Can a wise person say that there is no Creator? Can a wise person say that there is no science? Or, can a wise person say that both science and a Creator exist?
As I sat in my biology class hearing my professor go on about evolution and the lack of creation, I asked myself those questions. How do I believe in God and love science without that becoming an oxymoron in and of itself?
Science and Epistemology
Scientists often claim to have the ultimate truth in life. If someone is a scientist or a researcher, their words are taken as fact. However, when looking at understanding truth, no one field of study is enough, but instead you need to look at multiple fields of study to attempt to understand what is true and what is untrue. The social sciences, humanities and sciences all have different takes on what part of the truth they focus on. Science focuses on empirical truth and emphasizes the importance of knowledge. This all comes down to epistemology, which is essentially the study of knowledge. Within epistemology, various theories attempt to explain the reality of truth. Paul G. Hiebert in his book, The Missiological Implications of an Epistemological Shift, points towards the theory of critical realists to explain God and science. He says:
It is possible, therefore, to look for complementarity between theology and science, as long as they share the same worldview. This requires a theistic science that accepts the existence of God and seeks to examine the order in the universe he has created.
Science is a field of study just like mathematics or history, of which all point towards God in different ways. When it comes to science, the question is: Where is God in science? God is everywhere in science if you look with your eyes open. Science is filled with miracles. Every pump of our hearts that sends out two thousand gallons per day is a miracle. Every single one of our thirty trillion cells each working properly is a miracle. Every one of the twenty million billion neural information passed on per second is a miracle. These miracles along with the others necessary to create at the beginning of the world show startling depth. These miracles show that there is someone in control. The God of Christianity comes down to save us and cares about every single nerve cell of our human existence.
Many scientists against God would point towards the truth of various theories like evolution. They say that there is no chance for there to be a Creator for multiple reasons. These are the three most common.
First of all, evolutionists say that there is no need for God since populations are constantly evolving and would not have necessarily needed God to create them. Here, the issue is that evolution can be divided into two parts: microevolution and macroevolution. Microevolution says that evolution exists within different populations. For example, dog breeds can evolve into a new kind of breed. Alternatively, macroevolution says that evolution creates new populations, such as the idea that humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor.
Some scientists argue here that since many creatures have similar DNA or structures, like chimpanzees and humans, then macroevolution must be true. However, it is not impossible to understand why when considering God. When looking at these similarities, called analogous characters, we can clearly observe the theme of life. This shows that there is the same Author and the same Creator for everything. God is a God of order whose work has many core themes.
Many of the principles of evolution are really the principles of microevolution and are logical and true. Populations change slightly over time due to environmental pressures. Evidently, God made creatures adaptable. Macroevolution, however, takes microevolution far beyond its limits and tries to explain a world without God. Science cannot prove or disprove God. Since science only deals with empirical truth, it is an epidemiological issue, not absolute truth.
Secondly, many scientists argue that since so many parts of our bodies are “useless” and since many creatures end up being extinct, it is not possible to have a Creator who is careless in this way. They question why there would be “mistakes” found in the work of a perfect Creator.
There are two parts to the answer to this question. The first is that not everything that is considered “junk” is junk. Science still grows daily in learning this objective fact. I love the idea that we should not tear down walls before we know what they are for. We do not know what we do not know. In science, we should not think that parts of ourselves are useless simply because we do not know what the use is. Science is always about growing in understanding. There are many examples of this, but I challenged my professor with the appendix example. For years, scientists said that the appendix was unnecessary only to later find out that it played a unique role in our bodies. Therefore, it is clear that science has to grow more in understanding before dismissing structures as “junk”.
Additionally, there is another part to this answer. One very important part of the history of the world came right after Creation. The Fall. Extinction, imperfection, sickness and death are all now common due to the Fall when sin entered and corrupted the world. Our bodies are imperfect although they were designed perfectly. There may be parts of our bodies that are in a way “useless”. It is very possible that sin reaches that far inside of us. When addressing worldview, this does not matter. The complexity and beauty of Creation cannot be doubted. There is a Creator who indeed created the world beautiful and perfect at one time. The world still holds traces of that as Calvin writes in his Institutes,
His [God’s] first appearance in visible apparel was at the creation of the world, when he displayed those glories which are still conspicuous on every side.
Lastly, one big argument between creationists and evolutionists has to do with the age of the earth. This goes to Genesis 1 and has even become a matter of dispute between different theologians on the way to interpret the passage. No matter if you believe in the young or old Earth theory, I do not think that the age of the earth can prove or disprove God. All of these scientific theories need to continue to be researched and thought about, but none of them can be powerful enough to disprove the existence of a Creator.
Relying on God’s Truth
At the end of the day, it is possible for there to be a God who created the world and for science to still be held as true in many senses. If God and science or anything else seem to be in conflict, why should the latter be chosen?
The real question is who or what is your god? The answer is often science in today’s world. In debating those with a different worldview than us, we do not need to prove God. We need to represent Him. When God is loved for who He is, He will shine a light on the truth in every area of our lives. Slowly but surely He will reveal truth whether it be personal weaknesses, beliefs in evolution or involvement in groups that oppose him.