Science and God (Little Black Books, #7)

Science and God (Little Black Books, #7)❴PDF / Epub❵ ★ Science and God (Little Black Books, #7) Author Scott Petty – As Christians do we have to choose between believing in science and believing in God And aren't we just a little bit foolish to believe in God these daysIn his usual snappy style Scott Petty faces the As Christians do we have to choose between believing in science and believing in Science and Epub / God And aren't we just a little bit foolish to believe in God these daysIn his usual snappy style Scott Petty faces these difficult uestions head on covering important topics like the Big Bang Genesis and the beginnings of human life evolution design versus cosmic accident and—most importantly—the evidence for GodLike all the Little Black books this is a fun read and gets straight to the point. The full version of this abridged review may be found on the Pious Eye site reviewer’s blogPromoters identify Science and God as intended for Christian youth between the ages of 14 and 20 So if you’re the parent or friend of a 14 20 year old or if you’re a 14 20 year old yourself should you purchase this bookAs I see it the most important thing for Christian youth as well as adults is to get solidly grounded in a consistently Christian thoroughly biblical way of thinking Books providing such a grounding are therefore of great value Science and God alas is not such a book If you’re looking for concise but consistently biblical booklets Answers In Genesis AIG’s series of Pocket Guides would be a better choice Science and God should only be chosen if what you’re looking for is a concise presentation of contemporary compromise that believing unbelieving Christian secular biblical unbiblical hybrid way of thinking tragically dominant today This particular manifestation of contemporary compromise comprises the following chapters “Introduction” 5 7 “Chapter 1 Why you don’t need to pick a team” 9 33 “Chapter 2 Big Bang or big God” 35 45 “Chapter 3 Dramatic design or a risky existence” 47 63 “Chapter 4 Evolution or evil ution” 65 81 “Chapter 5 God and the evidence” 83 91 and “Chapter 6 A” 93 100In the Introduction Petty notes that the anti Christian work of the New Atheists whom he calls “the celebrity scientists” motivated him to write Science and God “Truth be told” he writes “I find it annoying that anyone should arguethat science should be pitted as an alternative to religion as an enemy of God or a substitute for belief There is plenty of room for both and both are necessary for balanced human existence” 7 Astute readers may perceive in this statement a desire to make the Bible and science address wholly unconnected realms of inuiry an effort reuiring one to creatively reinterpret any scriptural statements relevant to scienceIn Chapter 1 “in many waysthe most important chapter in the book” Petty tries to show that “Christians can and should pick both God and science” 12 In this chapter Petty rightly notes that Christians’ Bible based “belief in an ordered universe governed by a good and rational God is very fruitful soil for science to grow in” 13 whereas such other systems of thought as ancient polytheism 14 and modern atheism 15 do not entirely fit with scientific work since their underlying assumptions are in fact contrary to those science reuires Also in this chapter Petty lists some of the Christian scientists he thinks nicely illustrate the compatibility of Christian faith with science 21 6 Among these scientists are Francis Collins John Haught and Sir John Houghton Notably these men are all theistic evolutionists I found confirming Web articles plentiful when Googling each name Petty’s belief is that “Christians need to be into science and champions of science even allowing scientific discoveries to challenge the way we understand passages in the Bible” 30 1From his choice of evolutionists as exemplifying the proper Christian approach one would assume he considers evolutionary theory one of the “discoveries” in terms of which we should “challenge” existing understandings of Scripture—that is in terms of which Scripture should be reinterpreted However another statement he makes in the chapter suggests he may not have thoroughly thought through the issues involved He writes “Can science tell me anything about the Fall of Rome or World War IICan I put the events of 11 September 2001 in a lab to examine them scientifically No” 28 What Petty seems to say here is that non repeatable past occurrences cannot be addressed by science that “scientific discoveries” are limited to the sorts of present day repeatable phenomena that can be studied in a laboratory Petty does realize that evolutionary theory attempts on the basis of present day evidence to describe what probably happened in an unrepeatable and not directly observable past doesn’t he While study of whether evolution of one kind of life into another or of non life into life can occur today might constitute science on the present day repeatable phenomena definition theoretical reconstructions of what happened in the past to produce the lifeforms we observe today does not Petty’s desire to see the evolutionary story of origins as science does not comport with his own intuition about what forms of investigation science includesIn any case Petty’s way of bringing Scripture and “scientific discoveries” into agreement is something called “layered explanation” a concept he attributes to John Haught 31 The basic idea which is hardly limited to the thinking of Haught builds upon the truism that any given phenomenon may be explained or described from various perspectives or on various levels For instance a book’s origin may be explained in terms of the publisher’s initiation of the project comparable to God’s decision to create the universe or in terms of the printing process that brings the desired book into existence comparable to evolution perhaps 32 3 That phenomena may be described or explained on multiple levels is certainly not controversial; multilevel descriptions and explanations are pervasive in human thought Petty notes that “How and why we have a universe at all how it works and how we work are all uestions with layers of explanation” which is no doubt true It is also likely true as Petty states that “Some layers are open to scientific examination” while others “reuire an answer from outside science—from God himself” 33 This raises a uestion what should faithful Christians do when God has addressed in Scripture layers of explanation that “scientific discoveries” now claim to explain differentlyPetty answers this uestion in chapter 4 After noting some reasons one might legitimately doubt evolutionary theory 65 73 Petty explains why he does not think it would be a problem for “Bible believing Jesus loyal God fearing Christians” if it were proven conclusively that “all the species of life that have ever existed and that ever will exist” are correctly explained by evolutionary theory 74 5 Put simply Petty favors an interpretation of Scripture that sees the Genesis creation account as just a vivid and memorable way of saying that God created everything out of nothing relating nothing “historical or scientific” beyond that bare fact of theism so that anything that scientists care to theorize about origins is perfectly okay for Christians to embrace The Genesis creation account in Petty’s view is one layer of explanation—a pretty thin layer if you ask me Since this layer contains no information about what actually happened beyond the bare reality that God is the one who made it happen and perhaps some idea of why he made it happen the job of telling us “what actually happened” in the material world is left entirely to the layer of explanation modern science lays down Can one rightly claim to be a Bible believer can one truly honor Scripture as infallible and authoritative revelation while adopting this approach to its very first wordsThe way Petty frames the scientific issue shows that he is not conversant with or does not wish to portray in the most favorable and persuasive light contemporary Biblical Creationism BC For instance he describes the creation evolution debate as one concerning whether evidence of microevolution “adaptive change within a species” favors belief in macroevolution “all life has evolved from the first one celled creature” 66 7 Contemporary BC however increasingly eschews the term “microevolution” as misleading While BC advocates accept that “adaptive change” occurs within created kinds they note that these changes involve loss of useful information and so do not constitute upward movement addition of such information as the term “evolution” implies in popular understanding at least One could say that lifeforms become “fit” for specific environmental niches by losing broader “fitness” for a range of environments For example a bacterium has a protein altered and becomes less fit broadly speaking it now reproduces slowly say but fit when it comes to surviving in the niche where antibiotics are present since the action of some antibiotics only affects bacteria with the unaltered protein See Georgia Purdom’s 07 July 2007 article “Antibiotic Resistance of Bacteria An Example of Evolution in Action” on the AIG Web site upon which my example is loosely based Some adaptive change might involve variant expression of an unchanged body of information a created kind possessing potential to express its capacities in different ways in different environments While this would not involved any loss of information it also wouldn’t involve an evolutionary increase in informationThe point BCers increasingly emphasize is that observed adaptive changes within created kinds are not just uantitatively but ualitatively different from the “goo to you” evolution commonly labeled “macroevolution” These changes they therefore assert should not be called “evolution” at all not even “microevolution”Petty’s framing of the hermeneutical issue also shows ignorance of or desire to misrepresent BC He writes “Bible believing sic Christians have discussed at least a dozen different ways of reading Genesis 1And only one of those views which sees Genesis 1 as an historical chronological and scientifically viable account of the creation of the world in six 24 hour days contradicts the scientific evidence that is emerging today In other words” he continues “if you read Genesis 1 as something other than a scientific and historical account of the creation of the world you may not have a clash with the scientific evidence that is presenting itself” 76 7 He additionally characterizes BC as “the scientific reading of Genesis 1” 77 In addition to making clear that Petty really does consider evolutionary theory among the “scientific discoveries” he believes should guide scriptural interpretation in spite of his own suggestion earlier in the chapter that one might legitimately doubt “macroevolution” this characterization of the issue misrepresents BC BCers do not hold that Genesis is written in scientific language; they merely recognize that Genesis constitutes a continuous historical narrative one that extends on into Exodus That one can discern or impose literary structure and styling on such passages as the creation account no detracts from the “this actually happened” nature of the book than does the styling and structure of modern writers of history or other nonfiction Given that Genesis recounts what “actually happened” it seems evident that modern claims about what happened in the past can be tested to see if they agree or disagree with what Genesis and the entire Pentateuch has to say Petty’s assertion in the closing A Chapter 6 that “Genesis 1 is much concerned with teaching us about God than about answering the particular scientific uestions better uestions about what actually happened of any generation of people” 94 does nothing to change this; it merely expresses an increasingly popular fallacy I call “the main concern fallacy” This fallacy holds that any irksome hermeneutical debate may be uickly dismissed if it does not address what one identifies as “the main concern” of a passage If “the main concern” of Genesis 1 is “God as creator” then this fallacy holds what Genesis 1 has to say about what actually happened in physical reality how God created can be ignored Obviously this is not a valid way to approach Holy WritAt one point Petty suggests that placing ourselves in the “thought world and culture” of the original recipients of Genesis will make us open to the interpretation he favors 79 Let’s see if that’s true Imagine we are Genesis’ original recipients As original recipients having the account read to us by Moses or a priest we are unencumbered by modern science and evolutionary theory We appreciate craft in sacred stories since it makes those stories easier for us to remember but we see such craft as no reason to assume the stories didn’t really happen as they’re said to have happened Further the same Torah that tells us how God created in six days tells us that this creation week with its concluding day of rest is the basis for our own divinely ordained practice of working six days each week then resting on the seventh Exodus 208 11 Further we recognize that the creation story flows smoothly into historical “this is what happened” narrative that includes genealogies traceable from Adam to Abraham and thence to ourselves Within this thought world would it occur to any of us to interpret the creation account in any of the ways Petty and other modern accommodators doIf we extend our exercise into the thought world of those who wrote and received the New Testament we find our Savior saying that our first parents Adam and Eve were created in “the beginning of the creation” rather than long after the beginning Mark 106; all Scripture uotations are from the King James Version We also find our leading first generation thinker Paul telling us that not only humans Romans 512 1 Corinthians 1521 but “the creature” or “the whole creation” suffers from the “bondage of corruption” resulting from the fall of those first parents into sin Romans 819 22 Though clever and creative moderns may think they see ways to explain these statements in evolution consistent and old earth consistent ways can one honestly assert that someone immersed in the thought world and culture of New Testament believers would have understood these passages as indicating anything but that the original creation occurred as described in a straightforwardly read Genesis 1 and that animal conflict competition for limited resources predation and death indispensable to evolution are aspects of the “corruption” originating with the human death originating fall of humanity into sin That God’s concept of the ideal and uncorrupted does not include animal conflict and death would also seem evident to us from Isaiah’s portrayal of the consummation as free of these things Isaiah 116 10 6517 25 As Sarfati cogently argues “bringing ‘science’ to bear on hermeneutics” as Petty wants to do “is bringing a completely foreign context to the passages” Jonathan Sarfati Refuting Compromise 2004 41 Working from within the thought world and culture of the original recipients of Scripture would any but one of the alleged “at least a dozen” readings of Genesis 1 strike us as plausibleLet’s face it Arguments alone will never resolve the debate over interpretation of Genesis 1; no one on any side of the issue has said anything genuinely new in uite some time so far as I’ve noticed The uestion is really one of authority and obedience of choice and commitment Given sufficient cleverness and creativity and a willingness to believe that your ability to imagine something makes it likely to be true disobedience can always be rationalized whether disobedience in behavior or belief This seems nowhere true than in deciding whether you will 1 let the scientific implications of scriptural statements guide your understanding of science that is of the evidence interpreted by science or 2 utilize your cleverness and creativity or that of others to persuade yourself that Scripture means something other than what it says Will you choose to believe Scripture in its plain sense or will you choose to make human cleverness and creativity your own or that of others your ultimate authority If the latter Petty’s book may be for you or for a 14 20 year old you’d like to influence in that direction If the former you’ll prefer some other text—Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle’s Old Earth Creationism on Trial 2008 perhaps or some of the AIG Pocket Guides already mentioned“But David” you respond “why don’t you tell us how you really feel Seriously though I understand you disagree with Petty and think buying Science and God is a bad idea What I don’t understand is why you gave the book two stars rather than one What gives” Well as already noted some Christians want to believe they can ualify as “Bible believers” while interpreting Scripture in ways no original recipient could possibly have interpreted it For that constituency this may be a worthwhile purchase As the back cover blurb rightly states the book is “a fun read” written in a “snappy style” It is both concise and entertaining a suitable introduction to the methods of compromise for would be compromisers age 14 20 and beyondAdditionally the book does include some content even non compromisers might find useful Chapters 2 and 3 for example include concise summaries of some general theistic arguments borrowing from such thinkers as Norman Geisler and Richard Swinburne Sadly however these chapters also emphasize Petty’s belief that “The Bible can tell us about the cause ofsuch things as the cosmic background radiation and cosmic ripples at a spiritual and philosophical level” only 42; see also 62 not on the “earthly” level of material “this is what happened” reality cf John 312 This compromised content does not “cancel out” the positive and useful content but it does raise the uestion of whether one’s reading time might be better spent with other less compromised worksIn the final analysis I must recommend against purchasing Science and God It is primarily and pervasively a popularization of a compromised hermeneutic that undermines Scripture’s authority As well it makes no serious effort to grapple with the counterarguments of Biblical Creationists displaying at multiple points a basic misunderstanding of their perspective Great insight into why Christians don’t have to battle science and it gives good points to bring up during conversations that ask the uestions about God and science This little book is an excellent informative book that is light and easy going also has some humorous parts within and is excellent for anyone who is struggling with whether or not God exists because of scientific evidence An excellent read I would definitely recommend to other Christians as well as people trying to get there head round how god can exist with the science improving Really good and challenging Read my revies here