We live in declining times when our faith is being attacked from both within and outside God’s Church. As disciples of our Lord Jesus we are repeatedly exhorted to defend our faith (Jude 3; Phil.1:7, 16). The attacks are from many fronts and levels. Allow me to give an example from the discipline of Science and our plausible response.
On 10 September 2008, after a 20-year planning and a budget of US$6 billion, the biggest scientific experiment ever performed by men was initiated near Geneva. The CERN Centre experiment essentially consisted of a ring of 25 kilometre circumference dug and built deep underground. The aim was to generate two extremely high speed streams of photons moving in opposite directions and allowing them to collide. Hopefully the impact will reproduce conditions of the Big Bang less than 1 billionth of a second after it happened.
By analysing the subatomic particles thus generated, the hope is to understand the birth of our universe. In particular the hope is to find evidence of the so-called “God-particle”. Thus the hope is to work towards a “Theory of Everything”, the so-called “M” Theory, which explains how the universe of the very small “Subatomic” became the very large “Cosmos, Universes”.
Then we will understand all we need about our universe. The implication is we don’t need God, so say the New Atheist.
On 4 July 2012, the so-called “God-particle” was found. Knowing “How” the universe is supposed to have begun is not the same as knowing “Why” the universe is as it is… Why this particular set of universal physical laws allow life as we know it to exist and not some others? In other words, what is the meaning and the purpose for our universe, where exists consciousness like ourselves who inquire of our own existence, why do we exist?
To give a sense of the awesome mystery of a universe where life can exist; to produce a universe resembling our own in which we can live, the Big Bang has to be finely tuned. How finely? According to one theory, if the initial conditions were randomly chosen, there would be one chance in 10 to the power of 120 (i.e. one with 120 zeroes) that the universe would be liveable. Cosmologist Roger Penrose (Oxford) has it as 10 to the power of 123. ie. the chance that such a universe is created by chance is far less than the chance of randomly picking a particular atom out of all the atoms in the universe!
Why is there something rather than nothing? Why do we exist? These are the big questions! Science itself is unable to offer an explanation of these profound and other related questions. The sciences can only provide answers on the processes of how things work in our world.
Instead serious thinkers from Aquinas to C.S. Lewis to Francis Collins (Head of Human Genome Project) have demonstrated that a belief in God is intensely plausible and give satisfying answers to the “whys”.
Yes, the Bible gives us answers to why and more: Where we came from, our final destination and the purpose of our brief sojourn here on this tiny spot of dust in the infinite Universe He created.
“For by Him all things were created: Things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him” Col 1:16.
Indeed the universe is shot through with the mind of our Creator God. (John Polkernhorne, Cambridge). For in the process of unveiling the secrets of the universe, we discover the meticulous care God took to make this earth not only just habitable, but “just right” for us. It’s “neither too hot” nor “too cold” but “just right”. “It’s a very special set of circumstances that make earth” (Mark Jellinek, UBC), including events that tore radioactive elements away from the early Earth’s crust”. Yes, indeed, finally discovering how the universe begun and how it works and holds together will encourage us to love our God more not less. What a loving God and Savour! Let us worship Him! (Rev 4:11)
By Dr Leong Chee Lu (YCKC Bulletin 22&23 October 2016)