When modern people hear talk of science and faith, they don’t know whether to stay silent or prepare for a heated debate. The story we often hear goes something like this: with the rise of science and technology, belief in God is foolish. We assume miracles cannot happen, that science and faith cannot mix. Here are five reasons why science and faith are compatible.
1. Scientists cannot escape the question of God.
The story of science and faith is much more complicated than we have been told. Some of the most outspoken atheists or skeptics have painted a simplistic picture, one that is not scientific. The truth is much more interesting. Stephen Hawking, who is often seen as supporting the atheist cause, doesn’t end up where we would expect. He ends his best-selling A Brief History of Time with this remarkable passage: “What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?” (p. 190).
In later interviews Hawking answers this question: “The overwhelming impression [of the universe] is one of order. The more we discover about the universe, the more we find that it is governed by rational laws” (Gregory Benford, Leaping the Abyss: Stephen Hawking on Black Holes, Unified Field Theory and Marilyn Monroe, Reason 4.02 [April 2002]: 29).
Hawking openly questions the scientific need for God. This leads him to a pressing question: “You still have the question: why does the universe bother to exist? If you like, you can define God to be the answer to that question.” At the end of the day, many scientists think that the belief in God is compatible with science. Still have doubts? Keep reading.
2. Nature is well-ordered.
The question of God is on the mind of scientists and philosophers. But why? Well, nature is more ordered and life-centered than they thought. The evidence has led scientists further and further into supposing something of a rational mind of God behind everything.
Wrestling with the work of Albert Einstein, Paul Davies believed there were several pressing issues. Natures order led Davies to wonder, “Where do the laws of physics come from? Why these laws rather than others?” (Paul Davies, Physics and the Mind of God: Templeton Prize Address, First Things [May 1995]). These burning questions of God open the door to science. They do not close it.
The universe is also more dynamic and ordered than we realized. Modern philosophers of science and physicists have found that living matter possesses an inherent goal or purpose-centered organization. Nature is a movement of giving life. This purpose is somehow contained within living things. To quote a line from Jurassic Park, “Life will find a way!”
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