What do we do when the findings of science disagree with common biblical interpretations? For many Christians, the preferred response is to say that the Bible is right and science is wrong – the Bible, after all, is the inspired word of God and is clearly more important to the Christian. If science differs from the Bible, science must be wrong. This got Galileo in trouble for a few years…finally exonerated in 2009.
This response, however, forgets that the Bible is always interpreted (mine, yours, ours) and elevates a particular Biblical interpretation to the authority of the Bible itself. It also discounts God’s revelation to us in the natural world, rather than listening to what science has learned about it.
Here are some thoughts from Alvin Plantiga on this topic generally, and specifically on the topic of evolution. Well worth reading IMHO.
“Now we Reformed Christians are wholly in earnest about the Bible. We are people of the Word; Sola Scriptura is our cry; we take Scripture to be a special revelation from God himself, demanding our absolute trust and allegiance. But we are equally enthusiastic about reason, a God-given power by virtue of which we have knowledge of ourselves, our world, our past, logic and mathematics, right and wrong, and God himself; reason is one of the chief features of the image of God in us. And if we are enthusiastic about reason, we must also be enthusiastic about contemporary natural science, which is a powerful and vastly impressive manifestation of reason. So this is my question: given our Reformed proclivities and this apparent conflict, what are we to do? How shall we think about this matter?”