Scripture and Science: A Long History of Conversation

Christianity has survived and even flourished in the midst of scientific revolution because of its steadfast faith that the God who created the universe is the same God we find in the Scriptures.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

did you know for example that jewish tradition know about continental drift? (they are actually saying that in genesis was only one land that splited into 7).

they are also claiming that some monkeys evolved from humans(apes?). and it was a lot before darwin days.

i have many other interesting examples. including a round earth (where the bible claim that earth is flat by the way?).

Any discussion of Copernicus and Galileo is surely incomplete without a discussion of the political circumstances at the time. They both lived and worked at the time of the Reformation, when feelings would have been running particularly high and the Roman Catholic Church must have been particularly sensitive to challenges to its authority.

From what I’ve read, it sounds like Galileo was a bit of a hothead – something that can’t have done him any favours given the political climate. It seems that Copernicus was much more favourably received – perhaps he had a bit more tact and sensitivity?

Thanks for this article, @BradKramer. I think this historical theme is one of the more important ones to keep in everyone’s sight because, unlike the technical intricacies of scientific evidences, these historical evidences are much more widely available for appraisal.

Thus, quoting these Christians [Calvin and Luther] as evidence of their “backwardness” is entirely missing the point.

Indeed, it is to miss the point that you, Brad, and we here wish to make. But antagonists of organized (or any overt) religion are aiming at a different point to begin with, which requires them to ignore the point you so successfully aim at here. It may be helpful to notice that these antagonists fall silent in the face of these historical corrections to their quote mining and (like so many creationists who are obliged at every turn to ignore or interpret away mountains of evidence) resort to repeating the discredited mantras in hopes that people won’t consider all the actual historical evidence that can be and has been brought to light. Your points about the accommodating attitudes of these early church fathers is appropriately tempered with the concessions and nuances that do not favor your point, which is not seen so much from those anti-theists who are interested only in promoting a different agenda. I am seeing more and more common ground (of methodology) between stridently anti-scientific biblicists and their stridently anti-religious counterparts. In short, the more militant anti-theists do to history what so many biblicists do to science. They should be reminded repeatedly and often of this unfortunate common ground they hold with the very groups whose views they so despise.


James, You’re absolutely correct, and I do deal with this issue to some extent, particularly pp. 176-182. There’s certainly a lot more that can be said, so I would direct you to the footnotes for further (and more in-depth) reading.


Is this what you’re referring to? Did the Continents Split Apart in the Days of Peleg? | Answers in Genesis. Answers in Genesis thinks that continental drift happened, but it’s not specifically mentioned in the Bible. Even young-earth creationists like AiG think so.

The Bible doesn’t claim anything about the shape of the Earth. But its references to the shape of the Earth are written within the context of ancient cosmology, which thought (with the exception of the Greeks) that the Earth was flat. The best evidence is probably the frequent references to the “corners” of the earth.

For more on this, read the book!

hey brad. i refer to this one:

see again here:

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