
4. What will happen to science as the Christian world view is lost?
5. Why is there disillusionment with science today?
6. Name several famous scientists who were Bible-believing Christians.
7. What is wrong with the concept of "Nature" and "laws of nature"?
8. What does God-less science do to man?
For Further Reading
Gordon H. Clark. The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God. Nutley, NJ: The Craig Press. 1964.
James Clark, Chaos.' Making a New Science (New York. 1987)
Stanley L. Jaki, Science and Creation. New York: Science History Publications. 1974.
Stanley L. Jaki. The Road of Science and the Ways to God. Chicago' The University of Chicago Press. 1978.
Henry M. Morris, Men of Science, Men of God. El Cajon. CA: Institute for Creation Research [Master Books]. ca. 1980.
Rousas John Rushdoony. The Mythology of Science. Nutley. NJ: The Craig Press. 1979.
Anthony Standen, Science is a Sacred Cow. New York: F. P. Duflon & Co, 1950.
Lesson 7 Man's Creativity: Science
Colossians 1:15~17; Hebrews 11:3: John 15:5
A. What Is Human Creativity?
1. part of God's image in man (Gen. 1:26.28) but God is Creator out of nothing, man only creates "out of something" Acts 17:25; Col.1:17; Ps.90:2;
2. Man wholly dependent on God in his creative activities John 15:5
a. ability from God
b. existence "holds together" in Christ CoI.1 :17
c. man must use pre-existing things God created
3. Christians create by thinking God's thoughts after Him
4. unbelievers "think on their own"
B. Modem Science the Result of the Biblical Christian World view
1. proven by work of Stanley L. Jaki; also Francis Schaeffer and others
2. modern science could not arise in non-Christian societies because of
a. belief in cyclical, meaningless history
b. evolutionism in monistic world
c, disbelief in orderly universe
d. distrust of reality as "not really there"
3. decline of science ahead due to rejection of Christian world view
C. Disillusionment with Science
1. began after World War I
2. Heisenberg "Indeterminacy Principle" 1927
3. early science pioneers mostly biblical Christians now fewer Christians in science
D. "Natural Laws" vs. God's Providence
1. "nature" must not be understood as a self-regulating entity which issues "laws" for its own functioning
2. "laws of nature" really are merely the regularities observed in the world
a. Robert Boyle and his "atomistic" idea of how the world functions
b. he believed God sustains the world moment-by-moment
c. this is biblical: ii also fits with Heisenberg
3. according to Scripture, nothing "just happens" by chance God Himself determines all events exactly Acts 15:18; Gen.18:14; Ps.139.'1516; 2 Kings 20:1-5; Acts 12:23. etc. etc.; Romans 8:28
4. the "laws of nature" idea led to deism. which is unbiblical
E. God-less Science Against Man
1. man now put on same level with "nature" and even machines
2. much modern technology used against man Gal.6:7
3. submission to God as Lord (Ps.24:1) only way to halt further descent