Blinded Me With Science [11-8-20]


November 8, 2020

"Blinded Me With Science"


A philosopher guy wrote a book on atheism in 2011. Here's some of what he said:


There's so much more to atheism than its knockdown arguments that there is no God. There is the whole rest of the worldview that comes along with atheism. It's a demanding, rigorous, breathtaking grip on reality, one that has been vindicated beyond reasonable doubt. It's called science.

- Alex Rosenberg


What a weird dude. And he's not alone. There are many more vociferous atheist scientists out there. For some, it's almost a religion. My favorite is Richard Dawkins. Here's his cheery evaluation of the status of God:

The universe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

Sounds like a fun guy, doesn't he? Someone to liven up your next dinner party.

While it's true that a majority of scientists are either atheists or agnostics, not all are. Faith in God is not solely the preoccupation of backwater rubes. Being a devoted follower of Jesus Christ isn't something limited to us low-IQ numbskulls. There is great intellectual and vocational diversity within the Body of Christ.


Daniel Hastings is Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. He began following Jesus as a teenager. He observes, "I start by saying that there is a God who created the universe, and He is not an impersonal God."


I don't share these thoughts because I think we need to prove the existence of God by calling up expert testimony. It's simply to recognize there is diversity within the Body of Christ, and that faith and science do not have to be at war with each other. Contrary to the arrogance of the non-believing scientists out there.


MIT professor Jing Kong {I love her name}, works in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Her key focus is on the problem of combining the synthesis and fabrication of individual carbon nanotubes, and integrating them into electrical circuits. I'm glad somebody is finally tackling that problem. Anyway, Professor Kong grew up in China. She became a Christian when she was a grad student at the University of California, Berkeley. Oh, the beauty of God's sovereignty expressed through His electing grace. Here's what she says:

My research is only a platform for me to do God's work. His creation, the way He made this world, is very interesting. It's amazing, really.


Listen to Psalm 8:


O Lord, our Lord,     how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes,     to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,     the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him,     and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings     and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;     you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen,     and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,     whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,     how majestic is your name in all the earth!


God placed that sense of wonder and awe into the heart and mind of Professor Kong when He called her to faith.


Andrew Gosler is Director of the Institute of Human Sciences, Oxford University. He lectures in Biological Conservation, as well as in the field of ornithology. I'll bet he marvels at the wonder of crows, like me. When he was a professor, Gosler became a Christian from a secular Jewish background. Here's how he explains it:

My coming to faith in Christ did not rest on a single issue, such as the value of life. It was a holistic redefining of perspectives that came together through every aspect of my life.

That's his way of talking about how all of God's Word witnesses to the truth about Himself and us and our place in the world. It's a unifying witness to God's revelation of the truth in Jesus Christ. And it's a beautiful thing.


Finally, Russell Cowburn is Professor of Experimental Physics at Cambridge University. He specializes in nanotechnology and its application to magnetism, electronics and optics. He has over 60 patents in his field. For fun, I looked up some of his key publications. Here's a sampling:

"Controlling All-Optical Helicity-Dependent Switching in Engineered Rare-Earth Free Synthetic Ferrimagnets." {All I understand about that is magnets, and I love magnets.}
"Highly Tunable Perpendicularly Magnetized Synthetic Antiferromagnets for Biotechnology Applications."

Here's what he says about his Christian faith:

Understanding more of science doesn't make God smaller. It allows us to see His creative activity in more detail.

See that in light of Psalm 33:6-9:


By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,     and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;     he puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;     let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be;     he commanded, and it stood firm.


These profiles give us glimpses into the fruitful relationship between science and Christianity.


Ain't science grand? The only thing that kept me from a career in science is that I'm not smart enough. It's always the minor little details, right? Science and faith are not mutually exclusive.


Here's how that plays out. The Book of Genesis, in its opening chapters, is a beautiful expression of the who, what, and why of creation. The imagery and poetry expresses the wonder of life. It fills us with awe over the fact that the Creator of the Universe chose to give us life. It is such a marvelous thought.


One of the things Genesis is not is a science textbook. I have never expected Genesis to give me the how of creation, aside from through the power and majesty of God. At the same time, I am far from a believer in the theory of evolution. That could be subject for a completely separate message. Year ago, I shared the problems I have with Darwinian evolution. One man in the church, after the service, said to me, "I thought you went to college." "I did," I replied. "And you don't believe in evolution?" he asked.


I also don't believe in the young earth position. I am not interested at all in that discussion. It does nothing for me. Someone once told me that you couldn't be saved if you rejected the young earth position. Which is interesting, adding something unbiblical to salvation. Here's something you might want to write down:

Salvation does not imply perfect understanding of doctrine, for then no one could be saved.

And I might add, I don't believe young earth falls under the category of needful doctrine. The same might be said of intelligent design, which I call "evolution lite." I do not read the Bible in search of answers to every scientific question. In fact, 1700 years ago, St. Augustine affirmed that Christians read the Bible primarily concerning matters of the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven. The Bible is not science, but science can lead us into a deeper sense of wonder and awe for what God has done and continues to do in our lives and our world.


For example, I love how some people pride themselves on being all about "following the science" yet reject the clear evidence that a fetus is human life deserving protection. The science doesn't lie. But people blind to Biblical truth are easily misled. People have shared with me comments from friends or family members who talk about how, as people of science or who think scientifically, they can't accept the idea of God. That is hardly a brave or informed position. Simply a spiritually dead one.


Science teaches us that God's glory is clearly visible. Yet too many people would rather not see it, looking for other explanations. That was even true in Paul's day. After explaining that God's power and divine nature are clearly seen in creation, Paul says:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. - Romans 1:21-23

Most people today don't bow down to the kinds of idols Paul was talking about, but people are idolatrous in other ways. Naturalism is a big one. Some think everything can be explained within the realm of science and nature. People no longer see things in nature pointing to God. Yet as devoted followers of Jesus Christ, we see God's glorious handiwork everywhere.


Georges Lemaitre was born in 1894. He died in 1966. He was a Belgian

Catholic priest, mathematician, astronomer, and physics professor. He was the first to propose the idea that the universe had begun as an incredibly hot, incredibly dense point…a cosmic egg. It became known as the big bang theory.


At first, most scientists rejected it. Especially atheists. They preferred the long-held "steady state" theory. As Stephen Hawking pointed out in his book, "A Brief History of Time," which, by the way, I read, though I only understood about 5% of it…I knew it was a book and it was written by Stephen Hawking…anyway, about the big bang, Hawking said, "Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention…There were therefore a number of attempts to avoid the conclusion that there had been a big bang."


Lemaitre got us closer to the how of creation, which came a little too close to the who for some people. The big bang is wholly congruent with the Genesis statement that God created the universe out of nothing.


We could go on. Isaac Newton probably had one of the greatest scientific minds, ever. He believed in God, although his Christian beliefs were a bit eclectic. It is said of Newton, that by "flinging gravity across the void, he united physics and astronomy in a single science of matter in motion, fulfilling the dreams of Pythagoras, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and countless others in between. And while Newton was unable to discover the true cause of gravity itself, a giant riddle still, the laws he formulated provide convincing proof that we inhabit an orderly and knowable universe." That is exactly how the Bible wants us to understand it, as an orderly and knowable universe.


Here's a place to pause. Think about gravity. We have no idea what it is. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. The force of gravity makes water rise and fall by 20 feet. I can't wrap my wee little brain around how that happens. Or where it comes from. It is a huge force. Pushing and pulling. Trillions of tons of water are getting pulled by nothing. And we don't know what it is.


Thoughts like that always drive me back to God's Word:

  • Psalm 19:1 - "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."

  • Psalm 95:3-5 - "For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land."

  • Psalm 96:11-12 - "Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy."

  • Psalm 104:24-25 - "O Lord, how manifold are your works! In  wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great."


I hope that every day, when you wake up and know that God has given you another day of life and breath, that as you go about your day, you stop and marvel about the glory and holiness of God as you think about passages like these and take in the beauty of the day at hand. The sun or the clouds. The rain. The crows chasing the squirrels. The squirrels harassing the crows. Whatever it is, God has placed signs of His wonders all around you, for all of your senses. "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"


Science and faith blend beautifully together for those who don't resist the weight of it. Sixty years ago, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Eugene Wigner observed that "the enormous usefulness of mathematics in the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious and that there is no rational explanation for it." He goes on with an expression of gratitude:

The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. - Eugene Wigner, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences"

Alfred North Whitehead was a mathematician/philosopher. He came to a belief in God through his work in mathematics. Here's what Whitehead once said:

Philosophy begins in wonder. And, at the end, when philosophic thought has done its best, the wonder remains.

That is God's grace. Here's the Biblical truth. God made the universe and endowed us with an intelligence that echoed His own, so that as His image-bearers we would be able to discern the beauty of His grace and mercy.


Amen.