Does the Bible conflict with science? Does believing in science mean that we can not believe in the Bible? If a Christian believes in science does this mean that they can not believe in the Bible?
Does the Bible Conflict with Science?
The Bible is not a science book and science is not faith-based so there really is no conflict at all in the greater sense, however the Bible did reveal certain scientific facts about the earth before mankind was aware of it. For example, the common belief that the earth was flat was believed for centuries although the Bible clearly revealed that it was spherical. This fact is stated in both the Old and the New Testament: Isaiah said “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in (40:22). Revelation 7:1 says “After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.” This fact was understood by the Old Testament writers long before mankind discovered that earth was round.
God also tells us centuries before it was known, that the earth is suspended in space in Job 26:7, “He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.” Also early in mankind’s history, the belief that the earth was the center of the universe was widespread. This belief was called Heliocentrism. Psalm 19:6 reveals that the sun, the moon, and the earth all have a circuit, “It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.” Here is testimony to the fact that the sun has a circuit. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that the earth is the center of the galaxy.
Does Believing in Science Mean That we Cannot Believe in the Bible?
The above verses indicate that we can believe the Bible and that particular facts in the Bible are scientific, however the Bible is not a book of scientific facts. It is a collection of historical facts, theology, poetry, prophecy, and letters from the apostles. To try and force the Bible into being a book that is scientific is like taking a historical book and trying to make it adhere to scientific facts. It would be like reading Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of theRoman Empireand using it to say that history and science are incompatible. For example, atheists, skeptics, and scientists who state that the Bible teaches that the earth is only 6,000 years old are intentionally making Genesis into time-recorded events. They are extrapolating the meaning of Genesis 1:1 into a time frame that it was never intended to be.
A careful reading of Genesis 1:1 shows that there is no mention of time when God said that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” If we read the entire event, we should take into consideration the entire context of Genesis account both verse one and two: “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” You will notice that the earth was first, created. Then (and no mention of time was given here) we see that the planet was covered with water, and was formless and empty. The Hebrew word used for “formless” was the word “Tohuw” which means it was “formless” and in a state of “chaos”. The amount of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is not mentioned. It could be millions of years for all we know. The event of creation is not intended to be a scientific account of it. It is intended to be a stated fact of history and an account that God is the Creator.
If a Christian Believes in Science Does this Mean that they Cannot Believe in the Bible?
After reviewing the previous scriptures, we see that the Bible is not intended to be a scientific account of creation; however it does establish particular facts about the sun, the earth, and our universe. It states as a matter of fact how man was created. A Christian can believe in science and in the Bible since the Bible was not written for scientists but for those who are seeking a permanent relationship to God. It is a story of redemption. The Bible is the greatest love letter ever written to anyone at any time. Science can not disprove the existence of God nor can it explain the origin of the universe. It is limited in its finite knowledge of the origin of matter and of origin of life. Science can only placate theories, hypothesis, and assumptions. There is no conclusive evidence or absolute proof of where the universe came from and how life began. In fact it takes more faith to believe that the universe came out of nothingness and that life came about on its own than to believe in a causal effect; a Creator Who is the cause for the effect of all there is.
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