Science and Religion

Bryan Vinson, Sr.
Houston, Texas

In the minds of many people, unfortunately, there is the thought that science and religion are alienated and wholly irreconcilable, that they are antipodal, and to accept the pretensions of the one is to reject the other. This conception is ill-founded and unworthy of being countenanced by thoughtful people. Ignorant religionists have sought to arrest and defeat the march of progress in human affairs, even proscribing against the teaching of the rotundity of the earth and its revolution. Consequently, with the general acceptance of this truth many have concluded that all religion is founded on ignorance and characterized by gross superstition. On the other hand, the hypothetical vagaries of some self-anointed scientists are assumed to be the correct representations of the views of the enlightened portion of our race. However, between true science and the Bible there is found no real conflict whatsoever.

The apostle Paul wrote Timothy to "avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so-called; which some professing have erred from the faith." (1 Tim. 6:20-21). The very fact that he advised and warned against such shows that inspiration distinguishes between false and true science, and that no danger attaches to the latter. What is the proper distinction to be drawn between the two-religion and science? First, it may be noted that their spheres are separate and distinct; that science has to do with the present existence only, whereas religion has to do with man's present and future existence with the emphasis being assigned to his eternal interests. This is true by virtue of the fact that science deals with the physical and material, but religion rightfully embraces preeminently as the object of its concern, the spiritual.

Man, as to nature, is a dual being, in which is united the physical and spiritual properties that makes him the greatest of all earthly creatures. As an animal he must sustain a relation and vital dependency to the things of a material nature; but when his spiritual nature is acknowledged as superior to the physical, then it becomes imperative that supremacy be ascribed to religion over the interests possessed by the physical sciences. Science, properly speaking, means knowledge, or systematized and correlated knowledge in any field of study. As thus understood there is a propriety in speaking of the science of religion for religion, true religion, is a correlated system of teaching.

This is distinctively true of Christianity. False religions are, in this respect decidedly unscientific; they are a contradictory conglomeration of heterogenous doctrines evolving sinuous systems which lead their devotees no where but to ruin. The Bible as a revelation from God constitutes a complete system of instruction setting forth the whole body of knowledge accessible to man as related to his Creator and Redeemer, and, as such is regarded as the sole text book of the science of religion. It is not susceptible to modification or supplementation; it is the one science that is stereotyped in the maturity of the fulness of Divine revelation. The physical sciences are yet in the course of their development, and the progress rapidly made in modern times is constantly requiring changes in the text books used in the curriculum of the schools. This isn't true of the Bible and the church of the New Testament, for they are of divine origin and can only be injuriously affected by any changes man may endeavor to make with them. They proceed from God: the one as His revelation to man. For man to seek any change designed as an improvement in either is to assume a wisdom superior to God the author.

Both religion and science are founded upon and function by law. The latter by natural law and the former by spiritual law. The natural laws discovered and applied but marks the advancement of man in the progression of his dominion over the works of God in the physical world, as was the expressed design of God. (Heb. 2:6-7). The things which God has prepared for those who love Him are not discoverable by man as restricted by his natural powers. No eye had seen or ear had heard, neither at anytime had it entered the heart of man, but God has revealed them by the Holy Spirit unto the Apostles of Christ, and they have recorded them in the New Testament. The natural man, that is man by his natural powers, cannot know or discover by his own effort the mind of God; God has revealed His mind, and man can only thus learn as he acquaints himself with this revelation. The acceptance of this testimony which sets forth the mind, purpose and will of the Lord is by faith, a conviction of their truth and a confidence in the things therein promised and the conditions identified therewith.

The facts of science are restricted to the discoveries made through the experiences of the five senses, and the implements of scientific study and discovery are not competent to discover the will of God, hence the necessity for the revelation of this will by God. The Bible alone contains this revelation, and bears within it incontestable proof of its integrity which makes it alone wholly trustworthy.

All truth is compatible and harmonious, and there can be no two truths in the universe contradictory to each other; hence true science and religion cannot conflict with one another. The whole tenor of each is confirmatory of the other, and only a perverted form of either or both can create any clash between them.

The superiority attaching to religion, in the interest we should have in it, arises from two commanding considerations: first, the supreme importance God attaches to it, and second, the supreme good identified with its ultimate design. In thus appraising it we are led to a study of the origin, existence and destiny of man. God made man out of the dust of the earth, and thus is his identity with the earth asserted. But God also formed within man a spirit which is not indigenous to this earth, but which came immediately from God. The interests of this being must, therefore, arise above all things earthly and be found to reside with God and the eternity which He fills. The earth and the works therein are destined to be ultimately destroyed and these bodies must be transformed from a natural to a spiritual character in order to fittingly be identified with the spirits which are to dwell in them forevermore. The law of God isn't addressed to the outward and carnal man but to the spiritual man, and, as a result of this enlightened guidance thus experienced the inward -man may ever grow, whereas the outward man is ever perishing.

Let us, therefore, ascribe to the Bible by our study of it and adherence to its teaching the importance which it rightfully possesses and in so doing promote our own best and lasting interests.

Truth Magazine I:1, pp. 8-9
October 1956