The Bible and science: natural enemies or best friends?
If you listen to many in the world today they will try to convince you that to believe that the Bible is truly God’s Word means that you must either ignore or hate science. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica states this as a matter of fact.
“Darwin did two things: He showed that evolution was a fact contradicting literal interpretations of Scriptural legends of creation and that its cause, natural selection, was automatic with no room for divine guidance or design.”
Because most Christians have been taught this, either from youth or at least through their university education, they tend to default to one of two unhealthy positions regarding the Bible and science. Either 1) I want to believe the Bible is true and I think science probably would prove it false, so I will just ignore science. Or 2) I believe the Bible on the whole but since I know that evolution is true then the only intellectually tenable position for me is as a theistic-evolutionist.
However, those are not the only two options. One can embrace Scripture and the study of God’s creation fully without fear, for the two coincide, they do not contradict.
As a life-long lover of science myself, I am not naïve enough to claim that there are no conflicts here, rather, that these can be intelligently resolved. Consider these several points.
1. Great Christian thinkers have understood that both the Bible and creation reveal to us the glory of God. The creation does so as general revelation, the Bible as special revelation, but all truth is God’s truth. Francis Bacon, consider by many to be the father of the modern scientific method, said:
“There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.”
The Scriptures affirm this view, that creation reveals to us the glory of God. So the study of nature, rather than being an enemy of God reveals other aspects of his glory.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1
2. Historically, where science and the Bible have seemed to conflict, the Bible was eventually shown to be true. For, example, as regards the creation of the universe, the Biblical view was once thought laughable, for it claims that God created all that is from nothing. “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Heb. 11:3 ESV)
However, now, Nobel Prize winning astronomer and physicist, Arno Penzias, sees the unity of faith and science.
The creation of the universe is supported by all the observable data astronomy has produced so far…. The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, or the Bible as a whole.
3. Evolution, though the dominate theory in science to explain both the origin of life and human life, has significant experimental and theoretical problems.
A.E. Wilder-Smith, the Swiss biochemist with three earned doctorates, explores some of those problems in his book, The Natural Sciences Know Nothing of Evolution. He points out that the basic formula for life that evolution puts forth does not work:
Matter + energy + chance = life.
Rather he says that science shows that the creation of life requires design, so the actual provable formula for life is this:
Matter + energy + design = life.
a. He asserts this because the proteins required for life must be optically pure and left-handed in their physical structure. Whereas the proteins produced by chance, do not meet this requirement.
“The amino acids produced by [chance in experimentation] are exclusively and entirely racemates [left and right handed], and hence are basically and absolutely unsuited for the metabolism of life. Under no circumstances whatsoever is a racemate (dl-form) capable of forming living proteins or life supporting protoplasm of any sort.”
b. He also asserts that evolution fails on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, since pre-biotic systems would need the means to store both energy and information.
“Neodarwinian thought requires basically the prebiotic autoorganization of raw matter (which the second law categorically excludes), the creation of information by random deviations (which information theory categorically forbids), the encoding of information by chance (without the help of exogenous code conventions), the storage of information by chance and its retrieval also by chance….”
He is not the only scientist to see this problem. British Astronomer Paul Davies, recognizes it as well.
“The greatest puzzle is where all the order in the universe came from originally. How did the cosmos get wound up, if the second law of thermodynamics predicts asymmetric unwinding towards disorder.”
c. Evolution is also challenged by the fossil record and in particular the lack of transitional forms, as David Kitts from the University of Oklahoma has observed.
“Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.”
d. Evolution also fails on information theory regarding the creation of the complex codes contained in DNA. Stephen Myer, author of Signature in the Cell, writes:
“The discovery of the specified digital information in the DNA molecule provides strong grounds for inferring that intelligence plays a role in the origin of DNA.”
In the end, the intelligent Christian has another viable option besides hiding from science or yielding to theistic-evolution. One may believe the Bible and explore creation doing real science without fear. General revelation shows us the glory and power of God, but special revelation far more perfectly reveals his love. As Randall Fisk, high energy physicist, and former staff at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory writes:
“Yes the grandeur of God is surely found in his creation—in the subatomic world, in the heavens, and in nature. But unless we find the glory of God in his love and presence, we will miss the very best.”
Addressing those Christians who eschewed science in his day, favoring faith with no knowledge of science, Clement of Alexandria (d. 215 AD) encouraged the use of the sciences as a complement to faith.
“Taking what is useful from geometry, music, grammar and philosophy itself, you guard the faith from assault.”
How much more wise to embrace all truth as God’s truth, holding God’s Word in highest reverence and eagerly seeking to understand his creation, which does, finally, declare his glory.