Darryl's thoughts on the Christian Faith, Facts, and World Events
"Gutenberg Bible, Lenox Copy, New York Public Library, 2009. Pic 01" by NYC Wanderer (Kevin Eng) - originally posted to Flickr as Gutenberg Bible. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gutenberg_Bible,_Lenox_Copy,_New_York_Public_Library,_2009._Pic_01.jpg#/media/File:Gutenberg_Bible,_Lenox_Copy,_New_York_Public_Library,_2009._Pic_01.jpg
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Sola Scriptura (Only Scripture) is the anti-virus software of Biblical Christianity. We can find examples of its use in the Scripture.
"The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." Acts 17:10-11
Paul was an Apostle who was inspired to write much of the New Testament, yet he applauded the Bereans for checking Scriptures to confirm or reject his teaching. If it is okay to Scripturally Fact Check and apostle, then it must be okay to do the same thing with the teachings and theories of a pastor, pope, politician, pop star, or scientist etc. "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!" Galatians 1:8 By this standard, even the Apostle's opinions should be rejected if they contradict the inspired teachings found in Scripture. Beyond this, if an angel preaches a different Gospel, then we should reject that. It is on this basis that we reject Mormonism and Islam. Furthermore, even if an alien appears and claims to be the creator, we should also test their claims under the authority of Scripture.
Galileo was forced to recant his theory that the sun is the center of the solar system, by the Catholic Church. Because of this, many people mistakenly think that the Bible is anti-science. But, it important to remember that the Catholic Church rejects sola scriptura. So, Galileo's argument was against the current pope's interpretations of scripture instead of scripture itself. In 1992, a later pope agreed that Galileo was right. It isn't fair to judge sola scriptura based Protestant Christianity for this, because the same Catholic Church that bullied Galileo into recanting his sun theory was also persecuting and executing Protestants for believing in sola scriptura.
How Would Sola Scriptura Have Treated Galileo and Other Scientists?
Let's try it out. Sola Scriptura (Sola) will have a conversation with Galileo.
Galileo: I have a cool new theory. I think that, the earth orbits the sun instead of the sun orbiting the earth.
Sola: Let's search the scriptures.
Genesis 1:14-19 says that God made the sun and moon, you don't deny that do you?
Galileo: No, “…no truth discovered in Nature could contradict the deep truth of the Holy Writ.”
Sola: Ecclesiastes 1:5 says, "Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
And hastening to its place it rises there again." Does your theory have a problem with this scripture?
Galileo: No, it is just a matter of perspective. Let me show you. Here focus your eyes on this apple that I am holding in my hand. It represents the sun. You represent the earth. Okay, now, sit down and then stand back up. From your point of view, did the apple/sun rise when you sat down and seem to go down when you stood up?
Sola: Yes, it did.
Galileo: Check out this passage. "“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts". Isaiah 55:8-9
Sola: That is true. So the way something seems to be from our perspective as fallen, sinful, humans may not be the way things really are from God's perspective.
Galileo: "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2
Sola: Cool, well my friend, I don't have a problem with your theory, go ahead and see how it turns out.
Charles Darwin: "I found some birds with different beak shapes that are adapted to different environmental conditions. I think that if this can happen, then eventually birds can keep changing and become other kinds of animals and that birds evolved from dinosaurs."
Sola: Genesis 1:21, 1:25, 6:20, and 7:14 all say that God created the different kinds of animal to reproduce "after its kind" so there is no way that they could have evolved from one kind into another kind within the framework of Scripture. So, either your theory of evolution is wrong or scripture is wrong.
Darwin: Scripture is wrong.
Sola: Sorry, I can't accept your theory because I can't call God a liar.
Sola Scriptura as a filter for Modern Sea Level Theories
If you do an Internet search, "sea levels rise", you will find a lot of theories. One of the biggest problem is that so many theories out there try to bully us into accepting them because of how many scientists, politicians, religious leaders, and movie stars believe them. But popularity of an idea by powerful people should never influence a Christian who truly lives by Sola Scriptura. "What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “That You may be justified in Your words, And prevail when You are judged.” Romans 3:3-4
So, let's search the Scripture for what it says about the topic. "I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh." Genesis 9:7-17
Sola: I will reject any theory that claims that sea levels will rise so far that they will threaten humans and all land animals with extinction, because they make God a liar.
Proverbs 8:26-29 "When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command,"
Job 38:8-11 “Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; When I made a cloud its garment
And thick darkness its swaddling band, And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’?
Psalms 104:5-9 "You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters were standing above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled,. . . To the place which You established for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass over, So that they will not return to cover the earth."
Jeremiah 5:21-25 "‘Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it."
Sola: I will reject any theory that claims that human actions can raise or lower the sea level on their own without acknowledging God as the Creator who has the final authority to set the boundaries of the sea because this would be calling God a liar.
Along these lines, here is a very interesting Scripture.
Ecclesiastes 1:7 "All the rivers flow into the sea,Yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, There they flow again."
This is an amazing verse because the water cycle is mentioned in the Bible many years before it was "discovered" by human scientists.
Here is my personal thought: Check to see if any theories take into account the complete functioning of the water cycle. For example, if earth's temperature were to rise, the polar ice caps and glaciers would melt and flow down the rivers into the sea. But it also seems reasonable that the same increased temperatures that raised would also lead to increased evaporation of sea water, which would result in more clouds and more rain, snow, and other precipitation on land. God's fine-tuning, design of the earth and its atmosphere have functioned just fine for thousands of years despite volcanoes and other events. On the other hand, humans' best efforts to manage our own small scale climate failed in the early 1990s. (see Biosphere 2). So I will continue to trust God and His Word more than the theories of humans no matter how popular they may be.
A Christian Apologist, Author, Missionary, Husband, and Father. Darryl has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University (CA), an MA in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University (CA), and a BA in Political Science from Truman State University (MO).