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Christians, the Bible, and Science

by Kim Harrington

 

     The Holy Scriptures open with the statement, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen.1:1).  And right from the opening line, the Bible-believing Christian finds himself at odds with much of American society.  "You can’t prove the existence of God through scientific research... that’s a superstitious myth that should have passed away with the Dark Ages, but for you fundamentalists... you’ve just created God in your own image," etc.  Yet we evangelicals are convinced that belief in a Supreme Being, the God of the Bible, is the most reasonable proposition in the world.

 

A Matter of World Views

     To understand this, you have to realize that every philosophy of life or belief system starts with certain foundational assumptions or presuppositions that cannot necessarily be established by scientific method.  In a sense, everyone who tries to understand the world at all is a follower of some theological or religious system.  When Carl Sagan says that the cosmos is all there is and there is no more, he is expressing an assumption that cannot be proved by science.  No scientist knows that there is nothing beyond the cosmos—or alongside of it, in another, spiritual realm.  So Sagan and others like him are following a system based on faith and presupposition, not science.  This presupposed belief about the nature of the universe is sometimes called world view.  World view is the basic body of beliefs, often held unconsciously, that determines how we perceive life and truth.

     Now I’m not trying to snow you with heady concepts, but it’s important that you understand these basic facts before we proceed.  All the major philosophies of life, whether religious or "scientific," begin with a world view and build from there.  The Christian begins with "in the beginning God..."  The scientific atheist starts with a belief in the material world alone—no God, no guiding power behind the universe—and the assumption that everything we see just happened by evolutionary accident.  Hindus, Marxists, humanists—they all have their own world views, their own foundational assumptions about the nature of the universe that cannot be proved or disproved by scientific research. Regardless of what anybody says, no one can prove that his own world view is correct.  He can only point to various evidences in an effort to illustrate that at least his ideas are reasonable.

 

Scientific Atheism

     Scientific atheism has been the most vigorously promoted world view in the western world for the past century and a half.  Most of our assumptions about what constitutes fact and fiction, what is real and unreal, stem from this belief system.  It’s what we’ve been taught in public school since the turn of the century; it’s the lens through which we Americans have been taught to view life.

     The basic presupposition is that the physical world is real and everything else isn’t. In other words, what we can see and touch and weigh, and verify through scientific observation, is real and rational.  Physical things are real.  Spiritual beings are not real; they are irrational, nonexistent. God can’t be real because we can’t prove His existence; if there is a God, He’s irrelevant to everyday, practical living.  If you have a vision, that’s too bad—we can’t measure and weigh and dissect your vision scientifically. If God has improved your life, that’s merely circumstantial, not something that can be objectively confirmed.

     The weakness of this view, as in every world view, is that the presupposition itself is unprovable. The scientist’s belief that the physical world is the sum total of reality is a matter of faith and conviction, not of science—he can’t prove there isn’t a spiritual world any more than the Christian can prove there is.

     Of course, without God the scientific atheist needs an explanation for the existence of the universe. Enter another unprovable assumption, evolution, popularized in the Nineteenth Century by Charles Darwin.  The earth and everything on it has evolved, or developed gradually, over a long period of time to become what it is today. They don’t know how matter came to exist in the first place—possibly it was a "Big Bang" of energy (they also don’t know where energy came from, but it wasn’t from God, because it’s basic to their "religion" that there is no God).

     From there, scientific atheism continues to develop its theories... the earth must be millions of years old or evolution couldn’t have occurred—there is certainly no transformation of species taking place within the framework of recorded history, so it must take a lot longer than that.  Those millions of years are divided into eras (Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic, etc.), and then further divided into periods (Jurassic, Cretaceous, Tertiary, etc.), and even further into epochs.  There is little real evidence for the various eras, periods and epochs, by the way. Supposedly, they are derived from sedimentary layers, or strata, found in rock formations, and all of the now-extinct animals are classified according to what strata their fossils were found in.  Unfortunately, the whole thing is contrived, and the rock layers are in a different order almost anywhere they’re found on the earth—there is no exact pattern.  Furthermore the more "advanced" mammals are often found in the layers under the more "primitive" forms of life, and fossil footprints of the great dinosaurs have been found right alongside of human prints!

     Incidentally, the original evolutionists were strict racists—certain races were considered more "ape-like" in appearance and therefore lower on the evolutionary scale—but today those views have been conveniently swept aside and replaced with a more politically correct stance; when you’re dealing with theories you can change a few views to suit the social climate. (If you were dealing with facts, they would be irrefutable whether people liked them or not.)

     That’s right, these are not scientific facts, but rather religious beliefs held by much of the scientific community—and by the majority of Americans, it seems.  Evolution cannot be proved. Nobody has ever seen a species evolve. Among all the fossil finds there are no progressive stages, or "missing links," that illustrate the gradual development of various animals or humans.   The evolution of man, for example, is always pictured by a succession of humanoids, each one walking a little more erect than the last, and having a higher forehead and less hair... but they haven’t been found! Many of the finds earlier this century (which appear in the pictures) were proved to be hoaxes.  The real finds, like Neanderthal, Cro-Magnon, and Australopithecus, are not man-apes—the first two are just as human as you and I (they are now classified as Homo sapiens) and the others are simply extinct apes.

     Sorry, Darwin, thousands of scientists with millions of dollars of backing over the last hundred years and more simply haven’t turned up anything concrete.  There are no species in transition today—shouldn’t we see giraffes with various length necks if evolution were true? why would the process jump from the okapi to the giraffe and then stop? Actually, modern knowledge of DNA and other factors indicate that the mathematical probability of a species forming even one successful mutation is so remote as to be virtually impossible (one scholar gave it the same probability as a tornado going through a junkyard and assembling a functional Boeing 747). And evolution requires the forming of thousands of mutations in the development of each modern species!  It’s fantastic beyond belief, yet it’s being taught today in nearly every school and college in the land.

     Furthermore, much of the evidence also indicates that the earth is less than ten thousand years old, not hundreds of millions. Thousands of scientists now reject evolution altogether, along with the presupposition that only the physical world is real.  They have published papers and books, and amassed a great deal of evidence that refutes the gradual development of animal life, and all of the other theories that have grown up around it, yet most of their peers refuse to entertain any explanation but their own—proving that scientific atheism really is more of a religion than a true science.

 

The Bible & True Science

     The Bible is not in conflict with true science, as the "creationist" scientists we just mentioned are trying to establish. Many have examined the Scriptures in the light of science and have been impressed with what they’ve found. The Bible teaches the creation of birds and mammals and reptiles essentially as they are today, and that's what the observation of modern species, as well as the fossil record, shows. There is room for what is called "horizontal mutation," the development of various color phases, features, and races, etc. — but not "vertical mutation," where a species climbs the evolutionary ladder and eventually turns into a new creature.  In other words if two big-nosed people marry and produce big-nosed offspring, and those offspring intermarry, you could start a race of people with big noses in time—but you can add a thousand generations... or a million—and they’ll still be people; they won’t turn into elephants!   That’s genetics, that’s science, that’s what the Bible teaches and what actual scientific observation verifies.

     Modern scientists, if presented with some of the contradictions in the sedimentary deposits that we’ve briefly mentioned, will spend a lot of time hemming and hawing and talking about fault lines, massive movements of the earth’s crust that laid lower deposits on top of higher ones, etc. But the Bible has an explanation that more than adequately explains the rock formations that we see around us today, and even sheds light on how the dinosaurs became extinct. You see, there was a flood...

 

The Biblical Deluge

     Yes, the flood of Noah, fantastic as it may seem, offers a more plausible and scientific explanation of the world as we know it than any other theory ever put forward. For example, no amount of erosion, even over millions of years, by a river the size of the Colorado could ever have produced the Grand Canyon, yet it's there for all to see. This and other geological factors are causing many scientists today to put fort the idea of semi-universal flood—one that perhaps covered most of certain continents but wasn’t as big as the biblical account. They still won’t give the Bible any credit for being reliable, but they are independently coming around to some of the same conclusions.

     It’s interesting that virtually every major people group in the world has a flood tradition in their ancient mythologies. From the lost city of Atlantis, to stories from the Far East, to the various native American peoples, they run along remarkably similar lines... a flood killed all the life on the planet, except for one man and his family who survived on a boat.

     It’s not just possible, but actually probable, that there really was such a person and event. The Bible gives him a name, Noah. He saved his family and two of every species of animal life by taking them into a giant ship, or ark, while the flood waters covered the earth. The dimensions given in the book of Genesis describe a vessel more than large enough to contain every known species today, the dinosaurs and extinct species of the past, and enough food for them all.

     Incidentally, the Bible does not deny the existence of dinosaurs. Genesis 1:21 has a mysterious reference to the creation of the giant tanniyn, which is best translated "great land and sea creatures." The same word is found nearly thirty more times in the Old Testament, and is usually translated "dragon." In fortieth chapter of Job, a detailed description is given of a giant animal called "behemoth." It fits no modern animal, but sounds a lot like Brachiosaurus.

     Furthermore, the Bible explains that the pre-flood world was different than this one. It was a lush tropical garden from pole to pole (which fossil ferns found under the polar ice caps verify). It had a watery, atmospheric covering or canopy that filtered out many of the sun’s more dangerous rays and allowed both humans and animals to live longer and proliferate at a much greater rate than today. The flood was caused by the collapse of the canopy, and giant cataclysmic eruptions from beneath the earth’s surface, according to Genesis. After it was all over, God merely tilted the earth 23 degrees (as it is today), which caused the waters to freeze at the poles. If those ice caps were thawed out today, there would be more than enough water to cover the highest mountain ranges. By the way, the climate resulting from the new atmosphere would not be as conducive to the giant reptiles of the past, and they would have died off relatively quickly.

     Amazingly, there have recently been several serious expeditions to Mount Ararat on the Russian/Turkish border, where the Bible says Noah’s ark came to rest, to look into the centuries’ old accounts of a giant boat embedded in a mountain glacier there. Archaeologists and scientists are now giving the story of Noah’s ark a second look.

     They could have looked in the Bible all along, but they refused to consider the claims of another belief system. It would appear that they do not want the Bible to be true. They would rather believe anything else—no matter how far-fetched—instead of the Christian religion. This could be a reaction against the ignorance and abuse of the church in the Middle Ages, but more likely, many of these secular-minded men simply have no desire to come to grips with a Creator-God who watches over them and who might one day hold them accountable, and even judge them.

     If there is such a God, ignoring Him and inventing alternate theories will not make Him go away. I challenge you to examine the facts, take another look at the Bible, open your heart, and let that God speak to you. If He's not really there—if this world really is an evolutionary accident—then you’ve lost nothing, and may continue in whatever lifestyle and belief you choose. But if He is there, and the Bible is His Word, you may save your soul.

 

Copyright 1998 Kim Harrington, Masterbuilder Ministries. All rights reserved.

 

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