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Christianity and science (A scientist's view)

Phill Mayhew, 14th May 2015

I thank Phill Mayhew for writing this piece- at my request- which serves as a good introduction to a big issue for some. Phill attends St John's and is a scientist working in industry.

It is often said that science and religion are fundamentally opposed. I don’t agree with this.

It simply cannot be so because Jesus is the truth (as well as the way and the life) and science is the pursuit of truth, so therefore, our science will eventually point to Jesus. This is my belief and my faith.

You might think this is a bold position to take given the apparent discrepancies between the biblical account of creation and the prevailing scientific theories. But like St Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Talking of science seeing dimly. In the previous century, a widely held scientific view was that the universe had always existed. It was called the “Steady State Theory” whereas the Bible indicates a definite start when God said “Let there be Light”. It turns out that the Bible was right and science was wrong. Everyone now accepts that the universe started at a given point of time with an unimaginably violent explosion called the “Big Bang”. There is a mass of scientific evidence pointing to this event.

'It turns out that the Bible was right and science was wrong'

Some people get worried about the apparent discrepancy between the Biblical account of creation and the scientific explanation of how things happened at the beginning. For instance, the Bible talks of six days of creation and the current scientific understanding suggests a process lasting billions of years. How can both be true? Well, I think this is only a problem if we try to regard the Genesis verses as a scientific account.

The first five books of the Bible are thought by many to have been written by Moses, so the question arises; how did Moses come up with the creation account. Did he just make it up or was it dictated word for word by God? We will all have our own beliefs and my own thoughts are that the Biblical account of creation was possibly given to Moses in a dream. There are plenty of examples in the Bible of God telling people things in dreams. I don’t think it was meant to be a scientific treatise but rather God showed Moses what he needed to see and what he could understand. The key points I think we are meant to take from the Genesis account are that God spoke and it was so and that it was good. In my view, the purpose of these verses of Genesis is to tell us that God created. The universe did not come into being by itself. It doesn’t matter to me that it took billions of years rather than six days but it does matter to me that God was behind it all creating the Universe as an act of love. I find this easier believe that than the suggestion that the Universe randomly created itself out of nothing with no purpose.

'In my view, the purpose of these verses of Genesis is to tell us that God created'

Science can be expressed as "knowledge [truth] attained through study or practice." Christianity can be expressed as truth revealed by God. They are not in opposition. They are complimentary additions to the one truth.

I firmly believe that eventually there will be a description of heaven that will be written in mathematical and physical, scientific language. In the science of cosmology there is already talk of dark (unseen) matter, hidden dimensions and existence outside of time (eternity). It is only a matter of time before we see the truth of it clearly.