Essay 07 - Consilience and God

19 October 2000 

 

I was born in a very religious town. Many people I grew up around took the word of the bible letter by letter, as literally as possible, and looked no further. That I would one day hear the most blasphemous of scientific theories hailed as the entryway for God into science, I never would have guessed.

God created the universe, in seven days, roughly five thousand years ago. No question of metaphor, certainly no wiggle room for what exactly a 'day' was, and nothing else to it. Or so I was told. Even after years outside of that environment, seeing that so many religious people had decided that The Big Bang was God's, Allah's, or simply The Creator's most important role in the universe came as a bit of a shock. It makes perfect sense, of course. Our current theories point to the creation of the universe as, essentially, a large explosion of all existing energy and matter from one inconceivably dense mote of existence. Where could that have come from, or if it simply had always existed, why did it suddenly change its state? It all points to some outside force, a force that many, many people are very happy to call God.

Is this the God, though, that religions look for? Some cool, reserved watcher who set a universe in motion and then sat back to observe? Or perhaps some great altruistic mote of consciousness or will that sacrificed itself that we might be born? Many possibilities, but none I think would be liked by the major religions of the world.

Many of the articles that we read seem to argue that science and religion are coming together in their searches for the truth. I think, though, that if they are, it is only because the major religions of the world are starting to concede an awful lot to science. Whatever some few people may say, the majority of scientific theory does not allow any sort of 'wiggle room' in which God can act. A science in which the basic laws of the universe are all that there is and ever will be cannot accept a God who has any control over the universe, and a Religion that requires more of God than simply to have created the universe will probably not accept such science.

As I said at the beginning of the semester, it does seem likely that we eventually will explain everything away. At the same time in my mind, however, I hope that we will not. If science and religion are ever to be friends, those who consider themselves to be searchers of truth in the universe will all have to admit that there are some truths that their track, whichever they are on, will never find.

 

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