Why can’t evangelical scientists agree?

The camera moves gracefully through a brilliant cloud of stars. Classical music swells, providing a majestic audio carpet for the journey. The voice of the astronomer purrs reverently, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”

Carl Sagan’s vision of an eternal material universe wins a large audience, but does not correspond to the current scientific picture of a universe that began, will end, and likely not recur. Sagan’s is a vision more religious than scientific.

Is There Room For God In The Scientific Enterprise?

“There is a kind of religion in science,” declares astrophysicist and self-styled agnostic Robert Jastrow. “It is the religion of a person who believes there is order and harmony in the universe. Every event can be explained in a rational way as the product of some previous event; every effect must have its cause; there is no First Cause.”

Christians can surely account for belief in an orderly universe, but presupposing an eternal machine of cause and effect cut off from God is clearly opposed to belief in Creation. Jastrow’s point, however, is that twentieth-century science has shaken faith in an eternal mechanism. “The religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning in which known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover.”

“Here is evidence,” says astronomer Allan Sandage about the big bang*, “for what can only be described as a supernatural event. There is no way to predict this in physics as we know it.” And “as for the first cause of the universe,” British theorist E. A. Milne adds in his book on relativity, “that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture ...

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