God And Laws Of Science

How does God relate to laws of science? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“But if God created laws of science and God created out of nothing, then God created a law that says that nothing can be created.”

So he said thinking he had given me a stumper to creation ex nihilo. Not a bit. No. This wasn’t an atheist saying this, but this is someone who apparently holds to a more demiurge type of idea of God. The matter is there eternally and God just shapes it. This is also a Mormon position.

So let’s start with a position that could be a shocker.

Maybe laws of science don’t exist.

Now hang on. I’m not telling you to throw out science entirely. With my view, science won’t change one iota. This is a meta-look at how we view the system. It’s how we view objects and what they are and how they behave. I’m also not saying this is a hill I’m willing to die on and a theory written in stone. I’m saying this is a possible idea I throw around from time to time mentally.

Maybe objects behave in relation to other objects not because of following some law, but because of what they are. A flying baseball based on what it is shatters glass based on what it is. In this case, we study natures and final causes a lot more. These are things science should be doing anyway and I contend a move away from final causality has deeply hurt science.

Yet that is not something written in stone and this is not a post about that. For the time being then, let us grant that the world is as we often perceive it. Let us grant that there are laws of science.

The problem with this kind of objection is that it assumes that the laws of science are realities that bind everything and everything is subject to them, which would include God. Science itself cannot tell you if God exists. It cannot tell you if God does not exist. You can get data that both sides can use. One could use science to argue about nature being bloody and horrendous and thus, God does not exist. One could say science seems to point to an origin of the universe and/or intelligent design and thus God does exist. I’m not saying anything about the credibility of any of those arguments, but if you use them, you still have to back that up with philosophical data.

C.S. Lewis once said about miracles that miracles have God putting something into the system and then the system takes over. With the virgin birth, which I do affirm, God fertilizes and ovum in the body of Mary and then the natural process of gestation takes over. When the 5,000+ are fed, extra food seems to come up miraculously, and then natural digestion processes take over. The water is turned to wine, but it is still digested like ordinary wine. We can safely assume that in the latter two cases, the people eventually had to go to the bathroom.

So what does the idea that matter cannot be created or destroyed say then? It means that all things being equal, if the universe behaves as it does without outside interference, matter won’t be created or destroyed. It says nothing about if something outside of matter could create or destroy it. Otherwise, you have a God who is bound by the material universe.

This might be a great and powerful being, but he sure isn’t God.

The real God is the one who is behind him and greater than he is and not bound by anything.

Keep in mind that while I think matter being eternal would not itself be a defeater for theism, I do think it is still a false position. I have a number of philosophical concerns, but those are for another day. Right now, my main point is just that this idea of God being bound by laws of science brings far more problems than it solves.

Maybe, just maybe, the classical position is right.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

A Look At Death

What happens when someone crosses over? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, my wife received word that an older friend of hers had died of cancer after a long battle. This was a friend I had never got to meet and a friend who also valued Allie and if there was something of Allie this friend wanted, it would have been to have a husband. This friend will not get to have that dream realized as she passed away at 2 P.M. yesterday.

Now frankly, I’m not the best comforter in those times of need. For someone like myself, it can be difficult to have that emotional connection. Were things the other way around, this is the area my wife would excel at. She is quite good at connecting with people emotionally. I am not. I much more excel at connecting with people intellectually and rationally.

So let’s look at the topic of death. Too often, I think we forget what death really means. Death means that this side of eternity, there will be no interaction. You will not get to hear their voice again (Save recordings and such). You will not get to talk to them. You will not see their face. (Save pictures.) You will not share a laugh or a joke. Nothing ever again.

It’s a pretty bleak picture.

A lot of times, we say things that are meant to console. They don’t.┬áIn fact, if we were being honest, nothing we say could console. Perhaps we do it also to relieve our own stress at not being able to help a loved one. No doubt, we mean well, but everything we say is empty, and frankly, it should be. It shouldn’t be that we hear something and think “Why oh yes! Thank you! I’m no longer grieving over this loved one!”

In some ways, you will spend the rest of your life grieving. It depends on how much the person meant to you. There are many people that I’m not consciously thinking about every day. Still, when I see something about them, I remember and I have some sadness. I think right now of my friend Gretchen Coburn and Jonathan Dileo. (Jonathan’s charity can be found here.)

The closer the person was to you, the more you will grieve. Lose a friend? You’re going to grieve. Lose a best friend? You’re going to grieve even more. Lose a spouse? That will be intense grieving. I will not dare to speak yet of how intense it is to bury a child, though I have known people who have done that. It is said that burying a parent is losing the past, a spouse the present, and a child the future.

Death is something we’d all like to do without.

And this is what makes Christianity so important.

Often when Christians talk about death, we often make the mistake. The whole idea is “I wanna go to Heaven when I die.” For that kind of thinking, it’s like the Earth is an afterthought. It’s not really needed here. The whole idea of “This world is not my home. I’m just passing through.”

No. God made this world to be your home.

Now does that mean something doesn’t happen when a person dies? Not at all. If I am hearing about a Christian, all I will say is that they are in the presence of Jesus. They are not there in their bodies, which means there is something missing still, but they are in the presence of Jesus. The body though is not the accident. God made us bodied creatures.

Gnosticism was one of the first great heresies of the early church and it was a highly dominant view and one benefit it had was it dispensed with the body. Matter was wicked and evil. No need of it. Christianity said no. Why? Because Jesus really lived in a body. He wasn’t acting. Jesus really rose from the dead in a body. It’s the real deal.

This was the harder route, but it was the route they took because they had to be true to the facts. This changes our view of everything. If the body is good and matter is good, it should work with how we handle issues relating to the environment, issues related to sex, issues related to life, and issues related to death.

For the Christian then, we can mourn when someone dies. In fact, Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 4 that we do mourn. Indeed. We do. We do not mourn like those who have no hope. If our mourning is exactly like those who are non-Christians, then we have not treated our Christianity seriously.

The resurrection changes everything. The resurrection shows that death is not the final outcome of us all. It shows that even death can be defeated and reversed and in fact, so can all of the evil in our lives. If history was a symphony, the resurrection of Jesus would be the moment where everything starts to come alive with a grand crescendo waiting the final moment of the return of Christ when all is made right again.

This is also why you need to know the reality of the resurrection. The resurrection does change everything. It was the belief that changed the world and overtook the Roman Empire.

I wonder if it could do that today if we gave it the same attention and made it as central as the early church did?

In Christ,

Nick Peters