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Vern S. Poythress #fundie

The polytheistic religion of Greeks said that there were many gods. There were as many divine plans and as many purposes as there were gods. Since the gods interacted in a chaotic fashion, people had no guarantee that the world would show any stable order. Greek religion discouraged any hope for a scientific exploration of a rational order.

Modern science arose in the context of Christian monotheism, which displaced the Greek gods and gave confidence to prospective scientists by means of three fundamental principles:

One rational God rules all things (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6), and so we can expect universal order.
God made man in his image (Genesis 1:26-27), and so man is naturally in tune with God’s mind and has hope of grasping the order that God had given.
The world that God made is not divine, and hence is open for human investigation.

In fact, God’s word is the foundation for scientific law. According to Genesis 1, God by speaking specified the regular order for the sun and moon and stars, and the regular pattern for the growth and reproduction of plants (Genesis 1:11, 14-15). What scientists call scientific law is in fact their guess about God’s law, God’s specification, “let it be so.” Scientists in their investigation are in fact investigating the mind of God and thinking his thoughts after him–albeit on their limited, human level.

Early scientists like Copernicus and Isaac Newton understood that they stood before God’s workmanship.

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Vern Sheridan Poythress #fundie

All scientists—including agnostics and atheists—believe in God. They have to in order to do their work.

It seems outrageous to include the agnostics and atheists. But by their actions people sometimes show that in a sense they believe in things that they profess not to believe. Bakht, a Vedantic Hindu philosopher, may say that the world is an illusion. But he does not casually walk into the street in front of an oncoming bus. Sue, a radical relativist, may say that there is no truth. But she travels calmly at 30,000 feet on a plane whose safe flight depends on the unchangeable truths of aerodynamics and structural mechanics.1

But what about scientists? Do they believe in God? Must they? Popular American culture often transmits the contrary idea, namely that science is antagonistic to orthodox Christian belief. Recitations of Galileo’s conflict and of the Scopes Trial have gained mythic status, and receive reinforcement through vocal promotions of materialistic evolution.

Historians of science point out that modern science arose in the context of a Christian worldview, and was nourished and sustained by that view.2 But even if that was once so, twentieth century science seems to sustain itself without the help of explicit theistic underpinnings. In fact, many consider God to be the God of the gaps, the God whom people invoke only to account for gaps in modern scientific explanation. As science advances and more gaps become subject to explanation, the role of God diminishes. The natural drives out the need for the supernatural.3