Creation and the Scientific Method

by Luke Nix

Aplogetics - Creation and the Scientific MethodAn Atheist’s Argument
A couple years ago I was presented with an argument against theism that appealed to the trustworthiness of the scientific method. It goes like this:

1. The scientific method relies on the constancy of the natural laws for its trustworthiness
2. In order for God to create, He must act in a way that breaks the constancy of the natural laws
3. Therefore, God creating and the trustworthiness of the scientific method are incompatible

The atheist believed that he had me pinned down because I believe that the scientific method is trustworthy. I explained to him the problem with his argument and why I reject his conclusion (I’ll explain that later). I haven’t really heard this argument presented much lately. But I did come across it again a couple days ago, not from an atheist but a fellow Christian.

The Argument Hijacked
Many people are aware of the internal debate within the Christian Church about the age of the universe. This is the context in which the recent challenge arose. My friend believes that the universe is roughly 10,000 years old, while I hold the view that it is 13.7 billion years old. When he presented the challenge, he wasn’t arguing against theism, but against my specific view on the age of the universe. He seemed to accept the conclusion provided by the atheist’s argument above. But he qualifies it to being sound only during the time of creation- the first 144 hours of the history of the universe on his view (less than 1% of the universe’s history) or 13.6 billion years of 13.7 billion years on my view (more than 99% of the universe’s history). He stated that he preferred to believe the view that allows the scientific method to be compromised for the lesser amount of time (1% rather than 99% of the universe’s history). He further stated that my view did great damage to science because it compromises the scientific method for the vast majority of the universe’s history.

My friend stated that I can’t accept that the universe is so old because of the fact that I trust the scientific method. He only took it to that point, but my mind immediately realized that if God’s acts of creating do actually compromise the scientific method (by violating the laws of nature), then we cannot be certain of any measurements of the past (especially from astronomy). If the laws of nature were compromised over the past 13.6 billion years, then we can only gather information using the scientific method regarding the last 100,000 years (less than 1% of the history of the universe)…

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Faithful Thinkers: Creation and the Scientific Method

 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING:

Why the Universe Is the Way It Is

Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning According to Genesis and Science