The relationship between science and Christian theology is much closer than many – including Richard Dawkins and the other New Atheists, would have us believe. Colin Russell, Emeritus Professor of the History of Science and Technology at the Open University, has a number of ways in which Christian theology has influenced the growth and development of science:-
1. The elimination of ‘myth’ from nature. An animate nature is not susceptible to scientific enquiry, not compatible with the biblical injunction to treat nature as a dependent creation of God, Psa 29, 89, 104, 137, who alone is to be worshipped, Deut 26:11; Isa 44:24; Jer 7:18.
2. The concept of ‘laws of nature’, which emerged in the 17th cent., is derived from biblical doctrines based on Job 28:26; Prov 8:29 etc.
3. The experimental method. Reformed theology encouraged the questioning manipulation of nature, in contrast to the abstract reasoning of ancient pagan cultures. This was seen as compatible with the biblical injunctions to ‘test’ all things, 1 Thess 5:21; Rom 12:2; Psa 34:8, etc.
4. Controlling the earth. Bacon and others saw in Scripture a clear mandate for altering the natural world for human benefit, Gen 1:26; Psa 8:6-8, etc.
5. The glory of God. Even the patristic writers believed that science could add lustre to the divine name, but this idea emerged more strongly in the 17th cent. It was Kepler (1571-1630) who, in studying those heavens which declared the glory of God (Psa 8; 19; 50), declared that he was ‘thinking God’s thoughts after him’.
New Dictionary of Theology, 626f.