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Science and Religion (Christianity)

Dr Alex Tang

Agape Youth Fellowship

Holy Light Church (English)

19 August 2012

 

 

 

Understanding of reality

A.    Religious Reality

Christianity argues from a God who reveals

  • Specific revelation – the Bible which was written by bronze age, pre-scientific, authors in a tribal-based society who were inspired by God to write accurate text
  • General revelation – which is God’s creation and also the inherent ethics in human nature.

Special revelation – the bible is written in many genre. The bible must be read according to the genre

The text must be understood by the context of the genre.

B.     Scientific Reality

Scientists accept the reality as whatever they can measure and understand. They assume that the functioning of the universe can be discovered through the use of the scientific method. This involves:

o       Collecting data about a phenomenon (measurable)

o       Postulating a possible tentative opinion about how a part of it works

o       Testing the opinion to see if it is accurate

o       Rejecting it if it is not accurate

o       Recycling the entire process if the opinion seems to be accurate.

o       Publishing the results in peer-reviewed journals so that other scientists can attempt to replicate the findings

Often, this process will result in ideas that have predictive power which lead towards greater understanding. After many cycles and general acceptance of the opinion within the scientific community, the opinion might eventually rise to the level of a theory, as in the theory of evolution.

Scientific data must show precise conclusions

o       speculation

o       extrapolation

o       Reproducible

o       Part of a general theory

Issues of conflict: Creation and Evolution

The Genesis record

    GE 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Day One: light, night and day (Gen 1: 3-5)

Day Two: separation of water, sky above (Gen 1: 6-8)

Day Three: land and seas, plants on land (Gen 1: 9-13)

Day Four: sun, moon, stars (Gen 1: 14-19)

Day Five: fish and birds (Gen 1: 20-23)

Day Six: animals and man (Gen 1: 24-31)

Day Seven: God rested (Gen 2:1-2)

 

Creationism (Literary Interpretation)

All this in six days (24 hours period)

Scientific data

Origin of the Universe

  • the universe began in a Big Bang expansion 15 billion years ago
  • Three hundred thousand years after the Big Bang, matter and radiation separate and cosmic background radiation first appears
  • Five billion years after the Big Bang, the Milky Way galaxy evolves
  • Ten billion years after the Big Bang, the Solar System forms

Habitable Earth

  • Earth was formed about 4.59 billion years ago. Initially the earth has a heavier and thicker atmosphere and will not support life. Apparently, the greater a planet’s distance from the sun, the heavier and thicker is its atmosphere
  • 4.25 billion years ago, a body about the size of Mars collided with the earth. Most was absorbed into the earth’s core. The blast was strong enough to blast away almost the earth’s entire original atmosphere into outer space. The shell and other debris eventually coalesce to form the moon. This event delivered earth from its life-suffocating atmosphere and allows sunlight to reach the surface of the planet, increased the mass and density of earth to retain water vapor and slowed the earth’s rotation and tilt. The net result is that life can survive on earth
  • Fossil records

The Theory of Evolution

  • Darwinism support the thesis ‘the survival of the fittest’
  • Neo-Darwinism describes evolution of life from the formation of amino acids in the primeval sea of early earth to the great varieties of flora and fauna that exist on earth today.

Problems with the Theory of Evolution

  • intermediate species should be present in the fossil records as one species evolves into another.
  • no intermediate species or ‘missing-links’ in all the fossil records
  • unable duplicate the origin of life
  • no new species has been discovered
  • the mechanism of evolution. It is often assume that mutation at the genetic level is what causes the changes in a species. Yet it has been noted that mutations are often detrimental to the organisms and they do not survived.

What about man?

Paleoanthropologists are frustrated by the existence of two extensive gaps in the fossil records.

  • The first gap, know as the hominoid gap extends from 32 to 22 million years ago. This gap is when evolutionist suspected the ancestors of apes and humans are splitting off from monkeys.
  • The second gap, known as the hominid gap extends from 14 to 4.5 million years ago. It is the time where ancestors of the australopithecine and human groups are alleged to split from the ancestors of the African apes, especially the chimpanzees

Understanding Genesis

  • the word yôm, day does not only mean a 24 hours period. It can also be used to mean an indefinite or a long period of time
  • if each day is a long period of time, geological layering, the fossil record and the evidence for an old earth can fit easily into this approach
  • The seventh day did not conclude with the formula ‘there was evening and there was morning’ indicating that it is still continuing. If the seventh days can extend over thousands of years, there is no reason why the previous six days could not cover millions of years.
  • Progressive Creationism believe that God is actively involved in the creation process, allowing slow progress with mass extinction and rapid advances
  • A more detailed discussion of Genesis One may be found here

Is there a conflict between science and Christianity?

Science is trying to explain God’s creation

We are just beginning to understand God’s creation

  • Human consciousness
  • Human soul
  • Higgs boson particles make up an invisible force throughout the universe called a Higgs field. Without it, the universe as we know it could not exist
  • dark matter — which makes up 22 percent of the universe — and dark energy string theory, which includes the possibility that of an 11-dimensional multiverses

 

 

               

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