#WCSK EPISODE 0.6: Is faith compatible with science?

What Christians Should Know (#WCSK): Volume Zero takes a step back and investigates basic ideas about God, the Bible, and the Christian faith. This series provides crucial answers to critical questions about belief. All Bible verses used are from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

 

Introduction

Why is the question “Is faith compatible with science?” even being asked? Because we live in an age where (at least in some circles) faith and science have seemingly been drafted into war with one another.

There are even books such as Jerry Coyne’s Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible (2015), in which science is championed as virtuous and religion is degraded as venomous. As the common argument goes, science is a reliable method to ascertain what is true by making claims based on testable facts and empirical study. Hence, science is objective and can be trusted to tell us what is really true—in fact, a healthy dose of skepticism fuels scientific growth and more rigorous explanations. Religion, on the other hand, makes unreliable claims based on “faith,” untestable speculations, or revelation. Hence, religion is subjective and cannot be trusted to tell us what is really true. Here, “just believing” blindly is regarded as a virtue, and skepticism is fervently suppressed. In other words, science is a sensible step into the light of day, while faith is a blind leap into a dark abyss. Cognizant of how this confrontation has been constructed, two burning questions become immediately obvious: (1) “What happens when we encounter a part of reality that cannot be tested[1] or that science may never explain?” and (2) “What happens when religion makes claims that are verifiable and based on reliable facts?”

WCSK Episode 0.6 Is Faith Compatible with Science? Bible Truth God

As a Christian scientist (medical doctor), I’ve always found this conflict curious, because if it is in fact true that faith is incompatible with science, then I (along with a host of others) should not exist or should be suffering from a deep, inward existential crisis. However, no such dilemma exists. Even more, what kind of god would God be if science could usurp Him from the throne? If God really is God, then wouldn’t science be a means by which we could discover something about Him by investigating His creation?

What I hope to do in this episode is threefold: (1) clarify what faith is and what the Bible says about science; (2) clarify what science and scientism are and describe their applications and limitations in understanding reality; and (3) provide a reasonable, rational conclusion to the question “Is faith compatible with science?” based on objective facts.

Take note that I spoke simply about “religion”[2] in the first paragraph, which is a broad term that encompasses all religions. My exclusive focus here will be the truth claims of the Christian religion and faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Faith[3] & the Bible

Come now, and let us reason together. (Isaiah 1:18)

The formal Biblical definition of “faith” can be found in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary defines “faith” as “trust in, or reliance on, God who is himself trustworthy.”[4]

Faith is (present tense) the assurance of things hoped for (future). Faith is based upon past promises that give us present confidence and future hope. When I board a plane to go on vacation, I have years of flying experience that informs me that a plane is a perfectly safe way to get to the Caribbean. Because of past experience, I am not a nervous wreck on the plane but rather have a present confidence in the pilots and the reliability of the aircraft. I look into the future with an assurance that I will end up at my destination. Granted, I don’t have comprehensive knowledge of how a plane works or how to pilot an aircraft, but I do have enough of an understanding to feel secure in my seat.

Similarly, our Christian faith is never, ever blind. It always has its eyes wide open and is focused on the person of Jesus. Our faith is real because of its object: Christ. We look back to the past promises of God in the Bible and see the historical resurrection of Jesus, verifiable by the multitude of eyewitness testimonies. (Furthermore, the resurrection of Jesus is a historical event that was falsifiable. The only thing a person needed to do was show the dead body of Jesus and all claims of the resurrection would have stopped, but that did not happen.) Therefore, Jesus validates our present confidence, allowing us to look forward into the future with an assured hope based on what God has already done. We have faith in Jesus, and Christ alone is the “the author and perfecter of faith.”[5] Biblical faith, therefore, involves an intellectual knowledge of the facts, then an agreement that those facts are true, and then trusting in the Person who those facts point toward. God never demands that we thoughtlessly bow down and submit to authority but instead invites us to examine the historical actualities for ourselves at the beginning of our ascent to faith.

Again, our Christian faith is not blind, because blind faith is not Christian.

In fact, if you do have blind faith, then you should have your head examined. Why? Because when you practice blind faith, you have faith in your faith, and the barometer of what you believe in has nothing to do with God and everything to do with you. You can theoretically have blind faith in anything your heart desires. This is where the skeptical scientists actually have a valid point: blind faith does indeed make unreliable claims based on untestable speculations. Therefore, blind faith is subjective and cannot be trusted to tell us what is really true. “Just believing” without thinking and without content is a toxic vice.

Furthermore, in the New Testament, consider that the writers talk about faith based on reliable information—the objective sense experience of hostile witnesses that could be verified by others. If anything, the apostles[6] were the ones most qualified to say, “This is what happened to me,” but they did not. Instead, they wrote, “This is what happened.” Peter, for example, addresses challenges to the veracity of Christ’s resurrection in the first century when he tells others about what he and the other apostles saw with their own eyes:

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (II Peter 1:16)

The beloved physician Luke writes about the care he took to construct an accurate collection of historical facts in pursuit of the truth. This well-educated man even writes about ‘careful investigation’ to complete his research. He uses this factoid as a preface to his gospel:

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:1-4)

In Acts, Luke also writes that the resurrected Jesus appeared to many people to provide “proof” of His resurrection:

“To these [Jesus] also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)

Take note of what the apostle John writes at the beginning of the epistle that bears his name. He emphasizes the fact that his written testimony is the opposite of being blind; it is instead based on real-life sense experience:

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (I John 1:1-3)

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul reiterates the fact that Jesus appeared in His resurrected body as “evidence” of the resurrection:

“He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles.” (I Corinthians 15:5-7)

Clearly, then, faith in Jesus Christ, whom multiple eyewitnesses testified to seeing in manifold historical episodes, is rationally sound. Regardless, you may be saying to yourself, “Well, the apostles may have seen something with their own eyes, but I didn’t see anything with mine.” Do you, then, have the same objections to a historian who wrote about the Civil War? How about an eyewitness who chronicled the lives of key figures during the Renaissance? Both of these scenarios are a matter of history, as are the truth claims of the Christian faith. Rejecting the historicity of the Bible, then, has little to do with rejecting “the Bible” and more to do with rejecting history.

The Bible and Science

We get our first sense of the modern concept of science in the Book of Genesis. Really? Yes, really. In Genesis 1:27-28, the text says:

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

In the Bible’s first book, the Lord commands man to subdue creation and to rule over it. The word subdue comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to dominate, direct, lead or control.” Embedded in this idea is a sense of man taking control of the world around him and “taking the reins” in order to investigate creation around him.[7] In fact, history tells us that, for hundreds of years, scientists worked under the auspices of the Church, which commissioned them to pursue their scientific callings.

In the gospel of John (1:1-18) in the New Testament, the apostle talks about the Logos (the Word or Jesus), which is the chief rational principle through which all of creation came into existence. All things came into being through the Logos, so there is nothing in our reality that exists that the Logos didn’t generate. The point is that all of creation is the Lord’s, and the Logos is His fingerprint on creation. Therefore, if we use science to discover, investigate, and scrutinize things in the natural world, we expect to find traces of God’s autograph. Everything in creation is so because of divine design. The Bible testifies to this fact.

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19:1)

“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:7-10)

“For since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (emphasis added; Romans 1:20)

Ultimately, the Creator of the universe doesn’t need science to discover anything. God already knows everything, and if He wrote a book, we would expect everything in it to be true and reliable. All truth is God’s truth, and the truth is independent of us or any ideology. As Christians, then, our scientific endeavors can only chip away at tiny specks of knowledge that pale in comparison to that of our omniscient God. When God said, “Let there be light,” He created and then cast a bright light on the information coded into nature, so when we use our eyes to examine nature, we see God’s inaudible language. Because God cast this light, we can see, and when we look, we see His handiwork. True science,[8] then, is a way to unlock parts of God’s truth.

But doesn’t the Bible contradict what science tells us? The short answer is no. All truth is God’s truth, and truth is never contradictory. Allow me to explain. Let’s take the Bible’s biggest truth claim as an example: the resurrection. Science cannot and does not disprove the resurrection. What it does do is describe the normal workings of nature that inform us that dead people tend to stay dead. Hence, nature tends to have normal, reproducible events, and miracles are abnormal. Therefore, for a dead person to come back to life is truly something miraculous. Moreover, look at how we’ve become too puffed up with ourselves: it didn’t take twenty-first-century science to inform people in the first century that dead people don’t come back to life. It didn’t take twenty-first-century science for them to realize that water does not miraculously turn into wine. Skeptics in the twenty-first century say, “I don’t believe in the resurrection.” Fine, then all you have to do is use science to disprove the historical event. Skeptics in the first century said, “I don’t believe in the resurrection.” Well, all they had to do was produce the body. Even with presupposed modern intellect, skeptics have the same objections without any evidence to back it up. Ultimately, science cannot disprove the resurrection—it can only describe what is normal.

Consequently, it is clear that the Bible has no qualms with science and that having faith in Jesus Christ poses no barrier to true science. In fact, the Bible even encourages us to pursue investigation, practice empiricism, and embrace rationality. So, is faith compatible with science? According to the Bible, absolutely! So where does the idea that faith is not compatible with science come from? Let’s take look at science.

Science

What is science? The New Oxford American Dictionary defines science as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” Science comes from the Latin word scientia, meaning “knowledge.” Scientists will, therefore, identify an idea yet to be tested because they have confidence that it may be true. Through empiricism, they test the idea and strive to prove it wrong in pursuit of a better explanation. Any legitimate scientific theory that genuinely explains something will make risky predictions that exclude most other outcomes. Fear cripples science in that it preserves existing theories as opposed to trying to discredit them. This is why falsification is such a big deal: scientific testing does not search for confirming evidence but for falsifying evidence so that a better explanation can be generated. As with any other field in life, the research and experiments themselves tend to be objective, but science in practice and application can never be objective, because it is executed by human beings, who are subjective. The same axiom applies to philosophy.

Science answers the question of “How?” by telling us what is. Science plays an invaluable part in helping human beings to understand reality. What I do every day, for example (medicine), is not materially advanced by theology—it’s advanced by research and empirical trials. I never learned how to take out someone’s appendix by reading Leviticus—that’s what the dissection of a cadaver and my surgical clerkship were for. If people want to fly to Mars, learn how to kill pathogenic bacteria, or exterminate cancer cells, they absolutely need science. True science is, therefore, not something to be denigrated but to be championed.

Cognizant of how science has benefited humanity, we must recognize that science has its limitations. What’s interesting is that human civilization has been around for thousands of years, yet the modern concept of science only came into being within the last few hundred years. The point is that human beings managed to excel tremendously despite science—take, for example, the Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Science can tell you about the chemical bonds that are present in pigments on a canvas, but it cannot tell you if the painting is beautiful (aesthetics). If you want to know whether something is morally right or wrong (morality and ethics), then this is not a scientific question—gravity, for example, has no opinion on the matter. Science cannot confirm logical and mathematical proofs; it only presupposes them to operate. It can’t prove metaphysical truths, such as the existence of other conscious minds. And here’s the kicker: science cannot prove itself. Why? Because you would have to use science to do it. All of these observations are nothing new, and any honest scientist would concur.

So, while science points us to what is true, it is not an exclusive way to the truth. It informs us about parts of reality but not all of reality. Why is that? Because there is a distinct difference between what something is and what something means. In fact, we need to know what something is in order to determine what it means.[9],[10]

In many ways, the Christian religion and science are much more intimately related than most people think, because science requires faith. What do I mean by that? Back in 2007, English physicist Paul Davies wrote the following:

“All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed. When physicists probe to a deeper level of subatomic structure, or astronomers extend the reach of their instruments, they expect to encounter additional elegant mathematical order. And so far this faith has been justified.”[11]

In 1932, the Nobel-prize winning Max Plank wrote the following in Where is Science Going?:

“Anybody who has been seriously engaged in scientific work of any kind realizes that over the entrance to the gates of the temple of science are written the words: Ye must have faith. It is a quality which the scientist cannot dispense with.”

What Davies and Plank realize is that we live in an ordered world and that order gives us the power to predict. No one expects that when they wake up tomorrow, gravity will be absent. So, based on past experience, we trust that gravity will keep us in our beds and that we won’t float far, far away. There is also hope that what is today will also be in the future. As a medical doctor, for example, I don’t prescribe Penicillin blindly to patients who have strep throat: I prescribe it because I have past training that tells me Penicillin kills strep, and the patients to whom I have prescribed it have gotten better. Thus, I can be confident in prescribing it now, with a reasonable assurance that the patient will get better. So, when it comes to science in general, we have present confidence in the ordered rules of the universe based on past experience, and the assurance of order allows us to “tinker,” conduct experiments, and test theories. A scientist who tests something does not know what the results will be, but he or she takes a step in faith in a particular direction. The point is that science must trust in something else outside of itself.

In fact, the rules that science follows are not products of science—science only describes the order in the universe in which we happen to live. So, because science has no force in and of itself, it cannot account for the most basic presuppositions that scientists use to make guesses. It cannot answer questions that pertain to where these laws come from and why they have the values that they do. In other words, science doesn’t have comprehensive knowledge of how everything works, but it does have enough of an understanding that we can use science to direct us to our destination. Without faith—or confidence in, trust in, or reliance on¾an orderly universe, science would not only be impossible but pointless.[12]

Again, as Paul Davies writes:

“The laws were treated as “given” — imprinted on the universe like a maker’s mark at the moment of cosmic birth — and fixed forevermore. Therefore, to be a scientist, you had to have faith that the universe is governed by dependable, immutable, absolute, universal, mathematical laws of an unspecified origin. You’ve got to believe that these laws won’t fail, that we won’t wake up tomorrow to find heat flowing from cold to hot, or the speed of light changing by the hour.”[13]

But what happens when faith and science claim different things? Excellent question. The first thing we have to realize is that faith and science must say different things by definition. That is, faith will make theological statements and science will make scientific statements. And guess what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of those assertions, because each field “stays in its lane.” Science tells us what is happening and about what is transpiring in the universe at (presumably) all times. Science is not historical, and it cannot do what revelation does: reveal what happened in a particular place to a particular people at a particular time. History cannot be repeated. The Bible can tell you God’s plan of redemption, and no matter how hard you try to get it to, science will never tell you that. Science can tell you how DNA is transcribed, but the Bible will never tell you that. In studying nature, science can give you a sense that creation was designed by an intelligent mind, but you will never be able to discover who that Person is or what He has done. So, faith and true science, each being distinct ways to learn the truth, must say different things. That brings us to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Hundreds of years ago, Aquinas made a distinction between the realm of nature (things that science can learn about the natural world) and grace (things that God reveals to us). Aquinas was fighting against a philosophical school of thought at the time that advocated “double truth,” where something could be true in religion yet false in science. Aquinas realized that truth is always true, uniform, and non-contradictory. He thus sought out to clarify how the truth of faith and the truth of science could be reconciled. The key lies in distinction, not separation. As R. C. Sproul explains:

“Here we face a subtle matter that is often missed even by acute thinkers. There is a subtle difference between a distinction and a separation. Though the difference is subtle, it is vastly important. It has been said that “A woman’s prerogative is to change her mind.” We might add to that the saying, “A theologian’s prerogative is to make distinctions.”

One of the most important distinctions we can make is the distinction between a distinction and a separation. It is one thing to distinguish things; it is quite another thing to separate them. If I distinguish your body and your soul I do you no harm. If I separate your body and your soul, I murder you. If we distinguish the divine and human natures of Christ, we are orthodox; if we separate the divine and human natures of Christ, we are gross heretics.”[14]

Consequently, Aquinas believed in the unity of truth, regardless of the means used to acquire it. He even clarified the “mixed articles,” where both grace and nature lead to the same truth, such as that God exists—the Bible, of course, tells us this in its first line, and the fine-tuning of the universe points to the same conclusion. So, if something is true, then it is always true, regardless of the realm in which it was learned or discovered. This way, truth is always coherent and unified, and it always leads us back to the origin of truth, the Lord.

Of course, this does not dismiss the fact that faith and science, from time to time, will be in conflict. Science cannot correct God, but it can correct an incorrect human interpretation of the Bible. Hence, hundreds of years ago, Galileo corrected the Church and scientific orthodoxy by proving that the Earth was not the center of the solar system. Indeed, the Bible does not make the explicit case that the Earth is at the center, and science corrected human understanding of the divine truth. On the other hand, faith can correct science’s misguided interpretation of reality. The Bible tells us, for example, that the universe does not come from nothing nor for no reason: there is a creative agent who created us with a purpose. The Bible corrects the falsity that the universe came from nothing and that creation was either blind or in any way random.

So, what have we learned? That faith and true science are completely compatible. In fact, scientists need faith in order to conduct science, faith can correct incorrect scientific interpretations, and science can correct incorrect human interpretations of God’s Word. So, what’s all the fuss about? I mentioned before that science tells us what is. If science tries to tell us how things should be, we make a leap from science into the ideological realm of scientism.

Scientism

Science is an opinionless, neutral realm that has no feelings. Scientism is science’s diabolical second cousin. Science is an objective field of study that seeks to know how or what is. Scientism is a worldview that says, “Nature is all that there is.”

Scientism is also referred to as scientific materialism or scientific naturalism. What does that mean? It means that all of reality can be described exclusively by material or natural causes. So, for example, miracles cannot happen, because there is no natural explanation for how water turns into wine. (Note the difference already: science says miracles are a huge departure from the normal course of events and are thus highly unlikely.) The essential problem with scientism is that it has nothing to do with science and jumps from the realm of truth-seeking to a philosophical assumption. That is, the presupposition “All of reality can be explained naturally” is nothing more than that—a conjecture—which proves nothing but pretends to explain everything. This is why anything supernatural cannot exist under scientism: according to the assumption, it isn’t allowed to. With this ideology, of course, there is no room for God, because He can’t be reduced to atoms and the laws of physics! The second problem with scientism is that even a cursory analysis of reality reveals how it fails to explain some basic principles—examples include love, philosophy, law, ethics, and aesthetics. The third problem follows from the second problem in that scientism detaches you from the things that are most authentically human.

The fourth problem is that scientism makes of all reality meaningless. Allow me to explain. If we were to assume that scientism is true, then all of reality could be reduced to natural phenomena. Thus, a person who is a rigid advocate of scientism essentially boils down to being a bag of DNA whose thoughts, ideas, and worldview—at their root—equate to impersonal, unconscious forces resulting in the firing of neurons in their brain. This means that a person who is a rigid religious zealot is also a big bag of DNA whose thoughts, ideas and worldview can be reduced to impersonal, unconscious forces and neurons firing in their brain. Republicans, Democrats, feminists, chauvinists, atheists, pantheists, Jews, and Muslims are all, in their cores, the same thing. This tells us what? That everything is the same, nothing is true, and therefore nothing has any relevance or meaning. Subsequently, in a world where right and wrong have no meaning and everything is reduced to material odds and ends, nothing can be trusted. Therefore, when people say they believe in scientism, this statement means absolutely nothing, and thus they would, quite frankly, be better off remaining silent.

The essence of scientism in many ways resembles primitive religions.[15] There is a big, unexplored territory (the supernatural) with an associated irrational fear of the unknown. When the unknown is not allowed to exist, creative exploration crumbles and the full breadth of reality is artificially reduced. Because scientism says that the material world is all that there is and what science describes is all we need to know, there is a unified battle cry: “Everything that I know is all that is necessary to know.” This is the height of vanity and self-centeredness. Indeed, Satan would be proud. Hence, scientism acts like God: the end-all-be-all by which all else is judged. A humble mind is the key to science, as it engages in scientific inquiry recognizing that it understands far less than it understands. This is the perpetual, unexplored unknown that drives true scientists forward. Proud scientism criticizes all things not like itself and seeks to destroy them.

In the end, scientists perform best when they do science, not philosophy. They have authority in the scientific realm but do not have the right to coercively impose their beliefs on culture at large. And, if you’ve ever wondered why there is a component of psychological violence mounted against Christians (e.g., “Christians are ignorant and stupid”), then you now know why¾because scientism is very religious in its convictions and sees anyone who does not think the same way as a threat. The zeal that accompanies scientism has nothing to do with objective science and everything to do with the subjective rejection of other worldviews, while blatantly neglecting to discern if scientism is, in fact, true.

So, is faith compatible with science? Of course it is. Scientism, however, is not compatible with either of them.

Conclusion: Where do we go from here?

Because there is no barrier separating faith from science, Christians should be more scientific. What I mean by that is deeply comprehending “the facts”—the Bible’s truth claims—so that when you defend your faith, you don’t do it based on ignorance or from a posture of personal experience. People get very heated in religious debates because many people believe in what they believe. Thus, since their source of validation is themselves, an attack on what they believe equates to an assault on their own person, and the natural defense is to put up a wall. The truth claims of the Christian faith are objective and independent of personal experience. Furthermore, here’s a brutal fact: generally speaking, Christians are grossly uninformed when it comes to the Bible. More than half of adults read the Bible no more than once a month and only one in ten adults (approximately) considers him- or herself “highly knowledgeable” about what the Bible says.[16] With these abysmal rates of Bible engagement and literacy, does it not surprise you, then, that when some Christians defend their beliefs, their “arguments” amount to an incoherent collection of misinformed gobbledygook? Does it not surprise you, then, that some in the secular world think we’re a bunch of unschooled buffoons? The facts speak for themselves, and we should take the critique from outsiders seriously if we are serious about knowing what we believe and why we believe it. If we are knowledgeable about the Bible’s truth claims, we can not only be better defenders of the faith but also expose the perilous foundations upon which other worldviews are built.

The greater Reformer John Calvin wrote the following:

“If the Lord has willed that we be helped in physics, dialectics, mathematics, and other disciplines, by the work and ministry of the ungodly, let us use this assistance. For if we neglect God’s freely offered gift in these arts, we ought to suffer just punishment for our sloths.”[17]

Calvin “got it” hundreds of years ago. This was essentially a bold man whose allegiance to Christ was unquestioned. And what did he say? That we, as Christians, ought to interact with other disciplines by engaging with the work of the ungodly. Calvin understood that all truth is God’s truth and that the Lord works both through special revelation (the Bible) and general revelation (nature). Consequently, the Bible does not have a monopoly on God’s truth, and we ought to embrace all those other fields that dig deeper into nature—God’s creation. After all, when it comes to science, what are we to find other than more of God’s truth?

A Parting Thought: Darwin?

Now, in the end, you may be asking yourself, “So what about evolution?” Can I hold my Bible in my right hand and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in my left? This is an excellent question. The short of it is that Darwin’s theory of macroevolution by natural selection is neither compatible with faith or science. In fact, one does not even have to appeal to the ultimate truth of God’s Word to discover that macroevolution is a fraud¾the most acute problem with Darwin’s theory is that it is based on non-verifiable, faith-based claims that will most likely never be verified. In other words, to champion Darwin’s theory as true has nothing to do with the facts and everything to do with subjective belief and blind faith. I am developing an entire episode on this in my other podcast, TruthFinder, where I search for crucial answers to critical questions about belief. You can find links to the podcast on iTunes by searching for “TruthFinder” or following the links on wcsk.org. Until next time. God bless!

Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal

 

 

[1] For example, aesthetics, ethics, and consciousness.

[2] The term “religion” refers to a specific set of beliefs and practices that a group of people adhere to. These beliefs and practices usually involve the agency of one or more supernatural beings. There are a lot of false or unverifiable claims involved with other religions, which is why I wholeheartedly agree that having faith in anything other than Jesus Christ is incompatible with science and cannot be trusted to direct us to the truth. Islam, for example, claims that the prophet Mohammed went into a cave (Hira) and received a revelation from the angel Gabriel. This revelation would end up being the Qur’an, the Muslim book of holy scriptures. Mohammed is the only one who can verify his claim of what he saw and heard; thus, the reliability of the revelation is questionable at best. Mormonism is similar. It says that Joseph Smith received a revelation from the angel Moroni, who told him to translate golden plates buried in modern-day New York. The Hindu holy writings say that the earth is a flat triangle. The Buddhist holy book says that earthquakes are caused by the movements of water, which, in turn, moves land. These latter statements are scientifically false and contradict what we know about nature. Truth is uniform, so something cannot be true in religion and false in science (or vice versa).

[3] I have already done a WCSK episode on faith for those who seek a more comprehensive analysis.

[4] Paul J. Achtemeier ed., HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (New York: Harper Collins, 1996), 326

[5] Hebrews 12:2

[6] The apostles, of course, were those men who were first-hand eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ and who were sent to go out into the world and spread the gospel.

[7] And because this edict falls under the sovereign rule of God, humans are also stewards of God’s creation. Thus, embedded in the commands to subdue and rule are restrictions to prevent exploitation.

[8] And by true science I mean the systematic study of the natural world that merely describes what is and does not draw conclusions as to ultimate meaning or significance.

[9] This is an idea more fully exposited in Jordan B. Peterson, Maps of Meaning (New York: Routledge, 1999), 1-18

[10] In fact, depending on our beliefs, what something means is a signal for how we should act in pursuit of what should be.

[11] Paul Davies, “Taking Science on Faith,” New York Times, accessed August 5, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html

[12] Take, for example, the speed of light. It is assumed be constant (and is even called a universal physical constant) at 3.0 x 108 m/s. Do we know for sure that it is constant everywhere and at all times? We don’t, because we’re not measuring how fast light travels everywhere and at all times.

[13] Paul Davies, “Taking Science on Faith,” New York Times, accessed August 5, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html

[14] R. C. Sproul, “The Christian and Science (Part 2),” Ligonier.org, accessed August 7, 2017 http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/christian-and-science-part-2/

[15] Speaking of “primitive” religions, some of the greatest empires in history were deeply religious. The Egyptians and the Romans were polytheists. This begs the question that if religious “myths” are mere superstition, then why have they been so influential through human history? What is the material worth of that which is not presumably true?

[16] Data compiled from the 2017 State of the Bible Survey conducted annually by the American Bible Society and the Barna Group. Link: http://www.americanbible.org/uploads/content/State_of_the_Bible_2017_report_032317.pdf

[17] Institutes of the Christian Religion, II.2.16

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