Question 6: Has science disproved the Bible?
There is a feeling among some that science has been so successful in explaining the world around us that we no longer need to invoke ideas of God or the supernatural. There is a sense that faith in God is somehow superstitious or anti-scientific and that those who resort to such beliefs have abandoned their reason.
Several points need to be made in response to these charges.
Firstly it is worth noting that this idea is not widespread among scientists themselves. While some scientists are hostile to religious belief, other have been drawn toward belief through their scientific studies rather than despite them. The world that is revealed by modern science is one of intricate beauty and fine balance and, for some scientists, the only explanation for this beauty and balance is the influence of a powerful and ingenious Designer.1
Second it is important to realise that, despite the many great achievements of science, there are significant areas where science finds itself completely unable to give an explanation. At the most basic level, for example, science cannot explain where the universe came from or why it continues; Why do the laws of nature remain in place? What causes the fundamental forces that hold the cosmos together?
More seriously, science by itself tends to produce barren and unsatisfying answers when considering the important aspects of human existence. When science tries to explain why love is important it ends up talking about brain-chemistry and the instinct for survival and procreation. When scientists try to understand good and evil or beauty or free-will without reference to anything other than science they inevitably conclude that such things are simply illusions created by drive to breed and feed.
But of course these are the questions that Christianity answers best.
Love is important because God is love and has made us to know and love him. We find the world beautiful because it was designed for us to enjoy and delight in. We are troubled in our consciences because we have turned away from the God who gave us everything that we have and are. The ultimate goal of human existence is not survival of genetic material but love and relationship with God.
In the end there should be no conflict between Christianity and science. The Bible is not really concerned with the mechanisms that God might use to sustain the world nor can science answer the questions of why the world was made in the first place. Both describe different aspects of creation.
1 Examples include: former Cambridge Professor of Mathematical physics (and now Anglican clergyman) John Polkinghorne who sees God as the only persuasive explanation for the way the Universe is fine-tuned to produce life; Top-level biochemist Michael Behe who has championed the theory that cell functionality is too complex to have evolved or even Professor Paul Davies who hints at a divine legislator responsible for the laws of physics.
For more information:
- Read Is the New Testament History by Bp Paul Barnett