When you think about God and science, do they seem pitted against one another? Some people wrestle with accepting biblical accounts that seem to go against the natural order of things. They ask questions such as: Was the world created by the spoken word of God? Did a flood cover the entire earth? Why aren’t dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?
It is helpful to pause from Joshua’s quest to address this sticky issue. In Joshua we have read several accounts that seem to go against natural scientific principles: holding back the Jordan River (3:1–17), the walls of Jericho falling (6:1–27), the sun and the moon standing still (10:12–13), and hailstones thrown from heaven (10:11).
Our text today helps us unpack this seeming contradiction. Job and his friends had been wrestling with the character and nature of God. If you read the earlier portions of Job, you would get the impression that they thought they knew more about God and the world than God did. Finally, God speaks in Job 38:1–18 and declares His power over all creation. He explains the distinctive difference between human understanding and the divine: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand” (v. 4). Of course, we know that is a rhetorical question. None of us has the ability to understand God.
God asks Job to consider His authority over the natural world. God “laid the earth’s foundation” (v. 4). He placed the sea and the stars and the clouds (vv. 7–9). The Lord is unambiguously clear that He is not in opposition to nature; rather, He is in control of it. While this passage may not answer all of our questions, it helps frame our conversations about God and science.
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