Science and Religion: A Christian's Response to Biology
In the beginning, God created...the earth and the heavens, or an evolving mass of matter, later to become the heavens and the earth? The conflict between science and religion is a hot topic in many intellectual circles today. One of the more controversial topics is creation versus evolution. How did the world get to where it is right now? How was creation initiated? Is there a Creator or was life created spontaneously? These are some of the questions that boggle minds and set people searching for answers. There is even a conflict within the church: Did God create the heavens and the earth as they are, or did God allow the universe to develop according to natural laws? This conflict between science and religion continues to hold up in our supposed intellectual society. In order to tame this conflict and be true to their faith and science, Christian biologists have an obligation to reflect their Christianity in the realm of biology as well as their biological intellect in the realm of Christianity.
History of Science and Religion
The history of opposition between science and religion has been steady for about half of a century. As early as the 1500's, science and religion have been antagonistic forces working against each other. Science was originally founded by Christians to prove that humans lived in a orderly universe (Helweg, 1997). This would help to prove that the universe was created by a orderly God who could be known. Once this was done, science was considered by the church to be useless. When people began to further investigate the realm of science, the church considered them to be heretics; working for the devil. According to Easterbrook (1997), this tension was initiated with the use of the Bible.
During the late 1500's, people were still primarily God fearing and relied on the words of the Bible for guidence and comfort in their life. This is a great idea if the motives are pure and unselfish. When the words of the Bible are used for personal reasons, they can produce harm. This is exactly what the theologians of this time did. Taking the words out of context and out of their original language, early theologians used 1 Timothy 6:20 to condemn science. The King James translation reads, "Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called." In contrast, the New International Version reads, "Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge." This verse is a caution towards any talk that goes against Jesus' teachings, not a caution against science as we know it today.
The relationship between the scholars and the working class people in Europe did not help the situation. The scholars and the theologians of the pre-Enlightment era belonged to high society and were able to dictate the laws...