We expect scientists and religious leaders to dialogue between science and religion. Can a politician do it? This precisely what Jim Martin, North Carolina Governor, tries in a new book, “Revelation Through Science: Evolution in the Harmony of Science and Religion.”
Why would he want to show that the scienctific discoveries pose no threat to Christianity?asks D.G. Martin host of “North Carolina Bookwatch.” Though a politician, Martin is also a trained chemist. He is a champion of the scientific method and, without apology, endorses the discoveries his fellow scientists have made, including the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe and basics of the theory of evolution.
He is also the son of a Presbyterian minister and himself a lifelong Christian. He believes the Bible is “the received word of God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and of any life it holds, on earth or elsewhere. I believe the Bible is our best guide to faith and practice.
“I believe there is, and can be, no irreconcilable conflict between science and religion, for they are revealed from the same God. Even more than that, as a Christian, I believe that God is most clearly revealed in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, I firmly believe that a loving God intended us to have the capacity to observe and interpret nature, so that we would grow in understanding the majesty and mystery of His creation and all that followed.”
How can Martin reconcile his scientific truths with the biblical account of a six-day creation or with the related belief that the earth was created only about six thousand years ago?Martin writes, “I did not debate the age of the earth with these fine gentlemen. I knew what I knew, part of which was that they knew what they knew, and this debate was not winnable.”
Now Martin is ready, not to debate, but to explain that science’s conclusions about the time of creation (13.7 billion years ago) and the age of the earth (4.5 billion years ago) are firmly based. More importantly for him, they are not in conflict with religion, including the creation accounts in the book of Genesis.
In his 400-page book, he lays out a seminar for the “educated non-scientist,” explaining the awesome complexities and orderliness of our world. He gives details of the sciences of astronomy, physics, biology, evolution, geology, paleontology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, and genomics, including efforts to spark living organisms from inert chemicals.
With every scientific advance or explanation of how the world came about and works now, Martin says there is a further revelation from the Creator.Does he assert that these advances prove the existence of God?
Not exactly. But he focusses on the “anthropic coincidences” that made for a universe that “was physically and chemically attuned very precisely for the emergence of life, culminating thus far in an intelligent, self-aware species.” Who could have fashioned it?