The Bible Is a Parable: A Middle Ground Between Science and Religion
-Eureka, I have found it, | I thought as I began to delve into Berlinski‘s article. A
man who was unwilling to sacrifice his traditionally based belief system upon the altar of
his newer scholarly scientific erudition. This would be the kind of balance that I was
looking for, I concluded as I began a quick perusal of his credentials. After getting into
what he had to say, that idea turned out to be a very preliminary and misleading
As I read further into it I became groaningly disappointed in the discovery that his
obviously learned effort seemed only a different kind of example of the divide that I have
witnessed over the years between science and religion. O nly this time there seemed to be
a unique imbalance. A man of science seemed to be arguing the authoritarian point of
view of religion, even, it seemed, against well- grounded scientific theory. While unique,
I could readily see that this would do nothing to dampen the fratricidal combat between
the two sources of discovery seeking to answer the what and why of our existence. The
damage would still extend to both sides while helping neither.
As any good religionist would do, the author, a scientist/mathematician himself,
brought up the most divisive argument first, that of the purported similarity between the
simian classification and us.
-If human beings are as human beings think they are, then questions arise about what
they are, and so do responses. These responses are ancient, | he asserts.
One of those ancient responses largely unspoken in his article is that the tremendous
biological gap that stands between human beings and our simian cousins, as many
biologists like to style them, leads to the seemingly logical conclusion that there must be
no connection between them. And then, also from the ancient roots of the Judeo-Christian
Bible, seems to come the comforting assurance that we are a -special creation | made in
the -image of God. |
As I‘ve proposed in a previous chapter, if God is not of this material world, then His
image by definition is not either. So whether or not Man‘s physical body has come down
to him through a process called evolution should not be seen as destructive of the special
place that we feel we have within our higher nature.
But the newly minted literalist interpretation also referred to in another previous
chapter seems to have been made without reference to the -God is spirit | declaration
made within the context that it was taken from. Either we are a physical image of God,
which some would say is anthropomorphism at its worst, picturing God as we see
ourselves; or we have within us, in some manner, an image of God, that is not material.
Therefore, to demand that faith be placed in this kind of literalist interpretation is
unwarranted on its face. St. Augustine (354–450) was right when he advised -that the
Bible is the word of God I firmly believe, but in what manner this is true, is a burden that
we should not place upon the believer. | It appears, from recent history that this is exactly
what has been done through this ill- advised dogmatic interpretation.
It may seem, to literalist proponents of this highly reverenced book, that this also
newly proposed understanding from science, that biological evidence clearly indicates
there must be a connection between us and our -lesser cousins, | is insulting to what they
are required to believe. But replace the literalist understa nding of the Bible with a
parable understanding and their embarrassment would disappear, and so would much of
the argument of their detractors.