Everything is theological
As naturalism gained prominence in the sciences, one of the failed attempts to reconcile Scripture with secular science was called Non-Overlapping Magisteria. The idea is that science deals with ‘real world’ facts, while religion deals with spiritual things that are not accessible to science. Because the two categories are inaccessible to each other, they are ‘non-overlapping’.
However, this presupposes that all religious thought is confined to some otherworldly ethereal realm. But this is not true of Christianity! The Bible makes truth claims about events that happened in the real world, at locations we can find on a map, and at times we can place in the context of secular history.
Because Christianity makes claims about the real world, we cannot maintain a division between theology and science or history. Either Jesus was crucified around AD 30 in Jerusalem, or He was not. We cannot move the truth of the death and resurrection of Christ into the spiritual realm, because the Bible claims it happened in Jerusalem, and it happened in that precise period of history. It involves people like Pontius Pilate, who we know was the Roman prefect of Judea at that same point in history.
The Bible’s historical claims in Genesis similarly cannot be ‘theologized’. We’re given a timeline that is either correct or incorrect. Scripture simply does not allow us to take the ‘easy way out’ by saying that Genesis is telling us something lovely about the nature of God, but it has no particular bearing on how the earth actually came to exist.
But when we embrace the entirety of the Bible’s historical claims, we find that the Bible’s history acts as a foundation for an entire worldview that can explain what we see around us even today. We aren’t surprised when we see fossils being formed faster than was thought possible, because we believe most fossils were formed in Noah’s Flood (p. 46). We cite the ingenious design in living creatures (p. 52) and the intricacy of the DNA code as evidence that indicates a Designer who created life (p 39). And we aren’t surprised when it turns out that Christian churches in Ethiopia are the sole guardians of the biodiversity of an entire nation (p. 16).
We are told that God’s eternal power and divine nature are revealed by the things that are created (Romans 1:20). This is because God is the Creator who has acted in history. We can be confident in the accuracy of Scripture’s historical record, even when that has scientific implications, and we can thus draw out the God-glorifying aspects of all of creation!
I hope you enjoy this issue of Creation magazine. Better yet, pass it on to a friend when you have finished, so that they, too, can read this life-changing information.