Science versus Revelation

By John Henderson

I read of a “debate” recently at a Nazarene university where two participants were invited to present the creationist position as opposed to the evolutionary position.  That was for just one session among others where they were not included.  The report indicated that the creationists were not in friendly territory and their message showed no indications of being well-received.  I did note that one of the pro-evolution representatives is a Nazarene elder who has never, to my knowledge, given a clear testimony of ever having been born again but submits himself as an expert on Wesleyanism.

As tragic as it is that this went on in a Nazarene supported school with no repercussions from the denomination in any way, I want to use that as a backdrop to address the idea of science—the very thing evolutionists completely hang their argument on so far as their assumed evidence is concerned.  In spite of the fact there are those who attempt to meld theology with evolutionism, I am in full agreement with atheistic evolutionists that theology of any sort is in no way compatible with evolutionism. Both are mutually exclusive. The evolutionists readily scoff at the very idea and see it as a joke.  I agree, except I am not laughing.

In a way, I take it personally for two reasons.  The first has to do with my unmoving commitment to revelational truth as put forth in the inerrant Scriptures.  The other reason is related to my own training and experiences in academic research principles.  I will deal with only the latter here.

Fundamentally speaking, science is no more than a system of observation, discovery, and interpretation of what has been discovered and observed.  Interpretation is that which attempts to make sense of what has been discovered and observed and it is often a mixture of much subjectivity and enough objectivity to offer a sense of credibility.

A true scientist recognizes that he or she is always faced with at least four major obstacles in research:  missing information, point in time, uncontrollable influences (variables), and bias in interpretation.  In other words, no science is absolutely certain of anything at any point in time.  That is why it is always changing in the face of new data and ways of thinking.  It is even honest enough to come up with what is called a margin of error because it recognizes the potential weaknesses in its own research.

Because of these weaknesses, science is not a highly reliable tool in supporting interpretations. Even hard evidence, as in chemistry, is subject to being misinterpreted. Many times researchers have come away with egg on their faces because new data has destroyed their former assumptions about the previous data.  This fluid condition is a given albatross in legitimate research.  That is why it is an ongoing process and that is why things in life are being improved across time with “new” discoveries and developments.

Essentially beginning a scientific investigation is to start with what is called a null hypothesis.  The null hypothesis says that you have come up with an idea about something after looking and poking around a bit but that your initial assumptions about it are not true because they have not been proven true.  The research that follows attempts to prove the null hypothesis—that your initial assumptions cannot be proved.  If the results do not support the null hypothesis, you then make the opposite assumptions (interpretations) that the data is probably true, given a few qualifications:  point in time, conditions of the research, unknown and uncontrollable factors influencing results, etc. that lead to the assumption of a margin of error.

When all of this is applied to the various disciplines of research, it becomes even more problematic.  As you move from “pure” science (that in which every variable is controlled, but still imperfectly—you let in only those variables you want for that study into a “closed” environment),  into an open environment, such as some social research involving questionnaires and people-responses, the researcher’s control is drastically reduced.  One can never be certain in those environments that the interpretations are certain because the data are so mixed with uncontrolled variables it comes down to making interpretations about something very narrow and highly unreliable, especially when generalized outside of the research parameters.  One ends up with “results” that, at best, can be claimed to maybe be valid and reliable for that particular set of variables at that particular point in time in that particular environment.

Evolutionists of all stripes manage to dance around all of these obstacles to come forth with such “certainty” that would make an angel blush with shame.  When a “theologian” presumes to relegate the Scriptures to scrutiny by science, that “theologian” is treading in the quicksand of faulty logic and highly unreliable and unpredictable authority.  They are taking the Scriptures that exist on absolute certainty by virtue of divine revelation and arbitrarily making them amenable to science which isn’t even sure of itself at any point in time.  In other words, they are basically making it up as they go.

It is tremendously foolish to presume that biblical truth can be measured by science, so-called (that is a quote from the Scriptures).  Science depends solely on the outcome of creation, not the other way around.  We know creation in two ways:  the heavens declare the glory of God and the Bible provides an accurate account of the creation.  Granted, the creation is not a step-by-step description but is panoramic.  Someone has rightly said that the Bible does not contain all that God knows.

There is more to God than is revealed in the pages of the Bible.  Enough is said to inform us of what we need to know according to His will for us.  I cannot build a computer but I can use one.  I cannot build a car but I can drive one.  All of life is like that.  I know what I need to know without having to know everything there is to know about anything. Someone once asked a Christian if he was not bothered by the things in the Bible he did not understand.  He replied that that was not what concerned him.  What concerned him was what he did understand.

Dr. Gran’pa
(John Henderson)

 

Related Article:  http://www.worldmag.com/2014/03/defending_design

 

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2 responses to “Science versus Revelation

  1. Manny, an excellent article by Dr. Gran’pa. As you know, “Nazarenes Exploring Evolution” (which has strong ties to the “Bio Logos Foundation”), are strong advocates for changing the COTN manual’s portion on creation to include evolution. My response to them.

    As a Christian, “Is evolution necessary?” I offer the following response. Bio Logos offers many abstract questions in support of evolution reinforced with theoretical solutions for acceptance and proposed changes to Christianity. There website attempts to explain why someone should blindly accept their scientific logic. I would like to comment upon the summation to their question; “Why should Christians consider evolutionary creation?” In addition, their assertion concerning evolution aids evangelism among scientist.

    1st. “Why should Christians consider evolutionary creation?” Their rationale, “Because evolution is a challenging subject, many Christians are tempted to simply ignore or reject it. Yet considering evolutionary creation has important benefits for Christians both in our relationship with the Creator, and with our relationships with other people—believers and non-Christians alike.”

    As a Christian, I do not see any benefit beyond Scripture where evolution could possibly provide that would cause me to be a stronger believer. Just the opposite would occur, unless I believed some cosmic explosion is how it all got started. It is more beneficial for me to ignore evolution than accept its claim upon how creation began. Why, because each time scientists discovers something new it would change the truth involving his or her perception about creation involving their evolutionary/creator God. Science would now become the driving force established as truth and not God who is truth, would now become suspect. I make that prediction based upon their next assertion. The Church’s stand concerning sin and salvation would take on a new meaning and be constantly open to skepticism and false teachings involving many antidotes to the sin problem, of which no doubt would conflict with Scripture concerning man’s sinful condition.

    2nd. “Considering evolution aids evangelism among scientists” Their logic, “Understanding evolution can aid evangelism to those who work in science and technology fields, whereas anti-evolution and anti-science attitudes in the church can hinder evangelism to scientists. While atheism among scientists is actually less common than the popular stereotype, a recent study indicated that over 80% of top scientists do not attend worship services regularly and likely do not know Jesus as their savior.”

    I am not sure how evolution can aid evangelism to those who work in science unless it elevates science above God’s word by ignoring portions of it that does not fit their agenda. It is sad if scientist is waiting for a thunderbolt (figuratively speaking meaning evolution) from heaven before they can accept Christ, they have a long wait ahead of them. Jesus made it very clear in Luke 16: 19-31 the story of the rich man and Lazarus. You recall both died, from there the story differs. The rich man in torment wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers. Abraham told them they have Moses and the prophets and if they would not hear Moses and the prophets neither would they though one rise from the dead.

    I believe I can safely say upon the authority of Scripture that the acceptance of evolution would not be the answer persuading any scientist to accept Christ. They will have to accept Christ as any sinner would for what He did for them on Calvary, whether or not the Church ever accepts evolution. What is hard for most people too accept is humankind is in no position to bargain with God as if their vocation in life grants special privileges. God is not partial nor does He show partiality and there are no special provisions made for any class of persons. .

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