Biblical integration of curriculum—interpreting the Biblical perspectives of science

Contents

Biblical concepts/principles (more...)

Reflections of God in science (more...)

Biblical concepts/principles

God is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1, Exodus 20:11, Ecclesiastes 11:5; Romans 1:20).

God preserves and controls His creation so that it continues to function as He planned (Genesis 1; Nehemiah 9:6; Job 9:5-7; Amos 4:6-10).

God uses the creation to reveal His existence and character (Romans 1:20; Hebrews 3:3-4).

The creation has been affected by the sin of man and subjected to decay and frustration by God (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 5:12; 8:20-22).

The creation is meant to bring praise and glory to God (Psalm 103:20-22; 107:15, 21, 31; 111:2, 4; 150:6).

The natural world is in a constant state of change (Job 14:7-9, 19; Isaiah 24:4; 51:6; Matthew 6:19; Hebrews 1:10-12).

Man has been charged to explore, develop and subdue the earth for his provision, for the development of culture and for God’s glory (Genesis 1:28).

Man is limited in his understanding of creation, and the understanding he does have is impaired by sin (Ecclesiastes 3:11; Job 37:5; Romans 1:18-32; 11:33-34; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Peter 3:4-7).

The Bible and true facts of science do not conflict. Written and natural revelation are parts of the unity of all truth in God (Psalm 19; Job 12:7-10; Romans 1:19-20; Matthew 6:26-34; 1 Corinthians 14:33).

The creation is orderly, purposeful and intelligible thus promoting scientific inquiry and development (Psalm 119:90-91; 148:1-6; Ecclesiastes 1:4-7; 3:11; Isaiah 45:18; Colossians 1:17).

The created order will be made new through the redemptive work of Christ (Romans 8:18-25; 2 Peter 3:10-13).

God is separate or transcendent over His creation (2 Chronicles 6:18).

Man must look beyond science (to God and His Word) in order to understand the real meaning of life (1 Corinthians 2:14-15).

God has established laws beyond which nature may not pass, thus limiting the extent of scientific development (Genesis 1:21, 22, 24-25; 8:22; Jeremiah 5:22).

Although the cosmos functions in predictable ways, God at times intervenes in unpredictable fashion (Exodus 14:21-22; Matthew 8:23-27).

The Bible, though not a science textbook, contains some scientific statements (Jeremiah 33:22; Ecclesiastes 1:6).

Reflections of God in science

God’s wisdom is displayed in the marvelously contrived design of the universe and its parts.

God’s omnipotence is manifested in the sheer vastness of the cosmos.

As lawgiver, God demonstrates His sovereignty through His ordinances that govern the creation.

God’s benevolence is attested to by His abundant provision for the needs of His creatures and in His constant sustaining of the cosmos.

Basic values and norms related to science

A Biblical perspective of the sciences focuses on the following values:

  • Creativity
  • Diligence
  • Initiative
  • Orderliness
  • Punctuality
  • Resourcefulness
  • Responsibility
  • Conservation
  • Thoroughness
  • Endurance
  • Accuracy
  • Gratitude
  • Physical well-being
  • Wonder and awe
  • Humility

A Biblical perspective of science decries:

  • Exploitation
  • Wastefulness
  • Pragmatism

Teaching distinctives of a Christian perspective of science

The Christian teaching of science:

  • Finds support for scientific endeavor in the Cultural Mandate (Genesis 1:28).
  • Emphasizes the role of presuppositions as related to the use and interpretation of the scientific method; i.e., science is not a neutral activity.
  • Evaluates, through the use of Biblical and scientific knowledge, both the creationist and evolutionist perspectives of origins. Ultimately, the Christian scientist interprets his framework for life’s origin on faith.
  • Is careful to respect scientific laws, theories and conclusions but does not recognize them as absolute truth. They are viewed as compelling but incomplete explanations for the phenomena of life and the cosmos.
  • While acknowledging the role of the scientific method, affirms the use of mathematical analysis, deductive and inductive logical reasoning, creative hunches, intuition and accidental discoveries as valid means of understanding the world about us.
  • May incorporate topics from the history of science to dispel the mystique of the “scientific method” as the one and only process for knowing scientifically.
  • Strives to show the practical as well as moral, environmental and social impacts of scientific research.
  • Is committed to honesty in both the recording and the interpretation of data.
  • Acknowledges that the orderliness, purposefulness and intelligibility of the cosmos promote and make possible the development of scientific inquiry.
  • Acknowledges that there are established laws which nature cannot violate and which limits the extent of scientific development.
  • Acknowledges that the cosmos, as created by God, is an open system in which God is free to intervene in the “normal” course of events. The Creator is not bound by His creation, but is faithful to His promises concerning it.
  • Acknowledges that science is limited in its scope. It is unable to answer philosophical questions related to such issues as the origin, nature, purpose and destiny of man and the cosmos, the problem of evil and the existence of God.

Attitudes and skills to be manifested in students from a study of science

Through a study of science the students will:

  • Identify and experience God’s unique calling for man to develop science and technology as cultural activities that honor God and His creation.
  • Learn to practice the essential characteristics of scientific investigation including precision, meticulousness, persistence etc., both in his scientific work and in his personal life.
  • Grow in their understanding of Scripture.
  • Become well grounded in true science and develop their defenses against various distortions in the area of scientific study.
  • Enhance their opportunities for both service and personal testimony in the community and demonstrate that Christian faith and scientific achievement are not mutually exclusive.
  • Reinforce their faith in the reality of an omnipotent Creator. They will learn to reverence Him and strive to emulate His character through obedient service to mankind.

Points of conflict with secular approaches to the teaching of science

The Christian teaching of science:

  • Acknowledges the limitations of science and rejects “scientism” or the worship of science as the instrument for accomplishing the humanist’s millennium.
  • Rejects the phenomena of blind chance as the ordering principle in nature
  • Rejects the belief that facts have no meaning until man gives them an interpretation. He acknowledges that God already knows every fact in the universe.
  • Refutes the materialistic theories of evolutionism as the explanation for the origin of life.
  • Rejects the theory of uniformitarianism that explains the various earth and cosmos forms in terms of uniform processes that have always existed. While acknowledging the measure of truth in this theory, upholds the fact of God’s supernatural intervention in the past (2 Peter 3:3-4).
  • While deeply concerned about the environment and man’s responsibility to it, opposes the pantheistic and materialistic overtones of environmentalism.

Teaching strategies that can help communicate the Biblical perspective of science

Study the history of science in relation to the religious thought of the age.

Study the biographies of Christian scientists/explorers such as:

  • Roger Bacon
  • Copernicus
  • Columbus
  • Johannes
  • Kepler
  • Galileo
  • Isaac Newton
  • Robert Boyle
  • William Carey

Discuss the limitations of science.

Discuss optional views related to the origin of life.

Discuss the orderliness of nature in contrast to. the random theories of evolution.

Assign research papers related to animals and plants of the Bible.

Discuss the origins of natural disaster, illness, poverty, etc.

Discuss the process of science and its discoveries in relation to their affect in fulfilling the cultural mandate.

Identify some of the basic presuppositions underlying the various approaches to science.

Contrast modern theories of the origin of the universe with the Biblical account of creation.

Discuss various ethical implications of modern scientific discoveries.

Identify the attributes of God and laws of nature that make scientific investigation possible.

Discuss the implications of God’s transcendence with reference to scientific progress and development.

Bibliography

Perspectives have been compiled from the following resources, each of which contributes much to the concept of the Biblical integration of school subjects.

Chadwick, Ronald. 1990. Christian School Curriculum: An Integrated Approach. Winona Lake, IN.: BMH Books.
Haycock, Ruth. 1980. Bible Truth for School Subjects. Colorado Springs, CO: Association of Christian Schools International.
Horton, Ronald, editor. 1992. Christian Education: Its Mandate and Mission. Greenville, SC.: Bob Jones University Press.
Van Brummelen, Harro. 1994. Steppingstones to Curriculum: A Biblical Path

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