I’ve often wondered about the wisdom of integrating contemporary scientific understandings with the Bible.
The main problem, it seems to me, is that the Bible itself tells us that it is given to make us righteous — not informing us about Newton’s Laws of Motion. 2 Timothy 3:16-7 reads,
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(This insight comes from Dr. Michael LeFebvre’s book The Liturgy of Creation)
But there also seems to be a very practical reason. If we take “the scientific consensus” (and I understand that there are innumerable scientific disciplines and ongoing debates about a wide-ranging number of theories within each of them) at any given point and integrate it with the Scriptures, what is the risk?
For instance, if we say, “Genesis 1:5 is saying [scientific consensus of 2020]” then we seem to have made a powerful point. The Bible and science agree! It leverages the authority of science to confirm that the Scriptures are true.
But then, the scientific consensus is overturned. Future generations might say, “Genesis 1:5 is saying [scientific consensus of 2150].”
One of these interpretations of Genesis 1:5 is wrong. But how would we resolve the debate?
With a closer reading of the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:5? It seems unlikely that the Hebrew text will offer sufficient clarity to sway our judgment about which scientific consensus is to be preferred.
Rather, the evidence and norms of reasoning within the relevant scientific discipline would have more weight on whether the consensus of 2020 or 2150 is preferred.
What do you think? What legitimate ways, if any, are there to specifically connect a particular Biblical teaching with a particular scientific statement?