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What Luther Says

Religion And Science Find Common Ground In Genesis 1:1-3

I'm well aware that a strong case has already been made to suggest that Science and Religion are NOT compatible despite what many people polled (both religious and non-religious alike) might think.

Still, I'd like to take a moment to highlight one prominent example where they are compatible, especially since I found the discovery to be so fascinating myself.

If nothing else, perhaps it can be something you can stick in your back pocket and pull out only as an apologetics tool whenever some hostile Atheist, Agnostic, or Apostate Christian comes at you looking for a fight.

We start by reminded ourselves that the Word of God encourages us to always seek the truth...

Proverbs 25:2 (ESV) It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

That being said, this isn't going to be a distinctly "pro-Religion" or a "pro-Science" piece (there are enough of those types of articles), but rather a collection of a few comments about an observation pertaining to Genesis 1:1-3.

Back to Proverbs 25:2 for just a moment before we continue. I thought about that verse a lot this week and reminded myself that being a Christian does not automatically mean that I should be "closed-minded" about the natural world in which I live.

Sure, there are many things about this universe that God Himself chose to reveal to us through His Word, but there are also many things about this universe that He has chosen to remain hidden from our finite understanding.

Deuteronomy 29:29 (ESV) The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

We need to be ok with that.

In other words, it's one thing to want to ask questions and perform experiments to better understand how God's creation actually works, but another thing entirely to want to obtain that knowledge so you can somehow refute the awe and power of our Creator as if to imply that you are just as omniscient and omnipotent as He is.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 (ESV) As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

Once again, some things are meant for us to discover and know and others simply aren't, because we're not God and we're not supposed to be just like Him either.

I'm ok with that and you should be too.

It's like the latest controversy that's dominated social media that's not of a social or political nature. I don't know about you, but my Twitter feed has been F-L-O-O-D-E-D (pun intended) with #FlatEarth material lately!

Have you heard of this? Yes, there's an actual, legitimate, serious debate underway around the world right now about whether or not the earth is, in fact, a globe/sphere or if it's actually flat as humanity originally believed from the beginning.

By extension, a related discussion surrounds the question of whether or not the Sun is really at the center of our universe (the "Heliocentric Model") or if the Earth is at the center (the "Geocentric Model") just as humanity originally believed from the beginning.

Plus, there's even some intense discussion about the legitimacy of NASA and their key role in the whole thing (and this does not have to involve any kind of "Moon Landing Hoax" either)!

I know, I know, how can any "sane" adult, much less a Bible-believing Christian like me who's a Confessional Lutheran, ever dare to mention any of this in any piece of writing and still maintain any shred of credibility?

I mean, isn't this precisely the type of thing that non-believers are always waiting for so that they can pounce, point a finger, and immediately assert something like, "See, I knew you Christians were crazy! You believe in myths and fairy tales while blatantly rejecting scientific proof that's accepted by the majority! Why should put our faith in anything you say about your precious Bible, much less put our faith in a 'Savior' named 'Jesus' when you don't even believe in gravity, that the planet is a ball, that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and that NASA has been to space? How absurd and further proof of our intellectual superiority over you neanderthal Christians!"

To which I would simply reply with...

Genesis 1:1 (ESV) In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Jeremiah 10:11-13 (ESV) Thus shall you say to them: " The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens." It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

Jeremiah 51:15-17 (ESV) It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them.

Proverbs 17:24 (ESV) The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

1 Corinthians 1:20-21 (ESV) Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (ESV) But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

1 Corinthians 2:6-8 (ESV) Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

1 Corinthians 3:19-20 (ESV) For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."

Again, just a few Bible verses that come to mind to use as a possible response to people who would say something like that.

Look, I get it. I really do. Come to think of it, other Christians may not be as inquisitive or open to having a debate like this like I am, and that's just fine too. Besides, it's not like I'm saying that I have firmly planted my flag in any of those camps either (not yet at least).

I'm just open to some debate, because I don't think merely asking questions in search of the truth is "bad" or "wrong" per se. I think it's healthy and keeps us on our toes too.

More importantly, don't be alarmed, you have nothing to worry about, because this isn't supposed to a piece about the merits (or lack thereof) such a so-called "Conspiracy Theory" or is it even a study on the "Geocentric vs. Heliocentric Universe" either although I will say that I'm very intrigued by the little bit of "evidence" I've read and seen as presented in a post titled "Copernicus And The Church, Lutherans And The Missouri Synod" and in a book called "The Book Nobody Read: Chasing The Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus" by Harvard Astrophysicist, Owen Gingerich, which I just purchased and started reading.

Instead, I thought I'd write a brief post today about a single case that demonstrates the COMPATIBILITY between Christianity and science after coming across it myself.

Believe it or not, the very first book of the Bible -- the very first verses! -- are full of scientific fact!

The way I like to describe it is to say that science simply confirms what God's Word already teaches us (or has taught us). The truth is there, but our fallen, rational, sinful minds always insist on getting in the way of the truth by proposing various "scientific theories" as though they were settled "scientific facts" that we just need to accept.

Might we say that believing what science tells us takes much more faith than believing what the Lord tells us? I think we can.

Take, for instance, everything from creation to conception to life and death and everything in between and I think it becomes clear that where the Bible gives us bold truths that are more than just fanciful assertions of a long-forgotten time and place, science often gives us bold lies that change as often as those who are born with the ability and audacity to think up such new concepts to present as truth.

However, and to reiterate, please understand that this does not mean that this is always the case. As previously mentioned, Christians should never just automatically reject science, because there can be times when Christianity and science are compatible.

Let me demonstrate what I mean.

Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV) In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Now, check this out! This is pretty cool!

Keep in mind that those verses were written thousands of years ago.

Fast forward to the present day. Modern Science expresses the known universe in 5 terms -- Time, Space, Matter, Power, and Motion, right? Ok, so let's look at those first three Bible verses again.

If we look closely, we'll CLEARLY see that the science has merely confirmed what we already knew from the Holy Bible containing the very Word of God!

Here, I'll show you what I mean exactly by assigning the corresponding scientific term to the corresponding words from these verses...

"In the beginning (TIME), God created (POWER) the heaven (SPACE) and the earth (MATTER)...And the Spirit of God moved (MOTION) upon the face of the waters."

Isn't that absolutely breathtaking? Doesn't that just say it all? Glory be to God!

How could anyone deny truth like this contained in the Word of God -- the first few verses no less -- and then later reject the deity and reality of Jesus Christ (and the rest of the active, holy, living Word)?

Of course, we know the answer to that question. It's the same answer that explains how some self-professing Christians do not believe that Genesis 1-3 actually describes real events.

It is obvious that the theory of evolution totally dominates scientific thinking today. Very few scientists believe the account of creation in Genesis 1-3. In fact, most of them would ridicule it as unbelievably naive. Almost all science books present the theory that man evolved from lower life forms as a proven fact. This rejection of creation is not very surprising since sinners have been in rebellion against their Creator ever since Adam and Eve fell into sin. They have even been suppressing the knowledge of the Creator which is revealed in nature (Romans 1:18-25). What is surprising, however, is that so many Christian churches today deny the Bible's account of creation. Even many Lutherans have chosen to follow the world's theory of evolution, rather than believe the account of the origin of mankind which is given in Scripture.

That's another story though and one we've already addressed.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, there's no reason for a Christian to instinctively reject science just as there's no reason a scientist cannot believe that Christianity holds the answers to the questions science cannot satisfactorily address. 

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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