Science and the Bible don’t speak for themselves. They need theologians and scientists to do the talking for them. But the conversation between the two has done more damage than good and created more conflict than peace, when it’s possible that both are quite happy to live and let live.
When a theologian tells me that Genesis can only lead to six-day creationism, I think that’s a poor interpretation of the Bible.
When a scientific-minded person tells me that evolution can only lead to atheism, I think that’s a poor interpretation of science.
A scientifically-minded person may accept the evolutionary theory because that’s what science tells him. But when he takes it to mean that God does not exist, he has begun to say things that science does not say.
He has left science and leapt into philosophy, while trying to convince us that science is the one doing all the talking.
A theological person may accept that God exists because that’s what the Bible tells her. But when she takes it to mean that evolution isn’t true, she has begun to say things that the Bible does not say.
She has left theology and leapt into religion, while trying to convince us that God is doing all the talking.
Most of the conflict between science and faith is perpetuated by people who take one of these two positions. I don’t think either view does justice to the Bible or to science.
I can’t speak for scientifically-minded people who are represented by atheistic scientists; but as a Christian, I feel misrepresented by some creationists who equate faith in God with suspicion of science.
I don’t offer a challenge to the idea that evolution is true, but I do contest the idea that the Bible is incompatible with evolution.
I don’t offer a challenge to the idea that six-day creationism is true, but I do contest the idea that evolution is incompatible with the Bible.
In an interview with El Mundo, newly crowned Nobel Laureate, Peter Higgs argued that although he was not a believer, he thought science and religion were not incompatible.
He said, “The growth of our understanding of the world through science weakens some of the motivation which makes people believers. But that’s not the same thing as saying they’re incompatible.” He also said, “I don’t happen to be one [a religious believer] myself, but maybe that’s just more a matter of my family background than that there’s any fundamental difficulty about reconciling the two.”
Alvin Platinga is described by TIME Magazine as ‘America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God.’
In an interview with Christianity Today, he said, “What Christianity tells us, what theistic religion generally tells us, is that God has created the world and created human beings in his image. He could have done that through a variety of means. And that point goes all the way back to the 19th century. Some of the Princeton theologians—Charles Hodge, for example—said exactly that shortly after Darwin’s theory of evolution appeared. It’s not a new thought at all.”
There is a place for faith and science to be friends. There is a better conversation than the tired history of the alleged conflict between science and the Bible, perpetuated by people to exploit a rivalry that doesn’t really exist.
Both science and faith invite thinking people to a responsible philosophy that makes room for the two of them to coexist, peacefully. If our thinking can begin with what unites us, then perhaps our hearts will begin to be more loving; and our faith, or science, may be a little more inviting.
Image Credit: Thomas Hawk