Bible and Science 2

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Lesson 2  

What Is Science ? 

Right from the beginning of this study you should understand the difference between science and technology. Science deals with the study of the physical world while technology deals with application of scientific knowledge. For example, studying the effect of combustion is science, while using internal combustion to make cars is technology. Technology can sometimes make great progress without understanding the underlying scientific principles.  

Many ancient civilizations made tremendous progress in their technology — this includes the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and the Indians. The incredible constructions left by the ancient Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs surprises everyone even today. But very few of these civilizations developed sciences. Many are amazed that those who developed technology failed to develop science.  

The present-day science is hardly four hundred years old. Historians of science have repeatedly pointed out that the present-day science has its roots in the Protestant Reformation. A few hundred years ago some Protestant church fathers, because of their biblical convictions, formed the first society dedicated to promote systematic investigation of Nature. This became the model for all Royal Societies and other institutions devoted to the spread of science.  

This history in itself is sufficient to tell any a sincere inquirer that modern science is the offspring of people’s commitment to Bible. If Bible gave birth to modern scientific activities, it is inconceivable that this activity would in turn refute the Bible.  

What Is Science:  Science is a tool developed for the systematic and objective study of nature. “Systematic” means that all facts are considered, compared to superstition where only facts supporting the superstition are taken into account. “Objective” means that scientific interpretations give no place to feelings and emotions.  

Contrary to what many people believe, the opposite of ‘science’ is not ‘faith’. Faith is an important part of science, as pointed by almost every philosopher of science. The opposite of science is ‘superstition’. Superstition is a faith, but all faith is not superstition. When a student accepts Newton’s laws of motion, he accepts them on faith, not based on experiments performed by him. This faith is not superstition, and this kind of faith plays an important role in the growth of science.  

The aim of science is to study the physical world with the help of repetitive experiments. This repetitiveness gives it the objectivity and correctability needed to arrive at objective conclusions. Roughly speaking, scientific investigation goes on in this way :  

Experiments –> Observations –> Analysis –> Deductions –> Verification –>   
Further Experiments –> Refinements –> Better Deductions –> Further Study –> 
Better Overall Understanding Of Nature 

Experiments are performed, observations are taken, deductions are made, and these deductions are verified with the help of further experiments. Thus repetitive experimentation is the soul of scientific investigation.  

If a particular subject cannot be brought to laboratory for repetitive experimentation, then studying it is beyond the scope of science. The subject might be real, but does not come under the jurisdiction of empirical sciences.  

The Categories Of Information:  Science aims to study nature, but this world is so complex that one has to pass through various stages of information-collection and analysis. This means that at any given time the available scientific information will be made up of different categories of information — some fully certain and others less than certain. These categories are expressed with the help of terms like :  

Hypothesis, Assumptions, Theories, Observations, Facts, Laws, Interpretations, Schools Of Opinion, Models, Deductions, Inferences, etc.  

Obviously, an assumption is not as reliable as an observation, and a theory is not as reliable as a fact. And here is the crux of the matter — we need to distinguish between types of information found in the world of science. For the sake of convenience these terms can be grouped into two broad categories : Theories of Science and Facts of Science.  

THEORIES Of Science represent all that information that is not certain yet. This category of information is necessary for the development of science, but it does not represent the final truth in a particular subject. Theories of science undergo a lot of change — very few theories survive for more than one generation. Most of them are severely modified or even thrown out soon.  

FACTS Of Science represent all that information that is known with certainty. There are no exceptions to them, and they are not modified further.  

At any given time, most of the prevailing scientific information is in a theoretical stage while only a small percentage represents facts. Thus, today the Second Law of Thermodynamics is a fact of science while the Big Bang Theory of the origin of the universe is a theory. The Law of Biogenesis is a fact, while the Theory of Evolution (as the name itself implies) is a mere theory or assumption.  

The Domain (Territory) Of Science:Every tool has a purpose. It is best utilized for that purpose within a given territory. Science is a tool designed for studying nature. It does the job very well within the territory assigned to it, but fails to do the job outside its domain.  

Science was designed to study Nature — made up of matter and energy. Repetitive experiments and observations are essential. Mass, weight, velocity, density, refractive index, and other physical quantities are measured. But if a particular reality in nature is not made up of matter or energy, and if it does not have these measurable physical quantities as its properties, then that subject cannot be studied with the help of science.  

For example love is a reality. Everyone craves for love, feels fulfilled when it is obtained, and gives out love in turn. We who experience love are made up of matter and energy, but the love experienced by us is not made up of matter or energy. It has no mass, no refractive index, and no density. No scientific instrument can measure love. But this does not negate the existence of love.  

One should understand very clearly that truth exists in many forms. Physical truth can be investigated through empirical sciences, but not historical truths. Historical truths are investigated with the tools of historical sciences, legal truths with the tools of legal sciences, and personal truths are investigated with the help of relational investigations.  

This means that empirical sciences can examine only a few statements in the Bible. They cannot deal with a historical subject, say the historicity of Lord Jesus. That question can be examined only with the help of historical sciences. This further implies that statements like, “science has disproved the Bible” are the result of haste. One has to specify what kind of science has disproved what kind of records.  

If someone claims that physics has disproved the existence of Lord Jesus, or his resurrection, he is expressing his ignorance. Physics can be used only to test things related to physics. Other types of truths need tests suitable for their own category. Considering the historicity of Lord Jesus, for example, one can claim that “historical investigations have demonstrated that Lord Jesus was/wasn’t a historical person”. This kind of a statement makes sense, and it can be investigated by anyone who is competent in historical sciences.  

What About Bible And Science:   It is clear by now that physical sciences deal only with matter and energy. Historical sciences deal with historical truths, and relational knowledge deals with things like love, hatred, anger, etc. that can be known only through relationship.  

The aim of scientific investigation is to discover truth, but one does not arrive at all truth immediately through science. Instead, truth is discovered step by step and much theorizing is needed in this process.  

Theories of science are a necessary part of scientific investigation, but they do not represent final or confirmed truth. Rather, a theory represents something that is not yet known for sure. Theories barely last for one generation. Most of them are modified severely or even thrown out completely.  

Facts of science represent that information that is known for sure. There are no exceptions, and there is no more chance of it being modified or rejected.  

This means that whenever the question of Bible and Science comes up, only the FACTS OF SCIENCE can be used in this connection. Since a theory has not permanent existence, and since a theory does not represent confirmed knowledge, it is not legitimate to use a theory to examine any statement in the Bible.  

So What Is It To The Reliability Of The Bible:   Intense examinations over the past five decades (by believers as well as non believers) have shown that whenever a FACT of science is used to examine the Bible, it never contradicts the Book ! NO fact of science has ever contradicted any statement of Bible.  

On the other hand, NO statement of Bible has ever contradicted any fact of science. Statements of Bible are not inconsistent with the facts of science.  

There is no end to the making of theories. They are necessary for the growth of science, but they do not represent definite knowledge. Many theories have come in direct conflict with the Bible, but these theories are after all only theories — mere assumptions. Whoever in his right senses tries to contradict anything with the help of mere assumptions ? This is contrary to logic, science, and the standards laid down for legal investigation.  

Only a FACT of science can be used to investigate the relationship between Bible and Science. When that is done, we find that:  

Established facts of science have never contradicted any statement of the Bible, and no statement of the Bible has ever contradicted any established fact of science. Any Christian believer can silence critics with the above information — simple yet having serious implications for anyone who wishes to think objectively about the Bible.  

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