The Bible and Science

LEADER TIMES WEEKEND RELIGION ARTICLE FOR

July 27, 2013 by William H. Scarle, Jr.

One of our pre-teens, a young lady, was giving a report on her summer camping experience in the worship service a few weeks ago.  She made the comment that they studied the Bible and she decided the Bible was right and not “science.”  I was glad the camp had tackled the question that arises in our children’s minds because of the religion taught in most of our public school – the religion of “Scientific Materialism.”  I was discouraged, however, that real science gets a bad name from such a distortion.  Real science, and in this context we are talking about empirical science, science based on facts, is no enemy of the Bible.

The kind of pseudo-science taught under the banner of Neo-Darwinism in public schools is based on a simple presuppositional syllogism.  Premise “A” states that “All existence is the result of material cause and effect.”  Premise “B” states that “The universe exists.”  The logical conclusion then is that “The universe is the result of material cause and effect.”   This is flawless Aristotelian logic.  It forbids any idea that anything exists outside the frame of material cause and effect.  And it is on this basis that that the biblical view of creation is railed upon as illogical.  One must note, however, that the logic depends on the original presupposition.

The founders of modern science were not working with this syllogism.  Leibniz, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, and many others we could name, were all Christians.

Once the syllogism is recognized, one also recognizes it can be changed.  The Bible starts with the word “Elohim,” or God.  The syllogism would look something like this.  Premise “A” would read, “Everything that exists is created by God.”  Premise “B” would state that “The heavens and the earth exist.”  The conclusion then is that “The heavens declare the glory of God,” and “The earth is the Lord’s.”  There is nothing illogical about this.  It all depends upon where you start the syllogism.

Empirical science is based on observation, hypothesis, and rigorous testing of the hypothesis to see if it holds under all conditions and over time.  This is a method of discovery, and it has worked well for Western science.  It is based on the idea that the universe is rational and was created by a rational God who wants us to examine his creation and use it for the good of humanity, which he created in his own image.  Isaac Newton wrote science and also commentaries on the Book of Daniel.  He was certainly not locked into the first syllogism we suggested.

When we get twisted up in an imaginary conflict between knowledge (the word science comes from the Latin for knowledge) and the Bible we get into the kind of conflict the church had with the heliocentric view of the solar system.   The problem was not that the Bible taught the earth was the center of the solar system but that Aristotle taught that arrangement, and the universities, which were connected with the church, were committed to Aristotle who was, after all, a very smart pagan.

We finally got that straightened out.  Now we are dealing with another group of very smart pagans who think their method of discovery is the ultimate explanation of the universe.  Just look around you.  Does it make sense that it is all a result of a series of accidents?

(Bill Scarle may be contacted at ravscarle@verizon.net).  END-whs

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