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Does The Bible Teach Naturalism?

Author: 
Paul A. Bartz

Note: Creation Moments exists to provide Biblically sound materials to the Church in the area of Bible and science relationships. This Bible study may be reproduced for group use.

The basis of modern science rests on a number of improvable assumptions about the nature of the world. These assumptions come out of the Biblical worldview. One of the most important of these assumptions for the development of modern science is that the world is a predictable, orderly place. Evolutionists have perverted this idea into one which says that we can learn enough about the predictable world so that we may confidently change or ignore the clear meaning of the Bible. This view, which is the heart of naturalism, is not a result of the Biblical view of the world.

The idea that the creation is a logical, orderly place is woven into the very fabric of Scripture. But we should not take this fundamental fact for granted. Many religious systems in the world, notably in the East, have never even figured this basic principle out. Nor has this obvious assumption been accepted throughout much of the world's history. Now, some evolutionary-oriented scientists are starting to question this basic assumption because their evolutionary ideas are not working out in an ordered universe.

Specific Scriptural statements about the orderliness, and therefore the "knowableness" of the world abound, beginning in the very earliest verses of Scripture. What prediction could you make about the reproduction of plants based on Genesis 1:11? Is this fact, first spoken of in Scripture, a scientific principle?

Now move your attention up to verse 14. What purposes here are listed for the heavenly bodies? How are these purposes each related to predictability? Does this wording suggest that we can learn additional things from the orderly movement of these bodies?

Further statements in Genesis 1 also reveal that the animals, too, are designed to reproduce "after their kind," (verses 21, 24, and 25). What science is built upon this predictable behavior of animals? Why does God, here in His Word, take the time to make the point about these predictable features He built into the creation?

Genesis 8:22 confirms the orderly, predictable progression of the seasons and the reproductive cycles of plants, explaining an interrelationship between the two which expands our understanding of the overall orderliness of the entire creation. To what predictable cycles does God here commit Himself? For what purpose?

The miracles of the Old and New Testaments are also built upon the orderliness of the creation. Stop and think for a moment. If things just happened in the created universe willy-nilly, would miracles have any meaning?

Read the account of Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:2 and following. What behavior did Moses expect of the "fire"? If the world were unpredictable, would Moses have any reason to wonder at this sight? If there was no objective reality could God have given Moses a sign like this? What about Jesus' miracles in the New Testament? What was the purpose of these miracles? Could that purpose be fulfilled if there was no objective reality or no predictability to the world?

It is because of this Scriptural base upon which modern science is built that the scientific accomplishments of our age are possible. Even non-Christian philosophers of science have noted this fact. The scientific method, assuming that the world is a knowable, orderly place, therefore also includes prediction to test scientific claims. So, contrary to the claims of skeptics, science itself gives us reason to accept the miracles of the Bible. This very attitude can be seen among many of the founders of modern science.

How does this answer evolutionists who say that God cannot be considered in science? How does it answer those who say that God simply "wound up" the creation, programmed it with natural laws, and left it to spin off in space?

The very same Bible which shows us the orderly world of science also shows us that God is personally involved in the creation - hence the presence of miracles.

Scripture reveals that the planning and design of the creation runs deeper than this, however. It includes things which cannot be known apart from the Scriptural revelation. The order and design of the creation which also runs through all of Scripture is God's personal involvement in individual human lives through His grace. As soon as sin entered the world, separating man from God, God is present to offer the promise of a Savior (Genesis 3:15). How does this order (because God promised it) tie all of Scripture together? In Genesis 12:3 God promises the Savior to Abram, too. But is this design part of the warp and woof of history - not just Scripture? Take a look at Ephesians 1:4 and Ephesians 1:10 before formulating your answer.

True science, as defined by its founders, is unable to say that God is separated from the world. As Christians do today, they realized that science is only able to deal with a small part of reality. Modern science grew out of the Biblical worldview. It cannot, by definition, rule God out of the creation. In fact, science, done under the Lordship of the Revealer of the scientific worldview, must rule out the ideas of the atheist and the theistic evolutionist!

Close this Bible study with a prayerful reading of Psalm 119:25-32.

Footnotes: 

Copyright © 1987 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Paul A. Bartz.
Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839 Foley, MN 56329 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com