Miracles and Science

Miracles and Science

By its very nature, atheism must appeal to science as a basis for its unbelief, for without science, it would have little intellectual ground for its beliefs. Of course, most knowledgeable people know that science cannot prove God’s existence or disprove it.[1] At best, science can only offer a naturalistic way of looking at things. This raises the question: Are miracles contrary to nature?

Einstein once said there are only two ways of looking at the world—everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle. At first, I did not quite know how to take Einstein’s statement. Then I realized that for Einstein, time no longer mattered. He had found the eternal now through his theory on relativity.

You may say, “Okay, what has this to do with miracles?” It has a lot to do with miracles if miracles are in any way connected to time, which I believe they are. But before pursuing that thought it is important for us to clarify the word miracle.

I have had a number of atheists tell me that the difference between science and religion is that the latter believes in miracles and science does not. However, I do not believe that assertion is true. There are two miracles which both science and religion claim to have a belief in, though they may not call them miracles. It is the creation of the universe and the beginning of life.  I say this because these events happened one time; they fall outside of natural law and are beyond a reasonable probability. Remember, to be consistent atheists must conclude that nature and its laws did not exist at the time of the creation, since they were specifically created by “the big bang,” just like the rest of nature.

Just by the observation of nature no one can explain how nothing could be turned into something; and no one can explain how something could turn into something else without a miracle. Of course,  there are many who believe that they have explained these extraordinary changes, but we need to remember that the explanation is not the observation, and the explanation is not the evidence.

Authentic science is based on the scientific method, which states that in order for a phenomenon, occurrence or event to be a true scientific fact, it must be observed and one must be able to reproduce it.  There also must be a means, by which at least an attempt can be made to falsify it.   Neither the creation of the universe, nor the creation of life was observed by anyone living today or in recorded history.  These events cannot  be reproduced either, which puts them outside the arena of science and into the sphere of speculative philosophy or religion. It all comes back to the metaphysical or religious question of why there is something instead of nothing. [2]

 

Now here’s the astonishing parallel. Both religion and science believe in the miracles of creation (something from nothing) and in the evolution of life (something turning into something else).[3] The only difference is the time factor. One believes in fast miracles (religion) and the other in slow miracles (science). Either fast or slow, both of the above fits into the category of the miraculous.  I know that religion does not like slow miracles, and science does not like fast miracles, but remember what Einstein taught us?  Time is relative.

To us humans we have an awareness of time, but it means nothing to the deity, unless when dealing with humans. For that matter, time also means nothing to the animals. There is no evidence that animals are conscious of time.

By now I am sure that those who believe in scientism[4] are about to blow their tops.  Well, let it blow; it may help you to get into your right mind. Your right mind is the mind that can discern the difference between facts and the interpretation of facts, between the data and the explanation and the difference between science and philosophy. Blowing your top may help you get rid of your fuzzy thinking about existence.

So, what have we learned? We have learned that when talking about a metaphysical phenomenon, occurrence or event like the creation of something out of nothing; i.e., things relating to the transcendent or to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses, both science and religion appear to believe in some of the same supernatural events. One of those events is the creation of something out of nothing, a phenomenon which is completely outside of nature and space-time as we know it.  However, we find both religion and science telling us  that something changed into something else. Within religion, it is God turning the dust of the ground (star dust) into life, and within science, we see a similar idea, but a lot slower (evolution).

Some of you science buffs are probably saying, “Wait a minute. The big bang theory, science’s creation story, is backed up with facts.”  Well, if there is evidence for the big bang theory, the same facts could prove that God created the universe ex-nihilo, out of nothing. The only difference is that instead of referring to God, scientists call the Alpha a ‘singularity which is a convoluted description of the infinite, the nothing or unknown. No matter what you call it, it sure looks like a miracle. It is something coming from nothing. By far, this must be the greatest miracle of all. It even tops one being resurrected from the dead, which is another example of something changing into something else, and nothing becoming something.

When someone tells me they cannot believe in miracles  but at the same time tell me they can believe in the big bang theory and evolution, I have to wonder if they either misunderstand miracles or the big bang theory and evolution. The statistical probability of the big bang and life coming from non life and then evolving undirected to its apex in mankind is just unbelievable. Yet, many believe in both. Why is it so hard for these folks to believe that God did it? Could it be the conditioning of an atheistic and secular culture?

I know nature has its laws and that some believe they are never suspended or superseded by an outside source. However, from my perspective, a miracle is not the deity suspending natural law, but simply speeding nature up or slowing her down to serve His purposes. So, a phenomenon, occurrence or event in my thinking is a miracle, whether it happens swiftly or slowly. When Jesus turned water into wine He was simply speeding up what nature does with the help of man s every season, in turning grapes into wine.

When Jesus healed people, it was always  instant and complete demonstrating  His power to speed up the natural healing process. When he calmed the storm he was not overriding nature’s laws, but simply speeding them up. Storms always pass given enough time. However, sometimes God gives them a little nudge. I think some scientists might call this the ‘butterfly effect’.

Nature never changes its mind on its own, for it is quite dumb. In fact, it is mindless. It is totally controlled by cause and effect in itself. It needs intelligence outside of itself to speed it up sometimes, as when Jesus turned water into wine. I know a lot of people have a problem with this, but it happens on a small scale every time humans exercise their will. When I hit a cue ball on a billiards table, I have set into motion the natural law of cause and effect.  The laws of nature take over until one of my friends reaches down and quickly removes one of the balls or the cue ball. My friend’s action, which came from his will (mind) has changed the game.

In essence, the game was started by a will and it was changed by a will every time the players interacted with the billiard balls. The game did not create itself nor did it start the game all by itself.  The game is the effect not the ultimate cause, nor is the game the maker of the rules for the game.  If the game has rules, there must be a rule maker and one of the rules of the game is that the creator of the game can speed it up or slow it down or for that matter, do anything he wants thereby changing the rules of the game or the game itself. Of course, the expression speed up or slow down are completely irrelevant to the Uncreated One who is outside space-time. However, He does seem to respect our finiteness and accommodates the failure of our language to communicate His reality, i.e., His game.

For those wishing to pursue the subject of miracles, I would suggest that you begin with C.S. Lewis’s book on miracles and The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. Both books will give you plenty to think about.

[1] The US National Academy of Sciences has gone on record with the following statement: “Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.” Taken from “Who made God? A Searching for a Theory of Everything by Fay Weldon.

[2] Note: The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. . The ultimate question is why they go at all; and anybody who really understands that question will know that it always has been and always will be a religious question; or at any rate a philosophical or metaphysical question.

[3] Religious people need to remember that God did not make man out of nothing. He formed him out of the dust of the earth or you could say star dust. In this God changed man from one thing to something else. How He did it is debatable for no one was there watching. It could have been fast or slow.

[4] Scientism is an expression used by some to designate a group of people who have made science into a religion.

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