Recently there has been much talk and debates around "Creationism vs. Evolution". The argument at its very core is "God vs. Science" or "The Bible vs. Science" as if they contradict. What is right and what is wrong? What is proven and what cannot be proven? And if something cannot be proven then how do we know it's true? If the theory of evolution proves true does that nullify Christianity? Can I be a Christian and believe in evolution at the same time?
God is the Author of Science
The fact is that God and science do not contradict. God is the author of nature and the rules of nature. He's also the creator of humans and their brains which allow them to observe, measure and theorize the rules of nature in a scientific way. If God is the author of science then how can they be at odds? As a matter of fact, God even taught man science! When God created Adam He "took the man He formed and put him in the garden to tend and keep it." (Genesis 2:15) How did Adam know to water the plants unless God taught him how to tend and keep the Garden? "Also, God formed out of the ground all the wild animals of the field and all the birds of heaven, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them..." (Genesis 2:19) Adam gave the animals names according to their nature. It other words Adam would observe a lion and after observing its nature and studying it he would "discover" its name and call it a lion. Isn't that science? Thus God taught man the basics of science so how can they be at odds? And regarding the Bible vs. Science, there's also one author to both, and that is God. So how can they ever contradict?
When the Bible says that the earth was formed in 6 days, how can that be true when science proves that the earth took millions of years to form? That brings us back to the original question: Is the Bible a science book?
What About the Contradictions?
The Bible is not a science book. Its purpose is not to teach science. The Bible is God's word for every human, male or female, adult or child, educated or not educated. It's a story of God's dealings with His people. It was written for all to understand and live by regardless of age, education and level of comprehension. If it was a scientific book, then nobody would understand it except for a few scientists and even then they wouldn't understand all the concepts it in. If it was written in the 20th century's scientific language, then it would become obsolete in the 21st century. This doesn't mean that it contains information that contradicts science. It's just not written in a scientific language using scientific vocabulary and equations. Moreover, when God speaks He doesn't err or contradict science. When men speaks and the Bible records what they say, then they might make some scientific mistakes. Bible records men's mistakes, both scientific and moral mistakes towards God. And God forgives out of His love because he loves man. In short, it is a book that declares God's love for man, not a scientific book.
For example, if I were to say "I watched the sunrise today and it was beautiful" a scientist would tell me that I'm wrong and that the sun doesn't rise, but it's the earth that rotates around its axis causing it to appear that the sun is rising from the frame of reference of any point on the earth. In this case the scientist is right, but completely missed the point I was trying to say! Yes I understand this concept, but I wasn't talking about planetary movement, my point is that it was beautiful! The scientist in this case misunderstood my phrase, focused on the wrong thing, picked on my language and most importantly completely missed the point I was trying to communicate!
Missing the Point
Similarly with the Bible, when it says that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, what is the Bible trying to tell us? The six days weren't obviously 24 hours because the sun was created on the 4th day. Also, we know from fossils that the earth took billions of years to form. So then what is the Bible trying to tell us? Does the Bible tell us that the earth was created in 6 days exactly? That's not what it's saying, just like I wasn't saying that the sun rises. The reader in this case would be completely missing the point.
Is it Literal?
Another group of people quote the verse "... with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (II Peter 3:8) and say Aha, with this verse we can calculate that the earth took six thousand years to form! Again, they're missing the point. The bible doesn't contain equations. All it's trying to say in this verse is that God is above time. When God says He's coming quickly, that could be a day, or a thousand, or more. St. Peter even goes on to clarify saying "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9). This wasn't a biblical equation or a hidden constant to be used as a multiplier. The Bible is not a science book.
What is the Bible Saying?
So then, does the bible contradict science? Of course not! They both coincide but speaking in different languages. For example, the Bible says that on the first day God made light and darkness, day and night, then the second day God made the firmament, divided the waters, then on other days he gathered the waters into seas, separated them from land, then caused the earth to bring forth grass, herbs, fruits, trees, then He made the sun and the moon and the stars, then the animals and birds and after every act of creation He saw that it was good. Then God made man. The question is: What is the Bible saying? What is God trying to tell you? Simply the Bible is narrarating a love story between God and His beloved human! Simply that God spent billions of years to create the earth and make for man a PARADISE! (see Care from the Beginning). As a matter of fact, the very first verse in the Bible "In the Begining God created..." (Genesis 1:1) that's a declaration of the love of God and His goodness and that He wants to have man live in joy. Moreover, it doesn't make sense that God would spend billions of years to form the earth just for Adam to live in it for only a few years and die! Therefore, death is an intruder in this equation and will soon pass away. Now what is science saying? Science says that the earth took billions of years before humans even existed. Isn't science also saying the same thing then? God made the earth and it took billions of years before he formed man! Thus the Bible and science agree that God cares very much about us that He prepared all this for us!
So is it All Symbolic?
We then dealt with one extreme saying that everything in the Bible is literal and that 1 day = 1000 years and we saw that this was wrong. Another extreme is that the whole Bible is fictional stories and nothing ever happened. This is also another incorrect extreme. The Bible has real literal stories with lots of symbolism. We can't simply explain away everything saying that it's symbolic. This is why it is very important to use the Church Fathers and the Holy Tradition as reference. Otherwise, how can we know what is literal and what is not unless guided by the Holy Spirit that is actively working in the Church?
Dear Christian Scientist, if there is a scientific theory that contradicts with the Bible then either science is wrong (yes, scientific theories have gone through many changes and contradictions before settling), or our understanding of the Bible is wrong. Do not hang your faith on a scientific theory extracted from the Bible. That's not the goal of the Bible. Instead, you should hang your faith on God and His Word. Just like the Bible doesn't communicate scientific theories and formulas, science cannot measure eternity. Science is a study of the physical world. It cannot prove or disprove God. You can't have a litmus test to see if a person is going to heaven or not. You can't put God in a measuring tube to study Him or see how He reacts to different stimuli. There is no apparatus that detects the presence of angels. Science is just not designed or well suited for anything else other than the physical world. It just doesn't have the means to prove or disprove this.
Dear Seeker of Christianity, while the methods of how to approach science vs. how to approach God are vastly different, there are still some similarities. For example, before engaging in a study of a natural reality you would first read about it and read its famous books and references as well as reading the works of famous scientists and others who have contributed. Similarly when approaching God you would first start by reading about God, His famous books such as the Bible and some Bible references. You'd also want to read the works of famous theologians who have contributed to our understanding of God. When you want to study in depth a certain natural material, after reading about it you'd want to try it out for yourself by setting up the same controlled environment to do your expieriments (for example follow the rules of physics, control all external stimuli, narrow the degrees of variances, etc...) and see if you can reach the same conclusions that others have reached before you. Similarly with God as well, if you want to experience God for yourself then you'd have to setup the same controlled environment to do you experiments (for example in order to see God you'd have to follow His rules, the ten commandments, be humble, pure in heart, not holding any malice towards anyone, approach Him in prayer, etc..) and see if you would come to the same conclusions as other Christians who have done this before you. However this is just the first step. Now that you know about God, you need to make the most important step which is to go from knowing about God to knowing God. That takes a personal experience with Him.
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