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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Relativity

A GPS is my Going Places Solo machine.  Without my GPS, I Gotta Phone Somebody or Gotta Petition Strangers.  I need my navigator to direct me to where I want to be.

But if I believed in the relativity of truth I would be more hopelessly lost than ever!  Not only would I not know how to get where I was going, but I wouldn’t even know where I was going . . . or where I came from, either!  (I don’t think my GPS could handle that!)

On the other hand, if I step into the Christian worldview, the Bible instructs me in absolute Truth.  This worldview reveals to me the definition of right and wrong.  (A little like how my GPS tells me what street to turn on and when.)

As a relativists, I can’t get directions, because I have no absolutes . . . and with no absolutes, I can’t even be absolutely certain there are no absolutes!  (That reminds me of when my GPS says, “lost satellite reception”.  Without absolute coordinates, I might as well put a tent up in the middle of the street, because I’m never getting home!)

So many religions claim to have the absolute truth that I could see all these different claims as evidence that no religion can be right.  (But even if a million different GPS’s tell me a million different streets to take to arrive at my house, there is still only one street that connects to my driveway.  The fact that all but one of the GPS’s must be wrong doesn’t mean that the one telling me the correct street can’t take me to my house.)

And anyway, even a relativist has absolute truth . . . in a very different way.

If I’m sure there is no absolute truth, then I’m banking on the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth . . . which is absolutely uncertain . . . or not, because I can’t know that there is an absolute uncertainty about the absence of an absolute truth in a belief of no absolute truth!  (If I input that kind of data into my GPS, I think it would be so confused it’d just give up and start playing radio music.)

. . . . How could I even know I’m a relativist if I’m a relativist, if everything is relativist? (Now not only do I have no GPS, I have no car, either!)

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, NLT)

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See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Is there absolute truth?

If there is, I can answer this question.

If there isn’t, I can’t.  If there is no absolute truth, then there is no way for there to be no absolute truth, since knowing that it wasn’t an absolute truth would itself be an absolute truth.

For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth. (2 Corinthians 13:8, NLT)

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Jesus, quoted in John 14:6, HCSB)

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.