For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
I watched an enjoyable movie last night, “Einstein and Eddington, the basis of which was a British scientist (Eddington) confirming Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. One of the last lines spoken in the film as Eddington concludes his presentation of his confirmation paper to fellow scientists was, “I for one have no doubt, I can hear God think.”
It has always been my conviction as an Astronomy enthusiast from my youth, that all science can be seen as a confirmation of God. Simply because in man’s world where he has imagined, designed, engineered and built some exquisitely amazing things, as well as untold many mundane things, all things in fact that were previously not here when civilizations began, had its beginning with the creativity of man.
Why then is it incomprehensible to scientists that everything about man’s world and universe in which he finds himself would not also be imagined, designed, engineered and manufactured by the One who has capability to do so? Namely God. Indeed as Psalm 19:1 states, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” In a sense it may be extrapolated that indeed by these things we can see (rather than “hear,” as in the above quote from the movie) God thinking, as witnessed by His magnificent design of all creation.
So then I thought, if all this evidence displayed before our eyes properly interpreted should point us directly to God, as Paul indicates, then so should that great Salvation event which our Lord freely bestows on all who have faith in Him. In other words, Science should authenticate Salvation.
Scientists are fond of declaring that science is the study of evidence and experiment verifiable by repetition and the knowledge gained organized into theories. Wikipedia states “Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.” It occurs to me that Salvation can be seen as just that sort of thing.
Jesus says “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) This “born again” experience is such a vital occurrence, Jesus says, that without it entry into Heaven is precluded. Simply put, being born again means that God personally opens the spiritual eyes of the blind, reveals Himself and makes His home in the person’s heart upon invitation. A strange notion to some, which is why Nicodemus, to whom Jesus was speaking, was so dumbfounded, in spite of the fact that he was a doctor of the Law. It is an intensely spiritual and intimate occurrence, especially when accompanied, as it was in the case of Paul, by audible and visible manifestations. (Acts 22:6-11) Certainly to most of us the event is not so dramatic, but the revelation of a personal God most definitely is. Opening one’s eyes to behold the Creator and Lord of all the universe is an awesome thing to behold. And very humbling.
But I think the experience is also something that can be held up to the standard of science. After all, it is predicted by the writings of Scripture. (Prov. 1:23, Is. 44:3, 59:21, Ez. 36:27, 37:14, Joel 2:28-29) The results are defined in the character transformation that should occur as predicted in Scripture. ( Gal. 5:16-25) It is a repeatable event – not more than once by the same individual, no. But, just as with a chemistry experiment and substances are combined, the chemistry of each being physically changed from one property to another, you can’t repeat the experiment with the same physical elements. You get a fresh batch and repeat the experiment. Well, with the process of being born again, this event has been reproduced by the millions ever since that day of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Repeated and verified, with provable results, lives changing in dramatic and powerful ways. The very essence of scientific validity, no?
You say “but there is nothing measured, quantified, or tested, to permit the word ‘science’ to apply.” Yes we are discussing human beings and not chemical properties, it is true that we can’t categorize this under the physical sciences. But it can be categorized under the behavioral sciences. The results of being born again have been proven and tested since Pentecost. This is undeniable. Indeed History has been changed and affected. Individuals have changed from one set of behavior to another acknowledged by all observers and historians. And this change was proven and tested by the point of death. Many early Christians proved their spiritual transformation by willingly submitting to terrors and death at the hands of the state. A thing that was incomprehensible to their contemporaries, but a mystery acknowledged none the less by historians such as Josephus and Tacitus. A personal and spiritual sacrifice that also continues today in parts of the world.
Many will heap scorn upon this concept of scientific provability of the salvation of souls. As Paul wrote, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cr. 1:18 And “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” 1 Cor. 2:14 See also 1 Cor 1:21, 25, and 3:19. But that does not nullify that evidence and the interpretation of it. The evidence is real enough, just ask any of the untold millions who have experienced the touch of God’s Spirit in their lives. I can personally attest to it as well (see my testimony here).
The skeptic should not confuse the nominal christian who professes a cursory belief in God and Jesus Christ but lives a life that belies that belief. Such are many who are mere church-goers. This is not the evidence to which I refer. The real evidence is more tangible than that, as John states, “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2:6, read the entire 2nd chapter!) The real evidence will be visible to everybody who is able to discern.
It will take someone much more astute than I to flesh out this concept more fully and intelligently. But I am convinced that the spiritual miracle of God touching the heart and soul of a human being bringing him from death to life is profoundly evidenced in our physical world and properly can be understood in the language of science. At its heart, science is the description of creation by observation. The evidence of God’s touch is more than abundantly displayed in the behavior of the believer. If the heavens declare the glory of God, as the Psalmist wrote, certainly the act of being born again must be a deafening shout to all creation.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]