Science and Sola Scriptura

by Max Andrews

Our understanding and interpretation of nature has a significant presuppositional role in hermeneutics.  The most prevalent role I find science to hold in a biblical hermeneutic is how we recognize what a miracle is.  Natural laws are based on induction, we see the universe behave in a regular pattern that is predictable.  These laws are descriptive and not prescriptive.

We understand that given the chemical make-up of water its chemical structure cannot change to wine by natural means in the manner in which the miracle at Cana is described.  It has never been observed that a once living organism dies and comes back to life.  That would be contrary to what is predictable by these laws and by empirical experience.  I don’t want to suggest that miracles are a violation physical law either.  I would define a miracle as:  A divine intervention into, or interruption of, the regular course of the world that produces a purposeful but unusual event that would not have occurred otherwise (see The Problem of Miracles for more).

My point with hermeneutics is that we should not use sola scriptura for epistemic purposes.  The Bible is not a science textbook, though it is consistent with issues of science it does touch (see Article XII of the Chicago Statement).  Scripture isn’t our only revelation and we must, and do, rely on the reliability of natural revelation as well (i.e. biology, chemistry, cosmology, human reason, moral intuition, and other records of nature).  Sola sciprtura suggests that the Bible alone is the final authority on matters it addresses.  There’s more science in your exegesis then you probably realize.  Science isn’t an enemy.

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2 Comments to “Science and Sola Scriptura”

  1. Thanks for writing this. For your thoughtful thoughts. 🙂

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