Welcome to the Crawl

Before you start, make sure someone gives The Spiel to your group.  Also, remember these conversation tips: 1) Be polite, and don’t take offense, 2) Say something if you don’t understand, 3) Ask “why” and speak up if you disagree (It’s not rude, it’s just a good conversation). Now, order a drink and start unpacking the deep mysteries of the universe!

The Big Question: Are the Bible and science Locked in a Cage match?

 The Main Questions

  • How do you define “science”? What is it for, how is done, and what is unique about it?
  • What kind of knowledge does science provide?
  • Is the Bible a legitimate source of knowledge? If not, why? If so, what kind of reliable knowledge does it provide?
  • Read the definition of “epistemology” below. How would you compare the epistemologies of science and theology. Are they the same, distinct, or overlapping (i.e. are their methods, validity, and scope the same)?
  • Is the scientific method the most reliable epistemological method among all forms of human knowledge? If yes, how do you evaluate other forms of knowing? If no, what approach has been more fruitful than science?
  • Are the Bible and science always reconcilable? If yes, what do you do with biblical miracles, such as the resurrection? If no, how do you decide which view takes precedence?
  • How would you describe the relationship between the Bible and science? Antagonistic? Friendly? Something else?

Key Definitions

  • Epistemology // (ih-pis-tuh-mol-uh-jee) the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion. // Oxford English Dictionary
  • Scientific method // principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses // Merriam Webster
  • Creationism // a doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis // Merriam Webster
  • Scientism // an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities) // Merriam Webster

Important Scripture

  • Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them. // Psalm 111:2
  • O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge” // 1 Timothy 6:2
  • For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. // Roman’s 1:20
  • “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone? // Job 38:4-30
  • Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance And the hills in a pair of scales? // Isaiah 40:12
  • And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind. // Ecclesiastes 1:13-16

Thoughts from Others

  • What one must not do is to rule out the supernatural as the one impossible explanation. // C.S. Lewis
  • There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works. // Stephen Hawking
  • More generally, … one of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding. // Richard Dawkins
  • Except for a God who sits down after the universe begins, all other Gods conflict with the assumptions of science. // Alan Lightman
  • I also think we need to maintain distinctions – the doctrine of creation is different from a scientific cosmology, and we should resist the temptation, which sometimes scientists give in to, to try to assimilate the concepts of theology to the concepts of science. // John Polkinghorne