“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), the words that start it all if you are a Catholic. Children are brought up to believe that God took seven days out of his schedule to create the earth and all that is in and on it from a “formless wasteland” (Genesis 1:2). He gave man his shape and the keys to paradise and life rolls on from there. They know history of man through the Bible, and if it is not in the Bible, it did not happen.
Die hard followers the Bible know little outside of the Good Book and thusly show their Those who took on the ideals of the enlightenment or raised with little to no theological beliefs have questioned the existence of God and the Bible. They have chosen to have the power of science be their creator and savior. No mythical oracles, no prophets, just the theories of motion, space, and relativity to guide them in their lives, and the gap has never been filled. To them, all of the questions can be answered with one answer: E=MC2. Since the first questions of the validity of the Bible arose with people like Aristotle, Plato, and Moses Maimonides.
In fact, Maimonides said, “conflicts between science and the Bible arise from either from a lack of scientific knowledge or a defective understanding of the Bible,” (Schroeder, 1997). What he means is that science cannot answer everything with science or the Bible; there must be some happy medium where the two can play off each other. The belief in religion and the understanding of science do not have to conflict and contradict each other; they can work together in helping people fully understand the universe, the world, life and death, and most importantly themselves.
The universe that surrounds us had no origin in the Bible, it is just there and only the creation of the earth is discussed. Scientists have calculated the power of the big bang to be 10120 in strength. “If the energy of the big bang were different by one part of 10120 there would be no life anywhere in the universe. The universe is tuned for life from its inception,” (Schroeder, 1997). This statement is relaying messages of the two schools of thought at once. The religion translation of this statement is that something that precise could only have been made by some divine creator.
The Scientific translation is none at all; this is one of the many answers that science has not been able to provide. This is where many scientists have conceded to believing in some sort of Supreme Being. There is no way that the universe could have been that lucky to create the elements needed to spring forth life. “The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls-eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side,” (Schroeder, 1997). In addition, what caused the big bang to occur? Are we the left over of some other universe?
On that same note, are we the result of some sort of big bounce from a previous universe that collapsed? This too has no answer to why the universe exists or why it gave such a perfect formula for life. The inception of the world also leaves some gray areas in both the religious and scientific areas. First in the religious argument: that “if the laws of nature are not fixed, if they are being tampered with in some miraculous way, then science is useless. The consistency of nature is a basic tenet of all scientific inquiry,” (Schroeder, 1997).
The man made science works on a set of rules and theories that must be true to be called as such. They must work every time in order to create validity and the same affects everywhere. What ever goes up must come down. Water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. Gasoline is flammable and combustible. All of these are constants no matter where we are in the universe. If the right variables are present then the event will occur. It becomes a scientific impossibility to turn water into wine, walk on water, or create man from mud. The religious point of view is not far off from the science.
Genesis agrees: when life first appears on the third day, the word creation does not appear (in the text). We are merely told “The earth brought forth” life. Earth had within it the necessary properties for life to flourish,” (Schroeder, 1997). The book of Genesis is not clear on how God created life; people are just to assume that He created it out of thin air by his divine power. Miracles happen when God makes the impossible a reality where the rules of nature no longer apply, and He can do what He wishes like a painter on a canvas. The parts of the Bible that deal specifically with miracles explain them explicitly.
Jesus walking on the water to show Peter and Paul his majesty; Jesus changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana; helping the blind see again; all are scientific impossibilities, but the Bible says it is true because Jesus is the son of God. Divinity in the eyes of all Christians has the upper hand. Science and evolution dominate the mind of the scientifically enlightened. Sociologists (behavioral scientists) describe religion as merely the answers to where do we come from (birth), and where do we go when we die? Two very important questions in every person’s life, but only one school of thought has an answer for both.
Religion talks of the “miracle of birth” as being something given to a woman for being faithful to God. When we die, we are judged on how we lived our lives on earth. If in the eye’s of God we led a good life we ascend into the divine paradise also know as heaven; if not we ascend into the netherworld also know as Hades or Hell. It is very cut and dry on the death issue. Skeptics of the Bible, not necessarily the scientifically enlightened, argue that the entire idea of heaven and hell and being good on earth to avoid damnation is just a scare tactic put on by the church to keep people in line and/or get money from them to save their souls.
Either way they see post-mortem judgment as a farce by the church to control us so we fear God. Science has only answered one of the questions definitively, the birth issue. We are products of the combining of make and female chromosomes that come together in the form of semen from males and the female egg during sexual relations. This definition is about as cut and dry as the religious point of view in the subject. The scientific death explanation is about as cold as the birth one, but still does not give an answer to the afterlife.
Death as seen as the body simply shutting down the heart, brain, and other vital organs stop functioning, thus having no energy left to operate and live. It does not tell where you go when you die if you go anywhere at all. God intentionally keeps that a secret from mortal men so that fear and obedience can be instilled. Science cannot explain the afterlife with a theory or a rule that has to follow an equation or variable. It is just out of the field of study for science. People of the past have ascribed either to a scientific answer or to a theological belief to answer the questions they have.
People pray to God for a cure to their disease, others visit a doctor or pharmacist. Nowadays people have become more liberal with their beliefs and where they look for answers. Priests go to the drugstore and scientists have been attending Sunday mass. The blending of the religions does not close doors and minds; it opens the mind to new interpretations of science and the Bible just the same. Harmony is being found, and questions that are more personal are being answered. It is truly something everyone can agree on.