Christianity and Science – Resolving the Apparent Conflict


How does a person of faith reconcile the apparent conflict of ideas such as Creation and Evolution? I know of three approaches:


1. Two Boxes: Religion Box and Science Box. There are certain things like prayer, compassion, and love that are placed in the Religion Box. Most other things in life are placed in the Science Box. Religion Box has relevance only when you go to church or participate in work connected with church. Science Box defines how key decisions in life are made. Questions regarding origin of life or the universe are only dealt with in the Science Box and therefore, there’s no conflict. This approach has basic problem of lack of intellectual honesty.


2. Faith that does not subordinate to Science: This approach is best explained by quoting from a book “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made”, by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey.


I have known many times of doubt. In India I was chal­lenged by the attractions of other religions devoutly practiced by millions of people. In medical school I faced constant exposure to assumptions that the universe is based on randomness, without room for an intelligent Designer. As I have grappled with these and other issues - questions about the person of Christ, trust in the Bible, etc.- I have learned it is sometimes helpful to continue ac­cepting as a rule of life something about which I have basic intel­lectual uncertainties. In other words, I have learned to trust the basic skeleton and use it even when I cannot figure out how various bones fit together and why some are shaped the way they are.


In medical school I was taught by such secular biologists as J.B.S. Haldane and H. H. Woolard, pioneers of evolutionary theory. I noticed that some churches nourished a kind of intellec­tual dishonesty on this subject. In the university their students took exams and recited the theories of evolution; when they joined the church, they declared their faith in a way that contradicted their exam answers. Ultimately this dichotomy led to a sense of intellec­tual schizophrenia.


Only after much research and long periods of reflection was I able to put together what I had learned at church and what I had learned at school. But in the meantime I determined that my faith was based on realities that could stand by themselves and that did not need to be subordinated to any explanation of science. Either I would discover that evolution was compatible with the God of my faith, or I would find that evolution was somehow wrong and I would stay with my faith. I operated on that assumption for years during which I was unable to fill in all the blanks about how crea­tion and evolution fit together. (In recent years, new understanding of the nature of DNA has made the possibility of chance evolution so unlikely that the position of one who believes in supernatural intelligence has been tremendously strengthened.)


3. Intelligent Design can be scientifically proven:  There have been great intellectual debates about Creation or Intelligent Design vs. Evolution.  There’s an excellent book by Phillip E. Johnson – “Darwin On Trial”. This powerful book is not easy to read.  As Paul Brand said, as we better understand the nature of DNA, the concepts of Creation or Intelligent Design are only being strengthened. An excellent example is a talk by Perry Marshall: “Does a computer networking expert have something new and important to say about the Evolution vs. Intelligent Design Debate?"  You don’t have to be a networking expert to appreciate Perry Marshall’s insights.