Are Science and Faith Really Incompatible?
In 2002 the Council for Secular Humanism produced a manifesto that declared, in part, “”We deplore supernatural terms to explain the universe.”1 They maintained that the realms of science and faith are mutually exclusive and that no physical phenomena can be explained by the activity of a Creator God.
According to this belief, the universe is the product of random chance, — a great cosmic accident. Such a universe would be completely unpredictable. Yet scientists’ observations of the universe depend on a very high degree of predictability.
For instance, we could not launch a satellite into space with any expectation of success if it weren’t for the laws of physics. If it weren’t for math, we could not build highways or erect buildings or manufacture trains, planes, or automobiles. Musicians couldn’t produce any great musical masterpieces. Modern communications and entertainment and navigation and everything else that depends on computers would be impossible.
So what these people are saying, in effect, is that a universe filled with order and symmetry and a great degree of complexity and interdependence occurred by mindless chance.
A Creation Filled With Purpose
But the Bible says the universe was Created by God with a very specific purpose in mind. It was to show Himself to mankind in all His limitless perfections and to reveal man’s duty toward Him as his Creator and the source of every good gift. Psalm 19 says:
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.” (Ps 19:1-4)
The entire universe is a silent witness to the creative work of an all-wise, all-powerful God. The Apostle Paul reiterates this thought when writing to the Romans in the New Testament, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Rm 1:19-20)
The Supremacy of Revelation Over Discovery
The Bible tells us many things about nature that science has not been able to explain. One of the most interesting things was revealed over 4000 years ago but was unknown to scientists until only very recently. It has to do with one of the ancient patriarchs of the Jewish people named Jacob and his uncle Laban. Both were shepherds.
Jacob had agreed to work seven years for Laban in exchange for his younger daughter’s hand in marriage. But Laban tricked him by secretly substituting his elder daughter on Jacob’s wedding night and then requiring another seven years of labor for the privilege of marrying his younger daughter. Not only did Laban cheat Jacob in this regard, but he also kept changing the terms of his employment to his own advantage, despite the fact that Laban’s flocks had multiplied greatly under Jacob’s management. So Jacob devised a plan to get the upper hand. He convinced his uncle to keep the best of the flock while he would take only those sheep that were discolored. Laban agreed, but then once again deceived Jacob by separating out the speckled sheep before Jacob could claim them.
The book of Genesis describes how Jacob got even:
“Then Jacob took fresh sticks of poplar and almond and plane trees, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the sticks. He set the sticks that he had peeled in front of the flocks in the troughs, that is, the watering places, where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred when they came to drink, the flocks bred in front of the sticks and so the flocks brought forth striped, speckled, and spotted. And Jacob separated the lambs and set the faces of the flocks toward the striped and all the black in the flock of Laban. He put his own droves apart and did not put them with Laban’s flock.” (Genesis 30: 37-40 ESV)
This episode sounded foreign to our modern ears until just a few years ago when scientists discovered the phenomenon of “epigenetics.” It was first observed back in 1944 when the Nazis cut off the food supply to the Netherlands. As a result of starvation, many babies were born with health problems like diabetes and heart disease. The odd thing was that these children passed the same characteristics on to their own children a generation later, despite the fact that they weren’t malnourished. Somehow these traits had become imprinted on their DNA.
Not until 2008 did molecular geneticists figure how such alien characteristics could be passed from one generation to the next. Apparently, starvation released certain chemicals that turn portions of the DNA on or off, causing permanent genetic changes that could be inherited. These chemicals are the free amino acids methionine and choline.
To test this hypothesis, scientists experimented with a certain breed of mouse. They discovered that these chemicals caused the fur of their offspring to appear speckled. The same effect could be observed in other animals with similar fur. Interestingly, these chemicals grow under the bark of poplar, almond, and plane trees, the very same trees from which Jacob took the branches that he peeled and put into the watering troughs.2 So either Jacob had somehow stumbled upon this phenomenon on his own, an unlikely prospect, or God had revealed it to him in some way.
Some So-Called Bible Myths
Before the discovery of epigenetics, many people discounted this Bible story as a myth just like the accounts of people living nearly 1000 years before a flood destroyed the entire earth. But there again a scientist who re-created conditions based on the biblical account of the pre-flood world was able to grow cotton plants that were 2 to 3.5 times larger than normal plants after just 35 days of growth. His model was based on the Hebrew description of creation in the Old Testament. Computer modeling suggested that the “waters above the earth” described in Genesis1:6-8 were actually encapsulated by an ultra-thin crystalline film that was supported and sustained by the earth’s magnetic field. This film would not only have filtered out harmful radiation, but increased atmospheric pressure and CO2 to optimum levels that would have yielded much longer lifespans and enormous growth. The higher pressure would also have yielded optimal saturation rates of oxygen in the blood, promoting total retention of fetal brain cells and greatly enhancing intelligence. It also would have produced a magenta hue in the sky and an electromagnetic field that further enhanced growth. This thin layer would have acted as a prism that revealed the full spectrum of starlight, causing a panoply of color at night and acting as a radio transmitter that picked up sound waves emitted by stars. This ‘star music’ would explain the Bible passage in Job that says:
Given these near optimum conditions for life on earth, human beings would have lived longer, and been much stronger and more intelligent. This likely explains the very advanced level of knowledge of ancient peoples that modern science has attributed to alien visits from outer space.
A Different World
Clearly the world as God first created it must have been dramatically different from the one we live in today. According to the book of Genesis, that world was drastically altered by a global flood. Creationists tell us that the waters that “burst forth” from beneath the earth to precipitate that flood as described in Genesis 7:11 would have been under so much pressure that they would have created geysers that were 10 to 70 miles high.3 These geysers would have destroyed the film that encapsulated the earth, causing torrential downpours. The water that poured down upon the earth would have been subject to enormous lunar tides occurring twice daily, piling up the huge sedimentary layers that now cover the globe and contain fossils of all the creatures destroyed by the deluge. Thermonuclear radiation created by super heated underground water would have melted the earth’s crust in some places while cracking it in others, creating the great Tectonic plates that cause today’s earthquakes. The result would have been the formation of giant mountain ranges and deep ocean basins that ultimately absorbed the water that had inundated the globe. Scientists tell us that there is enough water in the oceans to cover a flat world such as the pre-flood world to a depth of over 1.5 miles.
False Assumptions Lead to Wrong Conclusions
Scientists base all of their conclusions about origins on the assumption that the world they observe today has been undergoing slow but uniform change since the very beginning. They do not factor in the cataclysmic effects of a world wide flood. If they did, their conclusions about origins would be very different. This view of science is called uniformitarianism and it is described this way in the Bible, “scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “…ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished” (2 Peter 3:5-6).
Today we are faced with a constant barrage of contradictory information presented as scientific fact by evolutionists and their allies in the media and academia. To hold a different point of view can be very intimidating. Yet actual scientific findings continue to corroborate the Bible. Scientists’ try to explain away the inconsistencies in their theories rather than acknowledge the obvious truth of the Bible. We must always be aware that there are things God knows that scientists have yet to discover or may never know.