SCIENTIFIC REVELATIONS POINT TO A GOD (C. 1958)

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Excerpted from The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, edited by John Clover Monsma. New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons, 1958

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By George Earl Davis, Physicist

M.S., Iowa State College, Ph.D., University of Minnesota; formerly physicist Naval Ordnance Laboratory; since 1948 Head of Nucleonics Section, Material Laboratory, N.Y. Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn; specialist in spectrophotometry, solar radiation, geometrical and physical optics.

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As knowledge increases and old superstitions come to be recognized for what they are, a more critical evaluation of the tenets of religion and theology is inevitable.

The motives behind such re-evaluation may be various. But we must assume that they spring from a real desire to know the truth. We must guard against the error of con­fusing agnosticism and atheism, and we must recognize that he who attacks only the traditional bases for belief in a Supreme Being does not, because of that alone, deserve the stigma of “atheist.” Such a one may also believe in the ex­istence of a God and may, in fact, rest that belief on a firm base.

If a universe could create itself, then it would embody in itself the powers of a Creator, a God, and we should be forced to conclude that the universe itself is a God. Thus the existence of a God would be admitted, but in the peculiar form of a God that is both supernatural and material.

That atheism exists in scientific circles is undeniable. But the popular belief that atheism is more prevalent among scientists than among the unscientific has never been proved and is, in fact, contrary to the impressions gained at first hand by many of the scientists themselves.

As to my own belief in a Supreme Being, it would be fool­ish to state that it is not influenced by my early teaching. We never quite escape from religious instruction received in our formative years. But I can say with certainty that my present belief, while in agreement with that which I was taught as to the existence of a God, has a firm basis which is quite distinct from that of ecclesiastical authority.

As a physicist, I have had the privilege of seeing some­thing of the unbelievably complex structure of the universe, in which the internal vibrations of the smallest atom are no less wonderful than the tremendous activity of the greatest star; where every ray of light, every physical and chemical reaction, every characteristic of every living thing, comes into being and runs its course in obedience to the same immutable laws. This is the picture science has unfolded, and the longer one examines it the more intricate and beautiful it becomes.

But with the marvelous revelations of scientific research have come inevitable questions, not new but brought into new perspective by clearer insight into the fabric of the uni­verse, of which the human race is revealed as an inextricable part. One of these questions, of vital importance because of its inferences with respect to our moral responsibilities and ultimate destiny, is the old question, “Is there a God, a Su­preme Being who created the universe?”; and with it there is the still more difficult question, asked by many young children in an amazing and disconcerting flash of reasoning, “If God made us, who made God?”

It is undeniable that there is no real scientific proof either that there is or is not a God. It is even quite possible that no strictly scientific proof ever can be formulated. We live in a physical universe that is, so far as the most penetrating research has been able to discover, perfectly consistent in its structure and its laws. But there is no reason to believe that it can give us information concerning anything outside of itself. It may well be a room without windows, or with win­dows transparent only to eyes that look in, not out.

Since we cannot prove the existence or non-existence of a God, then the best we can do is to make intelligent infer­ences from what we know. Such an inference, which cannot be logically attacked on the basis of any knowledge available to us, is this: No material thing can create itself.

If a universe could create itself, then it would embody in itself the powers of a Creator, a God, and we should be forced to conclude that the universe itself is a God. Thus the existence of a God would be admitted, but in the peculiar form of a God that is both supernatural and material. I choose to conceive of a God who has created a material universe not identical with Himself but dominated and permeated by Himself.

To this I add a second inference: The higher the evolu­tionary developments to which a creation leads, the stronger the evidence of a Supreme Intelligence behind that creation.

The evolutionary developments in our universe, so con­vincingly demonstrated by science, are our evidence. From a universe of elementary particles, “without form and void,” have come the billions of stars and perhaps greater billions of planets, definite in form, definitely describable, living out their inevitable fives under immutable laws that somehow, with an artifice probably forever beyond mortal compre­hension, were built into each of the infinitesimal particles of which they were formed.

This is evidence enough. But to it we must add the greatest miracle of all, that into those original, exceedingly minute particles were built all the principles that were necessary to evolve not only stars and planets but myriad forms of living things as well, even creatures who can think and aspire and create intricate and lovely things, and finally, in a glorious demonstration of intellectual godlikeness, pierce into the very mysteries of life itself. Edward Fitzgerald has beau­tifully described this supreme miracle of creation in his im­mortal Rubaiyat from the great Persian astronomer:

With Earth’s first Clay They did the Last Man knead, And there of the Last Harvest sowed the Seed: And the first Morning of Creation wrote What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

These revelations of transcendent intelligence behind the evolution of the universe are, for me, sufficient evidence of a God. They are sufficient even without the inference that no material thing can create itself.

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One Comment on “SCIENTIFIC REVELATIONS POINT TO A GOD (C. 1958)”

  1. recoveringfreedomps62 August 8, 2017 at 1:09 PM #

    I’m always amazed at people who are amazed that someone can ascribe to both a belief in science and a belief in God.

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