Christianity & Science
How I learned to stop worrying and love the big bang

disclaimer: I haven’t any training beyond high-school-level in sciencing, and physics was all I took to the final year at that. So my understanding of science, the philosophy of science, and science in the bible is at best pop-level. Ok? Lets go.


I believe in The Big Bang, I believe in Evolution, I also believe in God - the creator of heaven and earth. I believe that’s not at all mutually exclusive or contradictory.

Teach the controversy.

But it doesn’t matter!

False.

I grew up in a family where we believed Evolution was false (that’s Evolution with a capital E - an important distinction). As a teenager I delved into pop-science websites about evolution and creationism (such as Answers in Genesis) - and believed the creation of life, the universe, and everything happened in 6 literal 24 hour days. I would get into arguments with people on the internet about it (because I was a teenager, and that’s what phpbb was for).

So in my mind the truthiness of Christianity became very tied up with this anti-evolutionism -this was probably a component of my evaporating faith. I remember when I decided I was an atheist, one of my Christian friends said, surprised “But now you have to believe in evolution!” not realising that finally believing in evolution was a kind of intellectual relief.

When I returned to Christianity I brought that belief with me. I satisfied myself that evolution was compatible with Christianity, but I was never going to be as aggressive about the how of creation as I had been in the past.

However I’ve started to realise that a) there is a popular assumption idea that 6-day young-earth creationism is necessary to Christianity, b) this is “scientifically” preposterous, therefore c) Science! is in opposition to Christianity, d) Christianity disbelieves science, and therefore e) Christianity requires you to ignore or legislate against science, and y’know, thinking. ugh.

But the Bible says!

I read Genesis 1-2:4 as a poetical explanation that God created everything, that there was a process to creation, that God works and rests.

Taking the days as literal 24 hour sequential events is unnecessary, expecting it to be a science textbook is unfair to what it was written to (possibly) convey: that none of the listed created things (mostly things that have been worshipped as gods - sun, sky, plants, animals, humans) were greater than, or not created by, God.

As I mentioned in my very long post on the nature of God, I believe God has demonstrated, through the long and people-heavy process of the salvation of the Earth, that does use directed natural processes to achieve His ends, and that He is still the ultimate reason and cause.

But what about Adam and Eve.

I believe they were really the first people. I’m not sure whether they were homo sapiens or neanderthals, I’m not sure God created them directly, or “upgraded” some apes, giving them spirits (making them in image of God). At this point, I happy with all of these theories.

Read more at Biologos

But Atheism is more scientific!

False.

Science is the discovery and understanding of the physical world - how things work, how everything fits together.

Naturistic Atheism, or the belief that there is nothing other than the physical world, is not something that can be either proven or disproven scientifically, because it makes no claims about the physical world, it merely makes a negative claim about there being a spiritual world. This is the philosophy of Dawkins, et al. It’s not a more scientific view. it’s not an unscientific view. it’s an ascientific view.

But evolution means you don’t need a miraculous explanation!

False.

One of the two major holes with Naturistic Atheism is the problem of biogenesis, or the start of life. Evolution only describes how we get from one species to another, it’s unable to explain how we got from simple chemistry to life at all.

There may be a physical-only plausible hypothesis to this in the future - my answer above about God using processes will easily weather any new discoveries here, but for the atheist this is currently a complete mystery, a “miracle of nature”.

But the big bang explains where the universe came from!

uhhhh… False.

The big bang describes the first moments of matter and energy and where elements came from and why it’s distributed as it is, etc. It is no help when it comes to why the big bang banged, and where the energy/matter came from. Atheists have come up with many increasingly bizarre theories from quantum fluctuations (in what?), to negative time (huh?), to a past-eternal periodically pulsating uni/multiverse (merely moving the problem back a step)

In fact the truth of the big bang is a headache for naturistic atheism; an eternal past would be much nicer and not require anything messy like a moment of creation.

But … um…

I’ve run out of made-up objections, I’m sure you can come up with some, so I’ll be amending this, fixing my grosser errors, etc. I’m aware that I’ve merely traded one authority (Hi parents) for another (Hi general scientific community) as I am in no way an expert in any field of science, let alone evolution. My motivations for believing in evolution are as much about intellectual tidiness, and not building unnecessary barriers, as any conviction of the truth of evolution itself.

I encourage you to read Reasonable Faith, Biologos, and other resources that I would list if I thought anyone would actually look them up.