When the invisible became Visible…
One of the things that we as Chrisitans often say is that God created the universe out of nothing. We say, “There was nothing, God spoke, there was something. Boom.” This leads fans of science to consider us lunatics. They thing that we are insane. Let’s face it, that does sound a little crazy, science told us hundreds of years ago that something does not come from nothing.
This is an idea called spontaneous generation. If you took middle school science you remember this. You learned about the experiment with the meat and the bugs. If you don’t know the experiment in question. People recognized that if rotten meat was left out, maggots and flies would spring up, and the theory was that the maggots and flies were born from the rotten meat. However Francisco Reddi disproved this by simply putting a jar over a piece of meat and showing that it did not create bugs.
Then finally in 1859 Louis Pasteur definitively disproved the theory with an experiment. You know Pasteur, the man who made milk ‘safe’ to drink. Yeah, he proved once and for all that something does not come from nothing. So why then do people try to continue the myth that God created everything out of nothing?
I think this is a simple misunderstanding of the creation account. Let’s look at Genesis 1.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3
In this passage it just says God created the heavens and the earth. It doesn’t say they came out of nothing, but since nothing is recorded previous to this, it is assumed that nothing became something. This isn’t true however. Let’s look at another great verse, this time from Hebrews.
“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. ” Hebrews 11:3
Words were prepared by The “Word of God.” What is seen was made of things that were invisible…. This is the crux of this statement. We know that The word of God made invisible things into visible things, and made the world. This idea actually lines up better with science. Because as the first law of thermodynamics teaches, “Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed. The total amount of energy and matter in the Universe remains constant, merely changing from one form to another.” We call this law, The Conservation of Energy.
So, when we take the Genesis account in the context of Hebrews 3, we see that invisible things “energy” were made visible to become the universe. When God spoke into His Hovering Spirit, He was focusing energy into matter. Now, imagine that you are talking to someone who is unchristian and believes only in science. If you were to discuss the creation story with them in this context, they might not believe you, but perhaps they would be more willing to listen.
When it comes to Science and religion, I like to imagine two rulers, and when side by side they line up, inch by inch. However most people know a few inches of science and a few inches of Bible. So when they compare the inches they know of each and see them not linking, they assume one or the other is inherently flawed. But perhaps you know inches 1, 4, and 9 of Bible, and Inches 3, 8, and 12 of science. Well since your info is incomplete your observation is also incomplete.
Both Sceince and Religion are seeking to understand the universe, but in different ways. One is experimental and one is relational. But neither is wrong. There are some theories that scientist share that aren’t correct, and there are some ideas people preach that are wrong. But if we are wise we will not throw everything away because of one bad experience.
I know this wasn’t a long article, but it was something simple that I wanted to share to get you thinking about how science and religion can interact with civility.