Does science disprove God?

Science is fascinating, and it feels like it’s moving at an unprecedented pace. I think if we listen closely to news coverage and even our own conversations, there is a tension, “Does science disprove God?” At least I’ve felt it a good bit in my own life.

John Lennox discusses that in this short lecture.

This quote is a spoiler for his lecture, but it’s pretty powerful. :man_scientist: :woman_scientist:

“Serious thinkers continue to ask us to choose between God and science. That’s like asking people to choose between Henry Ford and engineering for the creation of the motor car.”

When I was feeling overwhelmed with a research project I was helping with, I remember marveling at how God could know the entire order of the world and yet require meticulous steps for us to understand it. I pouted with God for a while on how pointless it all felt, then concluded there must be something about the process of the actual research that made each person doing it learn something unique about God. Perhaps discussion on Connect are like that, too. In the practice of responding and researching, we can learn about the nature of God even as we work to understand His wisdom.

So, to get us started, I thought of these questions. However, I’d love to hear other directions that stood out. As we “practice” responding to one another here, we can prepare for real-life conversations outside of Connect.

  1. Are there times when you have been confronted on the rationality of Christianity in light of modern science? What was the nature of the conversation?
  2. Lennox has the premise that because the universe is rational, it must have been made by a rational being. Are there recent scientific discoveries that come to mind either supporting or contrasting this?
  3. Modern science often works to relieve pain. Why may John Lennox have discussed God’s willingness to take on suffering as evidence of His existence?
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This is one of my favorite topics. For those interested, I would check out WIlliam Lane Craig’s Youtube channel and his debates with some leading scientist atheists.

That said, @Brittany_Bowman1, I come from a background as a biologist, and have an M.S. in evolutionary biology. The BIG mistake I made before coming to Christ was thinking the Bible and science were mutually exclusive. That the things I learned were antithetical or contradictory to the Bible. Of course, this was largely based on what I’d heard in popular culture. That changed when I, shocker, decided to actually READ the bible rather than rely on others’ representations of it (either secular or from my pastor).

An example IS evolution. In and of itself (and ignoring the question of the origin of life and mankind for the sake of this conversation), there is no contradiction between evolution by natural selection and the bible. Nowhere in the bible does it say that species are static, or that the species on the Ark were the same as those we see today (rather than some kind of progenitor selection).

That being said, from a meta-approach, I take seriously one of the contention scientists often raise (and then usually immediately violate) which is that science is not a THING. We too often anthropomorphize it. It is a process, and like any process, it has its limitations. As do the things it creates, like the theory of evolution. “Scientism” is a fallacy scientists often fall into in which they put too much faith in science, or believe it can and does explain everything. Which is false. As a result, “science” cannot “prove” anything. It can provide evidence from which scientists can draw conclusions. It can provide evidence for or against hypotheses.

As a result, no, science cannot disprove God. I like Craig’s approach to this question in that “theology provides the framework within which science can operate.” Science cannot test why the universe is rational. WHY is there a gravitational constant? WHY is Planck’s constant… constant? Why don’t they change over time, at random? Science can only say that they ARE constant. Theology says WHY they are: God created an ordered universe in which to house his creations.

As to your three points:
1- I find proponents of scientism are pretty angry. Hitchens, Harris, Kraus, etc. They are all very angry, so those conversations are usually rather pointless. They’d rather hold to science and dismiss the valid arguments against their position (reason, philosophy) than deal with them head on. And that’s how i was back in the day to some extent.

2- All scientific discoveries to date support this. The closest MIGHT be the “quantum void” which is a sea of energy that spawns particles seemingly at random, but that is VERY new work, and “random” is likely a stand-in for ignorance. Yet the rate of generation of these quantum particles is, over time, predictable, even if not in finite periods.

3- Science cannot relieve pain. The discoveries that have arisen because of someone’s use of science can relieve pain. These discoveries can also cause pain. Lots of it. Science is a moral nullity, so using it as a foil for suffering is, imho, not a great approach. That said, If God gives us free will, we are provided with the choice to cause pain in others. And because we are selfish, oafish, mean people, we DO. In order for Jesus to be fully human, he had to have experienced this core attribute of humanity: experiencing the repercussions of others’ choices that go against God’s will (i.e., sin).

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There is an oldie but goodie video with William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland excerpts showing how science cannot prove everything. I think that it just goes to show us from the contributions of the aforementioned and with John Lennox that science does not say anything, but scientists do, meaning that the worldview of the scientist is either a good filter or a roadblock to see that God is the God of the whole show and helps us to see His fingerprints in the creation through the discipline of science. Here is the video link: https://youtu.be/vxJQe_FefxY )

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@EvoFaith, thanks for taking to write out such a detailed response. It is fascinating to hear of your studies, and I am thankful we have a Christian who is working to learn more about God’s beautiful order in nature. I think it’s important to note, though, that not all who turn first to science are angry. Many are quite reasoned, and they come with kindness. I think the modern tendency for controversy is for it to become heated, but we should distinguish this modern tendency amongst all worldview from the position of science.

@roblundberg, you bring up a beautiful of science being a filter for how we see God, and I enjoyed watching the video you shared.

It sounds like you’ve both reasoned through the topic of science and God a lot - much more than I can ever hope to understand. haha.

  • Are there times in your studies where you’ve had a personal conversation with someone about the intersection of science and religion?
  • RZIM often mentions addressing the questioner rather than the question. Do you think it was more of a mind or heart concern?
  • How can we reach out to start new conversations about this topic of science and God?
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@Brittany_Bowman1 thank you for your questions. The issue of science and faith was a sticky wicket for me, in my late teen years and into my first couple of years in college, as an apatheist (apathetic atheist). After I was saved, I wanted to know all I could drink in on why Christianity is true, and ran into the issue that many Christians were throwing science out of the faith equation. I was not looking for science to replace faith, like a handful were accusing. So part of my apologetics studies was on the relationship between faith and science.

Over the years, listening to men like John Lennox debate Richard Dawkins, and reading books on the subject as part my personal studies, I jumped into the arena in Upstate NY and now in Virginia interacting with atheists of both the naturalistic and materialistic bent. In those conversations, I find that there are many skeptics who do not understand what faith is (kind of like many Christians (not being critical here)).

One of things I have found is that this faith/science debate has been going on a long time, since Darwin wrote his book, “Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” when the church threw philosophy “baby out with the bathwater.” If only Gregor Mendel connected with Charles Darwin to show him his genetics punnett squares showing the redistribution of the genes, perhaps we would not have the problems we have with various streams of “evolution” affecting society. The ghost of Darwin lives in many pockets of our culture.

Then 9/11 happened and we saw the writing of books by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, whose writing was for the sole purpose of slamming religion in general and Christianity in particular. Of course this ramped up the responses and the debate between pop atheists and those of us engaged in apologetics.

You asked about personal conversations. Yes. I have been to two Reason Rallys in Washington DC and have spoken with a good many atheists who believe science can answer all our questions (antitheists who embrace scientism). Asking questions of those who challenge our assumptions that Christianity is true, is really important. I am thankful for the resources like William Lane Craig, and others who have helped me shape the questions I use in those conversations. The conversations have always been cordial, but there have been a few where that have been spirited in a setting where I was outnumbered. I just gave a gentle answer and answer questions until they stop.

Pray for us as we seek to reach the church to show that Christianity does not have to crumble under the challenges of scientism, secular worldviews, and world religions. I am thankful for a community like RZIM Connect because while there are some who are catching on, it is lonely.

Blessings,
Rob

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Thisnis a very good read. Enjoyed it a lot. I think that seeing the science to things of our own reality is helpful in understanding our place in time but faith is still needed in many ways and does not contradict science.

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