OBU professor presents the idea of science as worship
October 6, 2005
“Education in science has been, and must be, a pillar of strength on Bison Hill,” said Dr. Bradley Jett, James E. Hurley associate professor of biology at Oklahoma Baptist University, as he began a lecture encompassing the Science and Medicine window in Raley Chapel and the importance science holds as part of a well-rounded Christian education.
The stained glass window is located at the far southwest corner of Raley Chapel and contains images that represent important achievements in the various fields of science. At the very top of the window is a caduceus, a symbol from Greek mythology, a pole with two snakes twined around it which is associated with the medical field and Luke, the New Testament author.
Also depicted near the top of the window are Aristotle’s five elements, a parabolic compass, the motion of the heavenly bodies, a telescope, and a globe – all of which signify scientists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Nicolas Copernicus and Galileo Galilei. A black bag emblazoned with the letter “B” is thought to honor Dr. George S. Baxter, a medical doctor who made rounds on the OBU campus at the time the window was designed.
The sun and the planets, located in the middle of the window correspond to Johannes Keppler, while William Harvey is represented by a heart for his work on the circulation of blood. The French curve, a spectrum, chemical elements, numbers and electroplating equipment represent physical science and mathematics the leading scientists of which include René Descartes, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton and Joseph Priestly.
At the bottom of the window is depicted a plant cross-section, bacterial cultures, a hypodermic needle and a microscope, representing the experimental biology and medicine fields.
There is also a large red “X” which is thought to represent an intersection of the contributions of four of the founding fathers and mothers of experimental biology and medicine. These scientists were Louis Pasteur, Robert Coke, Marie Curie and Charles Darwin.
“All of these symbols represent not only the past contributions of scientists and their discoveries, but their continuing tradition of excellence in OBU’s pre-med programs, its basic sciences and its school of nursing – the first one in the state of Oklahoma, by the way,” said Jett.
Jett discussed the idea of science as worship, that by doing research and investigating the universe we are showing our appreciation and our wonder at the magnificence of God. He said he considers that studying science will actually help people see the world through the eyes of the creator and believes that Christians, above all others, should embrace the environment and show concern for the world.
“OBU has a long tradition of blending faith and the liberal arts and turning out graduates who have gone on to do great things in the premedical sciences,” said Jett. “Christian liberal arts prepare the best healers; graduates with a deep understanding of humanity and all of its diversity, its history, its philosophy, its literature, language, and religion. Those are the kinds of people that we want as our doctors and nurses. Those are the kinds of students OBU turns out.
“Christians must embrace science in order to be responsible agents in the physical created world. How can Christians adequately address and deal with the difficult, bioethical questions of the 21st century if they don’t even understand the science behind those bioethical questions?”
Dr. David Bebbington, professor of history at the University of Stirling (Scotland), will be a guest speaker who will address the Raley Chapel’s History and Government window in Chapel on Oct 19. The Stained Glass Series features 12 messages related to the chapel’s renowned windows, which are a key element of the campus landmark.
Guests are invited to join the OBU community for Chapel at 10 a.m. each Wednesday during the academic year.