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God and Science

I know a man who is very bright and well-educated. Several years ago he declared that, because of all the recent discoveries in science, he had finally concluded that God does not exist. I found this to be an interesting observation, because if this were true, then you would think that almost all of the world’s professional scientists would also be atheists or at least moving in that direction. According to a survey of the members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2009, 51% of scientists said that they believed in God or a higher power, while 41% said that they did not.

One of the most celebrated atheists of the last fifty years is the British philosopher, Anthony Flew. For five decades he launched an aggressive attack on the existence of God. And then back in 2007, he stunned the world by announcing that he had changed his mind. He laid out his reasoning for the change in his book, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. In the book he states:

I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half a century? The short answer is this, this is the world picture as I see it that has emerged from modern science.

Does the latest science seem to point to the existence of God? Could it be that science is itself evolving in the face of new discoveries, new evidence, and bold critical thinking? Can we detect a revived openness in the scientific community to the possibility of an intelligent designer?

Dr. Allan Rex Sandage’s impeccable credentials allow him to be considered the greatest observational cosmologist in the world. Sandage, a one-time colleague of Edwin Hubble, the legendary astronomer who first discovered the background noise suggesting that the big bang did indeed occur, has received an impressive array of honors from such organizations as the American Astronomical Society, the Swiss Physical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Swedish Academy of Sciences (astronomy’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize).

Back in 1985 a conference was convened in Dallas for the purpose of discussing the origin of the universe. The format would separate the group into two groups. On one side of the room would be a panel of scientists who professed a belief in God, and the other side of the room would have those who claimed to not believe. It was assumed that Sandage, a virtual atheist since childhood, would align himself with the atheists.

And then the unexpected happened: Sandage surprised the audience by sitting with the theists. And what’s even more interesting is what he had to say about the big-bang theory and its philosophical implications. Furthermore, he chose this notable event to disclose that he had become a Christian at the age of fifty.

The big bang, he told the rapt audience, was a supernatural event that cannot be explained within the realm of physics as we know it. He continued, It was my science that drove me to this conclusion. It was only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of science.

James Clark Maxwell was one of the most exceptional scientists who ever lived. He left a legacy of accomplishments considered equal to those of Einstein. He made significant contributions to diverse realms of physics, but more important, he discovered the fundamental laws that govern electricity, light, and magnetism. Max Plank, the founder of the discipline of quantum physics, said that Maxwell achieved greatness unequalled.

Maxwell was leery of linking scientific theories to the Bible because he believed the truth in the Bible was absolute and unchanging whereas the theories in science were consistently changing, consistently in flux,

I have looked into most philosophical systems, and I’ve found that none will work without a God. The belief in design is a necessary consequence of the laws of thought acting on the phenomena of perception. For this reason Maxwell says, I have put my hope in Christ.

Then there’s Dr. John Baumgardner, a PhD in geophysics and space physics from UCLA. In 1997 U. S. News and World Report described him as the world’s preeminent expert in the design of computer models for geophysical convection, the process by which the earth creates volcanoes, earthquakes, and the movement of continental plates.

Science has flowed from a Christian understanding of reality, a Christian understanding of God, and a Christian understanding of the natural world. In general I believe that science is legitimate, that it does reveal the true glory of God, and that it does confirm what the scripture says is valid and true.

For so many years, intellectuals believed that if something cannot be quantified and trusted by the scientific method, it cannot be proven to be true. Today, however, modern scholars are concluding that there are a number of flaws with this limited worldview, and there remains much to learn and know that science might never be able to prove. For if science could prove that God does not exist, 100% of all scientists would be atheists, and this is clearly not the case.

What has happened is that a large number of credentialed and respected professors, from all scientific disciplines, believe there is a strong case for theism at the heart of the universe.

Dr. Steven Meyer, who has degrees in physics, geology, and a doctorate in history and philosophy of science, all from prestigious Cambridge University, says that, In fact, across a wide range of sciences, evidence has come to light in the last fifty years which, taken together, provides a robust case for theism.

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul tells us, For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominion or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)

Maybe Paul had it right.

If you are interested in reading more about the intersection of science and faith in God, you might want to read my book entitled Reliable Truth: The Validity of The Bible in an Age of Skepticism.

Here is a link to Amazon should you want to explore it more: Reliable Truth

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Reflections on the Existence of God

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