by YL Khong
Khong uses his background in science and technology to share the gospel.
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, David wrote, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge’ (Ps. 19:1-2). How do the heavens declare the glory of God? What sort of knowledge do they reveal about our world and its Creator? Today, we know so much more about the universe and the amazing phenomena that occur within it than ever before in history. How can we make use of this knowledge to have conversations about God?
‘For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse’ (Rom. 1:20). The Scripture leaves no doubt that God’s power and attributes are revealed through things that He has made, that is, the natural world. What can we learn from the ‘book of nature’ to help us to understand our Creator?
The sheer vastness of the galaxies in the universe, the intriguing behaviour of space and time and the mysteries of the quantum world, at an atomic and sub-atomic level, are mind boggling. In a world hungry for God and the meaning of life, modern scientific discoveries in the last century have opened up new narratives that declare His glory and provide insights into God’s hand in nature.
The Christian Stem Nexus
Trained as a physicist, I have worked in research, technology, manufacturing and academia in several countries, primarily in multinational company start-ups in Malaysia. During 1991-93, I was a post-doctoral research fellow at King’s College London, UK. In my last role as the CEO of a state-run science centre, Tech Dome Penang, my eyes were opened to the potential of using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) to connect with the community. At the same time, I was aware of issues that commonly arise where faith and science intersect. After my retirement in 2021, I connected with other believers in the Stem fields to form The Christian Stem Nexus with the two objectives: engaging the community with the gospel and enhancing the faith of believers through Stem.
I was appointed to help start and develop a science centre with the objective of popularising and educating people on matters related to science and technology. It was while running the science centre that I noticed how science-related activities can capture the attention of students and the general public. From this observation, I was inspired to utilise science as a ministry for the gospel and to edify believers. After discussing the idea with several brothers and sisters, we founded The Christian Stem Nexus (CSN) – Stem being the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Nexus, a connection or a link.
Engaging Through Science
Since its inception in October 2021, the CSN has held monthly meetings where believers can come together to fellowship and listen to talks on interesting topics related to Stem and faith. Additionally, we have developed and deployed Stem-related materials to reach out to schools and students. This aligns with the CSN’s key objectives of edifying Christians and using Stem as a connection point to share the gospel.
In a world hungry for God and the meaning of life, modern scientific discoveries in the last century have opened up new narratives that declare His glory and provide insights into God’s hand in nature.
Nature Adventure – In 2019, prior to the formation of the CSN, I developed benchtop Stem teaching apparatus and brought them to Sangkhim School in Cambodia. I also created material for a camp called Nature Adventure, which took place in Tapah for students in Forms 1-4. These initial endeavours clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of using Stem-related materials to reach out to students with the gospel and reinforce their faith.
An Invisible Force – In 2021, I was invited by Yi Sheng, a Chinese assembly organisation for assembly youth work, to give talks on Stem and the Christian faith. That same year, we also developed a set of activities centred around the science of magnetism called The Invisible Force, which we deployed twice in collaboration with Scripture Union. We explored the concept of this invisible force and asked the question, ‘If this magnetic force is invisible, what else in nature is invisible?’ Through this, we introduced the idea of an invisible God, initiating conversations about who He is and His nature.
The Christmas Star – During December 2021, we developed a set of science activities titled, The Christmas Star, for the children’s special Christmas programme at Bukit Mertajam Gospel Centre, where I serve as an elder. The programme told the Christmas story, focusing on the star with an astronomy theme. Each child was given a boxed kit with Stem-related materials and activities. As we talk about astronomical objects, we have the opportunity to share the story of the Messiah.
The Amazing Cross – Another set of activities was developed for Easter 2022 for the Bandar Puchong Gospel Centre, the SS Gospel Centre and the Jalan Imbi Chapel. In The Amazing Cross programme, optical illusions and the concepts of the centre of gravity and magnetism were used to talk about the laws of nature and raise questions about who established those laws. This leads to conversations about the character of a God who put the laws of nature in place. We ask, ‘If there are physical laws that God put in place, could other moral and spiritual laws also exist?’ and ‘What might the consequences of breaking those laws be?’
The Amazing Laws of Nature – Various other Stem and faith-related programmes have been run for a homeschool group, Wesley International School in Penang and at a three-day camp at Bukit Mertajam Gospel Centre. For the latter, we designed science demonstrations, games and a series of talks called The Amazing Laws of Nature, The Amazing Immune System and The Amazing Life on Earth. These talks include exciting demonstrations such as a hand that catches fire without burning, preparing and seeing white and red blood cells, and detecting the Earth’s magnetic field.
Designed for a Purpose
During the first year since CSN’s inception, the opportunity to use Stem for the purpose of strengthening faith and sharing the gospel has been evident. Events and online conferences have been requested and organised on the theme of Stem and faith with topics that include: Science and Faith; Intelligent Design – Signpost to God; Stem Evangelism; Scripture and Science; Stem Apologetics; and Creation Care.
At each event, the often largely non-Christian participants learn about the perfect and consistent laws of nature pointing to an omniscient God, the intricately designed human body with its powerful immune system and the mechanisms and processes that sustain and protect life on Earth. We conclude by emphasising how God cares for and loves the world enough to die for us. As we explore the wonders of the universe through Stem, pray that many people will see the connection to our Creator and come to know Him as their Saviour. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…All things were made through Him…In Him was life, and the life was the light of men’ (Jn. 1:1-4).