Study Guide: Does Science Point to God?



Quotes on the Christian Origins of Science (From The Wonder of the World, by Roy Abraham Varghese)

We have already seen a glimpse of how the foundations of science are inevitably embedded in a theist-rationalist vision of the world. But nothing brings this relationship home to us as vividly as the testimony of the great scientists themselves as seen below. Their reflections on God and on the common source of science and religion are profoundly insightful, inspirational and touching.

Nicolaus Copernicus, Heliocentric theory of the solar system

(1) “How exceedingly vast is the godlike work of the Best and Greatest Artist!”

(2) “The Universe has been wrought for us by a supremely good and orderly Creator.”

Johannes Kepler, Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion

(1) “Praise and glorify with me the wisdom and greatness of the Creator, which I have revealed in a deeper explication of the form of the universe, in an investigation of the causes, and in my detection of the deceptiveness of sight.”

(2) “[May] God who is the most admirable in his works … deign to grant us the grace to bring to light and illuminate the profundity of his wisdom in the visible (and accordingly intelligible) creation of this world.”

(3) “The creator chose nothing without a plan.”

Galileo Galilei, Laws of Dynamics, astronomical confirmation of the heliocentric system

“The holy Bible and the phenomena of nature proceed alike from the divine Word.”

Isaac Newton, Optics, Laws of Motion, Gravitation
Newton’s theological writings, running into a million words, far exceeded his scientific output. Below is an excerpt from his classic work, the Principia Mathematica:

“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. This Being governs all things not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called ‘Lord God’ … or ‘Universal Ruler.’ … And from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent and powerful Being … he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. He endures forever, and is everywhere present … Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing.”

James Clerk Maxwell, Electromagnetism, Maxwell’s Equations

(1) “One of the severest tests of a scientific mind is to discern the limits of the legitimate application of the scientific method.”

(2) “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

(3) “I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen that none will work without God.”

Albert Einstein, Theories of Relativity

(1) “I have never found a better expression than ‘religious’ for this trust in the rational nature of reality of reality and of its peculiar accessibility to the human mind. Where this trust is lacking science degenerates into an uninspired procedure. Let the devil care if the priests make capital out of this. There is no remedy for that.”

(2) “Whoever has undergone the intense experience of successful advances in this domain [science] is moved by profound reverence for the rationality made manifest in existence … the grandeur of reason incarnate in existence.”

(3) “Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality or intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order … This firm belief, a belief bound up with deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God.”

(4) “I want to know how God created this world … I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.”

Max Planck, father of Quantum Physics

(1) “There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other.”

(2) “Religion and natural science are fighting a joint battle in an incessant, never relaxing crusade against skepticism and against dogmatism, against unbelief and superstition … [and therefore] ‘On to God!’”

J.J. Thompson, discoverer of the electron

“In the distance tower still higher [scientific] peaks which will yield to those who ascend them still wider prospects and deepen the feeling whose truth is emphasized by every advance in science, that great are the works of the Lord.”

Werner Heisenberg, quantum physicist, Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

(1) “In the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought [science and religion], for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”

(2) “Wolfgang [Pauli] asked me quite unexpectedly: ‘Do you believe in a personal God?’ … ‘May I rephrase your question?’ I asked. ‘I myself should prefer the following formulation: Can you, or anyone else, reach the central order of things or events, whose existence seems beyond doubt, as directly as you can reach the soul of another human being. I am using the term ‘soul’ quite deliberately so as not to be misunderstood. If you put your question like that, I would say yes. … If the magnetic force that has guided this particular compass – and what else was its source but the central order? – should ever become extinguished, terrible things may happen to mankind, far more terrible even than concentration camps and atom bombs.’”

Arthur Compton, quantum physicist, Compton Effect

“For myself, faith begins with a realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence – an orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered – ‘In the beginning God.’”

Max Born, quantum physicist

(1) “Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”

(2) “Something which is against natural laws seems to me rather out of the question because it would be a depressive idea about God. It would make God smaller than he must be assumed. When he stated that these laws hold, then they hold, and he wouldn’t make exceptions. This is too human an idea. Humans do such things, but not God.”

Paul A.M. Dirac, quantum physicist, matter-anti-matter

“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”

At the heart of the matter is the affirmation that the universe can only be rationally explained by the existence of infinite Intelligence, an omnipotent, omniscient God. This is its most controversial claim, but it’s also the wellspring of all its other principles. This was the very claim that was ardently and unmistakably affirmed by the scientists who generated modern science.