Thursday, January 16, 2014

When Science And The Bible Collide

In the previous blog, I mentioned a heated Facebook conversation over Creationism. It is interesting what people will write in one or two sentence snippets of ideas when the only opinions seem to count and the facts don’t get in the way. Accordingly, many things were said during the course of the discussion, with little evidentiary support for a cherished opinion. Accordingly, during the conversation it was alleged that the Bible is not meant to be a scientific textbook and that when Moses wrote the creation account in Genesis, he did so merely to answer the questions of an ignorant people. These two statements were given in support of the position that the Creation account in Genesis is not to be taken literally. Both of these statements, however, are things that have truth in them but it is the inferences drawn from them that are all wrong.

The first statement which maintains that the Bible is not a scientific textbook is a truism that cannot be denied. The Bible is not meant as a Science textbook; it is the story of man's fall and God’s subsequent work of redemption. It is, however, a miraculous book authored by none other than the God, Himself [2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:] and as such, when it makes a statement that touches on an area of Science, it should be listened to. To presume otherwise, is to place Science in a superior position over the Bible in such matters.

We must consider, however, that Science is man-centered. It is by definition the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.”Alarmingly, it is being looked to explain practically every aspect of our lives and our universe. There is no end to what man seeks to explain through the realm of Science. Even matters that once were considered as sacred to faith and practice are now being scrutinized under the auspices of Social Science, resulting in what once was called sin being now considered disease or a natural occurring alternative life style. The clear truths in Romans 1, which describe the degeneration of fallen man are explained away to make way for this new scientifically enlightened thinking. However, when we modify our interpretation of the Bible to conform to Scientific thought, it must be considered that we are making the Word of God subservient to man’s observations as well as theoretical interpretations.

In defense of the position that Science is superior to Scripture is the statement that Science is truth and that “all truth is God’s truth.” However, when we consider the man-centered nature of Science, we realize its vulnerability. Science is based on observations and where observations are impossible Science tries to fill in the void with guesses. This is its weakness. While Science is useful in lots of areas, there are limits to what Science can be used to explain. For this reason, then, we must draw a line where Science is, and is not, useful in helping to explain things mentioned in the Bible. For example, when we say that Moses wrote the creation account to answer questions of an ignorant people we implying that since  what Moses wrote is not reliable in light of present day Science, it must be seen as something other than factual. However, we must consider the reliability of Science concerning this topic which is in reality, the origins of the universe. When we do this, the vulnerability of Science is exposed.

The validity of Science is based on the validity of its observations. Concerning the origins of the universe, man was not there, so his observations are limited to what has come afterward. From these observations man has attempted to put together theories or best guesses as to what actually occurred. On the other hand, Scripture maintains that what Moses wrote is the actual Word of God. Accordingly, it is God’s Creation account. Since Science is dependent on observation, it cannot be used to contradict God’s eyewitness account in an area where it (Science) can only make guesses.

Consider this statement from the book of Hebrews: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2For by it the elders obtained a good report.3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Hebrews 11:1-3).The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that there are things that we can know through observation of things that can be seen (Science), and things that we can know only through believing the Word of the living God (faith). There is then a limitation to Science. Accordingly, (from Hebrews) when Science is being used to explain the origins of the universe it has exceeded its limits. In view of this statement from Hebrews we need to consider that when Science and God’s Word seem to conflict we need not trust the superiority of Science over God’s Word. Instead we need to trust the Word of God and not lean on Science to understand what it says in areas where Science is extended beyond its limits.

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