Faith & Science

Faith and science are very different in their scope but if both are seeking honestly after truth, they will be complimentary and inform each other. 


Science looks only at the facts and not their meaning in terms of life, our purpose, reason for being etc. A child may ask ‘Who am I?’, ‘Why am I?’ and other key questions but science does not address these. 


Faith however does address them. ‘Who we are’ and ‘why we are’ are central to faith and extremely important in life in terms of how we see ourselves, our value and our significance.  These can be important for our mental health and sense of well-being.

Faith and science speak different languages. 

For example describing a kiss:

  • Science says 'it is an exchange of oral saliva'

  • Faith says 'its about love and relationship and intimacy between two people'


Science explains ‘what’ and ‘how’ and provides data for us to examine. Faith explains ‘who’ and ‘why’. Let’s look at some of that data.

(If it gets too technical, go to the bottom and click 'See quotes from leading scientists' to see their conclusions after a lifetime of working on the creation of the universe)

 

Let’s look at some of that data.

Three scientists (physicists) finally proved the Big Bang in 2003. The ‘Big Bang’ is a description used for the creation of the universe in a single moment of time. They showed by physics and maths how it all happened, back to a point where the universe was smaller than a football and they removed all previous assumptions.

But Alan Guth, one of the three, stated “The Big Bang theory says nothing about what banged, why it banged, or what happened before it banged." He recognized that science has its limitations and informs us of 'what', ‘how’ and ‘when’ but not ‘who’ or ‘why’.

The bible starts with the words ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’. It also says Hebrews 11:3 ‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible’ i.e. it was created instantly out of nothing by the Creator.


What has science found? Exactly that. The universe exploded into existence out of nothing and started at a single point. We know everything about it back to it first tiniest fraction of a second when it was slightly larger than a tennis ball. It took place 14,500 million years ago. This is widely accepted by physicists and cosmologists.

 

The bible also says “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20) 

In other words the bible says if we study creation we will find evidence of God’s work that is so clear we can’t pretend he does not exist.


What has science found? Again exactly that. The universe consists of just 12 particles and 4 forces. They make up all of matter and energy - everything that exists. These are incredibly finely balanced and tuned together to create the universe. What is most interesting is that it is impossible for it to have ‘happened by accident’.

Here is a quote from Frank Tipler (American mathematical physicist and cosmologist) who, with John Barrow, did the research and wrote the key book on the discovery of fine tuning in the big bang and created universe ‘The Anthropic Cosmological Principle’. In his book he explains how the universe is not some kind of accident but throughout it is very highly tuned and co-ordinated and that is the central principle of its existence. He later said:

"When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics." 


He also said "Christianity is not a mere religion but an experimentally testable science." Interestingly he is not a Christian and his theory at the time of writing the book was that somehow mankind in the future must develop an ability to time travel and go back to create the universe. Not accepting a God, he was left with the only other known intelligent being, ‘man’!

 

A finely tuned universe

To understand how finely balanced the universe is consider this. Tipler found over 100 constants that are required for the universe to exist. 34 of these constants are more finely tuned than anything man has ever achieved. Our best yet is the atomic clock, accurate to 1 second in 15 billion years but the least of the 34 is billions of times finer than that. To say it another way it is more likely that you could draw the Ace of Spades from a full pack of cards over 20 times in a row or throw 46 dice and get 6 sixes with all of them.


Five of the constants are shown here.

 

Evolution

We also now know from geology that all the main forms of life burst on the scene in a very short period called the Cambrian Explosion. All the main groupings of creatures alive today formed in 13-25 million years, an incredibly short period of evolutionary time.

"The Cambrian explosion or Cambrian radiation was an event approximately 541 million years ago in the Cambrian period when most major animal phyla appeared in the fossil record. It lasted for about 13–25 million years and resulted in the divergence of most modern metazoan  phyla. The event was accompanied by major diversification of other organisms. Before the Cambrian explosion, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies. As the rate of diversification subsequently accelerated, the variety of life began to resemble that of today. Almost all present animal phyla appeared during this period."

See full article at Wikipedia (click here)


Interestingly recent studies in genetics around the world have allowed us to trace ancestries. Work has been done on the ‘Identical Ancestors Point’ looking and tracing back to the point from which all living people today are descended. The identical ancestors point for Homo sapiens has been the subject of debate. In 2004, Rohde, Olson and Chang showed through simulations that the Identical Ancestors Point for all humans is surprisingly recent, of the order of 5,000-15,000 years ago. 

Ralph and Coop (2013), considering the European population and working from genetics, came to similar conclusions for the recent common ancestry of all Europeans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identical_ancestors_point

This is still being studied.

 
Science Museum Space Exploration

The point of all these findings from the major branches of science – particle matter and the creation of the universe, the creation of life and genetics - is that they all confirm the bible’s explanation that God created the universe and it shows his existence and something of his character – his eternal power and divine nature.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Romans 1:20)


Here are other quotes from key scientists who have actually done the research and speak from their own findings (as opposed the often-vociferous characters who have not done the research but don’t like the findings). Links are provided to A-Z Quotes where all these have been taken from.

This section is aimed at helping you understand that faith is completely reasonable. The common mindset that ‘science has disproven faith’ is entirely wrong. Up to the 1960’s an 'eternal universe' and evolution from a ‘simple cell’ were taken as proving that there was no need for a God. 

In some ways it is popular because it discards any sense of having to consider God or any sense of accountability, declaring ‘I can do what I like’. Sadly it throws away our value and importance if we do not realise that we are created beings, each unique and loved by a God who wants to have a relationship with us and come alongside us in life. 


Research from the 1970’s onwards in physics, maths, cosmology, biology, genetics and geology have blown these static ideas apart but it is only slowly entering public consciousness and there is much resistance to the conclusions they show. Here is an interesting recent quote taken from the introduction in a top physics book that brings together the latest scientific research:

 “This reaction against fine tuning might stem from the belief that fine tuning is the invention of a bunch of religious believers who hijacked physics to their own ends. This is not the case: the field began in physics journals and remains with physicists.

Astro physicists Geraint Lewis & Luke Barnes – ‘A Fortunate Universe: Life in a fine tuned cosmos’ 2016 Cambridge University Press

 
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