On Science & Evolution

Posted (binsar) in Christianity, Theology on February-13-2008

The topic of evolution and anthropology started with the reading of Genesis 1 and note down some possible tensions between the message of this chapter and the general scientific knowledge and theories of the origin, development an essence of universe, the earth, life and especially the human. Herman Bavinck says that we have to chose between the two: “The antithesis cannot be sharper: Adam the image of gorilla and chimpanzee or the image of God.” The question then is, can we develop a worldview in which there is a fruitful dialogue between notions from Christian theological anthropology and from a scientific theory of evolution? What is the relation of science and religion?

Naturalism tries to explain everything that everything happens for a reason. It is not excluding God’s existence, it is only excluding that God relates in such a way to the world of phenomena, that he is the reason beyond all things. Naturalism cannot explain all. There are feelings that cannot be ‘explained away’ (compare this to Anton Houtepen’s emotion theses). Since the phenomena in the world revoke the thoughts of God, they refer back to God.

The theses to combine both view is to sharpen ‘the natural eye’ through studying various science for explaining phenomena, and ‘the religious eye’ through studying Holy Scripture/theology, and learn to coordinate both eyes (as it is in a binocular system), so that we can see depth in reality. Naturalist point of view must realize that there are things that cannot be explained in a natural way. Science should recognize its own limits, that there is a higher intelligence above our own. If science cannot believe that a watch that is to be found in a virgin forest of the Amazon is there by itself without any cause, then how can they believe that the whole universe, which is more complicated than the watch that was founded in the Amazon, happens without a cause – or more precisely without a reason? There has to be something mightier than the human’s mind.

The text of creation in Genesis 1 tells the story of God’s action. God is the Creator of the world. This does not imply that the text should be literally understood. It is true that God created the world, and human as the image of God. This has something to do with the ethical life of human, that they are bound to the Creator. It is God’s will that the world is as it is now. This does not exclude that science cannot explain bits by bits of the process. However, we can only recognize the purpose of events, and why it happens, through the will of God. Science cannot explain this divine purpose.

I see the two of them complement each other. Science can only explain how an event happens, but never explain the reason of why it happens. Science can help man to understand how great is God’s power. He is even greater than we ever think about. When science explains how things are happening, that does not exclude God from their framework. God is the cause.

Science and religion are like two different things that on different levels. You can’t compare science and religion. Science can only explain things that are explainable. This however does not close the possibility that there are things that exist but cannot be explained by science (they will say cannot yet). Let us take an example of acupuncture. Acupuncture is a traditional way medical treatment that has been proven effective but still cannot be used by western standard of medical science. This shows that there are things that can be seen, proven, but cannot logically explained by science, but this does not mean that it does not exist. Religion on the other hand are trying to explain experience which sometimes cannot be explained by science logic because they were not on the same level in the first place. Again, this is only my opinion, you can have yours too.

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