The Relationship of Science to Biblical Faith
1. Science is a human enterprise which leads to knowledge of the natural world. This knowledge is tentative, not absolute, and is subject to revision based upon new empirical data. Science deals with observable, reproducible data.
2. The Scriptural revelation provides knowledge about both the natural world and the supernatural. This knowledge is absolute and is not subject to revision based upon empirical data.
3. The origin of the universe, galaxies, solar system, earth, life, species, and man was not observed and cannot be reproduced by man, so questions of origins lie outside of empirical science.
4. Scientists who assume purely natural causes to explain the origin of all things may devise materialistic hypotheses to explain origins, but strictly speaking, such hypotheses generally are not hypotheses of empirical science.
5. Data from the present world may be adduced as evidence in support of naturalistic theories about origins, but such evidence is circumstantial. Empirical data can be used neither to prove naturalistic theories of origins nor to falsify them.
6. Scientists who assume a supernatural cause for origins do not, by definition, propose mechanisms to explain origins.
7. Data from the present world may be adduced as evidence against naturalistic explanations of origins and in support of a supernatural cause, but it cannot prove the case for creation. Neither can empirical data falsify the concept of creation.
8. A correct definition of science makes no reference to the philosophical or religious beliefs of scientists.
9. A person can be a Bible-believing fundamentalist Christian, Roman Catholic, liberal Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Agnostic or Atheist, etc., provided he honestly and consistently abides by the rules of the scientific method and submits his methodology, data and conclusions to critical review by his peers. Nobody has any justification in the canons of science for criticizing his science on the basis of references to his philosophical or religious commitment, and this includes belief in either creation or evolution.
10. Those who are believers in God and in creation should be free to operate in the scholarly and scientific world openly as Christians without being subjected to discrimination, repression or persecution because of their faith, their expression of their faith or the conduct of their professional work under the paradigms provided by their faith world view. The materialists, atheists, humanists, and agnostics operate in science openly on the basis of their belief systems, and Christians deserve the same status—that of being accepted on the basis of their performance, not on the basis of their conformation to somebody else’s religious or irreligious belief system.
A Biblical Creation Model
Day 1—About ten thousand years ago, more or less, the infinite-personal Spirit, God, created the physical universe and the spiritual creation from nothing, by the Word of His power. Earth was dark and formless, except that it was surrounded by water. Light and the day-night cycle were provided, perhaps by a special source of light at the first.
Day 2—The watery envelope around the earth was separated into the seas covering the globe and a surrounding canopy of water, probably vapor and clouds, with an open atmosphere (the firmament) or the first heaven between.
Day 3—One huge continental mass was lifted up out of the waters. Plant life was created, probably mostly as seeds which germinated and grew at miraculous rates. The species within each created “kind” had the potential for variation to adapt to changing environmental conditions, but only within the genetic boundaries of the created kinds.
Day 4—The sun, moon and stars were either created or brought into condition to make them suitable as a basis for telling time, seasons, years and days. The usage of the words day and night in verses 14-18 strongly supports the view that the word day in verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 23 and 31means a normal solar day (cf. Exodus 20:8-11).
Day 5—Sea life and flying creatures such as birds and perhaps insects were created.
Day 6—The animal life of the dry land was created. Extinct types such as dinosaurs are included in the term “beast of the earth.” The species within each created kind, while less plastic than many of the plants, were nevertheless endowed with the potential to vary considerably within the genetic limits of the respective kinds. Thus, they could better survive by adapting to changing environments. When the earth had been populated with the plants and animals necessary to make it habitable for man and a suitable environment existed in which man could serve God, God created man, the first man Adam, from the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life to make him the only creature made in the likeness of God. This means man was created a personal being having the attributes of intellect, affections, moral capacity, and will. His duty was to know, love, and obey his Creator. Adam was alone the only personal creature on earth, but God conversed with him in language given by God. Adam demonstrated his dominion and stewardship over the world, as well as the intellectual capacity of primal, unfallen man, by classifying and naming all of the animals and birds which God brought to him. Then Eve, the first woman, was created from the side of Adam so that all of the race descending from our first parents would find their unity in Adam. When God completed the creation on the sixth day, He pronounced it perfect: “very good.” Thus, Satan had not yet rebelled.
Day 7—On the seventh day, the Creator rested from His work of creation.
Subsequently, Satan and the fallen angels entered earth, and Adam and Eve disobeyed God by listening to Satan and partaking of the forbidden fruit, which was a simple, naked test of obedience. This willful act plunged the entire race into a state of sin and misery an d subjected the entire universe to the divine curse which is causing it to degenerate continually, a process which will end with the dissolution of this world and the creation of the new heavens and new earth wherein righteousness dwells. Expelled from Eden, the race multiplied and developed culture, technology, and civilization, but except for Seth’s Godly line, without God and always departing from Him. The flood of God’s judgment that came in Noah’s day was global, destroying the antediluvian world. The major part of the sedimentary geological strata was deposited during the flood year, and the fossils bear testimony to many species of plants and animals which lived before the flood.
Some time after the flood , the continents completed their separation and moved into their modern relationships. For several thousand years the earth’s crust was unsettled and its climate disturbed. Vast mountain-building movements and volcanic lava outpourings changed the surface of the land, and glacial periods buried large areas under thick ice sheets. In the meantime, the eight people and the animals preserved in the ark overspread the earth. Some frontier populations degenerated genetically to produce some degraded or aberrant groups who were later absorbed or exterminated. But technology, culture, and civilization redeveloped rapidly in the Middle East, building on the considerable body of knowledge and skills brought through the flood by Noah’s family. The stage was set for the saga of recorded human history, which is portrayed in the clay tablets and artifacts of ancient buried civilizations and in the books of historians. The history of God’s dealings with Adam’s race, and especially with His believing people, is recorded in His book, the Bible.
—By Dr. Robert Kofahl (1924-2009). The previous article is reproduced from the January-February 2000 issue of Foundation magazine. It is one of a series of "Creation Essays" Dr. Kofahl published in Foundation magazine from 1999-2007.