There have been obvious conflicts between the scientific community and the religious community over certain points. Of course, the most notable dispute historically was the embarrassing episode of Galileo and the whole theory of whether the earth or the sun was the center of the solar system. We know that many bishops refused to even look at the evidence of a telescope because they had already baptized another scientific tradition that wasn’t biblical. This was a case, incidentally, in which the scientific community corrected theological interpretation and misinterpretation of Scripture because Scripture doesn’t teach that the earth is the center of the solar system, and it took the scientific community to correct us at that point.
To go further than that and to say that sometimes science corrects erroneous ideas is one thing, but actually to disprove Christianity . . . there are very few points of the Christian faith that are vulnerable to scientific attack. If a person says, “Well, we can scientifically prove that people can’t come back from the dead,” for example, and if science could prove that it’s impossible for the God of the universe to raise his Son from the dead, then obviously Christianity would be discredited and disproved. I don’t see how a scientist could even begin to approach that. All a scientist can do is to say that, under normal conditions and standard procedures, people who die stay dead. Of course, it doesn’t take a twentieth-century scientist to understand that; first-century people were well aware of the fact that when people died, they stayed dead. So unless the scientist could somehow disprove the existence of God or the resurrection of Christ, I don’t see how they could in any way actually falsify the claims of the Christian faith. Just because they’re not falsified doesn’t mean that they’re verified obviously. But I don’t see how we have anything to fear at that level.
The usual point of tension, however, has to do with the origin of the universe and the origin of life. If science proves that the world was not created, I think that would destroy the Christian faith. Christianity is committed to the concept of divine creation—that there is an eternal Creator before whom we are all responsible and by whom we were all created and that all that is made has been made through him and that the universe is not eternal. If the scientist could prove that the universe were in fact eternal, that would be the end of the Christian faith. But I don’t think we have the slightest need to worry about that.