Has Science Removed the Need for God?

Many blogs, videos, and articles are loudly broadcasting this assumption: The more that humans learn about science, the more we find natural explanations for everything, and the more we understand that God does not exist. But is this really true?

The founders of modern science believed in God. In fact, their beliefs motivated them to study the natural world to see how God had designed it. The mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler stated that while doing science he was “thinking God’s thoughts after him.”

Has an activity that started out with enthusiasm to discover more about God somehow disproven Him in the process? To answer this question, we will need to review the definition of science first. Then we will consider which way the scientific evidence actually points.

Science Cannot Disprove God

The scientific method relies on observations and repeatable experiments to form hypotheses about the natural world. But science is limited in its conclusions, especially about the past, and can only offer probable (not certain) explanations.

God has established that the way to a relationship with Him is based on faith (Hebrews 11:6), not observation and experimentation. This is not a blind faith without good reasons and evidence, but faith requires that we trust in God even though we cannot explicitly prove Him.

The person who says there is no God might be unaware of this, but they are also making a decision based on faith. Atheists believe in the philosophy of naturalism, which excludes the supernatural and asserts that everything in the universe will someday be explained by natural causes.

Naturalists appeal to science, especially the theory of evolution, as the way to account for all the mysteries of the universe, but evolution is limited in what it can explain.

The atheist is still left to account for the origin of the universe, how life arose from non-life, the hard problem of consciousness, morality, purpose, beauty, and more.

Appealing to a supernatural cause when warranted by the evidence is an inference to the best explanation, but atheists sometimes accuse theists of believing in a “God of the gaps.” Ironically, atheists can be described as believing in naturalism-of-the-gaps.

They have faith that someday natural causes will be discovered to fill in the current gaps in their worldview. This worldview has been identified as the religion of scientism. These two faith-based worldviews — theism or atheism — can now be compared to see which one aligns better with the scientific evidence.

The Big Bang

While some Christians might not be aware of this, the discovery of the big bang was actually an incredible death blow to the atheistic worldview. Prior to this discovery, atheists had postulated that the universe was infinite and eternal.

This allowed them to escape naturalism’s unthinkable: That the universe had a cause. The evidence from physics, however, has led to the secular scientific consensus that the universe — all of space, time, energy, and matter — had a beginning exactly as Scripture claims.

Astronomer Owen Gingerich said the essential framework of the big bang bore a “striking resonance with those succinct words of Genesis 1:3: ‘And God said, Let there be light.’”

Astronomer Hugh Ross says, “The Bible’s prophets and apostles stated explicitly and repeatedly the two most fundamental properties of the big bang, a transcendent cosmic beginning a finite time period ago and a universe undergoing a general, continual expansion.”

The theistic implications rocked the scientific community. In his book, The Creator and the Cosmos, Hugh Ross says many astronomers came to believe in God as a result of the scientific evidence.

Astrophysicist Dr. Robert Jastrow stated: 

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries…. Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation…. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”

Fine-Tuning in Physics

While the big bang served a death blow to the naturalistic worldview, atheists actually have an even bigger challenge to consider from the evidence that the universe is fine-tuned. All of the physical constants in the universe had to be set at precisely the right amounts so that the universe could exist at all.

Paul Davies, a non-Christian physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist, has said, “Scientists are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth; which is, the universe looks suspiciously like a fix.”

Fred Hoyle, the atheistic astrophysicist who coined the term big bang, but then stubbornly refused to accept it, said: “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics…. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Francis Collins, scientist and director of the Human Genome Project, who converted from atheism to Christianity, wrote The Language of God to explain how recent discoveries in science have confirmed and enhanced his faith in God.

He succinctly states the incredible fine-tuning problem for atheists: “If they (constants in the universe) were set at a value that was just a tiny bit different, one part in a billion, the whole thing wouldn’t work anymore.”

This evidence has created gaps so enormous in the naturalistic worldview that it has required atheistic scientists to form hypotheses that rely entirely on faith without any evidence, such as panspermia or the multiverse.

The fine-tuning evidence was one of the things that caused Antony Flew, arguably the most notorious atheist of the 20th century, to change his mind.

Fine-Tuning in Biology

Michael Denton, a non-Christian molecular biologist, based his doctorate thesis on the development of the red cell. His research led him to doubt that the Darwinian theory of gradual, undirected natural selection could account for the irreducible complexity and lack of intermediates that he says, “permeate the whole of biology.”

He says, “Our terrestrial lifestyle is only possible because of what would seem to be a vastly improbable ensemble of material properties. The impression that an intelligent agent ordered things…is irresistible.”

There are a growing number of scientists who agree with Denton’s skepticism about the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Justin Brierly hosts debates between atheists and Christians on the Unbelievable podcast.

In one of the recent debates, Hugh Ross and Peter Adkins discussed why some atheistic Nobel laureates have been coming to faith in Christ. Adkins, who is an atheist, finds this perplexing. Ross claims they come to faith after being exposed to the evidence.

Information in DNA 

Philosopher of science Stephen Meyer based his doctorate thesis on the origin of life problem. He believes the information-rich DNA molecule is one of the most important discoveries of 20th-century biology. He claims this discovery created an impasse for both chemical evolutionary theory and theories of biological evolution.

He argues that what we know about information is “it always arises from an intelligent source, whether we’re talking about a hieroglyphic inscription or a paragraph in a book or information embedded in a radio signal. Wherever you find information, especially if it’s in a digital or alphabetic form, and you trace it back to its source, you’ll always come to a mind, not a material process.”

Evidence of Spiritual Reality and an Afterlife

According to a number of scientists, including non-Christian scientists documented in The Science of Near-Death Experiences, science and philosophy may be nearing the point of proving the reality of a spiritual dimension and an afterlife.

Evidence Supporting the Bible and Christianity

While we can see a number of scientific evidences for the existence of God, the evidences for the core of the Christian faith — the resurrection — are historical in nature, not scientific. However, archaeology has discovered many things that support the reliability of the Bible.

The science of carbon dating was used to date the Dead Sea Scrolls, adding further weight to the evidence we already had that the unlikely prophecies that Jesus fulfilled were written before he was born.

Ultimately, theists and nontheists will continue to interpret all of this evidence very differently and, at the end of the day, the decision to believe in God or not will still come down to a matter of faith because that is how God has established it.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible (Hebrews 11:3).

For further reading:

Does God Exist?

What Is Faith?

How Theists and Atheists Reason Differently About God


A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism

What Skeptical Scholars Admit about the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus

Why Should I Believe the Bible?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/DragonImages

SWN writerJessica Miller is the pastor’s wife and outreach director at Bean Blossom Community Church in Indiana, where she loves serving the Lord together with her husband, Jeff. Prior to marriage, her perspective on life was radically altered while living as a single woman in the Middle East. She is passionate about growing in her relationship with the Lord and pointing others to the truth. Her degrees are in biblical studies and counseling and she carries a special passion for cross-cultural ministries. She enjoys learning, traveling, and creating. She tweets and blogs from time to time.

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