Harmony with science and faith

Fazale Rona wastes little time stating his case.

The fact of the matter is, he said, nobody can explain the origin of life from a scientific perspective.

“The idea that life comes out of this primordial soup has not been substantiated whatsoever,” he said. “There is no evidence it ever existed.”

Instead, the former agnostic and man who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry said there is evidence to show that science and faith are in harmony with each other when it comes to creation.

“I see God as being intimately involved, orchestrating the history of life, being in control,” he said.

Fazale is executive vice president of research and apologetics with Reasons to Believe. He recently spoke on Kauai and said that through his background in biochemistry and genetics, he believes there is a scientific case for God’s existence and the Bible’s reliability. There is, he said, a higher intelligence behind everything.

“That is a reasonable thing to hold to,” he said.

Fazale, along with Hugh Ross, is the author of the book, “Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off.” He admits it’s a bit technical — it refers to amino acids, prebiotic formation and microbial ecologies — and may be difficult for most folks who aren’t scientists or don’t have a science background to understand.

“It’s a real struggle at times to communicate the important evidence that supports the Christian faith from science in a way that lay people can grasp,” he said. “It’s challenging to develop those materials that can meet everybody’s needs.”

He admits Origins of Life “may not be the place for someone to have their first meal if they’re interested in this.” But he has no doubts about the validity of his argument that the evolutionary process can explain the origin of life.

For example, Fazale believes that Genesis 1, the story of creation, didn’t occur in 24 hours.

“I look at Genesis 1 as a historical account of God’s creative work but that it happened over a protracted period of time,” he said.

Scientists, he added, are one reason he wrote the book. A 2009 survey found that 40 percent of scientists professed a belief in a personal god or higher power. But the majority of people in the scientific community are nonbelievers, he said.

“Those tend to be the people that are the most ardent or strident skeptics,” he said. “We’re trying to reach them with our message on terms that they can really appreciate.”

It was during his graduate studies at Ohio University that Fazale left his agnostic viewpoint behind.

“I became convinced that there had to be a mind that was behind everything just because of the sheer elegance of how biochemical systems are structured,” he said.

That conviction led him to explore different religious beliefs and he later converted to Christianity. Over time, he became more interested in how science and faith go together.

He wants to use science as a tool to build bridges with nonbelievers.

In 1999, Fazale left his position in research and development at a Fortune 500 company to join Reasons to Believe. Part of his work since has been attaching theological significance to scientific discoveries.

“That causes issues for some scientists because they view science as an enterprise that is really silent about whether God exists or not,” he said.

Fazale, who lives in California, continues to travel the world to speak and debate others on creation. He encourages most people not to get caught up in the details, but “look for the big picture ideas.”

“In my experience, every time I apply any kind of test to Scripture, whether it’s scientific or historical tests, I just see Scripture as being accurate, so there’s no reason for me not to take it seriously,” he said.

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