Ask Father Paul-12-28-11
Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible
Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations. Here are a few that I have received in my ministry and via e-mail for this column.
Dear Father Paul: What explanations are available to reconcile some of the seeming differences between modern science and the Bible? For example: “mainstream” scientists all agree that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, but if you add up all of the time and generations in the Bible ... from creation until Jesus ... then add in the 2,000 years from Jesus until today, the earth should be only about 6,000 years old. This also brings up the whole question of the dinosaurs and whether or not they lived at the same time as humans. — Andy
Dear Andy: Thank you for your very excellent question. I cannot possibly do it justice in the 900 or so words this column allows, but I will say this.
Science and faith have been in a so called “conflict” for centuries. As a pastor, who studied science in college and who has a great love of science, especially for physics ... but who also believes sincerely in the God of the Bible, I do not believe that this has to be the case. Scientists say, “we know,” while people of faith say, “we believe.” So, which is right? Both can be.
For me, I believe that God is the author of both (true) science as found in the laboratory ... and also the author of (true) faith as found in the Bible. Because God is author of both, it is impossible for the two to truly be in conflict. Further, I believe that when a fallible scientist’s theories do not conform to the clear teaching of the Biblical texts, we should reevaluate the scientific theory and not the Biblical text. Keep in mind, however, that the Bible does not cover each and every scientific question.
Here is an example of what I am talking about. Before Copernicus (1473-1543) the entire “scientific community” believed and taught that the earth was flat ... that it was the center of the Universe ... and that the Sun itself “moved” in the heavens. All the while, any review of clear Biblical texts would have shown anyone that this was simply not the case. See Isaiah 40:22; Job 26:7 and Job 26:10.
As the author of time itself, God also answers your 4.5 billion years vs. 6,000 years age of the earth question in the Bible ... see Psalm 90:4 and in II Peter 3:8.
Indeed, long held scientific “truths” are continuing to fall right and left even in our modern times. Just a couple of months ago scientists at the massive CERN Hadron Particle Collider in Switzerland discovered “the impossible,” ... that ... “it is in fact possible for particles to move at faster than the speed of light,” a phenomenon thought totally impossible by mainstream scientists for the past 100 years. The new discovery calls into serious question the very foundation for Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity on which all of modern physics is based. One of the Swiss scientists was quoted as saying, “this new discovery will completely change everything we know about physics and the forces of the Universe.” Oh well, back to square one scientifically.
The scientific fields of paleontology and fossilology that you mentioned are also highly prone to error. In the early 1920s the remains (actually only a few teeth) of what came to be called “Nebraska Man” were discovered in Nebraska. From this limited fossilized evidence scientists “reconstructed” what this American “Ape – Man” looked like, how he lived, what he ate, etc. The scientific community was ecstatic. The remains were even entered into evidence “as proof of evolution” on the side of the proponents of Darwinian Evolution in the famous Scopes “Monkey Trial” in 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee. However, in 1927, a whole skeleton of “Nebraska Man” was discovered and he was found to be a wild pig.
For more information on your question Andy, I would suggest the web-site www.answersingenesis.org
Do you have a question? Email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to answer your question in the paper.
Father Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville, Georgia. Church of the Holy Cross is a Spirit-filled, Sacramental congregation. You are cordially invited to worship with us this coming Sunday. Information, directions and pod-casts of Fr. Paul’s Sunday messages are at...