Based on a few reviews and comments concerning my Christian sci-fi series, Gateway to Gannah, I must conclude that a segment of the reading public considers the phrase Christian sci-fi an oxymoron. In their view, Christianity and science in any form simply do not mix.
It’s a bit perplexing. The term science fiction (which true fans prefer to abbreviate “SF”) describes a wide swath across the literary world, much of it a far cry from hard science. And most people are okay with that. But mention the scriptures in the sci-fi context, and eyebrows rise high. What does Christianity have to do with science?
That attitude is understandable, I suppose, given Galileo’s infamous conviction by the Roman Inquisition in the early 1600s. Most don’t understand that the incident had more to do with ignorant abuse of power than scriptural truth. The Roman Catholic Church at the time held the official position that the earth is a fixed object with the sun and stars moving around it. They based their opinion on the scriptures—but nowhere does the Bible actually teach that.
It’s important to understand that the Bible is not a science book. It deals with spiritual truth (things we mortals are ill equipped to comprehend without supernatural guidance), not physical realities (things we can observe with our own faculties). It makes reference to physical facts: Job 6:6, the observation that an egg white is rather tasteless without salt; Ecclesiastes 1:7, which deals with the water cycle; or 1 Corinthians 15:36-41, discussing elements of seed germination, species distinctions, and the variations in light intensities of various celestial bodies. But it points to these flesh-and-blood things that we’re all familiar with in order to illustrate spiritual truths. It’s obvious from their context and the content that these verses were not written to teach astronomy, biology, or scientific principles.And that, I believe, is where we get messed up. The medieval church interpreted verses such as 1 Chronicles 16:30 and some of the Psalms (93:1, 96:10, 104:5) that stated that God will not allow the earth to “move” as dogmatically teaching that the physical earth is fixed in space. To them, reference to the sun “rising” (Ecclesiastes 1:5) taught it was the sun that moved, not the earth. But if you read those passages, you’ll see the position of things in space is not the point. In each case, the physical example illustrates a spiritual truth.
Church people are by no means the only ones who misinterpret evidence.
All of us tend to take the information our senses provide and translate it into a language our personal perspective and worldview can understand. And sometimes, we mistranslate.
Evolutionists and creationists alike accuse one another of the same thing: his mind is already made up; he won’t listen to reason. Or, how could any thinking person be so blind to the plain truth? We think when someone doesn’t see things the way we do, that person must really be dense.
There are a significant number (though I don’t know the statistics) of highly educated scientists in all disciplines who are Christians, and creationists. They accept the same physical evidence that the evolutionists see, but they interpret it differently. They realize that, although some might see these things as being contradictory to the scriptures, the evidence—God’s revelation in the physical realm—is always and altogether consistent with God’s written revelation. He cannot lie; therefore, both His world and His word are true. When we can’t see a way to reconcile the two, it’s not necessarily that one or another is wrong, but that we don’t fully understand.
Since all SF is speculative (imaginative what-if scenarios based on reality), it’s not unreasonable that some of these scenarios might involve God. If someone thinks that’s inappropriate, I’m not offended. What bothers me—in case you haven’t figured it out from my previous posts—is when people come up with speculative theories and call it science.
Earlier, I mentioned the so-called Big Bang Theory as one such piece of hard sci-fi-billed-as-fact. Today, let’s take a look at DNA (the existence of which is hinted at in 1 Corinthians 15:39, as mentioned above).
As I’m sure you’re already aware, DNA is the abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, a complex chemical structure that contains an organism’s genetic code. Each of the human body’s approximately 100 trillion cells contains about 10 billion DNA molecules, sometimes called base pairs. The sequence of chemicals within these base pairs provides the instructional code for your entire body.
Not only are these structures intensely complex, but also, the information contained within the DNA code must be translated so the organism’s tissues can use it. Positive and negative electrical impulses are required to perform these operations. All this is accomplished with intricate perfection in a process similar to a highly advanced, highly miniaturized computer. This is not the venue for detailing all this, but more information is readily available to anyone who wants to research it. Suffice it to say that even in a single-celled creature, the utter complexity of these molecules is astonishing.
This is all fact, not fiction, and I’ve never heard of anyone denying it. But creationists look at the evidence in its breathtaking awesomeness and see it all as God’s magnificent design. Evolutionists look at the same facts and say, wow, isn’t it amazing what can happen when lightning strikes some dirty water.
Yes, that’s how the story goes. Lightning struck, and voila! A living creature with a complete genetic code, able to eat, digest, and replicate itself. And turn itself into a yet more complex organism with its own distinct genetic code. Don’t talk to me about some mythical intelligent being who designs and creates—that’s just fairy tales. Let’s stick to hard science, things we can test and prove.
Or so they say.
The more we learn about this world we live in and the universe in which it exists, the more complicated we find it. The dizzying depth of its intricacies makes it impossible to imagine its having created itself by random chance, as some say “science” proves. The evidence is neutral, however, and by itself, proves nothing; it’s people’s interpretations of it that lead to controversy.
So let’s go ahead and speculate. There’s much we don’t know, much of which we’ll never know. Wondering about it, casting about for possible explanations or extrapolations, is good mental exercise. But there’s no reason why it can’t be a spiritual adventure as well.
“Real” scientists can be Christians. And in the literary world, there’s nothing ridiculous about sci-fi characters believing in and making reference to the scriptures.
There’s no contradiction between science and Christianity in their pure forms.