RPM, Volume 18, Number 42, October 9 to October 15, 2016

Has Science Got Rid of God?

By Reverend Dr. John Blanchard

Father in heaven, we do give You thanks that though You are incomprehensible by nature and being, You have chosen to make Yourself known to us in our consciences and in our culture; in Your creation and in Your church; and most perfectly, in the person and work of Jesus Christ as He is revealed to us in Your word. We confess all of our sins before You tonight, and of all the things we do against Your person and Law, perhaps the most heinous is that we are by nature and in practice practical atheists. And we confess that we often get up and begin and end our weeks without ever consulting with Your Spirit and the word, and without listening for the prompting of that word to guide us into our daily affairs and our work. We handle things in our own way, and we act as if You do not exist. Father, we ask you to forgive us, and we thank You for that forgiveness in Christ, that You will cleanse us from all that is unrighteous. Now we appropriate by faith, Your grace; and ask for Your Spirit to come upon this holy place. Fill us with a desire to know You and to worship You, and to love You more and serve You better. And give our speaker an unction from above, that He might preach and teach with a reckless abandon this truth of life and light found through You in Jesus Christ. Do this for Your glory, and do it for our good, for we pray this in the name that always brings those two together, that name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Dr. Thomas: We are very honored and excited to have Dr. John Blanchard back with us again. This has become almost an annual visit to us here at First Presbyterian Church. His latest book, Has Science Got Rid of God?—copies of this book will be available in the bookstore. They will be available at a special price. If you're visiting, the bookstore is out through this door here, and along the corridor, and to your right.

Dr. Blanchard is one of the leading apologists in the world on these matters. We're delighted he's able to come back and be with us this evening. Come; come and speak to us.

Dr. Blanchard: Well, thank you very much for that very gracious, if exaggerated, introduction. It's just lovely to be back in Mississippi. It's certainly better than to be in Massachusetts! And it's always a joy to be back at First Pres.

Turn with me to the word of God. We have cleared the decks tonight so that the presentation can take up most of our time together, but we certainly didn't want to omit the singing of God's praise, and coming to Him in prayer, and most of all, the reading of His word, where He speaks directly to us. I'm going to read from the opening words of the Gospel According to John, and as we come to the end of the presentation, there may be a direct reference to this passage, and I think you will see why this particular portion of Scripture has been chosen.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God: his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through Him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent nor of human decision, or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning Him. He cries out, saying, "This was He of whom I said 'He who comes after me has surpassed me, because He was before me.' From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; but God the one and only who is at the Father's side, has made Him known."

And this is the word of God.

I. The Question

Now, those who are visitors will have come interested and perhaps fascinated by the stated title of tonight's presentation, Has Science Got Rid of God? It's a question that has fascinated millions of people, especially during the last 300 years. Scientists, theologians, and philosophers and others have examined it from many different angles. Many have answered the question, "Has science got rid of God?" with a resounding "Yes!" it has. Others have answered it with an equally resounding "No, it has not!"

Let me begin with one of the "yes's". Professor Peter Atkins is a lecturer in physical chemistry at Oxford University. He is a passionate and dogmatic atheist who claims that science disposes of God once and for all. In a debate in 1998, he said this, and I quote:

"I'm on the brink of discovering everything..." (a modest enough beginning, you might think)... "...and I commend you to use your brains, because your brains are the most wonderful instruments in the universe, and through your brains you will see that you can do without God. There is no necessity for God, because science can explain everything."

Now, if Peter Atkins is right, then all of the millions of words that have been spilled over discussing the question have been a waste of time and space. But is he right? And it seems to me that the only place to begin is with definitions: and the two key words are obviously God and Science. Let me take them in that order.

What do we mean when we use the word God in our discussion tonight? In, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Humpty Dumpty says, "When I use the word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less." Then, what does Atkins mean when he uses the word God? Although he rubbishes religion in general, Christianity is his main target: the God we find in the Bible. In an article on the internet, he called God (and I quote) "This incompetent figment of impoverished imaginations."

Needless to say, the Bible's take is somewhat different. The Bible says this of God: firstly, that He is transcendent. There is but one God, the Father, from whom all things come. In one simple phrase, the Bible dismisses all other pretensions at God. It not only says that the God of Scripture is the greatest, or the finest, or the most powerful, or the most readily available, or the most universally efficient; it says in that one statement that there are no other gods, and the so-called elegant gods of the Greeks and the Romans and others simply do not exist. They are purely human inventions. God, the Bible first and foremost says, is transcendent.

Secondly, it reveals Him as the Creator. The very existence of the universe as we have and know it requires these five things: time, intelligence, energy, space, and matter. Without those five, we have no universe. Those five elements are all found in the very first sentence in Scripture: "In the beginning..." speaks of time; "God" speaks of intelligence; "Created" speaks of energy; "the heavens" speaks of space; and "earth" speaks of matter. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." A phrase which very simply means God created all reality outside of Himself.

Thirdly, the Bible reveals God as being sovereign. His dominion is an eternal dominion. The Bible tells us that God is in sole and sovereign control of everything that exists or happens, and that nothing whatever can prevent God from doing precisely and exactly what He wishes and chooses to do, whenever He wishes and chooses to do it.

And fourthly, the Bible reveals God as our judge. Each one of us will give an account of himself to God. How vastly different from the worldview of the atheist! The atheist says—and here is the atheist's creed—and yes, he does have a creed. The atheist is a believer. The atheist believes that God does not exist, and his creed could be put very simply: "We began as a fluke; we live as a farce; and we end as fertilizer." Now, that is the atheist's creed. It's very elegant and brief. It's not as full as the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed, or the Athanasian Creed...and come to think of it, it's not as good, either! But that is what it is. "We began as a fluke; we live as a farce; and we end as fertilizer."

The Bible says something very different. It says that we have a moral obligation, that life has moral implications, and that each one of us is personally accountable to our Maker, who will determine our eternal destiny. Well, so much for the word God in our question tonight.

What about the word science? Interestingly, defining the word science is not as simple as it might seem. The American scholar J. P. Moreland says this: "No generally accepted definition of what science is, is agreed on by a majority of philosophers of science." Now, I find that rather daunting, as one with no background in science at all. Somebody asked me recently, "What is your background in science?" and I said, "Well, I tend to side with Archbishop William Temple, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1940's, who once said, "My ignorance of science is so profound as to be distinguished." And I would agree entirely with that.

But here is a philosopher of science saying there's no generally accepted definition of what science is. But let me suggest a working definition for our purposes tonight: Science is an ongoing process of exploring the natural world. I think that would stand up in any forum. Science is an ongoing process of exploring the natural world.

So let's ask our question again: "Has science, the ongoing process of exploring the natural world, got rid of the God revealed in the Bible: the transcendent Creator of all reality outside of Himself, who controls every atom of the universe, and to whom each one of us is morally and eternally accountable." That is our question.

I want to pursue the point about science being the process of learning. It's important that we get a grasp of that, because many things once claimed by science to be factual are now said by science not to be factual at all. For example, scientists used to tell us that the planets were held in space by a substance called ether. Today's science would laugh that idea out of court.

I recall just a few years ago the press reporting a new finding by the Hubble Space Telescope. Analyzing the results, one scientist said this: "We will have to rewrite the laws of physics." Of course, he didn't mean we would have to rewrite the laws of physics; what he actually meant was that what we used to call the laws of physics will now have to be redefined because they are not the laws of physics. Put more simply, we were wrong.

Here's another, and especially relevant to our subject and our situation here tonight: In 1861, the French Academy of Science—very prestigious scientific body—published a booklet giving 51 "scientific facts" said to disprove the authority and reliability and dependability of Scripture. Fifty-one scientific facts that showed the Bible was wrong. That was in 1861. That's not really very long ago.

Today's scientists dismiss all 51 of those statements, and say not one of them is right. In other words, scientific facts often contradict things previously called facts, and that's a fact! The most distinguished philosopher of science today arguably is Sir Karl Popper, and he has said this, and I quote: "Every scientific statement must remain tentative forever." Let me put it very simply: In true science, the latest word is never the last word.

There was a lovely cartoon in The New Scientist a little while ago. The setting is a classroom. There's a discussion going on between the professor and a student. The professor has obviously given an answer to the student, and now the student takes up the story in the cartoon. "Are you absolutely sure that that is the answer to my question?"

"Yes, it is. That is the correct answer to the question."

"But Sir, you gave me exactly the opposite answer yesterday." To which the professor said,

"Yes, Jennifer, but you must realize this: science is making tremendous progress!"

And I'm just making one simple point at this stage: when we hear phrases such as "science says" or "scientists have proved" or "scientists have shown", the statement that follows is not necessarily true. I'm not saying that the scientists concerned are telling lies, or that they're trying to deceive anyone. I'm simply making the clear distinction between what follows "science says" and what is absolutely philosophically true. And there's no need for a person who believes in God to get blinded or intimidated when the statement that follows implies that God doesn't exist.

The best-known atheist in Britain today is a man called Richard Dawkins. He's the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, a zoologist and an entrenched atheist. When Richard Dawkins says, as he has, "truth means scientific truth", there are only two things wrong with that statement: It's not true, and it's not scientific. Other than that, he's spot on. So to say truth means scientific truth is simply neither truthful nor scientific.

II. Scientism: the godless god.

I want to press a little bit further along the lines of the limitations of science, because many atheists say that even allowing for adjustments that need to be made in the light of new discoveries, science has replaced God as a source of reliable information about ourselves and about the universe in which we live. I imagine that's what Peter Atkins meant when he said, "there is no necessity for God, because science can explain everything."

Well, that sounds exhilarating and exciting, but it is not science. Instead, it is scientism, and there's a vast difference between the two, and it's important that we grasp that difference. It is scientism. Or, to use another technical word for it, it is reductionism. Or, to use a phrase that I much prefer, one that was coined by the imminent British scientist Donald McKay, it is "nothing buttery." And he used that very illuminating phrase to say that scientism, or reductionism, says that the whole of reality is "nothing but" atoms and molecules. It reduces everything to the physical, and says when you have explained it in terms of the physical, then you've done all the explanation that needs to be done, or that can be done. That is scientism. Scientism says that the only answer to every question is a scientific answer; and if there is not a scientific answer, there is not an answer.

Scientism has a number of serious flaws, and here are two of the most obvious. I'm only going to touch on one, and I'll elaborate on the second. The first is this: that the scientific description of something is not the only valid one. If I were to say to my wife, "Let's juxtapose our orbicular muscles and have a reciprocal transmission of carbon dioxide and microbes," I wouldn't expect a very excited response. If I were to day, "I'd like to kiss you," I hope the response might be more enthusiastic! And I want to give my testim....no, I won't give you my testimony on the matter, but you can guess what it is! Well, I will give you my testimony on the matter: it is a better response than that. But I would be saying exactly the same thing. To say to my wife, "Let's juxtapose our orbicular muscles and have a reciprocal transmission of carbon dioxide and microbes," that's no way to win anyone's affection, I promise you!

So both are valid descriptions of the object that I have in mind, but one is more effective than the other. The point I'm making is that the scientific description is not the only valid one.

But here's the second great flaw in scientism, and that is that there are many things that are beyond the reach of science and the scientific method.

The most popular idea about the existence of the universe these days, as you know, is under Firstly, science can't tell us why the universe came into being. the name of "the Big Bang" or the "hot big bang." Big bang says that some fifteen billion years ago there was what scientifically is called a "singularity" and then there was this indescribable explosion and expansion which has gone on now for fifteen billion years, and given us the universe in which we live. And scientists have come up with some fascinating ideas of what the condition of the universe was a nanosecond after the Big Bang, but science cannot go back a nanosecond before that, because before that the laws of physics didn't operate. They had no traction. The laws of physics break down.

Science can't explain where the matter and the energy necessary for this Big Bang came from, or why a Big Bang should ever have happened. Arguably, the most easily recognizable scientist in the world today is a man called Stephen Hawking, a British physicist, confined to a wheel chair, as you know, and needing to speak with the aid of a voice synthesizer. In his book, Black Holes and Baby Universes, he says this: "Science cannot answer the question 'Why does the universe bother to exist?'"

Secondly, science can't explain why the universe is so amazingly fine-tuned for human life. Why is it that human life...all the things that are necessary for human life are present in our universe? One of the stock answers to that is that there are trillions of universes, trillions of them; and the law of averages says that one of them is bound to have the kind of conditions that are conducive to human life, and ours happens to be the one that does. Well, that's a plausible idea if you rule any biblical elevation out of the picture, but the fact of the matter is there is not one scintilla of evidence for the idea of there being trillions of parallel universes.

Thirdly, science can't explain why there are scientific, or natural, laws; or why they're so consistent and dependable. For example, the Law of Gravity says that a free-falling object accelerates at the rate of 981 centimeters per second, or 32 feet per second if you're my age. Now, science can't tell us why that should be the case. That's not something that man decided; it's something he discovered, but it's not something he invented, or decided, or hit upon. Science can express the Law of Gravity: it can't explain it.

Fourthly, science can tell us amazing things about the human body. For instance, science can tell us that our human bodies contain 80,000 miles of blood vessels. Did you know you've been toting all those around today? But science cannot tell us why we are more than blood-processing machines.

And here's another: science can tell us wonderful things about the human brain. Weighing as it does only two percent of an average person's body weight, it has one hundred billion neurons, or nerve cells, as an amateur like myself would call them. One hundred billion nerve cells in your brain. That's the same number of trees that are growing in 2.7 million square miles of Amazonian rain forests. And each one of those one hundred billion nerve cells has up to a hundred thousand connections with other parts of the human brain. Now, science can tell us those things, but it can't tell us why the mind exists, and why it functions the way it does.

(Am I going to yield to the temptation to tell the ridiculous story of a man sitting on a beach, and saw a bottle come bobbing in on the waves; and to his amazement, a genie popped out of the bottle and said, "I can grant you any wish you like. Just one wish, but anything you care to name, and I can do it for you." And the man said, "Well, I've never been to Hawaii, and trouble is, I'm scared of flying and I hate traveling by sea, too. Could you build a road between here and Hawaii so that I could go there?" The genie said, "Well, that's pretty tough. Fact, it's the toughest thing I've ever been asked to do. Would you have a second choice?" The man said, "Could you tell me how my wife's mind works?" And the genie said, "Would that be a two-lane road or a four-lane one that you'd like?")

Now, science can't tell us how the mind works. The Oxford biochemist and Templeton prize winner Arthur Peacock says there is something about the mind, and therefore, about who you really are that science cannot get at.

Sixthly, science can study the results of human behavior, but it cannot explain ethical principles. For instance, science can say nothing about love, justice, freedom, joy, beauty, or peace. All of those things are important to us, and science can tell us nothing about them. Science can't even distinguish between right and wrong, nor can it tell us why we should choose one rather than the other. Here is a distinguished British biologist and atheist, J.B.S. Haldane, of a previous generation, and I quote: "Science cannot give an answer to the question 'Why should I be good?'" Isn't that an important question that we need to ask?

In the seventh place, science can't answer life's ultimate questions. Here is the psychiatrist Paul Tudonea: "Everybody today is searching for an answer to those problems to which science pays no attention: the problem of their destiny; the mystery of evil; the question of death." Now, science has highlighted all of those problems, but it is unable to solve them.

And eighthly, and most relevant to our present subject, science cannot prove that God does not exist. So science has all of these limitations, but in saying all of that, I'm still saying nothing negative about science. We all benefit from the amazing progress that science and its exciting daughter, technology, have brought to us.

I give you one very simple example. As a few of you know, I am an enthusiastic golfer, and from time to time I am dragged onto a golf course, though I'm suffering from withdrawal symptoms at the moment, because I've haven't hit a ball since 4:30 this afternoon! But if I had been playing golf in the seventeenth century, the ball that I had been using would have consisted of a hatful and a half of boiled feathers stuffed into a more or less circular pouch, and that's why I would try to be hitting around the golf course. Today, if the blurb on the box is true, the ball I'm using is of an intertwined molecular construction combining zinc dichlorate and high density rubber. The fact that I can hit it about as far as some people can hit a hatful of boiled feathers is neither here nor there! Science has made tremendous progress, and we should be grateful for it.

III. Science and its limits.

Nevertheless, science does have serious limitations. Pure science can't explain what it can't observe. Now that's not what you hear on the secular media. Here is Richard Dawkins again on the television program called Soul of Britain. Just listen to this quotation: "I think science really has fulfilled the need that religion did in the past of explaining things: explaining why we are here; what is the origin of life; where did the world come from; what life is all about. Science has the answers."

I want to go back over the things that he mentions: where did the world come from; what is life all about; what is the origin of life; why are we here. Dawkins says science has all the answers. The fact of the matter is, it has none of the answers to those questions, and the reason it has none of the answers is not because there's something wrong with science—not at all: but because its reach is not long enough.

To illustrate: if you were on an ocean liner in the middle of the Atlantic, and one night in the middle of the night, you can't sleep very well and you think I'll get up and have a walk around the deck. So you take a little torch, a flashlight, in your hand, you walk up to the deck and you wander around and you think, 'I wonder what the bottom of the Atlantic ocean looks like.' So you lean over the rail of the ship and you turn on the light and look down, and you cannot see the bottom of the ocean. That doesn't mean it's not there. It simply means that the instrument you're using isn't powerful enough to get the job done.

So the statement "science can explain everything" is a myth.

IV. Faith and facts.

And here's another: Well, science deals only with facts, but Christianity is purely a matter of faith. And that myth is so powerful that many people, perhaps most people, would sooner put their trust in technology than in theology.

The story is told of an airplane in the middle of a long transcontinental flight, when the captain comes onto the system and says, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking, and I think I ought to tell you that one of our engines has cut out altogether. Please don't be concerned, we have four engines and this plane is equipped to get us safely there on three engines without any problem whatever, so please don't be concerned. But in case some of you are still feeling a little apprehensive, I really do have some good news for you: we have four Bishops on board tonight, and so we're bound to be saved." One of the passengers sent a note back to the captain saying, "If it's all the same to you, I wish we had four engines and three Bishops!"

So the idea that science only deals with facts and Christianity is just a matter of faith is a myth, because every true scientist leans heavily on faith while searching for the facts. Scientists assume, they take it by faith that we live in an orderly universe that will respond in a consistent way. Scientists assume, they take it by faith, in other words, that we live surrounded by cosmos, not chaos, governed by laws that can be trusted. Albert Einstein has put it beautifully in this way: "The most incomprehensible fact of nature is that it is comprehensible, and there's no logical or scientific reason why that should be the case." No reason, no logical reason why the laws of nature should be consistent and predictable and dependable. A scientist would assume that if he heated water at sea level, it would boil at 100 degrees centigrade. There is no logical reason why it should. The fact that the sun rose today doesn't give us a logical reason for assuming it is going to rise tomorrow. We take that by faith. In other words, we assume that it's going to happen.

That kind of order and cohesion and dependability is exactly what we should expect if the God of the Bible truly is the Creator and the sustainer of the universe. But our big question remains this: Can science coexist with the Christian religion?

Not according to Peter Atkins. I quote him again: "Religion is outmoded and ridiculous. It is not possible to believe in God and to be a true scientist." Now, what an astonishing statement to make. What astonishing rhetoric! But it's in conflict with reality. The fact is that all today's scientists, whether they are atheists or agnostics or skeptics, or people who do believe in God, all of today's atheists are standing on the shoulders of scientific giants who believed in the universe as the creation of God, and the Bible as the word of God.

Sir Alfred North Whitehead, the imminent historian of science, speaking about the rise of science and the scientific method in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, has said this: "Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a Lawmaker."

And I want to give you, at a gallop, I'm afraid it necessarily has to be so, some examples of what I mean:

Francis Bacon, who eventually became the Lord Chancellor, first put forward the new theory of scientific knowledge that eventually became known as the inductive method;

The Irish physicist and chemist Robert Boyle, who was the first scientist to show the difference between compounds and elements—he is commonly recognized as The father of modern chemistry, and he wanted to be a lay preacher. And I interrupt myself to say this: Peter Atkins lectures in physical chemistry! Robert Boyle was the father of modern chemistry. Is it possible that Peter Atkins has never heard of Robert Boyle, or is he suffering from selective amnesia? Boyle wanted to be a lay preacher. He believed in God as the Creator of the universe, and the Bible as the word of God;

The American scientist, George Washington Carver, one of the world's leading agricultural chemists and only the third American ever to have a national monument erected in his honor;

The British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday, who discovered electromagnetic induction;

The British physicist James Jules, the first man to measure the mechanical equivalent of heat. He it was who gave the name to Jules's Law, which is still used today for calculating the heat induced by electric current moving through a wire;

The German astronomer, Johannes Kepler, acknowledged as the father of modern astronomy, wanted to be a Christian preacher. And when somebody asked Kepler what his work consisted of, he said, "I am merely thinking God's thoughts after Him."

James Clark Maxwell, another British scientist that we call the father of modern physics—he first predicted the existence of radio waves;

Sir Isaac Newton is universally commonly recognized as one of the greatest scientists who ever lived;

So was the French genius, Blaise Paschal; and

The Scottish physicist, William Thompson;

The first Baron Kelvin held the Chair of Natural Philosophy at Glasgow University for 53 years. He held 21 doctorates and established the Kelvin scale of absolute temperatures.

Peter Atkins said you can't be a true scientist and believe in God. Were these not true scientists? When the Royal Society, the first major scientific organization in history, was founded in 1662, its founders dedicated their work, and I quote, "To the glory of God."

In 1865 the Manifesto of the British Association for the Advancement of Science was signed by 617 scientists who declared that the Bible was the word of God, and in complete harmony with the natural sciences.

Today one of the most exciting scientific projects that we could ever imagine is the human genome project. I've been in correspondence with the American director, a man called Francis Collins, who says that as a young man he was, and I use his own words, "an obnoxious atheist." He became a Bible-believing Christian largely through reading the works of C. S. Lewis.

Not so long ago I preached in a church in England, and ten percent of the congregation, over 30 members in the congregation, held earned doctorates in disciplines ranging from microbiology to medicine and from pharmacy to physics. And Peter Atkins says you can't be a true scientist and believe in God.

The truth is exactly the opposite, and it's that science today is making the idea of God easier to accept rather than more difficult. My wife and I constantly read the contributions of a GP called James LeFanou in the London's Daily Telegraph, and writing in 1997 he said this: "Thanks to the onward march of science over the last forty years, it has become a lot easier to be certain about the existence of a Creator." And I give you two examples of what I mean. One of them talks about things on a massive scale, and the other of things on a minute scale.

Let me talk about the massive scale first, and what I have in mind is cosmology. In the seventeenth century, scientists had only a vague and very general idea about the size of our universe. Today we know that our planet orbits around the sun, which is one million times the size of the earth. We know that this activity is going on in what Stephen Hawking delightfully calls the "outer suburbs of an ordinary spiral galaxy," but the ordinary spiral galaxy is the Milky Way, which measures 621 thousand million million miles across. It contains a hundred thousand million stars. It is one of a hundred thousand million galaxies in the known universe, and science can't begin to give us a clue as to why those mind-boggling figures should be true. At the end of a brief history of time, Stephen Hawking explores the idea of a "Theory of Everything", and as some of you will know, he ends the section with these words: "If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason; for then we would know the mind of God."

And the second example is a minute one. It comes in the field of biology, or strictly, or microbiology. In Darwin's day, which, after all, is only about 150 years ago, a living cell was thought to be something primitive and minute....and simple. We now know that there is no such thing as a "primitive cell." Even the tiniest bacterial cell is made up of a hundred thousand million atoms, and is much more complicated than any machine ever built by man. Or to give one other simple example, one single fertilized human egg contains so much genetic information, genetic intelligence, that it would take 92,000 books in a large format of 650 pages to write all that intelligence down.

At the end of his influential book Darwin's Black Box, the American biochemist Michael Behe writes this: "We are left with no substantive defense against what feels to be a strange conclusion: that life was designed by an intelligent agent."

Science and Christianity are not enemies, they are friends. Distinguished British scientist William Henry Bragg, Nobel prize winner, addressing the Royal Institution in London, once said this: "Sometimes people ask if religion and science are opposed to each other." This is how he went on: "They are, in the sense that the fingers and thumb of my hand are opposed to each other. It is an opposition by which anything can be grasped." It was a brilliant answer. He didn't dismiss science, and he certainly didn't dismiss Christianity. He said in effect, we should learn and use as much as we can of both—we can grasp so much when we do.

Albert Einstein more famously said this: "A legitimate conflict between science and religion cannot exist. Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." So the idea that science has got rid of God is nineteenth century fiction parading as twenty-first century fact. For science to make any sense, we need an orderly world brought into being by a rational Creator, with an ultimate purpose in mind, and the God of the Bible supplies, if I can put it this way, all those criteria.

V. Beyond Science

And He's revealed Himself in at least three ways.

Firstly, of course, in the Bible. In every way that we can test it, the Bible lives up to its claim to be the living and enduring word of God; and in spite of two thousand years of investigation and criticism, and persecution and analysis, its authority remains intact and unscarred. Isaac Newton, the father of modern science, once said this of the Scripture: "It is a rock from which all the hammers of criticism have never chipped a single fragment. In its history, in its prophecy, in its morality it stands head and shoulders above all other literature known to man, and it has no rival; nor does it have any human explanation."

Secondly, God has revealed Himself in creation. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands." The Bible says this: "What may be known about God is plain. God's invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made." In other words, it can be seen that there is an unseen. And the Bible goes further and says that the person who sees what he can see with the natural eye and doesn't see beyond that to the unseen is without excuse. Without any other kind of revelation, the person who sees the world around him and doesn't acknowledge that there is a transcendent Creator of it, is without excuse.

God encourages science. God, in effect, says 'Look at what I've made. Revel in it. Enjoy it. Use it. Take care of it, and treat it to My glory and to your good.'

And thirdly, God has revealed Himself in Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible tells us not only that Jesus was truly an historical figure, a man in every sense that we are human. He wasn't a hundred feet tall, didn't wear a halo, wasn't distinguished from other humans in any human way; knew what it was to be tired and thirsty and hungry; needed to eat and drink and rest and sleep; knew what it was to be tempted, indeed, tempted, the Bible goes out of its way to tell us "in every way just as we are" and yet, it says that He was more than human, that He was divine; that although He was truly human in every way that we can describe being human, He was divine in every way that we can describe divinity.

And nowhere is this more clearly stated than when the Bible tells us things about Jesus that can only be said about God. For example, and this comes from our reading at the beginning of our time together, "...through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made." Now clearly, those words can only be said about God. "Through Him all things were made. Without Him nothing was made that has been made." That can only be said about God, but my friends, these words are specifically said about Jesus. Every form of matter and life from stars to stem cells, and from DNA to dolphins, owe their existence to the power, and the wisdom, and the imagination of Jesus of Nazareth.

Here's another: "In Him all things hold together." The Bible tells us that what prevents the cosmos becoming chaos is the mighty power of Jesus Christ. Everything in the universe, from the massive to the minute, is under His immediate and total control.

Here's another: "All things were made by Him and for Him." Not only does all creation stem from Jesus, it all leads to Him. Someone has said it is impossible to explain the future or the past, the end or the beginning of the universe or of man, apart from Jesus Christ. Which is precisely why He and He alone is able to meet us at the point of our individual and personal needs. He didn't come into the world as a psychiatrist, or as a statesman, or as a politician, or as an economist. He came into the world to save sinners, to bring people like you and me back into living relationship with our Maker, and He did so by dying on the cross and bearing in His own body and spirit sin's death penalty that you and I deserve.

And one event above all others endorses that truth. And that is His resurrection from the dead. A couple of years ago I was speaking at the University of Capetown. I was interrupted frequently by a very vocal atheist, and at the end of it all I was able to have a very long conversation with him---so long that in fact I had to break it off, because of another engagement—and I said, "Look, I have to go now, but could I ask you one question before I go? What do you think of Jesus Christ?" And this was his reply - remember, this is an atheist - he said, "I don't' know, but I do know this. Everything hinges on whether or not He rose again from the dead." And he was absolutely right. Everything stands or falls on whether Jesus is alive today or is a handful of dust and bone lying somewhere in the suburbs of Jerusalem. That question has been scrutinized and analyzed, dissected by philosophers and historians, and theologians and critics, skeptics and atheists, and agnostics, for two thousand years. And nobody has been able to overturn the biblical evidence.

And I want to come to a close with just one assessment, but a very significant one. Lord Darling, a former Chief Justice of England, assessing the matter in his own very expert way, came to this conclusion: "There exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury would fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true."

Millions of people, over thousands of years, including some of the most brilliant scientists who ever lived, have come to see that that is the case. They've come to put their faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They've come to put their trust in Him for the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. And they've discovered what it means to enjoy a dynamic and life-changing relationship with the One of whom the Bible says that He is the true God and eternal life. Science has not got rid of God. True science points toward God, encourages us to come to know Him and to love Him, and to worship Him and to serve Him, and to live for His glory, and to say with the hymn writer, "To God be the glory, great things He has done." May God graciously help each one of us, as we consider these matters, to come to that conclusion and acknowledge that Jesus is exactly who He claims to be in the words of Scripture: the true God and eternal life.

Let's bow our heads in prayer together.

Our sovereign God and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for this hour when we've been able to turn aside from all the business and busy-ness of the day, and to give our attention to one of those huge questions that occupies the minds of millions of people as they read, as they listen, as they watch on the media, as they are told by so many that science now has the explanation for all of our problems; the answers to all of our needs. Father, we thank You for true science, and for true God-honoring scientists. We thank You for the wonders that technology has brought into our lives. Thank You for its effect in travel, in medicine, in health. In so many areas we're the grateful recipients of all that You've allowed man to discover in Your world, and of how it works, and how it can be used for our good. We pray that we will continually acknowledge this and glorify You in it all. We pray that You'll help what has been said tonight, help us to grasp those things that will help us in turn to interact with others, those who dispute or deny God's existence; those who are willing to put their trust in what man can discover. Father, we pray that You will help us to help them put their trust in the One You have revealed as Your only beloved Son, and the Savior of mankind. Lord, hear us and help us. And the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen.

©2013 First Presbyterian Church.

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