Undoubtedly like many of you, I eagerly awaited July 12th of this past summer. Not only was it nearly one month out from the start of the school year, but it was also the day that the first images from the James Webb space telescope became available. (You can view some stunning images and learn more about the project here.) As I indulged my inner geek and glanced at many photos from the telescope, it occurred to me that such images are a gift from God. Not only is the universe itself a gift from God, but these images are as well. The images are compelling and beautiful, and even overwhelming.
I believe that the images are a gift because they are undeserved reminders that despite the profound brokenness and rebellion of human society, God has not abandoned us. He has left us clear evidence of “his eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20) in his creation, and the fact that he created and actively upholds the fabric of spacetime speaks to his faithfulness to his creation. I find great hope in being reminded of God’s faithfulness, especially when I am keenly aware that I have not shown such faithfulness to him. This renewed hope generated by viewing God’s creation leads me to worship him more deeply, which I am convinced is one of the reasons God chose to allow us to study nature in the first place.
This idea that studying nature can propel us to worship God is one of the twin pillars upon which our science program at The Habersham School is built. We labor to help students understand that learning about nature and thinking scientifically are noble things to pursue, and are acts of worship. After all, God created nature and gave us minds to use to study it. Consider, for example, the advice of Solomon, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6). God’s Word tells us to look to his creation for wisdom.
The other pillar of our science program is the idea that understanding nature better and doing science well allows us to minister to other humans, and even to the rest of creation, as we seek to exercise our God-given dominion over creation in a God-honoring way. We should work to alleviate the suffering of our fellow man by applying what we learn through science. Doing science with the biblical goals of worship and ministry is a profoundly Christian thing to do.
So, yes, the heavens still declare the glory of God (Psalm 19), and they do so that we might be encouraged to do the same. We can marvel at the incoming images from new technology, but more importantly, may we be drawn to marvel at the God who created such a universe for us to explore. In our science program at Habersham, we seek to do much more than teach students equations, chemical formulas, parts of the cell, and so on. We give them a divine reason for studying science, and a deeper appreciation for our awesome God who is glorified even by pictures sent from a space telescope.