Recently, my kids and I took a trip to our local science museum to see a planetarium show and an IMAX film. The films featured opposite corners of our universe: the planetarium show catapulted us through space to the rusty crags of Mars, while the IMAX special plunged us into caves that glittered like forests of underground crystals, with gemstone-studded spires disappearing into shadows as thick as fog.
As we packed our lunches and the kids tucked novels into their bags before the trip, I couldn’t erase the verses of Psalm 139 from my mind. Before piling into the car, we read the psalm and prayed, focusing especially on verses 7-10:
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me. (ESV)
“See how amazing God is?” I told the kids. “When we see these wonders today, remember that He made them all. We could fly through the heavens, and He’d still be with us. We could dive into the deepest caves, and still, we’d be in His presence.”
Then, the day carried us along in its boisterous current. We slogged through Boston traffic. My introverted kids leaned into my shoulder a bit when a giant, psychedelic eye that would rival Sauron’s blared at them during the introduction to the movie. We gazed in wonder at fake stars projected on a dome above us, a pale mimicry of the real lights our Father has lit afire in the heavens. Then, we returned home in sensory overload and settled into the quiet and comfort of books and baking muffins. The day receded from our minds.
Until, that is, when our Bible study turned us to Psalm 139 again a few weeks later. “This is my favorite passage in the whole Bible,” my son suddenly declared, pointing to verses 7-10. “God is so amazing, to have created so much that’s beautiful. And I know that no matter where I go, He’s with me.”
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below.
An unfortunate claim sometimes tossed around on social media is that science has “disproved” the existence of God. With science, the careless saying goes, we have no need for God anymore. We have answers. We have proof.
I grieve that such an idea — a false idea — might deter parents from exploring science with their kids. It’s easy to understand why we might veer away. We feel more at home chasing Alice down her rabbit hole, or venturing into the frosty air of the wardrobe, than discussing algorithms and theories. It’s easier to point to Christ through rich, imaginative stories than statistical charts, and Tolkien and Beatrix Potter certainly seem less riddled with beartraps than does the theory of evolution. So, we stick to Neverland and Green Gables, and leave the science to others.
Yet when we shy away from science, we miss a breathtaking opportunity to open our kids’ eyes to the true majesty, the wonder, the artistry, and the magnificence of our Creator. The very foundations of science require acceptance of our universe as ordered, discoverable, and characterizable — a philosophy that lends itself to a higher, intelligent power who put it all into order in the first place. When we guide our kids through the mysteries and splendors of creation, we give them a glimpse of the brilliance, mastery, and goodness of the Creator, a glimpse that complements rather than contradicts the attributes He reveals through Scripture.
As a biochemistry major and a doctor, my study of science has only deepened my reverence for God. Our ability to engineer life-saving therapies reflects our identity as image bearers (Gen. 1:26), born to create as our Father creates. Yet for all their promise, even our most sophisticated laboratory-grown remedies can’t compete with God’s artistry. Our ability to combat disease and prolong life improves each year, and yet we still can’t replicate the precision and elegance with which he weaves us together. Our very best medical advancements are still just flimsy shadows of God’s craftsmanship.
What craftmanship do I mean? Jaunt with your kids along this journey: the same God, to whom we owe all the splendid depths and summits of the earth, lovingly planned every one of our kids’ features before we decided on their names (Ps. 139:13-16). Before we had any inkling of their existence, God had already aligned our children’s DNA into twenty thousand-gene recipes for their eye color, their face shape, and their capacities to feel, yearn, and discover. During the third month in the womb, He etched the pads of their fingers with whorls and lines uniquely their own. He molded their supple lungs, and linked them to their nervous system so that every day they breathe over ten thousand times without thinking about it. Their hearts, fists of muscle threaded with nerves, churn five liters of blood throughout their bodies every minute and beat 42 million times in a single year, all without an iota of our kids’ input or effort.
Most remarkable of all, as we read in Psalm 139, God’s uses his magnificent works to forge intimacy with us. “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” David praises in verse 1. And then in verses 9 and 10: “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
The exquisiteness of God’s creation is not just a demonstration of his might: it is a shimmering overflow of His love. Before the dawn of the world, the Father loved His Son (John 17:24), and His creation is an outpouring of that radiance. He creates not for pride, or for rule, or for power, but as a loving Father. Our heartbeat and breath, our mind and limbs, and all the elegant workings of our bodies, are not merely novel machines with fleshy parts — they are labors of the Father’s love.
Dear parent, don’t shrink away from the intimidating words that tangle and knot scientific topics. Science doesn’t trump the authority of our Lord; rather, at its best it is merely an uncovering of His mysteries, a piecemeal discovery of the truths that He authored before time began. Chase after those truths with a child’s palm in one hand, your Bible in another, and a heart ready to engage your little ones in wonder at His artistry and goodness. Leap into discovery as you would run into Narnia, fur coats at your back, strange, new soil crunching beneath your feet. Explore science with your kids. Kindle in their minds a fire for His word, and a deep, abiding awe at His boundless love.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Note: Portions of this post were adapted from my book Glimmers of Grace: A Doctor’s Reflections on Faith, Suffering, and the Goodness of God.
Featured image by wirestock.
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