GOD ANSWERS DOUBTS- BUT JESUS, THAT'S NOT SCIENTIFIC
Dear Christian friends,
It is fair to say that many believe that science and Christianity are incompatible. Some believe that if you are a scientist, you can’t be a Christian; if you are a Christian you can’t be a scientist. A Christian who is a scientist, and there are a few around, would not agree.
Some explain the rift between science and Christianity goes back to the fifteenth century when Italian astronomer, mathematician and scientist Galileo and Polish astronomer, mathematician and scientist Copernicus said that our solar system was heliocentric (the sun was the center of the universe). The church cast them out.
A German Jesuit priest by the name of Nicolaus Serarius wrote against Copernicus' theory of a sun-centered solar system. He called it heretical. He cited the passage in the book of Joshua gave the Israelites more time to destroy the enemy. The Bible says the “sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a human being. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!” Serarius interpreted falsely to mean the sun stopped circling the earth. He concluded the earth was the center of the universe. If you didn’t believe the earth was the center of the soar system, then you were condemned.
If you know Reformation history, Philip Melanchthon, a partner of Luther in the Lutheran Reformation and the one who formulated the Augsburg Confession which is Emancipation Proclamation of the Lutherans from the Roman church, attacked Copernicus too. While Melanchthon wavered in some of his convictions for the sake of outward unity that caused and Luther and he to grow apart, Melanchthon accused Copernicus of teaching things "either from love of novelty or from desire to appear clever." Members of the church were wrong about science. Members of the church didn’t always interpret Scripture correctly either. Today we continue our series of sermons on “God Answers Doubts.” Let’s talk about this thought – “But, Jesus, Science Says…”
Students often ask me the question “How am I supposed to answer a question in school that goes against what the Bible says?” with evolution being taught as fact. Do I flunk the test or give the answer that would make Carl Sagan proud?
In so many ways science contradicts the Bible - evolution vs. Adam and Eve; The Big Bang vs. Let There Be Light; An old earth vs. a new earth; a dry earth vs. a flooded earth; laws vs. miracles
There is much dishonesty in the science. So often we hear something to settled science when it is not settled science at all. The global warming crowd said ten years ago that major coastal cities would be destroyed as the ice caps continue to melt. We needed to start yesterday to get rid of the fossil fuels that put tons of carbon in the air. Al Gore, probably the loudest spokesman besides your president, have said they refuse to even discuss the issue anymore because it is settled science. While the Arctic icecap seems to be melting, the Antarctic has never had so much ice. How do you explain that? How can you say that it is settled science when science doesn’t want to explain probably because it can’t? During the winter we get a weather phenomenon called a polar vortex. It brings wind and snow and bitter cold. They say that it is a result of global warning. All I know is that when we are in the middle of one of a polar vortex I am cold, not warm.
Then we notice that the ones who are making the claims fly around the world in private jets adding to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. They live in 30,000 square foot mansions that take a lot of energy to cool and heat. Let me make this observation too, I don’t see most of these people to be great pillars of faith.
Now even the Pope has hopped on the bandwagon. A former student I had once upon a time wrote on Facebook this week, “Funny, I don't remember the Bible chapter on carbon emissions.”
I don’t want anyone to think that this is a political speech or social Gospel instead of the Gospel of God’s unconditional love in Christ. But I do want to remind everyone that God had already said to Noah after he stepped off the ark, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
Now God wants us to care for the creation that he put us in, but what God said needs some good and serious consideration. God says there will always be cold and heat and summer and winter; there will always be a time to plant and a time to harvest. That will happen right up to the very end. The earth will shrivel up only after Jesus returns and by that time we will all be safe with him. Isn’t that the point he was making here in the Sermon on the Mount too. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Whether man or animal or plant, the Lord provides his providential care.
I didn’t get my hands on the pamphlet or find what it said on the internet, but a writer referred to a pamphlet that was written in 1852 entitled Ten Scientific Facts That Clearly Contradict the Bible. The author of the book I was reading said that not a single of those ten facts can be taken seriously today. A Harvard faculty nuclear physicist writes that “Scientific consensus is a sea of shifting sand.” It changes from one day to the next. Science often gives itself much more credit than it should in concluding that they understand. Even Einstein said, “The universe is not merely more complicated than we can understand. It’s more complicated than we can imagine.”
Yet there are answers in the Bible, but science wants nothing to do with them. The Flood explains a lot. This past week I saw an article about something called the Petoskey stone. Michiganders are the only people who would recognize the word “Petoskey.” It is a resort town in the upper portion of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. I know a pastor who was sent to start a mission there many years ago. I saw the name last year when Judy and I traveled the Mackinac Island Bridge. They found a stone that weighs 92 pounds. Guess what it consists of – Fossilized coral. Seems impossible, don’t you think, when coral is found in the tropics. The upper part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is not anywhere near the tropics. Ask all the snowmobilers and ice fishermen about that. Only God knows how it got there but I do know this that in Noah’s time there was this flood and the Bible says that the windows of the heaven were opened and the fountains of the Deep burst forth. That was not a gentle shower but a cataclysmic event that shook and changed the whole earth. Everything died except for eight people in an ark and its cargo of animals. To this day tropical plants are found fossilized in the Arctic regions of the earth.
When I worked in Glacier Park years ago I was always fascinated by a rock formation they called the Garden Wall. The rocks were like a wall and the Continental Divide followed that wall of rock. When you looked closer to the rock formation, you could see layer upon layer of rock indicating this must have been underwater at one time as heavy rock settled first followed by lighter sediment in the water until all settled. Creation scientists said that Glacier is a great place to see evidence of the Flood in Genesis six.
In fact, the Bible gets to be more scientific than the science books when God is doing the creating and he talks about plants and animals of the sea, and air and land and says that they would produce after their kind. In other words apples trees would produce more apple trees, elephants would produce more elephants and broccoli would produce more broccoli (I know I shouldn’t, but I disagree with God on that one). There is no evolution. While science hasn’t admitted it, there are no missing links or even fossils to be the missing links that should be around if they are correct. God tells the scientist that they shouldn’t hold their breath looking for them.
But you know sometimes it appears that we do too much walking on eggs about science and the Bible. Perhaps we need to call out the scientist so they stop criticizing all who accept the fact that God exists as being foolish and unintelligent. Actually, the fact is it is the other way around. “The fool has said in his heart there is no God,” says the psalmist.
(Showing a tie) I have this tie that I received many years ago. Some might recognize it as a Rush Limbaugh tie. His ex-wife Marta designed it. If I told you from this pulpit that it looks the way it does is because someone put a black silk tie and took some yellow and blue and red and orange and just tossed it on a wall on which that black tie was hanging, I would expect all to walk out becaue this pastor lies. Certainly it was designed and crafted to look like a stained glass window. Jesus makes that same point. Don’t worry about your life so much because the same one who designed the world takes care of it. “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
There are so many different scenes in life that are so beautiful. There are the monarch butterflies and the design of oranges and yellows and black, the lime green Luna moth, the beautiful cardinal and a million other species that only prove that they were not a chance creation but the work of our God who leaves nothing to chance. To the godless scientist, to the person who recognizes the existence of God but doesn’t know what to believe about how we got here, stop your foolishness and recognize that God and he is the reason you have life and breath and the reason why the world exists. All human laws of physics, creation, time, he can and has at times contradicted. His laws of physics, creation and time are beyond all that we know and comprehend. Sure man gets some things right, but he also gets many things wrong as well. God always gets things right. Stop looking at life from a human perspective. Human ways are not God’s ways.
In fact, instead of trying to find a reason not to believe in God, Jesus says, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Make Jesus a priority instead of someone to avoid. Quit making excuses to avoid Jesus and the gift of salvation he brings. Put in as much time finding out who he is instead of putting that time into trying to find reasons not to deal with him.
He provides something you need most desperately besides the food in your belly and clothes on your back. He provides the robes of righteousness and the garments of salvation. Not only do you need them, he has given them to you. We’ve had them ever since our Baptism when God clothed us in Jesus Christ. Now we stand spotless and without blemish and radiant and holy in his sight. We know that because of Jesus the greatest worry that anyone could ever have has been taken care of. What will happen to us if this is the last night we live on this earth? Jesus went to Calvary to deal with our greatest need. He rose from the dead to assure us all the mission was complete. If he has taken care of all that to give us life forever, rest assured he has taken care of all our needs along the way. Science does’t give you that assurance, only the Bible can and does.