Archive for February, 2011

Do Faith in God and Science Contradict?

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind” – Albert Einstein


1 : the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding

2 a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study 〈the science of theology〉

b : something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge 〈have it down to a science

3 a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method

b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : natural science [1]

Science – The systematic organization of knowledge about the laws that govern the world and the universe. The word “science” occurs twice in the KJV (Dan. 1:4; 1 Tim. 6:20), but in both cases the NKJV renders the word as “knowledge.” All truth, whether revealed in Scripture or gained from experimentation and observation of God’s creation, is God’s truth. Ultimate knowledge comes from God and His Word. [2]

Science is a method that mankind can use to gain a greater understanding of the natural universe. It is a search for knowledge through observation. Advances in science demonstrate the reach of human logic and imagination. However, a Christian can have faith in God and have a respect for science, as long as we remember which is perfect and which is not. [3] Truth is nothing to fear, so there is no reason for a Christian to fear good science. Learning more about the way God constructed our universe helps all of mankind appreciate the wonder of creation. The danger comes when we put our faith in human logic above the faith in our Creator. Our belief in science should be intellectual and nothing more. We can count on science to do many things, but we can also count on science to make mistakes. Science throughout history has been wrong: shape of the earth, powered flight, vaccines, blood transfusions, reproduction and even global warming. Man can be wrong but God is never wrong. 

In the Bible, particularly in a passage such as Psalm 8, spells out that man is to be the keeper of nature. If God is responsible for the presence of man on earth then we can understand why man wants to understand nature. This understanding is not only for its own sake, but also in order to ultimately control nature’s resources. This is the essential driving force behind our scientific enterprise. For instance, nuclear energy could not be employed for better or for worse, before a certain amount of knowledge and understanding of the atom had been gleaned through investigation. The reading of nature leads to the control of nature. Somehow our educational system does not or will not teach the truth to an adequate degree to our youth. Romans 1:25 tells us why people believe in bad science: They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”At the same time, the theologians should have spelt out the message that if man is to be the ruler over nature then that carries an awesome responsibility to care for nature. Much of science supports the existence and the work of God. As modern science discovers more about the universe, we find more evidence of creation; complexity of DNA and the laws of physics. As Christians we should seek the truths found in science.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” (Psalm 33:6, NIV)

For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” (Psalm 33:9, NIV)

“I want to know all God’s thoughts; all the rest are just details.”- Albert Einstein

[1]Merriam-Webster, Inc: Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. Springfield, Mass., U.S.A. : Merriam-Webster, 1996, c1993

[2]Youngblood, Ronald F. ; Bruce, F. F. ; Harrison, R. K. ; Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville : T. Nelson, 1995

[3] Houdmann, Michael, Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Pleasant Word

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Literary Beauty of Genesis Chapter 1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, NIV)

Genesis presents a perplexing question about the nature of the seven creation days, centering around the Hebrew word yôm, “day.” Are the six days of creation literal, twenty-four-hour days, which describe an actual week in which God created the world? Or do the “days” represent ages of indeterminate length, the so-called day-age theory? [1]

The general arrangement of the six days of creation divides into two main activities, forming and filling. The creative movements of forming and filling both take their cue from the language of verse 2:

Now the earth was formless and empty…

The earth, which was formless at the outset of creation, is given form on days 1-3. And the earth, which was empty or void at the first stroke of creation, is filled on days 4-6.

Study the chart below:

1:3-5 A. Day 1: light  
1:6-8   B. Day 2: seas, heaven        Forming
1:9-13     C. Day 3: earth, vegetation  
1:14-19 A’  Day 4: sun, moon, stars  
1:20-23   B’ Day 5: fish, birds           Filling
1:21-31    C’ Day 6: land animals, humans  
2:1-3 Day 7: Rest / Sabbath  

This chart tells us about God’s creative activity. Each succeeding day of God’s forming and filling activity is related. Take a look at day 1 and then day 4. On day 1 we learn about light and darkness; on day 4 we are introduced to the sun, moon and the stars, which fill up the sky. Now look at day 2 and then day 5. On day 2 God comes out with the seas and heaven; on day 5 the seas and heaven are filled with the creation of the birds and fish. And now look at day 3 and then day 6. Both day 3 and day 6 contain two acts of creation: earth and vegetation on day 3 and land animals and humans on day 6. So, the earth and vegetation formed and the animals and humans filled the earth. The writer of Genesis wants us to know that on day 1-3 God formed all the places in the universe, and then on days 4-6 He filled those places with various creations that would rule over what He had formed. I was in amazement to see the literary beauty of Genesis chapter 1.

Most conservative Christians are convinced that the days of Genesis must be literal twenty-four-hour days. For the biblical literalist, this is the plain meaning of the text. But for now, stand back, reexamine and absorb the aesthetic beauty and goodness of the account itself. The writers of The Genesis Factor say: “The creation account of Genesis is good literature, not a scientific manual. The details of the creation account are necessary for the existence of the world. But the beauty of the presentation of the text is an extra. We wonder if the color and aesthetic care of the textual arrangement ought not to give us hope-hope that perhaps this text comes from the goodness of Providence. Whatever you think of how historical the text is, take a moment to appreciate the ornate text that has been handed down to us. The process of creation has a certain aesthetic beauty.”[2]

Should we be too concerned with the issue of how long it took God to create the universe? Should this debate be used as a litmus test to determine who is really serious about Christ? Bill T. Arnold says no, this is not a faith issue. If it were important to know how long it took God to create the world, the Bible would have made it clear. The important lesson from Genesis 1 is that he did in fact create it, and that he made it orderly and good in every respect.[3]

[1]Arnold, Bill T. Encountering the Book of Genesis. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003

[2] Helm, D. R., and J. M. Dennis. The Genesis Factor. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001.

 [3] Arnold, Bill T. Encountering the Book of Genesis. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003

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What Evangelism Is Not

By LifeWay Resources

Evangelism is not…

1. Evangelism is not denominational renewal, reconstruction, or even deconstruction. Sometimes, these are necessary to advance the cause of evangelism, but they are not evangelism. Denominations and ecclesiastical structures need occasional, healthy upheaval. But unless we’re careful, we may end up thinking that one more meeting and a new way of doing things constitutes evangelism. Structural reorganizations may end up being commensurate with rearranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

2. Evangelism is not inviting people to church or an evangelistic event. Inviting people to events is important, but it’s not evangelism — it is pre-evangelism.

3. Evangelism is not imposing our will or beliefs on another person. We make no apologies for attempting to persuasively make the case for Christianity. But in the end, only God can change the human heart.
4. Evangelism is not personal testimony. A personal testimony does not save a sinner. The Gospel does. It’s quite right to support a Gospel presentation with what the Gospel has done in one’s life. Yet, we must never confuse the Gospel itself with a personal testimony.

5. Evangelism is not social work/justice or political involvement. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking social justice, feeding the homeless, clothing the naked, and addressing institutional-political injustices. But social justice, food in a hungry belly, and a jacket on the back of a homeless man do not prepare that soul for eternity. Good deeds complement the Gospel enterprise; they do not replace it.

6. Evangelism is not doing apologetics in order to win an argument. Apologetics is a necessary part of the Christian mission. Apologetics can help answer questions and remove intellectual objections, but only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change the heart.

7. Evangelism is not the results of evangelism. It is very easy to get caught up in numbers in the church business. And numbers are important. Even Jesus told three successive stories involving numbers in Luke 15 — one lost sheep, one lost coin, and two lost sons. But souls are not notches in our belt or numbers on our denominational charts. “One” represents a precious soul for whom Christ died. This means that we are to communicate the Gospel regardless of the results — God alone takes care of the results.

8. Evangelism is not church planting. Church planting is biblical and necessary. Many church plants succeed at a higher rate of growth than already established churches. But it’s not because of the magical words — “church plant.” The reason church plants grow fast for a season is because the believers of that new church have been reminded of the basics of one person sharing the Good News with another person.

Evangelism is…
So what is evangelism? Evangelism is a believer sharing the person/claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a person who has yet to believe the claims of the Gospel or trust the person at the center of the Gospel — Jesus Christ. The Gospel is “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 10:9-13) The Gospel is clearly stating what God has done in Christ for the sinner, calling for repentance and belief. To fail to do this is to fail at evangelism. All the other dimensions of church life are but outgrowths and/or complements to the Gospel itself. Daily

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