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0154 — Reasons to Believe

Hmmm, I imagine you are wondering, “Reasons to believe WHAT?” Right? In a nutshell, reasons to believe that GOD exists and that He is the Creator and that science bears testimony to both those facts.

So some of you may stop reading right here, since I said “facts” instead of “hypotheses.” But if you’ll hang in there (here!) a little longer, I’ll make it worth your while… really!

I am a scientist. Not a PhD type scientist, but an MS type scientist. (If you’re wondering, Physics and Math. I started getting job offers once my MS was achieved, and I really just didn’t want to invest another three years or so to complete a PhD, so I bailed. Was that the right decision? I don’t know, but God has blessed me greatly so I don’t look back… much.)

I grew up in the church. Six days in Genesis were, well, SIX DAYS, as in 24 periods of 60 minutes each. Dinosaurs? Oil deposits? Cosmic background radiation? I didn’t see any of that in Genesis. But God made everything. So I guessed he just created “everything” that way, with all that already in place. Was that a challenge to my faith? No, not really. Because I had decided to believe. So I put scientific “facts” secondary to my belief in God.

And here is what this post is about: Science does not have to be watered down to “fit” with God’s word. Science, or shall we say the physical universe, is. And it is as God created it. And it does not contradict His word.

Many people do not believe that. Many scientists do not believe that. (Many DO though — and more about that later.)

I had the first inkling of that when I took an Astrophysics graduate physics course. The professor was expounding on our ability to deduce events closer and closer to “time=zero,” i.e., the absolute beginning of the universe. I, knowing that God created the universe at time=zero and that there was not that much mystery about it (!), raised my hand and asked, “Do you think we will ever achieve the ability to determine actually what happened at time=zero?” He tilted his head a little as he thought how to answer that, and finally said, “That question is a theological question, but this course only deals with what we can physically observe.” There were multiple Nobel-winning professors on this particular university staff, and to hear one of that group acknowledge even that much of God really made an impression on me at the time.

There began to be in the church some who spoke about how to reconcile science and religion. Some of them were professed scientists, but their “proofs” were not convincing to me. It seemed I could argue around and through them, and that they were meant more for religionists who had no knowledge of science than those of us who had formal education in that area.

And thirty years passed. Here we are in 2012. What has changed for me with respect to how religion relates to science?

Well, I have seen marriages break up because one spouse became “educated” in science and decided his Christian spouse was too uneducated and too ill-informed, or too Christian, to live with anymore. I have seen young people go off to university and become enamored of atheistic professors and/or their teaching, and become worshippers of science instead of God. And it breaks my heart.

But I heard about an organization a year ago, and learned more about it this year, which is the best thing I’ve seen come along to have an effective approach to reconciling science and the Bible. The organization is composed of very (may I say “very, very”?) advanced scientists, experts in their fields, who believe in God, and believe that He created the universe, and that He sent His Son to us. I haven’t met them all, but the ones I’ve had the privilege of talking to are humble men — even when their academic credentials tend to blow me away.

The organization’s name is: REASONS TO BELIEVE. Their website is http://reasonstobelieve.org

They are hard-core scientists. They are Christians. They are scholars. They are public speakers. And they have a mission to bridge the gap, to eliminate the gap, between science and the Bible. And they are good at what they do. Here is their mission statement:

RTB’s mission is to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research—including the very latest discoveries—consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature.

They further state (the highlighting is mine):

Our leadership team has reaffirmed a rather unique set of features that distinguishes RTB from other ministries. It’s not that other faithful Christian ministries don’t share one or more of these same qualities, but RTB embraces all of them together.

  • A high view of both Scripture and science—because the words of the Bible and the facts of nature come from the same Source, from God himself, who chose to make himself known
  • Apologetics for the sake of evangelism—because history awaits completion of the commission Christ charged his followers to fulfill
  • Constructive integration of God’s revelation (in Scripture and nature)—because truth will always be consistent, wherever it’s found
  • Commitment to application––because intellectual engagement should lead to effective evangelism, not merely to winning arguments
  • Ongoing development of a testable creation model—because the world needs a positive, growing case for faith in a caring Creator
  • Readiness to give reasons (1 Peter 3:15a)—because people have questions and doubts that deserve reasonable, well-researched responses
  • Communication of those reasons with gentleness, respect, and a clear conscience (1 Peter 3:15b)—because people observe attitude and demeanor as much as they listen to words

If you are not a scientist, you may not “click” with the material you find at their website. But I am sure you know of someone whose faith IS challenged by a belief that science and the scriptures do not agree. Point them to REASONS TO BELIEVE. If they are on an authentic journey to truth, they will thank you for making them aware of this resource.

(How long is too long for a blog posting? I don’t know, since I’m not that great of a blogger, but I think I’ll keep going for a while more, in case I’ve held your interest to this point!)

The organization has a Statement of Faith that members/contributors have to agree to before they are allowed to become active. You can click here to view that.

I have spent only hours, not days, investigating this organization and its material, but it seems to me its underpinning is a belief in Dual Revelation. At first glance, this doesn’t sound quite scriptural, but on second glance, it IS scripture. In particular, consider these quotes for what RTB calls “general revelation”:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. Romans 1:20

“Specific revelation” is written in the Bible; “general revelation” is seen in the work of His hands, and in what is clearly seen.

RTB furnishes excellent material to counter atheism. They also have material to discuss in depth (IN DEPTH!) the differences between Young Earth Creationism and Old Earth Creationism, and why they believe that Old Earth Creationism is supported in God’s word. And they also are very willing to send people to YOUR location to help bolster faith in these areas. Just contact them using the information at their website.

I’ll close with one more observation.

The only RTB meeting I have ever gone to was in September. The featured speaker was unable to come, due to her husband’s medical condition, but her story was how, as an atheist, she was educated in cosmology (not cosmetics, but cosmology – the study of the cosmos/universe, ~astronomy if you will) and as she continued to learn about the intricacies of the universe, and the rules that govern it, she was left with the inescapable conclusion that it was created. And if the universe were created, there is a Creator. And therefore she could no longer be atheistic in her outlook. I still am looking forward to hearing her personally. Hopefully she will be rescheduled for early in 2013.  (I may have part of this story wrong, but if so I’ll correct it when I get to hear her!)

And looking back I realize I have left one thing unsaid. I did mention how some early apologists I was aware of in the church left me feeling rather cold, but I never said really what I thought in that same context about the RTB group. So I’ll say it. The RTB organization has it together. Their science is science, not just a waving of hands and a pretending that they understand what they are talking about. They DO understand. They have written some of the books that guide others in their fields. Give them a look/see. And let us know what you think.

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