Does Science Incriminate the Bible?

Recently I have been following a few blogs discussing the historical reliability of the Bible, the historicity of Adam, and questions on the compatibility of science with the Bible.

Christians should not feel threatened by science. Science, in the sense of the way things are and the processes that govern them, is God’s work as much as the Bible is. Actually, both are God’s means of revelation- general and specific (Rom. 1:20, 2 Tim. 3:15).

However, some of what is touted as scientific fact is scientific speculation, assumption, or a leap to conclusions. One common instance of this is the claim that humans descended from chimpanzees because we share 98.6% of our DNA with them. While the latter may be fact, the former is speculation, not science. And this scenario can play out and repeat endlessly as science observes more of the visible universe.

But it is abundantly clear that science can not answer all the questions.

And regarding the ultimate questions- the fundamental questions of Where did we come from? Where are we going? What can we hope in? What should we do? What is the meaning of life?- that really interest everyone, science has little to offer. Hence, philosophy and theology.

And yet modern man’s secular sciences, despite all their successes, have proved notoriously inadequate in their answers to these great questions. Pure reason seems here to be overtaxed.

-Hans Kung

The Things Revealed

The Bible was not written to satisfy the curious minds of archeologists or historians, but to satisfy the thirst of those seeking reality.

God has not given all the answers in the Bible and He doesn’t intend to give all the answers through science. What God has revealed though is sufficient for man to make an informed and rational decision.

The things that are hidden belong to Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed, to us and our children forever…

Deuteronomy 29:29

The Bible is God’s answer to the fundamental questions. It is unapologetically, the truth. It emphasizes God, Christ, the Spirit, the Word of God, the faith, God’s salvation, the highest standard of morality, and the reality concerning God, the universe, man, man’s relationship with God and with his fellow man, man’s obligation to God, and the origin and destiny of the universe.

And yet it provides enough hard data points to verify its historical accurateness.

Non-Science not Anti-Science

In 1925 Watchmen Nee wrote an article in The Christian (a magazine he started) entitled Genesis and Geology. Written nearly 100 years ago, it is like a star that is no more but who’s light still reaches us. Its relevance pierces through the years and shines with illuminating clarity on this topic. The article specifically addressed geology, but I think much of it applies in principle to the current questions at hand.

A few quotes:

“Genesis is God’s revelation, while geology is man’s invention. God knows the whole truth. As such, His revelation can never be wrong. Man only sees in part. As such, his conjectures are not accurate. When we place Genesis side by side with geology, we should follow Genesis and not geology, because it is God who stands behind Genesis.”

“If there are any contradictions with science, it is either a misinterpretation of the Scripture or a misjudgment of science.”

“But one must not overturn the ‘whats’ with theoretical ‘whys’ just because man’s finite mental research has come into conflict with God’s record.”

“The record here is ‘non-science’; it is not ‘anti-science.’”

The Bible describes real events, real people, and real places that can be located and dated. Yet it is not intended as a history or science textbook. These are just the backdrop for the divine history within the human history.

Regarding what we consider impossible, if God can create something out of nothing and give life to the dead (Rom. 4:17), surely He can handle lesser situations that nonetheless seem impossible to the human intellect. Surely, He can make from one, every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth (Acts 17:26).

The question we should ask is not whether it can happen, but whether it has happened. In the end, what is impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18:27).

7 thoughts on “Does Science Incriminate the Bible?

  1. Kyle, I’m curious. Could you comment on the statement by Kevin DeYoung in one of your links that “Christians may disagree on the age of the earth, but whether Adam ever existed is a gospel issue.”? Do you agree? Disagree?

    • It’s unclear to me how he is using “gospel issue.” If he means that we must believe in a historical Adam to receive the gospel, then I disagree. Regeneration is not predicated on believing in Adam, but believing in Christ. Whether you believe we are sinners because we sin or we sin because we are sinners, is secondary to me. Both are adequate to lead you to repent and believe in the gospel. What’s crucial is that you realize that all have sinned. We don’t PREACH Adam. We preach Christ. It is possible to preach the gospel without mentioning Adam. It is not possible to preach the gospel without mentioning Christ. With the gospel, I think believing the ‘what’ is more important than understanding the ‘how.’ Regarding our fallen state before God- the what is sin, the how is Adam.

      If you have a disease, you can be treated and cured without ever understanding how you contracted the disease. You can say, “All I know is that I am sick and need to get better.” Knowing the right doctor is more important than knowing how the disease spread.

      I disagree with the last part of his quote- “If you don’t believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul’s teaching.” The core of Paul’s teaching is the Person and work of Christ, not a philosophical treatise on the mechanism of the transmission of sin. I think the core teaching related to this is- “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8).”

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