Thursday, August 25, 2011

The order of things

To what extent is the natural world ordered? Does the Bible affirm this?
 A previous post discussed how Jeremiah 31 and the surrounding chapters highlight how the order in creation reflects the faithfulness of its Creator. Jeremiah 31 says:

35Thus says the LORD,who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the LORD of hosts is his name:
36 "If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the LORD,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever."
This passage is mostly about God's covenant relationship with Israel. We should be careful about deducing too much about science from this passage. But, it certainly affirms there is a God given order in the world. Indeed, this idea motivated some of the first scientists. Yet the passage hardly affirms the level of order we actually do find in the world. It is amazing to me that science works and works so well. It is not just planetary motion but there is an amazing and incredible order in DNA, cells, quarks, transistors, superconductivity, physiology, cosmology .... There are regular "laws" and principles that we can discover, understand, and use. To me, this goes far beyond what we might expect from this passage.

The post title is actually also the title of books by Michel Foucault and by Alister McGrath.

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