It is a commonly held assumption among many people that faith in God is incompatible with a scientific world view. Our largely secular media would have us believe that science and faith in a universal creator God is an irreconcilable contradiction. (See We’re All Materialists Now!).Yet the more closely you examine the evidence the more you realise this does not have to be the case at all.
Brian Enderle holds graduate degrees in both science and theology. In this 13 minute TED talk he explains how scientific understanding of the universe is even more amazing and fantastic than we could ever imagine.
The more you look at the findings the harder it is not to use hyperbole and extreme descriptions. Take the finding of how much of atoms are empty space. In case you were wondering a single atom is apparently a million times smaller than a human hair. Within an atom there is, according to Enderle, 99.9999999999999% empty space! That means everything around us that appears solid, physical and real is actually practically all empty space! We assume because atoms are so tiny and so numerous objects appear solid to us, but in fact they are not!
What does this have to do with faith?…..
Firstly, we seem to forget that the origins of science stem from those who had a deep religious faith. They saw no contradiction between their faith in God and the world they explored through science. Indeed their study of science did not diminish, but only increased their awe and wonder of God. So, for example, Isaac Newton in 1726 was able to say:
“The most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
Enderle gives us three ways modern science has confirmed millennia old understanding of God:
Probability and an omnipotent God.
That is a God who has the power to do what He wants. Modern science has demonstrated how there is always a probability (no matter how small) for a particle in an atom for no apparent reason to suddenly leave. This is in direct contradiction to the law of conversation of energy that says energy is neither created nor destroyed. It would appear impossible for a particle to leave an atom as it would have to create its own energy to do so, but this is what happens. In other words science has found there is a probability for the laws of nature to be broken. This creates room for an omnipotent God to act outside the laws of nature. To put it more starkly, science has room for miracles!
Time and an omniscient God.
That is a God who can be present everywhere all the time. Einstein’s theory of relativity has been proven to show that the faster you travel the more time slows down. This reaches an apex at the fastest speed known which is the speed of light (186,000 miles or 300,000 km per second). At that speed time stops! Light, modern science shows. can be outside of time. If that is the case then there is the possibility of God being outside of time as well.
Entanglement and an omnipresent God.
That is a God who can be everywhere at the same time. Entanglement refers to two particles that are connected to each other. When there is a change in one of the particles there will be a corresponding change in the other particle. There is a connection between them. However, what is amazing is how particles can interact with each other even when they are separated by a distance of even 143 km! (For a video explaining this in more details see here). (I think this also explains how with the Internet we can communicate immediately around the world, but if anyone reading can expand on this please do comment!)
What this also means is that if in modern science particles can interact with each other while separated at a distance why should we surprised that God can interact with humans separated by distance and do so instantaneously?
So Ederle explains science and God are both interconnected and integrated in our world. Our confusion arises because we do not appreciate how science and faith ask different questions about the same events. Science can explain how water boils. Heat from a hot stove is transferred by conduction to the container containing the water. The water heats through convection and as the temperature rises it is kinetic energy that excites the water molecules till they reach vapour state and start to boil. But no amount of explanation how the water boils will ever tell you why it is boiling. As Ederle says with humour, its because he wants to make tea!
So to understand the reality around us we need both the how and the why – science and theology!
Agree? Disagree? What questions, comments and thoughts does this raise for you?
You may also find of interest: