Science and God

The Probability of God, the book by Stephen D. Unwin, has resulted in a flurry of articles, both pro and con, on the utility of his argument. For examples of pro (Evangelical Outpost: Wagering a Life: Part 1 – Urwin and the Probability of God) and con (God’s Number Is Up by Michael Shermer at Scientific The varied discourse and arguments prove that what one sees is in the eye of the beholder.

However, as I was thinking about science and God this morning, I came to the conclusion that all of this back and forth missed something important. It missed that science is an intellectual framework for viewing the world that operates within certain limited presuppositions. This framework is useful for solving certain problems and making sense of certain observations. It is, however, limited to its presuppositions, some of which are antithetical to religion and Christianity, some of which are in tune with it. However, science cannot replace religion, nor can it, because of it presuppositions, address the fundamental questions that religion tackles. A simple example would be that science and the scientific method require absolute control of variables and repeatability. A Christian will immediately note the problem with trying to approach God and the spiritual world with those assumptions. God is in control, not we and He doesn’t perform on queue. That makes God an impossible subject for scientific analysis. In addition, science only works within the recordable and observable senses. Things of the spirit, while sometimes observable are seldom if ever recordable. The list of disconnects goes on from there.

That said, science does interact with the world that Christians believe God created. However there is still a disconnect as Paul notes in Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” The problem is “invisible qualities”, which are really value judgments and not measurable, quantitative data that fits within the presuppositions of science. While it is true that the Christian view of a reliable and orderly universe created by a rational and consistent God allowed science to come into being, science was never meant to be the end all and be all, giving the last word on all existence and meaning that it has become in our rationalistic, materialistic, post-modern world. It was just a tool to deal with certain issues within a limited context. But like the Japanese kudzu, which spreads across every arable inch of ground, science has intruded into places it was not designed to cope with. It has become the pervasive idol of modern man, more controlling than any pagan god could ever have hoped to be, while at the same time denying its idolatry.

So? I think Christians should step back and refuse to get into the fight. In a debate, one of the maxims is that the person who defines the rules usually wins. Therefore, Christians should stop playing by science’’s rules. They should begin to talk to and about science within the limited context of its original intent, not bowing to its paganish and idolatrous attempt to exceed its mandate. They should debunk the emperor’s limited wardrobe and refuse to be drawn into the all-encompassing fashion show. Time to change the nature of the game.