For a long time many people have believed that there is a war between science and faith. The issue of origins is a challenging one. On one side the evolutionist argues for creation as a self-directed process without the interference of a Creator. The other side argues in various ways for an intelligent agent that guided the process of origins. Both sides, with minor exceptions, view the other as the enemy. “Creation is religion and not science. Religion does not belong in the classroom,” goes the mantra. “Evolution is only a theory, not a fact,” says the other. Both sides are at war. Science and religion, as it goes, are incompatible.
I think, however, that there is more to this issue than to simply (and wrongly) say that science and religion are incompatible. The two operate in different spheres, but the two also touch the other. Is there really a disagreement between science and faith? In my view, such a classification doesn’t quite address the core issue. The core issue is, to put it simply, this: This is not a disagreement about science and faith. It is a disagreement about what is real and what is not real.
In one sense it doesn’t matter which side a person is on. The question is the same for both. What is the nature of reality? Does God really exist? Are origins dependent upon or independent of a Creator?
When we approach these issues from the angle that this is a disagreement about the nature of reality, then we can see that these worldviews are not compatible and that they are indeed locked in a bitter struggle to define and determine what people will regard as true or false. God is real or God is not. There isn’t much room for a compromise solution. The issue transcends the standard arguments. At stake is the very definition of what reality is.
This battle is no different from the ancient struggles the Israelites had over idol worship. Repeatedly in the Old Testament God made the point that the gods of other nations were “no gods at all.” In other words, they weren’t real. The pagan gods were imaginary and only given form by the mason who fashioned the human-designed image of something that didn’t exist.
The fight in the Old Testament wasn’t a fight over which god was greater. It was a fight over reality. Israel often behaved as if God was just another tribal deity among the many. So too some regard God as a myth along the same lines as former myths of old pagan gods. For both sides their positions require faith. But I think more faith is required for the Christian who must not only trust the Bible’s definition of reality, but must take that stand in the face of overwhelming opposition within his or her culture.
When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham was faced with a most difficult choice. You see, God had already told Abraham that his promise to him would be counted through his son Isaac. Abraham knew that God was saying he would have many descendants through Isaac. Yet here was God effectively telling Abraham, “Kill your son.” As the scripture tells us, Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead. Thus Abraham could obey the command to kill his son and God would raise Isaac and still fulfill his promise to him. At stake was Abraham’s perception of reality. If God were real, if he was not a figment of his imagination as the other pagan God’s were, then he could obey and depend upon God’s promise. But if Abraham was deluded then his actions would have at least been criminal. Either God was real or he wasn’t. Either his promise was real or it wasn’t. Either Abraham’s faith in that reality was well-founded or it wasn’t. God intentionally put Abraham in the most difficult and trying position of his life. It was on purpose. Abraham had to take a stand, and stand he did.
What is real? What is reality? What is myth? How far are you willing to go to take a stand for the reality you believe in? Are you ready to sacrifice your career or look like a fool to colleagues and loved ones? Isn’t it just like the Lord to put us into these difficult positions and require an answer?
When you make your stand for Christ there is always a price to pay. But the rewards of faith are far greater than the worst the world can dish out. Remember, this isn’t about evolution, creation, intelligent design, or the flying spaghetti monster. It’s about what is real and what is not real. Our God is no myth. Our God is the inventor of reality. He invented physics. If he declares it then it is reality. And this is where we should make our stand.