Science Textbooks and the Bible

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
-Galileo Galilei
I just found that quotation, and I must say, I think that it's excellent. It loosely describes today's topic, I believe, but also describes my blog as a whole. However there's something disturbing that I've noticed lately among Christians, which is something that I hope to put to rest today. Not that I expect to succeed, but by addressing it, I hope to at least make some small difference. This trend is the idea of theistic evolution- a method of reconciling science and the Bible. There are a few arguments and assumptions commonly used to support this, beginning with "the Bible is not a science textbook." I'll be addressing these throughout the post.

Before going over the specifics of the argument for theistic evolution, I'd like to bring to light the assumption that's made here, which is that science points to evolution, and thus, is in a starting position opposed to the Bible. That is to say, people assume that science and the Bible actually need to be reconciled in the first place. This is, of course, an assumption, and I don't believe it to be the case. There are all sorts of problems with the theory of evolution, and various evidences that are still in textbooks have been publicly proven to be false (by evolutionists) and yet remain in textbooks. Basically, evolution is heavily pushed in the media, and people start to think that there's more evidence for it than there actually is. Thus, I don't believe that the two need reconciliation. This is important, because I believe that if they are at odds, you have to pick one or the other. I don't believe that theistic evolution is an option.

Moving on to the actual argument itself, it is, quite simply, "the Bible is not a science textbook." That is to say, the Bible is here to lead us to God, but not necessarily to give us a sound basis in science. The point of Genesis, therefore, is to tell us that God created the world, not how it is that He created it. To back up this interpretation, people point to other differences between the Bible and reality. For example, in the time when the Bible was still being written, people commonly believed that you thought with your heart. Science now tells us that we think with our brains, but the Bible still indicates that our thoughts come from the heart. (Examples can be found in Matthew 12:34, 15:18-9, Mark 7:21, and so many other places that I can't name them all.) So if we take the Bible as a science textbook, then we should be taking this literally, and we should believe that our heart provides our thoughts. Maybe our brain pumps blood instead? Or maybe we're just filled with blood like they used to think and we don't need to pump it.

There are two potential reasons I can think of for why this argument doesn't actually work. The first is the, admittedly weak, argument that spiritual definitions don't always match the physical ones. Sometimes they do, but it's possible that we physically think with our brains and spiritually think with our hearts. Of course, I'm not asserting this as fact. It's a possibility that I'm throwing out there. Feel free to examine that and get back to me about it, but it's not my main argument. My main argument is, quite simply, that I agree. The Bible is not a science textbook.

You see, the argument that the Bible is not a science textbook is actually a form of strawman fallacy. That is to say, the opponent is misrepresenting my argument to make it easier to attack. I don't believe that the Bible is a science textbook. But I do believe that it is, in part, a history book, and that's very different. It's one thing to use terms that somebody will understand to get a point across. That has to do with language and culture. Even now, we refer to the sun rising and setting, or what we feel in our hearts. It's quite another to assert an event as being historical when it's actually just a fairy tale. To say "this is what happened" when it didn't actually happen. That's just an outright lie. The idea that God created us can be summed up in Genesis 1:1, which is translated, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Why is the rest included if all that's meant to be said has already been said, and the rest isn't even true?

The Genesis account never pretends to be a science textbook. It doesn't describe how God designed the laws of physics. In fact, it never even mentions physics. We use science to confirm history, just like an archaeological dig can discover the ruins of an old city. We hear that the city was there, but don't see it today. So we use science to dig up the ruins and confirm that it was there. In the same way, we now can use science to go back and confirm history, but Genesis is not pretending to teach us about science. It is, however, asserting that account as historical fact. In fact, if Genesis isn't reliable, then neither is the rest of the Bible. After all, Jesus is described as the last Adam. Without the first Adam, salvation wouldn't work. We all have one common ancestor, and we need that to be saved. For that matter, with no original sin, there's no sin curse either, and there's no need for us to be saved in the first place. But then, that would mean that death and disease and destruction were part of God's original creation, which I find to be inconceivable.

An argument for theistic evolution strengthens evolution, but weakens the Bible. I once debated with an evolutionist who said that he wasn't against the idea of a god to guide events. The reason he said that was because he saw the flaws in evolution, and knew that it couldn't possibly happen by chance. But why would God choose to create with that method? God is not at all against the idea of using His supernatural power. He caused a bush to burn and not be consumed, He walked on water, He turned water into wine (not the same water)... In fact, the entire point of the gospel revolves around His raising Himself from the dead! Now, raising someone else from the dead is a pretty tricky feat. I only know of one Person to ever do it. (Hint, it's Jesus again.) But to raise yourself from the dead is a whole different matter. That's like, super-supernatural. So to argue that God "wanted to create the world in a natural manner" is utterly ridiculous. The sole purpose for the argument of theistic evolution is to reconcile the Bible with science, not to read the Bible as it was actually intended (that is, as a historical account). In the end, I don't see theistic evolution as an option. I see no room in the Bible for evolution. We can use science to examine history (and I believe that science confirms the Bible), but we can't argue that Genesis is false on the basis of the Bible not being there for the purpose of scientific education.
"Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand."
-Dan Brown

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