Science and mathematics are longtime academic disciplines of higher education. In a Christian university, however, tradition is not our only reason for retaining and expanding these exacting disciplines. The College of Science and Mathematics at HBU is a living testimony, in the tradition of higher education, to God the Creator and our obligation to him.
The first thing we are taught in the Scriptures is that God has created all that is and—as the Psalmist goes on to elaborate that point—it all belongs to him (Psalm 24:1). Once we confess that the one true God of Scripture is the creator of all there is, we immediately imply our obligation to him. We live in his world; we belong to him as part of his creation; and we are responsible for doing his work.
The work that God expects of us, at least generally speaking, is not a secret. We are clearly told that men and women are made in the image of God, and that to be made in the image of God points directly to our responsibilities to “be fruitful and multiply, subdue the earth, and rule over it” (Genesis 1:26-28). Subduing the earth is not a haughty or presumptuous act that implies pillaging and destroying—rather, it refers precisely to cultivating, caring for, and being stewards over the marvelously complex creation that God saw, at the end of his creative work, to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
To be responsible for God’s creation as wise stewards means that we must understand this world in its own terms, as it presents itself. We cannot possibly take care of it if we don’t know what it is or how it works. Science and mathematics help us understand the nature of the world around us, what it is, and how, by paying attention to its nature and rhythms, we can best care for it and help it to flourish. Math and science—as indeed other dimensions of study usually lumped in with math and science, as reflected in the acronym STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)—belong together. Science is best understood as involving the art of observation and careful description, and mathematics as supplying the language and logical interconnectedness whereby we describe (using numbers and specialized symbols) more accurately what we have observed.
Observing and correctly describing the reality that is God’s creation are the work of science and mathematics. We complete this work faithfully for the purpose of understanding the world and the God who calls us to care for it. Properly done, science and mathematics are helpful ways of learning best how to live in God’s world and to extend his sovereignty over all of it. At their best they are acts of devotion.
There is no need for Christians to fear science, and the scientific method, properly employed, is no threat to the Christian faith. A thoughtful Christian worldview requires us to pursue wisdom and understanding, and wisdom starts with humbly knowing who we are as God’s image-bearing creatures, acknowledging with thanksgiving his Lordship over us, and then caring for the world he has placed under our authority. In so doing, we are in a better position to extend the frontiers of God’s kingship over all the earth.
HBU College of Science and Mathematics*
*As of 2019, the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Engineering merged to form the College of Science and Engineering (COSE).
The College of Science and Mathematics (COSM) at Houston Baptist University offers five undergraduate degree programs: biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and biochemistry-molecular biology. The average class size is 35 students, and labs are typically between 24 and 30 students. 26% of incoming HBU freshmen major in one of these five degrees. The vast majority of COSM alumni go on to serve as doctors, dentists, college professors, and researchers. Today, the faculty consists of 23 PhDs who represent an array of prestigious institutions. HBU alumni health professionals are very active in private practices and hospitals throughout Houston, Texas, and the United States, including Baylor Medical School, Vanderbilt School of Medicine, Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital, UT Galveston Medical School, The Century Cancer Institute-Houston, Personal Pediatrics, and many more.
This college’s tradition of success goes back to the birth of HBU. Houston Baptist College sent a student from its first graduation class (1967) to medical school at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and three graduates from HBC’s early graduating classes went on to earn PhDs in chemistry.
The goals of the College of Science and Mathematics have always included producing high quality undergraduate students, who, upon graduation, excel in professional and graduate schools as they continue their educational goals. Learn more about HBU’s College of Science and Mathematics and our commitment to excellence in STEM education at HBU.edu.
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Edited by Joannah Buffington