This weekend, we’re doing a one-off sermon looking at whether we Christians are forced to choose between science and Christianity. There are those in society who would have us believe that any choice other than science would be absurd. Science, after all, explains things. And science works. We don’t, we’re told, need to make up stories to explain things any more. We’re told that faith is a crutch for those who don’t know any better – or who refuse to know any better.
As early as 1961, Rudolph Bultmann, (a theologian who didn’t believe in the supernatural, or that the Jesus in the Bible was historically real,) wrote that, “It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time believe in the New Testament world of spirits and miracles.”
Is this true? Has science done away with our need for God? Is the material world all that there is?
As Christians, our answer to this is a firm no. We believe that there is more to existence than the merely physical. We believe that behind everything stands the person of God. We believe that “by [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossian 1:16-17)
There are certain things that science simply can’t address. Since it is incapable of measuring anything other the material, it is incapable of knowing the One behind the material! And without a Creator, science is left answering the “how” questions with no resource to answer “why?”
But what, then, are we to do with science? How are we to read the Bible when it seems like the Bible stands in direct contradiction to scientific evidence?
In answering these questions, we’ll consider an older problem, from several hundred years ago, where it seemed like what the Bible said was being contradicted by new advances in science. And we’ll see that perhaps the fault lies neither in the Bible nor in scientific endeavour, but in our interpretation of both.
As Romans 1:19-20 says, the things of creation give us insights into the person of the Creator. As such, we must learn to be careful exegetes of both the Word of God and the creation of God. That is, we must learn to be people who correctly interpret what God has said and the evidence of what God has done.
It is a travesty when we as Christians hold onto poor interpretations of what God has said despite the evidence of what God has done. This we have done as Christians in the past, and still do today; holding onto our sacred cows rather than seeking out God’s truth. Sadly, this can bring Jesus’ name into disrepute, and cause people to think that they must choose between the truth and the One who is the Truth. If God was to be proved a liar (which He isn’t!) on one point, we would be fools to trust Him with our lives. Yet I’m sure that the One who is True – Jesus, God – is not afraid of us seeking the truth out.
I believe firmly that there is no scientific evidence that denies the Word of God. I believe that God would have us go where the evidence leads. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul goes to some lengths to provide evidences for the resurrection. And he recognises that if this evidence is false – if Jesus were not raised from the dead – then we Christians would be more to be pitied than anyone else. (1 Cor 5:19) Paul’s not raise such questions because he’s absolutely convinced that the evidence of what God has done is clear.
If this is true of so vital a thing as the resurrection of Christ, can we not be assured that God’s Word doesn’t stand in contradiction to the evidence of creation?