The Limitations of Science

Our modern civilization is ill-suited to meet the deep-seated spiritual needs of its inhabitants.

Our modern civilization is ill-suited to meet the deep-seated spiritual needs of its inhabitants. Science, limited to the observable—the measurable—simply cannot provide us with all we need to know about ourselves. Philosophical speculations are woefully inadequate substitutes for divinely revealed knowledge. Adding to our difficulty in correctly understanding ourselves is the spiritual deception, described in Revelation 12:9, that affects the whole world.

What is so little understood today is that our minds are subject to spiritual laws that are as inexorable as the physical laws scientists have discovered. Although we cannot see gravity, none of us doubts its existence. Just as gravity affects and governs the actions of all physical objects, so do spiritual laws affect and govern our actions and behavior. We cannot transgress God's spiritual and moral laws without incurring serious penalties.

The scientific method has other limitations. Qualities that have neither weight nor spatial dimensions—such as love, vanity, hatred, the appreciation of beauty, the inspiration of a poet or even the aspirations of a scientist—cannot be scientifically ascertained.

Though science can and does contribute knowledge to the mystery of man, only God can tell us who we are, why we are and what is our destiny. His Word, the Bible, fills in the missing dimension in human knowledge.

God's Word views man as a whole. Man simply cannot be separated into distinct parts, divorced from each other. Just as we would cease to exist if our organs were isolated one from another, so would we be less than human if our spiritual qualities were not present. It is to the whole man (or woman) that we must focus our intellectual energies. Above all, the spiritual aspect must not be laid aside and ignored.

As the late Norman Cousins wrote in his book Human Options: "That something that constitutes human uniqueness cannot adequately be expressed by any single term. Even man's 'spirit' and 'capacity for faith' are not the sum total of that uniqueness."

Many factors set us apart from the animal kingdom: our speech, our vision or conceptualization, our awareness of past, present and future, our capacity for reason, our superior number recognition, our bodies and much more. There is, however, an even more important overall factor—characterized by wholeness and completeness—our need to understand.

R.J. Berry, in his book God and Evolution, put his finger on an important distinguishing characteristic, one that includes and transcends all others: "The key factor in understanding our nature as taught in the Bible is to examine the meaning of the image of God which distinguishes us from the other animals" (emphasis added throughout).


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