Science as God’s gift.

Man may be fallen, our eyes darkened and our understanding of reality clouded, but we are still blessed with knowledge from God. Scripture is the only source of knowledge leading to reconciliation with God, but that doesn’t negate the discoveries of the reprobate mind.

Medicine, mathematics, education, literature, law, ordered government and true science are all gifts God showers on the righteous and the unrighteous. This doesn’t undermine the uniqueness of Special Revelation, as we cling to Scripture whenever science or the humanities assault the word of God. But to ignore, or shun these blessed arts is foolish and mocks God who gives them as blessings to all men.

“…the mind of man, though fallen and perverted from its wholeness, is nevertheless clothed and ornamented with God’s excellent gifts. If we regard the Spirit of God as the sole foundation of truth, we shall neither reject the truth itself, nor despise it wherever it shall appear, unless we wish to dishonor the Spirit of God. For by holding the gifts of the Spirit in slight esteem, we contemn and reproach the Spirit himself.

What then? Shall we deny that the truth shone upon the ancients jurists who established civic order and discipline with such equity? Shall we say that the philosophers were blind in the fine observation and artful descriptions of nature? Shall we say that those men were devoid of understanding who conceived the art of disputation [formal debate] and taught us to speak reasonably? Shall we say that they are insane who developed medicine, devoting their labor to our benefit? What shall we say of all the mathematical sciences? Shall we consider them the ravings of madmen?

No, we cannot read the writings of the ancients on these subjects without great admiration. We marvel at them because we are compelled to recognize how preeminent they are. But shall we count anything as praiseworthy or noble without recognizing at the same time that it comes from God?

Let us be ashamed of such ingratitude, into which not even the pagan poets fell, for they confesses that the gods had invented philosophy, laws and all useful arts. These men whom Scripture [I Cor. 2:14] calls “natural men” were indeed, sharp and penetrating in their investigation of inferior things. Let us, accordingly, learn by their example how many gifts the Lord left to human nature even after it was despoiled of its true good.”

-John Calvin, Institutes II.2.15

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s