It was as he sat in the back of his small hatchback so many years ago that Mike Guebert first made the connection between science and his faith. He had paused from his work gathering soil samples for a short break in the midday sun when a passage of scripture came to mind.
The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. For He founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. (Psalm 24:1-2)
“I had begun my “integration of faith and learning” – common language at Taylor – just one year earlier while a junior at the University of Illinois. As both a new geology major and a new Christian, I began to grapple with the questions, ‘How can I put these two new exciting areas of my life together?’ and ‘Why should I be involved in science as a Christian?’” he remembers.
“When I read scripture that day on the tailgate of my car, I began to uncover a deeper understanding of something already present at the surface from my childhood days as I used to play in the woods – this creation is owned by the Creator, God, and He has revealed himself in it,” Guebert relates. “In fact, as I continued to read through the scriptures that summer, it became clear to me that the general revelation of God through His creation clearly testifies in a language everyone can understand.”
Today Guebert serves on Taylor’s science faculty where he has mentored hundreds of students who, in similar fashion, want to combine their faith with their pursuit of science and discovery. “If we are to serve and protect the creation, we must first know the creation, and natural science is the most powerful way in which we know it,” Guebert explains. “Through chemistry, biology, geology, physics and mathematics we study and interpret the intricate details and grand scheme of the properties and processes of God’s handiwork. Along with applications of computer science and engineering technologies, we earnestly strive toward the Christian calling of serving God, his people and his creation.”
That call has sent Guebert and his students to some of the remotest areas of Latin America where they have drilled wells to provide clean water for villagers. For more than one student, the experience was life-altering. “God opened my eyes to the health conditions and needs of the people of Guatemala,” recalls one. “We discussed with a (local pastor) the problems of the village and the surrounding areas. When asked what he saw as the greatest need, he answered without hesitation, ‘a clinic.’At that moment I felt a chill pulse through my entire body. Tears formed in my eyes. I could hear God gently whispering to me, ‘This task is for you.’”
“Specifically in the sciences, we profess to our students that heaven and earth declare the glory of God, from the smallest scales of particle physics, molecular chemistry and genetics, to the human scale of our living ecosystems and environment, and to the astronomical scales of universal space and geologic time,” Guebert says.
“Back on that spring day decades ago, a new passion also sprouted in the fertile soil of my heart. I want my science training to become a means by which I love, honor and glorify God as I serve on his behalf toward the rest of His creation.”
Dr. Mike Guebert is a professor in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at Taylor. He holds bachelors and master's degrees from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. His teaching and specialty areas are in geology and hydrology.
Guebert received the Teaching Excellence Award and Campus Leadership Award at Taylor in 2007. He is actively involved with Taylor’s Lighthouse program. His student teams have shared Christ's love as they provide safe drinking water and hygiene training to villages in Latin America. He has served on the University Council for Assessment and Planning (UCAP) and the Service Learning Committee, and he was involved in the creation of the Spencer Centre for Global Engagement and the annual All-Campus Poster Session. He has received many grants for service projects from the Indiana Campus Compact Network and has served on their council.
Prior to joining the Taylor faculty in 1999, Guebert served on the faculties at Middle Tennessee State and Wheaton College. His research includes a study of sediment loading into the Mississinewa River and a river enhancement grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Guebert has been the coordinator of Taylor's Natural Science Seminar series and directs thesis research by Master of Environmental Science students.