The Conundrum of Reconciling Science and Archeology with Scripture.
In considering the history of mankind, and looking at all of knowledge on a holistic basis as it relates to the background of peoples, one would be remiss in ignoring the spiritual aspect of humans. In doing so it is fair to ask the question: “Is there really a God?” and if so “What does one do with Him?”
The first question has been pondered by mankind for thousand of years. Great thinkers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas, to name a few, have struggled with it. In the process they have come up with reasonable proofs that there must be a God, and it is interesting that their thoughts are confirmed by science.
Aquinas was a leader in developing a series of formal proofs of God’s existence. They include:
- A. Nothing comes into existence from nothing.
- B. Nothing comes into motion unless there is a force to bring it into motion.
- C. The order that exists in nature indicates the existence of a great intellect and thus an “ultimate” being- God- the Intellectual Designer.
Though the author by no means pretends to be a chemist, chemistry shows that all chemical elements are made up of matter and energy; “matter” being anything that “occupies space”; “energy” being “the capacity for performing work” Furthermore, in a simplified form, all the different elements distinguish themselves by atoms made up of protons/neutrons kept within an electronic shell. The number of protons/neutrons in the atom determines the nature of the element. For instance, the simplest element -hydrogen- consists of an atom made up of one proton kept in the energy of electrons-electronic shell. Oxygen in turn would have 16 protons/neutrons. Elements of one kind can attach themselves to elements of a different kind. For instance, the combined elements of one element of hydrogen and two of oxygen create water.
Helium has 4 protons/neutrons; lithium 7;beryllium 9; etc. Currently 117 elements have been identified. Each element becomes more complicated by having a larger number of protons/neutrons. For instance element number 92- uranium has 238 protons/neutrons. When one examines the chart of elements, however, one is intrigued by the order that exists in the progression of their atomic structure. Taken by itself one gets drawn to the conclusion that this structure has not just developed by chance but indicates the probability of an Intelligent Designer- God.
This conclusion gets further strengthened when one examines the progression of properties for each level of being. It will be noticed that each group of beings have all the properties of the previous group, plus certain additional ones, thereby distinguishing them as belonging to that particular group of beings-there is a progressive order. When one thinks this through to its logical conclusion, one ends up with a Supreme Being which has to be perfect in every aspect. In other words, that perfection has to exist, for if it did not it would be possible that another more superior being could exist which would have all perfection. Hence the Supreme Being has to be without beginning or end; has to be perfectly all knowing; perfectly just; perfectly all loving; perfectly without need of anyone else, perfectly self sufficient etc. The following chart illustrates this progression:
God, by being perfect in all things, is also perfect in love. However, for love to exist it must have an object to which it can manifest its love. In God’s case men is that object and the perfect expression of this love is that one person of his triune existence becoming man and atoned for men’s sins by voluntarily being willing to die the most gruesome and horrible death one can imagine. Furthermore He gives everyone who so desires the opportunity to be in harmony with Him and share His eternal life by foregoing one’s own will and turning it over to Him and let Him direct it for the purposes that He has planned it to be lived and be used in this world. As St Francis would state it “It is by dieing to oneself that one lives and finds eternal life”
God to men is a mystery. However, He is perfectly loving and thus can be perfectly trusted even though we cannot fully understand all His aspects. Through His Word, he has shown the way to follow in living a full and rich life, as well He has interwoven in it the history of His chosen people, showing the good and bad things that happened/happens to them if they do or do not follow His precepts. In addition He foretells in great detail the events that will happen in the future and ultimately in the final days. The book –Bible- is amazing, not only as a guide book for life, but also as a historical record, and a code book of future events. With regard to the latter, by using the power of the computer Jewish scholars have taken the biblical scrolls of the Torah, and by taking the first letter of a word in a certain place in a given book of it; for instance the first letter of the fiftieth word in the book of Isaiah, they discovered a code. It foretold certain world events; e.g. the rise of Hitler; the 9/11 event etc. Anyone can purchase the computer program and duplicate this experiment and show its validity.
As intriguing as the biblical code phenomena is, there is always the question about the seeming contradiction in some of the aspects of the scriptures when compared to known reality. An example of this is the six days creation story, and the age of the earth. Recent research, however, has made major steps in reconciling scientific reality with the scriptures.
The leading Jewish scientist Dr. Gerald Schroeder in his paper of the Age of the Universe points out that in Jewish understanding of this, there are two aspects: i.. the traditional Jewish calendar starting to count from Adam’s creation or about 5700 BC plus ii. “six days”. He points out that the Hebrew word for “darkness-night” can also mean “black fire” or “black energy” or “darkness” “absence of light”. Similar the word for “evening” can also mean “ chaos”, and the word for “morning” can mean “order” Hence when these words are used it can properly be interpreted as a period in which the chaos for that series of events is changed to order. That is why in Genesis it says “there was evening and morning, Day One”, as opposed to the normal more logical flow of morning and evening. What it is saying is there was evening-chaos- and morning- order. Hence a more accurate translation of the first day of creation in Genesis would be “it was chaos changed to order; the first day”
As confirmed by the observations of the Hubbell telescope, there was a beginning when a “package” of energy spread to form the universe- the Big Bang. Scientists have calculated that this “beginning” occurred about 15 billion years ago. A day as we know it consists of the twenty four hours it takes for the earth to rotate before the sun. In addition the earth rotates around the sun in about 365 days, or a year. Furthermore the sun and planets are a part of the milky-way galaxy. That whole celestial system rotates in the universe. Finally the whole universe keeps on expanding at the rate energy moves, i.e. the speed of light. In the biblical six days the sun does not appear until the fourth “day”. Hence since there is no sun, there is no 24 hour period and obviously the word “day” does not mean that time period but can just as easily mean the time it took to bring chaos into order for the events dealt with.
Dr. Schroeder’s article-is showing as Appendix A to this book. In it he clearly demonstrates that based on the duration of the “scientific day”, the six days as we know them exactly equate the six scientific- I will call- “energy days” or about 15 billion years. Rather dumbfounding!
Finally, what about evolution? Darwin introduced this concept in the 1800’s. However, it is surprising that it is still taught. As one would expect with an intellect behind the creation, there is order in the animal world, and in the same way as with the elements there is a progression of more and more complicated beings. The same phenomena can be observed in the study of DNA among the animals. However, there is absolutely no fossil or DNA evidence showing where one animal evolves from one being into another. There is adaptation within each species to different circumstances, however, no evolution.
When one ponders and examines the overwhelming evidence that there must be a God, one has two choices: i. One can still reject Him and in one’s pride, in the same way as the fallen angels or Adam and Eve, decide that one knows better than He does what is best for us, or, ii One can accept Him to exist; acknowledge that He is the Being that perfectly loves us, Who knows what is best for us and Who has a purpose for our life and ask Him to run our life. The choice is ours! If we accept the truth of His Word we know that by going the latter route we have eternal life. If we rely on our pride and reject Him His Word says we are condemned for the life to come and we’ll live an earthly unfulfilled life.
Pascal made an interesting, rather sobering, observation. He stated that if we accept the truth of an after life and the path of accepting Him to run our life on earth; and it turns out that at death we learned that we were wrong, the worst that has happened is that we lived a full earthly life. However, if it turns out that we were right, we receive eternal life.
On the other hand if we do not want to accept that truth but lived as if there were no after life, and if we found out that our choice of going our own way was wrong, we lose everything.
- References: “From Aether to Cosmos-Cosmology” by: Celestine N. Bittle;
Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee 1941 “The Signature of God” by Frank Jeffrey; Frontier Research Publications Inc., P O Box 129, Station U, Toronto, Ont. M8Z 5M4 “Genesis and the Big Bang” by: Dr. Gerald Schroeder. Bantam Doubleday Books aish.com/societywork/sciencenature/Age_of_the_Universe.asp www.biblicalhistorytimeline.com