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Faith and its Relation to Science

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by Truth Hunter, Jan 17, 2003.

  1. clue

    clue Member

    You've just demonstrated the reason why I am as literal as possible when it comes to interpreting the Bible.

    I agree that science is pretty reliable a majority of the time.

    That's not my position at all.  My assertion has always been that science, while it is very useful, can not account for everything.  If there is a god, science can never be made to account for him.
  2. Truth Hunter

    Truth Hunter New Member

    What do you mean by "account for Him"? If you are saying science cannot explain God in the same sense that it can explain gravity, I would agree with you. But I also believe God reveals part of Himself to people. To many He reveals Himself spiritually (by touching the emotions), and a select few he appears to physically. God can also reveal Himself to people scientifically. Science is a source of truth (that's not to say all popular science is true, just that science can reveal truth to us), so couldn't God reveal at least His existence through science?

    For example, if there were compelling evidence of design, isn't that a revelation of a designer? Of course it does not tell us Who the designer is or his relationship to us or what car he drives, but nothing can reveal everything about God. The Bible tells us many specific things about God, but, like science, its scope is limited. It tells us only what we need to know. Please tell me if I'm misinterpreting what you've said.
  3. Hank

    Hank has the Right to be wrong

    Hank butting in again :)

    ... for what it is worth.

    To show that someone did something is not that simple if that someone is very elusive. The biggest hurdle to overcome is the never ending doctrines about God. If everyone on earth would accept the simple reality that we actually have no clue about God, this may open the door to find Him.

    The reason God can not be found with science is because we have no idea where to start looking for Him. The design concept could work, but how can you ever prove that something had been designed? I am deep into particles; I have found some oddities which indicate to me that those rascals had to be designed. The key phrase here is 'to me'. - My personalized faith. - I knock on the door next to me, she says: "Ok, this is correct, this is odd. We may find an answer to your question we may not. Right now there is none. Now let me ask you; does not having an answer on how blank blank came together equate into must have been designed?"

    You said in your post, even if we accepted us as being designed; we still have no clue about God. Thus I think the design argument is simply put irrelevant.

    Also, does God speak to us through our heart? In my case He would need to approach me though my mind. I think He did. The difference on believing on how God may approach humans clashes between us. You say heart, I say mind. Who is right, and how can we support our claim?
  4. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    You use extrabiblical knowledge to identify poetry, don't you? You identify poems by comparison to other poems that are not in the Bible.  So you are still using extrabiblical knowledge.

    In Genesis 1, you have the rhyme and meter in Hebrew that tells you it is a song. In fact, it is still sung by cantors in synagogues every Sabbath.  You also have the numerology: 2 major creation events in every day, and creation divided into 2- 3 day periods, with the magical number 7 being the Sabbath.  In Genesis 2, you have the names Dirt (Adam) and Hearth (Eve).  Isn't that a clue that you are dealing with archtypes? Partly you have been beguiled by the English translation and have not looked at the original language Genesis 1 and 2 are written in.

    Finally, you have the blatant contradictions between the two.  Starting with the name of God. In Genesis 1 it is "Elohim", which is plural -- gods -- and in Genesis 2 you have Yahweh.  Genesis 2:4b says the heavens and earth were created "beyom" -- within a day -- while Genesis 1 says it took 6 days.  In Genesis 1 you have the created order of plants, sun, water creatures and birds, land creatures, and then male and female humans.  In  Genesis 2 you have sun, plants, a single man, then birds and animals (no water creatures), followed by a single woman.  In Genesis 1 everything is spoken into existence ("Let there be") while in Genesis 2 man and animals are formed from the "dust of the ground" and woman from a rib of man.

    You don't really read your Bible, do you, Clue?

    Some of the geologists were Revs. Whewell, Whiston, Buckland, and Sedgwick.  There was also Smith, Cuvier, and Owen. All the latter were Christians.
  5. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    Originally posted by Truth Hunter
    As I understand the reading of Genesis 1, the Bible establishes a frame of reference for the six days in Genesis 1:2 "the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Thus everything that occurred was from the point of view of the surface of the waters (what is your view on this, lucaspa?). If so, then the "creation" of the sun on the 4th day does not conflict since this occurs by the transition of the atmosphere from translucent to transparent. So light came before the 4th day, but the sun and moon were not distinguishable until the 4th day

    There goes your literal reading of Genesis!  You are no more literal than the most liberal Christian.  The passage says nothing about "point of view" but simply describes the condition of the earth.  Genesis 1:16 says "So God made the two larger lights, the sun to rule over the day adn the moon to rule over the night; he also made the stars.  17 He placed the lights in the sky to shine on the earth, to rule over the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness."

    So, we have the sun, moon, stars made on the 4th day.  Of course, there is the problem that light had already been separated from darkness, so the exact function of these to do that seems that God has Alzheimer's.  But that's another problem of literalism; the damage it does to God's character.

    As for the whales, the model I established in the first post assumes that God created without the use of macroevolution.

    You originally wanted to reconcile Genesis with science, remember?  That means keeping both.  So now when one contradicts the other, we find out that this is not what you are doing at all.  You have already decided which is wrong.  Assumptions are countered by data.  The data is clear that whales evolved from land animals.  And that data can have been put there only by God, right? If God created, where else did it come from? 

    Again, the earth was created on the first day, along with the sun, moon and stars 

    Not according to Genesis 1:16.

     That makes sense. I didn't make myself very clear, and I see what you mean by a less literalistic view of the Bible. When Luke says "all the world was taxed," it was a figure of speech.

    How do you know it was a figure of speech?  What's in the words themselves to tell you?  You know they are a figure of speech because the extrabiblical evidence tells you so.  Now, Genesis 6:17 says "all the earth".  How do you know that wasn't a figure of speech just like Luke?

    When I meant I take the Bible literally, that means I would take that phrase literally,

    I know that, and I gave you a phrase.  I agree that we know Luke meant "all the Roman world", but I don't think Luke meant that.  I think he meant "all the world", but his knowledge was restricted so that the Roman world was all the world to him. Similarly, the Tigris-Euphrates Valley was all the world to the inhabitants of the time.  So yes, their world was flooded.  But not the entire world that we know.

    No, you're right. The essence of the Bible is not in the details, but the theological ideas. But to pick and choose what's true and what's not from the Bible isn't fair, is it?

    Why not? You do it anyway.  Look through the later Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus and tell me how many of those rules and laws you consider "true" and follow.

    I think Didsakmenos pointed this out: Christianity is not a dead religion.  It is a living religion relating what Christians think God wants of them in the world.  As your knowledge changes, so should your ideas about what God is and what He wants. The "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" God of the OT is replaced by the "turn the other cheek", always loving God of the NT.

     How can we confirm that the theology is true without confirmation that the archaeology, history, etc. is true?

    Let's do this the other way. We have the ancient Greek religion, and the stories of a war with Troy.  All thought to be myth until Schleimann actually found Troy.  Then archeologists found Mycenae, the Minoan palace on Crete, etc.  Do these archeological findings make Athena, Zeus, and the rest real?  That is the corollary to your statement.

    There are a few events in the Bible that must be historically true for Judeo-Christianity to survive.  IMO, the Exodus is one and the Resurrection is the other.  Yes, without these being real Judeo-Christianity probably won't survive.  Of course, without those it shouldn't and a new version of deity is needed.  However, just because two events are essential does not mean that all  of them are essential.  I don't see any major theological damage if Genesis 2 is an archtypical story and the Flood was only local, not global.  In fact, a global Flood has some severe theological problems.  How can the non-Hebrew peoples be condemned for wickedness when they had never heard of Yahweh or the standards of conduct it expected?

    I've never heard of the Genesis as a refutation for the Babylonians, sounds interesting.

    See Genesis by Nahum Sarna

     This is just a related comment, but a lot of the early church members believed in an old earth, and that was without being "biased" by evidence for the Big Bang and the old age of the earth. Their simple interpretation of the Genesis 1 text led them to believe that the earth was old. They include: Philo, Josephus, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Origen, and others. Some viewed the six days as figurative, others as longer periods, or thousand-year periods. 

    That's fine.  You asked what was the problem of an Old Earth but still a literal Genesis.  I pointed out the logical problems within the text of a literal Genesis as well as contradictions with the extrabiblical evidence.
  6. clue

    clue Member

    I'm saying that science, if it is practiced with an a priori commitment to naturalism, will NEVER lead to God.  The scientific method of observation, induction, etc. which leads to proof/disproof, and thereby knowledge, cannot be tweaked to prove God.  Why?  Because that technique was a human invention.  And God is above or outside of anything that we may devise to measure him with.  He may choose to reveal himself to us through these steps.  But saying that we WILL prove or disprove him through these steps is overstepping our boundaries, IMO.

    Yes, but for a Christian, what should be your ultimate source of truth?

    Psalm 86:11
    Teach me your way, O LORD , and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.  (clue added emphasis)

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  (clue added emphasis)
  7. clue

    clue Member

    I'm going to be focusing on the last 3 names that you listed, since your original claim was:

    (clue added emphasis to lucaspa's quote above)

    Unless I misunderstood the intimation that the former list of names were not composed of Christians?

    Smith, Cuvier, and Owen.  These are fairly popular names.  May I have their full names, lest I chase down the wrong people?
  8. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    That doesn't mean a literal reading is accurate.  Remember, it was a literal reading of the OT that caused the Church to decide that the earth was the center of the solar system.  That literal reading turned out to be wrong.

    The point is that a literal reading is no more reliable than any non-literal. If one exegesis were so obviously correct, there wouldn't be the number of denominations.

    Your assertion is more than that.  Because if it is only that, then you are throwing yourself at an already open door.  No one on this forum is saying that science shows there is no god.

    Creationism is a human theory of how God works and how God created.  IOW, creationism is exactly what you say science can't do: account for God.  What you are asserting is that this human interpretation of the Bible is the only valid interpretation and that this interpretation trumps the evidence that God left in His other book: Creation.
  9. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    The first names were ministers. Didn't you catch the "Revs" in front?  I should have said that the last were Christian laypeople as opposed to Christian ministers.  William Smith, Richard Owen, and Georges Cuvier.

    Adam Sedgwick, William Buckland, William Whewell.  Add Louis Agassiz to the Christian laypeople.
  10. lucaspa

    lucaspa Legend

    Science's naturalism is methodological, not philosophical.  It arises directly out of how experiments are done.  The limitation is from how God can operate, not because science is a human invention.

    You want to find ALL causes/entities necessary for plant growth.  So you go out and get a number of plants.  You put them in the following conditions:
    1. Sunlight, water, soil, air
    2. Sunlight, water, soil, but in a clear box where the air has been pumped out.
    3. Sunlight, water, no soil, air.
    4. Sunlight, no water, soil, air
    5. A darkened box with no sunlight, water, soil, air.

    This scientific protocol will tell you if these 4 entities/causes are necessary for plant growth.  You can add others if you wish but you will follow the same scientific protocol of having a control where you KNOW the entity is absent and compare it to an experimental where you KNOW the entity is present.

    Now comes the kicker.  How about God? Where is my control for that?  Which plant can I point to and say "this one has NO God in it?"  I can't. Therefore I am limited to looking at only material causes that I can set up "controls" for.

    Now you know why science is limited to the material. And now you also know why science is agnostic and can't comment on the existence of deity or its role in nature.
  11. clue

    clue Member

    Well, it's the safest.  Otherwise, you can make the Bible read whatever way you want it to read.

    I must strongly disagree with you here.  If that's the case, why did God bother inspiring the writing of the Bible at all?  He could have let his Creation speak for itself (since that interpretation is as reliable too, according to you). 

    The Bible is a way of God communicating with us.  Don't you think He would have been as comprehensible as possible??  Based on this assumption, a literal reading would be the most convervative way to go.

    Great!  Then we are in agreement on this point.

    I'm stating that:

    1.  God inspired the writing of the Bible to communicate with us.
    2.  In that communication, I would expect him to be as straightfoward as possible.  And being God, I would expect His book to be without errors too.
    3.  So, I should strive to interpret His book as literally as possible.
    4.  When His book and 'something else' seem to contradict each other, and there exists a body of well credentialed scientists who still maintain that His book should be upheld because that 'something else' is contestable, I will support the former side.
  12. clue

    clue Member

    Here's your original claim:

    Here's my response:

    Granville Penn
    George Bugg
    Andrew Ure
    Henry Cole
    Thomas Gisborne
    Samuel Best
  13. Truth Hunter

    Truth Hunter New Member

    It must have a point of view. The condition of the earth as seen from under the atmosphere is different than the condition of the earth as seen from outside. It makes sense that with a description comes a place of reference. The Hebrew language had only three verb tenses, one for command, one for actions not yet completed, and one for actions completed. The word 'asa is in the completed form, meaning that it can be translated as "God had made two lights." This seems to be supported by verses 17 and 18, which says that they were (had already been) made to separate light and darkness, suggesting that they were created on the first day, but made visible and serving the function of separating night and day only on the fourth day. I see no damage done to God's character, but perfect consistency.


    I did not include macroevolution as part of the science. Admittedly I am not an expert on evolution, but that argument is much longer, and I am not equipped to debate it (sorry). I believe God created the whales and all other animals (this does not deny the microevolution of animals, or even perhaps speciation (by which I mean a species separated into two which cannot interbreed)), and stopped creating from nothing on the 7th day, which has lasted until now.

    It could have been a figure of speech, and this could be determined by looking at other places in the Bible where the phrase is obviously used metaphorically, but I can't prove that and haven't done so (perhaps it could also be shown extrabiblically, I don't know). But my Vine's says that the same word for all the earth - 'eres - is used in the phrases "the land of Egypt," "the land of the Philistines," "the land of Israel" (Gen. 47:13; Zech. 2:5; 2 Kings 5:2, 4; Judges 21:21). So then maybe it is not a figure of speech but just a reference to a specific area. The same thing could go for Genesis 6 (I do not believe a local flood is necessary scientifically or biblically, actually I'd lean toward a global flood).

    You're right, I don't take an eye for an eye, I don't mind tattoos, etc. But who are those verses written to? In Exodus 21, for example (the eye for an eye, tooth for tooth one), the opening line is "These are the laws you are to set before them" and I believe this is referring to the Israelites. Also, Christians take these laws out of context on a regular basis. Notice the word "laws" in the phrase. When God spoke these words it appears He was speaking more of a Constitution, not a plan for every man to demand revenge. These were the regulations for government. Leviticus 19 is another "controversial" passage, but it starts with "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel," not to all peoples.

    I think I phrased it wrong. My statement should have been "If the extrabiblical evidence goes against the Bible, we should not believe the Bible to be from God." I didn't mean "If the extrabiblical evidence confirms the Bible, then it must be from God."
  14. Truth Hunter

    Truth Hunter New Member

    You're right Hank, it's easier said than done, but I'm not suggesting a method for finding God, only suggesting that IF God wanted to reveal his existence to us, he could do it through science. You wouldn't be able to prove it very well if design was from Him, though this was much easier to do before evolutionary theory came onto the scene. I think that's part of God's mystery, that He reveals Himself to people in different ways, but their heart (or soul, will, whatever) ultimately chooses to accept or reject.

    All the argument from design intends to do is prove a designer, nothing else. So you're right that the design argument is irrelevant in trying to figure out Who God is, but it can show His existence. A parallel is the "existence" theorems in math. There are a number of theorems that state "If suchandsuch, then suchandsuch exists." They don't say anything about the subject, just that it's there.

    I didn't deny that God approaches people through their mind. I would totally agree that for some, the only doorway for God is the mind. For others, its the heart. I wouldn't limit God to touching any of us in any way.

    Thanks for butting in Hank, I'm glad others want to discuss too. Respond if you like.
  15. Truth Hunter

    Truth Hunter New Member

    I'm in agreement here. I never stated that the purpose of science was to prove/disprove God, but maybe to hint at His existence. For those searching (Seek and...) they may see God in design of life or fine-tuning of the universe (...you shall find). The full image of God is also above human words, ideas, and ability to conceptualize, but parts of Him I think He shows us supernaturally and naturally.

    The Bible is my ultimate source of truth, I look for God inside, and so far I have had a glimpse of Him, and the harmony between His Word and what I see scientifically. The harder question is "How do I know what my ultimate truth is?" I can't prove to anyone the Bible is absolutely and infallibly true, but I have discovered enough to believe it for myself.
  16. Hank

    Hank has the Right to be wrong

    Well that is what I am trying to do with astronomy and quantum. I see some  problems with this.

    A  - are the creationists. They take a little truth of science and twist into a monster of fallacies 'proving' the existence of God. So as soon as anyone questions those sciences like cosmology or abiogenesis you are forced into the same category.

    B – Are credentials. If you do not have a PhD for a given subject everyone automatically gives you: "Well don't you think those who studied the subject know better then you?" "Don't you think they have thought about it also and know this to be irrelevant?" "Your education is limited!" "If they don't know what makes you think you would?"

    C – Specialty science. Abiogenesis works under the premise that the environment was favorable for any given sequence of formation of life. Evolution works under the premise that abiogenesis happened. Cosmology assumes energy to have existed prior to Big Bang. And so on.

    So if I try to explain that Big Bang could not have happened, I get.
    You don't know Big Bang as those who studied it for decades.
    We have proof. (Which they actually do not)
    You are only an engineer
    Or the safest reason given to me is
    Show one other cosmologist agreeing with you. It's like asking to present a Christian praying to Allah. So why debate?

    Even if one would agree to my hypothesis I am not closer to show God. The problem with design is that design needs to show a designer. Otherwise I would do the same as abiogenesis does. I would work under an unproven premise. In my case my premise is that God actually exists. - Parable . Every year children get gifts on Dec. 25. We can all see and feel those gifts. We even can present them as evidence. We can also say that Santa Claus distributed them. To prove Santa gave out those gifts and not the individual parents we need to show prove of Santa. The gifts alone will not do.

    Thus the only way to prove God is to show proof of him. Otherwise ideas like aliens did it or the Pink Unicorn are just as valid which brings me back to A.

    You (we) seem to be flexible in the idea on how God can approach humans. This is a good start. Now my insane studies try to show evidence of some sort of mechanism of that approach. Yes you are permitted to laugh. However if you have a better idea to show evidence of God, let me know.