Many years ago, I heard a research scientist who was also a Christian explain his philosophical approach to research by saying, “So that’s how God did it!” For many of us working in scientific fields, that is what science is about. When researchers announce a new discovery, we view it as knowledge that helps us understand what God has done in creating the cosmos and humans.
Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. have just announced a solution to one of the chemical mysteries that has baffled astronomers for a very long time. Our bodies contain some common elements that were created in star explosions which scientists have observed. The origin of some trace elements in the human body, such as fluorine, was not easy to determine. Most of us know that fluorine is a critical component of bones and teeth. Toothpaste contains fluorine in the form of fluoride.
Rare stars known as Wolf-Rayets are very massive, and they survive for a relatively short time before exploding. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of 66 radio telescopes in Chile, researchers detected gas clouds with large amounts of hydrogen fluoride in Wolf-Rayet stars. Scientists could not confirm fluorine production in local stars, but they solved the mystery by finding fluorine in a galaxy 12 billion light-years away. The director of the study commented to CNN that Wolf-Rayets have allowed humans to maintain good dental health.
The simple statement “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) involves a process that science strives to understand. As we gain more knowledge of what is involved in that process, we see that “the heavens declare the glory of God and the earth shows the work of His hands” (Psalms 19:1).
Theologians may simply say that God “spoke the creation into existence,” but scientists want to know how. Scientists who are Christians rejoice in a new understanding of God’s handiwork. As we come to understand how God has done wonderful things, we say, “So that’s how God did it!” Then we thank Him for designing a creation in which we can survive.
— John N. Clayton © 2021