The Bible and Science

For those who aren’t Catholic and belong to churches that take the entire Bible literally, I’d like to know how you reconcile the Bible with science?

I have some friends of different faiths-- One is Lutheran, the rest belong to non- denominational churches. We don’t talk about religion because I’m not good at apologetics and I don’t want the get into an argument.

But, say for instance, Noah and the Flood. There was never a bottleneck of eight people, yet the Bible says only eight were saved during the Flood. There are other examples, but for now, I’ll stick with this one.

How do you reconcile your beliefs with science?

Biblical literalism is a tough position to defend. As far as I know true and strict Biblical literalism did not exist until the 1800’s or so.

It is my understanding that Catholics are also required to believe that only eight people survived the Biblical Flood. I think the Catholic Encyclopedia gives pretty good evidence that the Church requires us to believe this: The question, whether all men perished in the Deluge, must be decided by the teaching of the Bible, and of its authoritative interpreter. As to the teachings of the Bible, the passage which deals ex professo with the Flood…if taken by itself, may be interpreted of a partial destruction of man…but no one can deny that the prima facie meaning of I Peter, iii, 20 sq., II Peter, ii, 4-9, and II Peter, iii, 5 sqq., refers to the death of all men not contained in the ark.

We turn, therefore, to authority in order to arrive at a final settlement of the question. Here we are confronted, in brief, with the following facts: Up to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the belief in the anthropological universality of the Deluge was general. Moreover, the Fathers regarded the ark and the Flood as types of baptism and of the Church; this view they entertained not as a private opinion, but as a development of the doctrine contained in I Peter, iii, 20 sq. Hence, the typical character of both ark and Flood belongs to the “matters of faith and morals” in which the Tridentine and the Vatican Councils oblige all Catholics to follow the interpretation of the Church. source This is also a good quote from that article: It would be useless labor and would exceed the scope of the present article to enumerate the long list of Fathers and Scholastic theologians who have touched upon the question. The few stray discordant voices belonging to the last fifteen or twenty years are simply drowned in this unanimous chorus of Christian tradition. sourceFrom this it appears to follow that Catholics are also obliged to believe that all men (except 8) perished in the Flood. What do you think of that evidence?

I think that if that’s true, I’m in trouble. :o

Just have an open mind about Science and your relationship with God… it has been said many times…God moves in mysterious ways…

My reason says that only 8 survivors is unbelievable - but I assume God gave this history to His people for a reason. Why He is so in love with such a rebellious creature as man is a bigger mystery IMO.

Since there never was,a bottleneck of 8 people, what are we supposed to do? I keep thinking of joining the UCC whenever I read things on here that fly in the face of science.

As has already been pointed out, we and our Catholic brethren actually agree on a lot of what is to be seen as “literal” in the Bible. There is also a common misunderstanding that taking the Bible literally means that metaphor, parable, etc… is dismissed, but everything is taken “woodenly” as literal no matter the context or literary device used; that’s not the way 99% of mainstream protestants believe.

Another big point; science and faith are not at odds at all. In fact, a common saying was, “Theology is the queen of the sciences, and philosophy her handmaid.” Classical science was a pursuit of knowledge of all kinds, and science only works because our God set up the universe the way He did.

Then we have the miraculous; Balaam’s donkey for instance. Science says donkeys cannot talk, the bible clearly says they can, if God opens their mouths. I believe Balaam’s donkey literally spoke, because she literally saw a literal angel. :wink:

So how can there have been 8 people left after the Flood when there were never just 8 people on earth?

They drowned?

No because there were never 8 people on earth, and also, I think our DNA or genetics would rule out 8 people, too.

I’m curious as to where your observational science is to back up your assertion that there were “never just 8 people on earth?” You are drawing that from somewhere, yes?

From everything I’ve read about the subject. And if I had an inkling on how to c&p on this kindle, I’d post it.
Are you denying that science says there was never a human bottleneck of fewer than 50,000 people (or whatever it is)? I mean, it’s been discussed here before many times.

There are lots of Catholics who have this problem with science and religion, especially in the English-speaking world.
As somebody pointed out, it wasn’t a serious problem two centuries ago (but then we had Galileo 400 years ago!).

Get yourself a good theological book on bridging this (apparent) gap. “Science and Faith” by John Haught (a Catholic theologian) is one of many dozens.

Another popular figure is Fr. Robert Barron. You’ll find him on YouTube with lots of short videos on this topic.

Someone just PMd me the dogmas of the CC and having to believe there were just 8 people isn’t one of 'em.

Ok, just heard back from my pastor in email. He suggests I read the CCC and also said that Catholicism doesn’t require us to believe that. He said “such would be a fundamental interpretation of the passage.”

And " …Sacred Scipture I’d divine revelation, revealed truth but subject to interpretation and not to be literally understood."

Actually, the science I’ve read about (including “scientific Eve”) has even said we are descended from one mother, and that there was indeed a “bottleneck” not that long ago, with a corresponding burst of DNA diversity.

Here are two “young-earth” articles for your perusal that contain more references as well. I’m not interested in a “debate” here on the forum, nor am I saying I agree with everything in the articles, I’m simply providing you actual references with even more references provided in the articles.

CCC 1219 The Church has seen in Noah’s ark a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism, for by it “a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water”

CCC 56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. The covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the “nations”, in other words, towards men grouped “in their lands, each with [its] own language, by their families, in their nations”.

56 is especially important because it is through Noah being the patriarch of the only surviving family, and the covenant with him then applied to all his descendants.

Please, let’s not waste our time by reading articles from creation websites!!

Then don’t, even when they link to other articles that include “secular science.” :shrug:

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