Francis Bacon, the father of modern science, used to say there are two books of God: the book of Scripture (the word of God) and the book of nature (the work of God). He believed, as did many people who came before him and after him, that all truth is God’s truth. He believed that there is no contradiction at the end of the day between those two “books”. Any apparent discrepancy or conflict is in the interpretation of one or the other of those two sources of the revelation of God. There is no discrepancy or conflict at the level of the facts themselves; the only discrepancy or conflict is in our understanding of Scripture (theology) or nature (science).
Theology and science are, at best, interpretations of the data. Theology and science are not the facts, but interpretations of the facts. Scientists and theologians have disputes and disagreement among themselves and between the disciplines. We all have preconceived ideas on ultimate and intermediate issues, but following the evidence where it leads is the approach most surely to result in the most accurate understanding.
People who identify in both camps of science and theology promote the misconception that science and theology (or science and faith if you will) are incompatible. That is unfortunate, because there shouldn’t be any tension between the two. While science is the study of the natural world and theology is the study of the super-natural world (so to speak), the two should be in perfect harmony if, indeed, a Causal Agent (who we might call God ) exists who caused the universe to begin.
The difference between the two is like the difference between the person who studies the physicality of a painting and one who studies the painters intentions, purpose, thought process and thinking. One might focus on the brush strokes, the canvas composition, the layout of the designs and color pallet; while the other explores what the painter meant by doing the painting. While the study of the physicality of the painting requires no help from the painter, understanding accurately the painter’s purpose and intended meaning is only conjecture unless the painter explains herself.
We might be able to ferret some or all of the meaning and purpose behind the painting from the painting itself, but we might not know exactly what is true and what is false of our analysis of the painting without the artist’s conformation. Christians view Scripture in this way.
Of course, there are many scriptures from many religions, both major ones and minor ones, that are all attempting to understand the meaning behind the creation of the universe, if indeed it was created by a Personal Agent we might call God. (The fact that we, who are purposeful, intelligent and person agents, exist is a good indicator that the Source of this universe is also purposeful, intelligent and personal.) The multitude of religions and religious texts might seem like a conundrum. How can they all be right? They are all different.
But that doesn’t mean that none of them are right. In fact, if people are all looking at the same thing, you should expect some similarities as various people all over the world attempt to discern the meaning and purpose behind the universe. In fact, there are many themes in common among all the religions. So much so that many people believe that all roads lead to the top of the same mountain. The differences, however, reveal that they cannot all be right in all respects.
In the presentation that follows by Dr. Hugh Ross at Purdue University, explores the intersection between science and the revelation of the Causal Agent that began the universe that we find in the Bible. Though he is a believer in Christ, he wasn’t raised that way. He was raised in a household where no religion was practiced, and no belief in God was expressed. He didn’t even know a Christian until he was in college. The story of Hugh Ross is unique because of his background and the fact that he became a believe in the Bible and later in the Christian concept of God through science, without ever having listened to a sermon or even talking to a Christian.
With that introduction, whether you are a Bible believer or not, the science is extremely interesting. Hugh Ross has spent much of his life testing the hypothesis that the Christian God is the Causal Agent behind the universe. In this video below, he covers some of that territory as he explores the relationship between science and the Bible, following the evidence where it leads.