How Can Science Be Applied to Apologetics?

Because science studies God’s creation, and one may reasonably expect God’s handiwork to point us to himself, it’s natural to think that science will point us to the Creator. Historically, this was one of the early motivations for doing science. Today, with science limited to giving only naturalistic explanations, this task is more challenging, but still rewarding, especially in these areas:


1. Cosmology. A key discovery of the 20th Century was that our universe has a beginning and has not been here forever. This raises the question of who or what started it. A powerful and transcendent being is a good answer.


2. The Anthropic Principle. The universe, our galaxy, the Solar System, and planet Earth appear to be incredibly fine-tuned to allow for life to exist. There are many ways the universe and Earth’s environment could have “gone wrong” and not been able to support life at all. This implies that someone wanted us to be here; we are not here by chance.


3. Intelligent Design. Life is not simply chemistry: it involves massive amounts of information processing and sophisticated molecular machinery. Thus life looks engineered, not tinkered.


4. Origin of Life. How the first life started is a gaping mystery in the naturalistic story. By all accounts, the first reproducing cell was too sophisticated to come together by chance. Life’s origin seems so miraculous that even Francis Crick appealed to panspermia (that Earth was seeded with life from space).


5. Macroevolution. Darwin assumed that life was pliable and could be gradually molded into any shape due to environmental pressures. Now that we better understand life, it doesn’t appear that numerous, successive, slight modifications can account for the level of major, sudden, coordinated changes seen genetically and in the fossil record.


These findings suggest that a Creator/Designer is a better explanation for our existence than incredible luck and natural laws. For today’s secular and naturalistic audience, this is a critical apologetic step: Belief in a Creator must be intellectually plausible and supported by evidence.


But this evidence for design does not tell us who the Designer is. To answer this question, the science of archaeology helps us narrow down Designer candidates by providing support for the historicity and accuracy of the Bible, and for the life and ministry of Jesus. Thus depending on the individual’s particular doubts and questions, science can be a very helpful tool in apologetics.

 

John Bloom, Ph.D. is a professor of Physics and the Director of the Science and Religion Program at the Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.


Professor Blooms Recommended Further Readings on the Topic:

Meyer, Stephen, The Return of the God Hypothesis: Compelling Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God.


McDowell, Josh and Sean, More Than a Carpenter.