Biblical Inerrancy and Science — Principles from

The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy in

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics

        The International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (meeting in 1978, 1982, and 1986) produced the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy in 1978 that included Article 12 about the Bible and science:
        WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit.
        WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.

        Article 12 should be interpreted in the context of other parts of the full 19-article statement.  In its introduction to the statement, Bible Research (source of the statement-link above) says, "clarification of some of the language used in this Statement may be found in the 1982 Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics" which contains the following four articles (but for context it's best to read the full statement and full commentary) that seem especially relevant for origins questions:
        Article 19:  WE AFFIRM that any preunderstandings which the interpreter brings to Scripture should be in harmony with scriptural teaching and subject to correction by it.  WE DENY that Scripture should be required to fit alien preunderstandings, inconsistent with itself, such as naturalism, evolutionism, scientism, secular humanism, and relativism.
        Article 20:  WE AFFIRM that since God is the author of all truth, all truths, biblical and extrabiblical, are consistent and cohere, and that the Bible speaks truth when it touches on matters pertaining to nature, history, or anything else.  We further affirm that in some cases extrabiblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.  WE DENY that extrabiblical views ever disprove the teaching of Scripture or hold priority over it.
        Article 21:  WE AFFIRM the harmony of special with general revelation and therefore of biblical teaching with the facts of nature.  WE DENY that any genuine scientific facts are inconsistent with the true meaning of any passage of Scripture.
        Article 22:  WE AFFIRM that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book.  WE DENY that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of humanity may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.

        In his commentary on the articles, Norman Geisler (a member of the committee that produced the 25 articles, and General Editor for the conference) says, in part:
        regarding Article 19:  ... The point of this article is to avoid interpreting Scripture through an alien grid or filter which obscures or negates its true message.  For it acknowledges that one's preunderstanding will affect his understanding of a text.  Hence to avoid misinterpreting Scripture one must be careful to examine his own presuppositions in the light of Scripture.
        regarding Article 20:  ... What one learns from sources outside Scripture can occasion a reexamination and reinterpretation of Scripture. ...[but] the final authority for what the Bible teaches rests in the text of Scripture itself and not in anything outside it (except in God Himself). ...
        regarding Article 21:  ... It is acknowledged by all that certain interpretations of Scripture and some opinions of scientists will contradict each other.  However, it is insisted here that the truth of Scripture and the facts of science never contradict each other.   /   "Genuine" science will always be in accord with Scripture.  Science, however, based on naturalistic presuppositions will inevitably come in conflict with the supernatural truths of Scripture.   /   Far from denying a healthy interchange between scientific theory and biblical interpretation, the framers of this statement welcome such.  Indeed, it is acknowledged (in Article XX) that the exegete can learn from the scientist.  What is denied is that we should accept scientific views that contradict Scripture or that they should be given authority above Scripture.
        regarding Article 22:  Since the historicity and the scientific accuracy of the early chapters of the Bible have come under severe attack it is important to apply the "literal" hermeneutic espoused (Article XV [which explains that "interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text"]) to this question.  The result was a recognition of the factual nature of the account of the creation of the universe, all living things, the special creation of man, the Fall, and the Flood.  These accounts are all factual, that is, they are about space-time events which actually happened as reported in the book of Genesis (see Article XIV).   /   The article left open the question of the age of the earth on which there is no unanimity among evangelicals and which was beyond the purview of this conference.  There was, however, complete agreement on denying that Genesis is mythological or unhistorical.  Likewise, the use of the term "creation" was meant to exclude the belief in macro-evolution, whether of the atheistic or theistic varieties.
        Because the excerpts above contain only part of the commentary, I encourage you to read the full commentary and also the full statements from 1978 and 1982.

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Here are other related pages:
Age of the Earth:
Theological Questions

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Craig Rusbult (editor of the website for Whole-Person Education), is