On Science and Faith
On this page you’ll find a compilation of some thoughts, recommendations, and resources meant not to inform you of how to think but to equip you with the tools to help you reason through the age-old question of where and how science and faith meet…and what happens when they do. Below you’ll find:
Some general thoughts written by me
A model conversation on the subjects
Books on the subject
Resources you can check out online
Science, Faith, and Us
If you’re on this page, then chances are good you know me as a historical romance author, and quite probably that you’ve read The Nature of a Lady, which has a heroine who is a naturalist, studying the nature all around her. If you’ve read many of my books, then you’ll know I’ve also featured chemists, nurses, mathematicians, physicians, mechanical geniuses, and more. I’m no scientist—but my liberal arts education did include three years of scientific study and four years of math, covering everything from biology to the beginnings of quantum physics, from geometry to astronomy to calculus. More than learning each fact, we were taught how to engage with scientific discovery, how to value it for what it has right and how to ask questions about what doesn’t seem right in a way that will lead to the next discovery. It’s a way of thinking that I’ve attempted to maintain in the years since my college education came to an end, because it’s one of the most valuable things I’ve ever learned.
As a homeschool mom, I’ve come across quite a lot of debate about how science and faith interact. I’ve heard other mothers get angry when an old-universe timeline was assumed in a class taught to our local kids—so angry that the facilitators issued an official apology and assured us that this teacher would not be asked back. I’ve heard moms talk about protecting their kids from harmful philosophies like evolution. I’ve heard, over and over, that a biblical worldview must be protected.
And I’ve recoiled from this. Because my education has taught me that the truth doesn’t need to be protected. The truth simply is. And anything else discovered cannot contradict it. It can only challenge our understanding of it. Philosophies may be right or wrong, but learning about them isn’t harmful—so long as one’s foundation is firm.
I operate from the understanding that God is Creator, God is omniscient, God is omnipotent, God is omnipresent. God existed before and outside of time. He reveals himself through the Bible, but also through the world. The Bible, however, was never intended to be a scientific treatise—it was meant to show us how God interacts with man. This means using words. Meeting us where we are. In the ancient days, that didn’t include an understanding of quanta or the speed of light or astrophysics. This is not a failure of the Bible. And it certainly isn’t a failure of God. But trying to put both God and the Bible into a box of my own understanding…that is a failure. That leads to contradictions and often ridiculousness, as we try to cling to understanding that is clearly faulty.
I approach both science and faith from the standpoint that neither can ever disprove the other. Faith tells me that God is, that God has done these things. Science can help me understand how. And if science shows me something that doesn seem to fit with the Bible, then it’s not the science or the Bible that’s wrong—it’s my reading of it. I am the weak link here. I am the one who is limited, who is finite, who is biased. God certainly isn’t—and He doesn’t need my ignorant defenses, either. He does not need me to bend over backwards, trying to dismiss new discoveries or rewrite them to jive with passages from the Bible. God did these things however He did them. He doesn’t have to explain himself to me. And He doesn’t have to apologize either. What if the days in Genesis are literal? What if they’re metaphorical? This does not change my faith, either way. What if He used a Big Bang to get the universe started? What if He spoke it into being exactly as we see it now? What if He chose to use evolution to move the animals from sea to land to air? What if He created each species distinctly, never to cross? The answers can be whatever they are—because whatever it is, that’s how God did it, and that makes it good. Because He is a God without limits, and He is our definition of good.
Science as we know it today actually got its start because godly men believed that our Lord is a God of order—that He created a universe that is not chaotic, but which has rules. It was this belief, this understanding, that inspired them to start looking for that order and trying to understand those rules. But of course, over the centuries, lines were drawn. There came those who tried to use science to disprove God. And there were those who rejected science because discoveries didn’t line up with their understanding. This is a tale as old as time. But it doesn’t need to be our story. We can instead say, “My faith will not be defined by my own limited understanding.” We can say, “I will not put God in the box of what I can comprehend.” We can say, “Nothing we can learn can ever actually contradict His truth.”
I’m not a scientist. And I’m not a theologian. But I’m a thinker. And more, I’m someone who wants my kids to understand that they can seek, they can learn, they can discover…and that whatever they find through observation, it’s okay. Because it’s part of the world God made, and maybe He did it this way…or that way…or some other way. Believing one method over another does not negate one’s faith. God is bigger than our understanding, bigger than our doubts, bigger than our questions. He created a beautiful, orderly, complicated world.
And trying to figure out how, trying to understand His methods…well. That can be a form of worship. As long as we remember that He is at the heart of it all.
A Model Conversation on Science & Faith
David J. White
Roseanna M. White
A Quick Introduction
Too often, I hear people of faith and people of science verbally duking it out. Too often, each side views the other as an enemy and thinks they have to disprove whatever the other is saying. But this is not ever how minds are opened and changed. So instead, I wanted to facilitate a deep, thorough conversation. This is not a debate. We’re not trying to convince anyone of anything. We’re simply trying to model what a conversation on these important topics might look like when done well. Respectful, thoughtful, and still fun.
Each of the four of us participating in this written conversation, which was held via email over the course of a month or so, are Christian writers. We don’t agree on everything, but we do agree on a lot. Even so, we focus on different aspects of the questions. I hope that you enjoy reading the conversation!
To help you follow along the conversation, each “speaker” is color coded. I am RMW, written in purple. Randy is RI, written in red. David is DJW, written in green. And Doug is DP, written in blue.
I’m Roseanna. I’m not a scientist nor do I work directly in any scientific field; but I am a homeschooling mom, so I’ve had the interesting challenge of trying to choose curriculum for my kids, and hence evaluating each one, in recent years.
I’m also a graduate of St. John’s College (“The Great Books School”) where for four years we do nothing but read and have conversation-based classes. We end up with the equivalent of a minor in physics and a major in the history of math and science and read original texts (well, translated into English) from Aristotle to Einstein, with the expected stops at Lavoisier, Maxwell, Faraday, Freud, Darwin, Newton, and dozens of others in between. So yes, I’ve learned plenty of science. But more, my education taught me how to evaluate and ask questions that push understanding forward. So while not a scientist, I like to think I can hold my own in conversations, as long as they’re more philosophical than technical.
David and I regularly have great conversations about such things, usually around our kids so they can learn this fine art of debate too. 😉 Hence why I invited him into this one. We’re already used to challenging each other and still getting along, LOL.
Go ahead and tell us about yourselves, and then I’ll ask what St. John’s calls “the opening question” to get us really started.
I guess I’ll introduce myself here. I’m Randy Ingermanson and I was raised Seventh Day Adventist, which is an extremely conservative church that has pushed a young-earth creationist agenda for a long time. I went to an SDA college and majored in math and physics.
Of course math is not controversial, but physics is. When I started college, the Big Bang model had been pretty strongly established for more than a decade, and of course all my physics professors were familiar with it. That put them in a fairly tight spot, especially since there’s a class all physics majors at my college were required to take, called “Issues in Science and Religion.” So what could they do? They were actually pretty clever about it. They simply talked about the evidence in favor of the idea that the universe is old, and then let the students decide for themselves. I was raised to believe that truth matters, and my decision was that the universe is old and there must be some way to reconcile that with the Bible.
Since then, I think I’ve reconciled it pretty well in my own mind. Whether that will make other people happy is not something I worry about. I just do what my professors did. I lay out the evidence and then let people decide for themselves. If people can look at the evidence for an old universe and still decide it’s young, then I’m OK with that. What I’m not OK with is when people falsify the evidence.
After I graduated from an SDA college, I went straight to UC Berkeley and got my PhD in theoretical physics. At the end of that time, my wife and I left the SDA church because we just didn’t believe it anymore. I would classify myself as a Protestant. It’s hard to get more specific than that.
As for what fish I’m currently frying, I’m working on a series of novels about Jesus, and I’ve discovered that raises all kinds of gnarly issues: the incarnation, angels, demons, the hypostatic union, Christology, Satan, miracles, the “Son of Man” question, what Jesus taught about the coming Judgement, the atonement, and the resurrection. Not to mention that we don’t have a good chronology of the gospels. Some of these fish I think I’ve now got fried, more or less. Some I am in the process of frying. Some may never get fried. That’s the nature of the beast.
Doug Powell here. I have a BFA in Graphic Design, and an MA in Christian Apologetics, which means I am not a scientist. I did take surveys of different relevant fields as part of the apologetics degree, but they were overviews and philosophically focused rather than technical. In my apologetics books, I have had to act as reporter and popularizer of some scientific concepts, but that is the extent of my science expertise. My dad is a physics PhD, however, and worked at MIT, CalTech, Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, Oklahoma State, and Arizona State, so I grew up around scientists. Interestingly, although many were not Christians, none to my knowledge were atheists. They all held some religious belief. The atheists I have known are all from the world of arts. My mom is a concert flautist, and I was a recording artist for about 15 years. Believers are much harder to come by in that realm.
In my view, most of the hot-button issues in the faith/science dichotomy are of no interest to me. I don’t want to get to far into specifics, but just so you know my positions:
- I believe in an historical Adam. Scripture leaves no option that I can see.
- I believe Genesis 1 and 2 reveal agency, not process. The emphasis is on WHO, not HOW.
- I believe in Old Earth. If I’m wrong, nothing in my theology changes. But the science is compelling and Young Earth is clearly driven by theological commitments, not data.
- I do not believe in evolution. God could certainly have used it as a process, but I believe it lacks evidence in at least three major areas.
- I believe none of the above are essentials for a true Christian faith. CS Lewis held to evolution. Some of my favorite theologians are Found Earth. God has blessed mankind with a variety of thought, all of which point us to His revelation as the standard and grounding of all knowledge and faith.
Roseanna and I went to the same college and had largely the same experiences there. But I think we can all agree that you can study the same things and have different things make their mark with us. We both share the love of the philosophical side of science and its history, but one of the things I came away with was a profound respect for the small details that occasionally come out of these experiences.
The example I always use here is in reading Einstein’s paper on Relativity (forgive me as I forget which one) the thing I was struck by was that, while a great many things were shown to be relative to other things, the mathematics clearly showed that “a” (acceleration) was a constant. I understood this as a concept, but seeing it clearly in the math proved to me that some things (maybe a great many things if looked after properly) could be demonstrated as absolutely true (at least within certain defined confines).
I think a lot of people today don’t accept that there is real truth to be found out there. Of course, I’m not just thinking of moral relativism but even scientific relativism—I can’t count the times I’ve heard non-scientists claim that a truth is only that today and that we’ll discover something new tomorrow. While with some things that’s certainly true—the scientific method depends on it—there are other things which do become knowable as truth.
As my best friend is a virologist at NIH, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time lately thinking through the scientific, moral, and ethical considerations around vaccines lately (a hot button topic of a different kind). A hazard of being friends with a Christian (and Catholic to boot) medical researcher is that bioethics is a topic that can’t be avoided.
I think it’s good to realize reading each of your intros that we seem to have quite a bit in common when it comes to philosophy. It seems that while backgrounds might be different, we have all come to a similar place of respect of reason.
I’m similarly thrilled that we all seem to have no real interest in winning arguments about topics in which many are so deeply entrenched.
I agree that I think we have a lot in common philosophically. This should be fun! So I’ll get us started with our first question.
Throughout history and into today, we see examples of science and religion being at odds. Do you think there is a dispute between them? If so, where…and if not, then where and why do people create them? What do you think is at the root of the perceived differences?
On the question of whether science and religion are at odds: they must be in some sense, because religion is at odds with religion and science is at odds with science. (I’ve never seen any theological system that was fully consistent, nor any scientific system. There are always inconsistencies, and those are the interesting parts. As an example, in physics, we know that quantum mechanics is correct to something like 13 decimal places, and Einstein’s theory of general relativity explains the universe and keeps getting confirmed every time we can test it. So these are the two great theories of the twentieth century, and they both “must be true.” But they are not mutually consistent. There is something deeply wrong, and we don’t know what it is exactly.)
Given that both religion and science are at odds with themselves, it’s not possible for science to be in agreement with religion.
I wonder if inconsistency means “at odds”? It seems to me, more that, as you mentioned in your previous email about things we don’t know vis a vis Jesus and the Gospels, that our models are simply incomplete.
Would a “complete” model (whatever that might look like) in science ever be inconsistent with faith or vice versa? I’d hope not.
Perhaps, then, it’s human understanding’s incompleteness that’s the source of the oddity here. People are forever at odds with themselves and each other. Is it possible for science to be the same? Perhaps if we mean “Truth,” then no. But people are involved in science. It’s an interesting question to me of how, though. I feel that science offers us the ability to glimpse truths outside of ourselves somehow, giving us moments of seemingly “divine” revelation (to mix our subjects).
Does faith operate similarly? Are we exploring things that are outside ourselves in order to pull back the curtain on truth, albeit, perhaps, in a different way? Or is there “more of man” in faith and religion?
I think it’s important to state that inconsistencies in science are qualitatively different than inconsistencies in religion. Inconsistencies in science are indications either that the data about the world is incomplete or our interpretation of that data is flawed. The world being studied has no inconsistencies. The same is not true for religion. To be true, a religion/worldview must describe the world as it really is, account for our experience, and contain no internal contradictions. If the god/God at the center of the worldview is false, then a religion might be able to account for a lot of things, but not all. It fails because it is false at its core. In other words, the object being articulated and studied is itself flawed, and therefore all that follows is flawed. That is different from science.
The exception is Christianity, which is the only true religion, the only one that meets the criteria. In the case of the God of the Bible, He has revealed himself. Like the world He created, His revelation is unflawed and can be known. In fact, both area revelations: general (creation) and special (scripture). As such, by their very nature, science and religion are not at odds. To say they are is to say God is contradicting himself. This is at the very core of why early Christians coopted the liberal arts approach to education, because to learn about the world IS to learn about God. And to know about God is to make you a better person. It is a virtue-based system. When your kids ask, “Why do I have to learn this? I’m never gonna use it!” The answer is that learning about the world is learning about God, and that makes you a better person.
So what’s the problem? Two things: finitude and fallenness. We are finite beings, and by nature are limited in what we can know and do. Collectively we can know and do more, and we see the benefits directly in peer reviews and repeatable experiments and other good science practices. Then there is fallenness, what theologians call the noetic effects of sin. Our fallen nature corrupts every part of us, including our ability to always think correctly. The noetic effect does not mean we cannot know truth or rightly reason, only that we cannot do so all the time. We have blind spots, make mistakes, and are always learning (hopefully) from our error. The ultimate reason why there is a perceived difficulty in reconciling Christianity and Science is because of the enlightenment/modernist mentality that attempted to remove God from the equation entirely. So many astounding advances in understanding and technology led to thinking that overestimated human ability and put too much trust in themselves. With so much advance, there was an optimism that human beings could solve just about anything at some point in the future. Although there was undoubtedly much cause for optimism, the basic problem of human beings never changed—that of sin. God cannot be taken out of the equation, but the attempt to do so created the perceived dichotomy. Plus, pitting God against science sells books and makes good TV. But it’s not good thinking.
To be fair, I do believe in the naturalistic method. It is lazy to plug God-did-it into gaps in understanding. But if the data leads to recognizing the actions of transcendent person (as in the Big Bang), then that should not be discounted out of hand (though the nature of that person-God is not within scientific purview).
As for inconsistencies in Christian theology, they, too, are human articulations and are therefore subject to finitude and fallenness. Most of the time the inconsistencies come from commitments to certain doctrines emphasized over others. But a disagreement about the truth does not mean there is no truth to know. Also, God frequently displays variety in unity. We are to be gracious to each other, tolerant, peacemakers. How are we to cultivate grace or tolerance unless there is some disagreement to be gracious to and tolerant of? In other words, it is possible that God, in His sovereignty, allows the disagreements in order to teach and shape His people. Does that mean we shouldn’t strive for a relentlessly biblical system? Absolutely not! But it does mean God’s purpose can be seen even in our flawed understandings of Him. Having said that, I wandered through a number of Protestant denomination, dissatisfied at holes in the theologies until I came across the Westminster Confession of Faith. I’ve kicked those tires hard and often, but they just won’t give.
I think we all have general agreement on the question of how science and faith should and do interact ideally. But it’s also worth noting that a lot of people on each side disagree. We see scientists who claim (as Doug mentioned) that science is all they need, it answers all the questions, and it doesn’t demand or require faith in God. And then on the other side we have a lot of people of faith who, when they learn of a scientific claim that doesn’t jive with their understanding of how God does things, will claim the science is faulty. I’ve seen tracts given out by churches that are dedicated solely to listing the ways that science “failed” and “the Bible was right” (which are full of historical inaccuracies, hilariously, ascribing the science views that the Church actually taught). We can now just laugh and shake our heads at how the Church first greeted theories of a solar system with the sun at the center rather than Earth, or the theory of “outer space” that doesn’t align with the ancient understanding of a “firmament.” But they are examples, aren’t they, of how we as humans tend to react? We assign an association between the sacred and our understanding of certain principles and then refuse to budge on that understanding, afraid doing so will rock the foundations of our faith.
There’s a quote from The Language of God by Francis Collins that I love…I don’t have the exact quote handy (David, maybe you can find it faster than I can), but it’s something along the lines of “God doesn’t need us to defend Him.” He created our universe as He saw fit. As we try to understand it, as we make new discoveries, it doesn’t actually change the facts—just our perception of them. So it’s a little silly of us to think we have to bend over backwards to explain away facts we don’t like. They simply are the way God did it. We don’t have to defend that, and He certainly doesn’t need to apologize to us for it.
Where do you most often see people, whether scientists or academics or laypeople in the church, creating problems between the two sides? And then my next question… are there subjects or questions that rightly belong to one more than the other? Where do you think that line is or should be?
Since you bring up Dr. Francis Collins and ask to see if I can find a quote similar to the one you mentioned I’d admit that immediately I can’t. Not to say it isn’t there—indeed that seems to be one of the thrusts of his argument well summed up. I’ll add as evidence:
“Nonliteral [interpretations of Genesis 1 and 2] since Darwin are somewhat suspect in some circles, since they could be accused of ‘caving in’ to evolutionary theory, and perhaps thereby compromising the truth of the sacred text.”
“…the idea that scientific revelations would represent an enemy [to God] in that pursuit is ill conceived…Would He be diminished or threatened by what we are discovering about His creation?”
“…modern observers must wonder why the church was so utterly threatened by the idea of the earth revolving around the sun. To be sure, certain verses from scripture seemed to support the church’s position.”
“…along the way, considerable damage was done—and more to faith than to science.”
and quoting Augustine:
“Now it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show a vast ignorance in a Christian and and laugh to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but the people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil…”
Those aren’t the particular quotes I remember you reading to me when you read the book, but they do certainly get to the heart of it too. That’s something that I’ve never had the gumption to say to people, ha ha, but which I can’t help thinking sometimes—that we’re damaging our witness to the world by holding fast to interpretations that no one outside of faith would grant. We’re making ourselves look uneducated and “stupid.” I didn’t realize that it was something even Augustine was battling in his day! But it’s such an important thing. We don’t want to be of the world…but we also don’t want to be the ones claiming the earth is flat when we have clear evidence saying it isn’t. We don’t want non-believers to steer clear of faith because they think they can’t be both thinkers and believers. It’s utterly untrue—but sadly presented as the way of things sometimes. In our own church denomination, a geologist was told outright that he couldn’t both be a member of the faith and believe the earth was more than 6,000 years old. So he left the church. Which makes my heart so sad. We as believers should be the first to look for the amazing ways God may work, not the last.
So to move on just a bit: Do you think there are certain subjects and concepts that “belong” to faith or to science?
This is a hard question.
I want to say that science and its methods should be able to apply to any subject. But I’m just not sure that’s true.
For a scientist to approach certain subjects, he’s required to apply a certain amount of metaphysics (in an Aristotelian sense), I think, at very least.
I also think it’s possible to think that you can apply science to explain everything. Human identity, or consciousness, or individuality, or whatever you want to call that thing that makes us, us, that lives inside our heads and through our senses. We recognize that there’s something about us that’s beyond the body.
I know that a great many vocal biologists would argue that this isn’t the case and would say that this sense is a product of evolution. Perhaps in some sense they’re right.
But science is really good at understanding the mechanizations of things. We understand (to a greater or lesser degree) physics and chemistry that governs living things. There are things we don’t understand here, but it’s a mistake to say that we can’t. As Doug mentioned above, I require no “god in my gaps.”
But to say that because we can, in theory, explain everything we come across and therefore everything can be explained by science seems like a flawed conclusion. It ignores the very question of “Is there something that requires faith to be understood?”
Sin, for example, we understand fundamentally as something “bad.” Bad for our health, bad for society, etc. But it’s inescapable that we also recognize as sin (or at least crime or something to be avoided) things that don’t contain any harm at all. I’ll borrow an example from Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind, where he discusses groups saying it’s wrong to use the American flag to clean a toilet (or something like that—I don’t remember the exact details). People said this would be wrong even though it caused no harm and even if it wasn’t ever viewed by another human being. When you took every explanation the test subjects were given for explaining away why they said it was “wrong,” it didn’t lessen the perception that it was wrong.
Or to take another example, the Commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. No harm can come from someone breaking this law. You can argue that it’s better to take a day off a week for our health, but that’s not the reason given in the Commandment. Breaking this “rule” seems like it’s fundamentally different than murdering or stealing or even making idols (which could have a negative impact on their society objectively), and yet it’s recognized as one of the most important rules in the Judeo Christian World.
And, sin, in general, is something that Christian culture in particular, but I think also most cultures historically, have taken a lot of effort to give prescriptions for how to avoid and cleanse. Why would we do that? Sure, murder, in general, is bad, but we spend a lot of time thinking about times where it could have been a net benefit (i.e. would the world be better if someone had murdered Hitler?).
Moreover writers like Machiavelli have spent great efforts to explain why sin and crime aren’t concerns worthy of the enlightened. So why do they persist?
Science can make guesses and theories about this, but there are answers to the questions that are, I think, outside its reach. And the ones it would permit often seem completely unsatisfactory to most. And, most damaging to the thought that science can answer the question of morality—its theories are entirely untestable to a certainty. You can never conclusively or even significantly prove the reasons for something like the kind of morality might have evolved.
In this case, psychologists and sociologists have told good stories about why, but (it seems to me at least) they remain outside the true purview of true science.
One the question: Do you think there are certain subjects and concepts the belong to faith or to science. I believe the answer is yes. Science is not the only discipline for acquiring knowledge. Consider the claim that science IS the only way to acquire knowledge. That claim itself is not arrived at scientifically. It is a philosophical claim, not a scientific one. Philosophy is another disciple for acquiring knowledge. Theology is another, and there are more. Each area has points of contact or overlap with others, but each has its own territory as well.
In the case of science, it is a study of natural process, how the universe works. And that understanding provides ways of predicting what will naturally occur given specific conditions. What it does not and cannot account for would be the acts of a free agent, a person. Think about a car. Science can tell us about the components of the car, how they work together, and if a particular car is functional. But that doesn’t mean the car will go anywhere. The scientific knowledge reveals things that are necessary for the car to run. However, it does not reveal what is sufficient for it to run. What scientific study of the car cannot account for is the action of a free agent, someone to choose to get in the car and drive it. The driver needs a functional car, the functional car needs a driver. The car is, of course, analogous to the universe. And the driver is analogous to God. The manifold exhaust doesn’t indicate anything about the intentions of the driver (unless the driver is the designer, in which case is does impart limited knowledge).
This answer is really recast in my mind as science and theology, not science and faith. The reason is because the biblical word for faith in the New Testament is pistis, which has different connotations than our contemporary understanding. In our culture, faith is synonymous with wishing, hoping, and believing. But the definition of pistis is “firm persuasion and conviction.” What do you need to be persuaded? Reasons! What do you need to be convicted? Evidence! That means that by definition, biblical faith requires reasons and evidence. The content of the faith is what is important, not faith itself. Lots of people have faith in falsehoods. The goal is to have faith in content that is reasoned and evidenced.
The most important point of contact between faith and science is that the necessary precondition for scientific inquiry is the existence of the God of the Bible. God is the foundation of all knowledge. That means that he didn’t just create everything that can be known, but all the ways by which we can know it. The tools of intelligibility are not neutral, autonomous constructs. They have the same source as the things they evaluate. The laws of logic, for example, are simply assumed by scientists (and by all people, actually). They are intuitive and unquestioned. But think about this: they cannot be anything other than what they are, they cannot change, and they can’t ever have not existed. If any one of those three characteristics did not exist, we could not have indelibility. Now consider the implications of such a thing: they are immaterial, immutable, and (because the universe had a beginning and they cannot have come into existence with the universe) they are transcendent. Most importantly, they are personal. These are laws that govern thought, and only persons think. That means the laws of logic come from a transcendent, personal, immutable, immaterial being. That is the classic definition of God. And that means to logically examine nature and think critically about how it works requires the existence of God—EVEN IF YOU ARE AN ATHEIST! But that’s not all! The same argument applies to the uniformity of nature, a necessary precondition for science. God’s upholding of the universe, his order, is what allows for induction to take place, which is integral to the scientific method. So again we see agency and process complement each other.
Excellent thoughts, everyone! I think we can sum it up by saying that faith/theology and science are all outcroppings of the same thing: seeking to understand the truth about our world and its Creator. Ideally, they should work together in perfect harmony. Because of our imperfect minds and biases, too often they do not. Our role as Christians should never be to disprove theories necessarily, but to be looking always to the highest Truth and seeking what the Giver of that Truth would show us. When we do that, when we seek to understand Him and His world, then we’re actively engaging in worship of Him.
Thank you all again for joining in this conversation!
Below you’ll find books that may be helpful for further reading; some of them deal outright with questions brought up here, and others were mentioned in the conversation peripherally. Some I’m including simply because people have ideas about what they say but have never actually read them for themselves. Personally, I usually find that when I read the original texts, it vastly changes my understanding of what was actually intended.