Anthropologists tell us that religion evolved among humans as a means of explaining those things they observed of natural phenomena they did not understand. I am not saying that statement is true; it is merely a humanist explanation for the observed existence of religion. As the advent of scientific investigation began to debunk some superstitions the scientific community has become increasingly, well, cocky. They must think because they have figured a few things out, they’ll be able to figure everything out.
This past week in a Yahoo news article entitled Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God? Natalie Wolchover posited “Over the past few centuries, science can be said to have gradually chipped away at the traditional grounds for believing in God.” Of course Natalie is referring to the humanist concept of religion and God. Natalie continues “Much of what once seemed mysterious…can now be explained by…science.”
I would be quick to agree that the scope of scientific discoveries is mind-boggling, and mankind’s advancements in technology seem to happen at breath-taking speeds, but I am not ready to dismiss my faith in God because of a few human accomplishments. After all, it was God who told Daniel that in the last days “knowledge will increase (Daniel 12:4).”
Natalie’s conclusions are drawn in part from the views of a theoretical cosmologist with the California Institute of Technology, Sean Carroll. Sean believes “science will ultimately arrive at a complete understanding of the universe that leaves no grounds for God whatsoever.” It seems Natalie and Sean are on the same page as Sean says, “As we learn more about the universe, there’s less and less need to look outside it for help.”
Natalie and Sean seem to have everything figured out until we get to the subtitle “Beginning of time” when they concede that while the Big Bang theory is a good explanation of how the universe began what happened before the beginning is “murky.” That’s an understatement. What theoretical physicists and cosmologists know about the split second before the Bid Bang is not murky; it is blank, nada, nothing. It gets murkier.
The theory that the universe began 13.7 billion years ago is predicated upon the assumption that everything in the universe is moving away from the blast, and as would be expected based on the laws of physics, slowing down. Since we are able to calculate the speed of things in the universe, it is merely a matter of extrapolating back to the beginning of time assuming the slowing of the universe has remained constant. It gets more murky.
Recent calculations indicate the universe is speeding up not slowing down. This implies that the speed at which galaxies and planetary systems are moving in relation to each other has not remained constant. Since current theories about when the universe began were predicated on what scientists imagined to be true and not what they observed (nobody has been around for the last 13.7 billion years to observe and record the speed of things in the universe), scientists’ theory regarding the beginning of time is probably off…by a few billion years…give or take.
It seems that when scientists attempt to shine the light of enlightenment on the distant past things do not get brighter; they get murkier. This is because from a purely scientific perspective the distant past is unobservable. The same is true about the future; it is wholly beyond the scope of scientific inquiry because it is unobservable.
This is why when Natalie and Sean and others like them predict science will rule out the need for God, I realize this is not something they have observed about the future. It is merely their theory about the future probably predicated on their faith in science and lack of faith in God.
In 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen Paul makes a statement in verse twelve, “…now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” Paul says now we have a partial knowledge, but we will eventually dwell in the presence of the omniscient God and our knowledge will be full. If I understand Paul correctly the believer’s eternal access to the all-knowing God will afford him a knowledge that Einstein would envy.
If religion is the invention of man to explain what is observed, then theories are the invention of science to explain what it has not observed. Some say science will eventually rule out the possibility of God, but the Bible says God will eventually rule out the need for science. Given the Scriptures’ track record on predictions, I’ll go with God on this one.