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Science or God?

Posted by Walt Thompson on Saturday, 18 May 2013 in Health Smart 1 Comment

This is a copy of an e mail letter I sent to a prominent scientist after reading a blog posted on LinkedIn praising the power and accomplishments of science while poking fun at God, Christians, and other religious people who believed in the Bible.

Dear -----,

I read with interest your post on LinkedIn, (2013). I can tell that you have put a lot of thoughtful effort into this article. I thought it was well written.

I thought it most interesting the way you described the accomplishments of modern science. Truly, we live in an interesting age in which it is easy to be convinced that there is apparently nothing that we humans cannot do, it being only a matter of time before it will be possible. Already in the literature I read in the field of general surgery about research seeking to utilize induced hibernation in place of anesthesia for surgery, and after that the very real possibility that suspended animation may become a reality.  And Yes, Science has done wonders with diagnostic instrumentality, therapeutic options, successful eradication of many various once fatal diseases, etc. (In fact, my father died of Tuberculosis in the days before effective drugs against the bacillus.) I also enjoy reading reports and projections by Dr. Eric J. Topol suggesting that we will soon be doing all of our diagnosing and much of our therapy digitally and in the "clouds." So, I believe I understand how you might easily conclude that we don’t need God anymore.

Since I did not find a place to comment on your blog, ----------, I would like to pose a few questions for you to ponder.

Throughout your blog you emphasized the amazing accomplishment that we humans have been doing, demonstrating potential to do most anything, given sufficient time. But the question I have for you is this. Who came up with the idea of the laws of science by which one is able to do all of these wonders? Have you ever seen a law created by humans that was perfect in every sense--that was always dependable, effective, universally applicable and intricate in the minutest detail? I know of no such human law, anywhere. In fact, were our scientific discoveries and accomplishments dependent upon human laws, we would still be walking or riding bareback. Since your discussion related to science, my question relates to the laws that govern the scientific universe. But there are also other laws that are just as pure and dependable as the laws of science.

It is true that modern science is winning over many Bible believing Christians to its orthodoxy, but science stands mute in the presence of the wisdom and knowledge of God. It is true that science is beginning to copy some of the things God created, but science has no power to give life to the things it “creates.” You say, “Just wait!” But science is not even able to restore life to the dead, and, in fact, cannot explain what happens to us when we die—even though all of us sense instinctively that there is life after death.

Science has discovered nothing equivalent to the breadth and power of self-renouncing, unconditional love. It knows not the source of true happiness, peace, joy, humility, or the meaning of life. It is stymied and unable to resolve the social issues that exist at the roots of many of the world’s problems. It has no solution for selfishness, pride, greed, lust, or any of the other destructive elements that are even now destroying our world. Do you have an answer to these challenges?

Please consider, too, moral law and the concept of justice. Can you imagine a community of people of any size existing without moral law? How long could it exist? We have seen a pretty classic example of anarchy in Somalia, but what if our entire world was lacking a moral standard. Where did this moral standard come from?

You noted that if God is all powerful as Christians claim, then He (she) would have been able to create the world just as well during the space of eons of time as well as instantaneously. True, He could! But there is just one major problem with that suggestion. The Bible describes a scenario in which man was created perfect in every sense, similar to his Creator. The Bible also describes an enemy and a war going on beyond the vision of human beings that succeeded in messing up that perfect state, a state governed by self-renouncing love that guarantees life. Absent that love, life could not long exist. But through the gift of God, that original perfect status could be re-established. Evolution or long periods of time for life to develop is just the opposite of the Bible claim, for by this reckoning, there never was a “fall” from grace, and hence no need for a Savior, and the entire Christian story nothing but myth. .

It is true that the Christian walk is a walk of faith, accepting and believing things that are often beyond the realm of scientific testing, but it is also true the much of science is also a walk of faith, dependent upon theories that are impossible to prove.

As you can see, science and God are not polar opposites, but are in fact just two different perspectives from which to view truth and apply it. A true Christian will also be a true scientist, and a true scientist will soon learn to appreciate the wisdom and knowledge and power of God. In fact, science and Scripture, when each is fully understood, are never contradictory, but merely confirming the other—while acknowledging the fact that there are many things neither the scientist or the follower of God may ever understand.

So my recommendation, ------ to take that old Book off the shelf and dig into it with the intensity with which you study science. But do it on your knees in acknowledgment of the God you may not yet know. You may be surprised how well the two interrelate.

And I have one suggestion, and one it would seem to me, every scientist would quite naturally apply spontaneously. Open your blogs to discussion. Yes, you may need to establish careful guidelines, but a good scientist certainly cannot expect to discover truth if he/she closes the mind to even one source of unexplored truth.

Thanks for listening, -------,


Walter C Thompson, M.D, FACS, ACLM, AOA


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