I have just skimmed through an Answers for Kids Bible Curriculum, published by Answers in Genesis, and I am very alarmed. Earlier I wrote a post based on John Lennox’s book Seven Days that Divide the World. I have been trying to put together a summary of evidence and reasoning for my belief in an old universe. I won’t do that now (I definitely will soon), but I want to identify some very destructive teaching. Sorry if this stirs some controversy with my friends.
Based on my previous post, it is clear from history that the church has interpreted scripture wrong: the Earth was never the center of the solar system even though theologians believed it so. Copernicus knew the universe was “wrought for us by a supremely good and orderly Creator” and revealed the heliocentricity of the solar system. As a devout Christian, his goal was to observe the natural world and elucidate God’s order. In fact, Loren Eiseley, anthropologist, educator, philosopher and natural science writer, has said that “in one of those strange permutations of which history yields occasional rare examples, it is the Christian world which finally gave birth in a clear, articulate fashion to the experimental method of science itself.” Theologian Thomas Derr expressed, “As the creation of a trustworthy God, nature exhibited regularity, dependability, and orderliness. It was intelligible and could be studied. It displayed a knowable order.”
The above quotes were taken from The Soul of Science by Nancy Pearcey, which details the rise of the scientific method as linked exclusively to Christian thought through the Middle Ages. Copernicus, Kepler, Gilbert, Paracelsus, Van Helmont, Galileo, Descartes,Newton, Leibniz, Boyle, Ray, Linnaeus, Cuvier—modern science was built on Christian men like these. So, it pains me to read in this Answers in Genesis book that,
“even though we can study the earth and the universe today, we can’t use our scientific findings to figure out what happened in the past—or how long ago it happened—since we weren’t there.”
At first sight, this appears to be the most ridiculous anti-scientific statement I have ever read. After reading a bit on their website, I found this observation confirmed. It is not that I simply disagree with their position, it is the patronizing statements used to endorse their opinions and the lack of citations for their data. You are simply presented with an opinion with a thinly veiled implication that to believe otherwise is unbiblical. Please, present your argument, but give me some evidence. As a scientist, I found unsupported assumptions peppered through their discussions. It is no wonder these people are dismissed by real scientists.
After reading this, I struggle to make any other conclusion than this: Answers in Genesis are enemies of science, and I doubt very seriously the men who laid the foundations of modern science would accept it.
We are called to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds. Too often “faith is…seen as being a ‘blind leap’ in the dark, not based on evidence, logic, or testing. People frequently think faith means believing in something even when common sense tells us not to. But is this position really what the Bible says? Does God expect us to believe in Him without any evidence?”
I believe our observations of the natural world demonstrate God’s wonder and science should influence our interpretation of the Bible. Just as was the case with Copernicus, popular biblical interpretation can be wrong, but does nothing to undermine God’s truth.
NOTE: I did some research on the internet, and this curriculum at Reasons to Believe is something I would advocate:
This course is designed to encourage individuals, homeschool co-ops, and Christian high schools to explore the harmony between the Bible and the record of nature. The course’s overarching goals are two-fold: present a (1) BIBLICALLY FAITHFUL approach to interpreting Genesis 1 as being the error free Word of God; and (2) SCIENTIFICALLY RESPONSIBLE understanding of the record of nature. A key foundational assumption for this entire course is that the discoveries of modern science will always be in harmony with the Word of God.