Anti-religion scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking have stated science’s power to solve all the secrets of the universe. They believe that there is no place for God in creation or the administration of the world.
Recently, two high-profile Christian leaders recently went online to tell followers they are abandoning their Christian faith. The reaction on the internet was viral and has led to a conversation throughout the Church about what it really means to follow Christ.
Like scientists and Christian leaders, mainstream society has a growing number of objections and concerns regarding Christianity. How can an educated person believe God created the world? How could a loving God send people to Hell? Didn’t science disprove Christianity? Many Christians hear objections to Christianity and have a crisis of faith.
It is practically an unwritten rule that churches avoid discussing certain topics. Believers are expected to leave all doubts and questions about those topics out of the conversation. But people naturally seek out answers to their questions, and if they cannot get them from a Christian, they will go find answers elsewhere.
Let’s explore these questions now:
How can an educated person believe God created the world?
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
Mankind has gone through many stages of knowledge in the last 6,000 years. On July 20, 1969, the Eagle module from Apollo 11 landed at Tranquility Base. Neil Armstrong made history by becoming the first person to walk on the moon.
Just as a child grows up, and learns that they are not the center of everything, so has Man reached an end of that childhood innocence in 1969.
The ancient belief of Greek and Egyptian proto-scientists was that the Earth was the center of the universe, and everything revolved around it.
Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance-era mathematician and astronomer, who in 1510 formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe.
His heliocentric theory was a major event in the history of science, triggering the Copernican Revolution and making a pioneering contribution to the Scientific Revolution.
In 1755, Immanuel Kant asserted that the nebulae are really galaxies separate from, independent of, and outside the Milky Way Galaxy; he calls them island universes.
In 1923, the universe was still thought to be a small place. Astronomers believed the Milky Way galaxy was at least tens of thousands light-years across, but they thought it was all there was to the universe — one grand galaxy spiraling in a lonesome ballet. Then Edwin Hubble measured the distances to a few nearby spiral nebulae (galaxies). The distances placed them far outside our Milky Way, and implied that fainter galaxies are much more distant, and the universe is composed of many thousands of galaxies.
One of the most fundamental known unknowns in astronomy is just how many galaxies the universe contains. The Hubble Deep Field images, captured in the mid 1990s, revealed untold numbers of faint galaxies. It was estimated that the observable Universe contains between 100 to 200 billion galaxies.
According to the latest scientific discoveries, there is no center of the universe. The standard theories of cosmology state that the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no center to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a center into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
The Copernican principle holds that we have no special place in the infinite, center-less universe. In the early 20th century, with the advent of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and the observation that the universe is expanding in all directions, that idea evolved into the cosmological principle, which assumes that the universe is the same everywhere and in every direction. In fancier terms, the universe is both homogeneous and isotropic.
We have come a long way from the belief that the Earth is the center of everything! In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty:
There is Nothing: The Thought of an Atheist / Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 1921
There is no God-Creator, but there is the Cosmos, which creates suns, planets and living beings. There is no omnipotent God, but there is the Universe, which governs the fates of all celestial bodies and their inhabitants. There are no sons of God, but there are mature and thus rational and perfect sons of the Cosmos. There are no personal gods, but there are elected leaders of planets, solar systems, stellar groups, milky ways, islands of ether and the whole Cosmos. There is no Christ, but there is a brilliant man and a greater teacher of mankind.
Does the understanding that we are not the center of the Universe make our Christian worldview seem quaint?
It is almost undeniable that God’s existence is much more probable given the evidence that we have for the beginning of the universe and the fine-tuning of our world.
The Genesis story describes an extinction level event, just like many that are documented to have occurred in Earth’s history, including Noah’s flood. We don’t know what caused the event, but it could have been a comet:
Extraordinary Biomass-Burning Episode and Impact Winter Triggered by the Younger Dryas Cosmic Impact ∼12,800 Years Ago / The Journal of Geology, March 2018
The paper’s 24 authors include KU Emeritus Professor of Physics & Astronomy Adrian Melott and Professor Brian Thomas, a 2005 doctoral graduate from KU, now at Washburn University.
“The work includes measurements made at more than 170 different sites across the world,” Melott said.
The KU researcher and his colleagues believe the data suggests the disaster was touched off when Earth collided with fragments of a disintegrating comet that was roughly 62 miles in diameter — the remnants of which persist within our solar system to this day.
“The hypothesis is that a large comet fragmented and the chunks impacted the Earth, causing this disaster,” said Melott. “A number of different chemical signatures — carbon dioxide, nitrate, ammonia and others — all seem to indicate that an astonishing 10 percent of the Earth’s land surface, or about 10 million square kilometers, was consumed by fires.”
The creation plan of the Lord is far more complex and beautiful than is commonly portrayed.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths… (Genesis 1:2)
We know, from the Genesis account, that the Lord had to quickly restore the Earth, so He could place Man there.
The first thing the Lord did was heal the waters – the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Then, step by step, in six periods of time, the Lord restored the Earth. Only the Creator can perform this miracle. The Holy Spirit showed Moses what actually happened, and he wrote an accurate account in the Book of Genesis:
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.” Evening came and then morning: the first day.
Then God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters, separating water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above the expanse. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” Evening came and then morning: the second day.
Then God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land “earth,” and He called the gathering of the water “seas.” And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.” And it was so. The earth produced vegetation: seed-bearing plants according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Evening came and then morning: the third day.
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years. They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars. God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth, to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. Evening came and then morning: the fourth day.
Then God said, “Let the water swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the large sea-creatures and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water,according to their kinds. He also created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So God blessed them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” Evening came and then morning: the fifth day.
Then God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that crawl, and the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Then, He performed one additional act of creation:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God;
He created them male and female.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth,and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth—everything having the breath of life in it. I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day. (Genesis 1:2-31)
How could a loving God send people to Hell?
Do you know the laws of heaven?
Can you impose its authority on earth? (Job 38:33)
The metaphor of a clockwork universe compares the cosmos to a mechanical clock. It continues ticking along, as a perfect machine, with its gears governed by the laws of physics. In other words – it is designed.
This corresponds to the concept of natural law – that the world is governed by cosmic laws. Nature’s God created an ordered universe.
The invention of clear glass in the 13th century paved the way for the development of the lens. Glass lenses inspired the creation of two of the most important scientific inventions of 16th century – the telescope and the microscope. They demonstrated that ordinary observers could see things that the Greek philosophers had not dreamed of. The telescope and the microscope helped prove that we do live in a clockwork universe, driven by natural law.
Using the telescope, we now know there are around 1 septillion (10^24) stars in the universe. This calculation assumes there are around 10 trillion galaxies in the universe, multiplied by the Milky Way’s estimated 100 billion stars.
Science has been able to derive the vast bulk of phenomena in the universe from first principles. The laws can be described mathematically.
The greatest discovery in science was the verification that all matter is composed of atoms, first proposed in 1803 by English chemist John Dalton. All disciplines of science are derived from that fact. The second greatest theory came in 1905 when Einstein published general relativity, showing that the presence of mass and energy “curves” space-time, and this curvature affects the path of free particles (and even the path of light).
Almost everything in the universe can be explained in terms of fundamental laws like Einstein’s theory of gravity or the laws of quantum mechanics.
In physics, there is a deep symmetry that unifies electricity and magnetism…
On a microscopic level, new life forms were discovered and the germ theory of disease was born.
The Cell Theory emerged from early work with microscopes. The notion that all living things are composed of cells, that cells are the units of structure and function of living things and that cells arise from pre-existing cells were all powerful ideas.
The molecule now known as DNA was first identified in the 1860s by a Swiss chemist called Johann Friedrich Miescher, who called it nuclein. In 1881 Albrecht identified nuclein as a nucleic acid and provided its present chemical name, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). It was by following the work of the pioneers before them that James and Francis were able to come to their ground-breaking conclusion about the structure of DNA in 1953.
Watson and Crick themselves felt that the double helix was so simple, so beautiful (it’s sometimes described as the “Mona Lisa” of science), that it had to be right, while its enigmatic symmetry made a powerful prediction about how genetic information is stored and transmitted from one generation to the next.
Even in life itself, scientists confirmed the truth of a clockwork universe. Like a recipe book, DNA holds the instructions for making an organism. Biology follows the cosmic laws of physics.
The proteins that this process makes are the “Lego’s of life” that form most of the cell body.
Before the Big Bang, all of the laws of the Universe were set in place by the Lord. The universe was finely tuned for us. The degree of fine-tuning of these laws, at the quantum level, is difficult to imagine.
The fine structure constant, usually written as alpha, governs the strength of magnetic interactions. It is about 0.007297. What makes this number odd is that if it were any different, stable matter wouldn’t exist. Another is the ratio of the masses of many fundamental particles, such as electrons and quarks, to the Planck mass. Physicists would love to figure out why those particular numbers have the values they do, because if they were very different, the universe’s physical laws wouldn’t allow for humans to be here. And yet there’s still no compelling theoretical explanation for why they have those values.
Science and religion converge in one important way. The more scientists investigate our origins, the more improbable our existence seems. If you define a miracle as an infinitely improbable event, then our existence, you might say, is a miracle.
The four key elements for life are Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen. A typical star produces these elements more than any other, with the exception of Helium. In other words, the Universe is engineered for promoting life!
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
For most of history since Adam and Eve, philosophers believed in a “steady state” Universe, where there was no beginning and no end. In the 1960’s astronomy advanced enough to prove that the Universe began with an enormous explosion of light, and has been expanding ever since. This explosion was the beginning of time.
The Bible has a lot to say about the Lord, the creation, and time:
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
All things were created through Him,
and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created. (John 1:1-3)
However, we do speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:6-7)
If we could stand outside of our Universe, we would see an expanding bubble that contains everything we experience:
The Lord told us about our expanding Universe from the very beginning. Over and over in the Holy Bible, the Lord speaks of “stretching out” the heavens:
A declaration of the Lord,
who stretched out the heavens,
laid the foundation of the earth,
and formed the spirit of man within him. (Zechariah 12:1)
In the story of Job, the Lord is asking Job if he knows the physical and moral laws by which the course of nature is governed (Do you know the laws of heaven?) In asking Job that question, God was helping His troubled servant to understand just how little humans really know in comparison with the limitless wisdom of the Creator.
Paul stated the position very clearly to the Romans:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.
For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. (Romans 1:16-20)
Paul appeals to the natural revelation of God and His will to establish humanity’s knowledge of sin and God’s justice in the coming judgment.
The natural law itself doesn’t reveal the Good News of salvation. There’s a natural law, but there’s no natural gospel. A conception of natural law does, however, provide theological explanation for why the Son of God became incarnate, died, and rose again. The church doesn’t preach the gospel into a vacuum, but to real people whom God created for good purposes and who failed to attain those purposes.
The Lord’s clockwork universe preaches to people who are hurt and needy—hurt and needy not because they’re lost in a sea of chaos, but because they’re out of alignment with the moral laws by which God governs this world. Natural law explains the biblical teaching that, deep down, all people know that there’s a God, a moral order of the world, and a final judgment. Thanks to the natural law, every person is ready, at some level, to hear and to understand the gospel, even before any Christian explains it to him.
What is the gospel – the Good News?
Jesus lived a perfect life and did not sin. There were some people who did not like what Jesus was doing and plotted to have Him crucified. He was scourged, mocked, and hung on a cross until he died. Then, he was placed in a tomb. Just like the Passover lambs were offered and their blood was shed for the forgiveness of sin, Jesus was offered and his blood was shed. His perfect sacrifice was better than an animal sacrifice and by the shedding of his blood came the forgiveness of sins for all people once and forever.
Jesus paid the price for all mankind when he suffered on the cross. He took on himself the rebellion and sin of all mankind from the past, present and future. So, even we have caused him the pain he suffered. He was the final sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice for all time. No longer did man have to sacrifice animals to cover their sin because his ultimate sacrifice PAID the price for all time.
He arose from the dead three days later and appeared to his disciples and apostles and many witnesses. He returned to his Father in heaven, but before ascending he charged them to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. He promised to come again to take his people who believe in him and look for his appearing to be with him in the clouds.
For those who know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he sent, there will be no more death, no more sorrow, and no more crying or pain. God will be with his people and he will wipe away all tears from their eyes. The former things will pass away and all things will be made new. This will continue forever.
In its biblical usage, “unbelief” always connotes stubborn resistance, disobedience, rebellion and rejection of the Gospel. The truth is, God doesn’t want to send anyone to Hell. He’d much rather people come to Heaven with Him, so much so that He sent His one and only son to take our punishment so that we wouldn’t have to. But, He created humans with free will.
We have the choice whether we want to accept God and be with Him, or reject Him and spend eternity away from Him. The sad fact is, many will make the decision not to be a part of God’s heaven.
Those who continue rebelling and reject this sacrifice for their sin will remain spiritually dead for all eternity, and will be sent to the bottomless pit along with Satan and his evil angels.
Doesn’t Science disprove Christianity?
“But you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will roam about, and knowledge will increase.” (Daniel 12:4)
One thing that is fascinating about this scripture is that the Lord has plans for us, that have been hidden from our understanding.
For almost 6,000 years, most of humanity knew almost nothing about how things really worked. The invention of clear glass in the 13th century paved the way for the development of the lens. Glass lenses inspired the creation of two of the most important scientific inventions of 16th century – the telescope and the microscope.
In 1543, the Scientific Revolution marked the emergence of modern science, when developments in mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry transformed the views of society about nature.
Science has been able to derive the vast bulk of phenomena in the universe from first principles. The laws for electromagnetism and gravity can be described mathematically.
We have learned that everything in the world is made of 92 naturally occurring atoms — from hydrogen to uranium — and that each atom is made of only three particles — protons, neutrons and electrons — in different numbers. A hydrogen atom has one proton and one electron, while one of uranium has 92 of each.
To have been able to reduce the material composition of the stuff around us, including the stuff we are made of, to only three particles is an amazing achievement of 20th-century physics. Electrons whiz around “orbitals” in an atom’s outer shell. Then there’s a whole lot of empty space. And then, right in the center of that space, there’s a tiny nucleus — a dense knot of protons and neutrons that give the atom most of its mass.
Indeed, Many will roam about, and knowledge will increase. (Daniel 12:4)
But, the more we know, the more we discover what we don’t know.
For example, one of the greatest of all puzzles in current cosmology is “dark energy.” Discovered in 1998 by two teams of astronomers, dark energy is generally described as being responsible for accelerating the cosmic expansion, apparently acting as a kind of stretchy force on the very fabric of space. It makes distant galaxies move away from one another as if they were on steroids.
Current measurements attribute their amount to the 69 percent of the stuff of the Universe. We have no clue what dark energy is, although we model it as a very smooth fluid that fills the whole of space, like water in a bathtub. In other words, dark energy is omnipresent.
Is it possible that this so-called dark energy is the activity of the Holy Spirit?
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For everything was created by Him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things,
and by Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)
There may be much more to the Universe than humanity is able to comprehend. What is the hidden wisdom?
I, Wisdom, share a home with shrewdness
and have knowledge and discretion.
“The Lord made me
at the beginning of His creation,
before His works of long ago.
I was formed before ancient times,
from the beginning, before the earth began.
I was born
when there were no watery depths
and no springs filled with water.
I was delivered
before the mountains and hills were established,
before He made the land, the fields,
or the first soil on earth.
I was there when He established the heavens,
when He laid out the horizon on the surface of the ocean,
when He placed the skies above,
when the fountains of the ocean gushed out,
when He set a limit for the sea
so that the waters would not violate His command,
when He laid out the foundations of the earth.
I was a skilled craftsman beside Him.
I was His delight every day,
always rejoicing before Him.
I was rejoicing in His inhabited world,
delighting in the human race. (Proverbs 8)
The fact is, Christians don’t have to check their brains at the door before entering Church. We can understand science, and also believe in the God of the Holy Bible:
Many more ancient copies and portions of the Bible have been found than those of any other ancient manuscript. Each of those biblical writings have been accepted as authentic by historians.
Many of the biblical accounts were recorded just a short time after they took place, in contrast to the huge time gap of centuries that existed with most other ancient manuscripts.
When various biblical manuscripts have been scrutinized against each other, they’ve been proven to be consistent. No other ancient document can even come close to the New Testament in terms of number of manuscripts found and the closeness in time to the original autographs, so questioning the New Testament’s credibility would require tossing out the validity of every other ancient manuscript ever found. The Bible qualifies as the most reliable, verifiable source ever written.
Myriad of archaeological discoveries verify people, places, and events the Bible mentions.
Hundreds of biblical prophecies that have been fulfilled in specific and meticulous ways – often, long after the prophetic writer had died.
Think about the Bible’s historical and scientific accuracy. Ponder how indestructible the Bible has proven to be, despite many attempts throughout history to either censor or eradicate it.
The Bible’s unique structure points to its reliability, since it maintains perfect unity and consistency throughout, despite its 66 different books written by at least 40 different people from all walks of life over a period of thousands of years. The Bible has impacted world culture and events – more than any other document in human history.
Think about the Bible’s unique power to change people’s lives.
But, the truth is, we must approach these doubts with child-like humility – or they will turn into unbelief:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
Then He called a child to Him and had him stand among them. “I assure you,” He said, “unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one child like this in My name welcomes Me.
“But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea! Woe to the world because of offenses. For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes. If your hand or your foot causes your downfall, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes your downfall, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, rather than to have two eyes and be thrown into hellfire!
“See that you don’t look down on one of these little ones, because I tell you that in heaven their angels continually view the face of My Father in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save the lost. What do you think? If a man has 100 sheep, and one of them goes astray, won’t he leave the 99 on the hillside and go and search for the stray? And if he finds it, I assure you: He rejoices over that sheep more than over the 99 that did not go astray.
In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones perish. (Matthew 18:1-14)
If you are not sure that you are saved, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:
“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”
An excellent article. Beautifully researched and beautifully presented. Absolutely fascinating.
It always floors me how scientists, like Stephen Hawking, can NOT believe in a Creator. In theoretical physics – precision maths is all there. All they have to do is play around with the already established maths. Sure – they have put numbers and names to the maths and the theories – but these had to exist in order for these scientists to discover them. It is BAFFLING how these so-called brilliant scientists don’t recognise this blatant disconnect. In a nutshell – the laws of physics are already there. In teeth achingly perfect precision. These scientists are patting themselves on the backs for discovering stuff that has always been in existence. WHY can’t they see this OBVIOUS fact?
I can only blame an emotional disconnect. A lot of these scientists are socially impaired. When we consider the wonder – the absolute miracle of what makes up a human being – the heart is mentioned more than once, in scripture. We are emotional creatures. We need love. Words of affirmation. Comfort in emotional partnerships. Love is what rocks our boats. Science makes the mistake of trying to disconnect our world from emotion. They try to disconnect us from our yearning. Our heart’s desire. Speak to anyone who has experienced excessive wealth. It’s all fine and dandy but the novelty wears off very quickly. Loneliness is the biggest killer. The biggest form of poverty. I would prefer to starve to death than be lonely. Fay, August 30, 2020