I’m a firm believer in the Bible’s truth. I’m also a firm believer in science, as any Christian should be.
The book of Proverbs starts out “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”
In other words, if someone’s spent years studying something you should pay attention to them. However, if they’re a preacher you should beware; he could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Many people, both Christians and atheists and probably other religions than Christianity believe that science and religion are incompatible. I don’t, and half the world’s scientists don’t, either. Science is about the material world, religion about the spiritual.
Discussing this with an atheist once on an on-line nerd forum, he proceeded to point out miracles in the Bible that science says are impossible, like Lazarus rising from the dead and the sun stopping in the sky for hours. I explained that as recently as two hundred years ago, people were mistakenly thought to be dead and subsequently were buried alive. Folks were terrified of this, and many had bells they could ring that were outside the grave if they woke up.
As to the sun stopping, I reminded this fellow that four thousand years ago the closest thing to a clock was the sun, moon, and stars, and the sun stopping meant time stopped. But time is variable. As Albert Einstein said about relativity, “When you’re with a witty, beautiful woman, an hour seems like a minute. When your hand is on a hot stove, a minute lasts an hour. That’s relativity.”
But the scientific community and various religious communities have often clashed. Before the late sixteenth century, everyone believed the obvious – Earth was the center of the universe and everything revolved around it. Then science got in the way when Galileo Galilei aimed his telescope at Jupiter and saw it rotating and its moons circling it. It was immediately obvious to him that it was an illusion that we were the center of the universe.
Note that it wasn’t just the church that fought him on this, but his fellow scientists as well. However, the Pope went a little too far with it, especially since the Bible doesn’t actually say that the Earth is the center of the universe, although you’ll see atheist postings on the internet that claim otherwise. One, for example, says the account of the sun stopping in the sky meant Earth was the center, which is foolish nonsense. Does the atheist who wrote it not himself speak of sunrises and sunsets? Atheists lack, in my opinion, wisdom.
If you think science disagrees with something in the Bible, either you misunderstand the Bible or you don’t understand the science. In the above case, science didn’t understand the science and the church read stuff into the Bible that wasn’t there, much like the atheists who post nonsense like I referred to above.
Then there was the bigger chasm between science and the Bible: The birth of the universe. Science said that all the evidence pointed to a solid state, unchanging, eternal universe that had no beginning and no end, since there was no evidence to the contrary.
But then science had a big bang,
It started in 1912 when Vesto Slipher measured the first Doppler shift of a “spiral nebula” (“spiral nebula” is the obsolete term for spiral galaxies), and soon discovered that almost all such nebulae were receding from Earth.
The universe was expanding, meaning it started from nothing. Science was now saying that the universe had a beginning.
Atheists were aghast and refused to believe it. Many Christians were aghast and refused to believe it as well. “The universe started in a universe-shattering flash of light and sound? No Way! The bible says the heavens and Earth were created before God said ‘Let there be light’.” Only a few months ago I saw a Christian preacher on TV saying he didn’t “believe in the big bang theory.”
That’s because almost everybody outside of science thinks the big bang theory says “in the beginning there was nothing. Then it exploded.” But that’s not what the theory says.
There was no bang, because there was no matter to vibrate. There was no flash, because light would not exist at all for another two hundred millions years; scientists call this period the universe’s “dark ages”.
What the theory says is that a pinpoint (or maybe nothing, their math can’t pin it down) rapidly expanded into a soup of subatomic particles, a fog too thick for photons to penetrate. Eventually they coalesced into hydrogen atoms, and hydrogen was the only thing that existed until the first bunch of hydrogen large enough to cause fusion burst into life and gave the universe its first taste of light. Or as the Bible puts it:
In the beginning, God Created the heavens and the Earth. And the Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Genesis exactly describes the big bang theory! How did some primitive man eight thousand years or more ago know that?
Well, that’s a prophet, someone to whom God shows things he doesn’t show others; the prophet is God’s mouthpiece (and the Bible says God was very harsh on prophets who didn’t do it exactly right).
But I had a nagging question about Genesis, about the time after the creation of the sun, moon, Earth, and mankind. It said he made Adam from clay, so evolution? I finally figured out that the Bible doesn’t go into detail how he went about doing it. So that is actually a little misleading, but you have to remember that the prophets were primitive people who didn’t quite understand what God was showing them. When God said he made Adam from clay, they assumed Adam was pottery magically brought to life, like Pinocchio. It would be thousands of years later when the “how” started to be figured out.
But what of the garden of Eden?
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
It goes on to describe the garden and where it was: right where archaeologists determined was the location of the first human civilization.
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
The knowledge of good and evil is the knowledge of pain, sickness, and death. So far, so good. But this is the part that has puzzled me for years:
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
The problem was that we aren’t born knowing good and evil, it’s learned. Babies and small children aren’t ashamed of being naked, and in fact aren’t ashamed of anything.
It’s also pretty clear that clothing was invented to keep humans warm and the embarrassment part comes later. Also, many adults have no problem with nudity.
Then the other day I saw an article in National Geographic magazine (the article is online at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/tiny-vampires-fossils-life-evolution-earth-science/) by Mark Strauss, titled “You May Owe Your Existence to Tiny Vampires.” It had nothing to do with God; it was strictly science. It’s a very good article that’s worth your reading.
Paleobiologist Susannah Porter who researches at the University of California has discovered fossil evidence of the first predators on the planet and published her findings. What the “oh, wow” moment was for her was the timing of this species.
Scientists tell us that after inanimate matter somehow came alive (called abiogenesis, and they still have very few clues as to how it happened), there was no evolution at all for a billion years. All of the fossils of the life forms, which were all single cell organisms, from seven hundred fifty million years ago to a billion years earlier are the same no matter what part of that billion years you examine.
Dr. Porter found that the first predators emerged at the end of what paleobiologists humorously call “the boring billion.” From the article:
Some critters, for instance, developed hard, biomineral skeletal structures and armored hides, while others found safety in numbers by forming colonies that became primitive, multicellular organisms—the earliest precursors to the varied and complex life-forms on our planet today.
If Porter is correct, we owe our existence to the tiny vampires and their ilk, who ushered in an era when life on Earth went from bland to brutal.
Just as in the beginning the Earth was without form, and void, in the garden of Eden Adam and the plants and animals were without form, and void. There is no difference at all between a fertilized egg and a fully grown human except for form; or lack of it. Both the fertilized egg and the cells of the adult the zygote will become have the same DNA. And when John the Baptist’s mother heard that her cousin Mary was a few days pregnant with Jesus, “the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.”
Adam was your first ancestor seven hundred fifty million years ago, and he and Eve each only had one cell. Clearly, someone lost a whole lot of begats. I’m still puzzled by that.
And the part about fig leaves? “others found safety in numbers by forming colonies that became primitive, multi-cellular organisms—the earliest precursors to the varied and complex life-forms on our planet today.”
The tree of pain and death was the vampyrellid amoebae’s food, and until Eve and Adam had a taste of it, that organism’s only food. When Adam and Eve touched it, they got its smell on them (neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die) and the vampyrellid amoebae got a taste for people. In fear they covered themselves.
I wonder how much DNA we share with fig trees?