Where in the World Is God?
Tired of hearing all those "scientific" arguments about how the universe just accidentally "happened" and how we all randomly evolved from pond slime? Don't you ever wonder, Where's God in all this, anyway?
We've been thinking about it too. That's why we took our questions to Fred Heeren, a science writer who believes it's not a battle between God and science, but a discovery of God in science.
Campus Life: Can we really find God in science?
Fred Heeren: Science can't "observe" God. But we can observe a universe that yields evidence of one of two things: It's either God's handiwork, or it got here by accident, without a creator. The evidence has to point one way or the other. And scientific discoveries of this century clearly show that our universe is no accident, that there is an intelligent designer behind it all.
What many non-Christians believe today is based on 19th-century science, which said our universe is self-sustaining and eternal—implying that it was not created. But modern science tells us the opposite—that our universe cannot sustain itself, that it's dependent on something outside of itself, and that our universe had a beginning, as the Bible says.
How else does science point to a creator?
Twentieth-century science has shown us that our universe and nature's laws are very finely tuned, and if that tuning were "off" even a tiny bit, life as we know it would not exist. For example, if the gravitational constant throughout the universe was just tweaked to be slightly stronger or weaker, we'd have no stars, no water, no life.
Do most scientists believe the universe had a beginning?
At the beginning of the 20th century, the answer would have been no. But now, about 98 percent of them do. All of today's evidence shows that the universe is constantly expanding. And if it's expanding, it must have had a beginning.
Even the rate of expansion points to God. The rate is so perfectly fine-tuned that if it was changed at the beginning by one part in 10 to the 60th power—that's a one with 60 zeros after it—the universe would either be in chaos today or it wouldn't exist. If it was expanding that tiny fraction faster, matter couldn't hold together and we'd have no stars and galaxies. If it was expanding that tiny bit slower, it would have collapsed long ago.
Where does the Bible fit into this picture?
Christians believe truth is revealed through God's Word and through his works (see Romans 1:20). In the physical world, God's Word gives us part of the picture, and science gives us another part.
For instance, the Bible says God created the heavens, but it doesn't say specifically how galaxies were formed. But science does tell us something about galaxy formation, and we can—and should—learn from that.
This is where we get into the difference between "proof" and "evidence." Science alone can't prove how galaxies form, because we weren't there when it happened. But we're gathering a lot of evidence by observing galaxies. When we look through a telescope at a distant galaxy, we're actually looking back in time. Light travels about 186,000 miles per second. So, if something is 186,000 miles away, we're seeing it as it appeared one second ago. We see the sun as it appeared eight minutes ago, the star Alpha Centauri as it appeared 4.3 years ago, and the Andromeda galaxy as it appeared 2.3 million years ago.
And farther away than that, we can see galaxies in their "infant" stages — as they actually appeared millions or billions of years ago. But even though we can actually see galaxies forming, we still can't say for sure how—or why—they formed. That's why we go back to God's Word, where we find out it's all done in a way that's very good for us—so there could be stars, there could be energy and there could be life.
So, we often have the "why" questions answered in God's Word, and the "how" questions answered in God's works.