2016-07-27
To me, the range, the variety, the depth, and breathtaking persuasive power of the evidence from both science and history affirmed the credibility of Christianity to the degree that my doubts were simply washed away.

Unlike Darwinism, where my faith would have to swim upstream against the strong current of evidence flowing the other way, putting my trust in the God of the Bible was nothing less than the most rational and natural decision I could make. I was merely permitting the torrent of facts to carry me along to their most logical conclusion.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of misunderstanding about faith. Some believe faith actually contradicts facts. "The whole point of faith," scoffed Michael Shermer, editor of The Skeptical Inquirer, "is to believe regardless of the evidence, which is the very antithesis of science."

However, that's certainly not my understanding. I see faith as being a reasonable step in the same direction that the evidence is pointing. In other words, faith goes beyond merely acknowledging that the facts of science and history pont toward God. It's responding to those facts by investing trust in God-a step that's fully warranted due to the supporting evidence.

Oxford's Alister McGrath pointed out that all worldviews require faith. "The truth claims of atheism simply cannot be proved," he said. "How do we know that there is no God? The simple fact of the matter is that atheism is a faith, which draws conclusions that go beyond the available evidence."

On the other hand, the available evidence from the latest scientific research is convincing more and more scientists that facts support faith as never before. "The age-old notion that there is more to existence than meets the eye suddenly looks like fresh thinking again," said journalist Gregg Easterbrook. "We are entering the greatest era of science-religion fusion since the Enlightenment last attempted to reconcile the two."

To many people, including physicist Paul Davies, this is a shocking and unexpected development. "It may seem bizarre," he said, "but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion."

Added nanoscientist James Tour of Rice University: "Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, iit will bring you closer to God." Astrophysicist and priest George Coyne put it this way: "Nothing we learn about the universe threatens our faith. It only enriches it."

"For Polkinghorne, who achieved acclaim as a mathematical physicist at Cambridge before becoming a full-time minister, the same kind of thinking he uses in science has helped him draw life-changing conclusions about God:

No one has ever seen a quark, and we believe that no one ever will. They are so tightly bound to each other inside the protons and neutrons that nothing can make them break out on their own. Why, then, do I believe in these invisible quarks? . In summary, it's because quarks make sense of a lot of direct physical evidence.I wish to engage in a similar strategy with regard to the unseen reality of God. His existence makes sense of many aspects of our knowledge and experience: the order and fruitfulness of the physical world; the multilayered character of rality; the almost universal human experiences of worship and hope; the phenomenon of Jesus Christ (including his resurrection). I think that very similar thought processes are involved in both cases. I do not believe that I shift in some strange intellectual way when I move from science to religion.In their search for truth, science and faith are intellectual cousins under the skin.

He added, however, an important distinction. "Religious knowledge is more demanding than scientific knowledge," he said. "While it requires scrupulous attention to matters of truth, it also calls for the response of commitment to the truth discovered."

According to McGrath, the Hebrew word for "truth" suggests "something which can be relied upon." Thus, he said, truth is more than about simply being right. "It is about trustworthiness," he explained. "It is a relational concept, pointing us to someone who is totally worthy of our trust. We are not being asked to know yet another fact but to enter into a relationship with the one who is able to sustain and comfort us."The facts of science and history, then, can only take us so far. At some point, the truth demands a response. When we decide not merely to ponder the abstract concept of a designer but to embrace him as our own-to make him our "true God"-then we can meet him personally, relate to him daily, and spend eternity with him as he promises.

And that, as a young medical doctor and his wife learned, changes everything.

No one was more surprised by the scientific evidence for God than the soft-spoken, silver-haired, 77-year-old physician who was sitting across from me in a booth at a Southern California restaurant.

His story is yet another testimony to the power of science to point seekers toward God. However, it's something else too-a road map for how you might want to proceed if you're personally interested in seeing whether faith in God is warranted by the facts.