There is a common misconception that religion and science don’t go together. There is also the belief that all scientists are atheists but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While studies have found that scientists tend to be much less religious than the general public, a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press found that just over half of scientists (51 percent) believe in some form of deity or higher power; specifically, 33 percent of scientists say they believe in God. Some of the greatest Nobel laureates and pioneers in science believed in God. Pretty compelling, right? In fact, some of the greatest Nobel laureates and pioneers in science believed in God. Here are four fascinating things scientists (and science) say about God.
Near-death-experiences should be impossible, but they’re not.
Medically speaking, near-death experiences should be impossible. NDEs generally occur when a person is so physically compromised that they are unconscious, comatose or clinically dead. From both a medical and a logical perspective, it should be impossible for people who are unconscious to have highly lucid experiences that are clear and logically organized. However, lucid experiences do occur at this time, and the level of consciousness and alertness that they experience is usually even greater than what people experience in everyday life. What is described about God in NDEs is so consistent that it fulfills a basic scientific principle: What is real is consistently observed. These accounts offer a profound message of reassurance, hope and comfort with the evidence-based conclusion that God is real.
Francis S. Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, the world’s largest collaborative biological project, is a scientist and believer and finds no conflict between those worlds. However, the former atheist didn’t always embrace these perspectives. It wasn’t until he went to medical school and encountered life and death issues at the bedside of his patients where he was constantly challenged with the question “what do you believe, doctor?” that he began searching for those answers. Through that journey, he found Jesus Christ. Collins has led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, Collins said he sees DNA as “the information of all living things, as God’s language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God’s plan.”
There is a relationship between faith and science.
Science and religion are not mutually exclusive. In fact, elements of science and religion make sense together. It may be surprising to think that English naturalist and geologist, Charles Darwin believed in God given his contributions to evolutionary theory but the scientist did believe in God and believed there could be a relationship between faith and science, quoted saying “I have never denied the existence of God. I think the theory of evolution is fully compatible with faith in God. I think the greatest argument for the existence in God is the impossibility of demonstrating and understanding that the immense universe, sublime above all measure, and man were the result of chance.”
Denis Alexander, Emeritus Director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion and Fellow of St. Edmunds’s College, Cambridge explains that the very first written response to Darwin’s famous book On the Origin of Species (1859) was from an Anglican Priest. It was so positive in tone that Darwin quoted from it in the second edition of the Origin, Alexander says.
“Since 1859 most Christians have been equally happy to incorporate evolution within their biblical understanding of creation,” Alexander says. “Yes there was some opposition at the beginning, as there is for any radically new theory, but the most influential church leaders soon realized that Kingsley was right. The idea that evolution was greeted with general horror by the Church is a myth.”
Science can lead you to God.
While there are some that think that science pulls you further away from God, there are many people, including scientists, who believe science leads you to God. The philosopher known for establishing the scientific method of inquiry based on experimentation and inductive reasoning was committed to the service of country, the discovery of truth, and the service of church. While his goal as a philosopher was based on experimentation and reasoning, he denounced atheism, believing it is the result of insufficient depth of philosophy. He is quoted saying “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth philosophy bringeth men’s minds to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them and go no further.
There is a connection between numbers in understanding God’s plan.
You may notice that there are some numbers that show up again and again in the Bible. Many believe this isn’t by mistake but by design. Biblical numerology is the study of numbers in the Bible. It relates particularly to the meaning of numbers, both literal and symbolic. The Bible seems to use numbers in patterns and those numbers teach us many things about God and important spiritual truths.
The founder of classical theoretical physics is known for his genius in the world of optics, mechanics and mathematics. What many people don’t know is that he was devoutly religious and did a considerable amount of work in biblical numerology, drawing a connection between numbers in understanding God’s plan for history from the Bible. He is quoted saying, “What we know is a drop, what we do not know is a vast ocean. The admirable arrangement and harmony of the universe could only have come from the plan of an omniscient and omnipotent being.”
Isn’t it incredible that some of the greatest scientists that ever graced this earth believed in God and his power? Time and time again, we see that science and religion are not at odds, but actually work together. Science often points to God’s existence, assuring the faithful of what we already know to be true.