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The Science of God

As a pastor living in a college town I run into skeptics, doubters and unbelievers regularly. One of the most common objections I hear about the Christian faith is in regards to science. People just can’t seem to wrap their minds around God.

I get it.  I really do. I have a degree in biology and psychology.  I’m more than familiar with naturalistic evolution, evolutionary psychology and the behavioral sciences than I’d like to be.  I’ve taken physics, chemistry and genetics.  I, like many of my peers, appreciate hard facts, empirical evidence and measurable results.

In a world of scientific questions, factual evidence is our friend. Measurable outcomes are important, but when it comes to God I’ve learned that they just aren’t enough.

theosophical.wordpress.com

theosophical.wordpress.com

When Science Isn’t Enough

Science is built on the premise that what can be known is measurable.  It can be quantified with empirical evidence. This is true to an extent.

When it comes to the natural world we can use natural means to measure natural outcomes.  The problem is, God is not natural.  He is supernatural. He is beyond that which is natural and is therefore immeasurable by natural standards.

It is absurd to conclude that a supernatural God does not exist because he cannot be measured through natural means. How can what is limited measure that which is unlimited?  That’s like concluding that the ocean doesn’t exist because it doesn’t fit in a five gallon bucket.

The famed physicist Albert Einstein is credited with rightly saying, “What’s measurable isn’t always important and what’s important isn’t always measurable.” He, a self described agnostic, understood that even the most skeptical among us should have “an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”¹

Scientific Limitations

The infinite God cannot be defined by that which is finite. He who is limitless cannot be comprehended by that which has limits, unless he chooses to reveal himself within the context of those limits.

Imagine that we live in a two dimensional world with a three dimensional God. If this three dimensional God were to stick his finger into our two dimensional world we would describe his cylindrical finger as a flat circle because we wouldn’t have any way of accurately seeing his finger for what it is.

Our two dimensional science just doesn’t have what it takes to measure this three dimensional God. The limitless God is beyond the limits of science. Furthermore, to say that God must submit to the laws of science is to make science God.

Giving God His Rightful Place

The very definition of God refers to a supreme being who retains ultimate authority over the world he created.  By definition he cannot be bound by science, since he the Great Scientist is the one who put it’s laws into effect.

Just like a software developer has the power to by-pass the codes he put in place to make a software function in a particular way, so God also has the power and authority to by-pass the natural laws if he so chooses, and sometimes does. You cannot say that God must be measurable by science because that would make science God, which it by definition cannot be.

A Window Through Which to See the Creator

What does science tell us about God, then? A great deal actually.  In Romans 1:19-20, the apostle Paul explains that God has made himself known to us in part through creation.  We can learn about his attributes and enjoy his glory through that which his hands have made.

Jesus himself also used creation to teach his disciples about the Father, particular in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7). In them he used plants, animals, agriculture, seasons and weather to help his followers better understand the nature of God. It was from this very notion that many of the first scientists, who happened to be Christian or influenced by Christianity, pursued the sciences, because they believed that the study of science would better help us understand the Great Scientist

Science cannot, however, tell us all that there is to know about God. It is just too limited. The only way for man to fully know God is for God to fully reveal himself to man. The remarkable truth is that God has chosen to make himself known to us through his Son Jesus Christ.   John 1:18 tells us that “no one has ever seen God” but that “the only God, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

We don’t have to stress over how to scientifically prove God. He validated and vindicated himself in Christ. He can be known and enjoyed through Jesus and Jesus can be known through the Word of God.

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*For more on the historical Jesus and the Bible check out “Simply Jesus: Does the Church have Him Wrong?“, a sermon series from Living Hope Church about the person and work of Jesus Christ.

¹ Isaacson, Walter (2008). Einstein: His Life and Universe. New York: Simon and Schuster, pp. 390.

² Driscoll, Mark (2010). Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, pp. 97-104.

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  1. March 4, 2015 at 5:04 AM

    Another difference between science and faith is that faith brings in hope as described in Romans 8:24, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?” In faith, we know that there are mysteries we will never understand this side of heaven!

    • March 4, 2015 at 8:01 AM

      That’s well said Debbie. If we could explain everything we’d be God.

  2. revbloke
    March 9, 2015 at 3:37 AM

    Reblogged this on Transformational thoughts…. and commented:
    An excellent piece about a false dichotomy……. Science v Christian faith.

    • March 9, 2015 at 8:34 AM

      Thanks for the encouraging word and the reblog. I hope your ministry is blessed as you seek to help people toward and in Jesus!

  3. March 9, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    This is the best explanation I have read concerning the being of God and the limits of science. Thanks for putting it on your blog.

    • March 10, 2015 at 9:23 AM

      I’m glad you found this post to be helpful. Your comment is much appreciated! Do you lean more towards faith or reasoning when it comes to matters of God and science?

  4. Meko
    March 10, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    Thank you Trevor for the post. I was thinking amen when I read, “God is not natural, but super natural.” Yes he is! I too have taken college courses in science. I still remember studying evolution for hours in order to pass my exams. I plan to pursue a career in psychology and know I will have to take a course in evolutionary psychology. All I can do is cringe at the thought! But this post is absolutely wonderful and I shall read it over and over again.
    God bless!!

    • March 11, 2015 at 8:08 AM

      You’re welcome. I’ve been there before myself. It can be so challenging to manage the tension between that which is helpful and that which is misleading, especially when it comes to the sciences.

      As frustrating as some of the teaching can be, classes like evolutionary psychology can be an open door to dialogue with non-believers. I’ve found it particularly helpful to remember that how God put us here (evolution/creation) is not nearly as important as why God put us here (faith/theology). I’m confident that if you can distinguish between the two you’ll have very fruitful studies. Blessings!

      Also, what are you wanting to do with your degree?

      • Meko
        March 11, 2015 at 8:23 AM

        I attended a Christian private college so everyone (classmates and teachers) I met were Christians. Most believed that God created everything through evolution. My professor gave the class a document about evolution and Christianity. He proposed that there are no contradiction between the two. I believed it until the last weeks of that semester. And I could not wrap my head around the beauty of creation being a result of evolution. Yes, you’re absolutely right. It is an opportunity to discuss with others. There was one atheist who would also debate about the existence of God.

        I plan to be a Christian counselor once I graduate.

      • March 12, 2015 at 7:19 AM

        It can be frustrating when even Christians try to reduce God’s handiwork to something less than it is just so we can feel like we understand it. You will no doubt run into more of that in the future, but it sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of it all.

        Having graduated with a degree in psychology, I’m greatly encouraged that you desire to be a Christian counselor. The world needs more of them. How does an atheist get into a private Christian college?

  5. March 31, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    Reblogged this on <3……….Laura Crean………..<3 and commented:
    “The infinite God cannot be defined by that which is finite. He who is limitless cannot be comprehended by that which has limits, unless he chooses to reveal himself within the context of those limits.

    Imagine that we live in a two dimensional world with a three dimensional God. If this three dimensional God were to stick his finger into our two dimensional world we would describe his cylindrical finger as a flat circle because we wouldn’t have any way of accurately seeing his finger for what it is.

    Our two dimensional science just doesn’t have what it takes to measure this three dimensional God. The limitless God is beyond the limits of science. Furthermore, to say that God must submit to the laws of science is to make science God.” LOL Love it – another little message from God just giving me a little hint – a personal message ❤

    • March 31, 2015 at 9:18 AM

      I’m glad God spoke to you so strongly through this post. We miss out on so much of his beauty when we try to limit him to our own understanding! Thank you for reblogging!

      What was it about that section that stood out to you so much?

  6. March 31, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    ❤ re-blogged – thanks ❤

  7. April 16, 2015 at 12:49 AM

    Reblogged this on Tell It Once And For Autism and commented:
    My son has had some problems with God/science…Did you know that Newton wrote quite a bit about why God ans Science mix?
    “Newton’s conception of the physical world provided a stable model of the natural world that would reinforce stability and harmony in the civic world. Newton saw a monotheistic God as the masterful creator whose existence could not be denied in the face of the grandeur of all creation.” Wikepedia @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Isaac_Newton

    • April 16, 2015 at 8:03 AM

      Your comment about Newton is insightful. Thank you for reblogging and for the quote! Are you much into science yourself?

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