Are faith and science irreconcilable? This is a question that has come up in my life on hundreds of occasions through the years but of late it has been asked again twice in as many weeks. I think I would like to explore this question, if you don't mind the interruption. What gives me the right to address this question you might ask. I am human, I would answer. Beyond that I am a person of great faith both in an all powerful being and in science. Which qualifies me to speak for both. I am not unique but I am rare, as I believe that the two are not only reconcilable but mutually exclusive.
Those who have of great faith in God or science will tell you "no" the two cannot be reconciled. I personally think that those people err in their vision of what their faith really encompasses.
In the movie Contact with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey the question is addressed rather eloquently, but it is left as a question that the audience must answer for themselves. I bring it up because in the movie Jodie's character is the scientist, Matthew is the man of God, at one point they are discussing God and science, Jodie says something like, I don't believe in a God because there is no proof.
Matthew says "Did you love your dad?"
Matthew, "Prove it."
That is a classic angle to take for both characters for this argument. The scientist demands proof and the Godly person says take it on faith. But can I say anything that is any different from these two arguments? Yes, I think so.
I could argue that the proof of God's existence is in the world all around us, in the plants, in the animals in everything in the sky. But science will tell you that the genetic markers of the plants are so similar that they could all have evolved from the same strain of DNA and the animals will be the same. It has been proven that even a human fetus goes through stages where they have fins and gills like fish and hooved appendages and feathers and other characteristics of other animals species, including tails, before they slough off those things and develop the human characteristics. But again in science this is just the dominant DNA strand taking control similar to the child having brown eyes instead of blue. But the transformation that the fetus goes through is proof of evolution is it not? Thus being proof that there is no God. For those that wish to go no further then, yes there's your answer.
I find it interesting that men of Godly faith generally call God omnipotent, which means that he knows all. Yet if their God knows all then why is it that they continually limit him in their thoughts? For example if God knows it all then surly he would know that after he created the world and set his creation upon it that man would doubt his existence. Why would he leave it to chance in the first place? Why not just come down and talk to us... wait he did that... more than once and then he sent his son... and they killed him. Hmmm... if I were God I would not be thrilled with man's reaction to visiting with a God. Oops did I say "a" God? Yes I did, there are more than one, even the Bible verifies that fact. If you doubt me then read me the first commandment of Moses. "Thou shalt have no other God before me." If there was only one why would Jehovah say that? This is not the only proof of more Gods but that is not today's topic.
Still if God were omnipotent he would know that man would reject him time and time again. Even those that he called his own, Israel have strayed from the path many times. This is documented in the Old Testament. Then according to the Bible (the Christian one) the children of Israel were scattered upon the earth and even they didn't know who they were. Hmmm.... okay I'm not going there. The Bible and all its many manifestations can be very confusing, suffice it to say that I believe that God managed to preserve those words that he had written down and not all of them have been preserved in the book we know as the Bible. Now I've strayed from the topic again. At this rate it may take a week to get through.
Back to God knowing everything... why is there no proof of his existence that science cannot prove away? That's the real question. I ask a counter question, why does science feel the need to prove that God does not exist? Why can science not see that everything that they discover about life actually proves the existence of God? And no, I'm not talking about the God particle, although that does make a compelling discussion. The fact is, all life started somewhere with some kind of cataclysmic event. The faithful believe it was an all powerful being, the scientist have a dozen different theories. But the fact is that none not one of those theories, whether they are of an omnipotent being or a big bang can be proven. Science cannot prove its own theory, that's why it's called a theory and not a fact. Scientists world wide for generations have taken the truth of the theory on faith. Yes, that's right, they take it on faith. They think that they can prove enough facts to say that the big bang or something like it is fact but in truth it remains a theory, not a fact.
God made man stewards of this earth and everything on it. He made us just one step higher than the animals and a few steps higher than the plants, but ultimately all of us have the same basic design. We are made up of cells that have independent energy plants inside of them which burns or utilizes energy, which is never destroyed only converted from one type to another. Eventually everything breaks down to DNA that is alarming similar with only a few things here and there separating a human from an ape or a pig for that matter. Have you never wondered why they use animals in research for things that will ultimately be used on or for humans? It's because of our similarities. So does this simplicity of design prove that science is right or that God simply made us similar? Think on this; A man has an idea for an internal combustion engine. He makes the engine a dozen times, a hundred times, each time the engine improves but at the core it is still the same engine, why? Because a man builds on an idea that works. To change it would mean that it wouldn't work. Apply that to God, God made man in his own image. Do we look like God or just think like him, or both? God had an idea that worked. He made lots of models of that idea and put them all here on this big blue ball. Then he improved a bit on the design and put man here. Then he was done. Of course some would argue that he improved on the design again and made woman next. I could argue that but we would be off topic again. Certain creatures are mentioned by name and I believe that each creature was meant to be an improvement on the next, which would make woman an improvement on man. But not in the sense that many believe. Woman is not smarter, she has one thing that most men do not, an abundance of empathy and a tendency to think with her emotions. I think that this was the improvement in women. It would not be her ability to reproduce, any female animal can do that. But we'll explore Eve in another blog.
God simply found a design that worked and applied it to plants and animals alike. Why does it need to be more complicated? Did God use a big bang to jump start his creation? Why not? Why can't science and faith both be right? Evolution occurs, it's a fact. Did God simply foresee the need for plants and animals to adapt and simply write it into their DNA? Did dinosaurs exist, yes, it's a fact. Does God or the Bible say that they don't? No. What is God mostly concerned with in the Bible? People... he writes about people. Did dinosaurs live with people? There is some evidence that some might have but in general, no they did not. If they did live with people did the dinosaurs fundamentally effect human evolution? No. So then why would God write about dinosaurs? He didn't write about a lot of animals. That doesn't mean that he is denying their existence, only their impact on the story that he wanted to tell.
We'll argue more tomorrow. But until then, to the faithful of both God and science please stop making arguments where there is no argument.
Be good to each other.