Passion for true science

Dr Chad Rodekohr busts the myth that science and God cannot coexist

Chad Rodekohr
Dr Chad Rodekohr

Mechanical engineer and physics professor Dr Chad Rodekohr is passionate about the scientific method but is not afraid to go against the grain with his personal beliefs.

"It is easy to point to God's glory while studying physics," Chad explains.

While many scientists believe or feel pressured to toe the line when it comes to separating faith in God with their scientific profession, Chad believes that there is no need for this divide.

"God has informed us through Paul's letter to the Romans that God's existence and eternal power are made obvious in observing what God has made. Therefore, all that we study in Physics can't help but point to these two qualities of God."

Chad explains from Romans chapter 1 verse 20 which says, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

From a young age Chad has been fascinated with understanding the world around him and how it physically functions.

"I love watching the swallows gracefully swooping to catch their food, so learning about the physics behind flight and the various control surfaces of airplanes came quickly," he recalls.

Along with his curious nature, from a young age Chad's parents taught him about the God who created the universe and he watched them live out their faith daily.

At age seven he made his own personal decision to trust in Jesus as his Saviour and Lord of his life, determining that what he witnessed in his parents' life and the world around him was the result of a loving God who genuinely wanted to know him personally.

While Chad grew from strength to strength in his Christian faith, his love for science never wavered.

"To this day, I gain unusual enjoyment from maximizing the precision of my measurement tools in everything from bathroom construction to astronomical observations. This stems from simply loving the order with which God has created the universe," he explains.

Yet in his daily work as a professor of physics, Chad has noticed that many of his students trust the scientific method without a true understanding of the philosophy underlying it.

"Most can't actually differentiate between hypothesis, theory, law, or fact. It is no wonder they don't distinguish between repeatable science and mere claims about history," he shares.

For example, when discussions arise about the origins of life Chad says many scientists make claims which are wrongly stated as facts.

"These 'facts' are then assumed to be the result of the scientific method. However, the scientific method cannot go backwards in time – only forwards."

"For example," Chad adds, "scientists have guessed the initial conditions for the supposed 'big bang'. These initial conditions are assumed to be true, but they are not actually known facts because the hypothetical event was not observed by anyone."

When he has the opportunity Chad encourages his students, who are considering pursuing a scientific career, "to do so with all diligence! To understand what God has created and how He has set it all up with an amazing order".

"There is no contradiction between God's Word and science. Many scientists claim that contradictions exist, but that is because they are making assumptions based on their personal worldview. If you begin with a Biblical worldview, then you can clearly see God's glory declared throughout all observations. This makes perfect sense – God made both His Word (the Bible) and all of creation."

Both in his scientific endeavours and his own personal life, Chad tries his best to live in accordance with his faith in Jesus but he confesses that this is not always easy.

"When things aren't going my way, my strong tendency is to first develop a complaining attitude, wrongly assuming that life should be easy and pleasant for me. This is pride, selfishness, and thanklessness," he shares honestly.

"In that bad-attitude state, I viewed God as one who exists to make my life happy. This is very wrong. I am the one who exists to serve Him – not the other way around."

With this bold yet humbling perspective Chad says he continues to use his passion for science to share the compelling truth of the Bible – God's Word and "light to all mankind".