Science changes, shouldn't our theology?
Science changes, shouldn’t our faith?
Terry Dashner……………….Faith Fellowship Church PO Box 1586 Broken Arrow, OK 74013
Since basic science is ever-changing, shouldn’t our theology change with it? No. Our theology should remain constant, even when science seems to contradict it. Usually science changes to support, to some degree, what theologians and simple people of faith have been saying all along—“In the beginning, God…” Allow me to illustrate this, please.
Catherine H. Crouch in her essay entitled, “The Strangely Relational World of Quantum Mechanics” makes a very interesting observation about science in the 20th century. Says Crouch, “…Einstein is rightly celebrated for his association with relativity, one of the two major innovations in twentieth-century physics, it’s less well known that he vehemently opposed the other theory that rocked the twentieth-century scientific world—quantum mechanics.” Crouch continues, “And, surprisingly, in recent years the theory that reportedly caused Einstein to protest, ‘God does not play dice [with the universe],’ not only has turned out to be right, but may be remarkably congruent with Christian convictions. Call it the quantum leap of faith.”
QM speaks of probabilities. For example, take the particles which make up your body. QM “…is stubbornly unwilling to tell you where each electron in your body’s roughly billion billion billion atoms is right now. Chances are, they’re all pretty much where you think they are, but there is a real (though extraordinarily small) chance that right now, at least one of your electrons ‘is’ outside of your personal space. In fact, QM refuses to commit to where the electron is, preferring instead to say merely that at any given time, that electron has a certain probability of being in a certain place. This idea—that chance, rather than definite predictability, describes the behavior of the universe—prompted Einstein’s uneasy comment about God playing dice.”
What am I getting at? Simply this. QM, a theory not very well understood in its infancy and seemingly at odds with the immutable properties of physics, has now taken a dramatic turn toward supporting a Creator who rules over the universe. Crouch explains, “Mermin’s [N. David Mermin of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York] central idea is simple: the basic elements of physical reality are not individual objects but relationships between what we perceive to be individual objects. Individual objects as such most certainly exist. However, if we insist on knowing the properties of individual objects rather than the properties of relationships between objects, our efforts are doomed to appear paradoxical and incoherent.”
That’s interesting. And again science takes a positive turn toward the Creator. “Christian readers of Mermin suddenly find themselves in familiar territory, for any deeply Christian account of the creation seems bound to have a relational quality. From the enigmatic ‘us’ in Genesis 1:26 to the fully formed descriptions of the Trinity in the creeds, Christian thought posits a relationality in God himself. And the universe exists, Jewish and Christian theologians have long asserted, in continuous, ongoing, dynamic, loving relation to God…Under Mermin’s interpretation, at least, QM turns out to be as much an ally as a foe to the Christian understanding of the world, and some of its most ‘irrational’ elements actually compel a more relational rationality” writes Mrs. Crouch.
Does this twist in science prove anything? No. Why? Because it, too, will evolve over time and change. Nothing is constant but change, said the philosophers of old; however, one thing is certain. Science and Theology are not the sworn enemies that the 19th century philosophers made them out to be. I believe that one may complement the other. But one of the two must never change—belief in God and His relationship to me through Jesus Christ.
Keep the faith. Stay the course. Jesus is Lord over all creation and soon coming King of Kings.
About the Author
Pastors a church.