Science To Prove the Existence of God
Week 23 of 52 Churches in 52 Weeks:
The Case from a Creationist at Highland Community Church in Wausau, Wisconsin
I was 15 when taught Darwin’s theory of evolution for the first time. Kermit the Frog’s “Lime in the Coconut” was stuck in my head as I played doctor with a dead amphibian’s opened chest. While I forked around with the frog’s organs like unwanted peas on a dinner plate, my high school biology teacher interrupted the Operation dissection by launching into a lecture on how our human species had evolved billions of years from our little cold-blooded vertebrate friends.
Had he gone loco? No way was I gonna cross-reference my family tree with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The coconut song in my head began getting progressively kookier the more he talked. My mind’s sanity felt like it was spinning, twisted into a Mesozoic rainforest overrun by dancing sock puppets. While stuffed animals began hissing, hooting, and hollering, my biology teacher reigned supreme as the classroom’s tribal chief, casting Darwinist spells to possess the minds of my labmates. I hypothesized he had gone cuckoo to believe mankind’s first words were derived from “ribbit”.
My defensive reaction was triggered by a strict Christian upbringing (coupled with VHS copies of The Muppets). I was taught to believe the Bible from cover-to-cover, including the part where the world was created in six days and the seventh He rested. Dave’s Theory of Evil Evolutionary Scientists also stated that science teachers were plotting to add the Bible to the Endangered Species list, especially those who graded me lower than a B. I hypothesized the only solvents that could save my biology teacher’s contaminated soul was baptism water mixed with Ultra Tide Bleach.
This type of thinking manifested throughout my late 20's. I found myself in friendships who were cynical to the idea of a Great Puppeteer in the sky. In attempts to proclaim the power of my faith, the discussion often hopped into the origins of the universe. I found out real fast that combating scientific arguments with my literal Biblical interpretation of Eden talking snakes and Noah’s Ark vegan lions sounded as logical as Kermit and Miss Piggy conceiving Neil deGrasse Tyson.
If I wanted to put the lime in the coconut and make my argument feel better, I needed a doctor to relieve my creationist take.
Last year, I thought my wish was granted when Dr. Ken Ham debated Bill Nye the Science Guy to answer the age-old question: How did we end up on this rock? Watching the YouTube stream, the back-and-forth arguments reminded me of a professional wrestling match… minus “God’s Number One” foam fingers (right hand of course) and sweaty men climbing on top of each other in spandex underwear.
Bill Nye was my childhood hero. Every day I’d jump off the bus after school, challenge the speed of light in a mad-dash home to never miss that catchy Bill Nye the Science Guy tune. Fast-forward 20 years, Nye had evolved against my belief system when he publicly declared creationism was fake. How dare he grapple with the literal opening narrative of the Bible? His public stance felt like a piece of my childhood being ripped away, similar to when Andre the Giant ripped the crucifix from Hulk Hogan’s neck to set-up their WrestleMania III clash.
Ken Ham on the other hand, was on “God’s side”. Christians had a creationist champion who would enter the scientific squared circle to bodyslam Nye through a periodic table. When Ham pinned Nye for the 1-2-3, evolutionists would have no choice but to eat their vitamins and say their prayers, “cause whatcha gonna do, brother, when Ken Hamania runs wild on yooooouuuu!”
Well, the debate happened. I don’t recall it going very well.
I was hopeful Ham would explain creationism in a new scientific light, help me explain my faith’s position that the earth is 6,000 years old. Instead of compelling evidence, several of Ham’s answers were plucked from Genesis passages. In essence, he dragged Nye out to call him the Eve of our day, taking a bite from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In two instances, he replied to Nye in a condescending, snarky, dare I say it, un-Christian fashion. “Uh Bill… there is a book out there,” Ham said, ironically getting a rise from self-professed loving Christians who laughed at the silly children’s TV host who had devoted his life’s work to science and bowties.
By the time the debate was wrapped up, it felt like Jesus Christ Himself was supposed to descend from the heavens in a referee shirt, make a cameo appearance before the End Times just to raise Ken Ham’s arm as winner by celestial decision.
In the past, my intellect was checked at the door whenever I walked into church. I failed to sample any rational thought on the laws of science. If I dared veer from what the church taught, my faith might be questioned by God. Such repercussions could result in my salvation passport being revoked and I’d be stuck in the afterlife airport.
After the Ham/Nye debate, I’ve struggled with the idea of Adam & Eve sitting in a tree (of life), K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe Jesus died for my sins and God ornamented the universe brighter than the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Yet, the prevalent scientific evidence is just fingertips away in a millennial generation that screams for information to prove we’re right. As a result, I’ve been skeptical to a literal interpretation of Genesis. You mean to tell me, God wiggled his nose, said “Presto”, and eventually Eve was seeing a talking snake behind Adam’s naked rump?
Since I’ve been reexamining my spirituality with 52 Churches in 52 Weeks, I’ve also looked to strengthen my understanding of science. My curiosity has explored everything from relative dating to gravitational constants to Sheldon Cooper. The more research I’ve accumulated, the more my intellect can’t deny it’s worth. So I’m left asking;
As a Christian, where is good science to defend intelligent design?
March 15, 2015–6:00 pm “Creation vs. Evolution (The Case from Science)”: Highland Community Church in Wausau, Wisconsin
It’s not every day you go to a church that includes PowerPoint images of the Big Bang, Richard Dawkins, and a T-Rex. Interestingly, this was a small glimpse of the scene where Highland Community Church hosted Jay Seegert of the Creation Education Center.
Mixing Sunday School class with science lecture, Seegert prefaced his presentation was not “to twist anyone’s arm”, but to scratch the surface that the Bible isn’t crazy. He started with a nod to a trendy Phys.org article, No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning. The article stated:
“The universe may have existed forever, according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once.”
He used this as a warning against the prevailing theory of the Big Bang, which states the beginning of the universe started as nothing, but then came a dense singularity (no bigger than an electron just twiddling it’s non-existent thumbs), and BANG!!!!!!!!! just magically burst from nowhere to create space, time and exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!! Astronomy shows that the Big Bang is still expanding, like the exclamation marks in this paragraph!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seegert challenged this wasn’t science at all, as the first law of thermodynamics is you can’t get something out of nothing. He warned such statements were more philosophical than science. To quote astronomer David Darling, how can scientists magically “have pulled a hundred billion galaxies out of their quantum hats?”
Seegert transitioned into the probability of life arising by chance, mentioning Stanley Miller’s experiment that has become the textbook model to the origins of life. Miller aimed to recreate primitive earth conditions with products that would contain certain amino acids for the building blocks of proteins. This experiment led to the theory that living organisms originated from a Chef Boyardee-like “chemical soup”. Seegert argued that Miller had the wrong materials.
The probability for the simplest life-form to accidentally arrange itself would be a miracle. Research by Sir Fred Hoyle (who coined the term “Big Bang”) found his atheism greatly shaken after calculating the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein was similar to 2,105 blindfolded people solving a Rubik’s Cube simultaneously. The likelihood, according to Hoyle, was an astronomical number with a lot of zeroes to 1. Hoyle admitted that a theory to explain such attributes was a word forbidden in science:
Seegert wrapped up the presentation with the origin of species. When most people think of evolution, we all think of a creature like my froggy patient who slowly evolved millions of years to branch into animals and humans today. But if Planet Earth started as molten state and cooled down into solid rock, that would mean water got out of the rock, water turned into a cell, the cell turned into an organism, which eventually evolved into a variety of animals, which evolved into you and me. So in theory, we were descendants of rocks.
He then differentiated evolution and natural selection when it comes to explain the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest. Most think Charles Darwin came up with this as evolution, but it was a Christian, Edward Blyth, who developed the natural selection concept 24 years earlier (to which Darwin makes mention of in the first chapter in The Origin of Species). Seegert also went into design inference to argue the concepts of a fine-tuned universe, mentioning some of the outrageous claims of atheist scientists like Francis Crick who co-discovered of DNA strand. Upon seeing the intricate design, Crick thought it was through the migration of aliens.
After a mention to the wonderful design of certain species (like the woodpecker), Seegert recapped there is good science to support a reasonable faith in trusting God from cover-to-cover in the Bible. If you ask someone to just believe in God, you’re asking them to believe you. We do need reasons to support what we believe in, and this can help others who may have a similar struggle with their faith against scientific views.
When Albert Einstein was asked about his pantheist views, he was quoted:
“Your question is the most difficult in the world. It is not a question I can answer simply with yes or no… The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations.”
No one needs to take me up on my laptop theology, but my peaking interest in science has challenged my literal interpretation of the Bible (namely Adam & Eve and Noah’s Ark). If the beginning of Genesis was an allegorical explanation for a world who’s greatest invention was the wheel, why are we not more accepting of science to catch up and explain in further detail. Some will say, “well, anything is possible through God”. I won’t disagree, but you have to remember:
God’s Word was inspired by God, not written by God.
The Bible is a collection of different authors from different backgrounds, transcribing Scripture from different times and writing styles that included historical accounts, letters, songs, and warnings. God wasn’t some Almighty Witch Doctor who possessed their bodies and minds like Muppets. They were still human beings.
At the end of the day, rather than pick out Bible passages to suit my interpretations, I prefer to look at the grand design of life when it comes to the origins of the universe. There’s too much consistency, too much law and order to suggest a random happening. That said, I believe science can strengthen the faith of many believers with more understanding and less bias. So while facts and theories are thrown around, I know this for a fact.
The next time I’m posing for a church directory, my family portrait will not include a frog.