During our July series “Christianity’s got ISSUES!”, we invited you to send us questions relating to the topics. Below are some answers to those questions:
Issue 1) The Bible doesn’t agree with Science
(click here to listen to the talk)
Q: You claim the bible doesn’t contradict science, but what about evolution?
A: The theory of evolution that says humans have evolved from lower-life forms. Genesis 1 & 2 tell us God created humans as a special species, in his image, set apart from animals. These two accounts seem to be completely at odds with each other.
First thing we’ve got to realize is: the theory of evolution is just that – a THEORY, which means it can’t be proven. A theory is just an attempt to best explain an existing body of evidence. So anybody who holds evolution as a FACT is not being scientific – they’re going beyond what the scientific method can confirm or deny.
However, Christians often make the same mistake when it comes to reading the bible – often Christians will be just as adamant in their rejection of the whole idea of evolution. Now, evolution refers to a lot of different related ideas – microevolution, macroevolution, adaptation and evolution within species, and not all of that is at odds with what the bible says. In fact, none of the parts that have basis in scientific fact, contradict the bible. So Christians who reject evolution wholesale, are going beyond what the bible talks about, just the same as scientists who claim evolution as a fact are going beyond what science can say.
We must remember that science talks about the natural and the physical world, and can’t say anything about things outside of that – things that are not natural or physical. On the other hand, the bible says a lot about those things, while it also says some things about our natural and physical world.
The reason why the theory of evolution is at odds with the biblical record is because in that theory, people are taking evidence within our physical world, and making conclusions outside of what science can talk about – conclusions about our origins – about where humans came from. These things are beyond the scope of science.
In the same way, while the bible tells us about our origins, that God created humans distinct from animals, in his image, it doesn’t give us details of the exact mechanical and biological processes that were used to do this, or in fact the amount of time God took to do this – many Christians interpret the 6 days of creation as long periods of time not 24 hr days, others understand them as 24 hour periods that kicked off a large period of time before the next day of creation. Either way (these are all valid Christian viewpoints), Genesis isn’t there to tell us about the science of creation (to interpret it that way would be going beyond what the bible talks about, outside of its scope. Rather, Genesis is concerned with the things science CAN’T tell us about.
So the point is, the conflict between evolution and the bible only arises when either evolutionists go beyond what science can talk about to make theological conclusions, or Christians go beyond what the bible talks about to make scientific conclusions.
In truth, neither scientists nor Christians can make absolute statements about evolution. Both sides must be humble enough to admit they don’t know everything about how we were made. The bible tells us WHY we were made, and science to a certain extent tells us HOW. And if we stick strictly to the evidence, both biblical and scientific, we’ll find that the two sides are really not in conflict at all.
Q: If creation and science point to God, why do so many people still not believe in him?
A: In the talk we saw that one of the main functions of the physical creation is to point us to the Creator, as we see its beauty and design. Romans 1:20 says: “20 …since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
The question is: if that’s the case – if the physical world is supposed to point us to the Creator, WHY do people still not see that… why is that not obvious to people?
Interesting… this connects with the last question. A weird thing about the theory of evolution (which is all about biology, and is something that typically only scientists are interested in) is that evolution has turned out to be a hugely popular idea amongst people who know nothing about science. Some of the most adamant, die-hard evolutionists who are not scientists all. They’re just attracted to the idea of evolution. Why is that?
The answer is that people want some reason not to believe in God. The theory of evolution gives them that. People don’t actually want to believe in God. Because if you don’t believe in God, then you can live as you want. You’re not accountable to your Creator. It’s not really a matter of evidence, it’s a matter of what people WANT to believe. That’s exactly what Romans 1 goes on to tell us:
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator
People exchange the truth of God for a lie – they deliberately believe something that’s not true, and people don’t even know they’re doing it – their thinking is futile and darkened. Because of their rejection of God, people have become unable to determine what is true any more. Why do they exchange the truth of God for a lie? It’s quite clear: Because they don’t want to worship and serve their Creator, they would rather worship created things… money, cars, sex, whatever. And they would rather serve themselves and pursue what they want in life, not what God wants.
The shocking thing is that this describes all of us in our natural state. We all deceive ourselves to believe whatever best suits our lifestyle. We’ve all lost the ability, by ourselves, to distinguish the truth about God from a lie about God, so that for us to have any hope of knowing real truth, requires an act of God. Just as well for us, God has acted in his Son Jesus so that we can know the truth about Him.