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James Merritt - Christian Science

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    James Merritt - Christian Science
TOPICS: Belief Barriers, Science

If Christianity is so wonderful, I think it is. And it's so true as we believe it is then that has to raise a question. Why isn't everybody a Christian? I mean, I call the gospel the best news that's ever been heard. Well, if the gospel is the best news that ever's been preached or talked about why don't more people believe it? I mean, think about it, the greatest message in the world. And yet more people reject it than accepted it. And frankly, these are important questions that theologians and sociologists are constantly wrestling with. And matter of fact, we're talking in the series that we've been calling from there to here about the five major barriers that keep people from becoming believers.

These are five major reasons why when you present people with the claims of Christianity, they look at where they are and where Christianity wants to take them. And they say, I just can't get there from here. And one of those reasons and we're gonna deal with today and it's a big one. And it is this perceived conflict between science and the Bible. We're tallying our message today by the way, Christian science. And now I invite you to turn to the gospel of John the eighth chapters in the new Testament in just a moment but there was a recent poll that was taken by the Pew Research Center. And here's what they said. 60%, listen to this, 60% of Americans believe that science and religion are at odds with each other. Now I'll tell you in a way that puzzles me because frankly, the Christian worldview is what gave rise to modern science 350 years ago.

Let me tell you how science even really got it start. When you read the Bible scriptures, very plain, that we live in a God created well ordered universe. That frankly can be investigated because of the divine laws that God himself put in place. You go do your history, you'll find out that many of the founding fathers of science, men like Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Nelson, Boyle, Pascal they were all Christians. Then you fast forward. And even though 95% of Americans believe in God or a Supreme being only 51% of scientists believe that. So here's what a lot of people do. They dismissed this whole problem in what they say is self logical. They say, look, this is a Bible. This is not a scientific textbook. Well, that's true. And then they say, and the Bible was not primarily written to teach us about science. Well, that's also true.

So they draw the conclusion. If it's not a textbook on science, if it really want written to teach us about science, then it may be completely wrong when it comes to science but that's okay because we can trust it in other areas so we can trust it when it talks about life. And it talks about death and it talks about eternity. Don't worry if it's all messed up about science, that's all right. Well, that sounds good in theory, but in the end it proves to be false. And I wanna tell you two reasons why you cannot take that approach. Jesus himself in the eighth chapter of John, made a statement to those of us who would try to make a division between earthly truth and eternal truth and shows us that when you do that, you actually cause more problems than you solve. Listen to what Jesus said in John 8:32. He said, "I've spoken to you of earthly things". That's things like science. I've spoken to you of earthly things. "And you do not believe, how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things"?

Now Jesus was logically and theologically absolutely right because when Jesus said that, he had been talking to Nicodemus about the physical process of birth but then he makes this incredible statement. He said, basically, look, if you're not gonna believe what I say about earthly matters, why would I expect you to believe what I say about heavenly matters? So I wanna ask a very fair question. If I cannot rely on the Bible when it touches on any subject, just pick one history, science, morality or philosophy, then how can I trust it when it comes to theology? How can I do that? Now, let me just be very candid and upfront. I would admit something right now. When I study science and I'll read what scientists teach and believe it forces me to wrestle with scripture. On the other hand, when I read scripture, it forces me to wrestle with science.

I remember back when I was in college, my freshman year I took a course in geology and my professor was an unbeliever. And he told our class just from a geological standpoint that evolution was an indisputable fact. And he went on and on and he finally made the leap and he said, therefore, the Bible is wrong. The Bible is totally untrustworthy when it comes to science. And frankly, I'm thankful for that experience because it taught me some things that I want you to remember as we kind of delve into this topic. Now there are two extremes when it comes to science and the Bible you have to avoid and I have to avoid because if you don't, you're gonna make a very big mistake. On the one hand, and I've had learned this the hard way myself. We've got to be careful of tying our interpretation of scripture too closely to whatever science is saying at a given time because too often we find that today science is tomorrow's fiction.

Now, if you don't believe that, let me just give you a modern day illustration. I was just having a conversation with some of our staff just a while ago. You take this whole Corona virus and where we've come from beginning back in March and where we are right now. We were told at first to wear a mask then we were told you don't have to. Then we were told, no, you need to. Then we were told, take a certain drug. Then we were told not to take a certain drug. Now you've got certain people again, say yes, you have to take a certain drug. We were told that the death rate would be X. Now we're being told that the death rate is actually going to be Y. We were told to stay at least six feet apart. Now some people would say, no, we ought even stay further apart. So all of which is to say on the one hand we should not idolize science.

Now that leads us to one other thing that Jesus said, we gotta keep in mind every time science and scripture are mentioned in the same breath. Here's what He said about this book. Jesus said, "Sanctify them by the truth". Then he said this, your word, talking about God's word. "Your word is truth," John 17:17. "Sanctify them by the truth your word is truth". Now Jesus said two things in that verse. He said, number one, there is such a thing as the truth. The truth, in other words, Jesus said there's such a thing as truth that never changes. If it's true today, be true tomorrow. Then he said, God's word is truth. Now, before I say anything else, if you don't remember anything else about this message. And by the way, while I'm thinking about it if you've got teenagers, particularly juniors or seniors who was about to go off to college, get them ready, get them right now to start listening to this message, they need to hear it.

And I want you to, please hear this. All truth is God's truth. It doesn't matter what kind of truth it is. If it's theological truth, historical truth, scientific truth, moral truth, philosophical truth, political truth. All truth is God's truth. Doesn't matter what kind of truth than it is. Truth can never be contradicted. So keep that subject in mind. Now here's the other thing to remember both biblical interpretation and scientific declaration are fallible. That's because theologians are human. I'm a human guy. I can get it wrong and scientists can get it wrong. So in other words I may be mistaken in a way I'm interpreting scripture when it comes to a scientific belief. On the other hand, a scientist can be mistaken in what he conclusive is investigation and saying something that is not true.

So as we get into this subject of science and scripture there's one thing I'm absolutely convinced has to be true. If all truth is God's truth. And here it is, when a biblical interpretation is accurate and the scientific declaration is proven to be factual. There will never be a contradiction. Can't be impossible. Why? All truth is God's truth and God cannot contradict himself. So if a scientific belief is proven to be absolutely true and a biblical interpretation is accurate and therefore absolutely true they cannot contradict each other. Now we can approach this whole subject of science and scripture with reason and reliability. And I want to say three quick things about it. Number one God's truth contains scientific truth. God's truth contains scientific truth. I mean after all at its very core you may know this science is the pursuit of truth.

The word science comes from the Latin word scientia S-C-I-E-N-T-I-A, which literally means truth. What is science about? Truth. What is scripture about? Truth. By the way Jesus says something else about truth. That is also true. Listen to what he said. He said, "Then you will know the truth". And he said, "The truth will set you free". That's true about all truth. So for example, once you know, theological truth you will be set free from false belief. What, you know, medical truth. You can bet you can be set free from disease. Once, you know, spiritual truth you can be set free from sin. So let's just think logically. If God is truth and he is, if God is the source of truth and he is, and if his word is truth. And Jesus said it was. That means whether it's the study of astronomy quantum physics or microbiology, doesn't matter. It should not only lead us to scientific truth but that scientific truth will always grow up with scriptural truth.

So the point is very simple. If there is such a thing as scientific truth, and there is, we know that. And if there is such a thing as scriptural truth here's the way it will work. These paths may cross because if one's true and the other is true truth are always crosses so scientific truth and scriptural truth may cross listen but they will never conflict. Eventually they will all converge into the same street called truth, because all truth is God's truth. Now don't take my word for it. Let me tell you the way you want scientist put it. And I bet you've heard of him. This is what he said. "A legitimate conflict between science and religion cannot exist". I say amen to that. "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind". I didn't say that Albert Einstein said that he was absolutely right. You simply cannot keep science and scripture completely separate for the simple reason that the Bible does talk about some of the things that science talks about.

Matter of fact, it even begins with the first thing you read in the Bible. It even begins with the origin of the universe. I mean, you don't even get out of the gate of the Bible until you find the Bible starts talking about science. Let me explain if you are a scientist. You know that science looks at the universe in basically five areas. If you're a scientist and you're investigating anything you're dealing with more of five areas time, space, matter, power, motion. That's what science deals with. That's what we study as a scientist. Time, space, matter, power, motion. You open up your Bible. You go look for it yourself. Just go look at Genesis 1:1-2, watch what we read "In the beginning," that's time, "God created" that's power. "The heavens" that space "And the earth," that's matter. "And the spirit of God was hovering," That's motion, over the earth, right off the bait. God says, Hey, "I am a scientific God".

As a matter of fact, the story of creation even also tells us that God actually encouraged the first scientific expedition in the history of the world. Do you know what the first job was that God gave to Adam in the garden of Eden? The very first job it was the task of what scientists call taxonomy. We read about it in Genesis 2. "Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky, he brought them to the man and see what he would name them and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name". "So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the sky, all the wild animals". "But for Adam, no suitable helper was found".

Do you understand that naming things is the very essence of the disciplines of science. We call it taxonomy. So who started science? God, Who called the first person to become a scientist? God who gave the first person the first scientific job? God why? God's truth contains scientific truth. That's fact one, fact two, God's truth corresponds to scientific truth. It corresponds to it. Now keep in mind. Remember what I said, all truth is what? God's truth. Let's say it together. All truth is God's truth. Peter Kreeft is a Catholic apologist. I love to read him. He recorded one of his books an imaginary a conversation between a skeptic and a Christian. And it goes like this. The skeptic says, well do you think there will ever be any contradiction between science and religion? The Christian replies certainly not God doesn't contradict himself.

The skeptic says, God? God doesn't come into science. The Christian says, he sure does. He wrote two books, nature and scripture. And the two books can never contradict each other because they came from the same author who is truth himself. And truth can never contradict truth. Absolutely, right. And by the way, let me just say this as an assign, please, if you're a high school student or college student, remember this whatever you people use, they talk about science. Keep in mind, you got to keep separate. There are two different types of science. There's what we call hard or experimental science.

That's the kind we learn in high school. One of the guys that attends our church his aunt was my biology teacher in high school. Ms. Compton, and her friend, Mrs. Hall was my chemistry teacher. I can still remember, I guess they still do this in high school. I did it a long time, but one of the first things we did in high school was we made salt. We took the sodium one part sodium. We took one part chlorine and we made table salt. And we actually followed the five part scientific process. There was observation, hypothesis, experimentation, theory, and conclusion. So we did this experiment and we knew it was salt because you could see it. You could touch it. You can experiment on it. You could taste it. You could test it and you can do it over and over again, which we all did. Every, we all partnered up. Everybody did the same thing. And everybody came out with salt.

That's what's called hard science but there's another kind of science. So we don't like, we don't hear about this much, but it's what's called forensic or historical science. That is not subject to the same method. Let me give you a good example. So let's suppose someone finds a bone and they identify it as a dinosaur bone. Now hard science tells us this is a bone, no doubt about it. We can observe it, touch it. We can look at it. We know that is a bone. But how did that bone get there? What did the beast look like that carried that bone? How old is that bone? That's not a matter for hard science. That's a matter for forensic science. That is the science, that has to make several assumptions in order to get it right. But here's the problem. If the assumption is wrong, the conclusion is wrong.

That's why sometimes they find the bone that they thought belonged to a dinosaur, but it belonged to a pig. And that's why they'll find the bone sometimes. And they thought the bone was X-years-old but it was actually Y-years-old. And so here's the problem. We've got people today. They want to put science in the living room. They want to put the Bible in the attic. They want to keep them apart but I want to say it again. That really doesn't solve the problem. Because what people see is the problem. Really isn't the problem. Let me explain this to you. Let's take science. Let's take history and let's take theology. Those are not three distinct branches of knowledge. That's the way we think they're not what they are. Are simply three different ways that we view the world that's around us and you can't separate them. This is the problem that you're going to have. I'm going to really going to blow your mind with this.

This is a problem you have. When you say, look, it doesn't teach science. It's not about science. It's not a scientific textbook. Doesn't matter if it gets all the science wrong you can still trust it. Absolutely, you can't. And let me tell you why, let's take the one event that makes us a Christian. If I said to you of all the things that ever happened in all of the Bible what is the one event that makes anybody become a Christian? You know what the answer is, we celebrate it every Easter the resurrection of Jesus without the resurrection there there's no Christianity and we're no Christians. So the resurrection is the central event that makes us Christians to begin with.

All right, here's my question. Pop quiz, was that a theological event? Was that a historical event? Or was that a scientific event? with answer, the question is easy and that's yes, it's recorded as a historical event. But wait a minute. If Jesus's body actually was raised from the dead and oh, raised a totally different body, new body, a body that could not be crucified, a body that could not die. Eternal. Now you're dealing with science. You're dealing with anatomy, you're dealing with biology. You're dealing with physics, you're dealing with chemistry. We've already established, that event is the basis of all Christian theology. So the very resurrection itself was a scientific event. It was a historical event. It was a theological event. And the truth of the matter is if you rip the science out of the Bible and you rip history out of the Bible you don't have any theology left at all.

So simply put, here's what I want you to understand. Just get it down. The God of the Bible is the God of science. The God of scripture is the God of nature. That God is the God of truth. And let me tell you one thing one advantage that scriptural truth has over scientific truth. There's one thing about scriptural truth and it's this, it never changes. See, the problem with scientific truth is what we call scientific truth. They may be scientific fiction tomorrow. Matter of fact you want to do something interesting? When this service is over, you don't have anything else to do. Go to your computer and Google, just as one thing. How often did science get it wrong? Just go Google that it will blow your mind. There are scientific truths that we live by just a few 100 years ago, that if we live by today, it would kill you. Not even valid. It's not even true. Just go Google it.

One chemist, a world renowned chemists said this listen to what he said. He said, "No one can be certain about what further research will show, but of one thing, I am sure if I'm around in 20 years to talk about this stuff," that is things we call scientific truth. "I won't be saying the same thing as I'm saying now," he said, that's the way science works. Another person, another scientist put it this way. I love this. He said, "If we marry our theology to today's science we may we'll be widowed tomorrow". That is absolutely true. Now God's truth contains scientific truth. God's truth corresponds to scientific truth. Here's the last statement. God's truth is confirmed by scientific truth. Now you would expect that to be true. You would expect that if all truth is God's truth that any scientific truth that's proven to be absolutely true, must confirm truth in the Bible that's absolutely true.

So I want to just state the obvious. This book is not a scientific textbook. I get it. The primary purpose of this book is not to teach us about science, astronomy, biology, or medicine. I get that. However, if this book is God's word and if God's word is truth, and if scientific truth is truth and scriptural truth is truth which is a truism. Then there can be no scientific error in it. True science must always be in harmony with true scripture. And I'm gonna give you a challenge. There is yet to be and truly established scientific truth. That contradicts anything you'll see in the Bible at all. As a matter of fact, we say works both ways. And I'm going to give you two quick examples by the way I could give you many. I'm just gonna give you two, go back to your high school days. When I studied science. I remember when we studied physics, one of the first things you learn in science is the two fundamental laws of science, they're known as the first principle do you know what they are? They're called the law thermodynamics.

So what is the first law of thermodynamics? The first law of thermodynamics says, neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed you can change it from one form into another form. That's what the atomic bomb does, but you can't create it and you can't destroy it. Well, guess what? We read that very principle of the second chapter of the book of Genesis. Listen to this. "Thus, the heavens and the earth were" read this word carefully, "Completed in all their vast array". Do you know what that word completed literally means in the Hebrew language? It means brought to its final conclusion in other words here's what the author of Genesis said. When God finished creation, he finished all of it. He finished creating all matter and all energy no more matter will ever be created ever, no more energy will ever be created ever. And none of it can be destroyed.

That's exactly what the first law of thermodynamics says. Scriptural truth. How about the second law of thermodynamics? You know that says, right? Every ordered system over time tends to become disordered. Every ordered system over time tend, eventually becomes disordered. That you see this every day two great illustrations a college dorm room or your son's bedroom, right? You see it every day. If it's ordered, eventually it's going to become disordered. In other words, the universe is running down. The universe is wearing out. Energy is becoming less available scientists know this now, well guess what? Thousands of years ago, somebody else do it. Because somebody wrote these words in the book of Psalms. "In the beginning, you laid the foundations of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands". And he's talking about the physical universe. But, listen to what he's saying, "They will perish". How did he know that? It looks like it will be forever, "But you remain they will all wear out like a garment". How did he know that? "Like a clothing, you will change them and they will be discarded".

In other words, thousands of years ago, this guy whoever it was in this book called Psalm said, by the way this is not going to last forever matters is not gonna last forever energy won't last forever. This is all going to wear out. This is not eternal. It had a beginning and it had an ending. Now let me just give you one other quick example, we're living in a world right now. We're being reminded of it. Every single day. I was in a restaurant last night and I went to wash my hands. I went to the restroom and in the restaurant, I came out wash my hands. I got to thinking, do you realize the world is washing their hands more today than ever? I guarantee you there's been more hand washing going on in restrooms all over the world in the last six months than probably have taken place in the last six centuries. I mean, everybody's washing their hands.

Where did we get the idea that's such a big deal? Well, up until the 19th century in the middle of the 19th century, the death rate in hospitals from unexpected diseases was at epidemic proportions. Listen to this. As many as 30% of women died giving birth. Then this young doctor in Vienna noticed that doctors would go from one patient to another patient and they wouldn't wash their hands when they examined them. So he suggested, maybe I'll start washing your hands. Let's see if that works. Or remember, this was before we had knew about microscopic diseases and bacteria and viruses. We didn't know that, this doctor, the end he just said, I don't know why but I think there may be a connection. Maybe we all start washing hands before we treat patients.

Well, guess what happened? What do you think? The death rate started going down but it didn't go down fast enough and so, they're trying to think, what are we missing? Then somebody came up with this idea Don't just wash your hands in a bowl of water wash it in running water, water that's running. Guess what? They begin to do that. And the death rate really began to plummet because they didn't realize if you wash your hands in the same bowl of water over and over, it's not moving. The same germs are going to be left on your hands that you were trying to get off. Well, guess what? Thousands of years ago, somebody wrote these words. "When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days for his ceremonial cleansing, he must wash his clothes and bathe himself with fresh water and he will be clean".

Do you know what the word fresh literally means in Hebrew? It means running, wash your hands in running water. How did they know that? All truth is God's truth. I could give you a lot more examples. Here's the point. Here's all I'm trying to get you to understand whatever this book touches on has to be true if it's God's word. And there's no reason to pit science against scripture or scripture against science because all truth is God's truth. Now I'm going to wrap this up one more minute. Listen, let me tell you why this book must always be our final authority. Let me tell you why at the end for me, scripture will always trap science. Science will never trap scripture. Here's why, science can tell you how you got here but only this book can tell you why you are here. Science can tell you how your life began in your mother's womb, but only scripture can tell you how your life is to be lived when you come out of that womb see scientific truth has its limits.

Oh yeah, scientific truth can answer a lot of important questions but it can't answer the most important questions. Only scripture can tell you who you are, why you're here? How you're supposed to leave while you're here? And where you go when you leave here? So let me just put it this way. No, the Bible is not a book of zoology, but it will lead you to the lamb of God that can take away your sins. No, the Bible is not a book of botany but it can lead you to the Rose of Sharon that gives off the fragrance of salvation. No, the Bible is not a book of astronomy, but it can lead you to the bright and morning star whose light can guide you into the presence of God. No, the Bible is not a book of medicine, but it can lead you to the great physician who can heal your heart and cure you of the sickness of sin that will cure you forever, this book is truth. It is all true.

And Jesus said, when you know the truth and the one who said he is the truth it will set you free now and it will set you free forever. And that's the truth. Would you pray with me right now? Just in your living room sitting in your car, sitting outside sitting at a restaurant, sitting in a Starbucks wherever you may be, just bow your heads right now. I want to talk, especially those of you who have allowed this thinking that this book is full of mess. Somebody wrote it thousands of years ago that didn't know what we were like today. Didn't understand the culture. Didn't understand science. No, it's not just a book it's God's book and it's not just truth. It's God's truth. And all truth is God's truth.

And here's the truth. This book tells us something science can't tell us, we're sinners separated from God. We need a savior and you wanna have a relationship with the God that made you. You have to come to his son, Jesus Christ because he's the scientific, historical, theological truth. He died for your sins. And he literally came back from the dead. The only one who did both of those things if you'll trust him as your Lord and savior he'll give you eternal life and change you forever. If you have never done that, I want to encourage you. You don't believe what I just said. Go to this book for yourself and read it for yourself. I don't need to defend it. It's God's word.

But if today, the Holy spirit of God spoken to you and you said, you know what? I am not gonna put my faith in science. I'm not gonna put my faith in wall street. I'm not gonna put my faith in the White House. I'm not gonna put my faith in the government. I'm gonna put my faith in the one thing. And the one person I know will never change Jesus and just say this right now:

Lord Jesus I'm a sinner. I don't always understand this book but I believe it's true. And I believe the message in it. That I'm a sinner that needs a savior. Lord Jesus I believe you're that savior. I believe you died for my sins. I believe God raised you from the dead and I believe you're alive right now. So Lord Jesus today, I am surrendering my life to you. I'm accepting you as my savior. I am trusting you as my Lord. I'm accepting your forgiveness of all of my sins. I repent turn away from my sins and give you my life.

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