When the fathers of modern science began toestablish the kind of learning we now build upon, they had an inherent beliefin a Creator God. Even the ones who weren’t Christians believed there was some sortof vast intelligence behind what we see in the universe.
This all began to change in the nineteenth century with people like Laplace and Darwin who decided that God was a mere hypothesis—and not a very good one at that.
A Direct Contrast
This was in direct contrast to scientists like Newton who felt that the only plausible First Cause had to be a supremely intelligent Being. Their explanations had God woven into their hypothesis. Laplace and Darwin attempted to explain everything absent from such an intellect and rejected the “God Hypothesis” outright.
From that point onward, things in science snowballed to the point where we ended up with people like the ones we came to know as “the New Atheists.” These were thinkers such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. Whereas the early scientists believed human beings could “think God’s thought after Him,” the new atheists came to the conclusion that science renders a belief in any god to be untenable, implausible, and even delusional. In fact, Dawkins wrote a book over a decade ago (The God Delusion) in which he tells us that the universe only presents the “appearance” of design. His explanation of the order we see in the galaxies is they have come into being by unguided and undirected mechanisms.
I certainly don’t have an intellect that can scientifically answer the claims of the new atheists, but it seems to be a huge leap to say that such order came without any guidance or direction. It actually takes less faith to believe in God. The odds of the accidental formation of matter as we know it are astronomical. Yet, this has become the dominant, underlying thought of intellectuals in our time.
Two Worlds in Conflict
It’s a conflict of two world views. One says that all things come from God—a preexistent, intelligent Being. The other holds that all things come from particles—preexistent from eternity past. We usually don’t give it much thought, but these two world views are the basis for a lot of the polarization we see in our world today. They are fundamentally divergent and antithetical philosophies. To simplify things, it all boils down to this—God vs. scientific materialism.
I’m not sure which side you’re on, but it’s really hard to straddle the fence on this one—impossible, in fact. There are those who attempt to amalgamate the two. Years ago, I used to be one of them. I, eventually, landed on the side of God, but not without some thoughtful struggles.
The first sentence of the Bible clearly states, “In the beginning God…” You either buy that or you don’t. I do. And because I do, it informs and directs the rest of my life. Reject it, and materialism will be your god—like it or not.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]