How should a Christian approach science that seems to defy the Bible?
This is a BIG issue. Many people automatically reinterpret the Bible story to be a metaphor. But, this is extremely problematic. The Bible itself does not give you a diagram on how to interpret it… literal or metaphor. Taking this approach seems to render the scriptures useless in debate. I think the only thing we should agree on is that the Bible should be our starting point in how we live our lives and how we see the world… NOT the other way around.
If we were to start with the Bible and say.. ok, the Bible says we all come from this original couple, is there any evidence to confirm this? Well, actually yes. Not too long ago the world actually believed the different races were different human races that evolved at different times in different ways (in fact, some still do). The Human Genome Project defied this and discovered that we are ALL one race. We are all human and equal. We are all a different shade of brown – some lighter some darker. There are no actual races. Therefore we could have come from one original couple as long as they were a middle brown color, as we would expect from middle eastern culture.
Well, what about all the evidence FOR evolution that says we can’t have come from one couple? We can’t just ignore this, right? No, we can’t. BUT remember our starting point – the Bible. Can the Bible make sense of this evidence? Yes. The biggest of these is the dating methods of millions/billions of years. Evolution requires that length or else it could have never happened. So, is there a Biblical answer for why scientists come up with that long of lengths? I believe there is!
Radiometric dating takes a rock and looks at a particular isotope’s observed decay rates and extrapolates that rate through all of history to declare a starting date for that rock. BUT there are too many assumptions at play for that date to be accurate. Take this example: you walk into a room with an hourglass pouring sand in the middle of its cycle. You want to determine how long it has been going for. You measure the rate at which the sand is going through. You extrapolate that back to determine the sand has been falling for 4.5 billion years. BUT you don’t really know if all the sand was on the top when it was originally turned over. You also don’t know if the hourglass was ever interrupted. You have assumed it has never was interrupted and that it was full when started.
The assumptions (that they do not mention) are that:
1) all things must have a materialistic explanation (rules out the supernatural completely)
2) all things operate at the same rate at which they always have (this is based on modern observances, but factors out supernatural events such as a 6-day creation and worldwide flood)
Now, if a 6-day literal creation and worldwide flood actually happened what kind of effect might that have on the evidence? Well, if the world was really created in 6 days then everything (rocks, trees, animals, people) would have literally popped into existence mid-life cycle… giving the appearance of age without actual age. In other words Adam would have appeared as an adult but actually only been a day old. This concept then also applies to everything else including the rocks we use to measure the age of the earth.
Some people claim this would be deception on God’s part, but I disagree. It only appears like deception if you initially ignored the information in the Bible. You remember our starting point, right?? Not deception, ignorance.
There are also several PhD scientists testing theories that the worldwide flood may have cause decay rates to increase. I’m not too up on the science of all that, but it does go to follow that when God intervenes in the world – things change… so assumption 2 above would fail.
Also good to note is that if the fall did happen as the Bible lays out, the world was also altered during this. Therefore we are studying a broken, changed version of the original creation and claiming we know how it all happened… by ignoring what he told us all along how it happened!
If we reinterpret the Bible every time science decides something could not have happened that way, then we’ve basically said that science = infallible and the scriptures = fallible. I think most arm-chair scientists are not willing to admit that when it comes to issues or origins (past events), it is not hard facts, it is interpretations of past events based on a starting set of assumptions. If their starting assumptions are correct, the logic follows. But Christians who accept the Bible as truth have no reason to accept their starting assumptions.
In conclusion, when you start with an assumption that the Bible is true when you approach the science, we can accurately reinterpret it with what the scientists may have ignored, and nothing contradicts a literal creation, Biblical narrative.