What Are The Laws of Nature?
Does the supernatural violate the laws of nature?
THE CLAIMED PROBLEM: The Bible and Supernatural Events
By claiming that supernatural beings intervene in the world, the Bible opposes the scientific principle of natural laws operating uniformly and unvaryingly. As a result, the Bible discourages a scientific approach to problems.
Ahhh... so that IS the problem. Humanists do not like the supernatural... because... well, it reveals there is a God. If God is real, they are accountable for their actions to that God... and that is not acceptable.
We talked about this on the previous page, but for those who just jumped into this chapter let us do a quick review: As I did in volume one, we need to start by defining our terms. For example, what does the phrase "laws of nature" mean?
"Law of nature" is a way of referring to the constants humans have observed in the universe. If we observe something that appears to be uniform and consistent throughout the universe, we assign the phrase "law of nature.”
HOWEVER... and I put that in all caps because it is a huge HOWEVER... humanists have flipped the definition of "laws of nature" on its head. Instead of the "laws of nature" being defined by what is observed, they say that what we observe must conform to and be defined by the "laws of nature" they have established. Instead of being the result of observation, these "laws" now define what humanists “observe,” and the supernatural is in the category of not allowed to be observed. That is NOT science.
How Are The Laws of Nature Formulated?
The answer is, by observation. Scientists observe the physical universe. They note those things that appear to be constant and define them as “laws of nature.”
It seems to me that, if the laws of nature result from our observations, then we should include all observational data. That makes sense, right? Of course, we should. Otherwise, the "law" does not include all relevant data and is thus not always valid.
What have humanists left out? They have excluded God from the observed data. Using this basis for formulating their "laws of nature”, they come up with "laws" that, by definition exclude the observed supernatural. Then they say that supernatural actions are outside of the “laws of nature,” so that means the supernatural is not real and thus God is not real.
To support their conclusion, they must demonstrate that Bible cannot be trusted. One way to do that is to say that, since it reports the supernatural as real events, and since by definition “laws of na-ture” exclude the supernatural, then the Bible opposes science. Huh? That is circular.
This type of thinking is neither rational nor logical. Science should be a quest for truth, no matter where the evidence leads. “Laws” need to be based on all the evidence, not just the part of the evidence that agrees with humanist desires.
Does The Bible Discourage Science?
The humanists are saying that the Bible is anti-science, and harmful to scientific learning. So let us look at that. Historically, what is the relationship between Christianity and science?
In May 2011 James Hannam, PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science, wrote about the relationship between science and Christianity in the Journal Nature’s blog. He states:
"The ongoing clash of creationism with evolution obscures the fact that Christianity has actually had a far more positive role to play in the history of science than commonly believed. Indeed, many of the alleged examples of religion holding back scientific progress turn out to be bogus."
That's an interesting statement, and something we should keep in mind as we continue to examine the humanist's accusations... especially the part about examples of religion holding back scientific progress being bogus. Dr. Hannam backs up his statement with facts from history:
"Until the French Revolution, the Catholic Church was the leading sponsor of scientific research... By the seventeenth century, the Jesuit order had become the leading scientific organization in Europe, publishing thousands of papers and spreading new discoveries around the world."
[It wasn't until the 1830's that] "the German chemical industry started to employ their first PhDs. Before then, the only reason to study science was curiosity
or religious piety. It was faith that led Copernicus to reject the ugly Ptolemaic universe; that drove Johannes Kepler to discover the constitution of the solar system; and that convinced James Clerk Maxwell he could reduce electromagnetism to a set of equations so elegant they take the breathe away."
That is an interesting statement, and something we should keep in mind as we continue to examine the humanist's accusations... especially the claims that Christianity has retarded scientific progress. Dr. Hannam backs up his statement with facts from history:
"It was only during the 'enlightenment' that the idea took root that Christianity had been a serious impediment to science. Voltaire and his fellow philosophers opposed the Catholic Church because of its close association with Frances absolute monarchy. Accusing clerics of holding back scientific development was a safe way to make a political point."
So not only has Christianity and the Bible not harmed science, it was because of Christianity that science made huge advances. Have you ever wondered why science blossomed in Europe, but not in the great civilizations of China, India or the Islamic Empire? It was because Christianity provided a worldview in which God upheld order in the universe. As the humanist correctly stated, understanding that reality is uniform and consistent is the foundation of science. Other civilizations did not have that understanding, and thus they did not have the needed foundation. Continuing with Dr. Hannam, he explains what happened to get us where we are today.
To wrap up this section, here are a couple of quotes from Sarah Salviander, from an article titled: There is no modern science without Christianity
How often do you hear that Christianity is not compatible with science? The next time you hear that claim, refer the critic to this list of Christians in science and technology and ask how its possible that so many Christians were able to make significant contributions to science and tech in spite of that incompatibility: [What followed was a long list of 168 names. Use the above link to go to the web page and see the complete list.]
One of the greatest achievements of modern atheism has been to divorce Christians from their scientific legacy. Modern science is one of the crowning achievements
of Western civilization, built upon the foundation of Christian faith, belief, and purpose. But how many Christians are aware of this? Instead of questioning the source, many Christians have willingly accepted the lie that Christianity and science are mutually incompatible. This is the classic mistake of accepting an adversarys frame. Christians must reject it by educating themselves on the history of their faith and the great part it played in the development of modern science.
Let’s Compare: Christianity vs. Other Religions
What scientific progress was actually made during the Middle Ages? What types of things were invented and by who? Let us compare two areas of the world, Christian Europe (500-1500) and Islamic dominated countries during the same time.
The major inventions in the Middle Ages in the Islamic world included medical instruments, the hookah (water pipe), marching band, four types of pottery, the coffee house, using music to treat mental illness, and importing rocket technology from China. (Click here for soure)
Major inventions in the Middles Ages in Europe under Christian rule included (but not limited to):
- 1. The heavy plough (revolutionized farming)
- 2. Horse shoes (horses now could pull loads on rocky roads)
- 3. The horse collar (making pulling heavy loads possible)
- 4. The hourglass
- 5. Blast furnaces
- 6. Eyeglasses
- 7. Mechanical clocks
- 8. Horizontal looms
- 9. The university
- 10. The printing press
- 11. Soap
- 12. Stern mounted rudder
- 13. The button, resulting in a revolution in clothing. (Click here for source)
Looking at these two lists there is no comparison. Christianity opened the doors to major advancements in science and technology.
There is one final and very important aspect of the advance of science during the Middle Ages and later. We give credit to Christianity for opening people’s minds and allowing scientific thinking to develop. However, what is more important is the fact that God was working through people, and in people’s lives, to bring about the changes (scientific advances) that advanced His kingdom.
CONCLUSION: Instead of discouraging science, history shows that it was because of Christianity that science bloomed in Europe. God is the creator of the laws of nature. God is the one who gives them their consistency. That knowledge is the foundation of science.
NEXT ACCUSATIONS: The human's have many more accusations against the Bible. But, let's pause for a moment and take a look at humanists' beliefs. They are rather strongly attacking the Bible, let's leasrn about the hypocrisy of humanists. Click here...