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Sample Term Paper on Religious Studies: Christianity vs. Science

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Sample Term Paper on Religious Studies: Christianity vs. Science

Introduction

The holistic theological understanding of popular Christian theories involves identification of key teachings against biblical exegesis of Genesis. They however ought to be analyzed and compared in order to identify how each theory operates from the defensive and subjective historical context. Specific theological principles have formed part of the meta-theoretical frameworks supporting diverse theories clearly showing different opinions about Christianity and science. The study will therefore argue that creation account forms literal-historical worldview while conservatively indicating that modern day Christians should have a degree of certainty with regards to science (Janse 12).

Creation, Christianity, and Science

The Young Earth Creation proponents including Creation Ministries International have been promoting their agendas by claiming to hold similar interpretations of the Genesis creation week. However, secular, evangelical and scientist voices have continued to agree on truism. Truism refers to the fact that if people are orthodox Christians with high views of the authority of the Bible, they should not believe in evolution in any form at all.  For example, Richard Dawkins is an atheist arrived at a consensus on truism by asserting that if one believes in evolution he/she should also not believe in God. This has created a problem between believers and doubters. For example, believers from the western culture believe technological advances especially in medicine have been achieved through science. This has led them to believe, appreciate, and have a positive image towards science (CGM 21).

Consequently, they cannot reconcile what science continues to offer with evolution based on traditional theological beliefs. As a result, seekers and inquirers can be confused and perplexed if they seek advice on Christianity from such believers. More so, Christians seeking to have a deeper meaning in life should avoid seeking advice and guidance from them as they are likely to be confused. Those who believe in science are greatly drawn to many things related to the Christian faith. They however quickly claim that they fail to see how they can believe in the Bible as it translates to rejecting science (CGM 27).

The other group of people comprises of believers who question the premise that faith and science are irreconcilable. For example, several believe a high view of the Bible does not demand beliefs in a single account of origins. Thus, they argue that they do not have to choose between anti-religious science and anti-science religion. This is because they reason that there are a variety of ways God was able to bring about creation of life forms and human life through the process of evolution. Thus, the incompatibility between evolutionary biology and orthodox Christian faith is overdrawn greatly. For example, some efforts have been applied in arguing that there are evolutionary reasons for religious beliefs. This translates to existence of a capacity for religious beliefs that is either adaptive or connected to other adaptive traits. For example, they can be passed down among generations as they support reproduction and survival. Evolutionary biologists and scientists however do not exhibit a similar consensus. Thus, each proposal is completely antithetical to beliefs towards the fact that believing in God and Christianity can be objectively real (Janse 43).

This led Peter van Inwagen, a Christian philosopher, to list the following issues. Foremost, he claimed that if God exists and wants super-naturalistic beliefs to be exhibited by human beings in the universe, then some of the features should be useful to the people. For example, some features should be provided to human beings to enable them reproduce and survive while naturally facing the consequence of having supernatural beliefs. Thus, he asserted that human beings are designed by God just as they design motor vehicles. Human beings however design the cars with the ability to reduce tear and wear and heat wastage from the engine while keeping the passengers warm (Keller 1).

As a result, Peter Van argues that even if science proves religious beliefs have a genetic component inherited from the ancestors; it should be found incompatible with regards to reality of God and truth of Christian faith. This is because there lacks logical reasons precluding God used evolution to predispose people in believing in Him in order for human beings to consider true beliefs when they hear the gospel preached. This incompatibility of orthodox faith with evolution therefore has to continue fading under more reflection. This however has not hindered Christian laypeople from remaining confused as voices that argue Biblical orthodoxy and evolution are often mutually inclusive, louder, and more prominent than others. They should identify measures to implement to see the greater coherence between science, creation, and Biblical teachings (Keller 1).

Science, Pastors, and the Believers

According to Tim Keller, current science tells about evolution presents four main difficulties for orthodox Protestants. The first difficulty can be identified in the area of Biblical authority. The account for evolution involves focusing on Genesis to determine if the Bible has the final authority. For example, one part of the Bible can fail to be taken literally. Consequently, it does not make sense to take all the other parts of the Bible equally literally. This however allows science to influence peoples’ understanding of the Bible. The second issue is identified in the confusion of biology and philosophy. Several strong proponents for evolution as a biological process such as Dawkins regard this issue as the Grand Theory of Everything. They have looked at the natural selection in order to explain human behavior and give answers to great philosophical questions. For example, they have often attempted to explain why human beings exist. They also attempt to explain what life is all about and as well as human nature. Ultimately, scientists do not believe in one idea like Christians. Instead, they acknowledge life is the product of evolution entailing adoption of several world views (Keller 2).

The third difficulty is identified in the historicity of Adam and Eve. The main way of reconciling what current science says about evolution is proposing the account of Adam and Eve as symbolic rather that literal. According to the teachings of Romans and Corinthians in the New Testament, sinfulness nature of human beings came from their relationship with Adam. Thus, if people believe in science without a Biblical historical fall, human beings cannot be regarded as sinful and condemned in nature. The final difficulty involves the problem of violence and evil. The main barrier hindering people to believe in God is associated with the problem of suffering and evil in the world. Some people often question why God created a world allowing them to experience violence, pain, suffering, and prevalent death rates (Keller 2).

Traditional theology believes God did not create such a violent and painful world. Instead, it asserts God’s creation involves establishing a good wonderful world. God however gave human beings free will which has encouraged them to disobey Him. This has resulted to pain, suffering, violence, and death. Consequently, the process of evolution believes in a world that is violent and allowing death to occur as it is the engine of how life develops. Thus, scientists and Christians fail to understand how God can provide life through evolution and reconcile the process with the idea that He is good. This is because the problem of evil is regarded as worse for believers in theistic evolution (Janse 47).

Ultimately, pastors have witnessed people struggle with the relationship of modern science and orthodox belief. Pastors believe this is attributed to the peoples’ minds facing the first three difficulties. Thus, the final difficulty has not been posed often although the problem of suffering and death goes along with the historicity of falling from God’s glory. As a result, the following basic three problems should be identified as facing Christians seeking to understand the scientific account of biological evolution (Keller 2).

The first problem enquires that if God applied evolution during creation, Genesis should not be taken literally. Thus, if Genesis cannot be taken literally, it can be challenging to take the whole Bible literally. This problem can however be resolved as follows. Foremost, it should be ascertained that the way to respecting the authority of Biblical writers involves taking them as they wanted to be taken. Thus, it should be noted that some wanted to be taken literally sometimes. However, they should be listened rather than Christians reading the Bible and imposing their thoughts, opinions, and agendas on to Biblical writers (Keller 7).

According to Tim Keller, this problem can be solved by considering the following scenario. A person can write a letter claiming she feels she has to strangle the respondent. This should be taken metaphorically. Thus, the respondent should not report to the authority as he/she cannot ascertain that what was written in the letter should be taken literally. Thus, Biblical authors should be distinguished by genre. Although Biblical intentions and genres are not always clear, the principle of taking some of the writings literally should be applied sometimes rather than all the time. For example, it should be considered that the author of Genesis may not have wanted to be taken literally. This is because the author was attempting to show Christians the order of creation to reaffirm that the principle of natural order was not followed as is the norm by scientists (Keller 7).

The second issue raised involves determining if biological evolution is true. Scientists believe it is vital for human beings to understand they evolved from animals hence; they are driven by animal genes. More so, they believe everything about human beings can be explained through the principle of natural selection. This issue however can be resolved by understanding that evolution as a biological process should not equated to the belief in evolution as a world. Currently, efforts are being applied to emphasize that the process of biological evolution should necessarily lead to belief in perennial naturalism. This refers to human nature including how people act, think, love, use language, develop moral convictions, form beliefs and put faith in God. These efforts strive to affirm that human nature should be understood as an origin of random genetic mutation. It can also be understood as some other source of variability prevailing in human beings in present times due to natural selection. Although some behaviors feel like universally right encouraging people to perform them, they should be determined how they promote survival and reproduction (Keller 8).

Christian believers often understand human nature has aspects such as intuition of God’s Moral Law. They also believe these aspects can neither be applied nor explained by scientists. Thus, science lacks the capacity to provide answers to pressing questions with regard to human existence. Ultimately, believers of human life being formed through evolutionary biological processes should also believe in Grand Theory Evolution. However, science and Christianity should acknowledge human beings do not have immortal souls and free sill of the moral law. More so, their spiritual hunger and genuine altruism depends on their relationship with God (Keller 8).

The final issue seeks to resolve if biological evolution is true to affirm lack of historical Adam and Eve. This issue however does not explain the origin of sin, suffering, and death. In order to resolve this issue, it should be clear that belief in evolution is often compatible with belief in historical fall through existence of literal Adam and Eve. This response however raises more questions that cannot be answered by Christians. It has therefore prompted Christians believing God used evolution to be open to new and diverse views mainly from science. Foremost, the Bible should be identified as a trustworthy document. This explains why tradition Protestants understood Biblical writers as people who were inspired by God. Readers should therefore strive to discern the intended meaning and what God is saying in particular texts. This is vital as readers can identify the omissions, compressions and figurative languages applied. More so, they can see some of the signs in particular texts affirming the literature is either a myth or historical account (Keller 9).

Science holds the view of Adam and Eve as not literal. Conversely, Christianity teaches believers that Adam and Eve were real people who sinned against God prompting Him to kick them from the Garden of Eden. Some scientists claim Biblical authors were men of their time hence likely to be wrong about certain aspects of evolution. Consequently, Christians cannot use their beliefs and faith to explain Genesis. As a result, it tends to be challenging to identify parts of the Bible and science that should be trusted and applied (11).

According to Keller, correlating the data of science with Biblical teachings is difficult. Thus, scientists should be provided with the following simple answer. They should be told to feel free to claim they do not care about theology and the scripture. This answer however does not do justice to the authority of the Bible as it fails to acknowledge that even Jesus took its teachings with utmost seriousness. Conversely, theologians can feel free to say they do not care about science. This however fails to give nature the proper importance it has played in affirming God’s creation of the world. It should be understood that God’s glory is revealed by studying His creation. However, it should be noted that only the scripture provides the perfect description of God’s creation as it tends to reveal His state of mind (Keller 12).  

As a result, the book of nature should be interpreted by the book of God. The scripture represents the perfect vehicle utilized by God in founding and revealing His creation. Thus, it should be identified as bold, selective and powerful. Readers should neither misunderstand nor blur the writings. However, Christians seeking to correlate the scripture with science should be allowed to practice the free will provided by God and natural selection in diverse measures and limitations. They should not be labeled as anti-scientific religionists or anti-religious scientists. Instead, they should be regarded as believers who understand the human origin through God’s creation but seeking to apply the right attitude towards the role science has played in influencing the creation of God (Keller 12).

In conclusion, it is evident Christianity has greatly impacted the growth of science. For example, Christians have enabled and supported scientists’ principle regarding free will. Although they fail to determine its origin, they both agree human beings have free will. Christianity has also enabled science to grow to affirm that natural selection has been influencing how God’s creation evolves. For example, God created Adam and Eve. Natural science however played its role in determining how they act, think, love, and participate in activities that should seek favor from God. Thus, science can be applied to affirm that God is good. This is because he did not create human beings to bring them to the world so that they can experience pain, suffering, violence, and death. Instead, science has played the role of determining how people relate and engage in measures promoting peace and stability in the world. Ultimately, science provides the inside meaning of Biblical teachings. More so, it provides Christians with answers to questions they believe the Bible lacks answers.

 

Works Cited

Christian Geology Ministry (CGM). Introduction: Beyond Gap Theory Interpretation of Genesis. Christian Geology Ministry Report, 2011. Print.

Janse, Michael. Christian Creation Theories Rooted in the Genesis Account and their Underlying Assumptions. MA Thesis. South African Theological Seminary, 2012. Print.

Keller, Tim. Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople. The BioLogos Foundation Report. 2011. Print.

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