The Bible, Science, and Skepticism

Text: Psalm 33:4-11


I.         A literal reading of the Bible tells us that God created the world, that the universe was created in six days, and the world is about 6,000 years old.

            A.        Yet the literal reading is often rejected, not on the basis of Scriptural teachings, but because it does seem “scientific.”

            B.        So, they force a re-interpretation of the Scriptures to make the clear statements non-literal.

                        1.         In other words, they use science to justify how the Bible is to be interpreted.

            C.        Once the ball is rolling, it is hard to stop.

                        1.         “Science” says homosexuality is genetic, therefore denominations are in a rush to re-interpret God’s clear statements condemning the choice of homosexuality.

            D.        Interestingly, in both cases, the so-called scientific evidence is neither truly scientific or legitimate evidence, but that doesn’t seem to bother those who feel they must adapt Scriptures to modern society.

            E.        One young man noted the logical conclusion, “I believe that a strict literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2 combined with dogmatic Young Earth creationism must lead inevitably to a direct contradiction between the Bible and science. I don’t believe that the Bible’s authors were particularly concerned about history, chronology and the age of the Earth. Old Testament Israel was to involved in the process of attempting to form a functioning society in a violent world to concentrate on questions regarding the origin and development of the Earth and human society.”

                        1.         Note that the author rejects the literal truth of the creation account.

                        2.         He also views the Bible as being of human origins. Humans with historical and cultural limitations.

            F.        The Bible claims to be teachings of the Spirit of God - I Corinthians 2:6-14

            G.        The teachings of the Bible are not subject to man’s interpretation of God’s words - II Peter 1:20-21

            H.        God’s word is true in every matter that it addresses - Psalms 119:128

            I.         God’s word has been fully confirmed - Psalms 93:5

II.        The real problem is that people lack genuine faith in God’s book.

            A.        When a person feels the need to reinterpret Scripture to fit supposed scientific evidence, he demonstrates faith in pseudo-science and doubts about God’s reliability.

                        1.         What would happen if a person rejected all passages which conflict with scientific observation?

                        2.         Eventually, such a person must reject every miracle recorded in the Bible.

                        3.         Since those miracles often were given as evidence to God’s word, the fundamental doctrines of the Bible must in turn be rejected.

            B.        Joshua’s Stationary Sun

                        1.         The story

                                    a.         When the Israelites went to rescue Gibeon, the battle looked like it would be cut short by the ending of the day.

                                    b.         Joshua ask that the sun and moon be held still - Joshua 10:12-14

                        2.         How do you explain the sun and moon holding still for about 24 hours?

                                    a.         Scientifically you can’t!

                                    b.         The earth rotates at about 1000 mph at the equator. So the rotation of the earth relative to the sun had to have stopped.   Imagine slamming on the brakes in a car, now compare it to stopping the entire world.

                                    c.         The moon moves at 36,000 mph around the earth. It is the movement of the moon that keeps it from crashing into the earth. Yet it stopped!

                        3.         Does this mean we must reinterpret the Bible in a non-literal sense because we cannot explain a miracle of God scientifically? Of course not!

                        4.         We believe the event is historically accurate because God said so. Science is helpless and useless in explaining any miracle of God.

            C.        Hezekiah’s Sun-Dial

                        1.         The story

                                    a.         Isaiah announced to the king that he would soon die - Isaiah 38:1

                                    b.         Hezekiah prayed to God and asked that he might continue to live.

                                    c.         God granted his request by adding 15 years to his life - Isaiah 38:5

                                    d.         To prove the truth of His statement, God gave Hezekiah a sign - Isaiah 38:7-8

                        2.         The explanation

                                    a.         Can this event be explained scientifically? Absolutely not!

                                    b.         Think what is implied.

                                                (1)       The earth rotates at about 1000 mph at the equator. It is moving around the sun at a speed of 67,000 mph. (Use a globe to illustrate.)

                                                (2)       What happens when your going down the road in a car and the driver suddenly puts on the brakes?

                                                (3)       What would “normally” happen if the world was stopped, backed up a way and then set in motion again? There would be much left on this old world in one piece!

                                                (4)       Oh, what if God didn’t touch the earth. He just moved the sun and the rest of the Universe. Now you are making it even more difficult!

                        3.         So how do we explain it? We don’t. We don’t attempt to reconcile science with the Bible.

                                    a.         We merely believe that a God who created this universe simply by speaking it into existence can certainly suspend the laws of that same universe to accomplish His desire.

                                    b.         It is what we mean by a miracle.

            D.        Consider the division of the Red Sea - Exodus 14:21-22

                        1.         People have been explaining this one away for decades.

                                    a.         It wasn’t really the Red Sea, it was the Reed Sea (a swamp).

                                    b.         It was a very dry season and the dry wind hardened the ground.

                        2.         Yet the Bible speaks of a wall of water on either side. And how does a dried up swamp drown the Egyptian army?

                        3.         We cannot explain the event by science; yet, by faith we accept that it happened just as God said.

            E.        The virgin birth of Jesus - Matthew 1:18

                        1.         Can we explain how this happened scientifically?

                        2.         For that matter, can the resurrection be explained? - I Corinthians 15:1-4

                        3.         Can we give the biological processes involved in either event?

                        4.         If we could, it would no longer serve as divine proof of the authority of Jesus.

                                    a.         The fact that it is beyond explanation by the physical laws of this universe is exactly the point!

                                    b.         Miracles are evidence from God that God is involved.

                                    c.         If man could do it or even explain it, then it would not be a demonstration of the power of God.

III.       In matters of the biblical accounts of the miracles which occurred, we walk by faith and not by sight - II Corinthians 5:7

            A.        An effort to reinterpret just one miracle into a scientific explanation (by sight) is to strike a blow at the foundation of faith.

                        1.         The Bible was written to create faith - John 20:30-31

                        2.         If one miracle can be explained away, then so can any other miracle

                        3.         If we lose the battle for faith in the historical narrative of creation, then no historical narrative of miracles is safe from reinterpretation.

            B.        Almost a century ago, the denominations began to accept evolution as an explanation of the origin of the world. Today, there is a wide-spread lack of faith in the teachings of the Bible.

                        1.         “Some of us look to the Bible for guidance and answers. Whether you believe the Bible is literally true or historically accurate, no one can say the Bible does a complete job of literally explaining how to deal with living in a post-modern technologically driven civilization. While a wonderful source of insight an inspiration, the Bible is hardly the most user-friendly manual for modern living.” Living Clueless by Angela Smith, University Baptist Church.

                        2.         “If you went to a theological seminary, or a university where religion was being taught; if you went to a college where they were training ministers of the gospel; if you studied the Bible using the most searching and honest commentaries, written by men and women who devoted a lifetime of scholarship to the subject, you would find only a minority of these scholars professing old-fashioned, fully orthodox Christian beliefs. You would find that many of them were priests or ministers of their particular church. You would find that they attended the various rites of those churches. But ask them, "Do you believe that God Almighty took human flesh in the person of Jesus?" and I suspect you would find only a minority able to say an unambiguous "Yes!" Do they believe that Jesus was born in Bethlehem? Only a tiny handful of Bible scholars believe that. Fewer, I should guess, believe he was born of a virgin. Many would say that they believed in the Resurrection, but ask them to say whether they believe in the gospel accounts of an empty tomb, and you will find that they do not.” A.N. Wilson, Church of England.

            C.        Those reinterpreting Genesis 1 and 2 to incorporate the Big Bang theory and billions of years for evolution in proper keeping with scientific theory are taking the same path the denominations took years ago.

            D.        Instead, we must content earnestly for the faith - Jude 3

[based on an article by Harry Osborne titled “The Bible, Science, Skepticism, and Creation”]