The Bible and Science series: Part 2
What is the most controversial topic in church today? In other words, what is the least likely to feature airtime from the pulpit on Sundays? Is it gay marriages, LGBT rights and homophobia? Is it premarital sex or abortion? What about the existence of the devil and hell, which is now being questioned by some? Or even key foundation truths like Jesus’s virgin birth and supernatural resurrection?
With the rise of modern science as an authoritative voice, more and more Christians are starting to doubt miraculous claims in the Bible – because of the obvious scientific impossibility of miracles. As we mentioned in the previous article, because of the purely naturalistic presuppositions of modern science, it attempts to explain everything by means of purely naturalistic causes. None more so than the miraculous creation of heaven, earth and life as described in Genesis. Science is not satisfied with ‘God did it’ as an answer to our origins. The Big Bang – however unlikely – is scientifically more acceptable. Evolution of all life from a common ancestor is a better ‘scientific’ explanation than God creating ‘everything after his kind’ (Gen 1:21,25).
These two contrasting views of our origins – the purely natural scientific theory and the purely supernatural Creation account of Genesis – have been in conflict for longer than just the past two centuries since Lyell[i] and Darwin. Unfortunately because of the apparent authority of science, many Christians – even church leaders – have traded their belief in a supernatural creation for a purely naturalistic origin. So much so that in my opinion this has become the most controversial topic in the church today.
It is more acceptable for a pastor to stand up in church and talk about homosexuality and abortion than it is to talk about evolution. Chances are that if he takes a stand against evolution, he would offend more church members (that are pro-evolution) than if he were to preach against homosexuality or abortion! And the irony is that moral issues that deal with human rights like homosexuality and abortion, have their roots in Genesis – the very book being attacked by scientists and humanists. If we can no longer believe what God said about Creation, how can we believe what He said about sin, sexuality and the Saviour?
‘Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.’[ii]
No matter how hard Christians try and compromise the Word of God with evolutionary theory (Day-Age theory, Gap theory etc.) in order not to look scientifically stupid, the truth is that one cannot combine a theory that attempts to explain our origins apart from God, with the Bible that attributes everything to God! Not only is it impossible – it is outright dangerous. Many people have lost faith altogether because of the strong and convincing voice of secular science that explains away God.
A prime example is Charles Templeton. During Billy Graham’s early career as an evangelist in Canada and the U.S., he had a colleague called Charles Templeton. On fire for God and an effective evangelist. Charles then started studies where he got confronted with the secular scientific view of our origins. It was so well presented that it even convinced an on-fire evangelist like Charles Templeton. In a later letter to Billy Graham, Charles admitted;
‘But, Billy, it’s simply not possible any longer to believe, for instance, the biblical account of creation. The world wasn’t created over a period of days a few thousand years ago; it has evolved over millions of years. It’s not a matter of speculation; it’s demonstrable fact.’[iii]
The end result of Charles Templeton’s slippery slide into unbelief was his autobiography, titled ‘Farewell to God: my reasons for rejecting the Christian faith’.
It is good that pastors tackle controversial topics like gay marriage and abortion, and take back the moral high ground that the church has ceded in silence. But it is more important that pastors address the credibility of the Bible as the infallible Word of God, which forms the basis of what we believe about morality. And none more so than defending Genesis, the most attacked and ridiculed book in the Bible.
[i] Charles Lyell is seen as the father of modern geology. He was arguably the most successful in convincing the academia and church that the earth is much older than the Bible claims, by referring them to the slow geological processes now in operation. Before then, it was generally accepted that the geology was catastrophically formed during Noah’s Flood. Charles Darwin’s thinking was greatly influenced by this new concept of deep time.
[ii] G. Richard Bozarth, ‘The Meaning of Evolution’, American Atheist, p. 30, February 1978.
[iii] Templeton, C., Farewell to God, McClelland & Stewart, Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, p. vii, 1996.