Apologetics 2: Science

Janet Aucoin June 3, 2022

When we talk about defending our faith, often the discussion of science comes into the mix sooner or later. So today, we'll tackle this hot button topic head-on: Are the Bible and science really opposed to each other, as our culture often says? How can a basic knowledge of science help us understand WHY we believe? And how does the gospel fit in here?

In part 2 of our Apologetics mini-series, we welcome our good friend, scientist and pastor's wife Tirzah Birk, to discuss these questions about Science in Apologetics.

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Resources

Episode Transcript

Books

Case for a Creator - Lee Strobel

Case for Christ - Lee Strobel

Case for Faith - Lee Strobel

Website

Answers in Genesis

Vision of Hope

Documentary

The Riot and the Dance

Transcript:

Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.

Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.

Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.

Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of joy.

Main Passage: Romans 1:16-25

Janet: Welcome back to Joyful Journey Podcast. I'm here with my faithful co-host, Jocelyn.

Jocelyn: Hey, there.

Janet: And another guest I'm excited for you to meet.

Tirzah: Hi.

Janet: We're continuing our apologetic series by thinking about how science helps us to see and think about God's world from a biblical perspective.

Jocelyn: And hasn't this series been great so far.

Janet: I'm loving it.

Jocelyn: Yeah. So today our guest is Tirzah Birk. She is married to Aaron, who is one of the pastors at Faith Church, and the lead pastor with our international ministry, which is really exciting to be reaching the whole world for the Lord. She has four kids. Ages 7, 5, 4, and 1. And she's transitioned to being a full-time stay-at-home mom. So welcome, Tirzah! We're so happy you're joining us today and we really cannot wait to hear what you have to share with us.

Tirzah: Thank you so much. I'm super happy to be here. And I just want to say, I have been very blessed by the ministry of this podcast, so I'm thankful for what I've been learning. It's been very helpful for me. This is such a big topic and one that I really love my background is in science. I'll explain a little bit more about that. And it's also just such a challenging topic because everyone listening probably comes from different perspectives on science. We may have professional scientists. We may have people who never would like to think ever again about science in their life. So one of my goals for today is to start with a question of what should be the Christian's relationship to science? Like how should we think about science? And what/ if any is the connection between the Bible and science?

Jocelyn: I'm really excited to hear what you have to say about this topic, because I feel like one of those families that has a love/hate relationship with science because on the one hand medical science, it really helped to save my life and my kids' lives because they were both born early, but now like we're studying chemistry and that is not our favorite, but biology is awesome and physics is scary. So I'm excited to hear what you have to say about this.

Janet: Well, what I think is funny is when I think about my relationship to science, I homeschooled for a long time not for all of it, and we're not here to talk about all that, but I will say this science was the one subject I didn't want to teach. So the first year we taught it, we decided we'd read a book and say, if we had done the lab, what would that have done? I think you're right. And that was science for that year.

Jocelyn: I feel so much better.

Janet: The next year we decided it was worth putting them in the Christian school for science. So.

Jocelyn: I always wondered what made that decision happen

Janet: Because I wanted my children to have a decent education.

Tirzah: It's funny you say that because I also had starting with a kind of love/hate relationship with science.

Janet: So there's hope. I also think it's really important to think about this topic, especially with all the turmoil surrounding COVID and there's so much for Christians to think about, and how do we think biblically about all of this so that we can do it with a humble boldness, but also just with love.

Tirzah: Absolutely. My second goal today is to address the issue of how can we use science in apologetics, specifically to connect to the heart? Where does the gospel fit in? And along the way, I hope as maybe my third goal to encourage our listeners, that God's word is true, and even about science. That science and the gospel, they're not opposed to each other. Here, I should probably explain a little bit of my background because otherwise, you might be thinking, okay, stay at home, mom. What do you have to, why would you believe what you have to say about science?

Janet: Did you even do the lab in school?

Tirzah: Just briefly, my background and my connection with science here is that I went to a small, non-Christian university, and I did a bachelor's in chemistry and biology. During that undergrad time, I was working at a lab at an environmental organic chemistry lab, and when I graduated from college, I went straight to medical school and it's a long story short, but I did quit that program realizing I didn't want to be a doctor.

Jocelyn: And that's good that you realize that.

Tirzah: Yes, I'm thankful I realized fairly early on, and I worked after that as kind of like a chemist at a local lab and agronomy lab. Then I went back to graduate school where I did a masters in anatomy and cell biology, and after that, I got to teach at our local community college for five years. I taught anatomy, physiology, and biology, which was a really wonderful and fun job. During that time, I'm very thankful God orchestrated the details to put together a little research project. We actually published a paper in 2019 in a really small, academic journal, but I'm definitely the point is I'm really not the most let's say experienced scientist with the biggest career, but I have been a scientist and I have done science research, and I understand.

Jocelyn: She did the actual research.

Janet: They didn't just say, what do you think would happen?

Jocelyn: Well, I'm glad to hear that background because it does give credibility to what you're going to share with us today. This isn't just stuff you read. This is stuff that you've studied and stuff that you've seen.

Janet: And one of the things that just, I love about your story Tirzah is how God uses everything. He uses your passions, your abilities, and your experiences in ways we don't even anticipate as you're sharing all of that, you didn't start thinking you would be a pastor's wife…

Tirzah: No.

Janet: ... in international ministries, which is really cool, but seriously, a pastor's wife, international ministries, Purdue university, your background's helpful in ways who to thought. You know, and I remember talking with you during your educational journey and knowing that you just have this passion for science and really thought you wanted to be a doctor, which is a great thing, and then making that hard decision to change directions, but continuing your love for science and now home with your precious kids. God's route was a little wavy, winding, but He's using all of it. I'm sure in thousands of ways, we don't know, but at least as a way to help those of us without that background, we get to learn more from you about how to connect science and the Bible, and it just makes me want to say what a great God.

Jocelyn: Totally.

Tirzah: Absolutely.

Jocelyn: So what we're going to think about first is so how should Christians think about science?

Tirzah: Absolutely. So I want to start with two wrong extremes I think we, as Christians can have about science. There's a, I'm going to call this the science is everything view, where Christians can look to science as in some ways, even above God's Word as a source of truth. I think this can lead us to feel superior to others like I have the ultimate source of truth because I have these facts that are science. I think one of the ways I see this in myself is that sometimes when I hear about some publications in science, I'm eager to receive those. I'm not pushing back on that at all. And I don't always come to God's Word with that same eagerness to accept and receive what He's saying into my life.

Janet: I also think that would then, I mean, what are some of the red flags you're doing that? Do I have a tendency to re-interpret what I believe the Bible says every time a new science finding comes out.

Jocelyn: That's true. Absolutely.

Tirzah: Yeah. The other extreme I'm going to call, the science is nothing view, where I think a Christian could say science is often wrong. We have seen so clearly it changes and I have the Gospel and the word science is not in there.

Janet: That’s funny.

Tirzah: And I can feel superior to others because I have the ultimate source of truth. I think one of the ways I see this in myself is instead of caring about the eternal soul of someone maybe I'm talking with or on social media, interacting with, I care more about being right, or maybe looking right.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Yeah. I've struggled with that too. Especially over the last 24 months. Like it's science, isn't the center of so much contention, and I can be very unloving in some of my thoughts about people that don't agree with my view of science or how Christian should fit into it, so it can be confusing. I'm, really excited to hear how you're going to help us think bigger about this.

Tirzah: So I want to come back to, what should Christians think about science and that is centered on the Gospel. And I want to say that these extremes, I just gave as examples; the reason they're wrong is because they're false sources of security. I'm finding security in my knowledge, instead of what the Bible says, which is a call for us to worship Him above all else and to love others. Even if they see things differently than me, and even if I look foolish to them.

Jocelyn: That’s hard.

Tirzah: And we all fail in this, every one of us. So as Christians, we want to see science in its proper place, which means that we need to be focused on the Gospel message. Today we're going to look at Romans Chapter One. And in the book of Romans, Paul is making a clear argument in defense of the Gospel, across the whole book and why we need Jesus. The Gospel, as I'm sure we all know here is the Good News about Jesus. We see several things here in the Gospel, and one of them is that we are not random accidents. In fact, God made us to be, as Pastor Aucoin always says the visible representation of the invisible God. As a part of that, we're born looking for purpose, and we're seeking out answers. Another part of the gospel message is that we naturally we reject the Truth, and we were born rejecting God's ways. We don't want to follow God's ways. We actually want to follow my own way.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Tirzah: And God has placed evidence around us, and it points to God.

Jocelyn: That’s so cool.

Janet: I know.

Tirzah: So what separates the gospel from all the other religions of the world is that the only way to God is through faith in Jesus. That evidence can point us to God, but at the end of the day, we have to receive Him, and that is through faith, and it's only through Jesus, His death on the cross that we can be made acceptable to God.

Janet: And can I just stop? Here we are, we've asked you to come and share with us about science from the point of view of a scientist. I think it's awesome that you see Gospel Truth as paramount as you're going to talk to us about science, which is already you modeling the primacy of the Word and the Gospel, even as we think about science.

Tirzah: And God has changed my heart in that, for sure. I did not start thinking that way. Absolutely. But so what we're talking about is the Gospel message and how does science fit into that Gospel message? I think what's going on today in our culture is, well in general, as I've just said, each one of us is looking for any excuse to follow our own way. I think science can just be one of those excuses of I can live however I want to live. Whereas science is just an evidence of God that is available for us.

Jocelyn: So tell us how should a Christian think about science and especially science apologetics, which is basically using scientific facts or truth to point to God, the creator in Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel.

Tirzah: So the big picture summary right here for the Christian, the very most important thing for us should be the Gospel message. As we're sharing the gospel with non-believers, I think one common excuse to come up can be a kind of science based excuse, and actually knowing the Gospel is going to be the best way for me to understand this person's heart, this person is using science as my excuse not to follow God because the Gospel tells us our very nature is warped against God. We're looking for excuses not to submit to Him. For many people, science is that excuse they're looking for, but they're actually wrong there. Science does not explain God away and it actually points toward God. So science apologetics together with a clear and humble view of the Gospel can be a tool to help people see their hearts rebelling against God and striving to follow their own way.

Jocelyn: That's really helpful to think about because that actually is one of the things that has bothered me about science is that it seems so anti-God for it in so many different disciplines. Like they're explaining life without a Creator are doing their very best to, I'm excited to hear your explanation.

Tirzah: Yeah. I would love to go straight into Romans Chapter One. Jocelyn, would you read for us Romans Chapter One, starting in verse 16 through verse 25?

Jocelyn: Sure. I love this passage, Romans 1, starting in verse 16, "For I am not ashamed of this good news about Christ. It is the power of God at work saving everyone who believes, the Jew first and also the Gentile, this good news tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the scripture say, it is through faith that a righteous person has life, but God shows his anger from Heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God, because He has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities, His eternal power, and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes. They knew God. They wouldn't worship Him as God, or even give thanks to Him. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused claiming to be wise. They instead became utter fools, and instead of worshiping the glorious everliving God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandon them to do whatever shameful things, their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen."

Tirzah: Thank you, Jocelyn. And as a reminder, this is just the very intro of this book of Romans. If you haven't had a chance to look through this book, I really would encourage you to spend some time in this book. It's just a really clear and beautiful picture of the gospel. So there's a lot that's in this passage and we're not going to get to every last thing, but I want to start looking at that very first verse where Paul says, the reason that he's not ashamed of the gospel is because it is the power of God for salvation. So the point here I want to make is that it's the gospel, not science that has the power for salvation. The gospel is the source of truth and purpose.

Jocelyn: So what is the goal of apologetics?

Tirzah: That is a great question and an area that I have clearly failed in. I was just thinking about when I was in my undergrad, I loved having long talks with friends. There's one particular conversation that stands out in my mind where we sat in the cafeteria and it was like maybe hours of just here's facts, and they had facts and we just had facts, lots of debate, lots of, yep. It was a friendly conversation, but we never, I never, at any point, got to the gospel and asked them, why were they living for this? What was this an excuse for in their life?

Janet: I know it's always hard when we look back at our efforts and see all the ways we fell short. Which happens. I don't know all the time, yesterday, today, it wouldn't be today. I haven't thought about it yet, but that's one thing of many that I just so much love about our God. He takes all of our best feeble efforts and He just grows us through them.

Tirzah: Amen. So I want to warn us here that this approach that I went through it is a wrong approach to apologetics. It's that if I could just give enough facts. This person will repent of their sin and be saved. I just want you to imagine if you are having a conversation with someone and arguing with them, how are you going to feel if they are just going I'm right. You're wrong. And here's just fact after fact.

Jocelyn: That would make me pretty angry and I would want to stop listening to you because I would think you were such a jerk.

Janet: You don't think it'd make you go. Wow. I want whatever you have. Yeah, I think I would be pretty defensive. And now my goal in life is to show you that you're wrong, whether I'm rational or not, because I don't want to feel like an idiot.

Tirzah: It's about being right.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Tirzah: And that is the wrong or not, gospel-centered when we're going off on those discussions. So friends, I want to encourage us that the goal of apologetics it has to be to help my friends see the truth of the gospel. And as we think of how Paul uses this argument in Romans, he's momentarily, he is dealing with the science and the logic, but he quickly gets to the heart and that message that we are warped that we're living for our own desires. I just think that's so freeing because it's the gospel that has the power of salvation. When I just think about science, even as a scientist, it's overwhelming. There's always new information coming out in science. And if I think that I'm going to win this person to Christ through science facts, I'm never going to be done. I'm never going to be done studying and learning new things.

Jocelyn: And reading scholarly journals and articles. They're always researching some new point and proving some new thing.

Tirzah: Absolutely, and the good news is that those things don't save anyways. It's really the kindness of God that leads us to repentance as Paul's going to say later in this book.

Janet: Which to me says, while we want be able to show that science is consistent with the Bible. The real issue is are they going to see kindness? Because it's the kindness of God that leads to repentance, not how effective is your argument.

Jocelyn: You're just being a debater then. Basically.

Tirzah: Yeah. And ultimately only Jesus is the one who can change your nature, my nature, and their nature to give us a new desire, a new purpose.

Janet: Which is actually refreshing.

Tirzah: Absolutely. The next thing I want to do, I want to walk through kind of like an example of an objection, and this was coming out of this conversation I had with a specific friend. It's objection of someone saying we don't even need to believe in God anymore. We can know everything we need to know about the world through science.

Jocelyn: Wow.

Tirzah: And they say, you know, back in the old days, people used to believe in gods because they just didn't understand how the world works, but now we know how the world works and there's just not even a need. Why would I even need to believe in God? And I think that this objection is even a great illustration of the point I was making that we are looking for an excuse to not believe in God. Ladies, I'm wondering if you will play the role of kind of an atheist friend. I'm going to ask you a few questions. Here where I was tempted to respond to this friend was here are some facts. Here if I give you facts, you'll believe.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Tirzah: But the question I want to ask you is to consider what is it that you love so much about science?

Jocelyn: Well, if I loved science, I would love it because it was research driven and there's data. I can prove to you what is true. I don't have to believe in anything. It doesn't require faith. I like when I hear a scientist speak, that's where they land. Look, I have facts. I don't have to choose to believe anything because it's provable.

Tirzah: Absolutely. There's no belief involved.

Jocelyn: Right.

Tirzah: That's the whole reason that I am worshiping at this idol of science. So, friend, are you saying that you're only going to believe what can be repeated and what is proven?

Jocelyn: Like the scientific method. It's an experiment that can be redone and you can get the same results.

Tirzah: That's exactly right. Here I think your friend will say, yes, that's exactly right. I'm only going to believe what is repeatable. If you look in just about any science textbook, it's going to start with that scientific method. You were just talking about, Jocelyn, where you're going to reject results unless they can be repeated. So here you could use a number of different questions, but I think one, that's just a natural way to illustrate this is the question of, so what are you going to do with the beginning of the universe? What do you think about how life began?

Jocelyn: That’s a good question.

Tirzah: What is the common answer for our science/atheist friends.

Janet: I think most, well I don't know what most would say, but I have heard the scientific explanation is that there was a big bang. We have evidence of a big bang.

Tirzah: Oh, absolutely.

Jocelyn: Yeah, something happened and we all just magically suddenly appeared and then slowly evolved over millions and millions of years to this present state. It's spoken of with such conviction. Like we are absolutely convinced that things evolved over millions of years after something brought matter into being.

Janet: Because the evidence shows that.

Jocelyn: Right. That's the general assumption.

Tirzah: For sure. I have not heard anybody push back on the Big Bang Theory. So I want to talk about the Big Bang for a minute because it is just really such a beautiful and fascinating origin proposal. And so just to be clear on the same page, the Big Bang is referring to the idea that there was a specific point in time where there was nothing, and then as you just said, Jocelyn, there was an explosion. Time did not exist before that there was no space, no matter, no energy, and then suddenly for no explainable reason, all of that just came about.

Jocelyn: It's hard for a Christian to believe because it's so unbelievable. Like how could it just suddenly appear? Out of thin air?

Janet: That seems like it would take a whole lot of faith.

Jocelyn: That’s what I think.

Tirzah: It sounds just like Genesis chapter one. When you read that, that the Bible is saying the same thing that God created everything out of nothing. I think the history of this is just so fascinating because scientists used to say that, well, what we see now, it has always existed, but actually, as there's been more development of science and observation of expanding universe, et cetera, et cetera. It actually points back to a specific, clear origin where there was nothing, and then there was something.

Jocelyn: It's kind of interesting though, because as biblical thinkers, we do believe that, but we believe that God spoke and matter came to be. So there was a massive release of energy from the God of the universe at a moment in time

Tirzah: So where I want to go with this? If you can propose this to your friend, you're wanting them to get to this point that there is no logical, there's no scientific, there's no facts only, repeatable explanation of the origin of the universe. So why would you accept that?

Jocelyn: Right.

Tirzah: My atheist friends,

Jocelyn: Right? Like how can we repeat the Big Bang? Like how can we do an experiment to prove that it happened? How can we make sure that it's actually factual? I get frustrated because so many people just accept it and they don't really ever think through whether it is logical or not.

Tirzah: It's not repeatable. It does not fit in the scientific method learning. So why are we accepting this? Well, we have to receive what they say based on the evidence that does exist. So here's a question that I would keep on pushing if I'm talking to you, my atheist friend, would be, well, have you seen an atom? Have you seen this before?

Jocelyn: If feel like that's a trick question. I've seen the evidence of atoms, I think. I don't know. No, I have never seen an atom.

Tirzah: Well, surely you have at least read the papers where they discovered and separated out these original atoms.

Janet: No, I have not read those. We skipped those pages too.

Tirzah: So why would you accept this? Why would you accept that an atom exists?

Jocelyn: I think because someone told me that it does.

Janet: And someone that I trust, other scientists, people who know things.

Tirzah: Exactly, you have to be willing to receive and trust in that information, and there is good reason for that information. This is exactly what faith is. So we're all putting our faith in something. And it can be in what the scientists are saying, but I actually think when we think about our daily life, we're really mostly putting our trust in our faith in ourselves.

Janet: Ouch.

Jocelyn: That's interesting. Yeah.

Tirzah: And I think here's a great opportunity for you as you're having a conversation with someone to weave in your personal testimony and find ways where you see, you know, what I was putting my faith and all my hope and confidence in this other thing. Here's where I saw that that failed me in this way, and here's what the Bible offers that is so much better. So as an application for what this discussion we've just had, as you're talking with some of your friends and having these science apologetics conversations, are you just talking about facts or are you getting to the gospel? Does your conversation with your non-believing friends reflect that the gospel is the power of salvation?

Jocelyn: This is really helpful for me to think through because I very easily get sucked into arguments. I very easily think I have to outsmart them. That is scary to me because I'm not a fast thinker. I don't think fast on my feet. I don't have good arguments. I get really flustered with sarcasm. And so it's helpful. Like I'm making it a different deal than it actually is. This is about the gospel, not about outwitting someone.

Janet: And do they know that I love them at the end of the conversation? Are they drawn to my love whether or not they agree with me?

Jocelyn: Right.

Tirzah: Absolutely. This is preaching to myself as well. So in verse 20, I want to get to the next point here that this verse is saying that there is no excuse for anyone to not believe in God because He's given us the evidence that we need. I think maybe your atheist friend is going to just get to the bottom line of, I'm just only going to believe in what there is evidence for. I'm unwilling to receive, you know, miracles and the supernatural thing.

Jocelyn: That's helpful. This is helpful to think about.

Tirzah: Yeah. So what these verses are making clear in 18 through 20, that when we look at a created world, the natural conclusion is actually to acknowledge that there was something, someone that created these things.

Jocelyn: How could it all be here without someone having thought through it?

Janet: With the level of design that's there?

Jocelyn: It's too organized. It's too perfect. Even under the curse of sin, there's amazing detail.

Tirzah: I want to walk through six examples. This comes from the book, The Case for A Creator by Lee Strobel, who was an atheist and a journalist at The Chicago Tribune. This book is just really excellent. One part of it, he interviews a geophysicist named Dr. Meyers and he asks him like, what are some evidences for God that we see in nature? So I want to give you six of these and I'm not going to go into every last drop of detail that. I also want to preface saying that the goal of this is not to overwhelm you with more things to memorize, but I think to give you boldness in your faith, that this is true, and I just want us to worship God together in our hearts, as we just think about our God, who invented and designed each of these things. So the first one is what I already said about the origin of the universe. That the very theory that everybody is agreeing with nobody's disputing about the Big Bang. It points to a clear, specific beginning in which energy, matter, space, and time all had a specific beginning. The second one is called fine tuning. It's basically the idea that when we look at life and the existence of life in our universe and on our planet, that it is so precisely, finally tuned. There's just millions of examples of this, the angle of our earth on its axis. I loved when I studied chemistry, learning that the, if you think of the water molecule, that H2O. It is bent at a very specific angle. It's 104.5 degrees on average. And if that angle was just a little bit wider or just a little bit more narrow, there would be no life.

Jocelyn: Wow.

Janet: And how does that evolve? Like it's either there or it's not. That's crazy.

Tirzah: That’s exactly right.

Janet: Wow.

Tirzah: And I am not, my background is not in physics, but there are these amazing constants. When you look at what is holding life together and what is holding even within the atom the subparticles, what is holding those together? Well, it's this magical, strong force that we just don't really understand. And there is no, it's just a constant and there's no real explanation for how this works or why it is that.

Jocelyn: It seems like the more you study science, then the more you would have to believe in God, as you have all these evidences, the more you understand, the bigger you see the fine tuning actually is.

Tirzah: Either that, or the more I'm going to reject God because look how I can find these things out and look how amazing I am.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Tirzah: I found this out The third point I wanted it to get to is that when you look at the way that life works, when you think about how the cell works, it is just so computer, like you just, the way I see it is you just, can't not see design. One of the mysteries of this last century, and obviously beforehand has been, how does our body know what to do? How does a cell, like how does a muscle cell know that it's a muscle cell and not a neuron or something else? And the answer of course is that it's programmed with DNA and DNA has the code to make proteins. Proteins in the cell are really kind of like the workers they're doing the functions of the cell. And how does our body know to make these proteins that precisely make one cell to be its kind of cell and not another cell? Well, it's by a DNA code. Just like a computer, there is a precise order and the communication and regulation of every little detail is just so much. It's not even like one computer. It's like a factory full of little computers that are beautifully working together.

Jocelyn: Shelby and I just studied that in biology this year, and when we were talking about fertilization that all of life starts with a sperm and an egg that unite, and it becomes your body. Like all of the cells, the individualized cells of your body, it's just, blows my mind to think about the complexity of what the DNA code includes.

Tirzah: It's just breathtaking in my mind. When you look at it, the more you look at it, it's just screaming a designer, and God. Point number four is it's called irreducible complexity. Before I give you the example of this, I just want you to imagine like a line of dominoes that are all one by one, where if you knock the first domino over that knocks over the next, which gets the next at all in a line. If you can imagine that in your mind, you can kind of imagine that irreducible complexity is the idea that how cells communicate both internally and then with each other is dependent on a lot of these proteins that are activating each other, where it is very much like a domino cascade where the one has to activate the next one, the next one. If you have one piece missing, just like one domino in that line, it stops. You can't get to the end goal. So it really is kind of a problem for evolution because why would you evolve all those separate steps? If one of them didn't evolve in time with all the other seven, you just have nothing.

Jocelyn: Yeah. We're learning this about the organelles inside of the cell. We were studying all the different jobs, different organelles, and we just looked at each other and we were like, but evolution cannot possibly be true because for that organelle to do its job, this previous organelle had to do their job. So like, what did they all just magically evolve on the exact same moment and then perfectly start functioning? That's not even evolutionary. That's not what evolutionists believe. So we were just in love with God as we studied cellular biology and just the amazing complexity of keeping one cell alive.

Tirzah: Absolutely.

Janet: But as I listened to you guys, it makes me think. It just reaffirms Tirzah of what you've already been saying. It's not because of science that we don't believe in God. We've already decided not to believe in God. So arguing only at the level of science isn't going to get me anywhere because it's not even really science that's keeping me from God because the science shows God.

Jocelyn: That’s true.

Janet: So it's clearly not the science that's keeping me from God, which is a reminder of why just debating at the fact level is not going to get me anywhere.

Tirzah: Here I want to take a brief, but really important tangent to discuss and define what we mean by this word evolution.

Jocelyn: Good idea.

Tirzah: I see a lot of Christians and non-Christians sometimes talking past each other and misunderstanding each other and the use of this word.

Janet: I think that's important because I think for Christians, sometimes we think evolution, bad; creation, good. So the minute somebody uses the word evolution, they're already on the bad team.

Jocelyn: Then you just shut your ears off.

Janet: Yes, but what are they talking about? Define your terms.

Tirzah: Yes. So evolution is very simply just descent with modification. What that means is that organisms like, imagine dogs as they're reproducing, there are small changes that are happening over time. The example I think is just easy to visualize is dog breeding. So dogs are all one species, but obviously there are many different types or breeds of dogs. We can all agree that this process of evolution is real and we can observe it happening. We can observe there are breeds of dogs that we have today that we know for fact did not use to exist. Right? So the problem is that the mainstream science has decided that because we observe evolution happening at a certain rate now, therefore it has always happened at the same rate for all time. Therefore everything evolved from one single common ancestor. Specifically that is macroevolution that everything evolved from one single common ancestor. What I would say for us as Christians is that we would agree with microevolution. We observed this today. It fits with what the Bible says that God created organisms in Genesis 1. He told them to reproduce after their kind. The way, I guess I'm seeing this is that the Bible says God made animals by their kind and it's like a species.

Janet: Like a dog.

Tirzah: Exactly, and within that, God made genetic variability possible. So maybe there is like a kind of wolf- like ancestor from which all the dogs and wolves evolved. We would agree with that as Christians. Here, I want to be careful. I know some of our listeners, they may not agree with what we're saying today, which is that we did not evolve all from one single organism. I do want to say that this is not a salvation issue. The purpose of the Bible is for us to know God and to make a very clear gospel message. God invented all of science, but His purpose of the Bible was not to be a science textbook. I personally, I am convinced that if you do carefully examine the Bible, that the macroevolution does not fit in what the Bible is saying, but we can disagree on this as sisters in Christ. I know I have failed in this area where I definitely used to think the only way to be a Christian is to agree with me on this issue. So I want to say again for my sake, as well as anyone else's that salvation is by faith alone, in Christ alone to the glory of God alone.

Janet: It's so good to be reminded that we need to be gracious with each other. And, you know, I do believe the Bible is very clear, so I don't want to minimize, I believe it's important to take the Bible at face value, and when it says this is how we were created. This is what it means. I also know that I don't know what areas I'm still deceived in and it doesn't mean I don't know and love God. It means I'm still deceived in some areas and other people may be as well, and for me to judge that I'm better than them or that they must not really know Christ is very arrogant.

Tirzah: So I guess in summary, what I would say is that as Christians, we're not against evolution, we're against macro evolution. The idea because we observe evolution today does not mean that the constant rate for all time. I'm going to get to a key reason why scientifically, I disagree with that, but point number five is the Cambrian explosion, which refers to the idea that's the current estimate. Again, this is a secular science is that our universe is something like 13.8 billion years old. That's billion with a "b". The very first organisms appeared something like 3 billion years ago.

Janet: It was fascinating to me that they believe they know these things.

Tirzah: I know.

Jocelyn: And I want to know how. I want to know how it was observed.

Janet: But anyways.

Jocelyn: Anyways, going on to your point.

Tirzah: So what they're saying is that there's 10 billion years of nothing in terms of life. And then suddenly some very simple life evolves. I just want to say here that when they say simple, it's kind of this bacteria-like organism. Not simple at all. The more we learn about bacteria and some of these, again, I'm using quotes here, primitive, single cell organisms. Obviously there's not a brain or a heart or some of these other complex systems, but if you have heard about CRISPR, it actually has been taken from bacteria and CRISPR here just to be very simple is a gene editing technique that is being developed right now in research labs in our city and other places around the world to find DNA that is the wrong sequence, has mutation, to cut it out and replace it with the right healthy sequence. It's really complicated. And people, I used to think, well, scientists are just up in this lab, up in their tower and they just come up with these things on their own. No, actually they found this in bacteria and they're just modifying it from what was already going on in these again, very simple. Yes, organisms from which we supposedly all evolved. So getting back to this Cambrian explosion, it's this idea that there were not a lot of changes for a really, really long time, and then suddenly in a really shockingly short period of time, evolutionarily mere 13 to 40 million years,

Jocelyn: Which is way less than many billions.

Tirzah: Absolutely. Then there's an incredible jump in complexity, almost all of the information and species prototypes of which we have today. They just suddenly explode from nothing. that itself is a problem for macroevolution of this has happened so quickly. It doesn't really fit.

Jocelyn: It doesn't fit their theory. That's really helpful for you to explain because that would be an argument that would throw me off. If someone started talking about big stuff like that, I would be so thrown off and not know how to respond. So I'm really glad to hear that explanation.

Tirzah: So one of the big problems as we look at this macroevolution is that there has to be a ton of new information, right? If everything came from nothing, all along the way, there has to be new information added as an example, things not having eyes and they have to evolve the ability to have eyes, et cetera. The way that we gain information is by mutations. Those are simply just changes that happen in DNA. That does happen all the time. We are constantly having mutations in our DNA. There is just simply no evidence of mutations bringing new information. It's estimated that 95% of mutations have no effect of the other 5% of mutations that happen 99.9% of those are bad.

Jocelyn: And they’ll kill you.

Tirzah: It's what caused cancer and all the diseases that we suffer with today. Those are from DNA mutations.

Janet: So you are saying that there is no example or evidence of any mutation ever adding information.

Tirzah: That is what I'm saying. I want to be careful here of saying that there is a change in information, in the sense of when I gave the example of dog breeding, right? So there's a wolf-like ancestor, and then we have all the dog breeds today. I am saying that that is not new information.

Jocelyn: That was already there. It was already genetically diverse. We grow a lot of tomatoes on our farm and we see the same genetic diversity with tomatoes. They came from a common ancestor, but if you breed them down enough, you can always get a small round orange tomato, which is my favorite, but there's so much genetic diversity. You can get a land raised tomato that you can refine out to a whole different kind of end product, but it was all there. You just refined it down through breeding.

Tizah: That's exactly right. I think the plant illustrations are so fascinating and I'm going to go on a tangent history of this is so interesting with communism, where there was this belief in the Soviet union, and China of this belief in science that there would be new mutations getting new information. They were exposing the plants like potatoes and rice. They were just throwing mutagens at them. Radiation. Thinking this, because we believe that evolution, everything is improving.

Janet: It's being consistent with their world view.

Tirzah: That's exactly right. Then we're going to wait and see what happens. Well, what happened was the starvation of more people than died in World War II died under communist Soviet Union and China.

Janet: Wow.

Jocelyn: Because they couldn't improve their food.

Tirzah: They couldn't. And there's a fascinating history of one man in China, one scientist that was about to go to jail, but he went by hand in the rice patty, and he found the one type of rice that was needed to produce more. Through this kind of just breeding, which just illustrates that the rice already had genetic potential to produce that way instead of just evolution.

Jocelyn: That's so fascinating and really helpful because I did not know that. I didn't know that mutations, that they're adding new information.

Janet: They would have to.

Jocelyn: They would have to add new information. So what you're saying is mutations are generally damaging.

Janet: They are a loss of information.

Jocelyn: They are a corruption of information.

Tirzah: The last of my six points here of evidences for where we see God in science is just simply that there is human consciousness. That science cannot explain our ability to be aware of ourselves, to self-reflect, for creativity, for art, and all these things. So what I want to say in summary again, is I hope that these examples are not to bog you down and make you feel like you need to know all these things perfectly well, or you need to go back and you're not equipped to talk with someone until you have memorized all these facts. I just want to illustrate that our God is the one who invented and designed all of this and someone saying they're going to believe in science and not God is just an excuse for not wanting to follow Him.

Jocelyn: So why do you think the majority of scientists disagree with this?

Tirzah: That's a really great question because what I've just been saying is that science is full of God and there's evidence for God everywhere. So that is a really important question. Why isn't everybody on the same page here? And the answer is really simple and short and it's right in our passage in Romans 1, it's that scientists are humans and our human nature is naturally verse 18 says we suppress the truth. Verse 21 says that we become feudal or foolish in our thinking. Verse 21 says our hearts are darkened. Verse 25 says that we naturally want to exchange the truth for a lie, and that we would rather worship creation, then worship the Creator.

Jocelyn: That is very helpful for me to think about because sometimes I get so intimidated by scientists with all their facts and having all these things that they're proving. When an actual, if it's an actuality, if it's opposing God, it's because we naturally suppress the truth. It's because our hearts are darken. It's because we're exchanging the truth for a lie.

Tirzah: So what is at stake here with whether we are going to agree with God on this or not?

Jocelyn: Yeah. Ultimately if there's no God, we can do whatever we want. Like we're not accountable to anyone. No one to answer to when we basically in essence, get to create ourself and we get to create our own life, and we live in our own image. We become who we want to be, and we have no accountability to anybody.

Tirzah: That's exactly right. And that path is really easy at first.

Jocelyn: And very attractive, like who doesn't want to make themselves.

Tirzah: Follow my own way. Listen to my heart.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Tirzah: But the reality is it leads to misery and it leads to a lack of peace and joy. It leads to being unsatisfied, and ultimately it does lead to death and destruction. But if there is a God and His word is true, then He has created and specially formed and chosen every part of you. There was not one accident or overlooked detail, and He's given you a special purpose and it has a wonderful purpose. It's to be God's representative on earth.

Jocelyn: But it's His purpose. That's the rub. You don't get to choose it yourself. You get to do what you were created to do. It takes a great deal of humility to say, I lay myself down to do what my creator said to do instead of making myself.

Tirzah: That is absolutely right., Jocelyn. It means I'm no longer in charge of my life, which honestly, that's one of the hardest things. There are few that are willing to accept that.

Jocelyn: So as believers, there is a lot of comfort for us to think about, and it's been really helpful you know, like I struggle with science and knowing exactly what to think about it. Especially as I listened to lots of controversial stuff in the news. So it is very helpful to be able to see your explanation and to think through these big, huge, huge concepts, but in a way that we can digest it easily.

Tirzah: The last point I want to get to here is to address how does faith fit with science?

Jocelyn: Good question.

Tirzah: And because it's often set up as opposition to each other.

Jocelyn: Definitely.

Tirzah: I want to argue that faith is inseparable from science because faith is required for all knowledge and here I want to define faith as confidence in what is unseen.

Jocelyn: Oh, that’s interesting.

Tirzah: Every single person on the planet, we have to place our faith in something. We're all doing that.

Jocelyn: Totally.

Tirzah: As we look to the Bible's definition we see in Hebrews 11: 1, "Faith is confidence in what we hope for. It's assurance of what we don't see". And in fact, it's impossible to please God without faith. And that salvation comes by God's grace through faith And as Christians, we're called to walk by faith and not by sight. So I want to be clear that faith is not a kind of blind hope. It's not a, I hope God is real kind of like, well, I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow.

Jocelyn: I'm glad you delineated that because that is what a lot of people think that Christians think like.

Tirzah: Instead faith is confident expectation. It's a willingness, not only to accept something is true, but to orient my life around that.

Jocelyn: That’s a great explanation.

Janet: And when you said earlier that everybody has faith then we all have to acknowledge we are all orienting our life around something by faith. So it's not, am I going to live by faith? It's am I going to be honest about what I've put my faith in?

Jocelyn: Because someone who does trust in macroevolution is saying I've chosen to believe that that thing is true, and now I build my life around it. It still requires a measure of faith.

Janet: Yeah.

Tirzah: Absolutely. When I think of putting my faith in God, it is based on an abundance of evidence from Him. Both His past and present faithfulness, His power and mercy, His kindness, forgiveness, love justice and goodness, if not, only to myself, then also just the evidence we see as we read the Bible. So as you're talking with your atheist friends and they're going to be saying something like, I believe in science, I only want to accept what's been proven. I think one of the goals is really to help them to see how are they actually living their life. Are they living their life based on purely scientific analysis?

Jocelyn: That’s a great question.

Tirzah: And the answer is no.

Jocelyn: No.

Tirzah: Each one of us, we are living by our desires. By our wants and our feelings. And we are all that way. It's not just them. So I want you to imagine, I would ask this if I was talking to a single friend, but I'm going to ask you to imagine, you know, if there was someone, if you were single and maybe that an average person, maybe our atheist friend, and there is someone interested in dating you. How are you going to decide should I date this guy?

Janet: Do you think evolutionary potential? Well, evolutionarily, would this be a good match? I mean you say that and you're like that's ridiculous.

Jocelyn: That's ridiculous! Like you think, oh, is he hot? Like, is he nice? Does he make fun of me? Do. I like his jokes?

Janet: Does he make me feel amazing? Does he make me happy?

Jocelyn: Do we like the same thing? But I would never consider like a scholarly journal article and the evidence that they present on what would be a good human compatibility match.

Tirzah: That's exactly right. At the end of the day, every one of us, unless God helps us do otherwise, we're making our everyday decisions based on how we feel and what we want. James 4 makes that clear that we do what we do because we want what we want. That's our natural, the way that we were born.

Jocelyn: This has been really helpful. I'm really glad to get to think about this, and I'm personally thinking about just like 20 applications inside of my head, but Tirzah help us kind of wrap up our time today about some ways that we could apply this broadly.

Tirzah: So I want to repeat one more time that what I have said in application so far, which is that when we're talking with friends, we really want to connect to the heart and connect to the gospel and not just be all about facts. So in application, I want to encourage us and challenge us to consider how are you going to view God and my concern for many people and this is myself included that we let outside sources shape and dictate our view of God.

Jocelyn: That’s very true.

Tirzah: It's kind of like, if you imagine, you're trying to look at or study the sun, obviously you shouldn't look at the sun, but you're trying to learn about the sun, but you're holding up an object right up in front of your eyes and it's completely blocking your view of the sun. You can see neither thing accurately. You can't see the sun accurately. You can't see the object accurately. And I think that we can do this with science, where we're holding up our view of science and what has been said scientifically, or holding that up in front of the Bible. I would argue that you're not able to see God accurately and you're not able to see science accuracy.

Jocelyn: That’s interesting.

Tirzah: I think we do this where we say that science is true is number one. I'm going to fit my understanding of the Bible around that as being more important. I think we also do this with letting our culture and what our culture says, shape our view of God, where we're holding up our culture in between our view of God. We listen to what the world says about sexuality, about relationships, about race, about religion, and we choose those views first.

Jocelyn: And that would definitely make you let that thing dictate how you interpret the Bible. That's actually how I've been thinking about this application in my head about science to the work that I do, especially in biblical counseling. I end up counseling a lot of people who struggle with their gender identity or have questions about their sexuality. That is a common struggle. They're taking their cultural view and fitting God into it instead of letting Him speak for Himself.

Janet: So then we have to twist the Bible.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: And we have to alter God's word so that they're going to fit with what culturally we have been told is true.

Jocelyn: And you let hard stuff warp how you view God instead of letting God speak for Himself through the scriptures and understanding our world through His knowledge as is shared with us in the scriptures.

Tirzah: That's exactly right. I was going to say that we also do this with our suffering. Something that I've been working through this year, personally, is am I going to let my suffering, my view of my suffering dictate how I see God? Or am I going to let my view of God dictate how should I see my suffering? And we see this in scripture, I'm thinking of is Ezekiel 14:3 that says, "They have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces". So I want to exhort everyone here to let God's word be first.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Tirzah: Let God's word shape how you view science and each of these issues. We should approach God's word asking, what is God saying here? What does God say that He's like? Why did He make us? What are His purposes? When we let God's word be true first, that's how we're going to rightly see both God and science and these other issues, including my own suffering. And I have to say that this is not only hard. It is unnatural. We all don't do this. We're not born viewing God this way.

Janet: Right. It’s supernatural.

Tirzah: That is exactly right. So, Jesus has to change our view of God. This is why we need Jesus. We cannot do this on our own. I want to close by reading Paul's reflection at the end of the book of Romans. This is from the end of Romans Chapter 11.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Tirzah: I want to read verses 33 through 36 aloud. And I just want us to worship the Lord in our hearts, as we just think about some of these issues of science that even the ones maybe we still don't understand and have full knowledge. "Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom of God. How unsearchable are His judgments and inscrutable his ways for who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor, or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid for from him and through him. And to him are all things to him, be the glory forever. Amen".

Jocelyn: What a perfect way to wrap up a discussion about science, like it's from Him. It was through Him and it's to Him. So we like to make sure that our listeners know about resources. Can you recommend any resources for somebody who would want to study about this topic more?

Tirzah: Absolutely. I already referenced the book by Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator. He also has a book called The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith. I think all of those are really excellent books. The website for Answers in Genesis also has a lot of really science driven, gospel driven information. More recently, my husband and I watched a documentary that's free on Amazon Prime that's called, The Riot and The Dance. That was just really well done. It's a documentary.

Janet: I've heard about that one. So it was good, huh?

Jocelyn: I'll have to check that out.

Tirzah: It was just beautifully shot too. Like it's a visual treat also to watch.

Jocelyn: Yeah. The whole time that you've been talking, I've been thinking about the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter. My daughter and I actually have a field trip plan there in December because we're studying biology. We want to go reread the biology exhibits, but I would really highly encourage you if you're close enough to take a trip to the Creation Museum, that would be an excellent way to incorporate some further study on this topic.

Tirzah: Absolutely. And that's done by Answers in Genesis, isn't that right?

Janet: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Tirzah, for joining us today for our short apologetics series. I hope it's been a blessing to those listening and I hope you will join us again for our next episode and take the journey with us.

To keep from missing any future episodes, please sign up for our newsletter on our webpage joyfuljourneypod.com. From there you can also subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify. You can also visit us on our Facebook page or Instagram at Joyful Journey Podcast. If you have questions or comments for us, you can email us at joyfuljourneyquestions@outlook.com. Joyful Journey Podcast is a ministry of Faith Bible Seminary. All proceeds go to offset costs of this podcast and toward scholarships for women to receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.

Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their website.



Janet Aucoin

Bio

Janet is the Director of Women's Ministries at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.