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Lesson 6: The Bible and Science *

Introduction: Not too long ago I was reading the transcript of the "Intelligent Design" ("ID")trial which took place in federal court in Pennsylvania about a year and a half ago. Intelligent design is a scientific theory that our creation came about as the result of an intelligence, rather than Darwin's theory of change through chance. What struck me while reading the cross-examination (and the statements of the judge) was that the defense of Darwinism was not based so much on proving it was true or logical, but rather based on whether the leading scientific minds, scientific associations and journals accepted Darwinism as true. There is some sense to this approach because judges are not experts in science. The scientific community embraces Darwinism and (largely) rejects ID. Thus, Darwinism won. The readers of these lessons know I'm a lawyer and a logician not a scientist. Instead of scientific journals, what does your common sense, your life experience, and your logic say about the existence of God and the truth of His word? Let's plunge into this fascinating topic!

  1. Fools?


    1. The leading scientists of 300-500 years ago were supporters of the idea of a Creator God. Today, the majority seem hostile or indifferent. Read Psalms 14:1. Assume you and I are in a debate over some important issue. My argument is that you are a fool, and your argument goes to the merits of the question. Who should win? (Name-calling is no substitute for a reasonable argument.)


      1. I say that if you are not a (Republican, Democrat, Independent - you fill in the blank) you are a fool. Are you convinced?


      2. Is God just calling those who do not believe in Him names? Or, is there something more to what God is saying? (When you see the word "fool" in the Bible, it is generally referring to someone who lacks "wisdom." God is not saying a fool is stupid. God is saying that a fool lacks wisdom - a much different thing.)


      3. Look again at the last part of Psalms 14:1. Is this more name-calling? (Yes! Just as the Judge in the ID trial looked at what experts said, rather than scientifically determine what was true, so God says look at the results of believing in Me. The fool lives life as if God did not exist. God's will and God's judgment are not part of the "equation" in this person's decision-making. Thus, this person's deeds are corrupt and vile.)


        1. I'm sure there are plenty of people who do not believe in God who would protest that they do not live corrupt and vile lives. What do you say to those people? (If they do not believe in a power outside of themselves, then their decision-making must inevitably turn on what they think is best for them.)


    2. Do you think a scientist can validly say that there is no proof that God exists or that He created the universe?


      1. If not, why not?(There is no clear proof of the absence of God. Stephen Hawking is reputed to be one of the smartest men alive. One of the things that I love about his popular scientific writing is his humility. He will often say (to paraphrase), "This is our theory right now. We've been wrong in the past and when we get better evidence we may discard this theory." His writings often refer to a god (meaning some unexplained power behind all of science). I've never read anything that makes me think Hawking believes in the Bible's Creator God, but at least Hawking is wise enough to write so as not to preclude such a possibility.)


    3. You all know the story of Job. Most comments that I hear about Job overlook some of the tough things Job says about God. Read Job 9:32-35. What is Job requesting? (He thinks God is being unfair to him. He wants to "sue God" (haul God into court before a judge) so that he can have a fair hearing about what God is doing to him.)


      1. Does Job believe in God? (Yes!)


      2. What is Job challenging? (God's fairness.)


    4. Now let's read Job 38:1-3. How does God respond to a challenge to His fairness (and not His existence)? (God says Job does not know what he is talking about.)


    5. Read Job 38:4-7. On what does God place His claim to superior knowledge? (Being the Creator of the earth.)


    6. Read Job 38:19-21. How does God compare Himself to humans?


    7. Read Job 38:31-36. In all of these verses in Job 38, God is making a very specific argument about who and what He is. On what is God's argument based? (Science. God says look at the heavens, look at the earth look at you. Did you create these things? Do you understand these things? Do you control these things?)


    8. What an interesting conflict. When God is called upon to argue His superior wisdom He points to the science of the creation. The scientists of today, "defeat" Intelligent Design theory by pointing to the creation. Let's test this in the next sections.


  2. Testing the Logic of Fools


    1. Consider your hand. To your knowledge, can humans perfectly recreate the operation of the hand? (No. Not even close.)


        1. What is the logical conclusion to be reached from that? (If humans cannot recreate the operation of the hand, the idea that hands came into being by chance is irrational.)


    2. Consider the operation of your brain and your eye. Humans can easily distinguish one face from another. Can computers do this? (No. There is a great deal of work in this area to try to create camera/computers which will "recognize" known terrorists in airports. Computer technology has a long way to go.)


    3. Notice again Job 38:33. Stephen Hawking writes about our observation that the universe is slowly expanding. This is an important fact for the "Big Bang" theory of the origin of the universe. We can see that the universe is slowly expanding in all directions. Therefore, some scientists conclude that the universe began with an explosion.


      1. Think about this and the theory of gravitational pull for just a moment. What should we, logically, be concerned about? (If the universe is expanding, it is weakening the gravitational attraction. Thus, if the expansion is too fast, the universe should fly apart at some point. If it is too slow, gravitational attraction will pull the universe towards the center and it will implode.)


        1. What does our survival depend upon? (That the expansion takes place at precisely the correct rate.)


          1. Would that logically, be a matter of chance? A matter of experiment? Or, would that be one "of the law's of the heavens" spoken of in Job 38:33?


  3. Proof in Our Life


    1. Read Psalms 119:105. What claim is being made for the Bible? (That you should direct your life by its precepts. It shows the way to walk in life.)


      1. Given this text, if you could show that following God's advice measurably improved the quality of life, would that would be scientific proof of the trustworthiness of God's word? (Yes.)


    2. Is there a difference in the divorce rate between Christians and the world? (I have read there is not, but these studies do not distinguish observant Christians from those who call themselves Christians. According to P. Fagan, "Why Religion Matters Even More: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability," (Dec. 18, 2006 Heritage Foundation Backgrounder series) (hereafter "Fagan") "Marriages in which both spouses attend religious services frequently are 2.4 times less likely to end in divorce [than when spouses do not attend]." (Fagan, p. 3.) Those who stopped attending church divorced 2.5 times more frequently than those who continued to attend. Fagan, pp. 3-4)


      1. What would you think is the most important predictor of marital stability? (Religious attendance. Id.)


    3. Will living together before marriage, giving marriage a "test run," improve your chances of staying married? (No. Couples who lived together before marriage were 59% more likely to divorce than those who did not. Fagan, p. 4)


    4. Does church attendance affect mother/daughter relationships? (Mothers who consider religion important get along better with their daughters. Mothers and daughters who attend church with the same regularity have significantly better relationships. Even the grandmother's church attendance has an impact on her descendants. "The more religious a mother's mother is, the more likely the mother has a good relationship with the child." Fagan, p. 5)


    5. How does church attendance affect father/child relationships? (Greater religious practice makes better father/child relationships. Fagan, pp. 5-6.)


    6. Thirty-seven percent of births in the United States now occur outside of marriage! (Fagan p. 7)Is this proof of the failure of religion? (No. Regular religious practice is one of the most powerful factors in preventing out-of-wedlock births. Young woman who did not consider themselves "very religious" had 2-3 times more out-of-wedlock births than those who considered themselves "very religious." Fagan, p. 7)


    7. Read Proverbs 17:22. Will a relationship with God affect being cheerful?


    8. Church members who suffer from depression or other mental illnesses have complained to me that people don't think they are a "good Christian" if they continue in their illness. Others suggest that advising prayer for their situation falls far short of the mark when what they really need is medical intervention. Is God's word a positive or negative factor when it comes to mental health? (Positive: 81% of 99 studies found "some positive association ... between religious involvement and greater happiness, life satisfaction, morale, positive affect, or some other measure of well-being." (Fagan, p. 9) "Adolescents who frequently attend religious services and have a high level of spiritual support from others in their community have the lowest levels of depression." Fagan, p.10)


    9. Friend, look around you. In almost every aspect of our life we see proof that God's exists and that His word is true. Will you choose to follow Him as shown in His word?


  4. Next week: The Word in Our Lives.
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2014 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
Website by Blake Cameron, M.D.
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