Does science prove, or disprove, Christianity?

Science is essentially about studying our physical universe. God, I believe, is the creator of this universe. God is therefore not part of that universe, not subject to scientifical laws, and not really something that science can or does study. Science, therefore, can neither prove nor disprove God.

I would suggest that our scientific knowledge can be used to provide evidence for God. There are certainly some gaps in our scientific theories about how the universe came about and how life formed. For example, I don’t believe there is currently any satisfactory scientific understanding for how the big bang started, or for how the first cell came about. I recently read an interview in the magazine ‘Third Way’, where Lewis Wolpert, a respected atheist professor of cell biology, admitted that science didn’t currently know these things (see some extracts here). He thought that they would in time however, and I have to admit that science has never known everything and is always making new discoveries. I also think that to believe that such a beautiful, complex and well-structured world came about of its own cause, and by chance, is hard to believe. But none of this is scientific proof.

On the other side atheists often say that there is no evidence for God. I would dispute this – I think there’s lots of evidence for God’s existence, but it depends what sort of evidence you’re looking for. If you’re looking for scientific evidence, then I’ve already argued that science cannot be expected to give much ‘evidence’, as God is outside the realm of the physical universe which is what science studies. And things that Christians would argue were caused by God, for which science currently has no explanation, are explained away by saying that science will have an answer one day. Other scientists would point to the miraculous and supernatural in the Bible and orthodox Christian belief and suggest that we can’t believe these as they are ‘unscientific’. But this is like saying that the only God you are willing to accept is one that is not God, bound by creation and not a creator. So there is nothing in science which is contrary to a Christian belief, and it certainly does not disprove the existence of God, or disprove the Bible.

Personally, however, I would say that my reasons for believing in my faith are similar to my reasons for believing in science. All science started, ultimately, in everyday observations. Indeed the belief that there were scientific laws to be discovered came ultimately from everyday experiences, for example, that apples always seemed to fall towards the ground, and that they always seemed to speed up in the same way. Laws were developed from common observations and were tested by further experiments and practical observation of the results. Laws were then combined and logic, reason and mathematics used to extend them deductively. But at the heart of all science is ordinary ‘observation’ of the world around, combined with further testing of those observations.

In a very real way, faith may also start and grow at least in part from our everyday observations. We see God’s impact in the world around us, in people’s lives, when we pray and it’s answered, when we read the Bible and it seems remarkably relevant to life for a book written millenia ago. When we put our faith in God it is then tested further and God’s reality is proved true in life’s experiences. So my faith is not scientifically provable, but it does have at its base the same sort of personal evidence which was there at the start of science as well.

9 Responses to “Does science prove, or disprove, Christianity?”

  1. Matt Kent Says:

    Although the scientific study of earth’s beging is incomplete, evolution has been extensively studied. Acceptted with concenses throughout the scientific community. This does, in my opinion diprove the Christain theory of human creation. This exposes the bible as non-creditable. Therefor weakening the case for the the religion derived from it..

  2. Geraint Says:

    An interesting comment Matt. However I feel it makes a few assumptions that I would disagree with.

    As you acknowledge, science’s research and discoveries concerning the origins of the universe and life are extensive, but are still far from complete – see my comments about the interview with Lewis Wolpert in the article for some examples. This is not to say that science might not find answers to these current mysteries, and that we therefore must invoke ‘God’ to fill in the gaps of understanding. But it is arrogant to say that science now has all the answers (or to assume even that it will) – it doesn’t (nor would I say does Christianity, it doesn’t claim to, but asks us to put our faith in God).

    Secondly it suggests that evolution, and the scientific consensus views about the earth’s origins, are incompatible with what the Bible says about creation. Many (indeed probably most) Christians would disagree with this and see no conflict. They would see the purpose of the creation account as primarily about who was behind the origin of the world (God) rather than precisely how he brought it into being. They hold this view while still being firmly committed to the truth of the Bible.

    Underneath a view that science’s study has undermined the Bible’s account of the world is often the assumption that God’s role in the world is through the miraculous or the supernatural. Christians (it is assumed) believe in God because they feel there is a need for something supernatural in their experience or belief of how the world came about. However this is not so. I believe that ‘nature’ is the way it is because that’s how God has designed things to be. The laws of ‘nature’ are God’s normal patterns for the world. For example the Bible talks about God sending the rain. I don’t think that any Christians believe that God actually creates each rain drop supernaturally in the sky and then sends it down. No the way God sends the rain is through the processes of evaporation and condensation which we are all familiar with in forming the water cycle. Yes God is ‘behind’ the rain but its through the forms of weather which science tells us about that is actually happens. So if the world’s formation is partly, largely or entirely through ‘natural’ means that we learn about in science this doesn’t mean that God is any less the creator of it.

    Hope this is clear, but do feel free to come back to me if you disagree!

  3. Ken Lyneham Says:

    Why would science need to prove or disprove Christianity? It needs no proof, it exists ,by virtue of the fact that the world is full of practicing Christians.
    You ask this (strange) question, then proceed to answer a different one, about proof for the existence of God. As no definition of God has not been given, then no proof one way or the other, can not be given.
    If one asked,” Can The God of Christians be proven?” that’s a different matter. The God of Christians IS defined in the Bible. As far as I am concerned, because I strive to be a non-discriminate person, I prefer not to believe in this particular God. For the Christian God discriminates. Many people have read, I’m sure, of the many miracles in the Bible, either performed by God or Jesus, (one in the same?). Also,because Jesus was reported to have said on many occasions, “ask and you shall receive”, “pray and God will answer you prayers”, and as a result millions of prayers have been reported to have been answered.
    To name a few; blindness, inability to speak or hear, lameness, leprosy, death and in modern days, lost items, diseases like cancer etc.
    The problem for me is that I will not accept the teachings of a God who is blatantly discriminatory.
    How, I hear you ask, does God discriminate? Well He NEVER answers the prayers of amputees. I defy anyone to show me an example of where God has answered the prayers of a person praying for the return of their leg or arm.
    It seems very unfair to me that thousands or perhaps millions of people have been cured of their ills, and many ills are very repetitive, when not one amputee has ever had their prayers answered.
    Are their prayers any less fervent than the others? I don’t think so. I’m quite sure that a Christian amputee loves God just as much as a cancer sufferer, a blind or deaf person or a diseased one does. Yet they may pray as much as they want or have the whole world praying on their behalf, and nothing has or will happen.
    WHY? Because God discriminates against amputees. Therefore I prefer NOT to believe.

    KEN LYNEHAM

    • Geraint Says:

      Thanks for your comments Ken. Sorry it has taken me a long time to respond. When I ask does science disprove Christianity, I mean more than just a belief in a God, or even just the God of Christians. Although the existence of God, his character etc are central to Christian belief, I wanted to be more general and ask does science have anything to say about Christian belief as a whole. I accept the point that my question is a bit ambiguous however.
      Regarding amputees. I don’t know if God has healed any amputees or not, to be honest. This question is, I’ve discovered, a bit of a philosophical chestnut in the ‘Does God exist’ debate. I feel it has less to do with a specific unanswered group – I don’t think either of us is in the position to say categorically that amputees have or haven’t been healed – than a belief that if God really exists he should show it through some miracle(s) where there has been no doubt that a miracle has occurred. God has done this already when Jesus (and others!) rose from the dead. I intend to look at the question in more detail in a later post though.
      Ultimately, however, the question shows a lack of understanding of prayer – not that I’m saying I do undestand it fully. God isn’t a spiritual Santa Claus to whom we ask things and he gives them in a formulaic way. He does answer prayer – I’ve experienced it! – and he does heal people in miraculous ays, for he is lovng and compassionate. But there aren’t any promises in the Bible that if we ask for a specific illness to be healed it will be. The verses you quote are somewhat out of context and misrepresented. I’m not sure that a comment reply is the place for a Bible study on prayer but I can discuss this further if you want.
      God has also provided us with the ability to understand our bodies, to learn how to heal them, so medical advancements are also a way that God has provided to heal many many people, including helping amputees for example with prosthetic limbs. It is no less a sign of God’s goodness if he heals in a less miraculous way.

  4. Drew Says:

    The bible especially creation tends to follow the theory of evolution in my reasoning tho i agree the bible and neither does science offer the answer for everything.

    The bible says light earth and water came before plants, animals, and humans in that order. Science to most says this exact same process in the same order of the bible. The bible and evolution follow together here tho if you dissagree point it out. The fact of human creation is interesting. If you believe god set the laws and motions of this universe into place then he would have known humans would result and thus there is your creation story. Is this right? I dont know but it is a possibility and would help bring science and the bible closer together.

  5. Matt Says:

    I find that it is completely too convenient for those advocates of the Christian faith to embrace the approach of free interpretation and spinning the literal meaning of certain points in the Bible to compensate for scientific evidence that discredits the existence and legitimacy of the Christian religion and belief. As science along with many other academic disciplines either intentionally or not, continue to provide evidence and support that discredits the Christian faith; specifically speaking evidence and support that shows contradiction and flaws of the Bible, so will the reputation and genuineness of the religion as a whole suffer. We will come to the point and have probably come to that point where the literal interpretation of the Bible is overlooked and everything goes out the window in terms what Christians believe in when it comes to these challenged theories of creationism and the very sensitive topic of homosexuality and such.

    It will come to the point where faith will be the single and only factor that keeps Christianity and all religions alike afloat and sustained. Personally I really don’t buy into this idea of faith because believing in something so abstract in this sense goes against logic and seems as if it really is a long shot for this omnipotent, all knowing, and almighty higher being to exist. I think the one piece of evidence that is the poison to each and every religion is the existence of so many practicing religions that claim to have the one true God and the one true faith. Looking back in history, most of the most deadliest and devastating wars were on the basis of faith and religion. In regards to the argument of “well what do you have to lose?”, I find to be a very weak argument to believe in God, because to dedicate yourself and to believe whole-heartedly in something solely on the basis of faith, even when it defies and neglects every aspect of the human mind on the grounds of logic, is not only incomprehensible, it simply is putting human evolution in the wrong direction.

    Although Science may be a long way from establishing a complete and sound theory as to the existence of humans and the creation of the universe, at least I can honestly say that I would rather be not sure of how everything came to be, rather then bent on the belief and commit my life to this belief of this higher being we call God, who will judge and direct you to either Heaven or Hell when you die. As I don’t mean to judge those who are faithful to teachings of Christianity or any other religion, I respectfully disagree with the assumption that Science and Religion are on the same wavelength. Although contemporary Christians nowadays will try to embrace different interpretations of the Bible to support newer scientific evidence that may discredit the Bible, most religions in the world have taken a very conservative and traditional approach when it comes to their faith and this is naturally contradicting of Science.

  6. Rob Says:

    Matt, there is a very concise treatise that you will likely find illuminating, and it won’t take you forever to read: http://www.boomersvilleusa.com/2010/12/is-god-dead-part-2.html

  7. Daniel Says:

    I don’t know about a creator, but there have been lots of bad things, like wars, plagues, etc. God could have stopped them. That’s why there is no god. Also, the Bible was made for the purpose to explain things in a more primitive time. In this day and age, we don’t NEED a religion to survive. Also, if god is so great, explain the Westboro Baptist Church. You know, those idiots.

  8. fred Says:

    The LORD says to call unto HIM, and HE will show us things that we don’t know of.

    What we know is simply a glimp of what we think we know,

    All that we need to know is that NOTHING ON EARTH, SCIENCE, OR ASTRONOMY, ETC, IS GOING T O SAVE US FOR THE JUDGEMENT DAY, OUR DAYS OR YEARS ARE FEW, SO LETS KEEP THE FAITH THRU OBEDIENCE, AND MAY SALVATION , COME BY SINCERE REPENTANCE, AND THRU THE GRACE OF GOD, AND NOT THRU FRUITLESS DEEDS OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE

    THAT’S ALL WE NEED TO KNOW,
    THANK UOU
    .

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