The book God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? written by John Lennox, is a very nice work that gives a good perspective on science and faith. Lennox has three doctrate degrees, teaches mathematics at Oxford, teaches philosophy of science in the UK, and has debated infamous athiests Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. His book has many good insights showing that faith, theology, and science do not have to be antagonistic. Lennox includes the following:
C. S. Lewis’ . . . view is worth noting: ‘Men became scientiific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they beleived in a lawgiver.’ It was this conviction that led Francis Bacon, regarded by many as the father of modern science, to teach that God has provided us with two books — the book of Nature and the Bible — and that to be really properly educated, one should give one’s mind to studying both.
Many of the towering figures of science agreed. Men such as Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Fraday, Babbage, Mendel, Pasteur, Kelvin, and Clerk Maxwell were theists; most of them, in fact, were Christians. Their beleif in God, far from being a hindrance to their science, was often the main inspiration for it and they were not shy of saying so. The driving force behind Galileo’s questing mind, for example, was his deep inner conviction that the Creator who had ‘endowed us with senses, reason and intellect’ intended us not to ‘forgo their use and by some other means give us knowledge which we can attain by them.’ Johannes Kepler described his motivation thus: ‘The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order which has been imposed on it by God, and which he revealed to us in the language of mathematics.’
Lennox goes on to show that other cultures, such as the Chinese, who did not embrace theism, rejected the idea that the universe was governed by laws which human beings could discover. It seems that theism, far from being a hidrance to scientific discovery, was a principle reason why science moved from the idea that the universe operated in a disorderly fashion to the idea that it was governed by laws. It seems the realization that God designed the universe with principles was a major leap forward in scientific discovery. This is no surprise, for if one were truly a committed Buddhist pantheist and believed that all we observe is an illusion, one would not be inspired to investigate how the world works. Atheist cultures have a different problem, that of sustaining themselves over time when the dominant cultural worldview is that life is ultimately purposeless.
Lennox recently wrote a short review of Stephen Hawking’s most recent book, which was published in a British news site. In the review, Lennox gave a rather negative review of Hawking’s book. Hawking claims that the universe did not need a cause, saying the universe can come from nothing because there is gravity that already exists. Such a claim is such a great absurdity that it leaves one wondering what to think of such an otherwise intelligent man. What was most interesting to me was that the letters from the general readership was heavily against Lennox, with one person even going so far as to say that if the man was a theist, he could not be a scientist.
Now whatever one thinks of religion in general, or Christianity in particular, this whole affair seems to me to be rather obvious. We have an entire series of great men in history, who as a group could arguably be called the foundations of modern scientific knowledge, claiming that their faith is compatible with their Christianity. We also have a rather prominent professor at a prestigious university, with more letters after his name than almost all of the rest of us, whose job it is to teach about science, and he claims the same thing: that there need not be a conflict between faith and science. Yet we have both the public and the leaders in the scientific community going out of their way to abandon the very worldview that allows for their position in the first place.
Methinks they prostesteth too much. It would appear that there is more going on here than science. Our scientific friends are very quick to denounce philosophy as so many meaningless word games, all the while not noticing the big philosophical elephant behind their couch.