There’s a belief among conservative Christians that accepting the tenets of scientific study, especially concerning the origins of the world, is tantamount to rejecting the authority of scripture and, indeed, the resurrection of Christ itself. Obviously, I disagree. We’ve already discussed here the idea that an ancient, pre-scientific religious text is simply not trying to answer scientific questions about the origins of life, but rather the theological questions about how we got here. God created us in his image. That’s all the Bible is really trying to say. The exact how and when, that’s not really important to scripture’s message.
Meanwhile, there’s a tendency among theistic evolutionists to say something similar in the opposite direction, that science doesn’t have anything to say about matters of faith. That these worlds are “nonoverlapping magisteria” to use a fairly popular phrase (hey, I’d heard of it before!). I don’t think this is quite right either. It’s true that science itself does not make theological or moral conclusions, but we’d be remiss as Christians if we did not view our theology in light of what we discovered about the world God chose to create.
As RJS, summarizing John Polkinghorne, says at Jesus Creed:
Science is not the religion of the 21st century – but a theology that ignores, or even worse denies, the revelations of modern science will fall short in its attempt to understand and explore the nature of God.
I’d go further and say the revelations of modern science, thus informing our view of God’s nature, must therefore influence our view of God’s word – not just in areas where the text “contradicts” the scientific evidence but in its entirety.
I’m speaking specifically of how we view the God who would decide to create a species in which he would place his image and then uses the incredibly slow process of evolution to do it.