The Science and Religion Relationship
Are We Here by Chance or Design? What Answers Can Science Provide Humanity? Does the Bible Speak with Authority concerning Science? How Should. God has graciously provided us with two sources of information: in the Bible When we ask, "What is the relationship between science and Christian religion?. It was in the 19th century that relationship between science and affair, whereby interpretations of the Bible were used to attack ideas by.
At some point in the history of time between, 9 and 15 billion years ago, the origins of the universe began. There was absolutely nothing but emptiness, when suddenly an infinitely hot and dense spot called the singularity appeared.
From that spot there was an unimaginable gigantic explosion, called the Big Bang, and within less than a fraction of a second, the entire universe was formed. This was the start of everything that exists -- matter, energy, time and every atom that was ever created. The sun and earth itself were estimated to have been formed about 4. This is the accepted scientific explanation for the start of the universe. But science can't tell us everything.
The great mystery is how that hot, dense spot called the singularitythe first thing in the emptiness, the start of the universe, got there?
The Bible and Science
Science tells that some unimaginable power must have put it there because from it came everything that exists in the universe.
Some scientists just say "an unimaginable power" put it there, while others give a name to "that unimaginable power": The greatest living astrophysical scientist, Stephen Hawking, says, "Anyone who chooses to believe in a Universal Creator is standing on ground as solid as a scientist who denies Creative Purpose as First Cause.
Because of the laws these same scientists have discovered, there is absolutely no way to tell what made it happen. Whatever you choose is an act of pure faith.
First day "God said, 'Let there be light. During the Big Bang, electrons caused very small packets of light making the whole universe glow. The sun was formed 4. So the start of the universe and then the start of the sun and Earth on the first day of Genesis definitely coincide with contemporary science. Second day -- 4. Water-rich asteroids and protoplanets collided with prehistoric earth, bringing water. Later, gaseous emissions from volcanoes added additional water. This occurred approximately 4.
Over the next several billion years, as the earth cooled, water vapor began to escape and condense in the earth's early atmosphere. Clouds formed and enormous amounts of water fell on the earth.
The waters were separated, water on earth and water in the atmosphere. So day two fits with science and is in the correct order. Third day -- 3. The beginning of the oceans and the separation of the land mass areas occurred on Earth about 3.
Again, it fits with science and is in the right order. Third day "And God said, 'Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit. This section of Genesis' third day is out of sequence. Plants, grass, and fruit bearing trees, did not appear until after sea creatures.
Although microscopic single cell algae bacteria or archaea microbes are a plant and appeared at this time, it is not the advanced forms of plant life described in Genesis. Again, the appearance of flora did not take place at this time according to contemporary science. Fourth day "And God said.
This phrase is confusing because the Sun's creation was earlier, so why is light mentioned here? There is nothing to compare here between Genesis and science. The open question is why light is repeated on day four.
There are a number of theories to explain this. With significant developments taking place in science, mathematics, medicine and philosophy, the relationship between science and religion became one of curiosity and questioning.
Renaissance humanism looked to classical Greek and Roman texts to change contemporary thought, allowing for a new mindset after the Middle Ages. Renaissance readers understood these classical texts as focusing on human decisions, actions and creations, rather than blindly following the rules set forth by the Catholic Church as "God's plan.
Renaissance humanism was an "ethical theory and practice that emphasized reason, scientific inquiry and human fulfillment in the natural world," said Abernethy. With the sheer success of science and the steady advance of rationalismthe individual scientist gained prestige.
This allowed more people to read and learn from the scripture, leading to the Evangelical movement. The people who spread this message, concentrated more on individual agency rather than the structures of the Church. It teaches people to be satisfied with trivial, supernatural non-explanations and blinds them to the wonderful real explanations that we have within our grasp.
It teaches them to accept authority, revelation and faith instead of always insisting on evidence. Because of this both are incompatible as currently practiced and the debate of compatibility or incompatibility will be eternal. Stenger 's view is that science and religion are incompatible due to conflicts between approaches of knowing and the availability of alternative plausible natural explanations for phenomena that is usually explained in religious contexts.
Carrollsince religion makes claims that are not compatible with science, such as supernatural events, therefore both are incompatible. According to Dawkins, religion "subverts science and saps the intellect". According to Renny Thomas' study on Indian scientists, atheistic scientists in India called themselves atheists even while accepting that their lifestyle is very much a part of tradition and religion.
Thus, they differ from Western atheists in that for them following the lifestyle of a religion is not antithetical to atheism. EllisKenneth R. MillerKatharine HayhoeGeorge Coyne and Simon Conway Morris argue for compatibility since they do not agree that science is incompatible with religion and vice versa. They argue that science provides many opportunities to look for and find God in nature and to reflect on their beliefs. What he finds particularly odd and unjustified is in how atheists often come to invoke scientific authority on their non-scientific philosophical conclusions like there being no point or no meaning to the universe as the only viable option when the scientific method and science never have had any way of addressing questions of meaning or God in the first place.
Furthermore, he notes that since evolution made the brain and since the brain can handle both religion and science, there is no natural incompatibility between the concepts at the biological level.
He argues that leaders in science sometimes trump older scientific baggage and that leaders in theology do the same, so once theological intellectuals are taken into account, people who represent extreme positions like Ken Ham and Eugenie Scott will become irrelevant. Conflict thesis The conflict thesiswhich holds that religion and science have been in conflict continuously throughout history, was popularized in the 19th century by John William Draper 's and Andrew Dickson White 's accounts.
It was in the 19th century that relationship between science and religion became an actual formal topic of discourse, while before this no one had pitted science against religion or vice versa, though occasional complex interactions had been expressed before the 19th century. If Galileo and the Scopes trial come to mind as examples of conflict, they were the exceptions rather than the rule. By Galileo went to Rome to try to persuade Catholic Church authorities not to ban Copernicus' ideas.
In the end, a decree of the Congregation of the Index was issued, declaring that the ideas that the Sun stood still and that the Earth moved were "false" and "altogether contrary to Holy Scripture", and suspending Copernicus's De Revolutionibus until it could be corrected.
Galileo was found "vehemently suspect of heresy", namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the center of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves. He was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions. The Church had merely sided with the scientific consensus of the time. Only the latter was fulfilled by Galileo. Although the preface of his book claims that the character is named after a famous Aristotelian philosopher Simplicius in Latin, Simplicio in Italianthe name "Simplicio" in Italian also has the connotation of "simpleton".
Most historians agree Galileo did not act out of malice and felt blindsided by the reaction to his book. Galileo had alienated one of his biggest and most powerful supporters, the Pope, and was called to Rome to defend his writings.
Graylingstill believes there is competition between science and religions and point to the origin of the universe, the nature of human beings and the possibility of miracles  Independence[ edit ] A modern view, described by Stephen Jay Gould as " non-overlapping magisteria " NOMAis that science and religion deal with fundamentally separate aspects of human experience and so, when each stays within its own domain, they co-exist peacefully.
Stace viewed independence from the perspective of the philosophy of religion. Stace felt that science and religion, when each is viewed in its own domain, are both consistent and complete.
If we open up our belief system to the formulation of testable hypotheses as I have suggested, it does mean that if our beliefs are wrong, they may be disproved. Are we confident enough to accept that possibility? If our beliefs are false, isn't it better to find out? It is possible that some of our specific beliefs about origins that involve details not given in Scripture may be wrong, and it is better for us to learn that.
Ideas that are truly God-given biblical truths, on the other hand, will not be disproved. Nature and revelation will not ultimately contradict each other, for both came from the same God. It is often more comfortable for us to keep our beliefs close to our hearts and not let science look at them, but if we do that we will miss opportunities for discoveries that will vindicate our trust in the Creator and help others to learn to trust Him also, while possibly also revealing that some of our ideas are wrong and not biblical.
As we use science to study questions of origins and biological history, there is a danger that we should be aware of. Science has for so long used naturalistic thinking to explain all the data, that it takes diligent, careful study to see past those deeply-entrenched interpretations and find new ways to understand the data.
Also scientific research typically does not yield its secrets quickly or easily. It often takes years of effort to resolve a difficult scientific puzzle, and only the persistent researcher will succeed. A researcher with a settled confidence in Scripture will at times have to stubbornly trust the God of the Bible until they finally are able to understand the data, and some of our questions will probably not be answered on this earth.
Previous experience suggests that we will continue to find strong evidences of the Creator's hand in biological history and earth history, but we will also struggle with solutions to some difficult puzzles. In summary, it is my observation that those who warn against attempts to integrate science and faith are often persons who do not believe that the Bible gives facts, but only "spiritual truths".
On the other hand, if we have confidence in the truth of Scripture we don't need to fear honest research, but we must avoid superficial efforts or they could lead us in wrong directions. The danger of returning to god-of-the-gaps thinking. It is important not to fall back into that trap. It is not necessary to do so if we carefully examine our logic in our integration efforts.
One difference today from previous centuries is that in some areas of science we have learned enough for our arguments to be the opposite of the god-of-the gaps. For example in molecular biology the more we learn, the more difficult it is to explain origins without a Creator. Instead of God being needed only where there are gaps in our knowledge, the more data we collect, the more evident it becomes that we need God in our explanations.
In other words, some gaps are not gaps in our knowledge, but are true gaps in the sequence of natural causation, and more data don't close these gaps but open them wider. I believe that if Darwin's theory had not been proposed until today, our much increased knowledge of molecular biology would make it impossible for his theory to gain acceptance. In summary, fear of the god-of-the-gaps fallacy should not frighten us away from the efforts to integrate science and religion into a meaningful synthesis.
It is important that we be aware of the nature of various logical fallacies, like the god-of-the-gaps, and avoid them by careful self-evaluation of our logic and by paying attention to other scholars' criticisms of our ideas. Just because a task requires navigating around pitfalls is not a good reason to refuse to tackle the task. Ask any of the great explorers about that.
Religious explanations "God did it" may discourage scientific investigation. The way some persons approach this subject does have that effect. However, it does not need to be that way. The example given above, relating radiometric dating to Scripture, shows how conflicts between science and Scripture can challenge us to more careful and diligent research in both science and in our religion.
We have also seen that a biblical position does suggest that some current scientific research is not worthwhile, but it also suggests new approaches to research that can, and already are, resulting in productive science e. We may hold religious positions that are ultimately not biblical, and scientific disproof of these positions will discredit our faith unnecessarily. But if we have beliefs that are not biblical, don't we want to find that out? Scientific knowledge at any given time includes many beliefs that will later turn out to be false.
That doesn't keep scientists from pursuing research, and ideally they readily admit when they discover new data that change some scientific belief especially if it challenges some other scientist's beliefs, rather than their own!
Religious scientists can pursue research with the same confidence and openness to change in our humanly devised ideas about details that aren't given in Scripture. Problems are caused by some creationists who devise very speculative theories about origins, that go way beyond what is given in the Bible, and proclaim these as TRUTH. When scientists encounter these careless and embarrassing theories it does make our faith look bad. The problem here is not the effort to integrate science and faith, but the careless and uninformed way that it was done.
The solution is not fear of research or fear of the effort to integrate science and faith, but careful, well-informed study. Religion will introduce biases into our science.Christianity - God and the Scientists
Whether this happens or not depends on the individual and how they approach the subject. Some persons commonly twist scientific data, accepting some data and ignoring other data, to make it fit their religious ideas. Other persons are much more careful and objective in their thinking. This is not unique to creationists, but is also true of other scientists. I have encountered a few but not many extremely biased and manipulative attempts by non-creationists to make the data fit their theories, and I have also seen the same thing done by some creationists.
One factor that greatly affects a person's objectivity is their willingness to seek, and take seriously, input from others.
There is safety in numbers, and it generally seems that others, especially those who disagree with us, are more likely than we are to see the weakness in our arguments and theories. If two persons with differing views are involved in the same type of research, they are each likely to notice things that the other may overlook.
Consequently they will both probably be more successful if they seek to learn from each other. In summary, religion can introduce biases into our science, but so can any other philosophical approach. The answer is to be aware of the problem and consciously analyze our thinking to try to see if we are not being objective, and to communicate with others regarding our ideas and take seriously their criticisms.
That doesn't mean we will always agree with our critics, but we can evaluate whether their criticisms are based on good evidence or just on their personal opinions. Awareness of different points of view on an issue generally improves our ability to reach a defensible conclusion.
The reverse of this is also true - if we do not seek to integrate science and faith it is unlikely that we will adequately understand the areas where science and religion seem to be in conflict. If we do not put forth serious effort to challenge conventional thinking and develop a positive synthesis of science and faith, we are likely to accept conventional thinking without knowing whether or not it is based on a solid foundation.
Apologetics :: Questions about the Bible and Science
Is this issue important for Christian education? Some will criticize our proposed integration of Scripture and science as an inappropriate exercise. This criticism can be addressed by asking a broader question - is the concept of Seventh-day Adventist Christian education compatible with the sophisticated academic world of the new millennium?
Higher education is based on an open search for truth, wherever it may be found, and yet our church has a particular set of beliefs, a preconceived concept of what the basic principles of truth are. Many would tell us that the two concepts "Seventh-day Adventist education" and "University" are incompatible - that the intellectual openness of a university cannot exist in a religious setting that presupposes a predetermined set of beliefs.
It is also sometimes said or implied that if the church is willing to have a true university, it will have to face the fact that in such an institution unique SDA beliefs will and should weaken and possibly even disappear by exposure to the broader world of truth. Let's examine exactly what is implied in that philosophy. Is it true that a religious university has a set body of beliefs, while a secular university is characterized by open-minded consideration of all issues?
For instance, the question of a literal creation of life on the earth versus evolution of life over billions of years - are these two options both discussed and weighed in a completely open-minded way in secular universities, while only in SDA and other religious institutions there is a preconceived idea of truth?
In reality it is naive to think that secular universities are open minded while religious institutions are not. Each works within a particular philosophical system.
The history of higher education indicates a strong pattern of church operated universities drifting away from their religious roots. They tend to abandon the concept of allowing the Bible to assist them in evaluating ideas, in favor of a philosophy more characteristic of secular institutions. The question is, should it be that way?
Did the institutions that followed that path make the right choice? Does open-minded thinking inevitably lead to that end? Two hundred years ago, during the Enlightenment, scholars began to move away from the excessively supernaturalistic thinking of the dark ages. The scientist Harvey, e. Findings like this began to erode belief in the supernatural, and as humans so often do, they went from one extreme to another.
This became the ruling concept in science, and made its way into the thinking of other disciplines as well, including theology. Today, this philosophy of naturalism materialism is the foundation of scientific thinking and of much theological thinking as well.
It is at the core of the education that is offered in most institutions of higher education. In contrast, the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church are based on the conviction that God has involved Himself in history in very real ways. It is true that our hearts are efficient pumps that operate day after day according to God's laws of nature, without His needing to tinker with them on a continuing basis.
However, we believe that it was God who designed and created hearts in the first place. We also believe that God was directly involved with mankind in other times and places. He gave Moses the tables of stone; He spoke to the prophets and gave them information that guides our lives today; He instantly healed and raised the dead. Our conviction of the reality of these things is the foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist church. A friend of mine one day was discussing the difference between religious liberals and conservatives.
He pointed out that the difference was in their attitude toward scriptural authority. Conservatives accept the Bible as authoritative in religious belief and practice, while liberals do not believe it is authoritative. I replied that if the Bible is not authoritative, then the human mind becomes the measure of all truth. His answer was "that is true, but that is all we have. Both conservative SDA schools and secular education are based on a particular philosophy of what is truth.
Secular higher education is built on the philosophy of naturalism. SDA education is built on the philosophy that God's interaction with us is real and literal.
In both cases the education assumes that certain concepts naturalism or supernaturalism are true, and builds from there. Anyone who believes that secular universities are more open-minded has not tried to bring a meaningful discussion of creation or of salvation into a class in such an institution! In most cases this would not be well received. The difference is not in the degree of open-mindedness, but in the philosophy that underlies everything that is presented.
Why would anyone claim that an SDA university, if it is going to be a real university, should be allowed to follow academic scholarship wherever it leads, even if that means it will follow the path that other Christian universities have taken and move away from its uniquely Adventist beliefs and values? Such a suggestion implies that we should move away from this belief system because other systems of thought are superior.
Some have expressed this view by saying that the SDA church with its sabbath schools and church schools is a very supportive, nurturing environment in which to grow up, but when students reach the college level it is time they learned that the SDA belief system doesn't stand up. In another case an individual discussed a conflict between SDA Christian values and the values of a particular scholarly writer, and concluded that at this level of education college or university "our first allegiance is to our discipline.
What will be the most constructive approach for scholars in SDA colleges and universities? The easy path is to uncritically pass on to our students everything we learned in graduate school, or whatever we have read. After all, who are we to question the great minds of today; the leaders in modern scholarship? The problem with that approach is that God is left out of the picture.
On the other hand Christian scholars cannot pretend that the modern scholarly world doesn't exist. We cannot close our eyes and ears to keep from being contaminated.
The same intellectual culture that gave us the naturalistic theory of evolution and naturalistic approaches to theology also developed the polio vaccine, rediscovered and documented the value of a vegetarian diet, and invented the computer with which this article was typed.
There has never been a more challenging or exciting era for Christian scholars.
We must accept the challenge to study and sift through the material that modern scholarship gives us; to analyze what we were taught, in order to assimilate what holds up and discard what is in error. A Christian university should be a center where the highest intellectual efforts can be exerted toward understanding the world around us in light of Bible truth. The events in the New Testament occurred during the highly developed era of Greek culture, but Jesus and Paul believed without question that their philosophy was superior to that of the best minds of their day.
Genesis And Science: More Aligned Than You Think? | HuffPost
If we believe that the SDA message is real, we will have the humble but firm conviction that our Christian philosophy is superior to that of the best secular philosophy of our day; not because of our brilliance, but because of the guidance of God's messengers to us. There are risks in this approach, just as there are risks in unthinking acceptance of the predominant popular ideas.
These risks arise because we are human, and prone to read our own fallible ideas into the Bible, between the lines, and then think the Bible supports us. I can think of examples, individuals who have taken a strange intellectual course because they believed that any ideas they held must be right, because they believe the Bible.
Science has a solution for the analogous problem in scientific research - bias is kept under control by communication with one's colleagues. There is no reason to believe that an individual scientist is more objective than other people.