BJU Press Science recognizes both the benefits and the limitations of science as a discipline. This understanding allows for a balanced approach to every topic and provides students with realistic expectations for their study of science.
Science teaches us about the Creator. Science 5 Student Text, page 146, discusses the snowshoe hare:
“God provided some animals with the ability to adapt to extreme environments. For example, the snowshoe hare's fur changes to brown in the summertime and then to white in the winter. This color helps camouflage the hare. The white fur is not only for camouflage, however. Inside the white hairs are air-filled spaces. These speaces help insulate the hare and keep it warm during the winter.”
In this section, the students are reminded of God’s thoughtfulness for His creation. As the students learn about the value God places on plants and animals, they will understand that they should use them thoughtfully rather than wastefully.
Similarly, page 14 of Science 4 Student Text includes a section on camouflage:
“Some living things are hard to see. They blend in with their surroundings. This blending in is called camouflage. God designed many animals with camouflage to help them survive. Their colors and patterns match their surroundings.”
While evolutionists claim that animals evolved protective camouflage, Science 4 teaches students the biblical view that God loves His world and designed each creature for its environment.
Science is a powerful tool for living out the Creation Mandate (Genesis 1:28). In Earth Science Student Text, page 395, students read the following:
“Clean drinking water is essential for life. God made the earth with an abundance of water, but it is surprising that only a very small part of it is drinkable. Why would a good God put His creatures into such a situation?
God gives us an opportunity to glorify Him through obeying the Creation Mandate. By giving us the challenge of meeting our physical needs, God encourages us to creatively use His world. As we exercise our God-given creativity and strength to carry out dominion over His creation, we glorify Him and have the opportunity to show love for others.”
This section introduces a chapter on ground water, and when combined with a real life story about building water pumps in Africa, sets the stage for purposeful learning.
Later in the same chapter, students discuss water treatment as a way to use our water wisely:
“For most communities, a more efficient method for providing clean drinking water is to recycle wastewater. Even if there are other natural water supplies, it’s good and wise dominion to remove pollutants from wastewater before returning it to the environment or reusing it.”
As the chapter ends on page 420, the students are asked to evaluate this statement from a Christian worldview:
“There are too many people for the amount of water available. We need to reduce the birth rate and get rid of extra, unnecessary people.”
This higher-level thinking exercise helps the student move from simply memorizing facts about water or about a Christian worldview, to applying a Christian worldview to the use of water.
Science can improve a student’s knowledge, attitudes, and skill. A Christian student with a good foundation in true science will be well prepared to recognize and address scientific error or philosophies based on false science. He will find common ground with a wider segment of the population. He will be better able to understand certain facets of everyday life and make wise purchases of tools, appliances, and other household necessities.
A student who seriously pursues science will find that it requires self-discipline, precision, logic, efficiency, and team effort. These skills often transfer into other areas of the student’s life, making him a better, more organized person. Many careers involve some level of scientific knowledge, so an understanding of science can open a multitude of options for a student’s future employment.
The Christian’s life becomes more useful to God as well as more enjoyable to himself when he understands something about the earth he lives on, the objects he views in the night sky, the food he eats, and the physical body he inhabits. He is better able to exercise dominion over the earth as God commanded and to enhance the lives of those around him.
Science is fallible and changeable. In Physical Science Student Text, one of the Chapter Review Questions on page 88 reads
“Contrast the views of influential Greek philosophers and those of scientists after Galileo and Newton regarding why objects move.”
This question encourages students to think about the differing viewpoints of scientists from different time periods, underlining the changeable nature of science. As human beings learn and pass on knowledge to each generation, they are constantly rejecting past fallacies, developing new models and theories, and creating technology that will enable more accurate scientific observation and testing. What was accepted as fact in one century may be proven false in the next. Though science is useful and fascinating, students should understand that it is fallible since it is a product of fallible humans.
Science cannot properly deal with ultimate origins. Earth Science Student Text, 4th ed., discusses this on page 95.
“Here are a few facts that limit what we can learn about the history of the earth.
- No human was present to view the earth’s beginnings.
- No human record exists that can be accurately dated from before about 5000 years ago
- Records of interest to geologists that extend far into the past are incomplete.
Geologists see lots of earth structures that exist in today’s world based on some model of the earth’s origin. The best theory would account for everything we observe. But behind every model is a set of assumptions. We must assume one of three main starting points:
- The earth has always existed, or
- It was formed by natural processes out of pre-existing materials, or
- It was supernaturally created out of nothing.”
Science cannot deal with the spiritual realm of existence. In Science 3 Student Text, on page 48 the “Creation Corner” states the following:
“God has a perfect plan for His creation. Plants use carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Animals and humans use oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. God made living things to work together for the benefit of all.”
This “Creation Corner” section uses the concept of photosynthesis to remind students of God’s care for His world and the perfect balance He has created. Of course, science has no way to draw such a conclusion. It cannot go beyond the plain facts of photosynthesis. It is up to the Christian to draw spiritual conclusions from what he observes scientifically.
Science cannot make value judgments. Although science can express facts or statistics about the results of a particular behavior, it is up to human beings to draw conclusions from those facts. For instance, the Science 6 Student Text discusses “Disorders and Drugs” on page 349.
“Any time a person uses a medicine in excess or in a way that it is not meant to be used, he could be creating problems for his body. These problems may show up immediately or may not appear for several years. Christians need to remember that their bodies are the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19) and do not belong to them. Everything that a Christian does should be to the honor and glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).”
In the chapter on the body’s systems, students learn about nervous system disorders, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s. They also learn briefly about the dangers of drug abuse. Science can show the medical results of drug abuse, but it cannot make a value judgment about whether drug abuse is right or wrong. The section above encourages students to think biblically and responsibly about even the simplest medication.