The Partly Predictable World

Jeremy England | Commentary

The Hebrew Bible starts off by giving an account of the world that is at odds with well-established scientific findings. It is a book that says that heaven and earth were made in one week, yet careful analysis of astronomical data suggests otherwise. It says that various sorts of animals were brought into being just days apart, whereas the fossil record points to an incremental evolution of one species from another over millions of years. It even seems to imply that there was water before there was light, but our understanding of water as a physical and chemical substance dictates that the reverse must be true.

Due to these and other well-known discrepancies between scripture and science, the public ferment over how to read the biblical creation story is relentless—and understandably so, for the dispute is about nothing less than what it means to be right. Yet, even with the stakes so high, the disputations have been uniformly disappointing. The most potent champions of secular reason have argued with some eloquence—and to no useful effect whatsoever—that religious people who believe God created the world are being contemptibly stupid and should stop. Religious people, meanwhile, are mostly indifferent to the rhetoric of these atheist crowd-pleasers, who might as well be speaking in a foreign language.

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