Sunday, October 29, 2017

Reconciling Biblical Interpretation and Scientific Inquiry

In my previous post I pointed out some similarities between good scientific inquiry and good biblical interpretation. I suggested that certain scientific ideas and certain biblical ideas are so well established that, as more information is acquired, they may be modified but will not be overturned. I claimed that the Big Bang was such an idea and that the evidence for it is so compelling that the details of the origin of our universe may be revised, (particularly what happened in the first 10-35 seconds or so), but that the theory itself was so well established it will not be overturned.

Some readers have asked me if I would give an example of a biblical conclusion that is so well established that it will not be overturned even with further observations and evidence. I would suggest one such idea is that the Bible is basically a reliable historical document. For nearly 200 years, critics have claimed that various historical places, events, and people mentioned in the Bible have not been discovered in archaeological excavations and this lack of confirmation shows the Bible is unreliable. Time and time again further archaeological findings have overturned the prevailing view and shown the Bible to be accurate. Some examples include the existence of a Hittite civilization, the existence and governorship of Pilate, the existence of King David, and the fact that people crucified could be buried in private tombs. Further discoveries should continue this trend and I expect that other events in the Bible that currently have little archaeological corroboration will eventually be confirmed.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Scientific Theories Change: So how can science be trusted? (and comparison with biblical interpretation)

Often when I give a public talk about science and Christianity at a church or other Christian venue someone will make a comment that the theories developed by science are constantly changing so they cannot really be trusted. I believe that the person making such a statement may often have an underlying assumption that some of the conclusions of science, usually the Big Band and/or evolution, contradict biblical teaching and so those theories really can't be believed or accepted. Similarly, I have heard Christians claim that the theories of science are fallible since they are developed by humans, while the Bible is infallible since it was given by God. As a scientist, I have a lot more confidence in the scientific conclusions drawn from the observations than some people who might make statements like that. Consequently, I think it is important that people understand something about the scientific process and why the findings of science can be trusted. As a Christian, I think it is crucial to distinguish between the infallible Word of God and the fallible interpretation of that word by individual humans. This post will cover some of these subjects and then go on to discuss why I believe there is quite a bit of correspondence between how to interpret the facts of nature and the words of the Bible.