Last week, we began to discuss what the Bible is, by discussing what the Bible is not. This week, I would like to remind us of something that I believe we all know: The Bible is not a science book.
Since Darwin began his inquiry into evolution, Christians have taken a stronger and stronger stance against scientific inquiry. We have become convinced that scientists are out to get us, to destroy our faith, and to turn us into a secular society. This is a sad turn in the church's history.
For most of the history of the church, we were the leading pioneers in the scientific fields. We were the great doctors, scientists and discoverers. We have let our great past become a corpse as we allow fear to keep us from looking fully at the world through science.
We cannot read the Bible expecting it to present us with the scientifically accurate presentation of the world because that was never the intention of the Bible. God was not interested in providing the science behind what he did, but revealing the character with which he acted and continues to act in the world.
The first chapters of Genesis were not written to share a scientific account of creation, but were written to reveal the nature of the world God had created (and of himself--the Creator). It was written to in response to views of a chaotic, angry creation God of the Babylonians and others ancient peoples. It was written to show God's orderliness, goodness, and love for his creation.
The shocking part of this is that most of us don't even realize that most early Christians didn't focus on the seven days of creation as a literal amount. People like Augustine were already calling it an allegory in the 5th century!
When we free the Biblical account from a modern need for scientific accuracy, it frees us to not only read Scripture how it was intended to be read, but also to see science as a blessed way to understand how creation was pieced together. Science, while not absolute, is a great blessing that allows us to learn about the wonders of the world God miraculously created.
Why do you think Genesis was written? What was the message God was trying to give? Do you believe the Bible to be scientifically accurate? Why or why not? What other questions do we need to address to understand the issue more fully?
If you would like to do a little reading on Genesis and the best way to read it, I recommend this book by Tremper Longman.