The Importance of Building a Relationship with God among Different Cultures

The Importance of Building a Relationship with God among Different Cultures

I experienced many different cultures and beliefs growing up in Hong Kong, the city where “East meets West.” These experiences included three different religious schools in which I studied Buddhism and Catholicism during my elementary school years and Islam during my high school years.1 I respected the imams, gurus, priests, and nuns who devoted their lives to education in these religious schools, but what they taught me about God was vague and confused, particularly when it came to having a personal relationship with him. That’s what I needed—a personal relationship—and what I think many science-minded people long for as well.

Religion without Relationship

Where I lived, a high volume of people visited the temples of Eastern religions. However, their religious practice was usually due to obligation and tradition. If people had experienced past blessings or expected blessings in the future, they needed to offer some kind of devotion to God. There were no personal relationships with God other than the teaching, regulations, laws, virtues, and moral standards I was told to follow.

The traditional religion my parents taught me did not help me to know God. My understanding of God at that time was not about a relationship with a divine being or divine beings, but rather was restricted to participation in religious activities and traditions. I tried to communicate with God through memorized prayers, but I didn’t know if anyone was listening. Any healthy relationship needs mutual communication and understanding. Without communication and true knowledge of God, I could not build a personal relationship with him.

Questions about the Universe’s Beginning

Confucian philosophy and Chinese tradition values education highly, so I pursued science to gain wisdom. The scientific knowledge I explored mostly emphasized evolution theory over creation. Thus, I became an atheist and believed that science was the final truth of life. To me, there seemed to be no need to have a relationship with any God. I thought it was superstitious to believe in something intangible that I could not verify scientifically or experience in the real world. I grew to love science and physics. The more knowledge I gained about the laws of physics, the more I worked to advance science and technology. However, tension mounted. There are so many mysteries in this universe that science cannot explain. Was there an intelligent designer that created the wonderful heavens and Earth? If there was a God responsible for these mysteries, how could I communicate and build a relationship with God so that I might know him? I wished that I could understand the beginning of this world through science alone.

Turning Point

I came to the United States in 1981 to study physics, which I hoped would help me understand the mysteries of life. During winter break of that year, I visited my cousin in Toronto, Canada, who had become a Christian since I last saw him. He shared the Christian gospel with me and brought me to his church. I saw that my cousin had changed from a self-centered, uncaring person before he came to Christ to a more caring and sincere person since then. That week with him became the turning point of my journey to a new life. My heart opened, and I wanted to read the Bible. While studying the Scriptures, God seemed to inspire me personally. I met Jesus Christ and knew that he was real, and I accepted him as my Savior and Lord. I found the hope I was missing. It was a life-changing experience.

Helping the Science-Minded

Many people see science and biblical faith as contradictory. However, I have found that this misunderstanding comes from a superficial knowledge of their relationship. The Bible is full of scientific details, such as the creation of the universe and Earth in Genesis, the description of nature and the stars in Job, and many more. At least five biblical writers describe an expanding universe2 that are in agreement with the verifiable “big bang theory” regarding the beginning of the universe. Investigating these records through both science and theology led me to strongly believe that science and nature are in harmony with the creation accounts revealed in the Bible.

Scientific advance shows that there is design behind creation, such as the fine-tuning of the universe and DNA in cells, that scientists can explore, discover, and verify. Most scientific discoveries are communicated through words, pictures, and equations to show others the data that science reveals. Similarly, God the Creator made the universe to reflect his glory and wisdom and to communicate it to mankind.3

An Amazing Relationship

The more I study the Bible and science, the more I appreciate the wisdom behind them both. Of course, the most important revelation from the Bible is what it says about its author: his attributes, what he wills, and how people can be reconciled to him. Verses like this one mean so much to me now and I hope to explain why to others: “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18).

Human beings desire to build relationships with other people, animals, and things. Whether science-minded people admit it or not, they also yearn for a personal relationship with their Creator. To build a deep relationship that will last, we need the Living Word (Jesus, the Son of God). He is the model, life example, and guide who helps us develop genuine knowledge of God because he is both God and man. The triune God, one God with three members,4 exemplifies the closest and most loving relationship possible as the Father, Son, and Spirit. And since this triune God, our Creator, already possesses the attribute of relationship, humans can enjoy a relationship with God. That’s what I hope—and I hope you do too—to share with my scientist friends who yearn for understanding and relationship.

One of the passages that now fascinates and inspires me—as a scientist and a Christian—to build an intimate relationship with God are these Bible verses: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:1-4). May God’s light also shine into your heart so that you can build an eternal relationship with him!

  1. Alan Tai, A Physicist’s Perspective on God: Roadmaps to Wisdom Through Science and Life (Maltland, FL: Xulon Press, 2020); these topics have an expanded discussion in my book.
  2. Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 48:13; 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12; 51:15; and Zechariah 12:1; RTB 101, “Big Bang,” Reasons to Believe, /explore/publications/rtb-101/big-bang
  3. Jason Wilson, “Integration of Faith and Mathematics from the Perspectives of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, vol. 67, no.2 (June 2015).
  4. Hugh Ross, “God and Time Theories,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), September, 2019, /todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2019/09/02/god-and-time-theories.