As I a part-time observer of science, I have come to the conclusion that many scientists who are Christians are not comfortable with talking about Genesis or the fact that Jesus claimed to be the ultimate creator and designer of the universe.
If we take Genesis at face value, like many sections of the New Testament, namely Colossians, it should point us to the fact that, if Jesus was who he said he was, he did not need a lot of people, philosophers, scientists, to do what he claimed to do. Even more so, who God said he was and did does not depend on scientific discovery. Scientific discovery should only confirm it, to a greater or lesser extent.
Scientific discovery (or questions) can be kind of like when, at the end of Job, he asks God a question and God does not answer him. Why doesn't he answer him? Because he is God and does not have to give a response. Likewise with scientific discovery: God is not always going to provide answer, because he doesn't have to.
Secular scientists take this and run with it, giving all kinds of explanations for origins that exclude God from the equation, in the process dismissing God, relegating him to a carpenter to said some strange things. But part of this dismissing God, whether we like it or not, is the explanation that how we got here did not depend on God, it was evolution. Therefore it's nature and man that deserves the credit, not God. And certainly not a God who came to earth as a man and lived as a carpenter. How much more unscientific can that be?
There is an exclusivity to Christianity that I think contradicts much of scientific discussion in regard to origins. What I see today, in popular, secular science (that taught in the majority of secular schools) is that if there is a God, he has to fit in with scientific discovery. What this means is that the next scientific discovery could knock out Jesus and only add to the proofs that Jesus was an insignificant militant philosopher instead of the savior of the world.
An example of this is the questions about how we got here, how the earth got here, how the universe was formed, etc. After reading Genesis, the answer to these questions should be easy: God (Jesus) said it, and it happened. But tell this to a scientist, whether you are a Christian or not, and you will probably get a scornful look, and be dismissed. Scientists are more sophisticated in attempting to explain this, but many scientists who try to explain how we got here sound like these went to the college of science fiction; the ideas are so bizarre that one can't believe that they are scientists.
Many Christian scientists attempt to backwards engineer Genesis, to hedge their bets. In other words, Genesis must be true because of the fossil record. But what if the fossil record contradicts the Bible? I'm not say this so that we will ignore the fossil record. But much of it is used to ignore the Bible and Genesis. (If you know of a secular university department that does not do this, please let me know).
This is what I would call basic non-objective science, or a kind of science that naturally adds a flaw to arguments about origins. If at the outset, you eliminate one possibility because of a personal bias, then what good is your reasoning. This is why much of what Richard Dawkins says about origins is suspect, because of his basic hostility to Christianity and God. He has an antipathy to Christians who believe in the Bible and think that it negatively impacts in their thinking in regard to science. (Many secular scientists believe that Christians should not become scientists).
It's important to acknowledge this antipathy, and the fact that it's not necessarily because of Christians or that they present what may be wrong or irrational arguments. Like in Jesus day, people who should have believed in Jesus did not for many reasons. I see this theme in Christian thinkers today however; it's popular to bash Christians and say, "Well that's why they have not accepted Christ or the Genesis account. They haven't heard the right explanation."
I think belies history, the facts, and probably even how God is working. Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins are not the first scientists who think that believing in Genesis account to explain how we got here in not objective science, and they won't be the last. There are lots of secular explanations that are popular but completely irrational, much more so that the Christian explanation that God created. When the Cosmos series was popular in explaining how we got here, it did not consult the Bible. The explanation was that the earth was a microscopic blue dot all alone in the universe, without significance.
[I share that about Cosmos because if you were a scientist who is a Christian in the days of Cosmos, and it did not align with your Genesis beliefs, you very well might have to endure a lot of scorn from the a lot of scientists if you differed with that view. You might even lose you job.
But that's just one issue that can marginalize Christians from the secular scientific culture that we live in. In many university departments, even floating the idea that macro evolution may not explain how we got here could end your career in public universities. Some professors have the good fortune of being free to disagree, but there are not many departments like that.]
But this is a poor explanation for who we got here on earth. For one thing, it tells us that are lives are pretty much meaningless because we like the very small speck in Horton Hears a Who. The problem is that for secular scientists, there is no Horton to hear us and know that we are here. Neither is there a God. Taken literally, this can mean that are lives here on earth are pretty much pointless.
The popular scientific explanation for how the earth and the universe was formed will never be tested because it's a pretty big universe. We can look to really smart people like Stephen Hawking, but even his ideas are merely propositions, theories that can't be tested. One is that the universe expanded and contracted, if I may paraphrase one of them. But what we have here on earth that is as powerful as the force needed to construct a universe is an atom bomb, and it's not very constructive. And there is really no first cause that we can detect in the universe scientifically.
What we are left with is really no explanation outside of the idea that something must greater than what we know about scientific discovery here on earth allowed it to take place, or created it. If we follow the facts, it should at least cause us to consider that a guy who claimed to be God might have done it. But that can be a hard step for many people and scientists who are hardened to any idea that God may have had a hand in it. It may also mean that they should also consider the possibility that he is a loving God who wants to have a relationship with them. Many are simply not ready for that.
In short, I think it's important for confessing scientists to be real in regard to secular thinking in regard to science and the Bible. If many of the ideas related to evolution and its adherents seek to diminish belief in the Bible and Jesus, let's be honest about it. Our secular culture, in many ways, simply does not like the exclusivity of the Bible and belief in Jesus. This should not keep Christians from wanting to be excellent scientists. Just the opposite: knowing that a loving God created what we see should get us excited about exploring more of it and making more discoveries.
© 2018 Larry Ingram
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as on topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
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