Besides Job, other biblical stories suggest we indulge our creative, connective curiosity. In 1 Kings, Solomon asks God for wisdom, he is granted it—and immediately spouts the wisdom of a botanist-zoologist: “He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.” (1 Kings 4:33–34)
Why are we made this way? If God has put science in our hearts, what is his reason for doing so? The answer is found in an unlikely place: Paul’s highly theological letter to the Romans. In the opening chapter, he explains why God might want us to study the universe: “ For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20)
The ultimate meaning of human life is this: know God. This is the core message of the Bible, repeated over and over again. The same story-arc appears throughout it pages: We were made to be in relationship with him, and yet our sinful rebelliousness complicates that. God, however, does not readily abandon us to our sin or leave us on our own: He has, always, made himself knowable again.
The most obvious example of this is Jesus—God himself coming down to our level to bring us back. Yet he has, in his kindness, also placed other clues and pointers all across creation.
As we study pomegranates or abstract mathematics or the treasures in the ground beneath us, we gain more of an understanding of the majestic character, power, and wisdom of God himself.
As such, science is a holy calling, one which God planned, endorses, and aids. Christians who are professional scientists are vital members of the God community. Scientific discoveries can tell us more about our mighty God and help us to know him better—which is the very reason he made us in the first place.
Kepler—himself a truly committed Christian—explained all this in his own worshipful words:
“For the theatre of the world is so ordered that there exist in it suitable signs
by which human minds, likenesses of God,
are not only invited to study the divine works,
from which they may evaluate the Founder’s goodness,
but are also assisted in inquiring more deeply.”
David Hutchings is a high school physics teacher at Pocklington School near York, England. He is the coauthor of Let There Be Science—Why God Loves Science and Science Needs God(LionHudson, 2017). A regular preacher and speaker at churches, universities, and youth events, David lives in York with his wife, Emma, and their two young daughters.