Monday, May 04, 2009

science and faith

On an earlier post I came out for a belief in evangelical faith and evolution. Of course I know nothing about origins myself, but made my decision on the basis of what I was reading from others.

Today I want to share a new web site and blog from a renowned, well respected scientist who is also a Christian evangelical, Francis Collins. RJS, herself a fine scientist and professor, having written many interesting, helpful posts on Jesus Creed, introduced both the blog and the website. I want to learn all I can from both, having found Francis Collins' book, The Language of God, both interesting and compelling.

While Christians, especially here in the United States are going to disagree on origins for some time to come, I think it is good to see other options which still hold to Scripture as the word of God with a commitment to the orthodox Christian faith.

My interest in this is due both to my concern for people unnecessarily losing their faith when seeing the scientific evidence for an old earth and universe, and for evolution. And just because I like to see and try to understand what people have studied and observed, and are thinking. A reading true to Scripture is not at odds with mainstream science. The problem in mainstream science is when it adheres to a naturalistic bias which not only rules out the possibility of something beyond what can be scientifically observed, but lets their science be impacted by that in a way that actually hurts their work. Of course, again, I take this from second hand reading from scientists. Theologians committed to the faith and Scripture are beginning to work on this, alongside such scientists.

I know this is a heavy, controversial subject, and I tend to shy away from controversy, unless I think it serves an important purpose. And in this case, I believe it does.

What would you like to say on this? Anything at all. Some of the most intelligent (more so than I) and committed Christians I know disagree with me on this. But I welcome anyone's thoughts.

8 comments:

The Wingnut said...

My wife and I have been talking about Genesis quite a bit lately, spurred on by a Facebook friend who was considering the Young Earth, Old Earth debate.

The conclusion that we have considered is this: God and His heavenly host were the only ones there.

We can collect, analyze, and discuss the mountains of scientific evidence and form our hypotheses about how it happened.

We can read Genesis, and see what early humanity believed.

Somewhere, the Bible and science must agree, because we consider them to have the same source.

And we must never let our beliefs about the Bible to blind us from the beauty that God created for us, and we must not let our devotion to science blind us to what insights we find in the Scriptures.

wingnut

nannykim said...

Basically I believe the Bible was not written as a science text. The Bible was given to us to communicate God's truths to us. There are truths we all can agree on that are foundational in the Book of Genesis. God created everything and man fell and everything has been touched by corruption. He created by speaking--but I think we can agree to disagree on whether the 7 days were literal or not.

I have seen that many times the New Testament looks at the Scripture of the Old Testament in a different way than the plain literal way we often take it (ie in quoting from the prophets--but then again that was prophetic literature which would be different from the more historical book of Genesis) Since Genesis is written more like a historical account than a poetic or allegorical or prophetic account-- perhaps that would be a stronger argument for the literal 7 days. But I don't think it is crucial--what is crucial is that God is eternal and the first cause--the Creator. ..that we fell into sin and need a saviour.

Ps. People need to acknowledge,however, that God is God and He could create in anyway-He could do it in 7 days---he was outside of time --we try to evaluate things by our understanding of time. We look at the age of things through the lens of time. So perhaps our looking is warped.

The Wingnut said...

nannykim,

That is exactly what we need to understand.

Simply because I take Genesis perhaps a bit less literally than some, and give more authority to scientific explanation, does not make me less of a Christian, nor does it mean that I hold the Bible in a less than exalted place.

I believe that in this entire debate, we are missing out on one of the crucial theological points of Genesis: "...God created the heavens and the earth."

All the rest we need to take in with a healthy bit of Job-like humility, and understand that no matter what we read or see in our telescopes and microscopes, we were not around, and we did not create it.


wingnut

Ted M. Gossard said...

Wingnut,
True. And people sound convinced on both sides of the argument and it seems they are. So it's not an easy call for the likes of us who don't dig into it. At the same time all must hold to their beliefs with humility (as I think you mention later), with the admission that they may be wrong, and most certainly there is more to come in better understanding on the scientific side.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nannykim,
I believe God could do it in any way as you say, although for me that would include through evolution. But it doesn't take the wonder of creation away at all, nor does it nullify what God's word says, in my estimation. And actually the best studies of Genesis, best exegetical and background work, in my estimation, bears out what you say about Genesis 1-3.

But it's difficult. Mytho-historical. Speaks of real events in symbollic ways, I take it.

What is crucial is creation, fall, redemption, new creation- in Christ.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Wingnut,
Well spoken, and I like the allusion to Job. At the same time I would like to mention that the book of general revelation is open for all to see and study. And science is an important part of that, I believe.

Bible Quiz said...

Theologically, evolution does not fit with the Bible.

Scripture teaches that death came as a result of sin.

If 'God planned to use evolution as His method of creation', then death existed long before the first human beings.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Bible Quiz,
That "problem" is easily resolved. And actually the eastern father's view of the Fall fits in.

The way we interpret it often does not mesh, you're right on that. But our interpretation is off some what.

Just a thought. Why is the tree of life in the garden, if humankind was created in a way in which they could not die?

Thanks.