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Can We Trust Science or God More to Give Us the Truth About the Origins of the Universe?
If the choice we have is to believe in the nothingness of space or in a heavenly father, which should we choose? I think many people today would say, “I will trust science”. But what do we do when the science keeps changing, is unsubstantiated or contradictory, and no scientist can agree?
There are dozens of possible scientific theories about how the universe began. They can’t all be right, but the most popular is known as The Big Bang. To describe what this entails, I’ll take an analogy: imagine a bomb exploding in an empty field and the falling debris producing a mansion. What are the chances? Some math whiz somewhere calculated the probability of this happening. It’s a huge number. In fact, the big bang as an explanation for creation is less likely that the same person will win the lottery five times in a row! Yet this is the default position of science on creation. It’s not as surprising as it may seem; it is perfectly possible to produce correct mathematical equations that do not correspond exactly to reality – just look at Zeno’s paradoxes. Beware of theories based on pure mathematical structures.
If then we don’t have the definitive science to give us the answers we seek, what can we do? Perhaps we can use our senses and emotions to guide us. What feels right? There is nothing wrong with this method. Our instincts can be surprisingly precise. For example, we can all agree on beautiful things, on wonderful things, and also on things that frighten or disconcert us. When the sun rises every morning and sets at night; when we look at the stars; when we study the perfection of nature all around and the endless cycle of death and rebirth; when we stand at the edge of the sea and watch the waves wash over the beach in a steady and repeated rhythm, their soothing sound calming our nerves; when we watch the birds and animals working their days, leading lives that seem somehow preordained, knowing exactly what they must do to survive and enjoy themselves, in silent obedience to secret laws, which we say our instincts? Are we to believe that all this, laws and codes anchored in the heart of living beings, somehow happened by chance? Or is it like something that has been carefully designed? Does that to feel just out of nothing, out of emptiness, the universe became the marvel we know today? On the contrary, if we look at our planet and think, “this is really beautiful” then this judgment suggests a carefully crafted aesthetic.
The Big Bang theory is only one option among many and happens to be the most popular, supported by top scientists. But this contradicts several laws of physics, including that of not being able to produce energy from zero. It also assumes that nature can, of its own accord, summon order out of chaos, as in the example I gave of the bomb in the field. In fact, in all matters concerning nature, the law seems to be the contrary, that order descends into mess; things break down. It’s called entropy. Once a fruit is cut from its branch, the process of decay begins. It would be surprising if it happened the other way around. The main facilitator of decomposition is Time. Age corrupts and destroys. Only if we could take time out of the equation could the process be stopped. Going back along this trajectory of self-annihilation suggests that there was a time when everything was good and at its peak and the earth started from a point of perfection. Believing in a universe that simultaneously expands in a single logical way while decaying toward decay is strangely inconsistent.
So what other options do we have when faced with the mysteries of creation? When we were children, we were taught to pray, “Our father in heavens…” It is the simple first line of the Lord’s Prayer which, in adults and children alike, for thousands of years has inspired devotion, self-confidence and belief. But these days it’s rarely heard outside of the church, cast aside as a religious trope at best, offensive to rational people at worst. Still, if we let our feelings guide us, it doesn’t seem so strange and is perhaps a better way to explain the origins of the universe. I can easily imagine somewhere beyond the processes of Earth Time, into which things withdraw and from which they are made and able to grow. After all, every night we slip into a dreamlike state, a mysterious place filled with characters and action over which we have no control and which feels as real as life.
The first line of the Our Father in six words could well contain everything you need to know about this supernatural place and the being who lives there. As always with the Bible, words have been carefully chosen to convey real meaning and meaning. “Dad” tells us that the creative force behind the universe is more than just a mathematical equation; he is as real as us and full of love for us, just like a very good father. “Art” is in the present, which means it is not something we can entrust to the dark and distant past, or something to look forward to in the future, but alive now and always present. And “Heaven” describes another plane of existence, one can only imagine, filled with hope, light and joy alongside the father. How comforting it is to know that all the problems life presents to us are only obstacles to test our resilience and our determination on the way to Heaven, to know that at the end of life there does not lie an inexistence of nothingness , but a true and happy co-existence in eternity with friends and family.
The fact is, whether we choose science or the Bible when it comes to the question of our origins, a leap of faith is in order. It’s not a choice between fact and fiction, but between what feels right and what doesn’t. In other words, it is up to us to trust our hearts and minds and not be swayed by false words and abstract theories. For me personally, God as the Designer of our Universe remains powerfully compelling and a pillar of my faith. What assurance is there in that; your father on earth may abandon you and you may never hear from him again, but you have a heavenly father who never leaves you.
Although science has its place in helping us understand the physical nature of our world, it may be a long time before it can explain the mysteries of life itself. Until then, faith is required. A miracle is something outside the normal course of events and the big bang theory, if true, should be classified as such an unusual event. Science as it stands cannot fully explain things outside of our physical realm. E=mc² only works in a recognizable space-time continuum, and it may still need to be adjusted to account for the startling new properties that are continually being discovered in particles several million times smaller than an electron, elements that Einstein could hardly have considered.
Science changes and adapts over time, but the truth does not. When we say, “Our father in heavens” we express something that has no beginning or end, but is timeless. According to the theories, this has as much credibility as any other.
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