Science and the Bible.
The Bible is not a scientific textbook. There is no point in saying that the Bible was written either as a document of science or history, as it clearly has many more purposes than this. However, there are many, many historically accurate accounts and scientifically detailed accounts in the Bible so it would be wrong to think of it as purely a novel or collections of biography. We will look now in more detail at the miracles of the Bible but the history aspect will be set aside (although you are very welcome to discuss with someone some of the vast amounts of historical material relating to the Bible).
Many people can't believe the Bible because they think it is full of ludicrous stories about miraculous events that just couldn't have happened scientifically. There was probably just some natural cause that ancient people hadn't recognised as yet. Jesus was probably just a very intelligent conjurer who fooled people into thinking His tricks were miraculous.
Well first of all, for just one minute lets accept the idea
that there is a God who created the earth with its natural laws.
He put some things in motion and gave them normal patterns of
behaviour. Wouldn't it be possible for Him to override those
laws? After all, He created them. Science is not a rulebook that
dictates how things MUST be; it is the set of observations that
show how things NORMALLY are.
Nature and its laws tell science how it behaves, but if God wanted to change that for just a minute, who would be able to stop Him?!
Of course it would not be in line with what nature does 999 times out of a 1000, but that's what makes it a miraculous event. Some things that the Bible says God did appear to have a natural cause, but why does that mean it can't be God who did them for a specific reason? Especially if He is the one who created natural causes and sustains all of nature anyway. And there are some recorded miracles that seem to be well and truly beyond the ability of anyone to give an natural explanation for - instant healings, an iron axe-head floating, an entire army struck blind, etc.
As for Jesus performing tricks like some sort of Paul Daniels
miracle road show, how could He perform tricks of instant
healings, of raising people from the dead, etc.? They don't tend
to be part of a usual magician's line-up, right after the card
tricks and before the rabbits.
Some will say the people raised from the dead had only fainted. Well Lazarus was not only dead but wrapped in grave clothes head to toe and put in a tomb for four days (his sister was very worried about the smell!). That is a very long time to be in a faint.
One of Jesus' miracles involved a man born blind from birth. He was able to say that it was a miracle, his parents were able to say it was a miracle and even the people in the town who had seen him begging beforehand were able to say it was a miracle. He was called before the hardened sceptical Jewish authorities who threw him out because they couldn't disprove what he said (although sometimes sceptics believed because the evidence was so strong).
Jesus got Himself into a lot of trouble for the miracles He performed and the things He said, trouble that was one of the causes of His death. It seems strange that a magician would risk His life because of a few tricks.
One really big miracle that people have a problem believing is Jesus' resurrection. The debate is so large that it wouldn't do any good to start it here but there are some very detailed books that can be read (e.g. Josh MacDowell, The Resurrection Factor) or if you would like to discuss it with someone, please feel free to contact the email address given elsewhere.
However, all we will say here is that the evidence for the resurrection is considered to be so conclusive that some lawyers feel they could defend the case in a court of law. Well, maybe the writers of the Bible made these things up. Perhaps, but again they were taking big risks for reporting these things and tradition holds that nearly every apostle (and thousands of ordinary believers) was killed for their belief in Jesus and the things that He did. Not many people will die for a lie they have made up that they can easily show to be false.
Everyday we read newspapers and hear news stories that tell us about things that happen to people. We believe accounts found on walls of caves and in pyramids from thousands of years ago. We believe historical accounts of ancient societies written long before much of the Bible was written. We even believe UFO stories and accounts of strange paranormal activity - why do we find it so hard to believe what is written in the Bible?
All around the world today many Christians, including doctors,
scientists and "intelligent" people, can tell of
miracles that have happened to them - healings, people raised
from the dead, miraculous rescues, provisions, etc. And the
greatest miracle of all - people meeting God Himself. The problem
with miracles is that you can believe in God without believing in
miracles (and some prominent Christians don't believe a lot of
the miracle stories); but you CAN'T believe God's miracles if you
don't believe in God! To believe the miracles means we have to
believe in the God behind the miracles. And if we believe HE
exists then we have to decide how we are going to respond to Him
- something lots of people try and avoid. If it doesn't matter
whether or not miracles happen, why do people sometimes try so
hard to prove that they don't?
"Science has disproved it all!" What do we mean by "all"? What has it definitely proved? That the Bible is historically inaccurate in most if not all of its accounts? It hasn't done that. That miracles didn't and can't happen? It hasn't done that. That God doesn't exist? It hasn't done that either. Science is a great tool for humanity, but science is limited. Even in our daily lives, science has only a limited place. It has little to say about our loves, cares, worries, pleasures, family and friends and few of us would turn to it when in trouble. On the other hand, God has plenty to say about our lives, loves, troubles and joys; He is always there for us because He is a person we can have a relationship with, not just a subject or belief we have to follow.
Creation and evolution.
There is not a lot else that can be said about this without getting into lengthy debates over every detail. There are some good books that we could recommend that present the case for the theory of six days of creation or if you would like to discuss the topic with someone, please fell free to email the address given elsewhere.
In this section, we will just discuss a couple of the reasons why some people believe in a six day creation theory and then present the reason why we believe it is so important to believe that God is our Creator. Remember, whether one believes in a six day process or evolutionary process of millions of years, Christians will say that the important thing to acknowledge is that it is God who is behind the process.
One of the things people who believe in six days
of creation are keen to say is that evolution is only a theory.
Unlike scientific FACT that is based on observable results, no
one was around to see evolution happen. We can see a species
adapting to it's environment (something even most creationists
will say is an in-built ability given by God to different
species) but there is no record or proof of one species
developing into a different and better species. This part of the
scientific understanding of evolution is where the
"theory" comes in. The IDEA is that one lower species
adapts into a higher species, that is the conclusion made but it
is not something that can be proved.
One interesting disagreement between evolution and a science fact is that of the second law of thermodynamics, a fundamental law which states that there is a natural law of energy decay. This is to say that in all real processes there is a steady decay and net loss of energy - people get old, resources wear out, things die, gradually all complex things tend to break down into smaller units. Yet evolution asserts the idea that species evolve into higher orders, that things increase in order, rather than decrease as the second law of thermodynamics states. Of course it could be argued that God enables this increase as part of His evolutionary work. But here again we have to return to the idea that a power higher and greater than the inherent power of nature itself is responsible for the way the world is. We have to return to the notion of God as Creator (in some capacity).
Perhaps the main reason why Christians assert
that the world is God's work, that He is our Creator, is because
of purpose. If God created the world (and us as part of it) then
He had a reason, a purpose and a destiny for it. If the world was
created by accident then we have no purpose. Our brains are
merely the result of random molecules and we can't even be sure
that our logic is logical or that what we perceive as reality is
actually correct. Our lives have no meaning whatsoever, no end
goal. We all came from some frog spawn millions of years ago and
our value is no higher than that of an amoeba.
However, if we were created, then we have a purpose. The Bible teaches that the intended purpose for humanity is to know our Creator and enjoy His company and blessings forever. We are not the highest life form on the planet by chance, but because God chose to separate us from the rest of the planets species in order that we could choose to fully know Him. After an act of rebellion, we were separated from our Creator. But Jesus came and died, removing the separation and offering us the chance to be reconciled with God, our Creator.