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Is science more true than the Bible?

Wes B., US, wrote in response to The ‘interpretation argument’: an irrefutable argument against Christianity?:

galileo-galilei
Galileo Galilei showing the Doge of Venice how to use the telescope by Giuseppe Bertini (1858). Credit: gabrielevanin.it

In response to Lita Sanders; The “truth” matters not if something appears to be helpful. What is ultimately “helpful” are the provable facts. I’m very confident the Catholic Church (for example) a few hundred years ago believed the Earth was the center of the solar system (or even the universe) and based upon that ubiquitous notion they all found believing that was helpful. But it didn’t make it “true”. Didn’t make their belief reliable and useful. It wasn’t until the advent of the scientific method we realized the facts. You also willingly imprison yourself and limit your relationship to empirical truths by making the absurd claim the scriptures are the final word. If you had a more open mind you would know there is “no final word”, not even in science. Because science is a method of discovery and that never ends. It’s relatively easy to “know the scriptures”. All one has to do is research google. But you nor anyone else could possibly know “god”. You can’t even know the mind of Donald Trump and he’s someone you could actually see and talk to. The power of god… perhaps you can identify for everyone exactly that power is. God didn’t use that power to stop the condo collapse in Florida. Just because you “sense” something doesn’t make it true in the external world. You might want to spend more time reading science and less in the bible.

, CMI-US, responds:

Thanks for writing in; your message gives us a valuable opportunity to consider the nature of truth and its relationship to science, and indeed, what truth is beyond the limits of science.

You mock the Catholic church for believing the earth was at the center of the universe a few hundred years ago. But that view came not from the Bible but Aristotelian philosophy, and it was believed by the pre-eminent scientists of the day as well. See our Geocentrism Q&A for more if you’re interested.

You say that it wasn’t until the “advent of the scientific method” that we realized the facts. Which facts were those? And for that matter, what is the scientific method? Many scientists recognize that what many think of as the scientific method is “a myth, or at best, an idealization” (Wikipedia, “Scientific Method”).

You say that I imprison myself and limit my relationship to empirical truth by my relationship to Scripture, which is the Word of God. However, limitation is freeing and is the foundation for more productive thought. It focuses the mind by eliminating things which must, by definition, be false. For instance, a scientist with a firm grasp of the Second Law of Thermodynamics will know why it is useless to investigate the possibility of perpetual motion machines that would violate it. He can then spend his time more productively.

All of us accept certain foundational ideas that we can’t verify. They form the foundation of our worldview and we might not even be able to enunciate what they are because they are so much part of the architecture of our minds that we don’t even notice them. The important thing to note is that it isn’t just ‘religious people’ who have these kind of unverifiable ideas. For instance, you seem to have the foundational idea “empirical science defines what is true”, or something to that effect. The thing is, you can’t verify that empirically. That in itself doesn’t make it untrue, but it does make it a foundational worldview idea that is no more verifiable than the Christian idea that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. If there is no final word, not even in science, you can’t even make the statement that there is no final word!

The idea that there is always something more to discover is certainly true. But that doesn’t mean we never arrive at truth, or in the sense that what we learn yesterday is always discarded in favor of what we learn today. And of course, how we interpret what we learn is dependent on our foundational ideas. For instance, the similarities between living things may be interpreted by an evolutionist as evidence for common descent, but by creationists as evidence for a common designer.

The idea that one can know the Scriptures easily by searching Google shows that you have yet to attempt to know the Scriptures. Theologians know that there is more in the Scriptures than one can learn in a lifetime. The wisdom contained in God’s Word takes even longer to comprehend and live out. Christians take the time to respect those with other religions, including materialistic atheism, by learning what they actually believe, but often we don’t receive the same treatment in return.

The idea of knowing God is profound. How could we claim to know God? After all, God is far higher above us than we are above ants. Scripture says “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8–9). So we can only know God because He has revealed Himself to us in ways that we can understand. He has done this through creation which shows His power and eternal nature (Romans 1), and through His Word. But most clearly He has revealed Himself to us through the Incarnation. Jesus says that to see Him is to see the Father, so when we examine Jesus’ life as portrayed in the Gospels, we see God’s goodness, wisdom, and mercy on display.

True, the power of God did not stop the condo collapse in Florida, nor does He prevent all sorts of disasters that happen around the world on a daily basis. Given that disasters are not solely a modern phenomenon, it should not surprise you that Christians have explanations for why God does not prevent bad things from happening. I invited you to read the articles in our Death and Suffering Q&A, for instance.

In the hundreds of articles I’ve published on creation.com, I’ve never once used something I ‘sensed’ as any sort of argument, so I don’t know the reason for your second-to-last sentence. As for reading more science and less Bible, you might be interested to know that Isaac Newton wrote more theology than science. And he’s only one example: most of the founders of our modern branches of science were Christians who believed the Bible, and many scientists today believe Scripture, too.

I hope this response encourages you to think more deeply about these matters.

Published: 28 August 2021

Helpful Resources

Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
US $17.00
Soft Cover