Saturday, June 25, 2022

Scientists who believe in God











All photos are courtesy of Unsplash 

Being a Christian is not necessarily an easy option. Believe it or not it takes backbone and courage to stick to what you believe when the majority of people disagree with you. It would often be easier to go with the flow and accept the status quo but to be truthful, that would be a betrayal of my conscience.


I often give public talks in Liverpool City Centre. Street preaching is not socially acceptable but it is legal as long as you don’t cause a breach of the peace or are inflammatory in the language that you use to express yourself. The downside is that you are exposing yourself to ridicule. If you take the liberty of expressing your views in public you have to be willing to listen to what other people have to say and be prepared to defend your viewpoint.


There is always a courteous way to present your point of view but it is important to be honest and above board so that people can trust what you say. In the holy scriptures, the apostle Paul was very keen to make it clear that he was never deceitful or crafty in the way he communicated the message of the gospel. This is what he says - ‘But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God,’ 2 Cor 4. 2.


He had made it his practice to be open and clear when he preached about Jesus. If the message of the Bible (and the gospel of Jesus Christ) is true (and I believe the facts points to this being the case) then it can be scrutinised and investigated honesty.


However, the New Testament teaches that brainwashing and deception still takes place. In fact, it goes as far as to claim that the devil is blinding people’s minds so that they do not discover the truth but that people are unaware of this. The whole worldview is now loaded against believing what the Bible says. It is considered unusual and irregular to take the Bible seriously. However, in the 18th and 19th century the Bible was accepted as a legitimate and important document which was the basis of civilised society and the foundation upon which our education system (Universities, Schools etc) was built. 


The majority of scientific discoveries were made by men and women who believed in a creator God. They were convinced that science was possible because the creator had programmed order into the universe and that the laws and principles they discovered had been put there by an intelligent mind. 


So what happened? Many would say that the previous way of thinking was because people had simpler minds or that their culture conditioned them to see life through a religious lens. The argument goes that with the advancements of science the old ways became outdated and irrelevant. That is actually very insulting to the great men and women who laid the foundation for the subsequent scientific developments that have taken place in the 20th and 21st century. 


[**For the record I have given the names of some of the famous men and women of science who publicly stated that they were followers of Jesus Christ at the end of this article]


The Bible makes the case that there is a plot (a demonic and satanic plot) to convince men and women that they don't need God. Paul writing in the same chapter of the Bible (2 Cor 4. 4) states ‘In their case the god of this world [the devil) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God’. 


The problem is not one of intelligence but of conscience. We are moral beings as well as intelligent, rational beings. Despite our cleverness we do bad things - we are selfish, we hurt each other, we damage God’s world, we are greedy, hateful and disrespectful to each other and to our Creator, God. We actually want to do what is right (because God programmed our conscience to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil) but we don't have the capacity do the good things all of time. So sin and wrongdoing are normal -  we all sin and come short of the glory of God (God’s high and impeccable moral standard) and that is why we need the gospel of Jesus Christ.


We need to know God and to have new life to be the people we really long to be - this is sometimes called the life of God or spiritual/eternal life as opposed to physical life) So, as Paul develops the case he says in 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 6 ‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” [when He created the world] has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’. God’s purpose is to enlighten us and bring us into a relationship with Him. Which is why He sent Jesus!


In summary the basis of the offer of reconciliation to God is stated in these terms:


‘For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly,’ Romans 5. 6;


‘But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,’ Romans 5. 8;


‘The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost,’ 1 Tim. 1. 15;


‘In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins,’ 1 John 4. 10;


‘And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world,’ 1 John 4. 14.


In conclusion here are two questions for you to think about.


  1. So what do we need to do about our situation?
  2. How can we take advantage of what God has provided for us through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus [the legal payment for our sins]?


Here is the answer in two final quotations from the Bible:


‘The righteousness of God through faith [trust and depend on Him] in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction’, Romans 3. 22;


‘For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him [pray and ask God for forgiveness],’ Romans 10. 12


**Note referred to:


Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179): also known as Saint Hildegard and Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German Benedictine abbess. She is considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.

William Turner (c.1508–1568): sometimes called the "father of English botany.


Francis Bacon (1561–1626): Considered among the fathers of empiricism and is credited with establishing the inductive method of experimental science via what is called the scientific method today.

Galileo Galilei (1564–1642): Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance.

Johannes Kepler (1571–1630): Prominent astronomer of the Scientific Revolution, discovered Kepler's laws of planetary motion.

Blaise Pascal (1623–1662): Jansenist thinker;[note 2] well known for Pascal's law (physics), Pascal's theorem (math), Pascal's calculator (computing) and Pascal's Wager (theology).

Robert Boyle (1627–1691): Prominent scientist and theologian who argued that the study of science could improve glorification of God.[20][21] A strong Christian apologist, he is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Chemistry.

Isaac Newton (1643–1727): Prominent scientist during the Scientific Revolution. Physicist, discoverer of gravity.


Michael Faraday (1791–1867): Glasite church elder for a time, he discussed the relationship of science to religion in a lecture opposing Spiritualism.[59][60] He is known for his contributions in establishing electromagnetic theory and his work in chemistry such as establishing electrolysis.

Charles Babbage (1791–1871): mathematician and analytical philosopher known as the first computer scientist who originated the idea of a programmable computer. He wrote the Ninth Bridgewater Treatise,[61][62] and the Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (1864) where he raised arguments to rationally defend the belief in miracles.

Louis Pasteur (1822–1895): French biologist, microbiologist and chemist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization.

James Prescott Joule (1818–1889): studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work. This led to the law of conservation of energy, which led to the development of the first law of thermodynamics. The SI derived unit of energy, the joule, is named after James Joule.

Lord Kelvin (1824–1907): At the University of Glasgow he did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. He gave a famous address to the Christian Evidence Society. In science he won the Copley Medal and the Royal Medal.

Katherine Johnson (1918–2020): space scientist, physicist, and mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned spaceflights. She was portrayed as a lead character in the film Hidden Figures.

John Polkinghorne (1930–2021): British particle physicist and Anglican priest who wrote Science and the Trinity (2004) ISBN 0-300-10445-6. He was professor of mathematical physics at the University of Cambridge prior to becoming a priest. Winner of the 2002 Templeton Prize

The following people are still alive:

Francis Collins (born 1950): director of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute. He has also written on religious matters in articles and the book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

Donna Strickland (born 1959): Canadian optical physicist and pioneer in the field of pulsed lasers. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018 for the practical implementation of chirped pulse amplification. She is a professor at the University of Waterloo and she served as fellow, vice president, and president of The Optical Society, and is currently chair of their Presidential Advisory Committee

This list is in the public forum. I am not expressing any opinion about anyone on the list but have added to them to my article as they took or take the public position of being a Christian. For the whole list refer to:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christians_in_science_and_technology


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