Every Scientist Wants to Believe in God

I would call myself an amateur scientist, if such a thing exists, who loves to read books and watch lectures by great scientific geniuses, like Steven Hawking and Carl Sagan. The complexity, scale, and beauty of the universe engrosses me; pictures of stars, galaxies, supernovas, and nebulas fill me with joy and awe.

Therefore, it mystifies me that many of the brightest scientists, those who spend the most time studying creation, do not believe in God. How is such a thing possible?

In the fourth century, Augustine diagnosed the cause of this problem amongst the scientists of his own day (which should prove this isn’t only a modern issue).

They say many true things about what has been created but they do not seek with true piety for the truth, the architect of creation, and hence they do not find him. Or, if they do find him and know that he is god, they do not glorify him as god; neither are they thankful but become vain in their imagination, and say that they themselves are wise, and attribute to themselves what is yours. [. . .] They measure the heavens and number the stars and weigh the elements, but are forgetful of you ‘who has set in order all things in number, weight and measure.’

We as Christians must agree with Augustine; Steven Hawking, Albert Einstein, and Charles Darwin found and discovered many true things about the universe, for which we are indebted to them. Yet, though God graces them “with the mind and intelligence to investigate these things,” their fallen hearts prevent them from knowing the nature of truth. They speak of science and Scripture as mortal enemies.

Maybe you love science and feel like you cannot reconcile it with your faith. This is one of our grand cultural myths. They appreciate one another; science celebrates the complexity of God’s creation, and the scriptures open our eyes to the true created majesty of the universe.

I think of the intro to Carl Sagan’s famous TV series, Cosmos:

Do you feel the disconnect? Carl Sagan speaks of the “Cosmos” as though it were a glorious, sentient being, beautiful beyond comprehension. He so desperately wants to see the creator in the Cosmos, but instead shrouds him with beautiful language about his invented God, “Cosmos”.

In Isaiah, the angels proclaim, “The whole earth is full of the Lord’s glory!” Every scientist and human sees it, and should believe it, but our hard hearts miss it. We sit in the grandstands of God’s rapturous cosmological spectacle.  Let us revel rightly in a universe filled to the brim with God’s glory.

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About Patrick K. Miller

Currently I am living in Columbia serving at the University of Missouri with Veritas, The Crossing's campus ministry. In December 2010 I graduated from Mizzou with a degree in English Literature. My beautiful wife, Emily, works is an Interior Designer with a local firm. I like espresso, 30 Rock, and books. My favorite old dead guys are John Owen, Augustine and Francis Schaeffer. You should read something by them.
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3 Responses to Every Scientist Wants to Believe in God

  1. sastri krk says:

    with such clips, the word `monotony `evoparates from our dictionary once for all. Gosh, if all this knowledge turns into ambrose-wisdom- in this life span itself ! <<>>

  2. You are not really an amateur scientist. Science is more of a way of thinking than a body of knowledge. Skeptic thinking is at the core. Skeptics need to see solid evidence to conclude. Religious people see what their emotional being dictates them to see. A father? someone that “looks after us” ? a “supreme being that invented the universe for all of us?”…nothing but stories we like to tell ourselves to feel good and protected. Religious thinkers rather believe in fairytales than truth just because it makes them feel good. Skeptics have emotional needs as well, but they don’t confuse their emotional needs with facts at hand. You see the universe with the eyes of religion. If you read Carl Sagan, then you’ve completely missed the point…

    • Patirck K. Miller says:

      Thanks for taking me seriously enough to give a thoughtful reply, Patricia. In the same spirit I’d like to reply to your comment and challenge your assertion that science is at its root skeptical.

      Modern science may appear on the surface skeptical, but scientific thinking is at its most fundamental root is unskeptical. All modern science is based upon the ancient (Aristotelian) belief that we are in fact rational creatures, with the necessary resources to reasonably understand the universe via our five senses and logic. You said that scientists need “solid evidence to conclude” anything. But you would be more right to say, scientists need “need consistent evidence from their five senses to conclude” anything. You see, you have not yet questioned the basic pre-supposition of your scientific view: that we have the capacity to understand and study the universe.

      Let me be a skeptic then. How can we be sure of that your senses and “skeptical” logic do not create an imaginary model of the universe? Because they are consistent? What is consistency anyway? Many invented things are consistent, but not true. The greeks said that the sun was pulled by a chariot, that came every morning. It consistently came, though it was not pulled by a chariot. Isn’t consistency just an invented word to explain logical systems, anyway? Then it’s part of the system, so how can I trust it?

      (Galileo might say, “of course we can study the universe, because we are made in the image of a rational creator!”)

      The truest skeptics are postmoderns. In fact, I would challenge you to read the secular philosopher Jean Lyotard’s “The Postmodern Condition,” in which he skeptically questions the foundational assertions of scientific reasoning, and undermines it by calling it a “language game” that “is a kind of discourse. That defines the set of rules one must accept in order to play. Science plays its own game; it is incapable of legitimating other games. But above all, it is incapable of legitimating itself.”

      Therefore Scientists may be skeptical about those things which do not fall under their scientific purview (such as a non-physical spiritual dimension), but nothing else. Which sounds strangely arrogant, like the Christian or spiritualist who spits on all scientific research as nonsense.

      Luckily though, I’m with you Patricia. There are some things that are foolish to be skeptical about. For instance, I am truly sitting in a chair, constructed by a machine somewhere, built by people, who in fact have souls, although science cannot prove it.

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