Thursday, October 29, 2015

Science vs. God; Wait, I Don't Understand the Question

When I was in college a friend and fellow biology major said something to me along these lines: "I used to believe in God, but now I've studied too much science."

My eloquent response: "..."

That statement doesn't make sense. Sure, in a cultural context, I get where she was going with that, but my brain is sometimes too literal and filters away some of the context. What in the heck does the one have to do with the other? Why would science preclude God or God, science? I was a biology major as well, and for me science has always heightened my awareness of God. Don't get me wrong, science should not be studied for religious answers any more than religion should give us scientific answers. The two are not the same, but in my opinion, they also are not opposing.

Let's talk about the stupid creation/evolution discussion. That one annoys the snot out of me. This is often presented as an either/or proposition. EITHER you believe that God created the earth in a week, OR you believe that there is only science and evolution is how everything came into existence.

I believe that God created the earth through evolution. I know, sounds like a silly Pollyanna compromise, doesn't it? I promise that I have more to base this on than the desire to have it all. First off, I do believe that the Bible is God's word. I believe that the Bible speaks truth, but I also know that it was written by humans and that we have to be careful to understand the context in which those humans were writing. My understanding is that the humans from those earliest records would have been passing down verbal history in the form of stories before anything was written down. These stories would contain truth, but not necessarily be literal history as we understand it. Therefore, in the creation accounts, the important part to me in the first account is that God created the universe. It has always been explained to me that while the seven days of creation could have been literal 24 hour days, it could also simply mean that the narrator was trying to convey that there was a certain order and process to creation. The Bible itself does not require us to hang our belief system on either thing. They can't both be true, but whichever is true does not threaten the greater truth of the Bible, which is that God is the Creator and there was a certain order or design to His creation.

In college, when I was studying science, I could simply study science. What I mean is, I didn't have to try to bend science to fit some sort of religious philosophy, which does a disservice to the science and to the religion. Science, if nothing else, shows that there is an order to the universe. If there wasn't, it would be pointless to study science. If there was no order, there could be no equations, no expectations that conclusions could be drawn as a result of experiments and so forth. To me, it does not prove or disprove God, but there is a logical consistency that makes sense to me.

I think I've probably told you, that evolution didn't make as much sense to me at first, and that I may have fallen a little on the creationist side of things at one time. However, evolution within species was too obvious to ignore, and from there it's not a hard thing to grasp. Decisions about things like that should be based on science, and not the Bible. I was thinking about it one day and how if we evolved all the way back from apes, reptiles and on down the line to that original single celled organism in the dust... Then it hit me, where have I heard this before?

Genesis 2:7 "[T]hen the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

Just because we anthropomorphize God and imagine Him forming a clay figurine and then actually breathing into it and transforming it to a live creature, doesn't mean that's the way it happened! What I love is that science can help show us how much more amazing God is than our limited and childish imaginations could ever come up with! Perhaps, out of the dust of the ground, God formed life; that single celled life that gradually formed through evolution into human life. Both evolutionists and creationists have us coming from the dust of the ground; maybe if we could drop our beloved "isms" for a while, we could get to a place where God and science are not at war with one another, but properly understood can give us a greater understanding of reality as a whole.

I have more to say, but this post is long enough. There'll be another in a day or two.

5 comments:

  1. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on this!

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  2. Excellent post! We are often presented with false choices. Either science or God. Either Creationism or Evolution. My question to to that is Why not both? which you discuss so well here.

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  3. I really like this. I tend to come to your side of things and I love how eloquently put you said it all.

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  4. In reading this, it made me think of something. One of the hardest things about this kind of argument is most people we have met do not ever really study all sides and really consider things like you are, they are more like parrots repeating whatever someone once said. I think it is so healthy for people to talk things out, do the research and understand before people pit science vs. God. God is an awesome God and the Bible says his ways/thoughts are higher than our ways/thoughts. That is why when people I know, who come to us who have never read the bible and hardly really care about science ...who just want to argue we try to find the root of the questions are. I met someone who wanted to argue against God taking more of a science position (as if there is no possibility that science could compliment God's handy-work...) and the root of it was that he did not feel God would ever forgive him for all the terrible things he had done. It is hard to explain but this person was mad at God for no reason and also punishing himself for his past....

    I like your topics!

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