The God of Science

The physics of belief in God is linked to entropy. We worry about disorder in our life and hence desire order and think that God is the condition of the order. The belief in God assists humans to approach uncertainty. This reduction of belief in God to the fear of entropy places the foundation of belief and faith in fear alone. Without dismissing fear as well as the desire for order, faith and belief can be understood to be also based on the experience of divine love. This is why it is important to understand how God is portrayed by modern science. There is a ‘God of Science’. In the past, we believed that God gave us two Books: the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature. Maybe we have to seek a new model of God opened to us by the developments in Science in our days and cross-fertilize with the God modelled by Religion. What we may discover is a self-limiting God that gives autonomy not just to humans but to the entire order of creation. Given the finitude and evolutionary dynamism of creation, we have to agree that God could not avoid entropy. Hence, we have to be open to God’s self-limits. Self-limiting God does not violate the autonomous sphere of God’s creation. This means God acts in nature without violating the laws of nature.

1. Limits of Science and Self-limits of God (kenotic God)

God acts in the universe without violating the laws of nature that God has inscribed into it. God being the source, sustainer and the summit of all that is in the universe/ multiverse, brings everything that is into being, holds it into being and leads it to its ultimate fulfilment. Perhaps, a self-limiting God is the only regularity that is acting or involving in our dynamically evolving universe. This may be why Robert Russell says: “If we interpret quantum physics in terms of ontological indeterminacy, we can conceive of God as acting in nature without violating the laws of nature, since according to these laws, nature provides a set of necessary causes, but this set is not sufficient to bring about the actual event” (Russell 1995: 23). Here we are not speaking of the God-of-gaps as God is not evoked as an immediate efficient cause but is viewed as the grounding ground of the universe. Hence, divine action, therefore, has to be undetectable to the ‘microscope of Science’ and also cannot hinder the scientific quest for causal explanation. The God-of-the-gaps would hunt God as merely a physical cause and forget that God being the primary cause works through secondary causes by self-limiting in order to let things be. Hence, we have to overcome the reductionist approach of Science and view God acting at the depths of reality. This means that God does not act at the limits of time and space. On the contrary, it is the limits of time and space that have their being in God.

2. From God-of-Gap to God-Crossing-the-Gulf

There are gaps in Science that can be filled by theology or God. To avoid placing God in the gaps of Science, we may have to give up identifying the secondary efficient causes as the primary cause (God). Science today has come to understand its own limits. It accepts that it cannot become the ultimate explanation of everything. This means the limits of Science has introduced gaps in what we can know about the universe. Our universe is not fully transparent. Quantum Physics has placed a limiting principle of uncertainty over what can be known to us at the micro-level of reality. Hence, we take a leap that can intuit God that crosses the Gulf that we have hit by developments in quantum physics. This means God is not placed in the gaps of quantum physics but one that transcends these gaps and enables us to arrive at a synthesis of our life with the growing knowledge of the cosmos and our place within it. Scientist Paul Davies is aware of the fact that “we are barred from ultimate knowledge, from ultimate explanation” (1992: 231). He teaches us that if we wish to progress beyond Science, “we have to embrace a different concept of ‘understanding’ from that of rational explanation” (ibid.). He assumes the “mystical path” as one possible solution. Indeed, we need a mystical approach to see God acting at the quantum level and beyond it in our personal life and the entire cosmos.

3. Towards the God of the Living

God is the final yes to human as well as all life and everything that is in our universe. Everything that ‘is’ is yearning for to live fullness in the ultimate sense. This is why we can say that God is a source and sustainer is also the summit of all that is. This quest has a physical dimension. We may trace them in the limits placed on everything that is by the second law of thermodynamics. It is in these limits embedded into everything that is that one can see that there is a drive to transcend. This drive to transcend the second law of thermodynamics cannot find its foundation in this law itself. The drive to touch and live the fullness of life ultimately will overcome the second law of thermodynamics. Maybe we can trace it in the power of self-organisibility that we can find in all living beings. Science of Chaos and Complexity has indicated that self-organisibility is also in systems that are far from equilibrium. Hence, we may have to grant that this thrust towards self-organization is that which one that is driving the thirst of all that is to strive to reach fullness. This thirst exceeds itself, to move to higher-order or fullness has theological significance. It indicates that God is the ultimate summit of everything. Such a God can only be thought of as the God of the living who realitifies or vivifies everything that is.

Conclusion

The field theories from Faraday to Einstein show deep unification as well as the priority of the whole over the parts. Drawing theological significance from them, we can see how God is the unifying, vivifying, and redeeming ground of everything that is. Modern Science manifests a self-limiting, self-emptying and self-giving, God. Such an understanding of God is not foreign to Religions. Religions do accept a loving God. A self-limiting God actually goes contrary to the God of the philosophers. We do not need a do-nothing God, the unmoved mover of the philosophers. The God of Science is a coming home of the God of the Religions.

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GREETINGS

Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao