“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” –Albert Einstein
In Matthew 18, Jesus commands his disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (NKJV, Emphasis added) This command, known as the Great Commission, is to spread the teachings of Jesus to everyone with the hope of providing the same complete joy one receives by realizing their purpose and meaning in life. Unfortunately, this command seems to be more difficult to achieve today not because of the unwillingness of people to share the gospel but rather the unwillingness of people to accept it.
Evangelism today seems much harder than it did in the past. More than ever, the church has seen a greater resistance among people who do not want to give the time to listen to the gospel. Conversations may be harder to establish because as soon as Christianity is mentioned, some dismiss it immediately as if it were complete and utter nonsense. This reason is because of the belief that science and faith are incompatible and that science has proven Christianity false.
Faith through the Christian Lens
When the word “faith” is used to describe one’s belief in the Bible or God, one does not mean that it is the belief of something that lacks existential evidence but rather the total opposite. This faith is founded on evidence that is reasonable and logical. I know that some cannot clearly articulate their reasons and less, some do not have the education to provide a reasonable explanation but that does not mean that no evidence exists to support the Christian faith.
In fact, the Apostle Paul did not preach blind faith but rather taught with reason to those who listened. “As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead.” (Acts 17:2, 3, emphasis added) In respect to the resurrection, Paul used the accounts of first-hand eye witnesses, of both Christians and non-Christians, to corroborate the resurrection conclusion. In other words, many came to believe in Jesus for the reasons and evidence given to them along with the confirmation of miraculous signs.
Science is the pursuit of knowledge through observation that gives the best explanation for the natural world and events that occur within the natural world. This same systematic approach is taken to make sense of the Bible, more so, the existence of God. Whether it be the explanation for the cosmos or the creation of man, science is actively involved in theology. Amazingly, the great scientific discoveries of today can be used to soundly argue for the existence of a supernatural being and key historical accounts of the New Testament.
Science and Christianity Can Coexist
There is a huge misconception that science and faith are incompatible. Some feel that the Christian faith is no longer needed because science can now explain all natural phenomena and that believers just fill in the gaps with God. (God-of-the-Gaps Article) However, there is a great number of highly-academic scientists and philosophers, respected in their fields, who hold true to the belief that science does not dismiss God. To name but a couple of such people is Dr. John Lennox, mathematician of Oxford University, and Dr. Joel Primack, an American Astro-physicist who co-developed the cold dark matter theory that explains the formation and structure of the universe. These men, along with other brilliant men and women, have dedicated their lives to science and have shown how science has brought light to the necessary belief for God’s existence in order to best explain the birth and development of our natural world.
Albert Einstein, the great mind of the 20th century, said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” The definition of lame is to be unable to walk normally because of an injury or illness. Without religion, science would lose its ultimate meaning of finding the truth because science can only test what is in the natural world where as the metaphysical would still be a mystery. In fact, the story of science and faith is more complicated to skeptics because scientists cannot escape the question of God. On the other hand, religion receives further light and support when science is involved to help explained the laws that govern our world.
In his book, Stealing from God, Dr. Frank Turek makes a convincingly sound case about how atheists would have to steal from the immaterial world in order to provide some explanation for the material world. Dr. Turek makes reference to Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA molecule in 1953, and his book, The Astonishing Hypothesis, to bring to light a strong belief within the atheist community. “While you may think that you are a conscious, free, rational creature, that’s just an illusion, because you really are no more than a molecular machine. Every thought you have, every decision you make, is the result of chemical and physical processes over which you have no control. God does not exist. You are nothing more than a collection of molecules.” (Turek, 2015) If left alone, materialism cannot explain the beginning of the universe let alone the ability to think or rationale if we are just all molecules in motion. With religion, science receives more validity and value in its explanation while Christian faith benefits by further correlating its truth with the natural world.
Apologetics: Today’s Evangelism
The Apostle Peter wrote in one of his letters that we should “always be prepared to provide a defense to everyone who asks [us] a reason for the hope that is in [us].” (1 Peter 3:15) In this same manner, as believers of the truth, we should always be ready to give a clear explanation as to why we believe what we believe. Experiences and personal testimonies help to strengthen other believers and at best can promote curiosity in others to want to “test the waters.” But the best way to give a proper apologia is by correctly stating the facts.
To effectively evangelize, one should know what they are talking about. Spend some time researching the common misconceptions people have about Christianity and the Bible. Get to know why people find it difficult to accept the Gospel as a true historical account and present them with the reasons that corroborate the validity of the New Testament and why God is the best explanation for the creation of the cosmos. Many of the reasons why people discredit the Gospel is because they have only been presented with a one-sided science that purposely contradicts what the Bible actually teaches. Our job should be to present the truth of scripture and allow the recipient to decide what to do with the evidence provided.
Most important, evangelism should be done with love and patience. Far from a debate, evangelism should be a rich dialogue where the believer can clearly state reasons why they believe the Christian faith to be the true faith and how it perfectly fits in, not only with history and contemporary science, but with their own personal values and lifestyle. The morals that Jesus teaches are those of humbleness and care for our neighbor, teaching that we can all agree are beneficial to all of society.
Science is the means by which we can make sense of the world around us. Through observation and deep study we can separate the truth from what is false. This innate process by which we exercise on a daily basis shows humankind’s insatiable desire to find answers not only about how the world works but the purpose and meaning behind it. Some say that there is no meaning to life, that we are just animals living our part of the life cycle Earth permits us to live. Fortunately for those who hold true to the evidence that anchors the Christian faith, we see that the other side of science points us to something greater, something more beautiful than what the naked eye has ever seen. Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” For the believer it is that faith along with evidence that shows us how to fully experience that mystery who is willing to reveal Himself to us.
Turek, Frank. (2015) Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. Colorado Springs, CO: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.