God & Galileo Are Science and Faith Compatible? (The Christian Worldview especially as it relates to science) Sean Bird www.covenantchristian.org/bird CYPU conference December 28, 2005 Science vs. Religion Is science diametrically opposed to faith? Are the underpinnings of science essentially at odds with faith? Can one believe God created the universe, and not be considered an anti-science ignoramus? Faith Defined Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. But doesn‘t science only deal with things that we can see? Are the philosophical underpinnings of science diametrically opposed to faith? On the contrary … FAITH is REQUISITE Science depends on 1. Law of Causality 2. Values – Trustworthy reporting of data – Honest analysis 3. Logic & Reason 4. Attainability of Truth Are any of these empirically observable? Historic Presuppositions of Science THE TRUTH: 1.It was not an issue of 1564 – 1642 AD religion vs. scientific evidence. 2. Galileo was not joining Copernicus in dethroning man from his central place in the universe. These views are held by those who have not availed themselves to the available research. It ―swept man out of his proud position as the central figure and end of the universe, and made him a tiny speck on a third-rate planet revolving about a tenth-rate sun drifting in an endless cosmic ocean.‖ Heliocentric Geocentric According to the cosmology of the Middle Ages the center of the universe was actually the center of evil. They placed hell at the true center as in 13C. Dante‘s Inferno. Water Air Earth Fire 384 – 322 BC Martin Luther (1483-1546) 1564 – 1642 AD 1564 – 1642 AD (1509-1564) Protestant Reformation Council of Trent (1545-1563) Copernicus Galileo Newton (1473-1543) (1564-1642) (1642-1727) Kepler – Germany 384 – 322 BC (1571-1630) 384 – 322 BC Common-sense objections to heliocentric system in Galileo’s day 1. Throw object straight up and it would have to land in a different spot – i.e. Coriolis effect demonstrated by Foucault pendulum 1851. 2. Tycho Brahe argued that a cannonball fired one direction ought to travel further 1564 – 1642 AD than one shot the other way. This was answered by Galileo‘s development of an early form of relativity theory. 3. A slight change in position of fixed stars should be seen when we are on opposite sides of the orbit around the sun. – observed in 1838. Also the positive evidence heliocentrism was nil. 384 – 322 BC In fact Copernicus‘ system wasn‘t even all that mathematically simpler. It only reduced the number of epicycles needed to explain planetary orbits from more than eighty to thirty- four. Whatsmore, until Kepler, the heliocentric model didn‘t even predict observed phenomena as well as the Heliocentric geocentric model. Geocentric Indeed, it wasn‘t till after Galileo‘s observations and Kepler‘s Laws of Planetary Motion either system was simply dogmatically asserted. Historic Presuppositions of Science Three main assumptions that had to be in place for science to develop The world is real God is reasonable The universe is ordered Francis Schaeffer noted, ―Christianity believes that God has created an external world that is really there; and because He is a reasonable God, one can expect to be able to find the order of the universe by reason‖ Historic Presuppositions of Science Schaeffer writes about Alfred Whitehead & Robert Oppenheimer, ―As far as I know, neither of these two men were Christians or claimed to be Christians; yet both were straightforward in acknowledging that modern science was born out of the Christian world-view. Whitehead was absolutely right about this. He was not a Christian, but he understood that there would have never been modern science without the biblical view of Christianity.‖ Historic Presuppositions of Science The universe is ordered As I try to discern the origin of that conviction, I seem to find it in a basic notion discovered 2000 or 3000 years ago, and enunciated first in the Western world by the ancient Hebrews: namely that the universe is governed by a single God, and is not the product of the whims of many gods, each governing his own province according to his own laws. This monotheistic view seem to be the historical foundation for modern science. Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Melvin Calvin “The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which He revealed to us in the language of mathematics.” - Kepler (1571-1630) Historic Presuppositions of Science 1. The world is real – If one believes the world is not really there, then there is not an incentive to investigate it. But the Christian doctrine of a real creation provides an incentive (Gen 1:1; Neh 9:6; Rev 4:11). 2. The universe is good – Even with the Fall, this goodness is not eradicated. This higher view of nature led to the Christian belief that the material world is worthy of investigation (Gen 1:31; Ps 111:2,3; 1Tim 4:4). ―There is need of art and 3. Creator/Creature relationship – God is in The early chemist Jean-Baptiste van Helmont more exacting toil transcendent, of science is insisted that the pursuitHe is not created. He is over nature, not the same as order to investigate the it. Thisgiven by God. scientific studies to begin. The monotheism ―a good gift,‖ doctrine enabled motion of the stars, to of the Bible exorcised the gods of nature, freeing humanity to enjoy and investigate without fear. When the world is no longer an object determine their assigned of worship, then—and only then—could it become an object of study stations, to measure (Ps 102:25-27; Acts 14:14; Hab 2:19-20) their intervals, to note 1580-1644 their properties.‖ Historic Presuppositions of Science 4. Rational Universe – So the Christian doctrine of a rational God provides the basis for belief in a rational universe (Gen 8:22; Ps 104:3-33; 148:6; Job 28:26,27; Jer 5:24; 31:35; 33:20; James 1:17) 5. In the Image of God – Christianity teaches Imago Dei humans are created in the image of God. And since God is a rational Being, we are also rational beings. Even with the Fall, the Imago Dei was not eradicated. So the Christian teaching of the Imago Dei provides a basis to believe we can understand the universe (Gen 1:26,27; 9:6; James 3:9). 6. Creation ex nihilo – This phrase means God created without the use of pre-existing materials. So God would not be limited by any ―inherent nature‖ in pre-existing substances in His creating. He could create as He willed… Thus the application of geometry and mathematics to the analysis of physical motion rests on the Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo" (Ps 33:6; John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 11:3) Historic Presuppositions of Science 7. Motives for science – The Christian faith provided motives to pursue scientific research. i) The early scientists believed investigating God‘s creation was a way of glorifying and serving Him. For instance, In one of his notebooks, Kepler broke spontaneously into prayer: „I give you thanks, Creator and God, that you have given me this joy in thy creation, and I rejoice in the works of your hands. See I have now completed the work to which I was called. In it I have used all the talents you have lent to my spirit.‟ ―It is especially in sciences … that we see the wonders of God, his power, wisdom and goodness; … that is why, since my youth, I have given myself to the sciences that I loved.‖ - Leibniz ―The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being…This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God, or Universal Ruler…The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect; but a being, however perfect, without dominion, cannot be said to be Lord God; for we say, my God, your God, the God of Israel, the God of Gods, and Lord of Lords…‖ -Newton (1643-1727) Principia Newton explains God as being personal and sustaining all things by his powerful word for the purpose of His own glory. His dominion is evident in creation. And to see this was Newton‘s purpose for the work that he did. Historic Presuppositions of Science 7. Motives for science – ii) "Christians found Biblical justification for an active use of nature in the creation account (Genesis 1:28), where God gives human beings ‗dominion‘ over the earth. Dominion was understood not as license to exploit nature ruthlessly but as a responsibility to cultivate it, care for it, and harness its forces for human benefit." “Almighty God, who hast created man in Thine own image, and made him a living soul that he might seek after Thee and have dominion over Thy creatures, teach us to study the works of Thy hands that we may subdue the earth to our use, and strengthen our reason for They service; and so to receive They blessed Word, that we may believe Maxwell 1831-1879 on Him whom Thou has sent to give us the knowledge of salvation and the remission of our sins. All which we ask in the name of the same Jesus Christ our Lord” Historic Presuppositions of Science 7. Motives for science – The Christian faith provided motives to pursue scientific research. iii) Christians found significance in Adam‘s naming of the animals. In Hebrew, to name something is to assert mastery over it. Also, a name expresses the essential nature of a thing. So Adam had to carefully analyze the animals to give them appropriate names. Thus Genesis gave divine justification to the study and analysis of the natural world. iv) Science was viewed as one way of alleviating the effects of the Fall (Genesis 3). Thus science was permeated with religious concern for the poor and the sick, with humanitarian effort to alleviate toil and tedium. This last point was particularly revolutionary. The idea of improving one‘s life cannot occur to people trapped in a cyclic, fatalistic, or deterministic view of history. (Ps 19:1-6; 115:16; Ezek 34:4-Matt 25:32-45; Acts 20:35; 1John 3:17,18). Unreasonable Faith of Some Modern Scientists ―The universe was created by chance‖ So is chance a scientific law? Chance is not a thing. It has no being so it has no power. CHANCE CANNOT DO ANYTHING! ―In this day and age we no longer believe in spontaneous generation. We now believe in gradual spontaneous generation.‖ ―One has only to wait. Time itself performs the miracle. The impossible becomes possible; the possible, probable; and the probable, certain. What begins as an impossibility becomes certain through miracle. And the miracle is performed by the causal agent time.‖ Unreasonable Faith of Great Question Some Modern Scientists Time + Chance = Universe Personal Impersonal Which is fundamental? Nothing + Nothing = Everything Foundation of science 1. Law of Causality 2. Values – Trustworthy reporting of data – Honest analysis 3. Logic & Reason 4. Attainability of Truth Obligations and loyalties arise in the context of interpersonal relationships. Morality is covenantal in nature. Conclusion Therefore the ultimate authority is an ―absolute personality‖ Accept the God of the Bible or deny objective morality, objective truth, the rationality of man, and the rational knowability of the universe. Jesus demands all, not some of our loyalty (Dt 6:4ff; Lk 9:23-26). That includes loving him with the mind – which may well entail holding some unpopular views on scholarly matters (1 Tim 6:20) Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!-- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus‖ Eph 4:17-21 (ESV) What We Gather It is quite obvious that the concept and understanding of God presented scientists from the time of the Protestant Reformation on with an unsurpassed motivation to mathematically model the world around them. The idea of God as the Law-Giver helped give weight to the theory that nature was created with a set of its own laws. Job 38:32-33 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? The Reformation restored the Biblical perspective and thereby stimulated an interest in God‘s handiwork. Atheistic scientists today are operating on borrowed capital.