Science & The Bible

It is common in many popular evangelical settings to disparage science. Based on your reading of Geisler’s text so far, how would you defend Christianity on Scientific terms? Would you personally disparage science as anti-God? What about historical scientific figures that were first and foremost scientists but also evangelical in their Christian beliefs, how would they have dealt with questions about science and faith?  Is there common ground, little ground, or no ground for a serious dialog between scientists and theologians? 

This is a complex question that is full of emotion on both sides of the debate. Moreover, both sides view the other as a very real and present threat to their worldview. Nowhere is this issue more hotly debated than in America’s public school classrooms. The scientific evolutionists of today have nearly 100 years of legal battles and public relations victories under their belt. They have successfully fended off attempts by those who desire to teach Creationism by claiming it is teaching religion, and, therefore, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[1]

In the last two decades, however, the introduction of “intelligent design” has refueled the debate. The scientific community has resisted on all fronts. As this Wikipedia article suggests:

The unequivocal consensus in the scientific community is that intelligent design is not science. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that "intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life" are not science because they cannot be tested by experiment, do not generate any predictions, and propose no new hypotheses of their own. The National Science Teachers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have termed it pseudoscience. Others have concurred, and some have called it junk science.[2]

Unfortunately, too many in the Christian community allow challenges from the scientific community to go unanswered, or worse, provide emotional dribble to serious challenges. As Geisler states, “Let it first be said that we need not argue on religious grounds. We do not need to simply stand firm crying, ‘The Bible said it; I believe it; that settles it!’ That attitude can be good, but there are good scientific grounds to reject evolution and believe in Creation.”[3]

Based on your reading of Geisler’s text so far, how would you defend Christianity on Scientific terms?

As we discovered during Chapter 2, “Questions About God,” proving the existence of God is not unlike defending Christianity, for without the existence of God, there is not much to defend as far as Christianity is concerned.

The first two arguments in proving the existence of God cited by Geiser rely on scientific evidence: cosmological and teleological. The argument from creation states that “since there is a universe, it must have been caused by something beyond itself. It is based on the law of causality, which says that every limited thing is caused by something other than itself.” [4] The teleological argument states:

1.     All designs imply a designer.

2.     There is great design in the universe.

3.     Therefore, there must be a Great Designer of the universe.[5]

As Geisler later points out, “By seeing God as the Creator in complete control, science could make the assumption that the universe made sense. Most of the scientists who formulated the studies of modern science were creationists. Without this basis, modern science would probably never have gotten started.”[6]

Would you personally disparage science as anti-God?

Dennis Lindsey states, “The Christian has nothing to fear when investigating the laws of biology, physics, astronomy, hydrology, meteorology, or any other discipline. God’s Word harmonizes perfectly with science—or should we say science harmonizes perfectly with God’s Word.[7]

Personally, I would not disparage science as anti-God. Instead, I would see science as one of the key indicators that God does indeed exist, and that the God of the Bible is the Creator of the universe.

What about historical scientific figures that were first and foremost scientists but also evangelical in their Christian beliefs, how would they have dealt with questions about science and faith?

Many of the fathers of modern science were also Creationists. These included:

  • Kepler—Astronomy
  • Pascal—Hydrostatics
  • Boyle—Chemistry
  • Newton—Physics
  • Steno—Stratigraphy
  • Faraday—Magnetic theory
  • Babbage—Computers
  • Agassiz—Ichthyology
  • Simpson—Gynecology
  • Mendel—Genetics
  • Pasteur—Bacteriology
  • Kelvin—Thermodynamics
  • Lister—Antiseptic surgery
  • Maxwell—Electrodynamics
  • Ramsay—Isotopic chemistry[8]

As Geisler defines science, it is “based on causality; every event has a cause … All science is based on finding causes using these two principles: causality and uniformity.”[9] As we investigate the world and search for causality and uniformity, it, again, points us back to a Creator.

Is there common ground, little ground, or no ground for a serious dialog between scientists and theologians? 

Both scientists and theologians have common interests in the origins of the universe. Geisler lists several examples where science and the Bible converge:

Origins

  • Universe had a beginning.
  • Order of events. Genesis 1 indicates a progressive creation, universe, followed by formless earth, followed by what happened to give form to the earth.
  • No new matter is being created. The Bible declared from the beginning that creation is complete. God rested from his work (Gen. 2:2) and is still at rest (Heb. 4:4f.). In short, no new matter (energy) is coming into existence. This is precisely what the First Law of Thermodynamics declares, namely, that the amount of actual energy in the universe remains constant.
  • Universe is running down. According to the second law of thermodynamics, the universe is running out of useable energy. It is literally growing old. This is precisely what the Psalmist said: “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded” (Ps. 102:25–27).
  • Life produces after its kind.
  • Humans made from the earth.

Earth Sciences

  • Water returns to its source.
  • The earth is round.
  • The earth hangs in space.[10]

[1] The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the 1987 case of Edwards v. Aguillard that to require the teaching of "creation science" alongside evolution was a violation of the Establishment Clause, which prohibits state aid to religion. In the Edwards case, the Supreme Court had also held that "teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to school children might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction."

[2] "Intelligent design." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 23 Aug 2007, 20:18 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 19 Aug 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Intelligent_design&oldid=153212619>.

[3]Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks, When Skeptics Ask (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1990), 213.

[4]Ibid, 14.

[5]Ibid, 20.

[6]Ibid, 212.

[7]Dennis Gordon Lindsay, Harmony of Science and Scripture (Dallas: Christ for the Nations, 1998, c1990).

[8] Geisler and Brooks, 214.

[9]Ibid, 213.

[10]Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker reference library (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1999), 692.

    Chris Eller is a Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Pastor, Geek, Writer, Photographer, and Church Technology Consultant.

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