It was a nice summer’s day today, (yes, this happens, even in the United Kingdom!) and so we went for a family picnic. Nature is truly a wonder: no single person has ever known all the different species and yet more are discovered even now. There are the many species of insects, mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, the microscopic, the beautiful and the repellent, the massive, and surrounding and dwarfing all the features and landmarks of such a variety of climates: deserts, downland, forests, swamps, mountains, underwater caverns and many more besides. Some regard the creation/literal vs evolution/”science” debate irrelevant, but how can that be if we are to give God glory for what He has made? Worse, since “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin” (see Romans 5:12-13), if the evolutionary world-view is entirely correct then the scriptures are in serious error, since according to evolution there were tonnes of (animal*) deaths before Adam sinned. See also 1 Timothy 2:13 for evidence of Adam and Eve being literally formed by God as the only humans on earth. Did God call “good” a world of animal carnage where death reigns as the creative force to generate new forms?
*incidentally that word for “death” (I am told) would not have applied to a plant…
The meaning of science
Many of the scientists who have been busily studying the universe have long since forgotten the purpose of science. The word means “knowledge” but has been commonly understood to be that branch of knowledge to do with observable and repeatable phenomena, about which we make predictions and on which we model the universe. Google’s “define” function gives the following: “[t]he intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural”. This, however, is a relatively modern definition and seeks to blur the boundaries of science to encompass everything even vaguely systematic: the guardian notes that even a careful piece of journalism, research or maybe even Biblical study could then be called “science”, but it is not. To keep things simple I would really include only physics, chemistry and biology (and dependent subjects) as true sciences.
The purpose of science
What then of science’s purpose? Was it to explain all that we see around us in the physical universe without recourse to God? No, it was not always so! Newton said “It is the perfection of God’s works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion“, so he clearly believed in God, and I’m pretty certain he was a well-known scientist, no? Science once sought (aided and abetted by a great number of Christians, among others) to study and comprehend the world around them, to discern causes and effects, and to make predictions based on certain laws which govern nature. Such a view was never intended to rule out miracles: indeed, the only reason we know walking on water was a miracle is that this does not usually happen! The law of nature dictates that if I try it, I will sink into a pond on a calm day, let alone a windy lake. But, as Peter said in Matthew 14: “tell me to come to you on the water”: if Jesus directs us, the laws of nature can be broken. If the world was truly created in six days (as I believe it was), we would not expect science to tell us that: it can not explain the miraculous and was never intended to. Has anyone sensible ever suggested Jesus turned water into wine using science? If we were to look scientifically at the risen Lord Jesus we would conclude that He was alive, and therefore that He had not been crucified to death, and we would be wrong! Since God made the universe and therefore must exist beyond it, He is powerful enough to change it and to avoid its laws at His whim. And to do so without the permission of scientists!
The reason the more militant-atheist section of scientists are angry is simply that they want science to explain everything. This leads to God being replaced by science (as the Great Explainer and Creator), and who then turns out to be the most important people alive… but scientists? If science is all, and God is nothing, what do the scientists become? It is simply a reflection of our universal human desire to place ourselves as gods instead of worshipping the God of the Jews and the scriptures!
What about the objections?
The objections to creationism fall into two categories. Some must be overcome by faith (creationism): it is a miracle, so we would not expect science to predict it because science (biology, chemistry, physics) relies on continuous predictable processes. Others are errors in science, which have been fallen into based on the false and baseless assumption of a godless universe, and need to be corrected scientifically (creation science or intelligent design). Most of the problems are now a mixture of the two. E.g. the stars are too distant for their light to have reached earth assuming a uniform history and a creation a few thousand years ago. The answer may be in a miracle (creationism), since in Genesis 1, God creates light before the light sources, thus the normal laws of light can not be being obeyed at this point, or perhaps some method existed by which the universe had time pass differently (one theory from creation science) in the distant galaxies than on earth? I do not know. But I trust my Creator. I certainly do not think He deliberately misled us in Genesis, and nor is it an incorrect story, with mixed times, definitions and everything in the wrong order, but a deeply important truth: God made us, so “we are His offspring“.
Anti-Biblical scientists often state that they think we can not do proper science with the assumption that the Bible is true. I would argue that we cannot also claim to be unbiased if we pre-suppose the Bible all to be false. For more details on Christian responses to the challenges of sceptics, I recommend: http://www.christiananswers.net/menu-at1.html or Answers in Genesis. I plan to write another article soon regarding evolution.
Psalm 19 says it best:
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands”.
Blessed be Jesus for ever!