April 30, 2021

Science and Religion

What do humans say? What does God say?

Adventist Review Editors

Testimony on the origins of life on earth is diverse and contradictory. As with Jesus in Matthew’s report from Caesarea Philippi, some say one thing, others another, and yet others yet another (see Matt. 16:14). Consider, below, the range of opinion. Consider it all, in context of authority, divine authority. What do humans say? What does God say?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. . . . And it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Moses, Genesis 1:1-31, NIV.

The creation week shows the divine act of progression from the first to the sixth day, punctuated by a satisfaction at the creative accomplishment of each day and a divine appraisal that the creative outcome was “good.”

CLAUDE RICHLI, “And It Was Very Good,” Dialogue 32, no. 3 (2020): 9-11.

Those who have yielded, not without a struggle, to the overwhelming evidence of evolution are now trying to award themselves a medal for their own acceptance of defeat. The very magnificence and variety of the process, they now wish to say, argues for a directing and originating mind. In this way they choose to make a fumbling fool of their pretended god. And make him out to be a tinkerer, an approximator, and a blunderer, who took eons of time to fashion a few serviceable figures and heaped up a junkyard of scrap and failure meanwhile. Have they no more respect for the deity than that?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything(New York: Hachette Book Group, 2009), p. 85.

Belief in the creation of the world by God is clearly expressed at all key stages in biblical tradition—Genesis, the prophets, the Psalms, the Wisdom literature; even the deuterocanonical second book of Maccabees.

JOSE MORALES, Creation Theology (Portland, Oregon, and Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts, 2001), p. 12.

Whether in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic or any other emergency or even at the very end of time, we can face uncertainty with the assurance that the God who is a powerful judge is also merciful and caring and has bound Himself into a covenant relationship so that we might be saved.

JUAN ESTEBAN MORA, “The God of the Flood: Holy, Just, and Gracious,” Dialogue 32, no. 3 (2020): 15-17.

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there’s no Good! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.

My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind.

THOMAS NAGEL, The Last Word (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 130, 131.

The claim (of evolution, specifically that death existed prior to Adam) impacts upon the literal and historical trustworthiness of the Bible in general. One can, for example, trust neither the historicity of the fall of Adam nor the actuality of a universal “wet flood” if the literal biblical statements about these events are countered by the statement that death existed prior to Adam.

JOHN T. BALDWIN, “Progressive Creationism and Biblical Revelation: Some Theological Implications,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 3, no. 1 (1992): 111, 112.

Insight is absolutely unique. . . . [P]hysical causes can’t do what insight does in a systematic way. Sound waves are unlike water waves in their physical substance, but the fact that they’re both waves means they show strikingly parallel behavior in many respects. Parallels for insight, on the other hand, are nonexistent.

DOUGLAS AXE, Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed (HarperOne, 2016), p. 100.

In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them

GOD, Exodus 20:11, NIV.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. . . . For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

GOD, Psalm 33:6-9.