Bob Boler

Profession: Retired Metallurgist

CAN A SCIENTIST BE A CHRISTIAN? For a scientist miracles are impossible and speaking in tongues is just babyish babble. Yet I have come across many miracles and I speak in tongues which I know from experience is much more meaningful than mere babble. How come?

From being a boy I have always been interested in science. It started with an interest in the wildlife around my country home, and for some time I wanted to be a biologist, in fact an interest in biology still persists. However I actually obtained a degree in Metallurgy (the science of metals) at Sheffield University. After university I worked for 10 years at an aircraft factory, achieving the status of head of the materials and chemistry laboratory, before “rationalisation” within the group to which my factory belonged resulted in my job disappearing, and I found a new one with a company designing and construction nuclear power stations from which I retired at the age of 60 with the final post of consultant scientist. My work over the last 20 years involved liaison with research laboratories around the world and the conversion of their work into useable concepts for engineers. I married a wonderful girl called Margaret while at university and we had four sons who all took up either science or engineering as a career. We even have one daughter in law who is an honours graduate in chemistry. Margaret and I have now been married for over 50 years and are still very much in love. In parallel with my scientific and engineering experience I became a Christian. It came about like this.

I had started going to the local Methodist church at the age of 14 – but only to meet the girls on the back row! It was there I met Margaret. However, in spite of the female attraction, something of the sermons and the discussion evenings at the church youth club must have rubbed off. At the age of 17 I developed an interest in politics. My background was staunchly working class (my father was a plasterer) and Labour. However on studying the manifestos of all the political parties it occurred to me that all of them failed to address the real problem of society, which was the tendency of humans to do wrong things, i.e. to sin. The only solution to that which I knew about was Christianity, so I became a Christian. Incidentally, politics still fails to address that problem satisfactorily and the only solution is Jesus. When I was 18 God actually spoke to me for the first time and said that I should be a Lay Preacher in the Methodist Church. This came as a bit of a shock, but I obeyed and did my preaching studies and training in parallel with the university studies. Graduation and accreditation as a preacher occurred in the same month, June 1956.

16 years later, during the charismatic movement, I was baptised in the Holy Spirit. This transformed my understanding of Christianity. I began to pray in tongues, interpret tongues, and have visions and prophecies. These were not hysterical illusions, but very real. Many of the prophecies applied to other people and were remarkably accurate. For instance at a recent FGBMFI dinner I had a vision of a man walking along the edge of a precipice, and being drawn towards it as if to fall in. The Chapter President interpreted that as someone thinking of committing suicide, and sure enough a man was present who was contemplating suicide! Four years after being baptised in the Holy Spirit, I was involved in the start up of the Cheshire Chapter of FGBMFI, only the fourth chapter in the UK. The next few years saw an amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit as FGBMFI spread across the British Isles. We saw lives changed, sick people healed, blind people see and demons cast out. Things I had read about in the Bible but previously only half believed became real in my experience.

As a scientist I was very cautious about accepting these things, but they happened to me! I had to admit they were real phenomena, and I had to think about that. In my early in my career in aircraft I was involved in investigating aircraft crashes and failures and one thing I soon learned was to take all the evidence into account and not rely on just a few facts. So I had to reason through this new situation. I read many books giving different arguments, and quickly came to the conclusion that many of the writers, both non-Christian and Christian, had not considered all the evidence properly. Many of them clearly had not had my experiences. It has become clear that there are two universes, the physical and the spiritual (or heavenly) which in some way interact. Scientists cannot detect the spiritual at the present time because they do not have the right tools. It is rather like trying to investigate the far reaches of the universe with a surgeon’s scalpel. Also I found that the Bible is much more scientific than is often thought, particularly the story of creation in Genesis chapter 1.

The only major discrepancy between the Bible and the scientific theories is the timescale, 6 days in the Bible compared with about 12 billion years according to the scientists. We do not know all the answers yet, but it is apparent to me that slowly our scientific understanding, and our archeological understanding are slowly converging with our Christian understanding. For instance the modern “string” and “M” theories of Physics suggest the possibility of other universes. We are wise not to try and make firm pronouncements where we do not know the answer, and we do not know why the timescales differ. One day we will know all the truth and then we will find that science is but the study of the physical aspects of God’s universe. Of that I am convinced.

Bob Boler