In the view of many, science and religion are irreconcilable enemies. Some scientists feel this way and many religious individuals feel this way, too. This is fueled by discoveries used by secularists to supposedly damage the faith of the faithful. One will read the passive-aggressive, and some outright aggressive, comments of secularists purporting that they possess evidence that will put the idea of God to rest. This has left many Christians fearful that a discovery could be made that would disprove the existence of God. Is such a discovery possible? If God is understood as the creator of all things, then such a discovery is not possible. Why? It is due to the fact that everything in the universe is understood as a creation of God. The universe is like an engine where God is like an engineer. John Lennox said at a conference, “Some people claim that they cannot see God in the universe. Well of course you can’t. That is like seeking to find Henry Ford in a Ford engine” (John Lennox, SES). Lennox explains in his book Gunning for God, “Physical laws on their own cannot create anything; they are merely a (mathematical) description of what normally happens under certain given conditions. Newton’s law of gravitation does not create gravity; it doe not even explain gravity, as Newton himself realized. In fact, the laws of physics are not only incapable of creating anything; they cannot even cause anything to happen” (Lennox 2011 GFG, 33). So if we understand who God is and the fact that we are here, then we would expect to find certain scientific truths.
On a recent Apologetics.com Podcast, Jeff Zweerink spoke on the beginnings of the universe. Zweerink, who holds a PhD in astrophysics, spoke of the early universe and of the possibility of a multiverse. He basically said that a multiverse and many of the theories employed by secularist scientists do not negate the existence of God. He indicated that he, like many Christians, worried that there could be a finding that would negate the existence of God. But such a finding will not occur if God is God and we are here.
Think about this: say a computer programmer desires to create a new program. It is a complex program and would have characters who would have minds of their own. In order to create this program, the computer programmer needs a super computer. So, the programmer sets forth creating a mega-computer. He starts by developing a motherboard. Piece by piece, he solders the chips in place. Then he adds the hardware and monitor that consists of the computer. After starting up the computer, he programs the computer to hold certain systems. Then, he begins the program with the first command. Command after command and algorithm after algorithm, he continues until the virtual universe is created and the characters within the universe are created. Now suppose the virtual characters begin to wonder how they came to be. They begin exploring. They trace their existence back to the first command. Then, in their scientific experiments, they would notice a universe far greater than they could imagine. They notice circuits which gave rise to their program. They tried to find a unifying theory on how all these things came to be. Do the program and circuitry explain how they came to be? Yes. But, do the program and circuitry explain why they came to be? No. More importantly, do the program and circuitry explain the rise of the characters? Absolutely not. The commands and algorithms are assigned to give order to the program. However, the commands and algorithms came from the programmer.
Why should we expect to find anything different? The laws of nature are descriptive and NOT prescriptive. Because elements have mass, we should expect to find things like the Higgs Boson. Because the universe came into existence, we should expect to find things like the singularity and the origins of the universe. We should expect to find structures in quantum physics that were used to jumpstart the universe. However, these beginnings do NOT negate the importance nor the existence of God. In fact, these things demand the existence of God because they exist. It may be that scientists find that the beginning of the universe was far more complex than expected. We may find that what is beyond our universe is far more fantastic than ever imagined. However, this does not negate the existence of God. For God is far bigger than the beginning of the universe. God is the whole show. God is the author, designer, and implementer of these processes. Again, these processes explain how God brought the universe into being…not why the universe was brought into being. These laws and processes are no more responsible for the origin of the universe than a light bulb is for electricity. They are tools and instruments to explain how the universe came to be, not answers to why the universe came to be. The “why” question can only be answered by the existence of God.
Could God create everything at once? If God is God, then yes God could. However, from what we can tell of God through special revelation (the Bible) and general revelation (the universe), it is seen that God works through the process of development. Perhaps this shows the patience of God. If we are here and God is God, then this would be what we would expect to find. People are not born full grown adults. They are born tiny babies and develop into adult men and women. If this is the process God has established, then why would we expect to find anything different in the universe and the world? This does not demerit the existence of God no more than an algorithm demerits a computer programmer. Because there are processes of development, it is necessitated that there exist one who designed the process. For how does non-being give birth to being? How does an inorganic thing give birth to a organic (living) being? Life produces life. Consciousness begets consciousness. Order does not come from chaos unless there is a conscious living being giving order. The processes, like a program, demand an organizing, creating first cause (God). Otherwise, it would seem that absurdities (like a rock giving birth to a zebra) would exist.
The fact that the laws of physics remain stable in a dynamic universe is amazing. But the stability of these laws seem to indicate a stabilizing principle. In a universe of flux and change, a universe governed to run out of energy (2nd Law of Thermodynamics), how is it that these laws remain consistent? These laws demand something greater than themselves. As John Lennox wrote, “However, in the world in which most of us live, the simple law of arithmetic by itself, 1+1=2, never brought anything into being. It certainly has never put any money into my bank account. If I put £1,000 into the bank, and later another £1,000, the laws of arithmetic will rationally explain how it is that I now have £2,000 in the bank. But if I never put any money into the bank myself, and simply leave it to the laws of arithmetic to bring money into being in my bank account, I shall remain permanently bankrupt” (Lennox 2011 G&SH, 41-42). Richard Feynman, a Nobel Laureate in physics, is quoted as saying, “The fact that there are rules at all to be checked is a kind of miracle; that it is possible to find a rule, like the inverse square law of gravitation, is some sort of miracle. It is not understood at all, but it leads to the possibility of prediction–that means it tells you what you would expect to happen in an experiment you have not yet done” (Feynman 2007, 23). Like the designed circuitry and programming by a computer engineer, one would expect to find consistent laws of nature in a universe designed for life. But these laws are not responsible for themselves. They are in fact programmed by a grander Mind…God.
Understanding the nature of God allows the Christian to rest easy when it comes to scientific findings. When the Christian understands that one needs not worry about the findings of science, it is extremely liberating. The Christian can then appreciate the sciences without feeling the need to be concerned over scientific findings. Science will not…and in fact can not…disprove the existence of God. However, the Christian should still remain wary of particular interpretations. As Frank Turek has stated, “Science does not say anything. Scientists do.” It is not the science that is the concern. Rather, it is the philosophy of those interpreting facts to say things that the facts are not equipped to state. So, enjoy the wonder and splendor of creation found in science. For the sciences, like the heavens, declare the glory of God.
Feynman, Richard. The Meaning of It All. London, UK: Penguin, 2007. Quoted in John Lennox, God and Stephen Hawking. Oxford, UK: Lion, 2001.
Lennox, John. “Gunning for Gun.” Lecture. Southern Evangelical Seminary’s National Conference of Christian Apologetics 2012. Charlotte, NC. (October, 2012).
Lennox, John. God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway? Oxford, UK: Lion, 2011.
Lennox, John. Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists are Missing the Mark. Oxford, UK: Lion, 2011.
Livermore, Jeffrey. “Astrophysics of ‘In the Beginning’–how the Higgs Boson helps us understand Creatio Ex Nihilo with Dr. Jeff Zweerink.”Apologetics. com. (October 8, 2013). http://www.apologetics.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=43&Itemid=74. Accessed October 15, 2013.