Taichung, Taiwan ROC
Copyright © 2002 by David Newquist. All rights reserved.
This book is written for Christians and non-Christians, for scientists and non-scientists, who seek answers about how science and the Christian faith fit together. The focus is on basic issues and "conflicts" that seem to arise as sincere men and women contemplate matters of science, faith and philosophy. Chapters 1 and 2 discuss basic concepts in the history and philosophy of science. Chapters 3 and 4 discuss faith in general and Christian faith in particular. Chapter 5 discusses the relationship between faith and science and conflicts that may arise between them. These chapters form about a third of the book. The next two chapters form the bulk of the book, and consider how we know the God of the Bible exists, and then specifically address a major issue, the age of the universe, that is a focus of controversy between science and Christian faith. The book closes with a chapter on the Author's personal view of the fitness between science and the Christian faith.
|Although the author is in agreement with the doctrinal statement of IBRI, it does not follow that all of the viewpoints espoused in this paper represent official positions of IBRI. Since one of the purposes of the IBRI report series is to serve as a preprint forum, it is possible that the author has revised some aspects of this work since it was first written.|
Natural Science and Christian Faith
Table of Contents
Note: Chapter links access the full chapter. Chapters 4 to 7 are large. For these chapters, smaller section links have been provided. Within each chapter or section navigation links move to the next or last document of the same type (i.e. chapters link to chapters and sections link to sections).
Acknowledgments -- Original Edition
Acknowledgments -- English Edition
Summary of logical structure
Ch 1 A Brief History of Science
I Ancient timesBabylon, Egypt, ChinaII Middle Ages
Greece: Aristotle, etc.
Aristotle's physics, five proofs
Ptolemy: epicyclesAlchemy, Arabic numbers, algebraIII Revolution in astronomy
Thomas Aquinas: Aristotle plus BibleCopernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, NewtonIV 18th century
space-time, mathematical, vast universeElectrostatic charge, Uranus, vaccinationV 19th centuryNeptune, electromagnetism, elements, atoms, thermodynamics, evolution, genetics, germ theory of disease, spectroscopy, "small problems"VI 20th centuryRelativity, nucleus, quantum physics, Pluto, Milky Way, galaxies, expanding universe, Big Bang, antibiotics, molecular biology, DNA, neo-Darwinian synthesis, social sciencesVII Conclusion
Ch 2 Philosophy of Science
I DefinitionsThree characteristics: Natural science is empirical, objective, rational.II Development
Two assumptions: Nature is uniform and intelligible.Thomas Kuhn: paradigm, anomalies, crisis, revolutionIII At presentThese characteristics are indefinable but still meaningful.IV Summary"Explanation" is description of deeper phenomenon.
Limits of science are not limits of reality.
Ch 3 Faith
I CategoriesCh 4 Logical Problems in the BibleAtheism, agnosticism, pantheism, animism, deism, monotheismII How to choose your faithA Believe: two meanings: agree, trustIII Four steps to Biblical faith
B Many opinions
Do good. Be broad-minded.
Understand completely. Just use intuition.
C The correct question: "Is it true?"Feel a needIV Logic, evidence, and faith: logic and evidence can:
Sense there must be a God, read the Bible if possible
Find evidence that the Bible is from God
Repent, commit yourself to HimA Remove barriersV Biblical instructions on answering questions
B Give a basis for faith
C Prevent deception
D Find events without a natural cause
VI The Bible's explanation of other religionsA Their power: deceiving spirits
B Fortune telling: forbidden, dangerous
C Dead people's spirits: gone from this world
D Reincarnation: impossible
E Near-death experiences, etc.
F The truth: other religions have many truths
but lack the most important parts
G How to tell true from false
I Conflict between ChristiansCh 5 Conflicts Between Science and Religious Faith
II Narrow-mindednessA Those who never hearIII Predestination, prophecy, free will, and prayer
B Fairness, peace of mind, do good
C Why not marry non-Christians?
IV Evil and sufferingorigin of evil, why create anything, why not stop evilV The Trinity
I Each category’s relationship with scienceCh 6 How We Know the God of the Bible ExistsA Atheism-materialism-humanismII The Bible provides a basis for the two assumptions of science
C, D Pantheism and animism
F Theism, Christianity1 Separation
3 ConsistencyThe Word of God cannot conflict with the work of God. If there is a conflict, it is
The limitations of verbal revelation
- between believers and scientists,
- between theology and science,
- not between the Bible and the facts of nature.III Experts: How do we amateurs dare doubt experts' conclusions?
- The universe was created by an orderly God.
- We were created in God's image.
IV General scientific challenges to religious belief
- Examine consistency of their data,
- Consider their presuppositions and logicNot scientific, not provable, unsupported by evidence, obsoleteV Specific topics of purported major conflictA Naturalism and materialism misuse natural science vs.VI Blind alleys
theism, miracles, free will
B misuse social sciences and humanities vs.
revelation, conversion and religious experience, free will
C misuse astronomy and biology vs. creation
D Some people misuse history vs. the BibleA Ancient astronauts, UFOs, ETs
B Quantum mechanics and free will
C Quantum mechanics and Easter religions
D Einstein’s relativity and ethical relativism
E Christianity and ecological damage
F Joshua’s long day
G Where did Cain get his wife? Did people live 900 years before the Flood?
I The characteristics of the universe: a beginning, beyond the laws of scienceA The Olbers Paradox
B The second law of thermodynamics
C The general theory of relativity
D The expansion of the universe
- red shift proportional to distance
- microwave background radiation
- proportions of H, He, H2, Li
II The characteristics of living things: a designer, superhumanA The suitability of the universe and earth for life1 The basic constants of physicsB The information content and complexity of life
2 The characteristics of the earth-moon-sun system1 Simplest living things
2 Complex systems
3 The theory of evolution: micro and macro
4 Evidence to support the theory of evolution:similarities, vestigial organs, embryology, mutation and natural selection, examples, geographical distribution, fossils, origin-of-life experiments, organic molecules in space, philosophical arguments: intelligent design is a religious concept, supernatural, unscientific5 Christians' response
6 Criticism from other scientists
7 Considering the "evidence" for evolution:Philosophical:8 Questions still unanswered by evolution
Not a religious question, but a historical one
Design is not a miracle.
Design of living things is not supernatural, only superhuman.
Similarities could also come from design.
Observed microevolution cannot be extrapolated to macroevolution.
Vestigial organs are not necessarily useless.
Mutations and natural selection are too improbable
Fossils have many missing links, can't prove one type is another's ancestor.
Origin-of-life experiments produced no life, were carefully designed, controlled, and unlike the early earth.
(Is man-made life possible?)Why is a designer impossible?9 Conclusion
Origin of life
Source, cause of major transitions
Origin of complex systems
Random variation an adequate explanation
III The characteristics of the Bible: one true God, supernatural power and wisdomA The Bible writers' claimsthe one true revelation from the one true GodB The Bible's concept of God and His standardsinfinite, holy, just, loving, omnipotent,...C The Bible's concept of human nature and salvation
requires 100% perfectionsinful, dead, can't reach God's standardD The Bible's internal unity
saved by faith in Christ's death for uscomplex but convincing and meaningfulE The Bible's historical accuracydirect and indirect confirmation, no errorsF The Bible's scientific acceptability
G The Bible's fulfilled propheciesshort-range, long-range fulfilled, unfulfilledH Jesus Christ's recorded life, miracles, and resurrectionmany facts in and about the storyI The conversion and ministry of the Apostle Paul
J The date of writing of the original documentsOld Testament long before 200 BCK The preservation of the original text
New Testament before 100 ADmany manuscripts, no serious uncertaintyL The survival and growth of Christianity
English translations and the KJV
the Bible Code
M The opposition it has faced
N The Bible's influence for good in society
IV The experience of believers
Ch 7 The Bible and the Age of the Universe
I What recent creation isCh 8 A Christian physics teacher's personal outlook on the wonders of the universeA The Biblical basis of recent creationII An analysis of the basis for recent creation
B Scientific evidence for recent creation
C Recent-creationists’ scientific objections to long ages and the Big BangA The Biblical basis of recent creation
B Scientific evidence for recent creation
C Recent-creationists’ scientific objections to long ages and the Big Bang