Do the Bible and Science Come from the Same Author?

The Bible is not a scientific text, and it isn’t meant to be. Yet, we find stunning consistency between the statements about the universe described in the Bible and the facts about the universe revealed by science millennia after the biblical statements were made. In fact, the Bible stands alone among the sacred texts of the world religions in its consistency with modern science, according to Hugh Ross in his book, The Fingerprint of God.

For that reason, Christians (and Jews) should not fear modern science, though many modern scientists may be anti-theistic in their orientation. Modern people of science also should not be ignorant of the Bible. The Bible and science can and do get along. Even if a person ultimately rejects the truths of the Bible, rejecting it from a place of ignorance isn’t very scientific!

From that open-minded perspective, let’s explore some of the things the Bible states about God that are harmonious with what we now know of the universe.[1]

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Giving Religion and Science a Chance to Get Along

Christianity stands alone among all the religions of the world in that its religious text is harmonious with the facts about the universe revealed by modern science. That statement may seem incredulous to many who have heard that science and faith are incompatible. Such a sentiment is conveyed by people who don’t understand faith (or the Bible), and they are seemingly confirmed by people of faith who distrust and misunderstand science.

If God is true, His fingerprints should be seen in the universe He created.  So Christians should not be afraid of science. Scientists and people who love science, also, should not be closed-minded about the evidence of God. Close-mindedness should not be characteristic of the scientific community.

Just as many Christians are ignorant of science, many people of science are ignorant of the Bible. As Francis Collins, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute since 1993,[1] concluded when he realized he was ignorant of the claims of faith, dismissing the Bible out of ignorance is not very scientific.

We can’t possibly prove God, which is why many people of science reject the idea of God out of hand. But scientists accept many things that can’t be proven. They accept the concept of beauty, though science cannot tell us what it is; and they love their spouses and children, though the idea of love eludes scientific analysis.

To the extent that God is super natural, He is not susceptible of being measured or quantified by a study of nature. We shouldn’t expect to find God in nature if God created nature, apart from Himself. As the art on a canvas can tell us something about the artist, the natural world can tell us something of the Creator of it, but the art is not the artist.

Just as the art on a canvas is a reflection of the artist, it doesn’t tell the whole story, and different people see different things in the art. Thus, someone can look at the natural world and focus on death, suffering and seeming futility. While, another person can look at the same natural world and see stunning beauty, unimaginable variety of living and nonliving things and the intricately inter-working, complex processes and structures that speak to a mind of awe inspiring magnitude.

In science, we press on when we don’t understand and things don’t make sense. We strive to understand and fill the gaps[2] in our knowledge. The same approach should be used with our understanding of Scripture. A difference between some people of science and some people of faith is that one group has confidence in science alone and one group has confidence in Scripture alone.

Just as a religious person can stray from truth by relying only on Scripture, without the discipline of grammar, the understanding of ancient cultures and, yes, science, people of science can stray from truth without having some understanding of the metaphysical world of logic, philosophy and, yes, religion.

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Science & Religion: Taking Hold and Letting Go

People have likely fought ideological battles since people could communicate with each other. We have grown in intellect, our knowledge of the world and made significant technological advances (though men accomplished things millennia ago that we still can’t understand), but has our nature changed much?

Ideological battles seem to be the basic stuff of which culture and society are made. At the lowest level, it’s “us against them”, and “we” protect our turf like our lives depend on it. We pick our turf, and we defend it: new against old; right against left; science against faith; and on and on.

These ideological battles can be, but don’t necessarily have to be, the stuff of racism, bias and ignorance. We need reference points and bases from which to operate and categorize and contextualize the world, but dogmatic, rigid adherence to our reference points block progress, even if we are “progressive”. The inability or unwillingness to remain open-minded limits our opportunities for advancement.  Continue reading

Does Empirical Science Explain the Origin of Life?

Photo by Amanda Leutenberg

Photo by Amanda Leutenberg

We have made remarkable strides in our scientific knowledge over the centuries. We have dispelled many myths and clarified how the natural world works. We have gained an amazing grasp on the material reality of the world, as vast and intricate as it is.

We have so much knowledge about how the natural world works, in contrast to the speculations of the past, that we are tempted to jump to some conclusions that are still beyond our reach.

We can see all the way back to the beginning of space time. We know with detail the constants of the laws of physics that have operated from that very beginning. We now know the physics behind many of the phenomenon that people once attributed to gods or God. Many bright people conclude, therefore, with self-righteous confidence that the natural world is all that is.

Is that really all there is? Continue reading

The Myth of Objectivity

[Reprinted with permission from Navigating By Faith]

Thoughtful and thought-provoking articles are a source for many articles I write. Those two characteristics are not always exemplified in the same single article, but an article by Trent Horn, Neil DeGrasse Tyson Shows Why Science Can’t Build a Utopia[1], is an exception.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, of course, is the outspoken agnostic ambassador of science. The article was precipitated by Tyson’s tweet: “Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence.”[2] And Horn counter-tweeted: “@neiltyson ‘Rationalia’ is as useless as ‘Correctistan,’ or a country whose constitution says, ‘Always make the correct decisions.’”

To illustrate what he means by his counter-tweet, the author used the example of a driverless car. Fatalities have already happened with them and will undoubtedly happen again. That isn’t the point, though. The point is this: how should they be programmed when confronted with two options – to run over pedestrians or run into an object that may kill the passengers?

How does Rationalia weigh the evidence to determine which is the best course? Continue reading

Finely-Tuned For Love

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Science, philosophy and faith are each interesting subjects in themselves and even more interesting when considered together. In this piece, we take a quick look at the philosophical principles of determinism, necessity and chance, springboard to consideration of the observations of Stephen Hawking on the subject of determinism and free will, and finish with  some observations about faith and love.

We start with determinism, defined as “the philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent states of affairs.” Many modern scientists and philosophers alike believe we live in a world that is deterministic. Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Kraus, Daniel Dennet and others ascribe to this view.

In his show Genius, in which Stephen Hawking walks three “average” people through a series of exercises that lead them to understand great, nuanced principles of science, he agrees that the universe, including people, are determined by the laws of physics. He asserts that, if we could know where every cog in the machine of the universe is at any one moment, the laws of physics would allow us to know what would happen at any point in time. Therefore, Hawking  says, free will is an illusion.

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