10 Ways Science Might be Making the Case for God
Is science making the case for God? Certainly is has not disproved the existence of God. Parallels between spiritual teachings and scientific findings have been drawn on for centuries. Biochemists, paleontologists, physicists, and a variety of religious leaders have studied and intertwined the origins of life and the universe, free will, and man’s evolution with scientific discovery and tangible fact.
Evidence increasingly shows that inner and outer, and substantive and esoteric worlds are coexisting with less and less conflict. Religion and science basically attempt to discover and prove similar concepts of understanding the universe and mankind. They essentially reflect different approaches to the singular subject/mystery of our existence.
No satisfactorily scientific solution has proved how the cosmos in general determined at some specific point in time to be created and sufficiently provide elements to further create and sustain life as we know it. The very nature of a single cosmic particle in and of itself is so intricately complex it defies scientific logic beyond quantum mechanics and mathematics. More questions than answers are generated as research and discoveries expand the scope of the cosmic and physical realm. Essentially, the more we learn, the more mysterious the universe becomes and the more questions arise. One question in particular that no scientist can sufficiently answer is, who or what is behind all we know, all we see, and all we are? So, is science making the case for God?
Scientific atheists suggest the perplexing complexities of the Big Bang, the God Particle, and the resultant materialized elements that lend themselves to life force creation may be explained through the theory of the existence of a multiverse (an infinite set of universes). In essence, because each universe has its unique parameters, conditions will not be conducive to life on all planes. However, these scientists contend that due to the infinitesimal number of universes, at least one or two will support life. So comes the question, considering the massive natural power required to create one universe, how much force is required to create infinitesimal number universes? The multiverse and ideal parameters theory, therefore, does not disprove God’s involvement in creating the universe(s).
Throughout recorded history, scientists, physicists, cosmologists, and discoveries and research have supported divine intervention at some point, on some level.
10Scientists’ Belief in a Higher Power
A 2009 Pew Research Center survey showed that about 51% of American scientists are as likely as the general public to believe in God or a higher divine power.
Historically, understanding the cosmos and mankind came from observation and data. While Galileo (1564 – 1642) was convicted of heresy by the Roman Catholic Church (“He [God] would not require us to deny sense and reason in physical matters which are set before our eyes and minds by direct experience or necessary demonstrations.”), Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626), originator of the scientific method, believed his discovery was so massive, it had to have been spirited by divine intervention. Bacon understood that methodically collecting and analyzing data was essential to the scientific progress. He also believed, that, “… a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.”
Science upstaged religion in the 1800s. Theoretically, Neanderthal remains, discovered fossils, and extinct animal and plant remains demonstrated that hominoids, flora, and fauna evolved, survived millennia, and then ceded to better-adapted species. Darwin’s (1809 – 1882) survival of the fittest theory succeeded. He admittedly fluctuated in his belief in God. “… that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide.”
First US astronomer, Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), pursued a simpler faith than her Quaker upbringing. After hearing a minister preach on the perils of science, she wrote, “Scientific investigations, pushed on and on, will reveal new ways in which God works, and bring us deeper revelations of the wholly unknown.”
Twentieth century scientists are more skeptical. Rosalind Franklin (helped pioneer the x-ray) believed, “… that faith in this world is perfectly possible without faith in another world. Stephen Hawking (physicist) confirmed in 2014 he was an atheist. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (2009 Nobel Prize for ribosomes research) states, “A culture based on superstitions will do worse than one based on scientific knowledge and rational thoughts.” Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist) contends, “So you’re made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?”
The multiverse theory attempts to scientifically explain how space, time, matter, and forces combined to form a single comprehensible universe. The multiverse concept originates from the eternal inflation (expanding universe) theory, which is based on the premise that space-time expanded differently in different areas after the Big Bang. Many bubble universes that function each within their own laws of physics formed as a result of the expansion theory. Scientists are unsure what shape space-time is (it is presumed to be flat), but they do know it is infinite, thus lending itself to the multiverse, multiple universe, theory.
To substantiate the multiverse model, Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg explains that the concept of “universe” should not just mean our Big Bang and what we can see within 14 billion light-years in any direction. Russian-American physicist, Andrei Linde found, “… that what we had called ‘the universe’ can be divided into extremely large regions, which may have different laws of physics, where one part may be suitable for life, and other parts unsuitable.” And, physicist Alan Guth (MIT) formulated cosmic inflation to explain how regions of the universe moved and communicated among themselves at the speed of light, but could not impact each other due to the vast distances between them and shortened elapsed time.
Certain physical factors had to act precisely within the first moments after the Big Bang, or the universe would be void of all carbon-based life forms (i.e.: humans) or have yielded life, but not intelligent life. So, comes the theological question: If such magnitude of power and force of nature is required to create one universe, how much more powerful is that force if it is to have created an infinite number of universes? And, where must that power have come from? While mathematics and logic make the case for multiple universes, Freeman Dyson, a non-religious scientist, stated, with regard to the Big Bang and the multiverse theory, that, “When you look at all the evidence, the universe seems to have known we were coming.”
Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection has been confined to the biological sciences. Darwin’s theory challenges today’s scientific and religious beliefs as much as it did when he first released his findings. Darwin admittedly fluctuated between his science and belief in God; “I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide. I am aware that if we admit a first cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came and how it arose.”
Pew Research estimates that approximately 98% of scientists associated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science believe humans evolved over time. However, of the approximately 62% of US adults that accept evolution theory, 25% of them also believe that evolution was “guided by a supreme being.” There is an even higher percentage in other countries that reject evolution theory on religious grounds. Pope Francis lent his support to the science confirming that evolution and Big Bang theories are real, and God is not “a magician with a magic wand.”
It remains that, as valid as evolution theory is, it has not explained how the first living organisms arrived on this planet and materialized from inanimate matter, or how highly-structured advanced life form components (eukaryotic cells) emerged from simpler organisms.
Biological evolution has yet to determine one of the greatest mysteries of mankind: consciousness. It is generally conceived to a “transcendental reality” where inner and outer worlds cease to conflict, but rather begin operating together in their own mini universe. Cognitive science (the study of thought processes; i.e.: logic, awareness, etc.) has yet to answer how consciousness appeared in living things, symbolic thinking, self-awareness and the ability to create, calculate, and deduce (physics, mathematics, medicine, etc.).
Scientific approaches identify the content of consciousness from experiences reported by human subjects and implement the concept of consciousness to assess underpinning neural and psychological mechanisms (i.e.: behavior, memory, identity). Some consider consciousness to be well-defined, although there is widespread debate about which animals other than humans possess it. To complicate the science, there are altered states (sleeping and dreaming) that come into play. Thought processes and memory are disrupted during the altered state. Similarly, there are disorders of consciousness, such as seizures, coma, brain death, etc.
As physical scientific research progresses, it becomes more and more apparent how complex the brain and consciousness are. Outside the scientific community consciousness is God and God is consciousness. Awareness and energy have intermingled with the universe, seeded the universe, and have over time effected change that has emanated out and into the universe since time began. Western and Eastern sacred texts and religions have expounded this theory for centuries. The singular element scientists, biologists, philosophers, theologians, and others agree on is that consciousness is energy. What it is and where/how it originated has yet to be determined. However, it is part of all life form.
6Life and Creation
The chemical composition of the universe immediately after the Big Bang created elements of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, iron, nitrogen, and others essential for producing life. Eventually, mass and charges under force and pressure created the complex double-helix molecule, which is the life-propagating DNA.
Life and its creation are based in polarities of thought and belief (Science v. God). There is scientific evidence of life building blocks (elements and DNA) created by the Big Bang. There is also mathematics that indicates the remote possibility of the universe even being created. Calculations are so close to zero that perfect conditions and timing had to be met for the miracle to occur, which introduces the possibility that God’s intervention was necessary to have made it happen. There are creation theories that oppose Darwin’s, including, biogenesis (living things only come from living things) and abiogenesis (life evolved spontaneously from cosmic elements at least once).
Scientists weigh in on the intersection of science and God in order to create life as we know it. Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute and National Institutes of Health (NIH), for example, converted from atheism to Christianity and argues the compatibility between God and Darwin’s theory of evolution, stating that, “The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. By investigating God’s majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.”
5The God Particle
Inside CERN’s Hadron Collider, that assimilates the Big Bang, the “God particle” that gave the universe its mass was discovered (2012). The God particle is the basis of particle physics and confirms what scientists have believed about the formation of the universe.
The mass’ elementary particles (quarks and the electron) had to have weights and electrical charges strictly within infinitely-restrictive parameters and under specific conditions to assimilate a young universe. The quarks bunched in threes to form protons and neutrons. Their electrical charges became the exact level needed to attract and capture the electrons and encircle proton/neutron nuclei. Charges and forces of mass interaction had to be precise in order for light atoms to form. Larger atoms heated inside stars produced life-elements (i.e.: oxygen, carbon, iron, nitrogen, etc.). The complex, life-propagating DNA, double-helix molecule would eventually be formed.
Amply-named “the God particle,” scientific processes merged with divine precision and timing. British mathematician, Roger Penrose, calculated the probability of the emergence of a life-giving universe as 1 divided by 10, raised to the power 10, and raised again to the power of 123. This as close to zero as anyone could have imagined.
Einstein offered a perspective of nature where the absolute velocity of light replaced absolute space and time. He referred to this as his invariance theory, but “general relativity theory” is what it became publicly known as. It theoretically supported the existence of gravity. It included Newton’s laws within a larger scope with a more precise description under certain conditions. General relativity includes phenomena such as black holes (space expanses that have so much mass light cannot escape). Another implication is that gravity distorts time.
Einstein’s theory of general relativity theory did not explain the universe entirely. His theory of special relativity created a link between space and time. The universe has three space dimensions and one time dimension (space-time continuum). Theoretically, if a person moves fast enough through space (at the speed of light), their observations about space and time will differ from the observations of others that are moving at different speeds.
Einstein stated that, “Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and view things in terms of cause and effect.” He considered himself agnostic, and shared the Pantheists’ belief that everything is God and that “God” is another word for everything, which influenced his research and conclusions.
3The Concept of Gravity
Science cannot prove, disprove, or detect gravity. They are not concretely sure what it is and where it came from. Gravitational law is, “the force of gravity acting between the earth and an object is directly proportional to the mass of the earth, directly proportional to the mass of the object, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance which separates the centers of the earth and the object.” In practicality, physicists today are still working to define it.
Issac Newton believed science was “the perfect realm in which to discuss God.” He is best known for his law of gravitation. “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.”
Today, Stephen Hawking conversely states that God did not create the universe, gravity did. In his 2010 publication, The Grand Design, he states, “Because there is a law like gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”
Other modern scientists believe that gravity does not change over time. Its force is not variable nor does it explain or justify the Big Bang. From observation, “The gravity force decreases with distance but is actually infinite in its extent. It dominates other forces on the larger scale of space objects.” Many feel the answers must also include a provision for God.
2Dark Matter and Dark Energy
The universe is full of matter, but what’s out there? Scientists can only answer 5% of that question (planets, galaxies, stars, etc.). The rest is mysterious. Dark matter holds the planets and universe in general together and accounts for about 23% of what’s out there. Dark matter is comprised of hypothetical particles called neutralinos and axions that do not radiate light. Although spiral galaxies may be obeying the laws of gravity, if they contain enough of such dark (matter) mass, much of what is in the cosmos may have been hidden for centuries.
Dark energy accounts for the other 73%. It is the force greater than gravity that contributes to the discovered cosmic expansion (eternal inflation theory) of the universe. Astronomer, Edwin Hubble discovered (1929) that distant galaxies were moving away from Earth. The farther away they got, the faster they seemed to be receding.
So, what prevents the universe from ripping apart? In the 1990s astrophysicists, astronomers, and others assume the universal existence of dark matter and that the law of gravitation in their observation of exploding stars (supernovas). They used the unusually bright, short-lived distant objects to gauge the universe’s growth and rapid expansion. Their findings concluded the dominant force in the universe was not gravity but something else they termed dark energy.
Scientists do not know if dark energy changes over time and space. They currently conclude that dark matter is due to the gravitational force on galaxies and the existence of dark energy is due to the anti-gravitational force on galaxies. Philosophers and others ponder if perhaps mysterious dark matter and/or dark energy are the essence of God himself?
1The Big Bang
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth” — Genesis 1:1. Approximately 14 billion years ago a gigantic burst of energy began the creation of the universe as we know it. The nature and source of the energy burst are not know or fully understood by science. We call it the Big Bang.
Cosmic inflation, gravity waves, relativity, and particle physics discoveries that occurred following, or as a result of, the Big Bang contain wider implications for those linking the universe and its creation with God. These discoveries scientifically support the theory that the universe was caused or created by something, or someone, externally, rather than from within.
Astronomer, Dave Chernoff, believes that, “science can never prove or disprove the existence of God and religious belief doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have anything to do with scientific reasoning.” The well-established theory of cosmic origins prior to the Big Bang was that the universe has always existed. It just is! New evidence, however, shows the universe very much had a beginning brought about by cause and effect.
“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics,” states atheist/agnostic astronomer, Fred Hoyle. He contends that the Big Bang was a highly-ordered event, and not one that happened by chance.
Is science making the case for God or does God make the case for science? Science utilizes reason, evidence, and observation in the study of the universe and its properties. Divinity addresses the study of the universe through revelation and philosophical and metaphysical explanations. Science and religion have collided through the centuries. Many of the early scientists (i.e.: Galileo, Roger Bacon, Draper) were affiliated with, if not practicing, some brand of religion (i.e.: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, etc.). While some scientists/philosophers (i.e.: Francis Collins, K.R. Miller, Ayala) agreed science and religion are compatible, others, such as Stephen Jay Gould, believed they are completely separate from each other. Still others (mostly science historians) propose an overlap, parallel, or interconnection between science and religion.