The Elephant in the Room: Has Science Disproved God?
June 2, 2019 / Michael Hearn
What does it mean to be human?
What it means to be human is understood with the answers to these five questions:
- Origin – Where did we come from?
- Meaning – Why are we here?
- Identity – Who am I?
- Morality – How do we know what is right or wrong?
- Destiny – Where do we go when we die? Is there life after death?
The answer to these five questions forms your worldview.
Christians believe that Jesus gives answers that are correspondingly true to the questions that our culture is asking and coherent when looked at all together.
This is where apologetics comes in…
“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” I Peter 3:15
Apologetics is defined as a reasoned argument or writings in justification of something.
How do we give answers and what are real struggles that people have in their lives?
Apologetics considers the truth, the person, the culture and context. It is easy to win an argument and destroy a person.
Apologetics isn’t a weapon to hit with, but a conversation that gives hope. Remember, behind every question is a person, and behind every person is a story. To understand that story is to gain insight into how to give the “hope that is in you.”
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:5-6
Origin – Where did we come from?
Often times when it comes to the question of ORIGIN, the issue of faith vs. science emerges.
- Faith is based on, well, faith
- Science is based on evidence/truth
- So, the thought is that they cannot co-exist.
Science is a search for objective evidence that leads humanity forward while faith looks back to ancient teachings, outmoded holy books, and irrational conclusions in the face of overwhelming evidence. Mark Clark
Here’s the thing. The dichotomy between faith and science is misguided. Instead of doing the research, digging deep into the evidence at hand we often take sound bites and develop whole thought patterns based on little to no personal insight.
Secularism teaches that because there is no God and no spiritual reality in the universe beyond what we can test (naturalism), beliefs in such ideas should be marginalized from public life and conversation.
Secularists believe that religion has been proven false as a result of modern development of technology and sciences.
The fundamental argument is if you “really” thought about it, looked at the evidence, and rationalized it you would see that science and faith cannot co-exist. For, faith is irrational and dismissive of evidence.
Let’s look at Science as it relates to a God and the question of, “Is there is a God?”
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
What is the cause of the universe?
- For a finite universe to exist, there needs to be a cause. This question is regardless of religion, it is a question of truth.
- Based on the observable universe we know there was a time when the universe as we know it did not exist.
- What brought the universe into existence?
- Did the universe always exist?
- Did matter, space and time one day explode into existence?
- Did matter always exist?
- These questions have been pondered by scientists, philosophers, and theologians.
For those who are seeking evidence for the existence of God.
This is the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God. Cosmological comes from the Greek word cosmos, which means world or universe. The Cosmological Argument is the argument from the beginning of the universe. If the universe had a beginning, then the universe had a cause.
The logical form:
- Everything that had a beginning had a cause
- The universe had a beginning
- Therefore, the universe had a cause
Now many people, including Atheists, believe this world created itself and at one time something appeared from nothing to create something else. The nothing that they describe is really something…but where did that nothing come from? This defies the law of non-contradiction.
The Principle of Causality: Only being can cause being. Nothing does not exist, and only what exists can cause existence.
Since the concept of cause implies an existing thing that has the power to affect another, so there must be a FIRST CAUSE. Everything in existence has a cause. Candle, flame, tree, car, Dr. Pepper, etc.
In the cosmological discussion, the first question that needs to be answered is, “Did the universe have a beginning?” What are the options?
- If the universe had a beginning, then it needs a first cause.
- Did the universe self-cause itself? In order to self-cause itself, it would have to not exist (to cause existence) and exist (in order to be caused) at the same time. Therefore, this option is ruled out because it violates the Law of non-contradiction.
- Did the universe always exist? As Carl Sagan believes, (“The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be”).
- A.) Came from nothing by nothing
- B.) Always existed.
Option A. is impossible, it not possible for nothing to produce something…causality. So, the option left is to accept that the universe always existed, option B.
Laws that affect the Universe:
- The First Law (Law of Energy Conservation) states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
- The Second Law (Law of Energy Decay) states that in a closed system, the amount of usable energy in the universe is decreasing.” Entropy is the level of disorder in a system.
A highly ordered system is in a low state of entropy. A disordered system is in a higher state of entropy (decay).
Is the cosmos running out of usable energy? If it was eternal it should never run out, but it is and therefore yields a beginning.
Scientists have noted that our sun only has so much energy and it is not renewable. Our bodies, plant life, etc. all show this.
If there is evidence of a finite universe how do we know there is a FIRST CAUSE?
So, the question arises who made God?
Does not the law of causality say He had to have a cause?
- No, it says that “everything that comes to be must have a cause.”
- This is why an eternal universe is so important for an Atheist, because God is the only option left to create. Unless you believe nothing did it?
Proofs for First Cause…Creation?
In the early expansion of the universe, there has to have been a close balance between the expansive energy (driving things apart) and the force of gravity (pulling things together). If expansion dominated then matter would fly apart too rapidly for condensation into galaxies and stars to take place…(The possibility of our existence) requires a balance between the effects of expansion and contraction which at a very early epoch in the universe’s history (The Planck time) has to differ from equality by not more than 1 in 1060. The numerate (mathematical) will marvel at such a degree of accuracy. For the non-numerate, I will borrow an illustration from Paul Davies of what that accuracy means.
He points out that it is the same as aiming at a target an inch wide on the other side of the observable universe, twenty million light years away, and hitting the mark. That is 120 trillion miles!
“If the existence of the cosmos as a whole needs to be explained, and if it cannot be explained by natural causes, then we must look to the existence and action of a supernatural cause for its explanation.”
Since it is impossible for nothing to produce something, something must have always existed as the “First Cause” of the universe.
Furthermore, this First Cause must be:
- Self-existent, timeless, nonspatial, and immaterial. He is without limits, or infinite
- Unimaginable powerful, to create the entire universe out of nothing;
- Supremely intelligent, to design the universe with such precision;
- Personal, in order to choose to a state of nothingness into the time-space-material universe (an impersonal force has no ability to make choices).
The characteristics of the First Cause are exactly the characteristics theists ascribe to God and creation of the universe.
How far is Vega, really? The bright summer star Vega is about 27 light years away. That means that the light that left that star in 1983 is just getting to Earth in 2010. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second, and it took 27 years for it to get here… but can anyone really comprehend just how far this distance is? Let’s take a look: 27 light years is equal to about 1.5837×10^14 miles, or, one hundred fifty-eight million, three hundred seventy thousand million miles! But this too is more or less meaningless. Let’s try to put this into perspective by scaling down the distance; let’s say that the distance between Earth and Vega is the same as the distance between New York and Los Angeles (about 2700 miles). Now, on this same scale, how far would the distance to the Moon (about 250,000 “real” miles) be?
Answer: about 7 millimeters!!!
So, if you are standing in Los Angeles and you move less than a centimeter closer to New York, you have moved (at the scale of our model) as far as the distance between the Earth and Moon, a distance that few cars can go in their lifetimes. And, keep this in mind also: Vega is in our backyard. Galaxies are yet millions of times farther out!
Another way of looking at it…
People often say, “If only I could win the lottery…”, so I presume that people can “relate” to this prospect. Well, let’s say you did win the million dollar lottery. Let’s also say that you had a “miracle” car which could get 1000 miles per gallon of gasoline and that the cost of gasoline was one cent per gallon. With this car and your winnings, could you buy enough gasoline to make it to Vega (assuming there was a road to drive on)? Pick from the following multiple choice possibilities:
- Yes, with gasoline to spare
- Just barely
- Enough to get about halfway there
- Not nearly enough
If you picked number 4, NOT NEARLY ENOUGH, you are correct! Even if you bought one million dollars’ worth of gasoline at the cost of one cent per gallon (a total of 100 million gallons), you could only drive 100 billion miles with this “miracle” car. Vega is 1584 times further out!!! On our “New York to Los Angeles” scale, you would “run out of gas” only 1.7 miles from your house! If you were to drive so that you were one hundred billion miles closer to Vega, it would appear to the eye just as it does from Earth; no brighter and no bigger. Only an extremely sensitive detector could measure the minuscule increase in brightness that would result from moving ten billion miles closer to Vega. Vega is indeed extremely far away…
The space shuttle’s max speed is 17,00 miles per hour, Mach 11/12. The average stars are approximately 30 trillion miles apart. At this speed, it would take 201,450 years to travel the average distance between stars…if you left when Jesus died, you would only be 1/100 or 1 percent of the way there! Now keep in mind that there are 100 Billion stars in just our galaxy. There are thought to be over 100 billion galaxies with each averaging 100 billion stars. That is ten billion trillion; every person alive could have a trillion stars each.
The Teleological Scientific Argument – The Design Argument
Scientific evidence for God does not end with the Cosmological Argument. For many, the precision with which the universe exploded into being provides even more persuasive evidence for the existence of God.
This evidence is the Teleological Argument. Greek word telos, which means “design.”
The Teleological Argument is really a subcategory of the cosmological argument. It focuses on the evidence of harmony, order, and design in the universe.
1) Every design had a designer.
2) The universe has a highly complex design.
3) Therefore, the universe had a Designer
The precision with which the universe came into existence and to which life came into being is persuasive evidence for the existence of God.
Isaac Newton said, this most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.
Let’s look at how “Finely-Tuned” creation is…Anthropic Principle – mounting evidence that has many scientists believing that the universe is extremely fine-tuned (designed) to support human life.
- Oxygen – is at 21 percent of the earth’s atmosphere, if it were at 25% fires would be generated spontaneously, if at 15% humans would suffocate.
- Atmospheric pressure – This allows life to be maintained inside the earth. If this was less transparent, not enough solar radiation would hit the earth. If it was more transparent, too much radiation would kill life on earth. This also helps all elements in the atmosphere to remain constant to support life.
- Moon-Earth Gravity – if the gravitational pull was greater, tidal effects would be enormous, atmospheric pressure would change, and rotational periods would be too severe. If the gravity was less, orbital changes would cause the climate to become unstable.
- Carbon Dioxide Levels – If CO2 increased, we would burn up, if lower plants, could not produce photosynthesis and we would suffocate.
- Gravity holds everything in place. If its force was altered by .00000000000000000000000000000000000001 percent our sun would not exist and as a result, we would not either.
- If the centrifugal force of planetary movements did not precisely balance the gravitational forces, nothing could be held in orbit.
- If Jupiter were not in its current orbit, the earth would be bombarded with space material.
- If the thickness of the earth’s crust was greater, too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust to support life; if it were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would make life impossible.
- If the rotation of the earth took longer than 24 hours, temp differences would be too great between day and night, if shorter wind velocities would be too great.
- If the 23-degree tilt of the earth axis was changed, even slightly, surface temp on earth would be too extreme.
There are 122 Anthropic principles…Fine-Tuned Proofs.
The odds of all of this just “happening” is said to be 10 to the 138 power.
Divine Design – Life is so complex that an intelligent designer was needed.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
“In grammar school they taught me that a frog turning into a princess was a fairy tale. In the university they taught me that a frog turning into a prince was a fact.”
Evolution vs. Creation… The Science
There are two competing origin of life models: the macroevolutionary model and the design model.
- The macroevolutionary model states that life was self-generated from nonliving (inorganic) matter. Once the gap from non-life to life was bridged, the first living cell began to evolve by random changes (mutations) in its genetic information system, creating new characteristics that were not in the original organism.
- The design model states that non-life never produces life and that the first life forms were the direct result of super-intelligence/ God.
Naturalistic Biologists asserts that life generated spontaneously from non-living chemicals by natural laws without any intelligent intervention. Dearing Darwin’s time this may have been plausible…but today with science we see the amazing complexity and design of even a single cell life.
Naturalistic evolutionists claim this one cell amoeba came together through spontaneous generation (without intelligent design) in a pond somewhere on earth.
- Amoebas are so tiny that you need a microscope to see them. They live in water, including lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, and puddles. Some can even live in the bodies of animals.
- According to this theory, all life came from this first amoeba. This is macroevolution…
How complex is a cell?
This was not known when Darwin was alive…not till the 1900s
To understand the complexity of a cell, Michael Denton, illustrates if a cell magnified 1000 million times until its 20 kilometers in diameter.
In the center of the cell is the nucleolus composed of deoxyribose-nucleic acid (DNA), protein and ribonucleic acid (RNA). DNA combined with proteins is organized into structural units called chromosomes, which usually occur in identical pairs.
- DNA codes inA,T,C,G. This is its language, its alphabet to spell out specific traits, characteristics, etc.
When this code is spelled out in very specific ordered sequence it could fill up a set of 1000 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Scientists have developed a formula to predict the odds of this coming together by chance. As one chance in… (About) 1068 this number is approaching that of all the atoms in the universe.
Take a man and blindfold him, place him in the Sahara Dessert 3.5 million square miles, almost the size of the U.S., Mark one grain of sand and ask him to find this grain, three times in a row. Now repeat this 200 times.
“To believe that life could have come from non-life would require an incredible amount of faith.”
- Good Science vs. Bad Science this is the debate between intelligent design vs. naturalism. This is not science vs. religion.
Michael Denton is a well-known scientist, he is also an atheist. He states:
The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle.
Huburt Yockey writes, “The belief that life on earth arose spontaneously from non-living matter, is simply a matter of faith and is based entirely on ideology.”
Five limitations of evolutionary science:
- Genetic limits – change within species but a dog is still a dog. Law of Identity.
- Cyclical change – we see changes shift back and forth but not toward a new species. (i.e. change in beak size.)
- Irreducible Complexity – Darwin wrote, “if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight, modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”
- Nonviability of Transitional forms – transitional forms have not been found and their survival would be impossible.
- Molecular Isolation – The reason human genetic variance is barely different than an ape is that we live in the same biosphere.
The Human Body – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Psalms 139:13-14 You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
The newborn baby has 350 bones that fuse together to make 206 as an adult. If they were not designed this way, they could not endure childbirth. This design allows for flexibility and pliability.
When a baby is conceived DNA is split down the middle and re-forms itself each time a cell divides. Each cell carries one hundred thousand genes. The cells begin to specialize and form tasks that help the body function. The instruction booklets that DNA builds would fill up 1000 books each with 600 pages. The kidney cell receives instruction from volume 3 page 678, the eye volume 500 page 3, the lung cells, volume 599 page 500.
This information is so specific that one cell has the entire code for the whole body.
The DNA is so narrow and compact that all the genes in all my body’s cells would fit into an ice cube! Yet if the DNA were unwound and joined together end to end, the strand could stretch from the earth to the sun and back more than 400 times.
(Remember the Sun is approximately 90 million miles away.)
The information content of the brain expressed in bits is probably comparable to the total number of connections among the neurons—about a hundred trillion, 1014, bits. If written out in English, say, that information would fill some twenty million volumes, as many as in the world’s largest libraries. The equivalent of twenty million books is inside the heads of every one of us. The brain is an unparalleled place!
For example, take the Madison Square Gardens and stack 1,000 books on each seat. That is the amount of information in your brain.
“The brain is a very big place in a small space.”
Consider the organ of sight. The amoeba has one cell and it moves to light, being sensitive to it. The human eye has 107 million cells, and all this perform a specific task when looking at an amoeba in a microscope. Seven million are cones, each fire off a message to the brain when photons of light across them. Cones give a full band of color awareness, and because of them, I can easily distinguish a thousand shades of color. The other hundred million cells are rods, backup cells for use in low light. When only rods are operating, I can see a spectrum of light so broad that the brightest light I perceive is a billion times brighter than the dimmest. The brain receives millions of simultaneous reports from the eye cells, it organizes them and gives an image.
The female runner lags behind a male. It is not because she is inferior, but the blame rests on the pelvis. A male’s pelvic design allows for more powerful muscles, but if a woman’s pelvis was made the same way as a male’s, childbirth would be impossible. In addition, a man is made with the hip sockets closer together, allowing for quicker movement. The woman’s is wider to allow for childbirth.
Our feet have 26 bones perfectly spread out with arches to distribute our weight over the entire area, the average person walks 65,000 miles in their lifetime. That is 2.5 times around the world.
Our skin weighs about 9 pounds yet protects us from so many things!
Fingerprints- no two are alike
Ridges – help grasp
First line of defense. It allows us to relate and sense the world.
Finger – With one tap of a finger I can tell if I am touching fabric, paper, liquid, plastic, wood.
Hair – The hairs on our body help magnify the sensation of touch.
TOUCH – if a weight was laid on your arm that was 100 milligrams and you were blindfolded you would sense something on you. After 4 seconds your brain would adjust to the sensation and you would no longer notice the weight.
7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:25
What Science cannot answer…
The Evidence of Morality – The reason most begin to realize there is a God.
Everyone has faith
Everything we believe is filtered through a grid of experiences, backstories, families, education, media, etc. We all have some measure of faith. Belief in things, whether we are aware or not, that we cannot prove or observe.
Meta-Physics and Physics are disciplines that do not follow the same set of guidelines. In fact, Harvard professor Stephen Jay Gould, the most celebrated atheist, evolutionary biologist, paleontologist, and historian of science in the last generation developed what we call the NOMA principle. It states the question of God’s existence and science are none overlapping magisterial authorities. This principle speaks to the fact that physics cannot be used to prove a metaphysical being or even state of being doesn’t exist.
“the correlation between academic life and irreligion is much higher in the social sciences and the humanities than it is among the natural sciences – physics, chemistry, and biology. Atomic physicists are much more likely to believe in God than sociologists.” Lesslie Newbigin
There is a Reemergence of sophisticated minds finding their way to an understanding of faith through exploration in science.