Discordant Views on Concordism | The BioLogos Forum


One side creates their own science; the other side creates their own Bible.

This prompts me to ask: How could science be anything other than something we all create? And for that matter …the same question equally seems to apply to Biblical interpretation.

Maybe a more apt way to frame it all would be with the question: "How can we harmonize our scientific interpretations of reality with our theological interpretations of the same. Using both these tools we [ideally] chase the same reality, albeit different aspects of it. And presumably we will often be wrong – being fallible and all. Is all this then subscribing to a kind of built-in concordism? Maybe in some ways. I can be sympathetic to Walton’s view that recognizes it where it chances to occur but doesn’t try to identify it as the theological point, much less some sort of testing ground.

It seems to me that some people have short historical memories.

The Bible says that the universe has a beginning. Science did not come to that conclusion until about 50 years ago. So many think that the Bible is outdated?

The Bible days that the first humans were a man and wife. It seems to me that not long ago, like just a few years, scientists agreed with this in talking about the original Eve.

So things change, esp. science. Science is interested in when the first biological humans appeared. Theology is concerned about when the first moral humans. There is a big difference.

So let science and theology continue to work to answer the scientific and theological issues that face them. It is best that they work together, so concordism does have a role in pointing to places of agreement, but they do not HAVE to agree.


Sorry if my comment created some misunderstanding. I try to keep them brief as going into detail and providing examples makes for a long post. I guess it depends on what it means to create. Even my wife and I cannot agree on what “create” means in the context of science and scripture.

My comment was not about “miracles.” It was about scientific claims made by the bible. I apologize for not making that clear.


I do not wish to labour the point, but I am puzzled - I am not aware of any “scientific claims” in the Bible - I understand that some writings may be treated by some as if they were written in a “scientific manner”, but I regard this as an interpretation. Just to be clear, a “scientific claim” as I understand the term, means one either made by a scientist, or made in scientific language and definitions. I hope this at least makes my comments clear.

To discover the scientific claims relevant to this discussion, you would want to look at the writings of concordists. To these people, the bible contains many scientific claims. Examples include founding of the human species by a single couple (one person in this discussion has already erroneously cited this as an example of concord), special creation of lineages with no common ancestry, catastrophic inundation of the planet and consequent formation of geological strata and features, ordering of cosmological events or epochs according to Genesis 1, and the expansion of the universe. These are all scientific claims by any definition.

You are now indulging in the standard rhetoric of anti-creationists :blush: Orthodox Christianity has been very careful in discussing some of the topics you bring up and at no point do such discussions conform to your ideas of scientific claims. Indeed the outlook has been to identify the notions of the Christian Faith, in that human beings were created with a “living soul”.

I will leave this exchange at this point, as I feel you are ignoring the thrust of my original post regarding the choice an atheist should make.


I would like take you up on this challenge as I cannot help myself but to indulge in any such undertaking. You did say a clear and coherent discussion… right?

For the record, I will state that I consider myself a Christian and not an atheist (in the sense of having no spiritual inclination whatsoever). I will explain what I mean:

We must be epistemologically clear and concise if any coherent and meaningful discussion is to take place therefore, certain points regarding our terms and concepts should be clarified and free from ambiguity. The person who does not believe in “the white haired bearded man in the sky god” depicted by Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, but holds that the Christ will return from among mankind should be distinguished from the person who does not believe in “the white haired bearded man in the sky god” and who has no spiritual beliefs whatsoever, including any second coming of Christ or the establishment his kingdom. Should the former be also considered an atheist? Or only the latter? What about the Christ… would he be considered an atheist if upon his arrival he claimed that he did not believe in “the white haired bearded man in the sky god” depicted by Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam? What if he stated that he was born of a mother and father like everyone else? In Christian theology God is equally the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Upon his second coming will he be the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit? Or will he be all three in one? What if he claimed that the Father of the Trinity was Adam, that the Son was Jesus, and that he is the Holy Spirit that has been born into a new man? These distinctions and considerations are important because they provide alternative theories to consider that go to the heart of the matter and distinguish where the different camps stand.

Religion speaks of God, Satan, angels, and demons as spiritual entities that exist in a, so called, spiritual realm. Science opposes any such rationalizations and rejects the existence of these entities and the spiritual realm they are supposed to inhabit. These rationalizations are what turn many people away from spirituality—the conflict between science and religion. This conflict cannot be denied, it is real, but it need not be. For me there is no conflict between science and faith (notice I use the term faith instead of religion) since I oppose and reject any such religious rationalizations such as these entities or the realm that they are supposed to inhabit. My rationalizations are philosophic and scientific, and my faith is in the return of Christ—from amongst mankind—who will bring the last and final judgment upon this world, and the peace and happiness that mankind longs for through his kingdom.

It should be noted that the “deification” of science in the requirement that the Bible be judged by scientific criteria is justified if any essential progress be made in unraveling the Mystery of God. The “god-type” science that you infer atheists have that all religions must submit to would be the justice system—all are accountable to the law. Whether one is a Catholic, a Born Again Christian, a Seventh Day Adventist, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Baptist, a Methodist… all are accountable to the law. The separation of church and state is precisely for this “god-type” science that you refer to that all religions must submit to. At a basic level all religious organizations have the same directives: (1) a description of creation, (2) the teaching of what good and evil is, and (3) faith in a God who will bring a last and final judgment. A precise understanding of the facts of these three points is essential for the Revelation. Thus, it is through the philosophic and scientific treatment of these three points that theological clarity will be achieved. Specifically—the metaphysics, the physical sciences, psychology, criminology, and the judicial systems of the civilized world.

Those who have followed my commentaries can attest that these three points have been the target of all my writings here at BioLogos. I will not elaborate on the details here since it would be intensive and laboriously time consuming to prepare. However, these commentaries give the gist and overall criteria to consider. Six comments beginning here (don’t forget to scroll down to get to the heart of the matter): Fine Tuning and Teleology - #5 by Tony and posts #85686 and #85694 here: http://biologos.org/blog/is-creation-from-nothing-obsolete I also provide links to these three YouTube videos which are pertinent for our present considerations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVpLnB4VyEk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pROu77TvZzA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvQn_bit1qA

Drs. Ken Turner and Brian Eisenback, thank you for this profound dissection of the ramifications involved in the pursuit of harmonization of biblical and scientific data. You have done an excellent job at providing the necessary tools for further considerations in the reconciliation process. The projected landscape is now clearly exposed thanks to your detailed analysis of the present condition of philosophic inquiry. Thanks again, your work is very much appreciated.

Best Regards


You introduce many points to this discussion and I doubt if I can cover them all. I want to make it clear that the point I was addressing was the claim by some atheists, that they have a scientific criteria by which they can examine (scientifically) statements in the Bible they have identified as problematic. Perhaps I should elaborate – if an atheist has a problem with the belief that Christ will return (I suggest they cannot get to this point as they stumble with Christ resurrected, but for the sake of this discussion, I will use your example) than a scientific criteria would be one in which Christ makes an appearance to an atheist, who then presumably hook up various devices to Christ, and performs sufficient tests to verify that it is Christ and He has returned. This scenario is indeed difficult, but an atheist may not appreciate this, and the reason for this is the atheist cannot conceive of the possibility that Christ returned would negate all such possibilities. Yet it seems to me some atheists will believe such a version of science, and challenge us to produce “evidence” using such an odd “scientific criteria”. I think such a proposal is nonsense.

There are some areas that perhaps some people become fixated, in that science will produce clarity of thought, supply reasonable explanations, and this, they seem to think, belongs to atheists, while theists (Christians) shy away for such clarity and thus are scientifically ignorant (or worse are dishonest). I oppose such an attitude vigorously, and am of the view that a Christian, who is also a scientist, is obligated by Christ Himself to pursue the truth, no matter where it takes him. I appreciate a similar attitude regarding seeking what is true in science (not obligated by Christ obviously), from colleagues who are atheists, and I cannot see, nor experienced, any conflicts with them. Thus I come back to a simple statement – if an atheist claims they have a privileged science that Christians cannot access, and this provides a criteria by which they can scientifically examine the Bible, it seems to me that this has the appearance of a deified science, and not the science most of us practice.

The subject matter is very large and I do not think that we can discuss this in detail in these exchanges, so I end.

I thought the topic of the OP and of the discussion was the presence of scientific claims in the bible. One question is whether the bible makes scientific claims (I think it does, and so do concordists by definition) and another question is how to compare the bible’s scientific claims with what is known outside the bible or religion. I really don’t understand how it is that an atheist is more or less qualified to address either of these questions. Maybe this is because I have never met an atheist who thought that she had any special criteria by which to judge statements in the bible (or anywhere else). Have I misunderstood you?


" I really don’t understand how it is that an atheist is more or less qualified to address either of these questions. "

In my response, I have said “if”… If I understand you response correctly, we are in agreement.

On the topic of the OP, I have stated previously that some statements regarding this puzzle me.


Wouldn’t the way “scientific claims” is being used here refer to “claims of reality.” If so, the Bible is full of “claims of reality” that are false. In this sense, just to be clear, the term, “scientific claim,” is ontological—one made by “anyone” about the “nature of reality.” Hence, if we want to progress in our inquiries and speak strictly in scientific language by making scientific claims we should abide by philosophic standards about the nature of reality. This suggests that the terms “scientific claims” and “claims of reality” should have the same definition. After all, aren’t scientists in the business of making “claims of reality?”

Drs. Turner and Eisenback ask:

If one favors a concordist position (however defined), how is all the data—biblical and scientific—assessed and brought into harmony? Is it more of a one-way street: assuming more certainty of the interpretation of one dataset and then reinterpreting the other dataset? Or is it a two-way street? Specifically, even if one admits the strong evidence for modern scientific claims, when (if ever) should one reject this evidence for theological reasons?

If Biblical Scripture is to be universally fulfilled concerning mankind’s sociological and judicial state of affairs a concordist position would be the appropriate and correct engagement to undertake in the reconciliatory process regarding inspired scripture and modern scientific understanding. All the data of Biblical claims should be assessed and brought into harmony through the lens of scientific investigation (like it or not… this is already the status quo). Scientific data about biblical claims has already been assessed and research into new areas is assessed as investigation progresses. So I would state it is more of a one-way street. Modern scientific claims stand on the rigorous investigations of generations of scientific innovations. “When (if ever) should one reject this evidence for theological reasons?”—non other then when (if ever) evidence would prove otherwise.

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It is a false statement that “atheists” claim they have a privileged science that “Christians” cannot access. All true Christians should understand the words of YHWH, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). It should be noted that this “deified science” that you speak of is true Christianity, on the other hand, the “Christians” who cannot access this “privileged science” are those of whom the book of Revelation speaks about concerning Babylon the Great, “… for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Revelation 18:23). Religious doctrine has perverted the intellectual faculties of the masses. Is it any doubt that they cannot access this privileged science?

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Science [does] indeed produce clarity of thought, and supply reasonable explanations for the Mystery of God, however, this knowledge belongs to all people who have an open mind and not strictly to atheists. If you oppose such an attitude vigorously—“that (Christians) shy away for such clarity and thus are scientifically ignorant (or worse are dishonest)” and you feel “obligated by Christ Himself to pursue the truth, no matter where it takes” you, then… shouldn’t you consider the possibility that you may be among those who has been deceived by religious doctrine?


You raise many points. (1) harmony instead of discord - my approach is for Christians to seek the peace the Faith brings to us, and then to approach science (and philosophy) as an intellectual exercise, with the criteria of “test all things and hold fast to what is good and true”. This approach cannot bring the Faith into conflict with science, nor lead to science being subjugated to any religious doctrine. We know science has been wrong in many areas, and we know science has been used to bring horrific outcomes to us and the planet. Thus no-one has a privileged science to use as a criteria for the major “realities” you seem to refer (2) what of wrong religious doctrines? There have and continue to be, many errors claiming to be religious doctrine. The Church has laboured for thousands of years to articulate the Faith correctly, and this continues today. (3) While all Christians (and I think all intellectual honest/earnest atheists) strive to understand reality, we find ourselves making mistakes. When we are perfected in Christ, then, and only then, will we be free from error and heresy. Until then we do our best, always seeking a good and clean conscience.

I am not sure I can say much more in a few words.


This comment was being prepared as I was waiting for your reply so… please bear with me—I will answer your latest comment below.

Above, in answer to your statement here, I elaborated concerning religious dogma and scientific facts and evidence (the YouTube videos) in relation to anti-social human behavior. Other philosophic theories and scientific facts have already been discussed in my post above or elsewhere—God’s essence, cosmological constants and fine tuning, the big bang, determinism, first life, final causes, design, and purpose in regard to God’s Kingdom, etc…

Well, this, specifically, was the point of my post above—that biblical claims and/or religious interpretation by organized religion and/or individual interpretation are problematic and do not conform to scientific facts. Thus, the scientific criteria by which “atheists” can examine (scientifically) statements in the Bible they have identified as problematic.

I accepted your invitation… however, you now say, “You introduce many points to this discussion and I doubt if I can cover them all.” The “many points” that I have introduced are to your challenge that, “it would be refreshing to hear atheists articulate such a position – just to enable us to undertake a clear and coherent discussion.”

Your statement to Humeandroid is interesting;

As is plainly evident I entered the discussion right after your post here—because Humeandroid did not respond after three days of you making the comment, I said to myself, “it would be pity not to allow this discussion to follow its natural path.”

I think you should feel obligated to answer and comment on the points that have been brought up since you are the one who made the invitation, “it would be refreshing to hear atheists articulate such a position – just to enable us to undertake a clear and coherent discussion.” As I am sure that you are aware, significant work goes into preparing these commentaries. However, if you decide not to answer and comment I will not hold it against you.

Now, in regard to your latest comment, thank you for answering.

I agree with the approach for Christians to seek the peace the Faith brings us. Jesus summed this up well with His teaching, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Mathew 22:37-39). Jesus took Moses’ Ten Commandments and formed the two mentioned. If you notice, the first four involve honor and worship for God, and the remaining six have to do with respect for others. This is how Jesus created His two commandments from Moses’ ten (Exodus 20:1-17). Whosoever abides by these words will live a fruitful and content life and all will go well for him/her. There is no disagreement here. However, when we read, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:1-7), we come to understand that there is something more to the Judeo-Christian Faith namely—those who do not abide by the law, neither do they repent nor turn from their ways. What is to be said or understood concerning this phenomenon? I understand that not all Christians are interested in this aspect of the Faith. This is well, and to be expected. These are those who are content (or don’t have the knowhow) with knowing only what is preached from the pulpit. However, there are Christians who seek to comprehend the more profound aspects of the Faith. This is an important key area of interest which if understood correctly will open the door to further chambers of truth in regard to the Judeo-Christian Faith.

I am not certain whether you understand these more profound mysteries of the Faith since you question the sincere pursuit and ability of science to investigate, understand, and make the right decisions based on its findings. Thus I believe your opinion is wrong that no-one has a privileged science to use as a criteria for the major “realities” that I refer to. Jesus was the standard for man to abide by in regards to His two commandments. His first coming was to portray the standard for man to abide by as the faithful servant. His second coming—“the day of the Lord”—will be to fulfill all that was written concerning those who do not turn from their ungodly ways and abide by the law. “The phrase “the day of the Lord” is used nineteen times in the Old Testament (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:1,11,31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi. 4:5) and four times in the New Testament (Acts 2:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10).” What is the day of the Lord? | GotQuestions.org

If you are speaking of the true Christian Church well, then, I can understand your statement and sympathize with you. However, all organized religion falls short because of the ignorance of the more profound Mystery of God.

I believe this is an honest appraisal of our present condition and our will and striving to improve our character and enrich of our lives, and in effect enrich the lives those we love. This is all good, right, and true. However I agree with Lamoureux and the authors of this article, Drs. Turner and Eisenback, that concordism is one of the central issues in the discussion regarding science and faith. To further the discussion without talking past one another disparity in defining terms must be resolved. The problem is not unique to Origins but encompasses the whole spectrum of Christian thought.

In going full circle to the initial statement that caught my attention;

If there is to be any progress in concordism and/or accomodationism between science and religious language in other areas including Origins, we must first harmonize scientific terms used in legal matters and psychology with religious terms. These include—repent/regret, forgive/pardon, sin/crime, sinner/criminal, devil/psychopath. It is no surprise that penitentiaries are call what they are. From the word Penitence; “the state of being Penitent; regret for one’s wrongdoing or sinning; contrition; repentance” (Dictionary.com). I will go as far as suggesting to imagine that everywhere in the Bible where you have these religious terms to replace them with the scientific counterpart terms. If you don’t already see what I see, with this simple suggestion you certainly will.


Your statement: “If there is to be any progress in concordism and/or accomodationism between science and religious language in other areas including Origins, we must first harmonize scientific terms used in legal matters and psychology with religious terms.”

goes to the discussion with Humeandroid. Scientific terms and definitions are provided to enable scientists to communicate in highly specialised areas and on specific topics. It is unusual for either atheist or theist to insist these terms and definitions should then apply to the Bible, or any religious text. Nor can I see this as the goal of condordism.

My feeling is that statements in the Bible are provided in language people used many centuries ago, and some may feel this should be changed to make it modern. Other areas that may cause concern involve descriptive passages in language that was meaningful in its day, but this does not sit well with the culture of today.

On terms like repentance, redemption, holy, sacred, and so on, I am at a loss to understand how scientific terminology would help or even be relevant, especially if this concerns the physical sciences.

On organised religion, I think the discussion has drifted far from topic and I cannot help you with such a discussion. My challenge, as you say, has more to do with using science to render the Bible ‘scientific’, or to argue it may contain scientific arguments. I do not believe this is the case, and most matters that are subjected to scientific scrutiny are either matters that could only be described in that day using language understood by Israel at that time, and/or they were attributed to God.

On general discussions of the science/philosophy encountered by early Christians, I recommend reading some of the Patristic writings - you may find these show little conflict, and indicate a curiosity on the many ideas put forward by pagans at that time.


In a post above, I made this statement;

Your statement is;

Accordingly then, we must ask… What is the purpose for the scientific terms and definitions that are provided to scientists that enable them to communicate in highly specialized areas and on specific topics for? Is it not for the advancement, improvement, and enrichment of human and social concerns—national and international?

The Prologue to John Wycliffe’s first English translation of the Bible includes the statement, “This Bible is for the government of the people, for the people and by the people.” Most of us are aware that these are also the closing words of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Since the Bible and government are intimately connected with justice there is an obvious connection between the Bible, government, and science. My point? It may be unusual for either atheist or theist to insist these terms and definitions should apply to the Bible however, this is not a usual circumstance! Thus, I cannot comprehend how you cannot see this as the goal of concordism—especially at a time where final end-time Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled?

My concern is the accurate interpretation of the Biblical story and God’s plan. As I stated in a previous post, and above, “At a basic level all religious organizations have the same directives: (1) a description of creation, (2) the teaching of what good and evil is, and (3) faith in a God who will bring a last and final judgment.” Of course, the Judeo/Christian faith teaches that God offered His Son as a sacrifice to redeem those who come to repentance—this was part of God’s plan. The establishment of God’s Kingdom was also part of God’s plan. I am not suggesting that statements in the Bible should be changed to distort its message. Rather, I am suggesting to consider the concordist aspects that those religious terms hold for the harmonization and scientific elucidation of the Biblical story and God’s plan. The descriptive Biblical passages written in Hebrew and Greek in the illustrative language that people used many centuries ago has the same meaning today. Nothing has changed in the hopes and dreams of people—health, prosperity, security, and of understanding God’s purpose. Today we still long and strive for these same ambitions. These aspirations are ingrained in man’s instinctive psyche. It is difficult for me to understand why you seem to think that this does not sit well with today’s culture?

My reference to the physical sciences in a previous post was in relation to the first point of the directives that religious organizations have: (1) a description of creation—the physical sciences were required to investigate the universe. The other two points: (2) the teaching of what good and evil is, and (3) faith in a God who will bring a last and final judgment—would involve terms like repentance, redemption, holy, sacred, and so on. Psychology, philosophy, and juridical science can handle these issues.

I previously suggested that the terms, “scientific claims” and “claims of reality,” should have the same definition. In this sense, just to be clear, the term, “scientific claim,” is ontological—one made by “anyone” about the “nature of reality.” Whether these matters subjected to scientific scrutiny are attempting to interpret what was described in that day using language understood by Israel and/or attributed to God, or whether these matters subjected to scientific scrutiny are attempting to interpret what people today are describing—they were and still are “scientific claims.” Plain and simply put—there is no way around this. The question is, are these the claims of the prophets who were inspired of God or are these claims that were introduced into the Bible by the priests and scribes who were interested in their own agendas. Wizards and sorcerers often have opposing intentions! I tend to believe that this issue was the cause for the breakup of Ancient Judah from the 10 northern tribes of Israel. The cancerous infection would persist in the south… to Judah’s ultimate demise. Today that pesky Church and State affair still pestiferously infects humanity.

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