Sunday, November 17, 2019

Four Reasons To Believe in God From Science

As a scientist who studies the most fundamental particles and forces in the universe, I tend to only accept something as true if it is supported by abundant objective evidence. You might think that a person like me, who wants testable reasons for everything, could never be a Christian since Christianity is based on faith in God. However, real Christian faith as described in the Bible is always based on evidence and is more accurately defined as “trusting God based on the evidence that he is trustworthy.” Since I am an experimental particle physicist who needs facts to back up my beliefs, I have studied many of the objective reasons to believe and trust in God from history, science, philosophy, sociology, and other academic disciplines. Perhaps some of my findings will give you additional tangible reasons to believe in God.

Here are Four Reasons to Believe in God from Science:

1. The Universe Had A Beginning. Over the last 100 years scientists have discovered that the universe had a beginning about 14 billion years ago in which space, time, matter, and energy came into existence. Although this beginning is usually referred to as the “big bang” that name is misleading. The big bang was not an explosion from pre-existing material but the origin, or creation, of our universe. When the big bang was first proposed, scientists were reluctant to accept it as fact, primarily because of its philosophical and theological implications. If this universe had a beginning, then the cause of the universe must not be a part of the universe. The cause must be transcendent, which is one of the characteristics of God. But despite these objections, the observational evidence for the big bang, including the expansion of the universe and the cosmic microwave background radiation, is so convincing that scientists now affirm that the universe seems to have had an actual origin. One of the most obvious ways that a transcendent God could demonstrate his existence to us would be to make the origin of our universe knowable and to have the origin require a necessary transcendent cause. That is the case for the universe we live in. It’s really remarkable that we as humans have the ability to understand the very origin of our universe and to see objective evidence for God.

2. The Universe Appears Designed. There are many characteristics of the universe that are finely-tuned to allow complex life to exist. If any of these were changed just slightly there would be either no universe or a universe that is inhospitable to life. For instance, if the strength of the strong nuclear force were increased by 2% there would be little or no hydrogen in the universe, resulting in no water (H2O) and no stars like our sun that use hydrogen as fuel. If the strength of the strong nuclear force were decreased by 5% there would only be hydrogen in the universe, making life impossible. Scientific journals are filled with articles that document hundreds of such parameters in the universe that are balanced on a razor’s edge to allow the existence of our universe and life. Scientists sometimes call this phenomenon the “Anthropic Principle” which comes from the Greek work “anthropos” meaning human. It’s as if the universe seems to be perfectly designed to allow humans to exist. Such design is objective evidence that points to the existence of a real intelligent designer who created the universe.

3. The Earth Seems To Be Special. There are about one hundred billion trillion planets in the visible universe, but it is highly unlikely that there are any other planets quite like the earth that are capable of supporting complex life forms for billions of years. This “rare earth” hypothesis has been noted by scientists because of the many ingredients needed for a planet to support complex life. Some of those ingredients include the type of star the planet orbits, the size and density of the planet, the rate of rotation of the planet, the location of the planet in the galaxy, the size and number of moons the planet has, and the amount of water on the planet. When all of the factors are taken into account it seems that very few planets can support complex life. The more we learn about the uniqueness of our planet earth, the more it seems that we are not just an ordinary planet. It certainly appears that there is something special about the earth, which implies that there may be something special about humans. The Bible claims that humanity is special, that humans were created by God in his image and that God meticulously prepared our planet so we could have a cosmic home. Scientific findings seem to support that conclusion, and therefore give evidence for human significance and a human creator.

4. Mathematics Describes Nature. When an engineer is designing something, say a building or an aircraft wing, the engineer will write mathematical equations that describe the object’s operation to be sure that it will perform adequately. When scientists study the universe, we find that there are a few fundamental mathematical equations that describe all of nature. Physicists develop and use these equations to understand the universe and predict its operation. In general, physicists will only claim they really understand something when they have a well-defined mathematical description of the phenomena. The equations are magnificent and elegant descriptions of the world we experience. How is it that math describes the universe just as an engineer uses math to design a building or an aircraft? In a paper titled “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” (1960) the theoretical physicist and mathematician Eugene Wigner writes, “The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.” The mathematical equations that describe the universe seem to indicate that the universe was designed and created by an intelligent agent.

Faith in God, as described in the Bible, is not a belief based on the lack of evidence but rather trusting God based on the evidence that he is trustworthy. There are many objective reasons to believe in God based on the discoveries of modern science. Just as a painting reveals the soul of the painter, so God’s creation reveals his soul. Studying nature through the scientific inquiry does not provide reasons to dismiss the existence of God but reveals God’s character and gives powerful evidence for belief in God.

3 comments:

  1. It seems science is the recovery of existing information and comprehanding the processes that generate same from the Big Bang to the present and predicted. The discovery of information whether quantized/digital or analogue requires intelligent gifted beings to make it compregensible and at the most fundamental level to bring a degree of certainty out of uncertainty simply by careful observation. Information requires a source, a channel and a receiver. The scriptures declare God as the source of everything created, the universe is His channel of transmission and we are the receivers.

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  2. Always enjoy getting your thoughts on these things!

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  3. Dr. Strauss, thank you for your excellent summary of four compelling reasons to believe in God.

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