Nature Vs. Scripture
by Luke Nix
Several years ago, I was having quite a difficult time reconciling my faith with the findings of modern science. The Bible seemed to say one thing, while scientists said the complete opposite (or at least something that wasn’t reconcilable). I was trying to integrate the finding of science with my faith under the idea that Scripture and nature were diametrically opposed in their truth claims. I was being pulled by Christians who told me that I had to accept what the Bible taught and reject modern science. Scientists were telling me that I had to reject Scripture and follow only science. For a while I sided with Christianity, then for a few days (really) I sided with science. I remember thinking that this could not possibly make sense since God was the creator of nature. I later thought that I would try an idea that states that science and theology describe separate areas of reality, but don’t overlap with one another. This worked for a year or so, but then I remembered once again that Scripture teaches that God is the Creator, and that anything He states about His creation IS an overlap of Scripture into creation.
I was not aware that the problem was that I was trying to reconcile interpretations rather than the raw facts. People in the Christian community led me to believe that the doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy applied to the interpretations, rather than the raw statements of Scripture. Scientists persuaded me to believe that their interpretations of the data could not be questioned, rather than the raw data. If we hold a certain interpretation of the Scriptures, then another interpretation of nature, and those two just happen to contradict, we must either reject one in favor of the other, or reconcile them by concluding that they are not speaking about the same “truth”.
Believing these inaccuracies led me further to believe that my faith was based on emotion, and science was based on reality- the two could not be reconciled. I was in this state of confusion and conflict for quite a few years. Would I give up my Christian faith or believe that everything I observed was really an illusion? If I kept my faith, could I live with the ideas that everything I observed was illusory, and that the God I believed in was either not omniscient or was intentionally deceptive? Or could I believe that my faith and my knowledge of nature had nothing to do with each other? Either way, I was pretty much giving up the idea that my faith reflected reality. If I rejected my faith, what purpose do I have, and how could I even ground the idea that what I observed was actually real? I was caught between a life with no purpose and no ground for knowing anything, and another life with purpose given by an untrustworthy God and still no ground for knowing anything. Both were a leap of blind faith and neither sounded very appealing. I recognized these problems, but I still thought that the interpretations were the raw data. As soon as I was able to make the distinction, reconciliation came and made perfect sense.
About six years ago, I was shown the distinction between interpretation and raw data. Suddenly, I realized that my Christian faith could be consistent with reality. Many in both the Christian and scientific communities misunderstand the fact that all facets of reality are consistent with one another (this includes Scripture and nature). If their interpretations of the raw data from either conflict with the interpretations of other raw data, then something must be reinterpreted. If a religion is to claim to be true (a part of reality), then the interpretations of its revelatory source(s) must, not only be consistent internally, but must also be consistent with the rest of reality. Allow me to take some time to explain the processes and how this is possible:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. ” Psalms 19:1-2
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
The psalmist and Paul tell us that nature can be trusted as a source of truth. This truth is not limited to just God’s existence and awesome power, as some like to claim. If it were limited to that here, it would be acceptable to say that the psalmist and Paul were telling us that God’s existence and awesome power are the only truths that nature can tell us- meaning that we cannot appeal to nature for any truth…
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