The Jurisdiction of Science
Picture this with me for a moment, we find ourselves sitting on the first row, just behind home plate, of one of the most iconic baseball venues, Wrigley Field. This single stadium has more baseball history on its field than some countries will ever experience. Babe Ruth stood at home plate during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series to create one of the most historic at-bats in baseball history, the famed Called Shot. Ruth gestured toward the center-field bleachers mere seconds before hitting a home run to the exact spot. The stadium somehow seems to emit the combination of baseballs past with its present future. We sit here on a crisp fall evening, at dusk, as the sun’s last rays of the day turn the clouds orange and the sky a deep purple, displaying an appearance that is almost martian in nature. Suddenly, the lights of the stadium ignite, driving away the long shadows of evening. The full capacity 41,159 spectators in attendance erupts in expectation. This is the moment they have been waiting for, and the players begin to take the field. Suddenly, the excitement reverberating throughout the stadium is extinguished faster than a fire at a fire station. The fans are only left with a mix of perplexity and whimsical astonishment. The players that are proceeding to take the field are not baseball players at all, but they are ice hockey players. The athletes are decked in full gear, and barely manage to make it to the dirt covered diamond as their ice skates are causing ruts in the grass. It seems as though everyone observing the spectacle are aware of the predicament these players find themselves in, except the players. This my friends is exactly the place scientists find themselves in when attempting to prove, or disprove, God. It is my aim to show you this over the next few paragraphs.
Science is defined as: knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation. This is the primary definition of science in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. Breaking this definition down we can deduce that science is the process of studying the natural world through experimentation and observation. It is imperative to understand this aspect of the definition because it is the foundation in which this house is constructed.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary gives us the definition of God as well: a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect the nature and the lives of people. I’m just going to go out on a limb here and make a pretty radical assertion, God is not natural, mind blowing I know. If you have had any experience with religion of any sort, you understand that God is supernatural. Believe it or not, Merriam-Webster also gives us the definition of Supernatural: unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature (You read that correctly).
In a quick review so we don’t get ahead of ourselves here, science is the process of studying the natural world through experimentation and observation, and God is a spirit that can affect nature, God is supernatural, and that which is supernatural is unable to be explained by science.
Scientists are experts of the natural world, look at all of the technology and advancements of understanding science has given us (I do not have a bone to pick with scientists). If it were not for science, we would not have computers, airplanes, or my personal favorite, coffee. As I have stated previously, science met art, and coffee was extracted. I’m a die hard coffee fan so if anything, I love science (If you do not believe that coffee extraction is a science please open a new tab and do a quick google search of a coffee siphon, I rest my case.) There is only one problem with science, or some scientists I guess. The problem is that scientists love to dabble with the theatrical, after all how can science progress if the limits are not pushed. The resulting problem is that scientists then step out of their arena and enter into a whole new stadium (Ice hockey players on a baseball field). Scientists cannot prove, or disprove, God because they are studying a supernatural being (who cannot be explained by science) with natural concepts and ideas.
A scientist can not dabble in God’s credibility, in the same way, an ice hockey player cannot play ice hockey on a grass and dirt baseball field. These are two completely different sports that need to be played in their specific venues. Likewise, science studies nature and the natural world and biblical scholars or theologians study God. Despite this fact, it is important to note that God works on faith, which is the beauty of the whole God factor.
To give you another analogy, place yourself on a cold Christmas morning. As you sit, there you are given a gift that has not been wrapped, or is wrapped but you strategically unwrapped the gift previously. Knowing what the gift is results in a loss of excitement when receiving the gift. There is something enchanting about receiving a gift that is perfectly wrapped, and you have no idea what lies beneath the .003(ish) inch thick wrapping paper.
It requires faith to believe in God; we all know that. Where many people get caught up though is trying to prove God without faith. If one looks through the pages of the Bible, it doesn't take very long that through faith is the only way to come of a belief in God. Faith is the “wrapper paper” so to speak. Faith does not remove God, or subtract God altogether, but when we realize that it requires faith to come to God then we find that it actually enhances our experience with God.
Sure, we can use various scientific methods and fields to study the Bible and different aspects of religion, I understand that. However, we cannot use science to study God. The only way for you to prove God is simply through personal experience and relationship. If you approach God from a serious standpoint of desiring to know Him for who He is truly, I promise you that you won’t come up empty handed.