Faith and science: Is it possible for them to coexist?
One of the most common reasons someone who is not a Christian (or a follower of any faith, really) has not faith is because of science. They believe that science has taught us and shown us things that are empirically provable in ways that faith is not. And, in some ways, they’re right.
However, this doesn’t mean science and faith need to be at odds. In fact, many people in faith communities embrace science and all it has to offer for the advancement of mankind. So, if you’re someone who solely embraces science, you may be wondering how this is possible. After all, religion teaches us things that go against science, right?
Why are faith and science at odds?
Well, sure, religious texts (let’s just say the Bible for now) teach some things that are not scientifically verifiable or are even counterintuitive to our modern scientific understandings. Does this mean that there is no value to religious text then? Absolutely not!
First of all, for what passages there are in the Bible that are counterscientific, there are plenty more that are in line with modern science. For example, did you know that in the book of Job (of which we have the oldest known biblical manuscripts), it is written, “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing” (Job 26:7 ESV).
Many other faith systems at the time either didn’t have a thought on the standing of the earth in our universe or taught that it was on the back of a turtle or a man’s shoulders. The writer of Job probably didn’t understand what he was saying when he wrote that the earth hangs on nothing, but, years later, we can observe that the earth is suspended on nothing in a vast and marvelous universe.
How can faith and science coexist?
This brings us to the point of the issue: Can faith and science coexist? Sure, the Bible and science agree on some things, but what about the issues where they don’t? Can you embrace a faith that supposedly teaches the earth is only 6,000 years old? Well, many Christians don’t actually believe that. It’s actually not taught in Scripture.
People calculated that age, and they did so based on loose translations of the early Hebrew word for “long age of time,” which we took to mean “year.” First of all, the Gregorian year that we use in our calendars today may have been completely different than the ancient Hebrews’ understanding of a year. And second, the word could’ve easily meant an era or a very long time rather than a year.
So, you see, faith and science can get a little muddy in some areas. Still, it’s best not to try to put science and faith in a neat little box. Instead, you should realize that science and faith answer different questions and teach us different things about ourselves.
“For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV). We are people who are created to live in faith in something. However, we still have sight (and other senses), so we should learn how to use those as we interact with the universe around us. This means there might be some tension between faith and science but not that they cannot both work side by side.
At Unfiltered Radio, we love to explore the bridges between faith and science to learn how they interact with one another and also operate separately from one another. If you’re someone who solely exists in the world of science but is curious about faith, check out our podcast series to learn more!