I used to get in a number of disagreements, both with my textbooks and with people, about God vs. Science. I’m not talking about the Materialist/Atheist crowd (because of modern scientific discoveries, they’re blustering & bluffing), I’m talking about the religious/Christian crowd, specifically, the conservative one.
I’ll use the Abeka & Bob Jones U textbooks as an example. Their science textbooks generally start out first by emphasizing to great lengths the Kantian Divide between “material” things and “spiritual” things, and then say that the material world can say absolutely nothing about the spiritual world. So they distinguish between “Religion” and “Science” to make you understand they are two different realms. (This is clearly defensive behavior, setting up the barricades, quarantining the danger).
Then after that, they generally go into some sort of appeal that the Word of God triumphs over Science. So it is a contest of loyalties—who are you going to ultimately submit your mind to— the preacher or the professor? God or the World? Make up your mind! What kind of Christian are you anyway? etc.
I think they are completely wrong.
Forget about a contest of loyalties between the preacher and the professor. There is something even more important: Truth.
Truth is the most important thing. We must be loyal to facts first and foremost. If we abandon Truth for the sake of “being loyal to God” we have actually abandoned God. Because God is Truth.
And there aren’t “different kinds” of Truth. It is either True or it is Not. There is no Kantian Divide. repeat: There is no divide between “spiritual” truths and “material” truths–you can categorize them that way if it makes you feel better, but there is plenty of fuzzy area between the two. Look at Modern Physics, or better yet, your own human self.
So…we must be loyal to Truth, to Facts, for every Truth comes from the mind of God. Yes, the Bible is the Word of God. But this Universe is ALSO the Word of God–God spoke the Universe into being (Genesis 1). Everything in this Universe is the Words of God that He spoke into being. The Scientific enterprise is a sacred enterprise. Figuring out Electricity, Magnetism, Gravity, the Genome–these are all the sacred words of God embodied. Scientific Theory is an attempt to “think God’s thoughts after him”.
Now there is human interpretation–both human interpretation of God’s Word, and human interpretation of God’s green earth. And like everything human, they often fail and fumble and are only partial truths or untruths. But we must still always be loyal to truth and facts no matter where we find them. Galaxies and fossils are not ‘un-kosher’. An evil Demi-urge didn’t create the world and old rocks and fossils to destroy college freshman’s faith. God did. God made the stars and the rocks and General Relativity and every Cambrian creature, the same God who spoke to Abraham by the trees of Mamre in Hebron, the same God who bled on a cross in Jerusalem.
In the 19th century, archeology and physics and biology all called into doubt the biblical record and Christianity itself. Napoleon’s Egyptian Expedition mis-matched the Biblical Jewish chronology 200 years too early, thus finding no Semitic presence in Egypt or ruined walls of Jericho within that time frame. The best lenses of the 19th century showed the biological cell to be nothing more than a simple blob, making it very easy to assume biological life was merely the product of random chance. Newtonian Physics, with everything reduced to simple particles and contact forces, made materialism look “real”.
So it was no wonder that many Christians resorted to the aforementioned Bob Jones method of defensive barricades and calls of loyalty. But thank God, scientific discoveries went on regardless, and now we know about the complexity of the cell, the finely-tuned Big Bang, the ‘spooky’, very non-materialist nature of Modern Physics, and numerous archeological evidence for the Semitic presence in Egypt and the fall of Jericho 200 years previous to the time-frame chosen in the 19th century.
Often, there are times when a math problem looks “wrong” because you are only half-way through it. And sometimes it takes 100 years to finish solving it. But we should wholeheartedly pursue the solution regardless. Because truth and facts are all of God. There is no need to fear.