Challenge Response: The Bible Doesn’t Teach Scientific Insights

Here's my response to this week's challenge:

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This week's challenge: The Bible doesn't teach scientific insights, so therefore there's no way this book could be from God. It was merely a book written by men.

There are several things to say about this challenge, and rather than getting down into some of the details, I want to paint with some broad strokes and look at some fundamental key issues.

Number one: The Bible is not a science book. In fact, the historian could make the same kind of claim, “The Bible doesn't lay out key moments in history,” or something like that. Or, the psychologist could say, “The Bible doesn't speak to us about particular things that we know about the human psyche.” All these different areas of knowledge could make that same claim about the Bible. It's not a history book, it's not a geology book, and it doesn't give these kinds of insights, and then count that as evidence against the Bible. The Bible is not a science book. It’s not merely a history book. It's not a psychology book. Part of understanding how to answer this challenge is understanding the book is itself. What's the nature of the book? What is its primary objective? 

First and foremost, the Bible is a book of theology. It's a book that communicates to us about God, who He is, what His story is, and what His plan is. When we understand what the purpose of this book is, it may help us to understand why some material is not included in the book and why there might not be information about germ theory. It's not a science book, and that's okay. That's not evidence against it being a book from God.

Here's a second thing to think about: Underneath this challenge is an assumption that science is the highest area of knowledge and that science is what really gives us knowledge. This is scientism that dominates our culture. Therefore, because you have this view or this assumption in the culture, that's placed on the Bible. Then, the claim is the Bible should be giving us these huge scientific insights. I want to challenge that assumption that science is the highest level of knowledge and that science is all that we need to really live in this world. 

I think we need to question the assumption behind this question. Certainly, science is an important area. We could get into the details about how the Bible might be consistent with scientific insights, but it doesn't necessarily need to give us all the details of the scientific insights in order for us to think that this is a book from God. What the Bible does do is give us a worldview that generates motivation to do scientific work. When you look at the history of modern science, you find that it was Christians at the forefront of scientific inquiry because they had a worldview that told them that the natural world was designed by a creator. To explore that natural world would not only give you knowledge about the world itself but also give you knowledge about the creator. There's this Christian worldview behind the beginnings of modern day science that lead to all the scientific discoveries and the Scientific Revolution. So, even though the Bible doesn't address specific examples like germ theory or whatever it might be, it does give us the parameters and the worldview to dive into the whole scientific enterprise.

Lastly, the Bible does address our most significant needs. Our most significant needs are not simply alleviating or curing a disease. That stuff is important, but the Bible says our physical needs are not our most important needs. Actually, our most important needs are spiritual needs. 

If that's really the case – that mankind’s fundamental needs are spiritual, and we are sinners that have not only physical ailments but also spiritual ailments that keep us separated from God – then we should expect that God is going to address that problem because that's the fundamental problem. Indeed, he does. Yes, our physical needs are important, but God gets at the heart of the issue, the key issue for human existence. He addresses those things, and that gives us good evidence that this book is actually the Word of God.

Brett Kunkle (@brettkunkle) is the founder and president of MAVEN, a movement to equip the next generation to know truth, pursue goodness, and create beauty. He has more than 25 years of experience working with youth and parents. Brett has a master’s degree in philosophy of religion and ethics from Talbot School of Theology and co-authored the book A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World.

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Brett Kunkle

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