Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Letting the Bible lead science?

I've posted a picture before which showed the ancient Hebrew understanding of the cosmos, see here. It is a useful image because it shows how a literalist should see creation if they base it on Genesis, yet few, if any, creationists see the world that way. If we turn to the Bible to dictate science, then these are the views of the world we get. Many creationists claim that the Bible does determine what is true science and also claim that the Scriptures got many things right which we are only just figuring out through science. If they were to do this properly, then the following image would be their world-view.

This image is found on the outer panels of the triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights by 15th century painter Hieronymus Bosch. An artist I am fond of, Bosch is well known for his often grotesque depictions, such as the image of Hell on the same piece of art. The outer panels, however, show the third day of creation, and it is clear that this understanding of the world does not match our modern understanding. This is how a creationist should view creation, yet they dishonestly do not.


RKBentley said...

I'll forgo the obvious criticism that you are making a straw man of creationism. Instead, I'm curious how you decide when Scriptures trump science and when science rules. For example, how do I know Jesus really rose from the dead? Surely such a thing is scientifically impossible. Perhaps the Easter story is simply a "powerful resurrection myth" God gave to the first century Church.

For that matter, what scientific evidence is there that a virgin can give birth? How can anyone turn water into wine or walk on water or calm a storm with a word?

I think there's more than a little hypocrisy on display in your post. If you trusted science like you claim you do, you would have to admit that the miracles surrounding Jesus are scientifically impossible. Yet you don't. You pick and choose when to believe the Bible is truly discussing the miraculous and when the Bible is being mundane but using miraculous language.

Thanks for letting me comment. God bless!!


The Palaeobabbler said...

A straw man? Did I misrepresent the creationist position?

There is a very simple answer to your question and I am shocked that you overlooked it. Those things you mention (resurrection, virgin birth etc.) are singular events which are miraculous. We should not expect such things to be scientifically demonstrable. We would not be able to provide scientific evidence either for or against them.

One can trust science and say "God can do things which science would not allow". The miracles of Christ are of a particular kind, they are signs, they are not expected to be scientifically possible. We should expect to say "under normal circumstances these would be impossible".

You want to lump creation in with that and it just does not fit. Science is not silent on creation (it is silent on whether there is a creator). There is evidence against your creationist position (I know you deny this, but there is). Creation does not fit into the category of being the sign of a prophet or of Christ.

So no, I am not picking and choosing, I am not being a hypocrite or being inconsistent. You are simply making a category error. In an older and more convoluted post I discussed this topic: http://palaeobabbler.blogspot.com/2009/08/in-defence-of-miracles-of-christ.html

RKBentley said...


The creation is a unique event. The universe was only created once and we weren't there to observe it. So your reason for distinguishing between the singular event of the creation and the singular event of the virgin birth still escapes me.

Regardless, I appreciate your response. God bless!!


RKBentley said...

Oh, I almost forgot. Yes, you are misrepresenting the creationist view. But since I'm more interested in your reasons for believing NT miracles and not OT miracles, I wasn't going to explore the straw man angle; hence, I said, "I'll forgo the obvious criticism..."

God bless!!


The Palaeobabbler said...

Ah, then it seems you have misunderstood my position. It was you who brought up NT miracles. I do not discount OT miracles, I simply see creation as a different type of miracle to the signs of prophets.

Creation has a singular aspect to it, but it leaves behind testable evidence: the whole of creation. None of Christ's miracles left anything behind which we could test. The creation itself shows a complex and long history, different to the creationist belief by orders of magnitude. I do not believe that God would create such deception, nor would I give Satan such power.