Rocket scientist in Huntsville bridges faith, sciencecomment (0)
August 31, 2006
By Sondra Washington
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that scientists and Bible scholars often disagree on many major issues in Christianity, but can their views point toward the same truth? Christian apologist and NASA aerospace engineer Mark Whorton believes they can and should.
Stemming from his lifelong fascination with space and a strong desire to share his faith with colleagues and nonbelievers, Whorton, a member of Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville, in Madison Baptist Association, became increasingly interested in demonstrating that the “Christian faith is credible, defensible and true” through his career.
“Many people think that science and faith are incompatible because they deal with different aspects of life,” he said.
“One deals with the head and the other with the heart. … But I think this is completely wrong. Jesus said that we are to love God with our hearts and our minds. We are to test everything and only hold on to what is true. If the Bible were not objectively true, then how could we test it?”
To bridge the gap between scientific and biblical truth, Whorton and some friends recently organized Rocket Science Ministries in Huntsville (www.rocketscienceministries.org) to reach the area for Christ by sponsoring speakers, classes, seminars and other events. The ministry is an outreach of the Reasons to Believe Ministry founded by astrophysicist and pastor Hugh Ross.
“Huntsville is a unique city,” Whorton said. “It has one of the highest concentrations of scientists and engineers of any city in the country. The unique challenge of reaching our city for Christ is that we often have to convince people that science and faith do not conflict. We have to be prepared to defend our faith and demonstrate that Christianity is a credible and true worldview.”
After many years of research, Whorton said he realized that science and faith can only be reconciled by recognizing that God chose to reveal Himself through His creation, “a trustworthy revelation,” (and) realizing that scientists and theologians sometimes hold incorrect beliefs.
“Sometimes we get it wrong because we begin with the wrong assumptions — such as assuming that there is no God leads a scientist to naturalistic theories of evolution,” he said. “Sometimes we just don’t have enough facts to understand how it all fits together. When our scientific theories do not match our theology, it is time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work trying to understand where the problem is.”
Whorton encourages other Christians to research this information for themselves. “It is important that believers are grounded in a defensible faith so that they can stand the challenges to their faith,” he said. “How many people were shaken by ‘The Da Vinci Code’ because they were not sufficiently grounded in the truth to recognize the error in that book?”
Whorton added that reaching the world for Christ depends on this truth. “Augustine warned us 17 centuries ago that if we associate things with the Bible that unbelievers know to be false, then they will assume that the Bible cannot be trusted. If we defend our faith with flawed or incorrect reasons, then we marginalize the gospel to the great peril of those who we should seek to save.”
He said it is the job of all believers to give unbelievers reasons to believe by presenting a credible and compelling gospel that helps them realize that science supports the Bible.
Jim Wright, pastor of First Baptist Church, Centre, in Cherokee Baptist Association, believes Whorton’s point of view helps others gain a better understanding of the Genesis account.
“I think we live in a biblically illiterate world, and it is important for [those who are biblically illiterate] to understand that Christianity is not a stupid religion and that the Word of God stands up to scientific scrutiny,” he said. “It is not a scientific textbook, but the creation account is certainly not pure fantasy.”
Jimmy Jackson, pastor of Whitesburg Baptist, has seen Whorton’s faithfulness to his ministry. “Mark and his family are faithful members of Whitesburg Baptist Church, and he is one of the most brilliant people I know,” Jackson said.
“He is passionate about reaching the scientific community for Christ.”
Along with his Rocket Science Ministries colleague Hill Roberts, Whorton is currently writing the “Holman Quicksource Guide to Understanding Creation,” which will be available in 2007.