This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/believing-scientists-respond-how-does-your-faith-connect-to-your-scientific-work
Thanks for putting this together. What a great testimony and example of living in faith! May it encourage all of us to live boldly for Christ, in a world that is not always friendly to such ideas.
Please ask the scientists if they believe the miracles told in the Bible are literally true:
- Noah’s flood.
- Tower of Babel.
- Parting of the Red Sea.
- Virgin birth.
- Bodily resurrection.
I’m a believing scientist (physicist). And like most, the more I learn about the beauty of nature, the more my faith is strengthened. It’s an old argument that certainly did not originate with me, but I believe the best prima facie evidence for the existence of God is the unreasonable success of science. There is absolutely no reason why we should expect, a priori, that science is not a fool’s errand-- yet we have faith (science is more or less based on this faith) that science, coupled with hard work, will continue to advance. There is no brick wall of knowledge.
There could have been. IMO, if Newton’s 2nd Law had been a non-linear differential equation, physics would have been DOA.
I am going to sidestep this question, because I find it odd. If you are a believing scientist, you almost certainly believe that the creative force behind the universe is God. (Otherwise what exactly are you believing in?) You might disagree with the details of creation-- but it seems to me that any believer will accept that the universe, even if via secondary means, owes its existence to god. Now this is the mother of all miracles–so I am always curious why people ask about relatively small miracles like the virgin birth. Does it even make sense to attribute the creation of the universe to god and then question whether such a god could arrange a virgin birth, change water into wine, or resurrect the dead?
So my answer to your question is that I am certain that a god who can make a universe is capable of these, by comparison, parlor tricks. That is not saying whether or not I agree with, say, a global flood (I don’t). But I absolutely believe that god could flood the whole earth.
Thanks for an interesting piece. I did a blog post (please excuse the shameless self-promotion) a while back on the same subject, “Are all great scientists atheists?”. The material was taken from a fine book, Cosmos, Bios and Theos,, by Henry Margenau and Roy Varghese, in which scientists drawn from various fields–physics, chemistry, biology–were interviewed about their world view and religious faith. The list included members of the National Academy of Science, the Royal Society, and quite a few Nobel Prize winners. Not all of the theists, and there were quite a few, were “Christian”. It was also interesting that the distribution of belieevers was skewed, agewise: more of them were old. So maybe that says something about the loss of faith in younger people.
David Heddle: I think your right in limiting the significance of mikemoore’s five questions and claiming that a god who can make the universe can perform lesser miracles. A conclusion I draw from your posts is that god exists, god creates everything and any observation of phenomena can be linked back to a god’s influence. So is every little thing proof of a god? Is this the ultimate reductionist conclusion: “god did it”?
Are you being facetious? Nothing is a proof of god. I can still believe that God is sovereign and even that he ordains everything that comes to pass, and yet apart from isolated, exceedingly rare interventions (miracles) he accomplishes results in the physical realm through the use of secondary means (the laws of physics).
What I have found from my own experience and from the experience of others as reflected in these interviews is that faith is based on experience. We do not experience God directly, but we do experience what God does as the Creator and Savior.
God as God gives unity and meaning to the universe, life, and ourselves. Science is based on the fact that the universe is more than a random collection of atoms. The laws of nature created by God give the universe form and direction.
Now there are times when life does seem chaotic and without meaning and purpose, but overall this is not true, even though the New Atheists claim that it is true. The problem that they have as I see it is that the claim that the universe is chaos, rather than cosmos, goes against the basic tenets of science and philosophy as well as faith.
Christianity is based on our human experience with the Creator through then Creation and the Savior through salvation, which reveals the meaning and purpose of life.
David Heddle: No sir, I wasn’t being facetious. I made a mistake using the word “proof”. Instead I should have used a statement like “the overwhelming overwhelming evidence suggests that…”.
I don’t think its logical to claim that your god makes his presence known through natural processes (like physics). That means your god is responsible for everything, including avenues of objective scientific inquiry. Then, is there anything your god isn’t responsible for?
Even I, as a Unitarian Universalist, happily conclude there is nothing in which that God is not involved - - sometimes happily, sometimes not.
The Forces of the Cosmos are a Unity. Challenging this basic notion is not a likely place to gain epistymological traction.
Our moral choices. Unlike in a purely material view wherein the universe is just time-stepping through its differential equation, perhaps with some quantum indeterminacy thrown into the mix, in a Christian view we are, supernaturally, free moral agents.
It’s your view, not mine, in which some one thing (namely those laws of physics) is responsible for everything.
George Brooks: What does that mean: “Challenging this basic notion is not a likely place to gain epistymological traction”? I’m just a pilgrim. If there is proof of the supernatural, then I’m on board.
David Heddle: Can I, as an atheist, also have free moral agency? In this sense, am I different from you?
The word “proof” is loaded with baggage that most of us at BioLogos reject because of its subjectivity. We more commonly use the term “evidence”. And for Christians and Theists of every stripe, there is all sorts of information we consider to be worthy evidence. Hume brilliantly analyzed the value of information that might be not provide an answer based on pure logic, but nevertheless, the information provides reasonable evidence.
Since this is a Theistic platform, you implying the idea that God is involved in everything is wrong-headed is a dog that just won’t hunt in these woods (that’s what I mean by no traction).
To me, consciousness is irrelevant and virtually unlikely in a godless Cosmos. And that pretty much establishes the limits of my skepticism. But mileage will vary; if you don’t find this analysis persuasive, I can live with that. But your skepticism does not mean you are going to convince anyone else that there is no God.
Yes, you are a free moral agent. No, in this sense we are not different.
We all are free moral agents. If not God would be a monster of injustice to judge us as sinners.