Scientists and Theologians Have Similar Problems
by Herb Douglass
Both scientists and theologians often suffer from mental imprints that are caused by, 1) what they have been taught; 2) by their own presuppositions; or 3) by who pays them.
Each of these reasons is often hidden in the unconscious. If you don't believe me, just check it out and see how quickly they respond on any given issue. Many times it sounds like a tape recorder!
Some simple questions to ask theologians:
- What is sin?
- Is Ellen White merely a nineteenth-century ‘prophet’?
- What is meant by 'forensic justification'?
- What is the difference between ‘perfection’ and ‘overcoming’?
- How sinless was Jesus when He was born?
- Why did Jesus die?
- Will those who have never heard of Jesus be saved?
- In what way do we understand Martin Luther's ‘saved by faith alone.’
Some simple questions to ask physical scientists:
- Despite the extensive research undertaken by countless dedicated scientists, why can't we find a single transitional form in the fossil record?
- Because for many the premise of evolution is the backbone of most biological courses, is it not true that such science is founded on an unproven theory — and thus the theory of evolution is exactly parallel to belief in special creation?
- What do we do with the individual cell with its 239 proteins, each one necessary for the cell to exist, when we seek an answer to where it came from, knowing it would not be a living cell if the proteins grew within the cell, one by one?
- Why do those working in classification and comparative anatomy have a tough time agreeing with each other — splitters and lumpers, etc.?
- How do we account for the clear-cut gaps in various 'classifications' when we would expect 'continuous bleeding' from one kind to another?
Adventist Today editor, Dr. David Newman, observed recently that we all are burdened with our assumptions (presuppositions). This could not be said more simply or eloquently. It seems to me it is unfortunate that it takes more years than time spent in colleges and universities to grasp the secret of humility. And it takes some time thereafter to re-examine the assumptions we learned in school, thus learning the quiet joy of real learning.
There is nothing more debilitating than to suffer through many panel discussions wherein we all share our ignorance, even when what is shared is properly buttressed with footnotes to those we have trusted. I have been as guilty as everyone else.