Discuss science topics such as creation and evolution and how they relate to Christianity.

The Slippery Slope of Selectively Subjecting Scripture to Scientific Scrutiny

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  • The Slippery Slope of Selectively Subjecting Scripture to Scientific Scrutiny


    by Jason A. Van Bemmel

    As a high school principal at a Christ-centered college preparatory school, I am greatly concerned about and focused on the transition that Christian teens make to college. (Side note: Sammy Rhodes, RUF campus minister at the University of South Carolina has written a wise and insightful article on this topic at Desiring God.) I am convinced that two of the fundamental mistakes we make in preparing our teens for college have to do with their intellect:

    1. Sometimes we neglect their intellect and don't sufficiently equip them with sound apologetics training.
    2. Other times, we place too much weight on the role of the intellect and, out of fear, we do all kinds of intellectual gymnastics to try to reconcile the Gospel and the Scriptures with the dominant secular ideology which they will receive at college.

    Whether we're preparing teens for college, defending the faith in the public square or trying to make sure that Christianity is intellectually credible in the eyes of skeptical secularists, one of the dangerous things we are regularly tempted to do is to water down, modify or explain away portions of Scripture to make them more scientifically credible. The big issue right now in the evangelical world is the historicity of Adam and Eve. Professors at Bryan College, long famous for its anti-evolution and pro-creation position, have quit or threatened to quit over being required to sign a modified statement of faith that clarifies the historical reality of Adam and Eve. The issue was so heated in March that the faculty passed a "no confidence" vote in their college president.

    We are told by committed Christians who are also committed to scientific respectability that it's impossible for all of humanity to have descended from one set of first parents, Adam and Eve. Leading the charge on this issue has been the BioLogos Foundation and Francis Collins. They insist that "all the genomic evidence" argues strongly against the existence of a single man and woman as the ancestors of all humanity. Instead, science posits the simultaneous evolution of thousands of human beings from a lower proto-human life form.

    I don't want to argue the merits of this argument here. Theologically, I can say with confidence that the historical existence of Adam and Eve is central to the Christian faith and the Gospel, as seen in Romans 5 and elsewhere. If we lose the first Adam, the whole doctrine of federal headship and Christ's role as a second Adam is seriously undermined.

    What I am interested in is the seemingly arbitrary selectivity of this scientific scrutiny. Why pick this single issue out of Scripture and make it the hill to die on? I am also concerned about the trajectory of this rejection of Genesis 1-2 as it spreads and undermines the rest of Scripture. After all, what about . . .

    . . . the Tower of Babel? Can we really seriously think that all of humanity was gathered in one city of the plain of Shinar and that they all spoke one language? How does the genomic diversity of humanity account for this?
    . . . the flood? Even if we accept a popular theory that it was not completely worldwide, it's clear that Scripture teaches that all of humanity was destroyed, which means that we are all direct descendants of Noah and his children. Even given the fact that Noah's daughters-in-law add some genetic diversity, we're still taking about tracing all humanity to three couples and the three husbands are all brothers. How is this possible?
    . . . the battle Joshua and the Israelites fought at Gibeon? How can we seriously believe that the sun stood still in the sky for a whole day? This would require that the earth stop rotating, which is impossible and would have severely disrupted life on earth.
    . . . Jonah being swallowed by a fish and then spit up on the beach near Nineveh? This is pretty scientifically implausible, isn't it?
    . . . an angel of the LORD coming down and slaying 185,000 Assyrians in a single night? Is it scientifically credible to believe in angels and to think that such an event really happened?
    . . . God's sign to Hezekiah that he would be healed and live longer - when the shadow on the steps went backward? Again, this would seem to indicate the reversal of the rotation of the earth, a definite impossibility.
    . . . all of the plagues of Exodus?
    . . . all of the miracles of Jesus?

    And, finally, what are we supposed to do with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and His bodily ascension into heaven? People are sometimes resuscitated, but they are never resurrected from the dead with an immortal body that can pass through walls and ascend into heaven.That's scientifically ludicrous, right?

    You can see where this quickly leads, can't you? And we don't have to speculate as to whether or not it would lead to such a wholesale rejection of the miraculous from Scripture, because that's exactly what has already happened in many churches where science was given veto power over the Scriptures decades and centuries ago. Theologically, we have stronger reasons to defend and uphold the historicity of Adam and Eve than we do for almost any of the other supernatural Scriptural events listed above.

    Jesus Himself affirmed the historicity of Adam and Eve (Mark 10:6 and others) and the inerrancy of Scripture (Matt. 5:18). If we claim to be Christians, the authority of our Lord should be sufficient for us. Science is a wonderful gift from God and is a main means by which we subdue creation and exercise dominion. But it must not be empowered with the ability to veto the Bible, for doing so would place human reason in a position of judging divine revelation. That move has never borne good fruit and never can.

  • #2
    The sad reality in this regard is that it comes down to either believing what God's Word says or what those so-called scientists that reject creationism say. I am alarmed by people who claim to be Christian, but reject the creation of Genesis 1 & 2, for what they deem to be scientific proof to the contrary that evolution is what got us here.
    It is also sad to see how many real scientists, who do accept Intelligent Design, are vilified and castigated in the institutions of so-called higher learning. The following is a recent example of how our faith can be used against us.

    B.C. lawyers vote to deny accreditation to conservative Trinity Western University law school over anti-gay sex stance | National Post



    Comment>

    • #3
      Scientists at Cern could prove the controversial theory of ‘rainbow gravity’ which suggests that the universe stretches back into time infinitely, with no Big Bang
      Big Bang theory could be debunked by Large Hadron Collider - Telegraph

      Apparently believing in a God that has always existed is a no-no but believing in a universe that has always existed is credible science!
      Comment>

      • #4
        I have heard a little about this Bede, but no matter how much man can experiment and understand, He will never KNOW God, especially if he is not even willing to consider Him or respond to His leading.

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