RELIGION NEEDS SCIENCE

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Understanding that religion needs science to strengthen our faith in God is very necessary for our faith in science. Many religions, specifically Islam and Christianity which constitute the largest population of human faith, have the conception that science is against their beliefs but in essence, science promotes religion. Francis Collins is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In a 2007 book about the intersection between science and faith, Collins said, “I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. God can be found in the cathedral or the laboratory. By investigating God’s majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.” One ground of contention between Science and Religion is neither science accepting the creation of the universe or God, but in the timing of the creation of this universe. Charles Darwin admitted that “I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.”

Islamic and Christian religions hold that this world was created in six days and from the time of creation till this time spans a little over 6,000 years. Science also holds the view that the earth as part of the universe has been in existence for billions of years. Modern science agrees that the universe had a beginning. A recent scientific model suggests it to be almost 14 billion years old. So, is science trying to disapprove of the word of God or science is actually enforcing our belief in God’s words? Maria Mitchell was America’s first female astronomer and the first woman to be named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences once wrote that, “Scientific investigations, pushed on and on, will reveal new ways in which God works, and bring us deeper revelations of the wholly unknown.”

Some religions already accepted that the earth is billions of years old even before science delved into it. Let us consider some aspects of the oldest known religion that described the creation of this universe before Islam and Christianity were born, Hinduism. As quoted by the great astronomer of the late 1900s, Carl Sagan in his TV show, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage: “The Hindu religion is the only religion in which time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long, longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang.” So where from the Islamic and Christian facts of the earth are 6000 years? The answer is inherent in their holy scriptures.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God “bara” (created) the heavens and the earth. These came forth by the command of God. The heavens mean the whole complete universe consisting of billions of galaxies with billions of stars and planets. In this very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, God singles out the earth as the most important planet in the entire universe and created it perfectly for habitation. The confusion here is the misapplication of the Hebrew words “bara” (created) and “hyth” (was/became).

Now let us consider the bible and see how God was questioning Job on what the earth was like when it was first created. Job 38:4-7: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” This gives us an idea that the first creation was not in chaos as Isaiah 45:18 says, “For thus says Yahweh who created the heavens, the God who formed the earth and made it, who established it and didn’t create it a waste, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am Yahweh, and there is no other.”

It continues to say in Genesis 1:2 that: Now the earth “hyth” (was/became) formless, and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Now understand that this was not the time God was creating the earth but it was the restoration of the perfect earth after a catastrophe. The earth’s foundation and every aspect of the world had been done already but everything had become ruined due to sudden destruction (we will discuss this catastrophic event in part 2). When God created the earth in the beginning, He created it in such a beautiful and perfect condition that the angels responded with joyful singing and shouting. However, shockingly, in the second verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:2, we read that the earth had changed from its beautiful and perfect state, when it was first created in the beginning, to a totally different ruined state. If we choose “was” in Gen 1:2, it will contradict Isaiah 45:18 and the word of God does not contradict itself. So, the appropriate word is “became” since the earth was perfect in the beginning as Job 38:4-7 says. Since God did not create the earth in a formless, empty, dark and flooded state in the beginning, then it must have become that way at a later date. This is the time loop science is trying to explain to religion that between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2, there was a period which is unaccounted for by Islam and Christianity when numbering the age of the earth.

Renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking confirmed to the press in 2014 that he was an atheist. Later in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Hawking said: “Before we understood science, it was natural to believe that God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation.” Many scientists believe that animals suffered a sudden and abrupt extinction during that period between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2 many millions of years ago. Significantly, no human fossils have been found alongside dinosaurs, woolly mammoths and other ancient animal fossils. This does not surprise us, as God did not create man in the gap between the two verses. Some might argue that these ancient animals went extinct during Noah’s flood. If that is the argument then why haven’t dinosaurs fossils been found whose dates correspond to the period of Noah’s flood yet? The earliest date of a dinosaur fossil is that of Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus from Argentina, and Saturnalia from Brazil, 237 to 228 million years old. And according to science, for fossils to remain preserved for this length of time, then something catastrophic might have suddenly occurred for all living things to die without allowing time for bacteria and other organisms to start the process of decay. This part of the sudden destruction would be discussed in my next paper.

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Smart Asante Mireku

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