I got an interesting email this morning:

Hi Fr.,

What scientific evidence supports the bible?


(edited out)

Despite being signed by the person who sent the email, it was forwarded to my email. Unfortunately, in this day and age such a message gets trundled off to my trash folder because it is suspicious. However, such a question does deserve an answer, because it is very like one that so many do ask. 

My half-snarky/half-challenging answer is found in the title of this post:

What does particle physics say about a good marriage?

The point is that particle physics do not deal with the complicated social interactions associated with marriage. Therefore, I do not expect a particle physicist to help with my marriage.

In a similar vein, science cannot answer the question that the bible answers: Who is God?

The scientific method — the basis for all science — requires observable, measurable data that tests whether or not a hypothesis is correct. There is no scientific test that can definitely prove or disprove a hypothesis about God, who (according to the Anaphora of St. John Chrysostom) is:

ineffable, beyond comprehension, invisible, beyond understanding, existing forever and always the same.

The bible, though it has historic and scientific elements, is not a book primarily about history or science. Its main function is revelation — it answers the question Who is God?

The world we live in is inundated with technology — a byproduct of science. Therefore it is easy to conflate science with truth. Science, however, does not demonstrate truth, but rather whether or not a hypothesis is correct…until it isn’t. Even scientific laws are only hypotheses that have been observed to be correct so often that they can be assumed to be correct…until they aren’t — just ask a particle physicist about the Law of Gravity. 

This conflation is especially tempting when one does not like the answers one finds when asking theological questions. Since science cannot answer these questions, one can easily dismiss them as unscientific and therefore untrue.

However, to make such a leap is like asking a particle physicist on how to save a failing marriage.