a Christian, how do I reconcile stories from the Bible
with current scientific thought?
a better way of phrasing this question is to ask whether the
Bible intends to provide an accurate historical account of happenings
in the universe. The Bible itself answers that question within
the first two chapters of the first book. Genesis is an account
of the origin of a people of God, and it begins with a story
about the creation of all things, including the heavens and the
earth, and humankind. Having created all things, God rested on
the seventh day. However, immediately following the first creation
story (Gen 1:1-2:3), the Bible relates a second story about the
creation of humankind (Gen 2:4-24).
inclusion of both of these stories at the very beginning
of the Bible shows us that the book is not meant to convey an
reckoning of every event of creation. The Bible contains many
that contradict each other, and that very fact tells us something
important. Through the stories, the Bible provides us with
of interpreting the actions of God and the continuous creative
energy of God in the universe. Thus, the creation and other
etymological stories are not meant to be taken as factual accounts
things came about, but are meant to convey some interpretations
of God's importance to the warp and woof of the fabric of creation.
Bible teaches us that God is present in the world and yet is
also the Lord over
the ongoing creative process. The scientific method provides
a way to obtain verifiable factual information about how nature
works and the laws that govern natural phenomena. In a very real
sense, science provides us with insights into the beauty and
brilliant interconnectedness of physical, chemical, and biological
scientific thought and stories from the Bible both tell us that
there is freedom in the universe, and that
things work within the confines of the laws of nature as best
we currently understand them. Science helps us appreciate more
and more that our understanding of the laws that govern matter
and energy is provisional. That is because science empirically
tests its understanding of those laws and revises them in accordance
with new observations and discoveries.
is not a disjunction or disagreement between Biblical stories
and current scientific thought about the universe. They are paths
that strive to seek Truth. Science
works to inform us about the "how" of
the creative process, and Bible stories and religion itself help
us to interpret the purposefulness of the "what" and
the "why" of creation to our lives. Science often employs
deductive reasoning to solve its problems, whereas the Bible
stories make us look into ourselves to a point where we 'feel'
at both a cognitive and emotional level that we understand something
good example of this is the notion of love. Most people have
at one time or another in their lives been in
love. It is an emotion that is difficult to adequately describe,
yet it is a profoundly true thing. It is something that cannot
be proven in a rigorous scientific way, yet it is something
that we cherish and are willing to fight and die for. Such truths
can be stimulated and nurtured by Bible stories—for they
a way of stimulating our hearts and intuition like no other.
the past seventy years, scientific disciplines that were once
thought to be entirely separate from one another have been shown
to be very interdependent. It is impossible in cell biology,
for example, to fully comprehend anything without weaving together
strands of biochemistry, genetics, physics, chemistry, and mathematics.
The pieces of the scientific puzzle—each providing empirical
information about aspects of nature—converge to yield new insights
about life and the creative process itself. And that convergence
provides the receptive mind and open heart with a deeper appreciation
of the divine and the sanctity of creation.
Rev. Canon William Stroop, Ph.D.