Pastor James Emery White, Senior Pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church as well as Professor of Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, has been reading the recent NAS report on Science, Evolution and Creationism. He’s been looking at the contentious section on the relationship between science and religion and, remarkably, does a rather good job of summing up the implications.
Here’s the meat of what he has to say:
As the report phrases it, science and religion deal with two different kinds of human “experience.” There is the experience which can be validated as fact (science), and there is the experience that can only be embraced in faith (religion). So believe what you want about God – that is your prerogative – just don’t treat it like you would a scientific reality.
It is to be granted that modern science is based on empirical evidence and testable explanation. One cannot put God in a test-tube and determine His existence. But there is more at hand here than science doing its job, and knowing its limitations in regard to matters of faith. It is about limiting what religion can say about science. The working idea is that we can maintain our religious faith and our scientific discoveries not by seeing both as operating in the realm of public truth – to be jointly engaged and interpreted accordingly – but by seeing them as separate categories altogether that should never be allowed to intertwine. If you wish to believe in God, fine; just don’t posit that this God actually exists as Creator, or that He could actually be pulled out to explain anything.
As Ronald Numbers has written, “Nothing has come to characterize modern science more than its rejection of appeals to God in explaining the workings of nature.” Hence the report’s categorical rejection of any and all forms of creationism, including intelligent design – calling such positions devoid of evidence, “disproven” or “simply false.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself! But what’s that you’re saying? Pastor White doesn’t actually approve? This is supposed to be a criticism, and this is a negative review? How remarkable…