Are Science and the Bible in Conflict? - We Need the Owner's Manual

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 21, 2014 0 comments

by Logan Ames

I recently bought a 2011 Kia Optima, which is by far the newest vehicle I have ever owned. Before that, I had a 2000 Saturn that I bought in 2003 and drove for over ten years. Toward the end of that car’s run, I often complained about all the things that were wrong with it. However, I knew the car and was very comfortable operating and managing it. It had very little of the newer technology that is built into vehicles these days, so there wasn’t a lot to learn. The transition from a much older vehicle to the Saturn back in 2003 was simple because there was very little I hadn’t seen before. My recent transition was just the opposite. Many of the controls on the Kia are things to which I have not been accustomed. They may not be “new” for Kia or for most drivers, but they were unknown to me. My only options in learning the car would be to talk to someone who had driven one just like it, meet its original maker, or read the provided owner’s manual. I’m not in contact with its original maker and knew no one who owned an Optima, so I had to use the manual!

I’ll gladly admit that when I think about the question posed in this week’s blogs, I have a hard time comprehending why we even ask this question. That’s probably because science didn’t come as easy for me as other subjects in school and my interest level with it was never very high. For me, I’ve never really bought into the “knowledge is power” cliché. I’ve not been eager to find out how the universe works. It’s always been easy for me to accept what I don’t know regarding the world and to ask questions about things I need to know. I believe this comes from being outside a lot as a child, looking at the mountains and the stars and instantly having to accept that certain things are way beyond my understanding. And that’s just in this world! I had the chance to go to the Creation Museum in Kentucky last year and watched a presentation on just how microscopic the earth is in terms of the rest of the universe!

It is impossible for us to understand God beyond what he chooses to reveal to us. The reason for this is found in Isaiah 55:9. He says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” This means that whether we want to admit it or not, God is in control. We can try forever, but we’ll never come close to fully understanding him or his creation. Since the word “science” is never mentioned in the Bible, let’s think about the word “knowledge.” I say this because “science” is derived from the Latin “scire”, which means “to know, discern” (Webster). It says in God’s Word, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Proverbs 1:7). Think about what that verse means. It’s the “beginning” of knowledge, meaning whatever you think you know apart from God is actually irrelevant and useless.

So then, what does it mean to fear the Lord? This could be a whole separate discussion, but I’ll just say for the purpose of this discussion that it means to understand that we are NOTHING without him. This means knowing that even our ability to know anything at all comes from him and must be submissive to his will. The desire to know what God has not yet permitted us to know was one of the temptations of the very first sin ever. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, AND ALSO DESIRABLE FOR GAINING WISDOM, she took some and ate it” (Genesis 3:6 [caps mine]). God had told Adam and Eve they could eat from any tree in the garden EXCEPT for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). Before they were tempted, Adam and Eve lived in relationship with God and trusted that everything they needed or wanted would be found in him. When they decided they wanted to know and experience something he hadn’t permitted yet, they brought sin and death into the world.

Since science has to do with the physical world, we must think about to whom the physical world belongs. The answer is in Psalm 24:1, which says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Since we’re comparing science and the Bible, we must also think about who created the Bible. While the words were written by a collection of human authors, 2 Timothy 3:16 says it is all “God-breathed.” That means God has spoken to us through his Word which he revealed to the authors initially. So, it doesn’t seem to me that it’s possible for science to be in conflict with the Bible when God is the Owner and Creator of both. We could say that learning to live in this world is like buying a new car, and the Bible is the “owner’s manual.” The only difference is that this owner’s manual is not our only option. Unlike the scenario when I bought a new car, we can actually talk to the original maker of this world. God has given us the ability to use our minds and has created reason within them, but they still must submit to him. If we want to truly know about this world, seeking its Maker and reading his “manual” are the only methods that will lead to life, hope, and faith rather than a dead end.