God of the Big Bang: An Interview with Leslie Wickman, Rocket Scientist
by Jonathan Petersen
Leslie Wickman PhD, former Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space corporate astronaut, rocket scientist, and engineer on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station programs, is chair of the Engineering and Computer Science department and director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University. Stanford University-educated, she also works as a research scientist with government think tanks on technical and political aspects of national aerospace and defense issues.
Bible Gateway interviewed Dr. Wickman (@LeslieWickman) about her book, God of the Big Bang: How Modern Science Affirms the Creator (Worthy Publishing, 2015).
Why is it important to understand that “God is the author of two books: the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature”?
Dr. Wickman: Since God reveals himself in both Scripture and nature, the two cannot logically contradict each other. So the key to a fuller understanding of who God is lies in seeing how the message of scripture and the evidence from nature fit together and inform each other.
You wrote an op/ed for CNN that stressed science and faith are not in competition. What do you mean when you say there’s an illusion of conflict between science and religion?
Dr. Wickman: I think the illusion of a conflict between science and religion can come from incomplete knowledge, flawed interpretation of Scripture or the facts of nature, or just a general lack of understanding of how the two areas fit together. The illusion of conflict between science and religion seems to be perpetuated primarily by fundamentalists at the polar extremes of this dialog. These two extreme positions give rise to a perceived conflict between science and religion, but the real conflict is between “Scientism” (a combination of natural science and a secular worldview), and “Creationism” (a combination of Christian worldview plus a strict, 21st century western biblical literalism, especially with regard to a 6-day creation). But the illusion of conflict is really just a confusion of concepts that don’t necessarily go together. In other words, science can be successfully practiced without a secular worldview, just as Christianity can be faithfully practiced without a 6-day interpretation of creation.
How is the “Big Bang” theory more “God-friendly” than other scientific models?
Dr. Wickman: The Big Bang model of the universe is much more God-friendly than the model that was popular before it (the Steady State Model). The Big Bang model states that there was a beginning to the universe, and by cause and effect logic, a beginning necessitates a cause, or a Beginner. Other models, such as the Steady State model, say that the universe always existed, so there was no need to explain a beginning. Also, contrary to popular opinion, the Big Bang was not a chaotic explosion, but rather a very highly ordered, finely tuned event…
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