Does the conflict thesis still stand?

For centuries, people have believed the Bible to be outdated, and irrelevant – who needs religion, when science explains everything perfectly? Many believe that science and the Bible that Christians base their faith on, will always be in conflict. But what if this isn’t completely true?

Sir James Simpson, a Scottish baker’s son, is recognised today as a pioneer in the world of anaesthetics, paving the way for the use of chloroform as anaesthesia during childbearing and obstetrics. In 1847, Simpson experimented chloroform on himself by inhaling it. The fact that he survived, was not only a colossal surprise to scientific world, but also a breakthrough that led to the use of chloroform for many years, before other advancements were made. The idea of putting one to asleep before surgery to numb the pain, has been around longer than one might assume, and Sir James Simpson believed that the Bible contained references to this in Genesis: “And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.” – Genesis 2:21

The hydrological cycle, first discovered by Bernard Palissy in 1580 CE, was pondered over for centuries before, by philosophers such as Aristotle who once thought that the source of all water was subterranean. This cycle is described in part in Isaiah 55:10: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish”. Furthermore, in other areas it is said: “The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again” (Ecclesiastes 1:6–7).

Additionally, there is mention of the shape of the earth in the Bible, however, not in the way some might think. Initially, Protestants who disagreed with the ideology of the Catholic church, accused them of thinking that the earth was flat, but in fact, most scholars, philosophers and scientists had already agreed with Ancient Greeks who believed all along that the earth was spherical. It wasn’t until Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano took off on a journey around the Earth that the matter was settled. Although some may have thought that the Catholic church believed the earth was flat, the Bible clearly describes the earth as round which is exactly what Ancient Greeks were always convinced of: “It is He who sits above the circle of the Earth…”- Isaiah 40:22.

Is it possible that science and religion could truly be related? Would it be absurd to think that perhaps, they may in some ways complement each other? Who knows, but it is strangely intriguing to see the world from a different perspective. Science is all about asking questions, and though the answers may not be easy to find, being curious is what leads you to them.