CREATION SCIENCE/ SCIENCE AND SCRIPTURE
Modern wisdom seems to dictate that if one believes in a literal interpretation of scripture, that same person cannot also believe in much of the basic precepts of science. Many fundamentalists will turn absolutely red if you mention the theory of evolution to them. Likewise many on the other side of the aisle will scoff at those who do not accept evolution theories as ignorant bumpkins. In the past few years there has been a popularization of what I will call "creation science." Supposed learned bible believing people are making many supposed discoveries in light of scriptural wisdom. Meanwhile, "traditional" scientists chuckle to themselves when presented with the findings of creation scientist. So can a bible believing Christians accept "traditional" science as truth? I think it is possible.
First, lets consider the book of Genesis. Most controversy is centered on this book. Did God create the universe in six days? Did God create one male and then a female and all of mankind is descended from them? Was there such a place as the Garden of Eden? Was there a worldwide flood that had Noah and his household as the only survivors? First, I will say that when reading the book of Genesis I ask the question "why" and not so much "how." I find that if I concentrate too much on the question "how" I miss out on the majority of riches taught in the book of Genesis. The fall of man, why we have the nature we have, why we sin, the diversity of languages, are just a few of many subjects that science cannot readily answer. This does not mean that scripture is totally invalid when it comes to science. Lets take the creation story. Scripture says that the creation of the universe down to the creation of man took six days. Modern science says that the formation of the universe took billions of years with the ancestors of modern man appearing some one hundred thousand years ago. Contradiction? Well consider this verse.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Pet 3:8
We must note that although scripture reports that God did his creation in six days, we may be in error if we limit a day to 24 hours. For one, God is an eternal being not bound or existing within the limits of time or space.
Let's look at the creation story and see how much it opposes modern science.
Gen 1:1-31 the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
We should find this interesting because the earth was created yet it was "without form, and void" Could this possibly be the formation of matter?
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Traditional science theorizes about a "big bang." That is a giant explosion where matter is strewn about the universe. Before the big bang there was no light because all matter was in a black hole. After the explosion-produced light, matter would block the light thus the division of light and dark.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Here we have testimony of the formation of the atmosphere and the continents.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Traditional science states that plant life came before animal life. The testimony of scripture is the same.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Before you go a-ha and say that God formed the earth before he formed the sun, consider the perspective. If we take an earthly perspective from verses 14-19 this can be entirely so. Verses 6&7 speak of two waters separated by a firmament. If the upper waters were denser than they are today, it could block out discernment of stars, moon, etc. Also remember that one theory is that the moon is a captured heavenly object. Thus its appearance would be notable. If the upper waters became less dense then the appearance of heavenly objects could be possible. The idea of a dense upper atmosphere though not asserted by science, is not contradicted by science either.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Evolutionist claim that life originated in the oceans so does scripture.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Would this not be the next step in evolution?
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Last in our sequence of events is the formation of man. According to traditional science man is a very recent addition to life on our planet. Likewise scripture has man as last of Godís creation. Environmental science squarely puts man in dominion over the earth. (So they can have someone to blame) Scripture gives man dominion as well.
Having gone through this exercise I want to state that I do not assert this or present it as doctrine. I simply want to open the minds of both sides of this issue. I think if one looks at science with suspicion with the mind that it opposes scripture, one suffers from small thinking. Likewise those who bedevil scripture because of alleged oppositions it has to science suffer from arrogance as well as small thinking. As I said above, we must keep in mind the objective of scripture. Scripture as history whether scientific or otherwise is secondary to the moral lessons and Godly revelations that scripture so richly contains. Also, we must remember that when Moses wrote these verses, it was immediately intended for a simple nomadic people. We must consider their perspective when considering scripture. Personally when I consider scripture, I consider it true and inspired. I think the historical records preserved in scripture are accurate and can be trusted. I cannot assert though that my or anotherís perception will be as accurate. My environment shapes my perception. My perception has its limitations.
Next, consider the concepts of faith and inspiration. Should I place faith in science? To a certain extent yes. When I underwent surgery I placed my faith in the research and technology that make the operation possible. Even turning on a light is an act of faith in science. The only thing is that science is not inspired. The opinions of scientist are constantly changing. The science of 100 years ago is not the science of today. The science of 100 years from now will make us look like kindergartners. Scripture on the other hand has been consistent for nearly 2000 years. The God of Moses is the same God of today. So which should I place most of my faith in?
Having said this, letís consider "creation science". What concerns me is that when I hear boasting of the discoveries that creation scientists have made, that people may place faith in the work of creation scientists. Although I find creation science interesting and somewhat plausible, it is still uninspired science. Mistakes can be made. And just because it uses scripture as one of its guidelines, it does not insure inerrancy. I think when Christ returns and all are revealed; we can look at the testimony of scripture in the full light of science and see a total congruency.