Using Nature to Encounter God's Attributes
by Nathaniel T. Jeanson, Ph.D. *
The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) life sciences team has identified four major origins biology research questions.1-4 The fifth and final question concerns the identification of God's attributes in nature. Discovery of specific displays of God's perfections in nature may sound more like a Bible-oriented research question than a science-oriented one, yet it is a good fit for the life sciences team for a number of reasons.
First, this venture furthers the overall mission of ICR. Research is one component of this ministry, and the primary goals of ICR's research are to answer scientific objections to Genesis with scientific rebuttals and to fill in scientific details that Scripture omits.5 However, the ultimate goal of the research is to promote confidence in the accuracy of the Genesis 1-11 account of early earth history. By directing our research beyond a greater knowledge of Scripture to a greater knowledge of God Himself, we not only fulfill the ultimate mission of ICR, we also lift it higher.
Second, Romans 1 says that God's "eternal power" and "Godhead" are obvious in nature, implying that the search for specific displays of His attributes should be a fruitful endeavor. Furthermore, Psalm 19 states that nature declares "the glory of God"; His glorious perfections must therefore be manifest in the natural world. Thus, since nature reveals God, and since science is a way to reveal the natural world, it is a good and worthwhile pursuit to use science to understand God and His ways.
Third, previous attempts to understand God in nature have yielded exciting results. Biologist Arthur Jones reasoned in 1982 that nature "will show plan and purpose" based on what Scripture reveals about God's sovereignty, wisdom, faithfulness, and promises.6 The recent birth of the Intelligent Design movement validates this reasoning--nature does indeed show abundant evidence of forethought and intelligent engineering for purpose and function. Jones also reasoned that, since God is unlike human engineers, His creation will be very unlike the products of human engineering. Specifically, since God is omniscient and omnipotent, He has no need for prototypes, for an improvement process, or for tinkering with existing objects; rather, God designs things right ("optimally") the first time. The fact that human engineers are looking to nature for inspiration for their designs underscores this conclusion.7 Hence, we anticipate that continued investigation will yield even more exciting discoveries.
Fourth, the scientific investigation of creation biology research questions has already revealed displays of God's omniscience, omnipotence, and foreknowledge. By studying which plants constitute a single "kind," Todd Wood and David Cavanaugh found that God hard-wired into the genetics of these species the information to deal with post-Flood environments.8 Thus, God, in His omniscience, foresaw the Flood and the biosphere that plants would encounter after this cataclysm and predetermined their chemistry to be able to deal with changing conditions. We anticipate that further investigation of origins biology questions will lead us closer to the Creator.
Thus, it is clear from Scripture and from those who have researched before us that the evidence of God's divine nature and glory is abundant in nature. We trust that our efforts in understanding the true nature of biological classification,1-2 and in understanding the cause of and limit to biological change,3-4 will lead people not only to a greater confidence in Genesis 1-11, but also to God Himself.
- Jeanson, N. 2010. New Frontiers in Animal Classification. Acts & Facts. 39 (5): 6.
- Jeanson, N. 2010. Common Ancestry and the Bible--Discerning Where to Draw the Line. Acts & Facts. 39 (6): 6.
- Jeanson, N. 2010. The Limit to Biological Change. Acts & Facts. 39 (7): 6.
- Jeanson, N. 2010. The Impetus for Biological Change. Acts & Facts. 39 (8): 6.
- Jeanson, N. 2010. New Initiatives in Creation Research. Acts & Facts. 39 (4): 6.
- Jones, A. J. 1982. A Creationist Critique of Homology. Creation Research Society Quarterly. 19 (3): 156-175.
- For example, see Thomas, B. 2009. Gecko Eyes Make Great Night Vision Cameras. ICR News. Posted on icr.org May 29, 2009.
- Wood, T. C. 2003. Mediated Design. Acts & Facts. 32 (9).
* Dr. Jeanson is Research Associate and received his Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University.
Cite this article: Jeanson, N. 2010. Using Nature to Encounter God's Attributes. Acts & Facts. 39 (9): 6.