Christianity and the Scientific Method
The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians saying: "But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:20-24)
There are three surprising forms of diction here that bear testimony to a specific idea: the image of a Messianic school. The New Testament shows that there were indeed Christian schools [James 3:1; Hebrews 5:12]! Here is Mark teaching in Alexandria:
Jesus himself gave halachic [Jewish law] instructions to his disciples. A result of this instruction consisted first of notebooks written by the disciples, then of a collection of such notes which took the form of gospel accounts, and then finally of the canonization of the four gospels. In Ephesians 4:20, a literal translation is, “you have learned the Messiah.” Paul intends to present Christ as the logos of all the sciences!
Thus the school of Christ is the alternative to perversion and futility operating in, and produced by, idolatry. In this school, ignorance is replaced by knowledge. The refusal to know God is overcome by the joy of acknowledging God and giving him glory in mind and deed. Knowledge is the essence of that renewal [Ephesians 1:17–18]. Such knowledge could not be claimed as a monopoly by anyone, because “you have only one teacher, the Messiah!” [Matthew 23:10]. Being raised in the cultured cities of the Hellenistic world, the Ephesians held that education alone was strong enough to dispel darkness and overcome evil. But, Paul had experienced both the potential and the limits of his schooling [Galatians 1:13–14]. Therefore, he reminds his readers of a school unique in kind, bearing the name of Christ, because “truth is in Jesus.” Pilate asked the timeless question: “What is ‘truth’?” [John 18:38]. In Latin, it is “Quid est veritas?” The anagrammatic answer is amazing: “Est vir qui adest.” This translates to: “It is the man who is here.”
Melito [2nd century Bishop of Sardis] says: “Who is this God? It is he who is himself truth and whose word is truth. And what is truth? That which is not fashioned or made or represented by art, that is, that has never been brought into existence and is on that account called truth since it is that which is fixed and invariable. If someone worships that which is made with hands, it is not the truth that he worships or yet the word of truth.”
Belief in Christ alone is not sufficient! Christ will only be recognized in a life of truth! This is how the scientific method was born.
One of the most direct and significant connections between the work of theologians and scientists, lies in the methodology of “What is ‘truth’?” For example, Genesis 1 reads like a primer on the scientific method:
1. An opening, identifying the frame of reference and initial conditions.
2. An orderly description of a sequence of events.
3. A closing on the final conditions, and with some conclusions.
No author writing more than 3,400 years ago could have accurately described these events and their sequence, plus the initial conditions, without divine inspiration. Genesis 1 is consistent with the rest of the scriptures and with nature’s record, thus greatly strengthening the proclamation that the bible is an inspired, inerrant text. Only with an educational background that includes the scientific method, can one faithfully comprehend God’s beauty, power, and care in his creative acts.
Thus the scientific method of investigation has its roots in scripture! Biblical convictions and values, as well as intellectual drive, gave rise to the scientific age. A willingness to pursue continual progressive testing of the bible and nature’s data, will lead us closer “to present yourself to God as an approved worker who has nothing to be ashamed of, handling the word of truth with precision.” [2 Timothy 2:15].
Beliefs must always remain open to scrutiny, with the goal of approaching ever more closely, though never fully attaining, the whole truth. Thus our confession is this: “the Logos became flesh and lived among us.” [John 1:14].
Jesus Christ, the truth incarnate, is the reason and instrument for turning away from the futility of the gentiles, and beginning a new life. Therefore, Christianity is a school of wisdom in which Wisdom incarnates, to be the light of life, as well as a guide, for the perplexed!