Why Would it Be Bad to Use Science to Interpret the Bible?

BibleI believe that the Bible has greater authority than nature. Creation is “general” revelation only. The Bible is special, much more specific, revelation. Creation reveals that there is a Creator, and it reveals his attributes, eternal power and divine nature (Rom 1:20). The Bible tells us that God’s Word is sufficient, adequate, equipping for every good work (2 Tim 3:16). Let me acknowledge that there are degrees of clarity (and often, assumption) that must be considered. But we must take care not to elevate the theories of man (whether they be “young earth,” “old-earth,” evolutionary, etc.) to a position of equal or greater importance than the Word of God.

Psalm 19 is one of my favorite Psalms. David, after rightly beginning with the reality that all mankind is accountable through general revelation, immediately goes on to focus on some of the specific benefits of God’s Word (Ps 19: 7-11). Salvation comes only through the hearing of the Word (Rom 10:17). The Bible is God-breathed. So, if we are positive that we have both rightly interpreted God’s Word as well as done our science correctly—yet there is still an apparent contradiction—then we must give greater weight to the Bible. Science does not interpret Scripture; Scripture interprets science.

You asked why it’s bad to use science to help interpret the Bible. Let me be clear that I am not anti-science. On the contrary, I am very pro- “good” science. But again, what authority are we giving “science” to help interpret the Bible? Are we letting it stand in authority over God’s Word? Or are we using it to further validate truths already presented in the Bible (in the sense of having a faith built on the evidence)? Another acceptable application of “good” science is to use it to conjecture what is allowable within a Biblical worldview framework—sort of filling in the gaps between that which is clearly revealed—as long as we don’t elevate our conjectures to the standing of actual revealed truth.

You can reference the scientific example of Jesus’ blood coming out already separated as “blood and water.” This does make for a great corroboration of his death. However had the blood/water passage not been there, or had God’s Word said that only blood or only water poured out, I still would have believed because the Bible clearly states in the four gospels that Jesus was already dead (as opposed to swooned):

Matthew: And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit...”He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead.”

Mark: And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last...Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.

Luke: And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last.

John: Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit...but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

Of course there are also many, many other places throughout the Bible that clearly state that Jesus actually died on the cross. And we really only need to read it once to know that it is true (though God frequently repeats Himself for stronger emphasis). The blood/water realization gave further confirmation to my faith, but I already knew that Jesus died based on God’s clear Word. There is much that I believe that I frankly don’t understand how it could have been scientifically possible (I guess that’s why they call them miracles—when God operates outside of the normal “laws” he has established). The bottom line is that science is not necessary to validate Biblical truth. More important is that we believe God.