One day a friend of mine asked, “What makes you believe the Bible is true?” My simple answer was because I was born in a Christian family, so obviously we’re supposed to trust the accuracy of the Bible. Just like many other Christians, we share a common belief in the deity of Christ, the fallibility of men, and the afterlife.
I realize that this inherited faith may look simple or superficial to some. However, I’m the kind of person who by nature can’t trust in something easily. Growing up, I struggled many times with questions and doubts about life and God. Deep down, I wanted to know whether or not the Bible is trustworthy. If the ultimate truth does exist, I really desired to embrace that truth. It seemed there’s no greater satisfaction than to live in the truth.
This longing for truth is probably part of the reason why I love science, which motivated me to take a path in academia. Here, I would like to share a little bit of my journey exploring the reliability of the Bible through the lens of science with real world analogies. I believe all truths discovered in science belong to God, so if the Bible and science are both true, they should not contradict each other. In my view, there are at least five reasons why the Bible, the message of which is amazingly still relevant to this day, is a trustworthy book of all time.
The fallen nature of humankind
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Walking in truth by doing the right things right will bring about peace and confidence. Many times, unfortunately, I walked on the other side. My fleshly desires and sinful nature often prevented me from living to the fullest. Too often I did something that should not have been done or did not do something that should have been done. This is due to the nature of sin. Simply put, sin is an error.
In research, there is no perfect result. In other words, error(s) are inevitable. No matter how hard we tried to solve a problem, we would sooner or later find more problems. Our life is, mathematically speaking, like an iterative approximation to find a true solution which always suffered an error. No one is perfect and no one is able to produce a perfection (Psalm 14:3).
Not only humans are fallible, but also the world we live in is broken. The concept of thermodynamics states that “all materials have a tendency to move towards maximum entropy (a gradual decline into disorder or randomness)” and we are living witnesses to that. All creatures are aging and dying. We all can be sick, weak, forgetful, and eventually dead. Who is then dare to say that humans don’t need a Savior?
The virtue of invisible elements
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Some people had difficulties to believe in God because they demand visible proofs or signs. I used to think why God does not simply show up to people to convince them about His existence. I know that no one is able to stand the holy presence of God: we might die as soon as we see Him face to face. However, even if God revealed Himself to us, would we certainly believe in Him?
Just because an object is invisible does not mean that it doesn’t exist. The invisibility of an object does not negate its existence. In fact, in science, we have to deal with a lot of invisible matters… every day! Can we see oxygen? It is the most abundant element on earth without which all creatures may not live. Can we see electron? It is a subatomic particle with a negative charge acting as the primary carrier of electricity in solids. Chemical elements have electronic configurations and the interaction between their electrons (attraction or repulsion) is what underlies the chemical reactions we see (or perceive) every day. Without electron, there would be no electricity. Without electricity, there would be no technology.
Moreover, there are too many things that we can’t fully explain when it comes to, for example, what is really happening inside a chemical reactor, how the analytical instrument is working, and stuffs like that. (I could give you more examples, but hopefully you already got my point now). I am sure that as long as we live, the things we don’t know will always outnumber the things we know. Our understanding can be better, but it is never complete. Even though the above verse, in context, does not refer to the invisible matters like chemical elements, my “laboratory experience” affirmed the importance of the invisible, as already predicted in the Bible (John 20:29). So, if the invisible matters do really matter, shall we believe in the Invisible One?
The revelation of the origin of life
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)
Had the Bible not revealed to us that in the beginning God created heaven and earth, what would we think about the origin of life? Where did everything come from? Scientists and researchers have attempted to rationalize this matter by speculations, hypotheses, and theories. Life was thought to be derived from non-living matter (abiogenesis) or pre-existing living matter (biogenesis). Many theories had been proposed, such as Big Bang, spontaneous generation, evolution, etc. to explain the origin of life as an opponent of the faith in God the Creator. A logical argument on the existence of God is that an infinite creation demands an infinite cause: a so-called uncaused first cause.
We may never fully identify where we are from. As an example: I don’t know my grand grandparents and I assume most of modern people like us don’t fully know their own family trees (genealogies). We can only accept (by faith) the fact that we are born in this world, we are alive, we have to work for a living, and we all have a purpose in life. So, if we don’t even grasp our biological ancestries, how could we explain the history of the universe? That’s too big to comprehend and an impossible task, isn’t it? We may not understand, unless the truth is revealed to us. I like the following quote from Dr. John Yates, “The concept of God is infinitely greater than man’s finite mind, and therefore must have been revealed by God Himself.”
When we look at the skies, mountains, oceans, thunder, stars, moon, and sun, we could not deny the sense of wonder in our hearts and minds. They testify to us there must be a Creator. We all have that innate knowledge of the existence of God, because it is God who has placed it in us. Why is God able to do that? Because He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13). The Bible is a perfect revelation from God to mankind.
The unity and diversity of a body
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)
As Christ believers and His followers, we represent the body of Christ. Each part of the body has a unique function and important role: to serve one another and ultimately to bring honor and glory to Christ, the head of the church. No part is more significant than the other: when one part suffers, the rest of the body will also suffer. The dignity of the body is determined by the maturity of its individual part. The maturity here means the ability to recognize the gift (talent) naturally given to each part and to implement that knowledge to edify the body.
This principle is virtually true with respect to how organizations, institutions, and communities work. For instance, a university consists of diverse elements serving for a goal of high-quality education. It is built on a foundation of the “unity in diversity,” which can be applied in many other fields, such as arts, business, politics, religion, sports, etc. Diversity is a gift and depending on how we treat it, we can build a collaboration or bring a division. We are part of a community and we live to serve for a greater cause, a bigger purpose (Ephesians 2:10).
In science, we also learned that even atom, the smallest unit of a matter, has a structure that is composed of subatomic particles, nucleus, and electron cloud. A combination of two or more atoms by chemical bonds forms molecules. A separation (division) of atom has led to the discovery of electrons, protons, and neutrons in the early 1900’s. The rapid technological developments and innovations, especially in communication and information, would not be possible without such discoveries. Again, here we learn that both the Bible and science agree that a body (matter) consists of diverse parts and even the smallest parts play a crucial role for its unity and sustainability. See this truth in your own bodies!
The promise of future glory from present suffering
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
The Bible never promised life would only bring us happiness or pleasure. In fact, it teaches us a privilege to suffer (and die) for the sake of truth. And Jesus Himself is the ultimate example of an innocent man who suffered and died for the salvation of the sinners. Christians are to live to imitate Christ: to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. We are not to fear suffering, pain, and death because our Master has experienced them (through the cross and grave) and overcome them (through the resurrection). Our temporary troubles in this world are preparing for us a permanent victory with the Lord.
Many people already knew and embraced this truth: “No pain, no gain.” It can be thought as a universal law: suffering (struggle) is always necessary for a profit (progress). The fruit of our labor will be truly satisfying after we work hard. Just as our physical bodies need an intensive exercise for great shape and good health, likewise our spiritual characters will also thrive through good amount of “stretches and tensions.” We need to empty ourselves before we can truly be filled. We need to die to ourselves before we can truly bring life to others (John 12:24).
Most scientific researches, as far as I know, aimed to resolve problems, for instance, climate change, cancer, food and water scarcity, sustainable energy, data security, etc. These are, of course, important issues that can have a positive impact in our society and civilization. Scientists have been working hard to anticipate the future: to “create” a better world for the next generations. However, beyond these earthly concerns, a real issue has not yet been resolved in regard to our future destiny. Science is still helpless to give perfect explanation about suffering, death, and afterlife. These things will remain a mystery and after all we could only accept it by faith. This is not a blind faith; it is faith based on the promise of God [already revealed] in the Bible, that He is sovereign to cause all things to work for His glory and for our good.
This writing is based on the author’s perspective and is not intended to indoctrinate others with his beliefs. The author is neither a historian nor a theologian, but simply a person who is in a journey of examining the reliability of the Bible based on his interest in science and faith in God.
Vancouver, May 2019