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12.06.2005    |    Bible disproves science?
Science can become a religion, as when someone says they've got "faith in the scientific method." Or, from a story in today's Washington Post about a forum on evolution, one teen said she "believes in evolution wholeheartedly." Her friend does not, and believes that "nothing on Earth is more than 6,000 years old." Two versions of faith. I.e. belief in things that are not or can not be fully proven by reproducible, objective tests.

The friend, in other words, has faith that God's Word, the Bible, is literally true - in the same sense that a triangle has three and not four sides - and that the theory of evolution is just a "myth." This dispute is hardly unique, but it does produce some gaps. Not just in the fossil evidence for evolution, but in logic.

Which brings me to what someone said during Bible study at our church last Sunday: the Bible disproves (some) science. In this woman's world, God's Word can "prove" that some aspects of science are false. Why? Because that's what she believes. Nevermind reproducible, objective tests, like radiocarbon dating. The Bible says that the earth is about 6,000 years old; that's the end of it.

Arguments like this give Christianity a bad name, because, in my not so humble opinion, they confuse cause and effect. God created the earth, and us. He also gave us His Word through the Bible. Which is true and without error -- but not necessarily in the same literal sense that "a triangle has three sides" is true and without error.

The Bible, by itself, proves nothing. God's existence, even, can't be proven from Scripture. Not logically, anyway, since this requires the following sequence:
  1. Assume the Bible is literally true
  2. The Bible tells us that God exists...
  3. and that God completed His creation in six days
  4. Using the Bible, and backtracking from the present, shows that this creation took place not more than 6,000 years ago
  5. Anything that shows fossils to be older than this is, therefore, not true
Since there is objective and reproducible evidence that there are many things on this planet much, much older than 6,000 years, perhaps there's a problem with the basic assumption? If the Bible is not literally true in the same sense as the triangle example, then there is no logical ground to accept anything after number 1.

Else one must posit a universe in which an agent of darkness, call him Satan, has planted all sorts of scientific evidence that contradicts at least one interpretation of Scripture. Possible? Yes. Probable? Don't think so. And not necessary for belief. The problem with this worldview is that one's faith can easily shatter, if enough things that one believes are contradicted by logic. Or, worse, data.

God simply is. It is God's existence that is "proof" of the truth of Scripture, not the other way 'round. My understanding is that Scipture, was inspired by an infallible God, but written by very fallible men. Who had to tell the tale in ways that would be grasped by people we would in this day call ignorant. But hardly stupid.

As for those literal six days of creation? Let's just say that with the Lord, "one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8). I hope this makes you think. Use the tools God has given you. Which include a rather oversized brain, of which we now use but a small fraction. Surely He's got some plans for the unused portions...

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.