Our pursuit of knowledge is rather like climbing a mountain that is continually growing in height. Each generation has to climb higher and higher to get to the summit where they work at the cutting edge of their discipline, in the hope of making their own deposit and contribution to its growth.
But many who arrive at the top are not illimitable thinkers. They fixate on evidence, like the ones who looked out to the horizon shouting “see here, I tell you the earth is flat, how can our eyes be deceiving us!?” Revolutions of any kind do not come from these people. These people toil away, making their observations and then work hard to explain them. Revolutionary thinkers are creative. They think outside the box and imagine what they cannot see.
Einstein was one of these creative thinkers, his theory of general relativity predicted phenomena that scientists still search for today. As Einstein demonstrates, growth mindsets that look beyond available evidence are those who contribute the most to our pursuit of knowledge.
Sitting at the summit of our understanding may seem like a victory until the realisation that we can never be truly sure that we know all there is to know. Therefore the things that reside within our understanding cannot be absolute, the so called ‘facts’ are only what we know now in the present.
I love this quote by Robert Jastrow “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
As a Science teacher working in a faith school, students often talk about God, and frequently many will tell you “I believe in Science not God”. And so begins a conversation about the scope of Science and the nature of faith.
I am not a creationist. I see, as many Christians do, Science as God’s mechanism for creation. With the topic close to my heart, I decided to find out more. Then I came across John C. Lennox who is Professor in Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College.
In his book God’s undertaker, he examines the discoveries of modern science, from physics to biology, and looks at the arguments by some that Atheism is the only possible outcome of theories such as evolution.
Professor Lennox examines all arguments in meticulous detail, making critical analysis of the claims by those such as Richard Dawkins. What you find in this book is that modern science does not disprove the possibility of God at all, but instead shows that the wondrous nature of the universe which sustains life here on planet earth is unlikely to have happened merely by chance alone. He shows in fact that the more we discover about the finely tuned nature of our universe and the complexities of biogenesis of complex molecules like proteins and DNA, that there is a place for the existence of an eternal God.
I particularly liked his dismantling of Dawkins arguments using evidence and clear rationale. Professor Lennox is a Christian, but he is careful only to provide ‘food for thought’ so that the reader is able to make up their own mind about what they believe.
He brilliantly shows that science cannot be used as a reason to not believe in God.
“I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus 3:14 KJB). Here God is telling us He is absolute and therefore exists beyond our own understanding. This is why we must choose to believe. Believing in God is not a battle between faith and reason. It is our mindset that determines their relationship to each other.
I used some of these ideas to put together a display board that would open minds to Science and God fitting together, both perfectly compatible in this modern age.
My hope is that it will stimulate discussion or at least some thought on the topic, rather than a simple acceptance of an idea without questioning its validity.