Are God and Science Compatible?
Are Science and Religion in Conflict or can they be Compatible?
Science does not necessarily have to conflict with theology because many scientists have come to believe that there is an Intelligent Design behind universal cause and effect, starting with the “Big Bang”. The scope of the “Big Bang” and the preponderance of unlikely conditions here on Earth may indicate that this planet was created by an unknown intelligence for humans to live on. This reconciles science with the biblical story of Genesis.
The concept of God and science are not mutually exclusive because of the theory of causality, which suggests the theory of “Intelligent Design” in the universe. The concept of causality, also called determinism, is a connection of events and there is no phenomenon that has not been caused by a previous event. Whenever scientists try to retrace the steps of cause and effect to find the very first cause, the roots of causality are lost or denied because of the limited nature of human experience which prevents making an A-to-Z sequence from beginning to end. The essence of scientific discovery seems to make it impossible to decide which force or forces originally brought the universe into being without making an intuitive leap. However, making an intuitive leap beyond the norm has led many scientists to suspect that there is an Intelligent Design behind cause and effect, starting with the “Big Bang”. The scope of the “Big Bang” and the preponderance of unlikely conditions here on Earth may indicate that this planet was created for humans to live on. This reconciles science with the biblical story of Genesis.
Intelligent Design is similar to the theological theory of creationism, except that Intelligent Design is a scientific method utilizing empirical theory, in the form of a four step process involving observation, hypothesis, experimentation and a conclusion. This brings it into the realm of science and differentiates it from pure creationism which attempts to reconcile science with the ancient creations stories of religious texts. However, both accept the idea of a universal architect as the determining cause of our existence. Therefore, in this particular area, science and religion are compatible because they both agree on the causal relationship of the beginning and the present of the universe. The difference is in the details, such as the dates and events. The theory of Intelligent Design argues that the universe took billions of years to form following the “Big Bang”, whereas religion envisions a much shorter period, usually a matter of days. Also, Creationism and Intelligent Design disagree on certain events. Creationists dispute evolution while supporters of Intelligent Design do not accept creation stories such as Adam and Eve. Beyond the details, however, there can be a meeting ground regarding the possibility of an intelligent agent behind it all.
The strongest scientific support behind Intelligent Design is “Big Bang” Cosmology, which is one of the main arguments for the scientific version of Genesis that marked the beginning of cause and effect in the universe. The “Big Bang” theory posits that the universe was created 15 Billion years ago in a massive hydrogen explosion. The evidence for this theory comes from a study of the many stars clusters, also called galaxies, spread across the universe. Observations and studies of the speed in which galaxies move through space show that galaxies are all moving, spreading away from a central point and that the ones furthest away move faster than the closer ones. The more distant galaxies are moving at the phenomenal rate of 100 million miles per hours. Scientists describe it as seeing the aftermath of a great explosion, sometimes called the “Cosmic Hydrogen Bomb”.The seeds of everything that exists in the universe began the moment that massive explosion occurred. This, for scientist, is the moment of creation, or the scientific version of Genesis. While the details are different from the biblical view of the origin of the world, the essential premise in the scientific and biblical accounts of a beginning event that led ultimately to the creation of man and everything we know is the crux of both theories. The “Big Bang” theory is not definitive proof of a universal Prime Mover, but it does introduce some interesting facts that supporters of Intelligent Design might see as proof of a God.
The argument against combining religion with science is that scientists have increasingly developed the ability to map and quantify human experience. Brain imaging can illustrate the physical seat of will and emotions, while neurological chemistry has made discoveries about the brain that explain not only regular behavior but extremes of behavior, such as the “higher” state of visionary saints like Jesus. These discoveries challenge the religious concept of a soul.
The important point that contradicts the argument that science and religion are incompatible is that whatever science proves can be traced by the rules of cause and effect to the first event, which was the “Big Bang”, which created everything. Many scientists, including Albert Einstein and Spinoza believed that God exists not as an anthropomorphic being in heaven but as an all-encompassing life-force which exists in the physical and structure harmony of the universe. These men felt that the convenient composition, structure and forces of the universe were part of the divine. Einstein said he believes in a God “Who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists.” This argument defends the theological theory that the design of the human body is the work of a higher power and every scientific discovery is simply delving further into the details of God’s plan.
There is nothing in the scientific belief of Intelligent Design that refutes the existence of God. Since there is no possibility of reconstructing pre-“Big Bang” events, science does not eliminate the possibility of God having created the “Big Bang”. Whether the “Big Bang” indicates a random, purposeless universe created by a fluke event or a carefully woven plan by a superior intelligence, both indicate that there was a specific beginning point to the universe. Although the science of Intelligent Design does not explicitly say that God was the cause of the “Big Bang”, it does not deny it either. The difference between the biblical Genesis and the scientific Genesis is essentially an argument of purposefulness verses randomness.
More by this Author
“Oh, to be the ruler of life, not a slave.” Walt Whitman. What is freedom? Is it living as we choose, our spirits unchained and unhindered by expectations and obligations? Is it releasing the inner...
Religion has held an important role in society since the beginning of civilization. Anthropologically, religion has such power in the minds of humans that it has, to a large extent, shaped the way the modern world has...
What did Native Americans expect of the first Europeans they saw? And vice versa?