A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 10.11.2006

    Can the Material Universe Tell Us Something of God?

    Point #1

    I often hear that science--systematic observation of the material universe--can tell us nothing about God. "If you ask science anything about God, you are asking the wrong question." This philosophy reinforces the "impenetrable" wall between faith and and science.

    Some who desire a negative philosophy of God like to lay claim to all proper belief about and use of science. The skeptics are the "scientific" ones. The believers are irrational faith-leapers.

    But are not the skeptics just as philosophical in their metaphysics as a Christian? What science is there that justifies a belief in multiple universes, confidence in human intuition, or the proposition that we must "save the human race from self-destruction?"

    Where is the science that lays out such philosophies and metaphysical beliefs in terms of physics, etc.?

    I don't believe there is any. A belief in multiple universes, the reliability of human intuition as a basis for ethics and moral realism, philosophical naturalism, or the obligation to distribute wealth fairly comes from philosophical conclusions held with confidence. Some would call philosophical conclusions held with confidence the same thing as faith.

    So the philosophical naturalist and the theist are both believers--apart from science.

    Point #2

    Here's something from the Apostle Paul:


    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools...Romans 1:18-22


    Ever since the beginning of the world, God has made manifest--within mankind--knowledge about two of His invisible qualities--and He uses the material universe to do it. The universe can tell us basically two things about God:

    1. He is All-Powerful.
    2. He is Divine (Worthy of Worship).

    That's it. It is not everything, but it is a starting point.

    So I look around the best I can and compare notes with Paul. I listen to others. I see nothing irrational about believing the universe had a beginning. It appears to be the case. It is also sensible to believe that things that begin have a cause. So the universe had a cause. The cause must be immense. The organization within the universe betrays a personal cause. A personal cause this immense would fall into the category "divine."

    I see nothing irrational about this. People may not like it. People may not agree with it.

    But those who disagree with me have no grounds for hyperventilating over my conclusions--my agreement with Paul. Their beginning points are just as philosophical as mine. Just as unscientific as mine.

    Naturalism is just a philosophy.

    I don't see how naturalism is more "rational" than theism--when one strips away emotion, politics, and equivocation in using the word "science."

    I'm all for science, but I disagree with philosophical naturalism.

    Can we not be civil about the disagreements?

    Maybe not.

    I suspect the issue isn't over rationality.

    Our heated debates appear to be fueled by politics.

    Ah! There's the rub.

    2 Comments:

    At 1:11 PM, Blogger Steve Weaver said...

    Good post John

     
    At 2:40 PM, Blogger Andrew Wheatley said...

    The creation not so much tells us that there is a God as it reminds us of what God has already implanted in our minds.

    Science suffers from the problem of superstition. It superstitiously believes in the unity of nature (that the laws of nature are constant) and the principle that we can know things by sense observation (but how does science know that?) It fallaciously argues that it can know universal principles from paritcular observations.

    This is why we should never be concerned when someone accuses the Bible of being scientifically inaccurate. So what? Science must be wrong.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

     

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