Have you ever felt that reading about a new scientific discovery is like reading about God?


(Jennifer Thomas) #1

I was really struck by yesterday’s release of the composite image of a black hole in galaxy M87. The way they put the image together by piecing together data collected over time from several sources, and then showing us what’s around the black hole (rather than showing us the black hole per se, which would be pretty hard to discern directly) reminds me of our human efforts to see and know God. Maybe as human beings we can’t see God directly, but we can see the patterns that surround God and infer God’s presence.

Are there any particular scientific discoveries that have given you a sense of knowing that God is hidden somewhere in the pattern even if you’re not sure exactly where?


(Mitchell W McKain) #2

Indeed!

But with me it is more like reading God’s word written with better instruments in the laws of nature. I mean God can manage with any instruments but that doesn’t mean which writing instruments He uses makes no difference at all. Sin is such a morass, that reading the work of God without all that is quite refreshing.


(Laura) #3

Interesting question – I think I’ve had that feeling a lot more since embracing EC, because I don’t feel so much need to try and use science as a tool to “prove” biblical literalism. That allows it to be just… science. It’s refreshing. And yet God is still there, even if I don’t understand exactly how. It makes me think of the story of Moses in Exodus 33, where he asks God if he can see his glory, and God tells him no one can see his face and live, so Moses has to be content with seeing his back. I think God’s still showing us these tiny parts of him and even those can take our breaths away.


(Jennifer Thomas) #4

I completely agree. I know you find the Divine in the language of mathematics. For me, it’s more often chemistry. Don’t laugh, but I see images of the Divine in phase diagrams (even though phase diagrams confused me more than anything else in Phys Chem).


(Jennifer Thomas) #5

I’ve been known to burst into tears at the beauty God shows us. Yes, God’s self revelation is a wonder for us.


(David Heddle) #6

Personally, I find the so-called “Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” as the best prima facie evidence of a deity.

Science could easily have been a fool’s errand. If the simplest physical laws were not linear differential equations (e.g., F = dp/dt) physics would have been stillborn. The very fact that man’s intellect can comprehend science, is capable of developing theories, and most amazingly the theories are amenable to mathematical analysis is taken more or less for granted, but it shouldn’t be. When a scientist tells you that science requires no faith or presupposition, he either isn’t being honest or hasn’t thought it through. All of us who are scientists work under the presupposition (i.e. have faith) that we at least have a good chance to be successful—that all of a sudden nature will not decide that enough of her secrets have been revealed.

A purely naturalistic view (in my opinion) has no reason to expect that science is not a fool’s errand. The mathematics could have been so hard as to have, say, forced Newton to give up. The success of science, is (to me) prima facie physical evidence that God exists, because the only other explanation is luck.


(Mitchell W McKain) #7

Would that be the triple points? Three different phases coming together, so that all three can coexist at the same temperature and pressure. It is kind of cool and unexpected isn’t it, to have water boiling and freezing at the same time (one borrowing heat from the other). Very cool! If you google triple point of water you can find videos of water doing this.


(sy_garte) #8

In biology, many of the new discoveries are surprising. Examples are the smaller than expected number of human genes; the importance and ubiquity of gene regulatory networks (and the extent of phylogenetic homology of some of the genes involved), and the findings of more possible Homo species. The latter raises the intriguing possibility that there have been many more species of humans than we thought.

This quality of surprise, and unpredictability of new biological discoveries, suggest to me that despite all we have learned, we’re still at the very beginning or a true understanding of life. My emotional reaction to this is increased awe and wonder at the majesty of God, and the unending glory of His works.


(Jennifer Thomas) #9

I read this morning about the possible Homo remains in the Philippines. Fascinating stuff.

Although there are downsides to technology, the chance to learn about these new discoveries is one of the upsides. I’m so grateful that the door is opening ever wider on God’s mysteries and wonders. What a blessing!


(Randy) #10

I’m going to be a Debbie Downer here and say yes, while discovery induces wonder, every time I think that I see something of the mind of God, I am stunned, like Darwin, to read of the ichneumon wasp and other elements. I guess it’s another example of a reason for humility, though! Most here know much more than I do of science; and I am grateful for their teaching.


(Mitchell W McKain) #11

Indeed… The development of living organisms is matter of choices made and not a matter of divine design. These examples show us just how nasty life can be if we choose to go in some directions. Therefore, we should be warned to be careful about the choices we make.


(Jennifer Thomas) #12

A fair point. We can’t ignore the suffering of life on Planet Earth. In fact, if we ignore it, we’re probably missing half of what God is saying to us.

We have a tendency as human beings (and who can blame us?) to see the glass as either half full or half empty. It rarely occurs to us to see the glass as both full and empty at the same time – a form of superposition that parallels the wave/particle superposition of light. Here on Earth, our cup carries wonder and pain superposed, and it’s our task as Christians to look to Jesus’ example for guidance on how to wrestle with this paradox.

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying that when we dig deep into our courage, trust, gratitude, and devotion, we find the strength to accept answers about Creation that lead us closer to God.

Dr. Viktor Frankl, the Viennese psychiatrist who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning after his internment in Nazi death camps, faced the down the superposed cup and discovered that at the bottom of all the suffering there is always the choice to love – even in the midst of the worst possible pain imaginable.

It can be argued that the ichneumon wasp (and other predators) don’t have a say in their behaviour and can’t choose love, so why does God allow their behaviour? (Not an original question, I know, but a common one.) I’ve struggled with this question myself, and what I’ve learned (though it’s precious little) is that I, as a human being, have to trust that God knows what God is doing. My task is not to call a crusade to eradicate ichneumon wasps, but to try to go deeper into the cup God has given us and challenge myself to accept the pain and transform it into something that leads me closer to God’s Heart.

The Crucifixion teaches us, if nothing else, that the purpose and meaning of our life’s journey is not to evade the pain but to find the courage to learn from the pain and, in so doing, to learn what Divine Love really feels like. It’s a love that never bends or breaks.

After the Flood came the dove. After the Holocaust came the honesty. We can’t eradicate all suffering, but we can try our best each day to love despite the pain. We won’t be perfect in our efforts, but God will love us anyway.


(Tim) #13

Yes, every discovery shouts the glory of God in God’s creation. Then we get human commentary. We get to appreciate the God given abilty to reason things out in our own way, without deference one way or the other. I guess the ability to disagree with others is built into the process by God, and not just a human notion as well.


(Razumov) #14

“Have you ever felt that reading about a new scientific discovery is like reading about God?”

No.

Maybe what you think of as God is actually the God of this age: Science?


(Mitchell W McKain) #15

Maybe what you think of as science is just the new god/magic you have chosen to worship, much like that of your ancestors with a different name.

In a lot of films and books they toss a little technobabble at the audience to justify anything, kind of like “abra-cadabra” and “goddidit” from the middle ages. But for the scientist it is nothing of the kind. It is not a religion – and it is certainly not a god. It is a tool and a method that works for the questions which pass a test of falsifiability to determine if the method is applicable.


(Phil) #16

Not really a new discovery, but new to me: I remember when I first walked to the edge of the Grand Canyon, and felt awe at God’s creation, and the smallness of self in relation to the beauty and vast depth before me.
The picture of the black hole recently brings back that feeling. The universe. Is filled with wonders, many of which will come and go unseen by human eyes.


(James McKay) #17

This question, and the answers I’m reading here, all remind me of the thoughts that went through my mind in some of my physics lectures in Cambridge University back in the 1990s.

I would hear about the mind-bending puzzles of quantum mechanics, about special and general relativity, about mysteries such as how the Big Bang created more matter than antimatter, and so on. What I think struck me most about it was the depth and breadth and the intricacy of it all, and the sheer number of different rabbit holes that you could go down looking in detail at how things worked and what discoveries there were to be made.

There were several times when it left me thinking, “Our God is an awesome God.” To this day, I still read about some of the things that scientists are discovering and getting the same sense of awe and wonder.


(Robin) #18

I like your thoughts…Scientific discoveries can be “seemingly small” as well as grand. When I had pneumonia, I knew :“God is hidden somewhere” in the antibiotics prescribed. If you have ever had pneumonia, you know what I mean… And yes, the black hole was awesome — and amazing to contemplate. If you get caught on the horizon of a black hole and you are eating a slice of pie — you will be eating that pie forever, won;t you? and not gaining weight?


(Phillip) #19

Science discovers those created aspects previosly unkown to it. God reveals Himself - often through science - bit by bit to those who seek Him diligently. More and more He reveals or exposes Himself sothat we kan know Him more and more in the light of His Light. We begin to understand more en more of Him, of ourselves as individuals, of humanity, of Life and of HIs creation. At times that we may exprience Him as a Personal God, yes, even through your physcal senses, then you we know HE IS the ultimate Reality … not just by faith. Phillip Hattingh.


(Mitchell W McKain) #20

No. People outside, if they could see you, would simply watch you eating that pie forever. For you it will be all over in less than a nano-second, as nothing can stop your mass from being added to the black hole. Though if you looked back on the universe before that happened, assuming you are still capable and fast enough, you would see the entire remaining history of the universe flash before you (though you might have to use some kind of psychic vision to actually see it).