Men of Science, Men of Faith
- 2008 13 Aug
Can having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ really make the world a different place? Can the transforming effect of that relationship be measured or judged?
There is no question that over the centuries, the world has been greatly impacted and changed for the better by devoted followers of Christ. And we shouldn’t be surprised. Christ tells his followers that –like Him – they would do things just as amazing and even more so. What was he talking about?
Discoveries in medicine and science are one good possibility. If you’ve ever had an MRI, you’ve benefited from the creative genius of one man: Dr. Raymond Damadian. This inventor’s personal story of faith can be found in a book about Billy Graham because he credits Graham for his first major life discovery that led to all the others. What one single discovery was this? It was the discovery at a Billy Graham crusade that it is possible to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Damadian claims that faith not only saved his soul but was used to expand his scientific mind. While theoretical physicists of his time scoffed at his ideas, he persevered until he built the first working MRI scanner. “People think that science is science and faith is faith. That simply is not true. No scientific discovery is ever made without the scientist himself making a leap of faith,” says Damadian.
Like Damadian, the discoveries of George Washington Carver also began with a personal relationship with God. Carver named his laboratory, “God’s little workshop.” Here, he would close the door, draw near to God and ask the Creator to reveal His secrets. God did just that, revealing hundreds of secrets to Carver which yielded new uses for peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and pecans. “I would often go to sleep with an apparently insoluble problem. When I woke the answer was there. Why then, should we who believe in Christ be so surprised at what God can do with a willing man in a laboratory?” said Carver. Carver never took textbooks into his laboratory. The things to do and the methods for doing it were revealed to him. “Without God to draw aside the curtain,” he said, “I would be helpless.”
Centuries earlier, another man, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, would be used to draw aside the curtain and change the world when he proclaimed that the earth indeed was not flat. Furthermore, he believed that the Holy Spirit placed in his mind the fact that it would be possible to sail from Spain to the Indies. Like Carver – who never took textbooks into the laboratory – Columbus says that in the execution of the journey to the Indies, he did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps. Like Damadian who was ridiculed and scoffed for his ideas, the great minds of Columbus’ day also concluded his ideas were foolishness, so they gave it up. But Columbus pressed forward. For him, there was no question that the Gospels and the blessed Apostles were encouraging him continually to “press forward and without ceasing.”
The great Johann Kepler (founder of physical astronomy), would have understood Columbus perfectly for it was Kepler who stated that in his astronomical research, he was merely, “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” a motto adopted by many believing scientists since.
James Simpson is another Believer who applied faith to science. He is credited with laying the foundation for modern anesthesiology beginning with his famous discovery of chloroform. What led to his ingenious discovery? The revolutionary idea came from the Genesis account that records God putting Adam into, “a deep sleep,” when Eve was formed. In science and medicine, Simpson took a leap of faith by merely thinking and applying God’s thoughts after Him.
Another Believer was inspired to chart the Atlantic Ocean, its winds and currents. Why? He believed that if God said there were paths in the seas, as in Psalm 8:8, it should be possible to find them. Matthew Maury, known as The Pathfinder of the Seas, was in effect the founder of the modern sciences of hydrography and oceanography.
These examples are inspiring and they are infinite. Men of science who came to God as a little child, ready to learn new and marvelous things, changed humanity by becoming God’s co-workers. Believing God and His Word opened their eyes to new truths and discoveries that benefited humanity. They called unto God and He answered them and showed them great and mighty things previously unknown as Jeremiah 33:3 says. The way we view the world, can help us change the world. But for everyone, discovering a personal relationship with God is only the beginning of great discoveries yet to come.
Carolyn Mack became a Christian while in college and is still passionate about her love for Christ. Married 29 years, with four grown children, she now concentrates on writing, serving and church and living. She can be reached at Carolynmack@woodsidenews.org. First published in the Woodside News, a publication from Woodside Bible Church in Troy, Michigan. http://www.woodsidebible.org/.