What Gravity, the Sun and the Stars Teach Us About God

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By Dustin Atchley

Science Is Valuable

But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of all mankind.
— Job 12:7-10

God has always intended us to learn about Him from creation. The scriptures encourage us to observe creation and worship. The Designer has designed in marvelous ways. This makes science valuable to the Christian. By the Spirit, this call to learn about the Creator from His creation aligns science with the heart of God.[1]

God reveals Himself to us through revelation (the Bible) and creation (the natural world). While evangelicals rightly give primacy to revelation, the church should not neglect what we can learn from creation. While we cannot rightly understand creation apart from revelation, there is an exchange between the two. The same author wrote both books, and we know that He does not contradict himself. Therefore, we can learn from God and know more of Him through creation. This is why Christians can value science – we can know more of God as He has revealed Himself.

Science adds dimensions to our faith. Everywhere you turn, God has designed creation to reveal and deepen our understanding of spiritual truths. God has illustrated truths about the unseen in the seen. Therefore, we can value the systematic study of creation. The Christian who realizes this will find that worship is not confined to a church on Sunday mornings. Creation, when rightly considered, will spur us to worship the Creator.

The Lord Jesus Himself actually taught much the same thing throughout His ministry — far before microscopes and test tubes. In Matthew 6, the Lord encourages His disciples to “look at the birds of the air” when teaching on the providence of God. They surely knew in their heads that the Lord provides, but Christ was penetrating their heart through studying the created order. We see this in other places with the parable of the sower and mustard seed (Mark 4). After our Lord, we see faithful pastors following this example using science to grow their congregations in the knowledge of God.[2]

A telescope and textbook can connect you to the heavenly dance that God began in Genesis 1 and previews Revelation 21.

God and Gravity, the Sun and the Stars

My scientific knowledge has helped me better understand the scriptures and deepened my faith. Here are some examples of scientific connections that can enrich your faith in God and knowledge of His ways:

 “… and in Him all things hold together.”
— Colossians 1:17

Consider what you know about gravity. It keeps the planets in orbit around our sun and our galaxy in orbit around the center of the known universe. Imagine if God turned off gravity. What would remain? The scientific knowledge of attractive forces enhances how incredibly important and omnipresent our God is. When one begins to consider all things, from the atom to the universe, through the lens of science, worship breaks out.

“For the Lord is a sun and shield”
— Psalm 84:11

Consider the sun. It provides light across the electromagnetic spectrum. Without it, photosynthesis would cease, the earth would freeze and all life would likely end. The scientific knowledge of the importance of the sun to life on earth expands our understanding of God’s provision. God, much like the sun, gives life and warmth to our lives. When one begins to consider how the Lord is like a sun through the lens of science, worship breaks out.

“He determines the number of stars; he gives to all of them their names.”
— Psalm 147:4

Consider the stars. We know of approximately one billion trillion stars in the observable universe covering an estimated ninety-three billion light-years. But God is even bigger than these stars, and he knows each and every one of them. This scientific knowledge enhances how powerful and personal we know God to be. When one considers the number of stars, worship breaks out.  

These are a few illustrations that have impacted me, but more abound. I assure you, the better you know your Bible and the better you know your science, the more you will worship God. To the Christian who believes this truth, a telescope and textbook can connect you to the heavenly dance that God began in Genesis 1 and previews Revelation 21.

[1] Science, not scientism, is a morally neutral methodology and an accumulated body of knowledge.

[2] See John Piper, “The Pleasure of God in His Creation”, Pleasures of God, 2012 and Charles Spurgeon, “The Sciences as Sources of Illustrations”, Lectures to My Students, 1869

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Dustin Atchley

Dustin and his wife Sydney live in Greensboro, NC and attend King's Cross Church. He has co-authored various scientific papers and is currently pursuing his M.Div. at Southeastern Seminary.

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