Christian Apologetics and the Natural Sciences

By Melissa Cain Travis

For me, as a Christian believer, the beauty of the scientific laws reinforces my faith in an intelligent, divine Creator. The more I understand science the more I believe in God, because of my wonder at the breadth, sophistication, and integrity of his creation. –Dr. John C. Lennox, University of Oxford

Question an atheist about ultimate reality, and you will likely hear variations on the same theme: there is no God; all things are the result of blind matter in motion; over eons of psychological evolution, mankind has fabricated wishful superstitions in a misguided effort to make sense of unexplained phenomena and to ease existential angst. Ask the non-believer to explain what they base this view upon, and the response will almost certainly be: science. In fact, many non-theists espouse a full-blown philosophy of scientism, the assertion that the only true knowledge we can have is obtained through scientific investigation (it is appropriate to wonder, then, what scientific data supports that conclusion).

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Some go even further to claim that science is capable of providing a comprehensive explanation for all of reality. According to Oxford professor of chemistry, Peter Atkins, “There is no reason to suppose that science cannot deal with every aspect of existence. Only the religious—among whom I include not only the prejudiced but the underinformed—hope there is a dark corner of the physical universe, or of the universe of experience, that science can never hope to illuminate.” Science, then, will eventually close the knowledge gaps upon which religious faith depends for validation—or so the rhetoric goes.

But is this true? Is religious faith–Christianity in particular–dependent upon lack of scientific information? Is the world devoid of any compelling indicators of intentional design?  Are the universe and the life it contains merely the inevitable outcome of the laws of physics and chemistry–which  are (allegedly) happily conducive to abiogenesis (life spontaneously arising from non-life) and a subsequent process of unguided, purposeless neo-Darwinian evolution? Could science eventually elucidate every facet of existence, including morality? This collective dogma—a naturalistic account of the origin of everything–is a main pillar, perhaps even the stoutest pillar, of the atheist belief system…

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