The “battle” between science and Christianity, rages stronger than ever today. At least, that’s how many people see it. But is there really such a dichotomy between science and Scripture? As a seminary student studying to enter the pastorate, I approach this issue from the standpoint of exhorting Christians to stand on the authority of the Bible first and foremost. Yet, science is important for our understanding of the world, and many scientists tell us that science and Christianity are totally incompatible. In the next couple of posts, I’d like to argue that there is no such intrinsic incompatibility between pursuing scientific inquiry, and maintaining a strong belief in, and literal interpretation of, the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.
Many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, believe that one can either believe in science, or believe in the Bible, but that the two are inherently opposed to one another. But upon closer examination, there appears to be no evidence that this opposition in fact exists. Larry Vardiman, from the Institute for Creation Research, states the issue this way:
The current attitude in the academic and scientific community is that science and religion are completely incompatible. It is believed that science is a system of knowledge based on experimentation, observation, and logic. Religion, on the other hand, is viewed as a system of faith based on myth, culture, and self-delusion. A researcher is allowed to have a personal religion, but he should never permit it to affect his work or he will no longer be considered a legitimate scientist.
Why must a researcher never allow his religious belief system to affect his work? The underlying assumption seems to be that a religious worldview, especially a Christian worldview, will inevitably damage one’s ability to properly conduct scientific inquiry, or to accurately interpret scientific observations. However, it may be that a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture could actually allow for a more accurate interpretation of scientific investigations, while scientific findings may simultaneously strengthen one’s conviction and trust in the truth of the Bible.
When I was researching these issues years ago, I read a book called Science and the Bible, by Dr. Henry M. Morris. I would highly recommend this book for anyone — Christian or unbeliever — seeking to understand the seemingly contradicting authority of the Bible, and scientific discoveries. Over the next few days, I’ll walk through an outline of Morris’ book for those of you who won’t have the motivation to go get a copy and read it yourself! See you next time…