Sola Scriptura in an age of science
This year, Protestants celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses (p. 52). Luther’s bold proclamation against various practices of the Roman Catholicism of that period is generally seen as the start of the Protestant Reformation. Half a millennium later, it is worth remembering the biblical principles that inspired the Reformers to stand against the political and religious powers of the day.
Sola Scriptura—Scripture alone—was one of the main slogans of the Reformers. They argued that Scripture, and only Scripture, is to be the ultimate authority for Christians, even for the church hierarchy and the pope himself.
Today, there is a need to re-emphasize sola Scriptura in the area of creation. For many Christians, uniformitarian interpretations of science, not the Bible, is the ultimate authority when it comes to origins, and they try to reinterpret the Bible to somehow fit in a billions-of-years timescale and evolution, rather than interpreting science in the light of the clear teaching of Scripture.
The saddest thing about this is how unnecessary it is in light of what current scientific research shows. In geology, Mount St Helens (p. 23) shows that massive catastrophic geological events can drastically change the landscape, and that flora and fauna can recover quickly afterwards. In biology, we see how creatures are so well-designed that scientists seek to copy them (p. 12, p. 43). Also, we see creatures living in delicate balance in wonderfully designed ecosystems, such as coral reefs (p. 28).
When we take the Bible as our authority, we can use Scripture to confidently address a wide range of issues that are important in today’s society. When we understand that our doctrine of marriage is grounded in creation, we can speak compassionately and powerfully to the issue of same-sex attraction, and expect God’s Word to transform people (p. 46)! And when we understand the idea that humans are unique image-bearers of the Creator God, we can counter ideas about aliens and life on other planets, and give answers to people who have had confusing experiences (p. 16). In fact, Scripture is not only authoritative but sufficient to speak to such a wide range of issues, because it is inspired by the God who created us.
So enjoy this issue of Creation—and consider a renewed commitment to the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word! It’s the only foundation that we can trust to address the questions that people are asking in today’s society.