It was told the other day that the people of a certain town in a so-called Christian land did not want the Bible; they wanted science. Strange predilection thought I!
The same people would never have preferred ashes to bread, or tares to wheat!
In things physical we are keenly alive to that which is best and most nutritious; but, alas! in things spiritual the taste is vitiated, and money is spent on that which satisfieth not.
Science preferred to the Bible! Is there any palpable contradiction between perfect science and revelation? I say “perfect,” because science is still, admittedly, in its infancy and incomplete. Had we perfect science, were our knowledge absolute, then a comparison might be safely made, but not before.
Well, what is science? The dictionaries give us as one definition—“systematized knowledge.” That is vague enough; but another says it is “ascertained truth.” This is conclusive. Let us lay hold of science, and we possess truth on any given subject. What a boon!
Now, there lived in B.C. 640 a very celebrated man called Thales—a philosopher—whose name and teachings have come down to us. He taught, amongst other things, that all things were formed out of water. This was, in his day, an ascertained result of science, and, no doubt, the people around were quite satisfied with his great scientific discovery.
He had a pupil called Anaximenes who flourished as a philosopher a few years later than Thales. He, finding fault with the “ascertained truth” of his master, propounded the doctrine that all things were formed out of air and returned to it again.
The first said that water formed the air; the second that the air formed water. Each was an “ascertained truth” and a scientific discovery!
After Anaximenes there appeared one Leucippus, another philosopher, and the greatest of the three. He rejected both of the above ascertained facts of science, and stated that all things resulted from atoms—separate, movable atoms. This is called the “atomic theory,” and is very generally believed in today. The solid earth on which we stand and build our houses, and from which we gain our livelihood, the earth—this great Planet, with its continents, oceans, rivers, mountains, and forests, is the result of a concourse (fortuitous, of course) of these wonderful atoms, as suggested by Leucippus!
Here, then, is another “ascertained truth,” another scientific doctrine, if not dogma, which overthrows all previous scientific certainties. This is just a little perplexing to plain folk, whether they lived in a period B.C., or A.D.; and does not give either them or ourselves a very solid footing for our faith.
Such might be inclined to ask: “Where did the water, or the air, or the atoms, from which all things visible and tangible were made, come from?” And a highly pertinent question too.
Can no scientist answer that query? Let us quote the words of a writer of a history of science: “To those deep and eager questionings which ask, Whence originated this stream of energy? whither is it bearing the universe? and wherefore?’ science has no answer! She, looking before and after, sees only obscurity, and must leave the questioner as
‘An infant crying in the night,
An infant crying for the light,
And with no language but a cry!’”
These words close his large and interesting volume, and leave us, as to this point, in unscientific “obscurity.”
The fact is that science is unreliable. It is, at best, but bits of knowledge gradually acquired, thrown into a system, and placed in the pantheon for highest worship. But, supposing the bits of knowledge were faulty, could the scientific conclusion be right? Everything hangs on that. Hence the scientist has to grope in the dark. Each of our three philosophers threw their fellows overboard, and utterly rejected their scientific conceptions. Facts came before the third which led him to reject the second; and, in like manner, the second rejected the first. What scientific confusion! And what certainty have we as to the doctrines of their many followers right down to today? Science is in constant flux, so that the Twentieth Century Dictionary definition of it, “ascertained truth,” is plainly incorrect. It may be said, fearlessly, that there is truth which science cannot ascertain, the above quotation being witness, and therefore for people to prostrate themselves before such a goddess and to regard her as the fount of wisdom is one of the rank follies of the day!
Now, that which science does not and cannot do the Bible does. Unscientific it is not, but it does not, so to speak, waste its time on things material and mundane. Its realm is the spiritual and moral, rather than the physical; and because of the dislocation of the whole world by sin, it turns the earnest attention of its readers to another creation altogether.
The Bible is the revelation of God. How could either science or wisdom find out God? God “dwells in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man has seen nor can see!” (1 Tim. 6:16).
But, all the same, this discredited Bible supplies us, in its very first words, with that which has baffled all the mere scientists from Thales downward. It says, in one comprehensive sentence, consisting of but seven words in the original—“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth!”
God! Let His name suffice—omnipotent, omniscient omnipresent—“God created!” What more simple, more intelligible, or more satisfactory?
Reject God and confusion the most terrible must follow.
The water, the air, and the atoms were all created by God. He is the living originator of all things—the intelligent “First Cause” of everything.
This is not the ascertained result of science. It is revelation; and were science truly scientific, it would bow to a truth which only revelation—the Bible—can make known.
Much else there is in the Bible—in the revelation God has been pleased to give us of Himself, of all that He is in righteousness and in love, of His Son and Spirit, of man, and of matters far beyond the powers of science to investigate, so that the Bible transcends science as heaven overtops the earth, and has withal a voice to the poor, weary, sinful soul of man utterly unknown to science.