If I’m a Scientist… Can I Believe in God?

About The Author

Taylor Halverson, Ph.D. is an aspiring master learner who loves people, laughter, telling stories, travel, and learning. Click here to request a free light-hearted eBook Memoirs of the Ward Rumor Control Coordinator. More about Taylor at taylorhalverson.com.

Our society has seemingly created a dichotomy between faith and science where there are only winners and losers and no middle ground.  You either have a brain and accept science or you only have a heart and believe in God.  If you accept science you must not, or cannot, also accept God.  If you believe in God, so the tradition goes, you cannot accept science.  If you have faith, you are suspect by scientists since you must accept God on faith.  And, according to the modern myth, science is entirely devoid of faith.

science vs God

So which is it?  What will you choose?  Do you accept science or do you believe God?

What gets lost in such a dichotomous choice? Truth does.

If God knows and accepts all truth and if we wish to be like Him, can we do so if we reject science?  And if we accept science, aren’t we propelled by seeking to discover what we don’t know?  Isn’t science founded on the faith that we will yet have unfolded to our view of greater truths and knowledge as we purposefully seek?

The so-called science vs. God divide is ultimately erroneous, divisive, and destructive.  As society fights about whether to believe science or to believe God we fail to have our proverbial cake and eat it too.  We can both love science and love God.  In fact, only by loving all truth can we fully embrace science and God.

Let me put it another way through a story.

When my son David was about 10 years old, we were discussing this so-called controversy between science and God.  I reminded David that the word science is a fancy Latin word that means “knowledge” and scientists are those who seek after knowledge.  With that basic understanding we talked:

“So, David, when you go to school and learn new things what does that make you?”

Thinking briefly, David responded, “A scientist!”

“Exactly.  As you are a student at school, you are learning, gaining, and applying new knowledge.  You are practicing science.  You are being a scientist.”

I continued asking, “OK, so now imagine that you are with your friends.  You are laughing, talking, having a great time.  You are gaining knowledge about your friends’ lives, about the joy of the world, about opportunities for happiness.  And you are learning about yourself.  What does that make you?”

Quickly David said, “A scientist!”

“Yep!” I encouraged him.  “As you learn more and can do more, you are a scientist, one who gains and acts on knowledge.”

“OK” I pressed, “what about at Church?  When you go to Church and learn new things or learn how to apply truths you’ve already learned, what does that make you?”

With a slight pause David replied with amazement, “A scientist?!”

“Yes!  You are a scientist at Church.  As you seek after knowledge, learning, and truth, whether to understand or to apply, you are practicing science.  You are a scientist.”

taylor halverson

I concluded, “You have discovered that there is no conflict between science and God.  Sure, there are questions that we don’t have answers to that may confuse us.  But as good scientists seeking after knowledge, if we hold onto all the truth that we have as we seek to learn all truth, we will more fully discover God.”

The only true scientists are those who seek after truth wherever it may be found, including through God’s revealed word and institutions.

There is no dichotomy between science (knowledge) and God.

To embrace God is to embrace science (knowledge).

To accept science (knowledge) is to accept God.

And as we accept and act on science (knowledge) we increase our capacity for more and more science (knowledge) until, line-upon-line, we become like God the Greatest Scientist who has all true knowledge of all things.

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