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Science and the Bible pt 1

This is part 1 of a series. I am not posting this as absolute truth or as my personal belief, only as an article to make you, the reader, think.

The Bible is a reliable historical witness. However, the Bible nowhere says Creation occurred 6,000 years ago. Nor does it teach that the earth is flat, although Medieval theologians often assumed so and threatened anyone who would teach otherwise with excommunication and torture. The Middle Ages were a sad time in theological history. The supposedly enlightened Church pressured scientists such as Bruno and Galileo with the threat of bodily harm if they chose to believe the earth revolved around the sun.

Biologist George Simpson was right when he observed, "As a matter of fact, most of the dogmatic religions have exhibited a perverse talent for taking the WRONG SIDE on the most important concepts of the material universe" (George Gaylord Simpson, This View of Life, p. 214).
Irrational Theology
Catholic theologians made a great mistake in the Middle Ages. They assumed the Scriptures taught things about the material universe which were, in fact, false interpretations or assumptions. Perhaps for the masses, it was enough to listen to and believe dogmas with the stamped sanction of "Church authority." But for THINKING men, "Renaissance Man," for scientists who wished us to "prove all things," as the Scriptures themselves tell us to do (I Thessalonians 5:21), mere recitation of Church authority or tradition was not enough.

One author characterizes the problem this way: "The emotionally precious view of earth's centrality in a fixed, unchanging universe was crystallized by Ptolemy in the second century A.D., and then taken over by the Christian (i.e., Catholic) Church. What had been ancient pagan punishments for contradicting pagan theology became orthodox Christian punishments for questioning orthodox Christian dogma. Despite man's continued secret probing, fourteen centuries brought no serious challenger" (Robert Gorney, The Human Agenda, p. 27).

In 1543 Copernicus published his theory of a heliocentric solar system. Although he was a Catholic priest, his theory met with strong opposition from the established Church. In 1600 Giordano Bruno, who endorsed Copernicus' theory, was burned alive at the stake in Rome for his stubborn heretical beliefs, among which was the heliocentric solar system!

Galileo Galilei observed in 1604 that Copernicus had been right. Through the telescope, he observed that the earth and other planets DO revolve around the sun.
But the clerics of that day did not agree. Martin Luther lambasted the heliocentric or sun-centered solar system. He reasoned that since Joshua had commanded the sun to stand still, it must have been the sun which was moving around the earth. One archbishop of the Catholic Church lampooned the followers of Galileo with a Scriptural pun: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into the heavens?" he asked, quoting Acts 1:11 in the New Testament.

During the Inquisition, the Catholic Church resisted the pressures of rational thinking men with the pronouncement: "If earth is a planet, and only one among several planets, it cannot be that any such great things have been done specially for it as Christian doctrine teaches. If there are other planets, since God makes nothing in vain, they must be inhabited; but how can their inhabitants be descended from Adam? How can they trace their origin to Noah's ark? How can they have been redeemed by the Saviour?" (Ibid., p. 28).

Galileo's theory was branded by the Church as "of all heresies the most abominable, the most pernicious, the most scandalous."

During the Middle Ages when ecclesiastical authority reigned supreme, the science of geology was attacked as "a dark art," as "infernal artillery," and as "calculated to tear up in the public mind every remaining attachment to Christianity" (P. 53). When scientists accumulated data to show the earth is far older than Archbishop Ussher's date of 4004 B.C., they were vigorously assailed as "infidels," as "atheists," and "heretics."

Archbishop Ussher had concluded from his studies of the Bible that Creation must have been October 23, 4004 B.C. When fossil evidence was unearthed to indicate the earth was far older than that, the fossils were dismissed by some Church leaders as deliberate deceptions of the devil!

Unfortunately, some of this Medieval thinking still exists, today. Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton -- these men were willing to challenge the dogmas of their day. They were called buffoons, they were labeled heretics, they were held up to shame and contempt by ecclesiastical authorities. But they advanced the cause of TRUTH.

Today, too, we must at times take up shield and sword of the mind and spirit and CHALLENGE the Goliaths of modern dogma and conventional orthodoxy.

We must remember the impassioned words of Oliver Cromwell, ruler of England centuries ago, when he said: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."
Blinders On Their Eyes
Why is it that people sometimes insist upon wearing blinders upon their eyes? Why won't they READ, STUDY, LEARN, COMPARE, CHALLENGE, and "PROVE ALL THINGS," holding in abeyance things which they cannot prove one way or another? Why do people insist upon dogmas? The attitudes of many people is like the nervous captain of a ship lowering the anchor down to twenty feet, and then assuming that it must have reached bottom, because that's all the line left on the anchor!

In 1832 citizens of Lancaster, Pennsylvania refused to allow their schoolhouse to be used for a discussion about railroads. They said: "Railroads are impossible and a great infidelity. If God had intended that his intelligent creatures should travel at the frightful speed of 17 miles an hour by steam he would have foretold it in the Holy Prophets. Such things as railroads are devices of Satan to lead immortal souls down to hell."

Some religious people, today, still ascribe the entire geologic record to the Flood of Noah's time. Theologians used to turn to the Flood to explain the effects of erosion, mountain building, volcanism, and fossil remains. In the infancy of geological science, such a tendency could be well understood, and even pardoned. But, today, after TONS of geologic evidence, it seems strange that some religious folk still cling to the out-dated, antiquarian notions of the pre-scientific age. In order to rigorously cling to their notions of the Flood and a shortened chronology of the earth, they reject almost all the evidence of 150 years of geological investigation!

But we should not condemn them too strongly, because on the other side of the fence we have the Neo-Darwinian evolutionists and the school of anti-catastrophism -- those MUDDLE-HEADED GEOLOGISTS and PALEONTOLOGISTS who have been BRAINWASHED to the exact opposite conclusion. That is, they stand on "uniformitarian" geology, and will not admit to any earthshaking, global catastrophes in the past. They discount ALL human testimony, all traditions, all legends from around the world; they IGNORE or attempt to explain away all evidence of a geological nature which supports any kind of catastrophism. Uniformitarian theory has, for all practical purposes, become to them ANOTHER RELIGION.

What we see, then, is dogmatic individuals with BLINDERS on clinging to two opposing viewpoints, neither of which is right, neither of which is supported by the facts. Both unwilling to compromise, adamant in their authority, staunch in their belief. BOTH interpreting the evidence to fit their own theory.

I take issue with both the neo-Creationists who REFUSE to accept the evidence of an earth which has existed for millions of years, and also with the neo-Darwinists who REFUSE to admit the striking geological evidence for Creation.

Why does it seem so difficult for people to obtain a balance? Why do we humans become so emotionally involved with a particular belief, afraid, nervous, fearful and glandular? Emotional attachment to a false world concept, or fable, is a DANGEROUS thing. It is a little like falling in love with the wrong person -- it hurts.
Infatuation with a false belief or theory can hurt just as bad as romantic infatuation. After the honeymoon, the young couple have to deal with reality. If they were hasty, and rushed into marriage with the wrong person, the trauma and life long pain and regret can be considerable. Even so, if you have clung to out-moded beliefs, or concepts which are not really in the Scriptures, unlearning that false "knowledge" can be difficult and painful at times. It is much more difficult to unlearn false beliefs than to learn something right the first time!

So it is with geology and the existence of the world before Adam's time

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