Science vs. God- It’s a huge topic. From youth, school teaches us, at least us public school folk, that science is the ruler of our universe; from Darwinism to the Big Bang Theory we are nursed on the importance of science from a very early age. It creates one of the biggest hurdles for logic based skeptics to overcome when considering Christianity. Add in the various stereotypes and extremists and you end up with a bitter feud.

It’s a mess on both sides. A small number of  Christians go so far as to shun all things science, with shouts of atheism and heresy, going so far as to deny climate change and shun carbon dating. In the other camp are scientists, various -ologists, and other laypeople who believe that all Christians are close minded, gullible, and of inferior intelligence.

Obviously I’m not going to be able to tackle this topic fully; there are many great books out there for that. My goal is to touch on a few points to spark some deeper thought & conversation and allow you room to consider that Science and God can coexist.

 

*Science Requires Faith

Science has made extraordinary discoveries in the last couple centuries. Despite all of our gains as a human race there is still so much we don’t know. We have moved from basic atomic makeup of protons & neutrons to quarks and now pentaquarks. We are told that atoms are constantly popping in and out of existence- that our solid wood table is not really solid, in a very nanoscopic way. Yes, all of this takes faith on our part because we cannot wrap our minds around it, but that isn’t what I mean.

mosquitoes-800844_640What I’m referencing takes shape as we begin to talk about all that is unexplained or only theory; a mere idea. We’ve come to take certain things for granted- evolution or the beginning of the universe, for instance. But if you really stop to think about what you’ve always believed or been taught you might see what I mean.

For instance, when we start to talk about evolution we think about how we have evolved from apes and slight changes in species that have occurred and been recorded. What we don’t stop to think about is what evolution looks like from the beginning. How many things crawled out of the primordial sludge to create all of the variety you see today on even just a simplified scale of mammals, arachnids, reptiles,  insects, etc.? At what point did some things stop and other parts of the group keep going? Why are there still apes, but also humans? Sure, someone will give you answers- but nothing that can be proven or is indeed factual- it’s just theory.

Still not seeing it? Think of it this way- No matter which theory of the beginning of the universe you subscribe to all of them begin with something happening, something that starts from absolute nothing- the very laws of physics make this impossible as energy is constant and cannot be created or destroyed. You just believe it is so. Faith, there it is. A belief and trust in something despite an inability to prove or visualize it. So if we can have faith in these things why does the idea of God seem so far fetched?

 

*Science is the How

Often the burden of proof is put on Christians to prove the Bible right, but we’ve just seen that science does not have the answers. Science is not able to prove itself right. Perhaps it is the pairing of the two, Science & God, that gives us a glimpse of the full picture. God is our ‘Who & Why’ and Science is our ‘How’.

Going back to any of the theories regarding the creation of the universe let us re-examine it with God, a God who exists outside of time & space, at the center. Is it really so hard to see that perhaps He is our missing piece? With Him at the center the Big Bang or Steady State or Eternal Inflation would tell us how He did it and the Bible tells us why He did it.

Our universe isn’t the only complexity that is an astounding example of God seen through the eyes of science; our own bodies carry an estimated 37.2 trillion cells all doing their own specialized jobs to keep us running. Science shows us how they look, explains to us what they do, elaborates on the chemicals involved, but science did not make it so. It explains how.

Mathematics has become a particularly hot topic in modern times as a possible proof of God. As Jerry Bowyer explains in Forbes interview with Professor & Mathematician Vern Poythress:

The argument is that mathematical laws, in order to be properly relied upon, must have attributes which indicate an origin in God. They are true everywhere (omnipresent), true always (eternal), cannot be defied or defeated (omnipotent), and are rational and have language characteristics (which makes them personal). Omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal, personal… Sounds like God. Math is an expression of the mind of God. Sound strange? It isn’t. Modern natural science was created by people who said that they were trying to “think God’s thoughts after Him.”

radio-telescope-1031303_640So while many will try to tell you that science and mathematics are human inventions and concepts, it may be more true to say that they are our human ability to see an inkling of God’s enormity. From the golden ratio to the Fibonacci sequence we see glimpses of Him everywhere in nature, our bodies, the universe itself and I cannot believe that it is coincidental.

Science, or rather the intellectual abilities gifted to scientists, is from God. Through scientific advancements He has given us medicine to prevent and treat disease, He has given us the means to communicate with each other, to travel short distances quickly, to build a beautiful world capable of providing food, water, education, and shelter for all. He gifted us these abilities tso that we may fulfill his call for us to love one another; science shows us how we can do it. Being human, however, we have corrupted it and inject our faces, our crops, and our oceans with poison. Science allows us to see the damage our greed, our apathy, our sin, has on the world. Science measure it in the form of cancers, TV broadcasts of starving children juxtaposed by episodes of MTV Cribs, animal extinctions, and climate change. It is neither God nor Science that is responsible for the destruction we see, but rather the heart of man.

 

*Historical Truths

When it comes to science, archaeology and sociology are sciences that can help shed light on the subject of God.  There are all sorts of specific references from ancient historians such as Josephus and Tacticus that help to verify numerous points of the Bible’s accuracy, but I won’t get into that.  Instead I would like to point out three general facts that I feel are moving enough on their own to warrant further investigation from a skeptic.

First, writing during ancient times is far from what we now think of. Most times it was composed on papyrus, parchment, or clay. All methods were quite labor intensive making only the most important of messages or events something that was transcribed.  Many people didn’t read or write, oral history was generally how information was passed down through the generations. However, there were those messages felt to be important enough to preserve- the Bible was one of these.  Most of the New Testament is comprised of the gospel followed by various letters. These were historical correspondence regarding the events of the time surrounding the teachings of Christ following his death and Resurrection.  Letters valuable enough to take the time to write and preserve for future generations- and saved not by just one man or church, but a number of them that we may read them nearly 2000 years later.

Second, many people will talk about how the Bible is simply fiction, but it would be prudent to point out that the first pieces of fiction did not appear until the 12th century A.D. and even then most people were illiterate and could not read them. This idea is simply outside of anything else we see during this time period or any period after for centuries. Even if we lessen this argument with the notions that it is not complete fiction but that legend crept in to the stories about Christ and corrupted the true accounts of His life we quickly find evidence that this is very unlikely.

Consider this, the Crucifixion was in 30 A.D., Paul’s conversion was as early as 34 A.D., and his archaeology-59167_640first meeting in Jerusalem was around 37 A.D.  We see that the time between the event of Christ’s crucifixion and Paul receiving the information about His death, burial, and resurrection (in Jerusalem) would be approximately seven years.  That is a very short period of time and hardly long enough for legend to creep in and corrupt the story.  This is especially important since the apostles were alive and spoke with Paul.  They were eyewitness accounts to Christ’s death, burial, and post death appearances.  Paul himself had seen the Lord Jesus prior to His death and after His resurrection (Acts 9).  Paul’s account agreed with the other Apostles’ account and Paul wrote it down in 1 Cor. 15 around the year 54. This means that this was written down during the lifetime of the very people who stood to refute it, yet we have no record at all of any corrections or challenges to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ from anyone:  Roman, Jew, or other Christians.

Thirdly, I would direct you to the historical accounts of the life and deaths of the apostles. The Apostles endured torture and horrific deaths (Spoiler alert- John is the only apostle to die of old age and natural causes).  They traveled thousands of miles to spread their message (I’ve seen estimates totally around 15,000 miles for Paul in approximately 2 years). We must remember, travel in New Testament times was not easy. Though the Romans had built their roads which link major cities and towns, these roads were paved with stones and not comfortable to travel on. The carts drawn by mules did not have spring suspension and were bumpy. Most people, except for the rich and nobles, walked. Travelers were exposed to the weather and at risk from bandits or pirates. They were also at the mercy of unscrupulous innkeepers and their dirty unhygienic inns. One could imagine that the people would not want to travel far unless they had no choice, let alone risk torture and ultimately their lives.

 

Is this a definitive article on the subject? No, not by any means. There are people who spend their lives dedicated to this sort of study and they have written multiple books that still have not covered all of the information out there. However, it is a start. One that will hopefully get you thinking.

Whether is is God or Science, logic can only get you so far. It will take faith. Where will you place yours?