Scientists and Scripture

Fossils and Faith: Understanding Torah and Science by Nathan Aviezer, Klav Publishing, November 30, 2002

Genesis and the Big Bang: The Discovery Of Harmony Between Modern Science And The Bible by Gerald Schroder, Bantam, November 30, 1991

I trust science and believe in (and trust) God, and the more I look around the more I find that I am not alone. Applied physicist Gerald Schroeder out of MIT and solid state physicist Nathan Aviezer from the University of Chicago (both now in Jerusalem) are two examples of observant Jewish scientists who feel the same way.

Each man explores the issues at the intersection of faith and science, taking a physicists’ look at what he sees are the essential compatibilities of the evolutionary narrative and the account of creation provided in the Torah. The cases they make are thought provoking, but will undoubtedly pose issues for both atheists and biblical literalists. Atheists will see their efforts as rationalizations after-the-fact, more elegantly and persuasively argued than the case for Intelligent Design, perhaps, but in the end no more convincing to skeptics. For their part, observant Jews and literalist scholars are likely to take issue with how both scientists reject the idea that the account in Genesis as literal history.

Yet I approach their efforts a bit differently. I believe that there is an answer to the apparent conflict between the scientific and scriptural accounts that legitimizes them both, and I see both Schroeder and Aviezar as laying the foundations for a theoretical and scholarly exploration of where that link might be. They are, like good scientists, putting forth hypotheses and rationales to support them. They are not declaring quod era demonstratum, but they are going beyond mere credo.

The open-minded among atheist, agnostics, and the faithful would do well to read through the explorations of these scientists. They provide a valuable starting point that, if nothing else, lays the groundwork to prevent extremists of both sides taking control of the agenda.

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