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James Merritt - Doesn't Science Disprove God?

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    James Merritt - Doesn't Science Disprove God?
TOPICS: Science, Bible, Atheistm

If Christianity is so wonderful, and 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 has 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 accept it. And frankly, these are important questions that theologians and sociologists are constantly wrestling with. And matter of fact, we're talking in this series that we've been doing 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 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 calling our message today, by the way, "Christian Science" and I invite you to turn to the Gospel of John 8 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 how science even really got its start. When you read the Bible, Scripture is 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 are a supreme being, only 51% of scientists believe that.

So here's what a lot of people do. They dismiss this whole problem in what they say is very, and it sounds 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 and if it really wasn't 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 want to tell you two reasons why you cannot take that approach. Jesus Himself, in John 8, 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 going to believe what I say about earthly matters, why would I expect you to believe what I say about heavenly matters?

So I want to 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 want to admit something right now. When I study science and I 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 to learn 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's 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 coronavirus 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 saying, yes, you ought 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 to even stay farther 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 that are about to go off to college, get them right now to start listening to this message. They need to hear it, but 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. It doesn't matter what kind of truth that 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 concludes, his 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 a 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 sceintia, S-C-E-I-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'll be set free from false belief. Once you know medical truth, 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 square 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's true, truth 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 one scientist put it, and I'll 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, and 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 one or 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's space, "and the Earth," that's matter. "And the Spirit of God was hovering". That's motion over the Earth. Right off the bat, 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 to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each leaving 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 discipline 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? Yeah, 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 records in one of his books an imaginary 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 aside. Please, if you're a high school student or a college student, remember this. Whatever people, they talk about science, keep in mind you've gotta 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 then her friend Mrs. Hall was my chemistry teacher. I can still remember, and I guess they still do this in high school. I haven't been in 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 could experiment on it, you could taste it, you could test it and you could do it over and over again, which we all did. 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, and we don't like to, 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 a 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 see, here's the problem. We've got people today, they wanna put science in the living room and 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 'em. This is the problem that you're gonna have, and I'm really gonna blow your mind with this. This is the 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's no Christianity and were 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? Well, the answer to 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. And 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 ripped 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 today may be scientific fiction tomorrow. Matter of fact, you want to do something interesting? When this service is over, if you don't have anything else to do, go to your computer and Google just this 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 hundred years ago that if we lived by today, it would kill you. It's not even valid. It's not even true. Just go Google it. One chemist, a world-renowned chemist, 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 well 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 a truly established scientific truth that contradicts anything you'll see in the Bible at all.

As a matter of fact, we say it works both ways, and I'm gonna 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 principles. You know what they are? They're called the laws of 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 in 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 what that says, right? Every ordered system over time tends to become disordered. Every ordered system over time, you know, eventually becomes disordered.

Now, 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 knew 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". Now, he's talking about the physical universe, but listen to what he said. "They will perish". How did he know that? It looks like it's gonna 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 Psalms said, "By the way, this is not gonna last forever. Matter's 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 in the restaurant, and I came out and washed 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, 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, you know, maybe you oughta start washing your hands. Let's see if that works.

So remember, this was before we knew about microscopic diseases and bacteria and viruses. We didn't know that. This doctor in Vienna just said, "You know, I don't know why, but I think there may be a connection. Maybe we ought to 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, well, what are we missing? Then somebody came up with the 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 gonna 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's 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, 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. And 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 gonna wrap this up, one more minute. Listen, but 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 trump science. Science will never trump 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 are here, how you're supposed to live while you're here and where you go when you leave here.

So let me just put it this way. No, the Bible's not a book of zoology, but it will lead you to the Lamb of God that can take away your sins. No, the Bible's 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's 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's 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 in a restaurant, sitting in a Starbucks, wherever you may be, just bow your heads right now. I want to talk especially to those of you who have allowed this thinking that this book is full of myths, 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 if you want to have a relationship with the God that made you, you have to come to His Son, Jesus Christ, because here'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. And 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, if You don't believe in 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's 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. Then 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.

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