Religion and Science: Can They Coexist in the Modern World

Topics: Universe, Earth, Scientific method Pages: 7 (2293 words) Published: June 11, 2011
Religion and Science: Can They Coexist in the Modern World

Since the dawn of man, humans have struggled to explain the many mysteries of the universe, and to justify their existence in it. Throughout this journey of self-understanding, numerous standpoints about human existence have evolved and merged into a complex, abstract manifestation called religion. Advances in science and technology have yielded a new breed of human thought that has disturbed and shaken the foundations of religious ideology. The new, scientifically-grounded understanding of the universe has unfolded a plethora of answers to age-old questions, which are antithetical to the explanations offered by some religious beliefs. The Bible has answered the questions: how was the world created, how did the planet evolve, how were humans formed, and what role does God have in the world. Fundamentalists believe the Bible literally when they want explanations to these questions. Scientists have different explanations. However, believers in the modern world understand that religion and science must coexist if they are to have faith in God in the twenty-first century.

Apparently conflicting views of creation can coexist in a modern world where believers interpret the traditional Bible stories and scientific discovery. According to the book of Genesis, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light" (Genesis 1:1-3 Catholic Information Network Online). Fundamentalists believe that this process took place on the first day at God’s command. Scientists explain that the universe and all of its containments exist because of the ‘Big Bang Theory’. According to the big bang theory, the universe began as the result of an explosion about 10 billion to 20 billion years ago. Immediately after the explosion, the universe consisted chiefly of strong radiation, which formed an expanding primordial fireball. After some time, some of the energy of the fireball was converted into matter, chiefly in the form of hydrogen. From this giant fireball, particles of light emerged for the first time (Britannica Encyclopedia Online). Creation science contends that the big bang theory bears striking resemblance to the Genesis account. The words of the Bible do not need to be taken literally by believers. The words of Genesis should be interpreted metaphorically and allowed to fit the scientific theory the origin of the universe.

The creation of planet earth was explained by the ancient Hebrews in the Bible, later by evolutionist scientists and today by believers who are able to reconcile these differing stories through contextual interpretation and faith.And God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth." And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1: 11-12, 20-21, 24-25)

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