Reflections on Science and Technology

toddOne of the most significant results of my education at Wheaton is what I would describe as the ongoing decompartmentalization of my mind. This process has been especially at work in my understanding of the topics of faith and science. I remember first discussing the idea of God’s revelation in my freshman biology class, and dividing it into two categories: general revelation, which includes the ways that God makes His character evident to us through creation and the human soul, and special revelation, which refers to the ways in which God reveals Himself directly through Scripture, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Because God is both the Creator of the natural World as well as the Author of Scripture, a correct understanding of creation and a correct interpretation of Scripture will not contradict each other. This understanding allowed me to view faith and science not as competing entities, but as proper human responses to God’s revealing actions. Biology, physics, and chemistry help us to understand how certain things exist and function; faith in Christ answers questions of why and for Whom. In this way, science is never a threat to faith; rather, it is animated by faith, which gives it meaning as a lens for viewing and interacting with a world created and sustained by and for God. Although I cannot scientifically account for my faith, my faith accommodates my understanding of science. The Gospel provides me with the rationale and purpose for engaging in the sciences as a way of better appreciating God’s wisdom as Creator, and as a tool for serving people whom He has created in His image.

This personal growth has not been the product of one class or solely of my major of study, Applied Health Science. Rather, it has resulted from a combination of things learned in science classes, electives, and general education Bible and theology courses. In the second semester of my freshman year, I remember walking up Blanchard lawn three times a week from my class in Evangelism straight to Inorganic Chemistry, and searching for some sort of continuity between the two. “These things are both true; these are both from God, a part of His world.” That ten-minute passing period became somewhat symbolic to me of the sort of worldview-expanding I would experience over the next several years. Carbon chains, hormone messengers, and electromagnetic waves are not things which are naturally fascinating to me; at times, I wondered if I had chosen the wrong major. Yet these things became more fascinating to me when I reminded myself that they were created by God, for His pleasure and purposes. Physics classes enhanced an understanding of how God has rationally ordered the physical world, yet apparent paradoxes in our understanding of nature’s laws served as reminders of our human finitude. Material learned in my Human Physiology courses highlighted the unique and complex ways in which God has designed the human body and equipped it to maintain the balance necessary for life. In some ways, my faith in God, challenged and nurtured in classes such as Christian Thought and The Doctrine of Scripture, actually worked to salvage and invigorate my interest in science by providing it with direction and purpose.

Even as my sense of wonder has grown, my approach to the sciences has remained fairly pragmatic. While some students in my classes have looked at diagrams of protein molecules and said “Wow!” my personality has been more prone to wonder, “So, how can all this be used to help people?” It is fitting, then, that I am now preparing for a career in healthcare. My experiences at Wheaton have prepared me well to engage this intersection of science and humanity. In a field dedicated to the preservation and improvement of human life, I think that it is incredibly important to understand life’s value, purpose, and source. From a scientific perspective alone, this is impossible. In my classes at Wheaton, however, I have cultivated an understanding of these things which is Gospel-centered. God’s physical creation of men and women in His image, and His re-creation of all things through His Incarnate Son Jesus, calls us to recognize the divinely-endowed dignity of the human soul as well as the body.

I have also come to better grasp the important relationship between these two things. Our human bodies are not incidental to who we are; they are God-given, God-indwelled, and will be one day be resurrected by God for eternity. They are the vehicles through which we live out an obedient response of love for God and others. As a future healthcare professional, I want my work to be characterized by a reverence for people’s bodies and souls, and a sensitivity to their interconnectedness. I want Christ’s example of humility and His sacrifice to inform how I serve the patients that I encounter. He did not maintain a distance, but came infinitely near to me; He did not demand that I fix myself, but saved me entirely at His own expense. By following His example, I hope to treat patients not as means to the end of my own career, but to give sacrificially of myself for their well-being as Christ did for me.

My education at Wheaton has grown my understanding of the Gospel which calls me to love others, as well as equipped me with the knowledge and tools by which I may translate this love into action. When I consider the future, I am reassured knowing that I will not need to hold my faith and my career as separate, competing compartments of my life. Instead, I am ready to pursue a career in healthcare which is both motivated by, as well as an application of, my faith in Christ.