Does Science Disprove the Bible?
We are in the middle of a mini-series about the Bible. One reader wrote last week, “How do you explain that science says that the earth is so old and the Bible says differently? Do they contradict one another? Are they mutually exclusive?”
Genesis 1, the first chapter of the Bible, causes a great deal of controversy and division. If you haven’t read the chapter, a quick search online will lead you to many websites where you can do so for free. I would encourage you to do just that!
The main problem that people have with Genesis 1 is that it seems to contradict much of our scientific research and understanding. Genesis 1 says that God created the earth over the course of six days and then sat back and enjoyed his creation on the seventh - similar to kicking back on the porch and enjoying your well pruned lawn. (I say your well-pruned lawn because my lawn looks like a former nuclear testing ground.)
The scriptures say that on day one God formed the light and the dark, on day two he formed the sea and the sky, and on day three he formed the land and filled it with plants. The next three days are spent filling the spaces that he created. Day four is spent filling the sky with the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc. Day five is spent filling the sky and the sea with birds and fish. Day six is spent filling the land with animals and, ultimately, people.
This flies in the face of what most people think about when they consider the theories that they learned about in school of how life came about. In response to scientific pressure from these theories, people have come to all sorts of theories about the Bible like: the Bible is myth; the Bible should be interpreted as an allegory; the idea of “day” is figurative and represents something else; there are gaps of time in between each day, and so on and so forth.
Although I do believe that there are academically sound theories for explaining a young earth (e.g. God created things w/ the appearance of age - e.g. Adam and Eve weren’t babies, the aftermath of the global flood would add to the difficulty of accurate age assessments, and more), that is not my primary concern. I have no problem with believing in a young earth and I am great friends with followers of Jesus who believe in an old earth.
Here’s why I am not overly concerned: I don’t think that is the point of Genesis 1. Now, some of you are thinking, “Woah, woah, slow down, heretic!” Others are thinking, “Okay, amuse me…”
The author of Genesis 1 was not concerned with evolution, a theory that didn’t come about until the 19th century. What were they concerned with? The first verse of the Bible tells you, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1 isn’t an anti-science manifesto. It is answering questions shared by science and religion alike. Namely, where does it all begin? Why is there everything instead of nothing? Who is the unmoved mover who started it all? Why am I here? What is life all about?
Genesis isn’t about science - It is about God. He is the source of all life. He spoke everything into existence. Whether there was a big bang after he said, “Let there be light!” I do not know. What I do know, however, is that he initiated it and after it happened he said, “This is good!”
Science doesn’t disprove the Bible because the Bible isn’t a scientific textbook. The Bible is the story of God and His plan to restore a lost relationship with His creation.
Now, is it possible that the world was created by God but then he didn’t populate the world or bring order to it for 65,000,000 years? According to my study of the original Hebrew, yes it is possible.
Is it possible that God created the world and it had the appearance of age? Sure.
Is it possible that there’s some other explanation? Of course.
But at the end of the day, that is not the point of Genesis 1. The point is to introduce a God who is good (only a good God could create good things), a God who is ordered (he creates spaces before he fills spaces), a God who is powerful without limit (he creates without ingredients using just the word of his mouth), a God who is creative (I mean, he created sunsets and aardvarks!), a God who is there.
Don’t lose the forest in the trees. At the end of the day, getting hung up on the age of the earth is an absolutely silly reason not to read the Bible. Genesis 1-11 is just the prologue of the book of Genesis, setting the stage for the Story of God to unfold. Why stop at the prologue?