SCIENCE IS STUDY OF PHYSICAL WORLD
SCIENCE is the systematized knowledge of nature and the world. It’s based on observation and experimentation.
THEOLOGY IS STUDY OF GOD AND HIS PLAN FOR US
THEOLOGY is the accumulated knowledge about God and his plan for our lives. It focuses on God, not on religion.
Religion, in contrast, is a system of belief in a divine power, mode of worship, or code of conduct designed by man. Even though well-meaning and usually good, religion is man's effort to please God, often by emotional and sacrificial means. Religion creates many notions that are not true and, unfortunately, repel many objective thinkers from spiritual inquiry.
Theology is not a study to determine whether one system of belief and practice is superior to another, but it’s the gathering, study and organization of facts about God's nature, his purposes and his plan for us. This resource is about theology, not about science or religion.
SCIENCE AND THEOLOGY MAKE DIFFERENT INQUIRIES
Science stops short of theology because science limits itself only to time and space and to experimentation which can be physically measured, observed and repeated. Theology moves beyond science into the eternal/spiritual realm which has no time/space limitations.
Science asks HOW the physical world works. Theology asks WHO designed it and WHY. There's no contradiction between science and theology. They make different inquiries in different ways.
THE BIBLE WAS AHEAD OF ITS TIME
The Bible is a book about theology, not about science. However, references in the Bible to physical phenomenon are accurate and have sometimes even preceded the discoveries of the scientists of the day. For example:
- The Bible says the earth is a sphere (Isaiah 40:22), but when that part of the Bible was written (about 630 B.C.) people thought the earth was flat.
- The Bible says there are billions of stars (Jeremiah 2:20), but when that was written (about 630 B.C.), people thought there were less than 2,000 stars. The Bible says every star is different (I Corinthians 15:41) but when that was written (about 55 A.D.) people thought every star was the same.
- The Bible expresses the fundamentals of science in accord with our modern-day understanding, such as gravity (Job 26:7), molecular structure (Hebrews 11:3), the conservation of mass and energy (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15), the water cycle (Isaiah 55:10), the importance of sanitation to health (Deuteronomy 23:12-13), and the effect of emotions on physical health (Proverbs 17:22).
THIS IS EXCITING TIME FOR DISCOVERY
We're living in an unprecedented age of discovery. Knowledge about our world and ourselves is accumulating at an exhilarating rate. There were as many important new scientific discoveries made in the last decade as were made in all other years of human history combined! Historical knowledge and operational knowhow are also growing rapidly, accelerated by more and better research and by excellent analysis, cataloging and communication.
Although generally not discussed as much, spiritual knowledge is also increasing due to better understanding of the Bible and open sharing and comparing of personal experiences. There’s increased interest in the spiritual side of life. More people are making exciting discoveries about God and about how to have a personal relationship with him.
In many respects, spiritual discovery is like scientific discovery. Both result from a sudden comprehension of the inter-relationship of certain facts which have always existed. Man is just discovering things that God has always known.
God allows, and seems to enjoy, a progressive revelation of his design plan in the spiritual realm as well as in the physical realm. One discovery leads to another, and as people share what they’ve found in their search for God, there’s a growing body of spiritual knowledge available to us. This knowledge is the foundation for personal faith, and the more knowledge we have, the easier it is to believe.
Faith is not a matter of believing what we do not know, but rather believing the evidence of what we do know. The 66 Topics within this website provide all the knowledge a person needs for a well-grounded theology and a strong personal faith.
OLD MISUNDERSTANDINGS ARE FADING AWAY
In earlier times, science and faith were often regarded as enemies. Religious people were intimidated by science and feared that it would challenge cherished beliefs. Scientists refused to deal with aspects of life which fell beyond the scope of time and space and which could not be physically measured, observed or repeated, and thus they operated only within a limited, closed system.
Increasingly, the modern world is being explained in terms of mathematical formulas, and the computer is accelerating scientific discovery by its ability to make extremely fast and complex computations. More and more, scientists who formerly dismissed the possibility of a God are now regarding him at least as the great cosmic mathematician. All around the world, especially since the collapse of communism, it's becoming increasingly untenable to say there's no God.
Scientists are realizing that design necessarily comes from intelligence, not chance. Religious people are realizing that science is just the discovery and application of God's physical laws. Today’s best educated people are students of both science and theology.
Here's a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.
Everyone who truly seeks God will find him
For help, see Topic 29.