God and Science
Every culture in history has embraced myths of one kind or another. Stories (the modern jargon is 'narratives') widely believed by many but lacking in evidence. Strangely, myths are stubborn to facts: they are believed in spite of evidence against them!
In western culture few myths are more deeply ingrained than this one: God and Science are incompatible or enemies, or more commonly, that the latter has displaced the need for the former: Science is the new "God".
Where does this view come from?
For sure, one source has been the remarkable success of science and its daughter technology. We are grateful for the comforts that technology has brought to our lives from the cars we drive to the medicines we take. Why do we need God when we have Technology?
A second reason for this view is a false view of God. Some have regarded God as the One who can explain all the stuff we humans can't. As our understanding of the universe expands, so then, our need for this "God of the gaps" diminishes.
A third source of this view are a minority of scientists who have adopted "scientism" - the view that science can explain everything. If so, why the need for God?
A fourth source of this myth has been the efforts of a few writers to establish the myth, a habit begun by men like John Draper many decades ago, and continued by men like Richard Dawkins today.
Many believe that the fundamental reason for this myth is that science bolsters the refusal to accept there is a God. Mankind does not want to acknowledge there is a God to whom we are accountable and so it suppresses the truth about Him, and science provides a reason for unbelief: "I don't believe in God."
How the myth is wrong
There are so so many ways to demonstrate the error of this myth, but here are three for starters:
(1) The myth fails to explain for the origins of modern science
The pioneers of modern science were all "theists" who believed in God and for whom their belief was a motive for science. Newton, Faraday, Maxwell were all men of faith who never for one moment saw a discrepancy between believing in God and doing science.
(2) The myth fails to recognise that science goes only so far
Science deals with the material world, and that's it. It's success indeed has been in part due to it's determination to self-subscribe itself to the material world. It cannot talk about anything non material, and thus by definition cannot even speak about God, spirit, soul - nor even consciousness.
(3) The myth fails to satisfy
When I put on a kettle for a cup of tea, science can only explain the physical processes that led to electricity coming into the house, being turned into heat and thus boiling the water. It cannot account for my decision to have a cup of tea, the joy of drinking it with friends - the very reason I drink it with friends, and so on. When I put a CD on, science can explain the laser reading the pitted surface and the digital to analogue conversion and so on. It fails utterly to explain the sensation as I listen to Samuel Barber's adagio for strings.
Likewise, science can explain how the universe works (to a certain degree) but cannot explain why I am here, what I should do with my life, how to find meaning and how to find purpose. For all of the things that really matter in life, in other words!, science is utterly unable to explain.
If you live near Worcester, England, here's where you can find out more:
This post is taken from our Pastor Roy Summers’ blog, where he discusses and comments on a wide range of current subjects and issues both in the world and in the church.