by Jack Hoehn | 11 January 2024 |
Science can bring us to worship the presence of God.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple?… So glorify God in your body.”
(1 Corinthians 6:19,20)
Glorifying or worshiping God in our bodies may be familiar because of Adventist health teachings—don’t smoke, drink, eat pigs or between meals—because your body is God’s Temple. But there is a grander possibility for worshiping of God using sciences. (This idea comes from Michael Denton.) Creationists are accused of using “gaps” in scientific knowledge to be filled with God as their explanation. But now the smaller the “gaps” in our knowledge, the larger becomes a trinity of amazement. The more we know, the more likely an infinite Creator becomes.
Science presents to our understanding three apparent infinities:
- The starry universe appears to be infinitely large.
- The material universe appears to become infinitely small.
- Life appears to be infinitely complex.
Infinitely Large: Universe
In 1844 there were about 2,000 known stars. In 1919 astronomer Edward Hubble knew about 10,000 stars, and the size of the universe was thought to be 300,000 light years across. He then moved to California’s 100-inch Mt. Wilson telescope, which showed that the universe was at least 300,000,000 (a thousand times larger) light years across. Next, Palomar’s 200-inch telescope revealed the universe to be at least 4,000,000,000 (thirteen times larger) light years across. The space telescope named for Hubble had shown by 2006 a universe that is at least 94,000,000,000 (23 times larger) light years across.
You can do the math; light goes 186,000 miles in a second x 60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 365 days = (my arithmetic says) 5,876,625,000,000 miles for a light year. Then multiply this distance by the number quoted just above. This is not a size that most humans can get our minds around.
And then how many stars? Our galaxy has 100 billion stars—suns like our sun but of various sizes, of course. Your desktop calculator and your computer are going to run out of zeros if you try to make this calculation. Two trillion galaxies times 100 billion stars = putting 2 in front of 23 zeros! The point? Science offers for our evaluation a universe in size and structures that appears almost—infinitely large.
Infinitely Small: Stuff
We can see that sandstone cliffs appear to be made of congealed grains of sand. We can see that slate appears to be made of congealed particles of dust. But what is sand or dust made of? Ancient philosophers speculated that finer than dust must be invisible specks they called “atoms”—that was a good guess. Because we have lived in the atomic age, we know that molecules of everything are made of atoms. The periodic table lists 92 naturally occurring elements.
We can’t see atoms, of course; they are too small, but let’s pretend we get out a very sharp knife and dissect a single grain of salt. A grain of salt (NaCl) has 12 x 1018 molecules and twice that many atoms. And those Na and Cl atoms have 78 sub-atomic protons, neutrons, and electrons. But keep chopping smaller and smaller, for each proton and neutron is made of three quarks. The Wikipedia on Subatomic particles lists six different quarks, six leptons, 12 gauge bosons, and a Higgs boson = at least 17 experimentally demonstrated identities underlying material reality.
How small is all material reality? These sub-sub-sub-atomic realities are so small they disappear. If a particle is “an observed thing,” then reality is constructed of particles so small that they disappear; they become unobservable. Matter, according to science, is made of things so small they cannot be observed; the material world appears to become made of realities—infinitely small.
Infinitely Complex: Living Things
Charles Darwin once entertained becoming a clergyman. He became an evolutionist based on the study of the lifeforms and fossils then available. Biographers suggest he was a deist, not an atheist, but his followers often pushed his theory over the brink, suggesting that “Everything came from nothing, for no reason at all.”
But evolution evolved in a time with a fossil record very incomplete, organic chemistry very immature, microscopes very primitive. What they learned of genetics was from a monk watching peas in the garden! Darwin told the truth: things do change in response to their environments, and the better adapted are more likely to survive.
What has not survived, however, is the idea that life started simple and then has gotten increasingly complex. Better microscopes, chemistry, more fossils, computers, DNA, RNA, sequencing the genome, atomic microscopy—all have falsified this famous and beautifully grand supposition of Darwin’s:
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” (On the Origin of Species)
Life is indeed grand. There are indeed endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful. Life forms do indeed adapt or evolve. But what science has proven and affirmed and confirmed is, there is no simple in any form of life. No living animal, ancient or modern, is simple. No tiny worm is simple. No amoeba is simple. No cell of animal or plant is simple.
One widely used medical school textbooks is Robbins Basic Pathology. The introductory chapter of the 10th edition was written and edited by scientists who undoubtedly are evolutionists. Listen to the phrases used by these scientists in describing the science of the cell:
“vast and fascinating”
“revolutionize our understanding”
“breathtaking level of complexity”
“it is nevertheless startling”
“even more unsettling”
“the function…was mysterious for many years.
However, it is now clear…”
“critical architectural planning”
“from a wholly unexpected source”
“the real beauty of the system”
“mechanisms also must exist”
“each transported molecule requires a transporter
that is typically highly specific”
“the critical role of laminins”
“important cellular functions”
“cells interact and communicate”
“gap junctions play a critical role”
“the importance of the Endoplasmic Reticulum editing function”…
This YouTube video, too, illustrates what the scientists are so excited about. I just want to show that science, especially in the last 20 years, has affirmed the third part of the infinity trinity: living things and their mechanisms appear to be infinitely complex.
Not the person, but the presence of God
Perhaps I am arbitrarily imposing a trinitarian doctrine on this summary of the scientific edifice. I am not trying to suggest that any of the sciences can lead us to the person of God, who God is. But it does appear to me that each science alone, and even more when added together, does lead us to a very godlike presence, that he is.
Who does not feel some measure of awe, respect, and perhaps gratitude when the best scientific information shows us that the universe does appears infinitely large, material realities are made of things infinitely small, and all lifeforms appear infinitely complex.
This is #2 in a series on worship guided by science. Jack is Dr. John Byron Hoehn, MD, CCFP (Canada), DTM&H (London). His book Adventist Tomorrow—Fresh Ideas While Waiting for Jesus is in its second edition and continues to be the most popular book Adventist Today has published. Jack’s wife, Deanne, has also published a book called Loving You—I Went to Africa, about their 13 years as medical missionaries. These books and others are available at SHOP in the menu.
You can read #1 in this series here.]