1. Demanding scientiﬁc proof for historical reality such as the resurrection
2. Seeking scientiﬁc explanation & understanding of human (sociological) relationships
3. Seeking scientiﬁc explanation for emotion, rationale, even philosophic beliefs
In college I encountered scientism for the ﬁrst time. After explaining my belief (in Jesus and the Gospel) to a professor she responded with a desire for a genetic test for religious belief. Her assumption: that genetics determine beliefs. Currently scientism is growing on campus as all-embracing pluralism begins to fade.
Historically, science has explained the “what” of the universe but not the “why.” Science and faith are mutually intertwined. Adherents to scientism propose that only scientiﬁc explanations can be accepted as real, attempting to explain the “why” of the universe through science. As we progress through post-modernity and relativism the human desire for concreteness and absoluteness is being supplied by scientism. No longer are all paths worthy, but only those that can be scientiﬁcally validated.
A main point of contention between scientism and Biblical Christianity involves the origin of the universe. Scientism is stuck with a method but not a source of the universe. The Bible speaks to origins in the simple statement “In the beginning, God created...” (Gen. 1:1). Scientism rejects the existence of God as foundational, but accepts deity as plausible only as can be proved. Scientism also rejects the possibility of miracles, resurrection, and much of the ministry of Jesus. The Bible is not a book of science, but is not scientiﬁcally wrong.
The Bible does call us to faith and life based on God’s revelation and to understand the “why” of the universe.
Proverbs 3:7 “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”
Colossians 1:15-23: "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the ﬁrstborn over all creation. ! For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and
invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the ! ﬁrstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and ! through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds ! because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and ﬁrm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.
Science is a creation of God and cannot explain the ultimate human condition. Science cannot restore, redeem, or save: only Jesus can. Our minds, our best thinking, the core of who we are is separated from God without Jesus; through Jesus we are reconciled. This is ultimate reality. Science can explain the universe God has made, but not the sin and salvation of humanity.
Scientism is just one of a growing number of worldview movements as pluralism seeks more rational ground. In this climate, apologetics will be valuable for the conversation with students. Scientism combined with the zealous conﬁdence that students often exude can make for challenging conversations. However, we have conﬁdence “for the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).