One of the great debates between the Christian and the scientist is the degree to which we are animal or spiritual. Many scientists wish us to be wholly scientific in our approach to humanity and understanding of ourselves. It is really a rather shallow outlook on human nature or, even, the necessary consequences of a purely scientific view of who we are.
Science has apparently discovered the part of our brain which helps us to recognize justice. It thus asserts, at least in some quarters, that goodness is innate within us physically. Yet that attitude ignores a very real point. The possibility that good occurs in us naturally is an entirely different question from the judgment of what is good, or the expectation that people will do good.
How do we know what is good except to be able to judge it in our individual and societal actions? Or are our scientifically minded friends suggesting that we just ‘do things’ and they happen to be good? Either way, any judgment about good, any assertion that ‘this is good’ cannot come wholly or entirely from within ourselves; there are too many of us with too many of our own nuanced ideas of good and bad.
Or are you saying that everyone from childhood, without guidance of any kind (parental, societal, or spiritual) will necessarily elect to do good? No Lord of the Flies scenarios possible? To claim that we are innately good begs the question of why people (and it should be obvious that all people do bad things sometimes regardless of physical construction) do bad things. Why does the thief steal, if he knows in his heart and head that it’s wrong? Further, what’s free will, if we are born with, say, no choice but to do good? Indeed, if we have no choice but to do good, if it is ‘just what we do’ then even calling our actions good comes into question. What’s so good about doing what we cannot help but do?
It should surprise no one that we are hard wired to recognize justice; we are, at the end of the day, physical as well as spiritual creatures. It should not be shocking news that a just and all knowing God in the very act of creation would make our physical selves able to recognize spiritual, eternal, and absolute truths, truths outside our own will, thus enabling us to see (so to speak) justice. That science has discovered as much enhances rather than detracts from our knowledge of God. It strengthens, not weakens, our relationship with Him. It makes our spiritual side and our physical side properly complimentary. It raises us from the mere animal into a higher plane of existence.
Science does not tell us who we are in our entirety. It only sets us on that road. How far we trail along that path is ultimately up to us. And the questions we discover along that way will not be answered empirically.