Post Author: Bill Pratt
Ever since I became an evangelical believer in Christ, about 12 years ago, I have noticed that there is uneasiness among my evangelical brothers and sisters with certain fields of science. This uneasiness, I quickly learned, has much to do with the age of the universe and the origins of mankind. There are other areas, as well, but those are the two primary areas of dispute.
Because of the perceived hostility of science toward basic beliefs of Christianity, some evangelicals have forsaken science altogether. So what I want to address today is what science and God have to do with each other.
Christians have long recognized that there are two ways that God communicates with mankind: special revelation and general revelation.
Special revelation is what is communicated about God through the incarnation of Christ and the Bible.
General revelation is what is communicated about God through the natural world, including physical nature, human nature, and human history.
Science offers a method for observing and then explaining facts about the natural world, so science is the study of God’s general revelation. Christians that forsake science are, in effect, dismissing God’s general revelation.
Why? Because they feel that the findings of science contradict the teachings of Scripture (special revelation).
But the answer is not to throw out one of God’s revelations. In cases where general and special revelation overlap, we must examine our fallible interpretation of Scripture and compare it to our fallible interpretation of scientific findings.
You see, the Bible is infallible, but our interpretation of it is not. Likewise, God’s revelation about himself in nature is infallible and will never contradict his revelation in Scripture. But our interpretation of general revelation is not infallible.
What do we do when our fallible interpretation of science conflicts with our fallible interpretation of the Bible? We seek the interpretation that seems more certain and we go with that. If the special revelation interpretation seems more certain than the general revelation interpretation, then we go with special revelation. If the general revelation interpretation seems more certain than the special revelation interpretation, then we go with general revelation. We can’t just assume one is always right and the other always wrong. That will lead to error.
Notice that this method of seeking the right interpretation requires the Christian to study diligently the Scriptures and the findings of science. We cannot just study the Bible, but we must also dig into science if we want any hope of finding the answers to these tough questions where science and the Bible seem to conflict.
Fortunately, these perceived areas of conflict are few, and usually do not have to do with essential doctrines of Christianity. However, they are still important and we owe it to God to honestly and earnestly seek the answers.