Did You Hear the One About the Galileo, His Bible, and His Telescope?

Galileo Facing the Roman Inquisition by Cristiano Banti (1857)

The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope, then he sees worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, then he does not see anything but that. The Bible is a thing to be looked through, to see that which is beyond.

— Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

Beecher is correct, but only in terms of spiritual or theological matters; when it comes to science, Beecher’s methodology would fail miserably. I know that Beecher didn’t mean to be (mis)understood in this way, but I find it extremely useful to compare the “Beecher Method” with the scientific pseudo-scientific methodologies used by young-earth creationists.

YECs insist that, in order to see and understand the physical cosmos both as it really is and was, one must look through the Bible first—as if it were a telescope—in order to “see that which is beyond.” Unfortunately, this is not the way science should be conducted. Young-earth creationists must adopt methodological naturalism so that their theology does not cloud their observations or warp the facts. They have nothing to fear from understanding that God can work through natural processes to accomplish His ends. Are not children born every day through natural means? Children who are predestined by God to accomplish great things (Ephesians 1:11)?

Little do YECs realize how much modern science has (unconsciously) informed their hermeneutic; it’s the only thing that’s kept them from being advocates of a 3-tiered universe and a geocentric cosmology. Instead, they understand biblical passages that teach such “realities” as purely “phenomenological” rather than reflecting the Bible’s “science of the day.” It’s time to complete the journey, Mr. Morris. It’s time to come home, Mr. Ham.

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2 Responses to Did You Hear the One About the Galileo, His Bible, and His Telescope?

  1. Pete

    It’s time to complete the journey, Mr. Morris. It’s time to come home, Mr. Ham.

    Don’t hold your breath:-)

  2. Of course, the completion of their journey could come post-mortem. 😉

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