The Bible Vs Scientism

The Bible teaches us that God created the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days - and then rested on the seventh. This occurred a little over 6000 years ago. I believe this, because God’s written word is my ultimate authority.

Science is a process… an investigation and collection of raw data. Science doesn’t actually “say” anything - as the common idiom “science says” indicates. Science is only the collection of the data itself. Then flawed human beings interpret that data in many different ways. Those interpretations are not science itself, but conclusions based on the data which was collected via the scientific process. Those conclusions come complete with personal biases, and much conjecture and speculation.

Scientism is a blind belief in those INTERPRETATIONS/CONCLUSIONS.

For example, we know through science that there are lights in the sky that appear to move over the earth in repeated patterns. It is not science itself, but the interpretations/conclusions/speculations of flawed men which tell us that those lights are giant fireballs in a vast vacuum, that they are moving away from us, and that this movement means that they were at one time all squished together into a hot, dense ball of energy. And Scientism is the faith-based belief IN those interpretations.

So the cult of Scientism (not science itself) claims that our world began as an explosion/expansion of a singularity about 14 billion years ago. The Bible teaches that our world began as a six day creative action taken by God… about 6000 years ago.

Which of those is the truth?

Neither is the Kerygma.

Neither is the kerygma what?

Do you know what THE Kerygma is?

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I didn’t. I had to look it up. But your comment lacks context. Neither is the kerygma WHAT?

“The kerygma isn’t X either.”

What is X?

Then let me be the first to tell you the Kerygma: Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, entombed, resurrected, and raised to a place from which He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Yes, but your original reply states that the kerygma is NOT something. I’m asking you what it’s NOT. I do not understand the comment, “Neither is the Kerygma.”

What does that mean? The Kerygma is not WHAT? WHAT exactly is the Kerygma NOT?

Did you forget what you asked in the OP?
Allow me to refresh your memory:

  • You wrote:

And I wrote:

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So does your comment mean that neither of the two options I offered are the truth… and NEITHER is this third option I’m adding in: the kerygma?

Are you saying that none of the THREE are the truth?

Because if someone says, “Either the sky is blue or it is green. Which is the truth?”, it’s very odd for a person to answer, “Neither is the sea.” Because then we’d have to ask, “Neither is the sea WHAT? Neither is the sea the sky? Neither is the sea green? Neither is the sea blue? What are you saying?”

Can you seriously not see how your original comment doesn’t actually answer any question that I asked?

Oh, I can clearly see that. Now, can you see that, compared to the Kerygma, i.e. the proclamation that Jesus of Nazareth existed, was crucified, died, buried, and resurrected, your question is of lesser importance?

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It sounds like you’re presenting a false dichotomy – either the universe was created six thousand years ago and the Bible is true or it began 14 billion years ago and believing that makes you a member of a cult.

No one has to choose either of those. I can believe that the Bible is true but also that Genesis 1 is presenting a functional view of creation and the universe is still 14 billion years old.

I find this definition of scientism from Merriam-Webster useful:

an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)

Trying to turn science into a philosophy that encompasses all of life is a bad idea. But when used in its proper context, science can be a very useful and fascinating tool that reveals truths about the universe, such as the universe being 14 billion years old. Accepting those truths does not make one a member of a “cult” of scientism.

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Science is man’s interpretation of nature. Theology is man’s interpretation of scripture: “It is not the Bible itself, but the interpretations/conclusions/speculations of flawed men which tell us what those words on the page, ink on cellulose must and should mean.” See what I did there? Your interpretation of the Bible itself is the belief of a limited, fallen sinner. We have fallible interpretations of scripture and fallible interpretations of science. There is no way around this.

You write: “ I believe this, because God’s written word is my ultimate authority.”

This is the “interpretations/conclusions/speculations of a flawed man.” The sleight of hand is you are failing to account that you believe in a very specific model of inspiration you are assuming, without argument, is the one and only factual one. My guess is verbal-plenary inspiration. That is only your interpretation of scripture, not God’s. Please don’t confuse your flawed interpretation of scripture with what God actually says.

Even then, a literal reading of Genesis 1 in context (theirs, not ours as the text was written for us but not to us) does not care about the actual age of the universe and earth. Genesis is about the sabbath and correcting incorrect conceptions of God based on rival mythology. Don’t worship astral deities because they are just lamps made by God. Don’t fear the mighty sea monsters, they are just fish. God didn’t need to consult or compete with anyone in creating the world, He has no rivals, never had revivals and never will have any. He has always been and always will be enthroned as king. Humans were not the side effect of angry lesser gods tired of tilling the earth for higher gods. We were not created as farming slaves, but share in God’s creation as it’s climax and stewards. Genesis 1 doesn’t care at all about some of same issues you do. It establishes the form and function of nature as dependent on God’s careful thought and planning. The pattern is separating days 1-3 and filling with the appropriate stuff says 4-6.

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The Bible leaves a lot of things wide open to interpretation on the matter. But there is one thing about which the Bible leaves nothing whatsoever open to interpretation, and it is this:

¹³Do not have two differing weights in your bag — one heavy, one light. ¹⁴Do not have two differing measures in your house — one large, one small. ¹⁵You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lᴏʀᴅ your God is giving you. ¹⁶For the Lᴏʀᴅ your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly. — Deuteronomy 25:13-16

Any creation model, any interpretation of Genesis 1-11, any challenge to the scientific consensus on the age of the earth or evolution must obey these verses. Any that does not is not Biblical, is not scientific, and is not honest.

Does YECism obey these verses? It doesn’t come anywhere close. In fact, every single YEC who’s responded to me quoting them has flat-out denied that they are even relevant to the discussion. Such a denial is tantamount to demanding the right to tell lies.

So let me get this straight. You are telling me that “flawed human beings” can send probes to other planets in the Solar System, can build self-driving cars, can connect you by video link to friends and loved ones on the other side of the Atlantic in real time, and can use artificial intelligence to generate photo-realistic pictures of cats, but when it comes to figuring out how old things are, they are so clueless that they can’t tell the difference between thousands and billions? How, pray tell, am I supposed to square that circle?

NO. It is not any kind of “cult of scientism” that tells us that the universe began about 14 billion years ago. It is measurement. The age of the earth is determined by measuring things. The age of the universe is determined by measuring things. The relationships between different species are determined by measuring things. “Cults” and “claims” have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Here’s a piece of advice for you. Before trying to pass judgment on how much “personal biases” and “conjecture and speculation” come into play when science is involved, first get a university degree in a science subject. Then spend twenty or thirty years putting what you have learned into practice in a career where getting it wrong would get you fired.

I think you’ll find that once you’ve had that much experience, you’ll discover that “personal biases” and “conjecture and speculation” don’t play anywhere near as much a role in science as you think they do.

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Or AIG or Henry Morris?

I agree, in the case of AIG. It is partially true of science and other human endeavors s well, but in science, conjecture and speculation is usually identified as such for those subjects that are lacking in enough data to make reasonable conclusions.

It is actually measurements of their movements that tell us that. measurements that are repeatable and verified.

I think you are conflating science and scientism a bit. To accept an old earth and evolution is scientifically accurate is not scientism but rather is science. One need not accept that science is the only way to express truth in order to believe science can give true answers about the things it describes.

Despite those differences, I suspect we have much common ground. If you are comfortable with it, tell us a bit about your background and where you are coming from with your conclusions. Perhaps I have been hasty in my judgement that your statements seem derived from AIG literature.

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In addition to the other criticisms of the question so far, your implied definition of scientism sets up a straw man argument. Scientism, as usually defined, is not just using scientific reason to make conclusions about the natural world. That is science, not scientism. Scientism is actually difficult to define. I suggest reading this article to see what I mean: Johan Hietanen, Petri Turunen, Ilmari Hirvonen, Janne Karisto, Ilkka Pättiniemi & Henrik Saarinen, How Not to Criticise Scientism - PhilPapers

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Then you have wasted my time. I thought that maybe English was your second language or something, and so I was diligently trying to help you understand that your reply made no sense.

Are you saying that since salvation is such an important issue, there’s no need to discuss anything else?

I’ve posed a question about something other than salvation… although it is about truth - which Jesus says will set us free. If you have an answer to THAT question, I’m all ears.

What different ways do scientists interpret what happens to a compass needle when an electric current is applied to a north pointing wire next to it?

Laura:

It sounds like you’re presenting a false dichotomy – either the universe was created six thousand years ago and the Bible is true or it began 14 billion years ago and believing that makes you a member of a cult.

I should have called it the Religion of Scientism - not cult. But no, the dichotomy is not false. There is absolutely no reasonable way to align the 6000 year old heaven and earth of the Bible with the 14 billion year old heaven and 4.5 billion year old earth of Scientism.

Laura:

I can believe that the Bible is true but also that Genesis 1 is presenting a functional view of creation and the universe is still 14 billion years old.

It is God who said He created heaven, earth, sea, and everything in them over a six day period. It is Jesus who said that God created them male and female from the beginning of creation. Lay out a 14 billion year timeline, and mark the spot 6000 years ago when Adam was created. Then ask yourself if Jesus (or any rational person) would consider that spot on the timeline the “beginning” of creation.

Laura:

I find this definition of scientism from Merriam-Webster useful…

Thanks. I like my definition because Scientism isn’t just a matter of holding science as the only (or most important) arbiter of truth. In fact, Scientism doesn’t have much to do with science at all. Scientism is a faith-based belief in claims made by men which can’t possibly be verified.

Laura:

Trying to turn science into a philosophy that encompasses all of life is a bad idea. But when used in its proper context, science can be a very useful and fascinating tool that reveals truths about the universe, such as the universe being 14 billion years old. Accepting those truths does not make one a member of a “cult” of scientism.

Your faith-based belief that a 14 billion year old universe is “truth” is evidence that you are member of the Religion of Scientism. In reality, you couldn’t possibly know or verify the thing you call “truth”.

*** So MANY edits trying to get the HTML to work properly on the quotes. What’s up with that? I’ve been using a [ /quote ] to break up quotes on many sites for years. It’s not working the same here.

When I mentioned to a YEC that truth comes from reality, the reality of what God has given us in scripture and the reality he has given us in creation, he actually asked me for chapter and verse were the Bible said that.
 

“No need to discuss anything else?” Well, no–thanks be to God our Father through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior–I don’t have a need to discuss anything else.
You say you do, so while we’re here on “the street corner” together, let me ask you a question, Brother:: Does the truth that you say Jesus says will set us free say that I am going to hell if I believe in evolution?

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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