I was in a conversation the other day with one of my family members who would probably consider himself a skeptic/agnostic but not quite atheist. One of the contentions that he has that is a barrier to him recognizing the validity of the Bible as a document of truth is that, because many Christians have had to “change their interpretation” of the creation story as science advances, the creation story cannot be an accurate account of what happened, claiming that the Big Bang and evolution disprove the possibility that God created the universe. In other words, he claims that religion is dependent on science because as science has advanced, Christians have had to “update” their interpretations of how we came to be. Therefore, he says, Genesis 1 cannot be true because, if it was, it would have given a more plausible account. He questions why God didn’t include a discussion about evolution and the Big Bang if he is the one that led creation.
Now, I’m not sure where many of you fall in your beliefs regarding creation. As I stand today, I see evolution as being a rather good explanation of how we came to be, but I, of course, do not believe that evolution disproves the possible existence of God (I am an evangelical Christian), but rather could have been the mechanism of which God used to drive creation. So, with that in mind, I responded this way:
I first said that the intent of Genesis was not to be a science textbook as it was written within a context. I also responded that prior to Darwin, everyone, not just Christians, had some type of belief about the universe. Many scientists, in fact, did not even consider that the universe had been created, but rather that it just always was there. So, when Darwin came around with his theory of evolution, everyone had to think about changing their minds, or change their interpretations of scripture, not just Christians.
I also laid out this (flawed) analogy because we both have a background in math and statistics.Imagine we have a linear equation where creation is the y-variable (the dependent variable). And imagine that there are an n number of explanatory variables (x-variables) with x1…,xn that represent what led to creation. So the equation would look something like this: y = x1 + x2 + … + xn where y=creation, x1 = God’s sovereign will, x2 = God’s love and power, x3 = evolution, x4 = the Big Bang, and all the way to xn (whatever all of the variables may be). The idea here is that God may have used multiple mechanisms to create the universe and people that neither I nor any scientist understands in its totality. But with each additional scientific discovery, we can either remove an x-variable or add one as a representation of our understanding of how we got here.
How do you think I should have responded to this question? How would you have responded to the contention that the Bible can’t be a true document because Christians allegedly had to adapt their beliefs to new scientific discovery? I don’t find my family member’s argument to hold a lot of weight because I believe science points to God, not away from Him. But I’m curious to what you all think! Thank you!