Here is a reality: both science and the Christian religion are human endeavors. As a result, both scientific thought and religious thought are dependent on the mindsets of the thinkers. This is why different scientists can look at the same scientific discoveries and come up with differing explanations; likewise, different theologians can look at the same scriptures and come up with different interpretations.
Somehow, over time, science and the Christian religion have been pitted against each other to such an extent that some on each side look at the other side with distrust and scorn. And, to make the situation even worse, there are so many “theories” on each side … differences of opinions that only add to the confusion. Sometimes it seems like not only is our earth going around in circles, but our knowledge is, too.
Recently, one of my brothers and I were having a discussion about how all of us operate from our own personal paradigms. Because of the contexts of our individual lives, each of us have a framework of personal experiences that color everything we perceive. This is why a group of people, who see the exact same event at the exact same time, will often give differing accounts of that event. We all have realities that we individually live in. So, a person who has had a horrible experience with a church might well deny any notion of our universe being created by a higher being while a person who failed science in school might eschew scientific theories. The ways we handle science and religion are often as varied as our personal experiences are.
What we may tend to not understand is that there is a common reality to all of us–a reality that is not dependent upon our individual paradigms. All the different scientific and religious “takes” about the world/universe we live in does not change that fact. So, the question becomes how do we know and understand this reality that is not dependent on anyone’s paradigm? Perhaps, the answer is found in Isaiah 1:18 when God spoke these words through the prophet, ” ‘Come now and let us reason together … ‘ “. Of course, to reason with God demands that we at least believe that He might be part of our common reality. While the Bible is based on the concept of the reality of God, scientists have not yet disproven God through empirical evidence, have they? So, we could very well come to know and understand our common reality if we take a chance on God and ask Him to reason with us.
To find the common reality, we probably should lay aside our personal paradigms as much as possible. One way we could do that is to compare scientific discoveries and what the Bible says in order to find connections that might explain our world/universe. Over the years, I have come to see that what science has discovered and what the Bible says are the two sides of the coin of reality–science provides the investigative reporting while the Bible provides the press releases. If we approach both science and the Bible as works of progressive knowledge and understanding, we may well find they are in agreement with very little contradiction.
As part of my quest to know and understand God and the Bible, I have spent much time researching scientific discoveries and have located a number of perceived conflicts between science and the Christian religion. One that many of us are familiar with is the Old Earth vs. the New Earth argument. Science talks about the earth being billions of years old while religion talks about it being thousands of years old. So, in March, 2014, I was talking to God about the disagreement and asked Him to give scientists a clear-cut understanding of how old the earth really is—I even mentioned that perhaps there could be something like tree rings that would prove the number of times the earth revolved around the sun. (That is all time is—the earth going around in circles—and the only place where time is even relevant is here on the earth.) Well, God answered my prayer: in February, 2015, scientists reported that they had discovered that the earth’s inner core could be read like tree rings. I kid you not; needless to say, I was amazed at God’s blatant answer to my prayer. As the scientists continue to seek answers, many questions may finally be answered. I won’t be surprised if the reality is that God created the universe in eternity (billions of years is basically eternity) and started time once Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden (whether literally or figuratively). We shall see.
In my next post, we are going to answer the question of “Who is God?” Science is so close to discovering Him …