Thursday, February 10, 2005
The Inescapable God
If you've hung out on the Internet for very long, you may have noticed that a great deal of words have poured forth regarding one of the major questions of modern civilization: was the universe and life created by God or by natural processes? In a way it's fitting that so much time and effort has been invested into this debate, because there are few matters of greater importance, and surely few matters with greater implications, because the question "creation vs. evolution" really boils down to this far greater question, "Is there a God and what is he like?" If evolution is indeed the cause for life as we know it, then what need is there for God, but if the cause is creation, then there is every need for God and every need to pay heed to whatever he would wish to teach his Creation. Thus, the debate over Creation is really, at its core, a debate over the Creator, God, but it is a debate that is often focused on matters of science that can never settle the issue one way or another.
If you are acquainted with the Christian Scriptures, you are no doubt well acquainted with their teaching regarding the attributes of God: his omnipotence, omniscience, sovereignty, goodness, holiness, justice, etc.. In all these attributes he is far and away without peer. Indeed, he is perfect in absolutely every way. There is no created being, much less any man or woman, who can come remotely close to approaching his utter perfection in any of these attributes, so it is futile for any creature to try to take away anything from his perfection.
But yet, that is exactly what men try to do on a daily basis. All over the world, in countless ways, men strive to belittle God, to remove him from his rightful Throne. As they do so, they mistake his long-suffering, his great patience, for proof that he either doesn't care or doesn't exist, so they persist in their utter foolishness.
Such it is, I fear, in certain sectors of the world of science. Now, science in and of itself is no enemy to God. There is absolutely nothing wrong with researching and probing into the countless mysteries of God's Creation, but all too often those who speak as men or women of science claim that they have found no need for God in this or that aspect of the universe. They will say that they have found some law of nature or some natural process that explains this or that phenomenon, then go on to say or at least imply that this law or process operates entirely on its own, without any need for God.
It is my impression that the theory of evolution as held by so many in the scientific community is at its heart an effort to dethrone God as Creator, leaving in its place the laws of Nature and random chance. Countless effort has been put into research and experiments to investigate this or that aspect of evolution, with the intent being to confirm or strengthen the theory. I'm sure it goes without saying that many useful observations have been made about natural processes in the course of this research. Especially during the last few hundred years, we've learned a great deal about genetics, mutations, DNA, RNA, etc., thus giving much insight into the way nature operates. Surely many more insights will come as the research continues, as I hope it will.
Although I cannot predict all of the mysteries that will be unlocked as science continues to probe into the secrets of nature, I can make one fearless prediction: no matter what they discover, they will never be able to remove the almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, sovereign, all-wise, all-good, all-just God from his Throne. Never. The reason why I say this has to do with his many perfections. The fact of the matter is this: if God is in fact as the Bible says he is, he can do absolutely anything he pleases. In particular, he has absolute control after everything that takes place in creation, up to and including the very laws of nature, the laws which he himself set into motion.
To put it another way, a God who is as perfect as the Bible says he is is absolutely and utterly inescapable. It doesn't matter what natural process you discover or what gene you find: the God of the Bible is behind it all. By probing into the workings of nature, you will merely learn about God's workings in greater detail. Oh, it may appear to you that the laws of nature operate unassisted by any God, but if God is sovereign and almighty, appearances have deceived you.
Science does indeed have its place, but it is limited to the realm that can be observed by the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. When it confines itself to its rightful place, science can and does tell us a great deal of value. Conversely, science cannot look into what cannot be observed with these five senses. Thus, the reality of a God who exists beyond the perception of the five senses cannot be confirmed or denied by science. To pronounce that nothing exists beyond what can be observed with the senses, or that there is indeed an almighty God who created all things, is to make a presupposition, a statement that can neither be proven or disproven by science.
So, even if science were to find answers and explanations for every natural process, including those which govern the creation and sustenance of life itself, it could in no way escape a God who created all things and put those processes into effect. It doesn't matter if every theory and hypothesis of science proves to be true. For instance, if macroevolution did in fact take place--that is, if one species did in fact evolve into another--even that wouldn't disprove the reality of a sovereign, almighty God, because in that case that God would be well able to control all of the necessary micro-mutations. Regardless of what natural process you may discover, an almighty God would be in control of it. Whether or not this God is real or not cannot be determined by science.
Christianity at its core makes two basic presuppositions: (1) that there is a God, and (2) the Bible is his revealed Word. Just as the atheist presupposes there is no God by pronouncing that what we see is all there is, the Christian presupposes God and his inerrant word. Arguments can be made based on these presuppositions, and evidence can be found to support them, but like the great presupposition of the atheist, the Christian faith's two great presuppositions must in the final analysis be accepted by faith. Thus, it is faith rather than science that must determine whether we accept or deny the reality of God. This is not to say that whether or not God and the Bible are true is up to you or me. God is true and real regardless of what you or I may think, just as I exist whether or not you accept my existence.
Thus, every effort to replace the almighty, sovereign Creator God with any other god or force or process through the means of science is doomed to failure. He is the God whose presence and control cannot be avoided by any creature or man-made theory. Even the philosophy of naturalism cannot avoid him. He is the God who is inescapable.
 I believe that Genesis 1 teaches that God created each creature individually, species by species, so I am persuaded the Scriptures refute any notion that he used anything like macroevolution to accomplish his creative work.