This summer I went to see the mega-popular Guillermo Del Toro film, Pacific Rim. Like many others, I loved it. The story was simple, yet captivating. The emotional development of the characters was surprisingly deep, if you were able to look past the dialogue, and the visuals were, unsurprisingly, stunning. My favorite part of the movie, however, was a simple line coming from a mathematician defending his work: “Numbers are as close as we come to the handwriting of God!” It is this idea, I think, that serves to show the role of science and math within a Christian liberal arts curriculum. While the Bible serves as a blueprint for how we live, the sciences are the means by which we come to know more of God’s creation. When studied properly, they can awaken in us an incomparable wonder for the utterly marvelous work of art that is our universe. If you’re unconvinced, go watch Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “The Most Astounding Fact” on YouTube, and you may begin to see how studying God’s creation can lead us to an even greater appreciation of His beauty and greatness.
We also need to understand our role as guardians of technology. The modern world is run by science. For the past several centuries, society has moved along a path replacing objective value with scientific fact. The only truth, according to modern Western culture, is scientific truth. This is exactly why we as Christians need to be scientifically knowledgeable, because we recognize that scientific fact exists alongside divine truth. We recognize what is discovered by science must be held accountable to an objective morality, that it should serve to deepen our appreciation of beauty, and that it must ultimately bring us closer to an understanding of God if it is to be meaningful at all.
If you’re considering which courses to take in order to fulfill your core science requirements, then you’re probably looking at doing either Environmental Studies/Geography, or Biology. Unless you absolutely love biology, I would recommend the environmental studies route.
Don’t get me wrong, I love biology. The complexity of the biological systems that make up even the simplest of life forms is staggering to me. It’s just that within Bio 103 and 104 – the bio courses most commonly taken for the science core – a lot of time is spent studying things like biological classifications. Things that are fundamental to understanding biology, but don’t really connect to anything else. That being said, if you do enjoy biology, or if you’re interested in understanding evolution at a deeper level, these could be good courses for you.
Environmental studies 121 and 131, while still covering some boring stuff like rock compositions, delves much deeper into eco-systems and the natural processes that make up Earth as it is. This info, while maybe not absolutely critical to your future career, is still incredibly helpful in understanding the environments that God has entrusted to us and the ways in which we can help steward them.