THINK magazine, whose motto is “Current issues from a distinctly Christian view,” is one of many Christian magazines I read regularly. In the January issue there is an attempt to prove that Something Eternal exists using the following “irrefutable” equations:
1. Something exists today—THUS—something must be eternal and has always existed.
2. Something is eternal (doesn’t wear down and was not created)—THUS—something violates the scientific laws (especially the Second Law of Thermodynamics).
3. Something violates scientific laws—THUS—something exists outside the observable laws of naturalistic science. From these we can conclude:
4. Something eternal is THUS outside the observable laws of naturalistic science!
The magazine concludes that, “While many atheists may not like this ‘math,’ it is inescapable. To argue otherwise would be to deny our very existence. We can logically conclude that something has existed forever—something that is not explainable by naturalistic science. That something is God.” (THINK, January 2010, p. 21)
Well I’m neither an atheist nor a mathematician, and though I am susceptible as the next person to ALL CAPS and Boldface, I just don’t see the logic here.
The entire argument rests on the truth of the opening affirmation, but there is no proof (unless you call writing “THUS” in all caps as proof) that it is true. Just because something exists today doesn’t mean that existence itself is eternal. Certainly the Bible seems to suggest otherwise: remember “In the beginning…?”
The idea behind Equation #1 is that something always comes from something else. OK, but why assume there is an end to these something elses? To say that there is one eternal thing from which all these other things stem is arbitrary. There is no proof, just the assertion. And there is no need of such an assertion. Perhaps there is always something else prior to something. Even if you say that God is the Original Something, logic demands that we ask where God comes from? So to say that God is the eternal something simply shuts done any further inquiry without actually proving anything.
For argument’s sake, however, lets assume these equations prove the existence of God. Why assume it is the God of the Bible, and the Christian Bible at that? There is nothing in this series of equations that leads me to Christ rather than Krishna. Even if THINK proves eternality, it fails to prove God the Father/Son/Holy Spirit.
What saddens me about such “proofs” is not simply their illogic, or even the blind jingoism that assumes God must be the Christian God, but the fact that someone is so taken with the scientific method that they have to subsume religion into it. For all their ranting to the contrary, such fundamentalist efforts only prove the supremacy of science. They are saying that faith only works when it is supported mathematically.
I believe that there is a dimension of reality that cannot be tapped by material science, but which can be explored through the contemplative sciences of yoga, meditation, etc. These sciences are thousands of years old, and while they do not support the theological claims of any specific religion, they do reveal a greater Reality in which our world exists.
I would no more use science to prove the existence of God than I would use the Bible to prove the truth of E=MC2. When we reduce faith to science we do a disservice to God, faith, and science. If you want to know what the Larger Truth is use real science, just don’t forget to include the contemplative sciences in the mix.