What Science Teaches Us about Gratitude
Written by: Taylor DiPaola
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.
– Romans 1:20
Whenever I get a shot at the doctor’s office, I rarely feel grateful. I know that the shot is supposed to protect me from something worse, but that knowledge rarely changes my heart. Most likely, I’m just gritting my teeth and looking as far away from the needle as possible. When I finally leave the doctor’s office, the closest thing I feel to gratitude is relief that the visit is over.
I should be more grateful, but gratitude eludes me. I don’t let my heart understand what my brain knows.
Oftentimes, I think we find it difficult to be grateful for the things of science. We know that science is important, but many times it either puts us in an uncomfortable situation or we don’t understand why it matters. We don’t allow our scientific knowledge to change us.
If we pay attention though, the things of science reveal wonders and mysteries to us that give us numerous things to be grateful for. Here are a few simple ways that science teaches us to be grateful:
1. It helps us understand the world around us.
If we didn’t know anything about science, we would only see the sun rise and set each day. We could only watch the plants grow up and produce fruit, and we would always walk across the earth never knowing why we stayed stuck to the ground. Every day would be full of mysteries and a lack of appreciation of the world around us.
Meanwhile, science opens our eyes to the workings of the world. Because of science, we know that the earth spins every 24 hours to give us both our day and night. We understand that plants absorb the right amount of nutrients, water, and sunlight to make them grow, and we know that their fruits are full of seeds which will become the next generation of those plants. We realize that earth’s gravity keeps us attached to the earth so that we can safely stay in earth’s atmosphere and not accidentally drift off of our planet.
When we understand how our world works, we can find gratitude for how complex and unique our world is.
2. It shows us that things don’t happen by accident.
From the beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1:1, God tells us that His creation of this world was purposeful. That means that everything in this world has intentionality behind it, from the way birds fly to the way babies are formed in the womb.
The Psalmist once said to God, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). God doesn’t accidentally create life, human or otherwise. With each baby, God gently forms each part and intentionally creates a new life.
Science allows us to see God’s intentionality by showing us the consistent, week-by-week growth of a baby. The process is not random and difficult to understand; it is orderly and consistent, showing us that pregnancy is a purposeful creation of life.
While our world is broken by sin, causing mutations and other random things to occur, it is still full of God’s intentional methods that create life and bring balance to our planet. We can be full of gratitude knowing that both science and the Bible show us that our world is full of purpose.
3. It reveals God’s immense love and care for us.
Since science helps us understand the world around us and shows us that things don’t accidentally happen, it demonstrates how much effort God put in to us and to our world so that we could have life.
He didn’t just throw us onto an inhospitable planet that we could barely survive on. Instead, He gave us a lush home full of delightful things that allow us to thrive. He filled our minds with language and thought and allowed us to roam the earth to solve scientific mysteries, build civilizations, and, ultimately, have a relationship with Him.
As we learn more about our world, science teaches us to be grateful even for the little things because even the little things can show us God’s love.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be grateful for the things of science. But understanding science can make us more grateful for God’s love, nature, and life. Overall, science can teach us to be grateful because it simply shows us who God is.
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