What to Do When the Bible and Science Conflict
As a thinking Christian how do we handle it when the Bible says one thing and science says another?
Science And Scripture Show Us God’s Truth
God gave us the ability to think, research, learn and improve. Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
Many great scientists in the past and present see science as a way to better understand God’s creation so we can better cooperate with Him and how He designed us to live. Famous Scientists.org has an article titled
“34 Great Scientists Who Were Committed Christians” https://www.famousscientists.org/great-scientists-christians/
Just a few who are listed along with a short quote about how they saw science and faith are:
Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Gregor Mendel, Isaac Newton, George Washington Carver, Francis Collins, Blaise Pascal, Werner Heisenberg….
Romans 1:20 tells us, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made….”
Astrophysicist/Christian Apologist Hugh Ross says that God has given us Scripture and Science to know truth. When they conflict we need to keep studying and researching until they agree.
Science is Great But Also Makes Lots of Mistakes
In our culture today the magic words are “science proves” or “research has proven”…..
I love reading research-based books and articles. Solid science and research have benefited mankind greatly. These findings help improve our lives and yes, even help us know God better.
But science is not infallible. We are always learning and the amount we don’t know far exceeds what we do know.
In 2005 Stanford University professor John Ioannidis famously proclaimed, “It can be proven that most claimed research findings are false.”
Does that hit you like it does me? “Most research finding are false?” He thinks the main reason for false findings is “simply a widespread confusion about statistics.”
I’m no statistician or scientists, but as a reader of history, books, articles and having lived for over five decades I’ve seen science reverse itself over and over again.
This is understandable, it’s logical because as we gain more knowledge we change our conclusions.
But what bothers me is that so often experts declare their new discoveries as FACT and you are an idiot if you don’t believe every single word they say.
Scientists Are Not Always Honest
There are numerous examples of scientists who left out results in their studies that did not support their view.
Some scientists flat out made up results and got away with it for a time. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/18/haruko-obokata-stap-cells-controversy-scientists-lie
“Stanford researchers uncover patterns in how scientists lie about their data”: https://news.stanford.edu/2015/11/16/fraud-science-papers-111615/
One famous pro-abortion doctor who later became pro-life said that as he was publicly touting facts about the development of a fetus in the mothers womb (back in the 60's-70's), he knew he was lying as he spoke those words. But the cause was more important than the truth, so as an expert, he lied for the “greater good.”
Like the rest of us, scientists are sinners who are tempted to lie and cheat to reach some goal.
Scripture Is Always Right but We Don’t Always Get It Right
For a lot of really good reasons, I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. It has the final say on what I believe because God knows everything, He cannot lie, and He gave us unchanging words to build our lives on.
Science, when done well, is a wonderful thing. But when science, which is consistently changing its views, contradicts God’s word then I reject the scientists conclusions.
However, if the science seems well researched and validated and it comes to a conclusion that is contrary to Scripture, then I owe it to myself to go back to Scripture, study what it says and make sure my understanding of Scripture is solid. (Maybe it doesn’t say what I always thought it said.)
Sometimes, due to the teaching we’ve heard for years, we believe the Bible to be saying something it really isn’t.
When Copernicus taught that the sun was the center of our solar system, not the earth, the church reacted strongly against his teaching. The church gets a bad rap for this, as it should, but what is often ignored by church bashers is mainstream science of that day also bashed Copernicus.
The view the church held at the time was also the view of the majority of the scientific community of the day.
Does The Bible Really Say That?
The mistake theologians made at that time was taking the popular held view, even by science, and interpreting passages in Scripture that seemed to say the earth was the center of it all.
But the Bible doesn’t say that. Science, in this case, helped the church interpret Scripture more accurately.
Again, Romans 1 tells us that God’s creation helps us know God better. Science, when done well, will help us know God and His principles in a deeper way.
But science is not infallible and never will be because there is always more to learn.
I build my life on the unchanging word of God.
If science contradicts Scripture, then I study the science, study Scripture and see if my interpretation of Scripture is solid.
If my understanding of Scripture needs changing, then I adjust.
If science contradicts what the Bible says, then I reject that specific scientific conclusion.
If you want more free resources on living a Jesus-centered, Jesus-empowered life take a look at www.TruVineMission.com
If you want some help in knowing and living your God-given purposes check out www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com