Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Trading Off the Bible for Science?
Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin was one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read recently. The range of essays offered was excellent. Even when I disagreed, I was challenged.
One area that was fairly interesting was the discussion Hans Madueme offered of an interplay between the Bible and science:
There is a trade-off between what is biblically plausible and what is scientifically plausible. To the degree that the doctrine of the fall reflects the biblical story, to the same degree is it inversely faithful to the evolutionary story. (238, cited below)
I think the language of “trade-off” here might be viewed as a rhetorical flourish. The next phrase is equally weighted to seemingly back-load a specific reading of the story of the fall into what is “plausible” over and against that which is “scientifically plausible.” Although I think there may be something of a trade-off in some sense, in order for this qupte to be true there would have to be an inherent inverse relationship between evolution and the Bible. This may, in fact, be the case, but there are a number of steps that need to be proven before one can get to that point.
More intriguing, perhaps, is the notion that we could recast this “trade-off” between exactly how much science we want to read into the Bible and how biblically plausible we are. I would argue that the more we insist that the Bible is explicitly revealing specifics of exact empirical science, the more we do damage to the text. This is a position that does not see science and the Bible as in complete opposition to each other, nor does it see the Bible as scientifically inaccurate or as “non overlapping magisteria.” Instead, where the Bible speaks to scientific issues–if anywhere–those are affirmed. Where it doesn’t, we should not insist that it does.
What do you think? Is there really a trade-off between science and the Bible? If so, in what way?
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Hans Madueme, “The Most Vulnerable Part of the Whole Christian Account: Original Sin and Modern Science” in Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin edited Hans Madueme and Michael Reeves (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2014).
adam, fall, original sin 238