Over 1.3 million scientific papers are published every year and this number is growing rapidly (1)1. Björk, B-C, Roos, A & Lauri, M (2009). Scientific journal publishing: Yearly volume and open access availability. Information Research, 14(1).
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1Peter 3:15).
It is impossible to understand all areas of science.
The growth in scientific knowledge is so great that no-one can understand it all. There are currently well over 3,000 publications produced everyday. Keeping up to date with just a small specialised area of science is becoming difficult, even for experts in the field. God does not expect us to achieve the impossible and understand everything.
In most cases, there is no conflict between science and the Bible. Think about the scientific description of blood transporting oxygen around our bodies bound to a molecule called haemoglobin. There is nothing about this scientific description that conflicts in any way with the Bible. It certainly has nothing to do with the salvation that the Bible speaks about. This is true for most of science. However, in some cases there is a perceived conflict. Scientific literature describes the species observed on earth as having evolved from a common ancestor. This scientific proposition is a point of conflict with the Bible. Conflicts of this type between science and the Bible are rare. Combating science should also be rare.
The source of conflict
Science describes the natural world around us and is an enterprise of the human race. On the other hand, the Bible gives an account of events which happened in the past and provides a hope for the future. It claims to be inspired by God. If both science and the Bible are true, then they will always agree. Yet, we have already seen that conflict can and does arise between the two.
Conflict can arise from short comings on either side of the argument – science or the Bible. Science may describe observations inaccurately or misinterpret these observations. Observations may also be incomplete. On the other hand, the Bible’s message has been interpreted in a wide variety of ways and on the topic of the natural world, its message is incomplete. Conflict arises as a result of one or more of these short comings, and we need to examine each possibility to uncover the truth.
What is needed for salvation?
The Bible describes a number of things that are required for salvation. A partial list includes repentance, belief in Jesus Christ, baptism and faith (Acts 2v38, 16v31, Heb 11v6). God requires us to develop faith in Him as Creator of the world around us. This includes believing that the world is not solely the product of natural forces (Heb 11v3). Faith needs to be a motivating force in our lives.
If an aspect of science challenges our faith, we need to resolve the conflict. We also need to speak about our faith and this may include providing reasoned answers to perceived conflicts with science.
God does not require us to have a comprehensive knowledge of the natural world. Neither does God require an ability to answer to every possible scientific question.
This matters because:
The sheer volume of science can be intimidating. Understanding all of it is impossible. Biblical faith is more important to salvation than combating the small part of science that may appear to contradict the Bible.
|↑1||1. Björk, B-C, Roos, A & Lauri, M (2009). Scientific journal publishing: Yearly volume and open access availability. Information Research, 14(1).|