- Religion and Philosophy»
- Atheism & Agnosticism
Christianity, Science and the Existence of God
Through the years, scientists have developed several different theories to answer questions about the origin of life and our universe, but nothing can be proven. The hypothesis' have varied, including Creationism, The Big Bang Theory, and the latest, Professor Stephen Hawking's theory that the Earth created itself. The only evidence of any proven scientific theory involving early Earth and life, is geological evidence supporting micro-evolution. Even Christians don’t deny the possibility of micro-evolution. Is it possible that Earth and everything in it was created by a supreme deity like it is claimed in the Holy Bible?
The Grand Canyon
Although there have been many reports of archeological finds that support biblical history, such as the reported findings of Noah’s ark, the Palace of King David, and King Solomon’s Wall, these reports are controversial, at best. What cannot be refuted is laws of thermodynamics, principals of hydrodynamics, superabundance of evidence of a worldwide flood, and the testimony of millions of people who experience divine power in their lives.
Both science and theology agree that Earth began as nothing and man began as a speck of dust. But, did the dust evolve into a complex human body? Did the Earth really evolve to support life that will eventually destroy it? How did the body survive without the heart, or liver, or some other necessary organ? Did we really grow a heart because we needed one? How did our bodies function effectively if not created already completely intact?
Although scientists still struggle to find definite answers, Christian theory has always remained the same, that Earth and everything in it was created by God. Is it possible? Does the christian God exist? Is there a middle ground between “biblical truths” and scientific and archeological discoveries? How do they compare?
According to John Whitcomb, who graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a B.A. in Ancient and European History, evolutionary theory defies the first and second laws of thermodynamics. . The first law of thermodynamics claims that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. He questions where the energy needed for evolution came from if energy cannot create itself? The second law of thermodynamics states that disorder in an enclosed system increases with time. If that's true, then how could evolution turn a chaotic mess into an orderly, human inhabited Earth? The idea that the world was a nothingness that came together on its own, began as a collision, or became an organized Earth from an explosion, defies the second law of thermodynamics. Furthermore, John Whitcomb, who “came to know the Lord” during his time at Princeton, and went on to earn a B.D., a Th.M., and a Th.D at Grace Theological Seminary, states in his book The Early Earth, “the fact that creation was supernatural means that it can be grasped by the human mind only through the channel of special revelation”( Whitcomb,2002). In other words, to believe the creation theory requires a belief in God.
So, is there evidence of the existence of God, or of any biblical narratives? Another book written by John Whitcomb, The World that Perished, points out geological evidence that supports the Book of Genesis’ story of a worldwide flood and Noah’s Ark. According to Whitcomb, through the principals of hydrodynamics, evidence of the flood can still be found today, using the Grand Canyon as an example. This corroborates an article written by R. Berg, Evidence of a Worldwide Flood and what it Means to Us Today. R. Berg points out how geological evidence confirms a worldwide flood around 7,600 years ago. Upright fossil trees in coal strata show that many trees were literally buried instead of having fallen naturally at death. Furthermore, ninety-eight percent of the fossilized plants and trees from that time period have been literally ripped from their roots, as would have occurred during a flood. The author also explains how drill cores of sediments from the Gulf of Mexico indicated that a dramatic change in salinity had occurred, such as would happen if the earth was flooded with fresh water, as the Holy Bible claims. In addition, fossils of saltwater mollusks in the Black Sea, a fresh water sea surrounded by land, proves that the water of the Black Sea had mixed with the water from the Mediterranian Ocean, supporting christian conviction of a catastrophic flood to rid the Earth of sin.
Although none of this “evidence” proves that God exists, the theory of Intelligent Design may answer some of these questions. G. Brumfiel (2005) reports another theory, endorsed by Salvadore Cordova, whose speech on intelligent design creates a relationship and association between scientific evidence of evolution and creation theory, such as a divine hand shaping the course of evolution. Mr. Cordova holds three degrees from George Mason University, including one in math, and returns to the university regularly to speak for the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness club that he organized there. Mr. Cordova believes "some biological systems are too complex, periodic explosions in the fossil record too large, and differences between species too great to be explained by natural selection alone" (2005). However, he does not deny evolutionary theory altogether. Nor does he endorse the belief of a christian God.
We, the People.....
Although there are various scientific theories for the origins of Earth and life on Earth, and evidentiary discoveries of evolutionary theory, nine-two percent of Americans believe in God or a universal spirit, including 21% of self-proclaimed atheists and over half of those who consider themselves agnostic (Salmon, 2008). Is it possible that science is wrong? Could there be a Supreme being who created Earth and everything in it and guides the lives of those who worship Him?
The strongest endorsements of a benevolent “Higher Power”, may actually come from those people who, at one time, were most likely to be ignored. Millions of alcoholics, addicts, gamblers, overeaters, and others have taken control of their addictions and their lives with the help of a twelve step program that depends on belief and faith in a Higher Power. Step two is “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” In step three, those in recovery “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him” (Alcoholics Anonymous, n.d.). Steps five, six, seven and eleven also involve the seeking of divine intervention. According to Alcoholics Anonymous, and many religious organizations, just “opening the door” to the possibility of a “Higher Power” will allow God into the lives of those who seek Him. This simple belief has helped millions of people achieve and maintain recovery.
Additionally, people in recovery are not the only ones who have experienced positive changes in their lives that they attribute to a Higher Power. Christians are known to experience “miracles” and unexplained spiritual phenomena. A heft eighty percent of Americans believe in miracles, and about one third of those surveyed say they receive answers to their prayers at least once a month and have received or witnessed divine healing (Salmon, 2008). A recent example is Morgan Lake, who, in 2013, survived a vehicular accident with a tractor trailer that plunged her forty feet off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. She accredits her survival to superhuman strength received from God ( Wright, 2013). And, a four-year old named Colton Burpo claims to have visited heaven after a near death experience and reportedly met a sister he didn’t know about who had died before birth (Christie, 2014). A year later, after seeing hundreds of pictures, Colton Burpo identified the Jesus he claimed to have met in heaven with the picture he had seen that had been painted by a young girl protege he had never met on the other side of the world who claims to have had similar experiences starting around the same age Colton was (Henshey, 2011). The Roarks of Tennessee commend God for the survival of their infant daughter after she was pronounced terminally ill and comatose due to calcium abscesses on her brain. She is now a happy, healthy sixteen year old. Morgan Lake, the Burpos, and the Roark family are all Christians, who are known to experience “blessings” from God, although the believer’s life is far from painless.
Which makes some people wonder why a benevolent God would allow such pain and destruction in the world. The answers are found in the Bible, beginning with the Book of Genesis. According to the Bible, God blessed man with the gift of free choice. Bad things happen due to free choice. To prevent these things, God would have to take back somebody’s free choice and that is not in His nature. The Bible also goes on to explain how God allows some strife to force His children to lean on Him, resulting in the strengthening of their faith. He never promises an easy life. He explains that His ways are not our ways. Most christians believe that everything happens for a reason, even if they don’t understand it. For example, some Christians believe that some premature deaths may be God’s way of protecting the deceased from something worse in the future, or even rewarding a good christian with an early heavenly reward. Ultimately, the Bible explains that not all things are meant to be understood by man.
The 12 Steps of Recovery
Belief in a higher power is a personal decision each person must make on their own. Neither science nor religion can provide all the answers. There's evidence both supporting and contradicting ALL scientific and creation theories. Perhaps Intelligent Design provides the answer.
Whether a person chooses to believe in God or not, the facts are undeniable that giving problems over to a higher power and choosing to follow Him, improves the lives, behavior, and morality of those who choose to believe.
Alcoholics Anonymous (n.d.). What is A.A.? Retrieved from http://www.aa.org/pages /en_US/what-is-aa
Berg, R. (2008). Evidence for a worldwide flood and what it means for us today. Retrieved from http://www.earthage.org/floodevidences/evidence_for_a_worldwide_flood.htm
Brumfiel, G. (2005, April 28). Intelligent design: Who has designs on your students' minds? Nature, 434, 1062-1065, doi: 10.1038/4341062a.
Salmon, J. (2008, June 24). Most Americans believe in higher power, poll finds. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/23/AR2008062300813.html?sid=ST2008062300818
Whitcomb, J. C. (2002). The early earth. Nappanee, IN. Evangel Press.
Whitcomb, J. C. (2006). The world that perished. Grand Rapids, MI. Baker Publishing Group.