Sunday, June 28, 2015

Does Science make the Christian Faith Irrelevant?

Does science – its findings and technological advancements – make Christianity irrelevant? Law professor and apologist, David Skeel, re-states this common objection to Christianity:

  • Many aspects of our existence were mysterious a few centuries ago, and God was the commonly accepted explanation. Since then, science has solved many of the mysteries, and scientists are steadily solving others. There is no need for God. (From an interview in Christian Union)
However, the critical question is this:

  • Does science solve these mysteries apart from God or in concert with God? Has science staked out for itself a domain independent of God or dependent upon Him? Therefore, when we acknowledge science, must we also acknowledge that this entire enterprise rests upon God?
Science depends on universal, immutable, and elegant laws. Without them, no scientific knowledge is possible – at best, only change. From where then do these laws arise and how are they maintained within a universe of molecules-in-motion? Can an explosion – the Big Bang – account for them? Certainly, explosions never create order or functional products, even less, the laws of science.

Instead, these laws give every sign of Design and not the product of as yet non-existent natural processes. Therefore, the search for a natural explanation before the natural exists is oxymoronic. Rather, the laws of science tend to point to the Transcendent for an explanation for their origin, immutability, universality, elegance and perpetuation. Even the pages of Scripture would agree:

  • Jeremiah 33:25 states that God accomplishes His purposes through “fixed laws of heaven and earth.” 
  • Job 38:33 “Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up [God's] dominion over the earth?”
If this is true, then the entire scientific enterprise depends on resources that can only come from God. These resources also include the complex and mysterious phenomena of matter, energy, time, and space, not to mention logic, reason, and math. Skeel marvels about math:

  • Mathematicians have repeatedly conjured up concepts that seemed purely abstract, and yet proved essential to understanding features of our universe such as subatomic physics. How is it that the universe is rationally intelligible, and that our minds are somehow tuned to that rationality? For a materialist, this puzzle is very hard to explain.
Not only do we find a harmony between math and this world of science, we also observe an incredible degree of harmony between logic/reason and this world – a harmony that allows us to understand and use it. This harmony seems to represent a grand Design. As Skeel puts it, “For a materialist, this puzzle is very hard to explain.”

In fact, some materialists have forsaken a naturalistic understanding of the universe. The now-deceased Antony Flew has been called the “foremost atheist thinker of the 20th century.” However, after 40 years of debating Christians, he surprised the world.

At a 2004 debate at New York University, Flew declared that he “now accepted the existence of a God” (p. 74). In that debate, he said that he believed that the origin of life points to a creative Intelligence,

  • Almost entirely because of the DNA investigations. What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together. It’s the enormous complexity of the number of elements and the enormous subtlety of the ways they work together. The meeting of these two parts at the right time by chance is simply minute. It is all a matter of the enormous complexity by which the results were achieved, which looked to me like the work of intelligence.” (Antony Flew with Roy Varghese, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, 75).
Did Flew have a religious experience that had biased him against a naturalistic explanation? He explained:

  • I must stress that my discovery of the Divine has proceeded on a purely natural level, without any reference to supernatural phenomena. It has been an exercise in what has traditionally been called natural theology. It has had no connection with any of the revealed religions. Nor do I claim to have had any personal experience of God or any experience that may be called supernatural or miraculous. In short, my discovery of the Divine has been a pilgrimage of reason and not of faith. (93).
In fact, the materialistic/naturalistic attempts to explain this universe fall flat in many respects. Any viable theory must be able to explain all of the phenomena in its domain, However, there are just so many things that naturalism cannot explain – the origins of the fine-tuning of the universe, DNA, life, the cell, freewill, consciousness, biological invention and diversity (irreducible complexity), the chemical table, logic, reason, the purpose of life, art and music appreciation, and objective moral law.

However, the existence of an omniscient and omnipotent Creator provides one simple explanation for all of these phenomena. It would therefore seem that the God-paradigm is the superior one and not the irrelevant one.

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