History vs. Science?

History is hypothetically outside the realm of science, because science is based on observation and replication (experimentation).  I can’t observe Abraham Lincoln to see if he was the 16th president of the United States.  And I can’t replicate the universe’s beginning to see how it happened.

Science does, however, influence history . . . and history does influence science.

On the one hand, science gives theories of how the universe began, for example.  This is science presuming upon history.

On the other hand, history gives a ‘past’ that scientists work from.  No one goes into an experiment with no prior knowledge and no expectation of what will happen.  If I place a seed in a pot, for example, I don’t expect it will cause the world to blow up or that it will cause penguins to migrate to North America.  I have boundaries of expectation for the experiment.

So what should I base my decision on: history or science?

What evidence does each side give?

History gives us truth (events that really happened).  Science gives us experiments, observations, probability, and theory.

Before I decide which to trust, I have to ask myself . . . why is truth a part of history?

For anything to be true, it must have a beginning in a Being who is truth or able to create truth.  Otherwise, where would truth come from?  It can’t have come from chance, since chance would never allow for objective moral standards of any kind.  (The Christian God is Truth and is able to create Truth as He speaks.)  If anything in history is the truth (for example, if it’s true that I brushed my hair this morning), then I have to ask myself . . . where is that truth coming from?  Why is it that the past really happened?  In a chance universe, how can anything be reliable?  Why would the past stay the same?

Back to my decision: I can trust history (truth) or science (experiments, observations, probability, theory).

The first—truth—can only prove creation true.  How so?  It cannot prove creation is untrue by its own “chance universe” claim in no absolute truth . . . and, therefore, no truth.  Therefore, creation can be proved to ways: by truth or experiment/observations.  A chance universe, on the other hand,  can be proved only by experiments/observations.

The second–experiments/observations–is actually irrelevant.  How so?  If there is no absolute truth, nothing can ever be known for certainty out of an experiment.  There is no ability for trustworthy historical documentation.  How can I know what happened in an experiment when there is no reliability the outcome will be the same under the same circumstances (if there is no truth), and I can’t even rely on my memory of the experiment as an aid (if there is no truth)?

Perhaps when I plant a seed, the universe did explode and I don’t know it because the past is relative and without truth . . . perhaps penguins will migrate to North America if I plant another seed.  How can I know anything, if there is no premise of truth?  Logic cannot exist without truth.  History cannot exist without truth.  And even science itself is toast!

If I have no truth to hold onto, the only thing I can cling to is logic-less, irrational chance.  So how can anything be known?  But this is the very least scientific of all: the inability to know anything.

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”  (Psalm 14:1b, ESV)

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Are sins just errors or miscalculations?

I can describe a cockroach as a “merry little animal the color of caramel with long, lithe antenna”, but . . .

that doesn’t change the fact that a cockroach is a cockroach.

The gentle insinuation when I describe sin as a mistake, error, or miscalculation is that it’s not evil, but a process of trial-and-error.

But we all know the difference between accidentally spilling coffee all over the kitchen and deliberately throwing it in someone’s face.  A person who accidentally causes something to happen doesn’t mean for it to happen.  (Recklessness is a different story . . . that’s taking a risk and not caring whether something happens or not.  Not caring enough, anyway.)  A person who deliberately causes something to happen does mean for it to happen.

Sin is not an accident.

I am not ashamed of the Good News. It is the power of God. It is the way He saves men from the punishment of their sins if they put their trust in Him. It is for the Jew first and for all other people also. The Good News tells us we are made right with God by faith in Him. Then, by faith we live that new life through Him. The Holy Writings say, “A man right with God lives by faith.” 

 We see the anger of God coming down from heaven against all the sins of men. These sinful men keep the truth from being known. Men know about God. He has made it plain to them. Men cannot say they do not know about God. From the beginning of the world, men could see what God is like through the things He has made. This shows His power that lasts forever. It shows that He is God. They did know God, but they did not honor Him as God. They were not thankful to Him and thought only of foolish things. Their foolish minds became dark. They said that they were wise, but they showed how foolish they were. They gave honor to false gods that looked like people who can die and to birds and animals and snakes. This honor belongs to God Who can never die.

 So God let them follow the desires of their sinful hearts. They did sinful things among themselves with their bodies. They traded the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and cared for what God made instead of worshiping the God Who made it. He is the One Who is to receive honor and thanks forever. Let it be so.

 Because of this, God let them follow their sinful desires which lead to shame. Women used their bodies in ways God had not planned. In the same way, men left the right use of women’s bodies. They did sex sins with other men. They received for themselves the punishment that was coming to them for their sin.

 Because they would not keep God in their thoughts anymore, He gave them up. Their minds were sinful and they wanted only to do things they should not do. They are full of everything that is sinful and want things that belong to others. They hate people and are jealous. They kill other people. They fight and lie. They do not like other people and talk against them. They talk about people, and they hate God. They are filled with pride and tell of all the good they do. They think of new ways to sin. They do not obey their parents. They are not able to understand. They do not do what they say they will do. They have no love and no loving-pity. They know God has said that all who do such things should die. But they keep on doing these things and are happy when others do them also.

So you can say nothing because you are guilty when you say someone else is guilty. While you say someone is guilty, you are doing the same things he does. We know that God will say those who do such things are guilty.  Do you think God will punish others for doing wrong and let you keep sinning? Do you forget about His loving-kindness to you? Do you forget how long He is waiting for you? You know that God is kind. He is trying to get you to be sorry for your sins and turn from them.

(Romans 1:16-32, 2:1-4, NLV)

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New Life Version.  Used with permission.