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The Death of Silence

The Genius of Nature

MeaningfulWhile I am no scientist nor mathematician, I appreciate the value of both areas and the importance of thinking Christianly about both. Generally I've gotten no farther than the valid point that the universe and its natural laws are worth studying because the Creation tells us of the Creator. Furthermore, the scientific vocation seems to have roots in a specific taxonomical task given to Adam: naming. But beyond these principles, I could say little. That's changed.

Two recently published books are of great help in discerning a Christian view of the scientific task. The first and less readable book is Benjamin Wilker's and Jonathan Witt's A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature. Essentially, the authors make an argument for the meaning-full nature of creation over and against the previaling nihilism of our culture. Where esle can you find Shakespeare and Hamlet alongside Euclidean geometry and the periodic table? It's an ambitious, densely worded book, and while I could not complete it, I read enough to see its value. It's just that for the layman I wish this argument for the design of nature had been made in a few less pages and with less academic language. However, if you are in the sciences, this is a helpful book to read --- one which demonstrates the beauty of mathematics and science, of order over chaos and chance.

ScienceA more approachable book is that of Covenant College Science Professors Tim Morris and Don Petcher, entitled Science and Grace: God's Reign In the Natural Sciences. Here the intent of the authors is to set forth a constructive way for Christians to be involved in the sciences, going beyond the evolution-creation battles and even demonstrating how Christians can find common ground with nonChristians in the sciences. If you are of a Reformed traditon, the book's roots in covenant theology will be familiar, as will many of the thinkers whose thought is sumamrized, men like Charles Hodge, Abraham Kuyper, and Herman Dooyeweerd. Quite apart from the application to the sciences, I benefited simply from the theological perspective provided, a very nice summary of a biblical world and life view. The book would make a good textbook for a philosophy of science course (which I suspect it has been) and a good gift for any high school graduate heading into a scientific field of study. I enjoyed its positive, non-adversarial perspective and its encouragement for Christians to really make a difference in an important field.

Abraham Kuyper once said that "there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human exiatence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'" Perhaps if we rested in this assurance, we wouldn't reagrd our relationship with culture, science or otherwise, as a battle but rather, a war already won but whose victory is not yet fully evident. We could relax, do good work, and love our neighbor --- even the scientist next door.