Friday, September 14

Faith in God vis-a-vis Science


That TIME magazine account in its 15 January 2007 edition describing the Richard Dawkins-Francis Collins debate has re-ignited the age-old dilemma over a transcendental Prime Being whose existence and attributes, have never been “scientifically proven”. From the point of view of a school of physicists, cosmologists, biologists, mathematicians and their fellow skeptics in other fields, such a proof if without resorting to a prior faith in God or in the Bible, is IMPOSSIBLE. And in that, I agree with them!

It is also a fact that God Himself has not (yet) settled the issue once and for all. He could easily do it anytime if He were truly God, by revealing Himself to the whole world in all His power and glory so that even skeptics, agnostics and atheists would all fall down on their knees and sincerely worship Him. In fact, Christ Himself could have come down from the Cross and obliterated all His tormentors. And so that is also a nagging corollary issue even to many of us Christians who nonetheless believe He does exist.

And the only way Christians can reasonably resolve that nagging issue is HUMBLY to re-affirm their faith in God and in His divine attributes by saying:

“If He is the Almighty, All-Knowing and infinitely merciful and loving God, all of which we believe He is, therefore we ought also to believe that He knows best as to when and how and why He will finally reveal Himself to everybody, in full and beyond doubt.”

Similarly as an admirer of Gary Kasparov, for his versatile human qualities and his being a chess virtuoso, it would not be logical for me albeit a frustrated one-time chess addict, to question why in an on-going, long drawn-out game, Kasparov has not yet moved his King to the fore for the kill. For considering his prior scintillating performances or revelation, there is a reasonable basis or “a preponderance of evidence” for me to have faith in Gary Kasparov’s chess-playing prowess!

Francis Collins’ argued the same way: “Faith is not the opposite of reason. Faith rests squarely upon reason, but with the added component of revelation”. And if I may add, together with a large dose of HUMILITY and consciousness of our puniness.

But for those who have never admired nor rooted for Kasparov, they will never have such a faith in him unless and until the fellow proves his mettle by beating everybody hands down including a more powerful version of IBM’s Deep Blue. By that time however, it would no longer be a matter of “faith”, but a belated acknowledgment of a proven fact. By analogy, Professor Dawkins and his fellow atheists would belong to that crowd.

And so it is a logically consistent doctrine of the Catholic Church that our faith in Jesus Christ as true man and true God has a REASONABLE basis, i.e. the existence of the historical Christ in the Palestine area of today some 2000 years ago, written accounts of His spotlessly virtuous life and miracles wrought particularly in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, St. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles and in the Letters of St. Paul.

And yet the Church also maintains that the theological virtue of faith is still and above all a gratuitous “gift of God”.

Thus Christ said to Peter in response to the latter’s fervent declaration somewhere in the plains of Ceasarea Philippi that “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God!”, (Matthew 16:16): “Flesh and blood (i.e. human logic) has not revealed it to you but my Father in Heaven”.

And yet it would still surprise many science-educated people to be informed that the entire community of “physical” or empirical scientists themselves apply a similar faith-based thought process in many of their so-called “scientifically proven” conclusions, where these are backed by some evidence, often not even with a clear preponderance but only with some probability of empirical consistency. Nevertheless scientists often believe in these premature conclusions or theories, even if they have not yet been proven beyond the shadow of ANY doubt.

Thus Professor Dawkins himself adverted to the existence of a “multiverse” or multiple universes in addition to our presently visible one whose diameter is already at least 20 billion light years wide in all directions.

Well, Dawkins must have been referring to cosmologists’ recent predictions (speculations!) arising from “String Theory” and the corollary “Kaluza-Klein Theory” whereby they BELIEVE that there COULD BE as many as 10 multiplied 500 times (or 10 with 500 more zeros to its right!) cosmic “valleys”. Each one of these cosmic “valleys” would have its own set of unique physical laws of physics. Our visible universe would be merely ONE small region within ONE such “valley” or cosmic bubble. In short, an infinity of infinities!

Wouldn’t that add even more mind-boggling evidence of God’s infinite power? And thereby practically demolishing any likelihood that each of all these “happened by chance” thru their own unique sets of inexplicable self-energized evolutionary process?

And what about the INFINITESIMAL aspect of God’s creation? The 10 August 2007 issue of SCIENCE magazine reports that the latest discoveries in the Attoscience of applied nuclear physics have already been applied to measurable and yet still significantly relevant increments of time – duration as incredibly infinitesimal as one attosecond. It is one second divided by 1018. It is therefore one-billionth of one nanosecond, or one-billionth of one-billionth of a second!

And so I believe there is a preponderance of physical and logical evidence all around us to lead me humbly to cry out: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord! God of power and might, heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”.