“The more I study science, the more I believe in God.”
Charles Darwin, Biologist
“There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other. Every serious and reflective person realizes, I think, that the religious element in his nature must be recognized and cultivated if all the powers of the human soul are to act together in perfect balance and harmony. And indeed it was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls.”
Robert Jastrow, Physicist
“It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”
There are a lot of smoke screens out there in relation to God and the Christian faith. As a matter of fact there are at least 3 things that many Christian fundamentalist and hardcore materialist agree upon in relation to events that happen in in reality that have helped etch the chasm that ostensibly exists between Science and God. First, There is only one cause of all phenomena. Second, If God is the cause, His fingerprints must be obvious and evidential, and Third, when natural explanations can be found to explain the event, there is no need for God.
The fact is, God most often works in the ordinary, and not the miraculous, so when one side tries to make everything the miraculous, it skews God’s involvement just as much as those that want to mitigate the need for God in phenomenal events. God is always the ultimate cause of everything, though the events are most often the result of proximate causes in the ordinary.
The fact is, there are no reputable theologians throughout history that would hold to the above three statements. When dealing with God and His “Providence” (God’s intervention in the world). He acts most often in ordinary means. This means that the miraculous is God’s “Special Providence,” and isn’t expected at all times. If everything is miraculous, nothing is miraculous sort of speak. God works through science, technology, doctors, wars, famines, disasters, victory, defeat, promotions and demotions, etc.
Therefore, if science discovers something about the universe, they are only discovering God’s handiwork, which is why most of the most famous of scientists turned to science; to discover the fingerprint of God. They understood the universe to be a rational place, because they believed in a rational God that designed it.
When the scientist uses the universe and all its phenomena to discover things, it is doing nothing more that art historians researching a great work of art to discover more about the artist. The problem lies in the fact, that to the skeptic, they can only see the artwork, and miss the artist!
There are no major disagreements with science and the bible, when we allow both disciplines to work within the spheres that they are intended
From the Head…
I realize that no matter what I say regarding the sciences, I will please neither the skeptic nor those that hold to a specific understanding of science and the bible. Here are a few caveats:
- I am not a scientist, and most likely, neither are you, so let’s not pretend to be one because we read an article
- The bible was NEVER intended to be read with 21st century, enlightenment lens’ reading back into it. Thus the whole young earth/old earth debate is a response to Darwinian discoveries, and enlightenment attacks on the bible, and misses the point of Genesis and the bible as it relates to science at all.
- Scientist that believed in the biblical understanding of a rational, personal God have made some huge contributions in the formation of science as we know it, and discoveries that have changed our world.
Much of the Confusion Is Centered on Myths
One of the biggest myths is that both Columbus and Magellan were at war with the church, and were out to prove the Roman Catholic Church wrong in regard to their antiquated view of the flatness of the earth. According to historian Rodney Stark, Every educated person of the time, including Roman Catholic prelates, knew the earth was round.” As a matter of fact, four key “Saints” in the Catholic Church taught that the earth was round. Bede (7th Century), Virgilius (8th Century), Hildegard (12th Century) and Aquinas (13th Century) all taught that the earth was round well before Magellan and Columbus made their voyages; they did so based on biblical truth such as what you find in Isaiah 40:22, which makes it clear that the earth is “Circular” or more accurately in Hebrew “Spherical.” This was written when all men believed that the earth was flat and positioned on the back of a turtle, or held up by the gods (Atlas).
One of the most popular books of the time was entitled “Sphere” written in the 13th Century, and in the same century as Columbus’ voyage, Catholic Cardinal Pierre D’Ailly (Chancellor of the University of Paris) wrote that, “although there are mountains and valley’s on the earth, for which it is not perfectly round, it approximates very nearly to roundness.” The fact is, Columbus sailed mostly as a missionary in response to Matthew’s exhortation to “Go,” than to dispute any Catholic teachings regarding the flatness of the earth.
Myths such as these have contributed greatly to the idea that Science and Christianity are incompatible, but when real research looks at the facts, we most often found that many of the stories we believe regarding the church and science are false.
Christian Theology Helped Give Rise to Science As We Know It
There is no doubt that heretical theology has produced heretical history (Inquisitions, etc.). When the church was pursuing heretical, Ptolemaic, Greek cosmology.
The rise of science has in the 17th and 18th century, most often been credited with enlightenment thinkers that had jettisoned the dogma of the church for the reasoned mind of unfettered men. Men such as Voltaire, Diderot and Gibbons propagated much of this thinking in order to promulgate their atheist ideals.
True science is governed by two pathways to discovering truth; Theory and the Research to prove their theories. Science therefore, is limited to the phenomenal world (The world of stuff), and cannot make any real advancement in the “Abstract.” Agnostic German Philosopher Immanuel Kant was right when he said that, “Science could never disprove the existence of god, but neither could it prove him.” Much of modern science, when it comes to origins, is based more on theory than research.
For instance, some skeptics have turned to the “multiverse” theory of the universe to try and explain the extreme odds that life originated per chance in this single universe. The problem with this is as Greg Easterbrook (Wired Magazine Science writer) writes is, “the multiverse idea rests on assumptions that would be laughed out of town if they came from religious texts.”
Historian Alfred W. Crosby reminds us that, “in our time the word medieval is often used as a synonym for muddle-headedness, but it can be more accurately used to indicate precise definition and meticulous reasoning, that is to say, clarity.” History actually tells us that the so called “Copernican Revolution” did not contribute much more to the idea of a heliocentric universe that was already posited by the medieval scholars that he learned from, who most often promulgated a Ptolemaic (2nd Century) cosmology, and not a biblical one.
The fact is, most of the scholars that led to the rise of modern science were not only educated in the church during the “Dark” ages, but continued their pursuit of scientific truth, because they believed in a personal, rational God who created the universe, which gave them confidence that their work would not return void.
God’s Creation Points To Him (Romans 1:18-20)
As the Psalmist says in Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” It seems dishonest to not be able to admit that gazing into the universe does not point you to a creator at all. We would never treat a classic work of art like that. As a matter of fact, I find it funny that when someone sees crop circles, they assume someone made them. The universe is far more wonderful and complicated than crop circles. Our verses remind us that “man is without excuse,” because God has made Himself “evident to them!” Skeptics begin their line of thinking in doubt, and want everything proven to them in a fashion that they create, but many of their own beliefs are not provable in this way. Thus our belief in God and ultimately Christ is based on evidence, and man’s rejection is based on blindness, not lack of evidence.
God’s Creation Has Rejected God and Believed Their Own Lies (Romans 1:21-23)
The fact is, mankind, in his arrogance and subsequent skepticism, has rejected God and His truth, in order to believe their own, and have created systems of thought that defy logic, good reason and theological truth. While believers are most often reviled for not thinking, and being irrational, it is their own thinking that denies clear laws of causality to form their own conclusions in regard to how the universe was formed.
… to the Heart
Science has given us some incredible advancement in technology, medicine, etc. and for that, we can be thankful. However, science alone still struggles to give humanity meaning or hope, especially as it veers from the origins of that hope, Jesus Christ.
Every worldview begins ultimately in faith, but all truth must also concur with the rational faculties that God has given us, and to that theologian Michael Horton reminds us that “Christianity is not anti-rational, irrational, or nonrational, but It transcends reason. It provides answers, which observable data cannot verify.”
Science does not disprove God, because scientific methodology is not equipped to deal with the meta-physical and the abstract. Christianity gives us answers beyond what science can answer, and science gives us far better answers regarding materialistic phenomena than the bible does since that’s not the intent of scripture.
It all comes down to who are you trusting? And why are you trying to “Prove” God to skeptics?
- What is science?
- Is the bible a scientific book? Explain?
- In what ways do we reject God, when we look to science to prove Him?
- How are science and theology similar?
- How are science and theology dis-similar?
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