If science contradicts the Bible, then science is wrong. But if science contradicts my interpretation of the Bible, then perhaps my interpretation is wrong, and science is right. Our interpretation of Scripture must therefore be constantly examined in the light of increasing knowledge.
But some scientific theories seem opposed to Christian teaching, perhaps none more so than Darwinian evolution, which has an incalculable impact on how we understand the Bible. It changes how we read Genesis, our thinking about sin and the Fall, and even about redemption and the work of Jesus.
Darwin, Creation and the Fall – a collection of essays by respected theologians and scientists –examines evolution’s impact on the doctrines of creation and the Fall. The writers insist the Fall was a real, historical event, but attempt to show this is compatible with belief in evolution.
The book affirms God as creator, and Christ as the centre of the doctrine of creation. It rejects atheistic and liberal viewpoints as incompatible with biblical revelation, and reminds us that scientific atheism attacks not only the doctrine of God but also the doctrine of man.
T.A. Noble’s exploration of original sin is a highlight. He insists that a Christian understanding of the Fall must be understood in the light of redemption and the second coming. Just as the return of Christ will cause monumental change that science cannot explain, so the Fall may have caused an equally radical change that science and historical enquiry are incapable of investigating.
But ultimately, the book is a disappointment. For example, R.J. Berry insists that the death brought about by the Fall is only spiritual and not biological. So creation’s ‘bondage to corruption’ (Rom. 8:21) is just the problems of pollution and man’s lack of praise to God. But surely death, disaster and disease demand a more robust explanation? And where does Berry’s theory leave the promise of physical resurrection, and Scripture’s teaching that heaven is forever as there is no more death?
It is also disappointing that there is no discussion on the limitations of science. What a difference it would make if most scientists believed in a spiritual reality that transcends and affects what we can see and measure! It is possible that God in His common grace has ensured that science is wholly reliable. But until most scientists take the biblical worldview seriously, many Christians will find it difficult ever to reconcile science and the Bible.