To have faith in something means to trust it as being true and/or sufficient. Therefore, it is possible to put one’s faith in science and also in God. Let me explain.
Science is the procedure of looking at the material world, observing a phenomena, developing a hypothesis to explain that phenomena, developing tests to validate or invalidate the hypothesis, and then eventually through repetition of experimentation, present a theory that explains the phenomena. This means that science is by definition restricted to the physical world.
God, on the other hand, is not restricted to the material world, and His existence is not tied to the physical realm. Therefore, God is not a proper subject of science. God and the physical realm are different categories. This is why science cannot prove that God does or does not exist because it is looking only at the physical realm, not the spiritual one.
However, believing in God does not mean that we can’t learn from His creation through observation and experimentation, which is what the scientific method is about. God has provided regularity in nature so that we can trust its predictability and learn through examination and experimentation. Through science mankind has developed computers, better airplanes, better medicines, etc. These are worth trusting. Science has indeed helped us a great deal, and we are reaping its benefits. But science is not the proper venue for discovering God. So, as long as science stays away from the issue of God and morality, then there shouldn’t be any conflict.
However, I must clarify that there are aspects of “science” that are commonly held by many people that Christians cannot affirm. Some scientists believe in the theory of evolution where life evolved from a single cell into what is now all over the planet. This is not acceptable to a Christian since the Bible says that God created Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26-28). Besides, the fossil record is far from sufficient to ascertain human evolution. If anything, it works against it. Mankind did not evolve from lower life forms.
Some scientists might say that life conceived in the womb is not human and thus can beaborted if that is what the mother wants. But, this is not Biblical and should not be supported by Christians. It is an issue of morality (killing humans), and science cannot determine that the life in the womb is not human until a certain point.
Science is based on faith
It might seem odd to say that science is based on faith, but it is. Science depends on two main assumptions that scientists cannot prove using the scientific method.
- The laws of logic
- The uniformity of nature
The laws of logic consist of such things as the law of identity (something is what it is and is not what it is not), the law of non-contradiction (a statement cannot be both true and false at the same time in the same sense), and the law of excluded middle (a statement is either true or false). Without assuming the validity of the laws of logic, science would not be possible because logic must be used in order for the scientific method to work. In other words, scientists have to be logical when examining the natural realm. But, the problem is that science cannot be used to demonstrate that the laws of logic are true. Scientists simply assume the validity of these laws and use them. In other words, they have faith that the laws of logic are true.
The uniformity of nature is the assumption that the entire universe will behave under the same laws of physics as it does here on earth, all the time. This is another assumption since we cannot test all events in the entire universe to see if that assumption is valid. Of course, some scientists will maintain that the laws of physics are inherent in nature–that nature simply works that way. But this is, again, an assumption since all the laws of physics have not been tested in all areas of nature, nor can it be determined that how things operate on this planet are how things operate everywhere in the universe. So again, it is an assumption that cannot be proven but is simply believed.
A Christian can have faith in science and God at the same time as long as he does not believe anything contrary to the revealed Word of God found in the Bible.