Solomon, king of Israel, was a man of remarkable learning. The Bible describes him as having great interest and understanding in scientific disciplines. Solomon understood the movement of the prevailing winds about the earth and the hydrological cycle that brings rain (Ecclesiastes 1:6-7). He was a horticulturist, creating a great assortment of vineyards, gardens and orchards (Ecclesiastes 2:4-5).
He was something of a botanist and zoologist, understanding plants, animals, birds, insects and fish (1 Kings 4:33). He was a student of psychology, sociology and human relations, as demonstrated by the subject matter of the book of Proverbs.
But Solomon eventually realized that all his scientific, material knowledge did not bring him satisfaction. His life grew hollow and unsatisfying. His concentration on scientific knowledge, without proper emphasis on God's spiritual knowledge and understanding, rendered life meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:16-18). He concluded, after much retrospection, that a man must put the knowledge of God first: "This is the end of the matter: you have heard it all. Fear God and obey his commandments; this sums up the duty of mankind" (Ecclesiastes 12:13, Revised English Bible).
Moses is another example of a man trained in the physical sciences but blessed with spiritual understanding. Moses was educated "in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). With the guidance of God he could separate the good from the bad, and undoubtedly his early education was of great help in his life of fulfilling God's calling to lead his fellow Israelites out of Egyptian slavery and to govern a nation.
Other men of God were educated in the intellectual pursuits of their day. The prophet Daniel was a brilliant student brought up in the royal academy of the Babylonians (Daniel 1:4). The Babylonian Empire of Daniel's day dominated the world and was scientifically advanced, particularly in astronomy.
Daniel apparently saw no conflict between the scientific truths the Babylonians had discovered and the knowledge of God that he had held from his youth. Indeed, he thrived, serving rulers of the Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires as a high-ranking government official. Daniel's education did not undermine his faith in God. He knew God's Word to be true and inviolable and saw no conflict between scientific knowledge and Scripture.
We must study the Scriptures to gain eternal life (John 5:39). But, as time and inclination allow, we should study the physical sciences as well. In so doing we will gain a deeper appreciation of the world our Creator has made and increase our faith and understanding of Him.
The apostle Paul understood that man stands to learn a great deal about His Creator by observing His creation: "Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature—his eternal power and divine character—have been clearly perceptible through what he has made. So they have no excuse" (Goodspeed's American Translation). The Wall Street Journal put it this way: "If a little science takes one away from God, a great deal of science brings one back to him" (Oct. 10, 1994).