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God Is Not Found Through Science

Baylor’s Francis Beckwith responds to Eric Metaxas’s much-discussed Wall Street Journal column (which we talked about here). From Beckwith’s piece:

But now, Metaxas argues, that narrative is becoming obsolete: current findings in science show us that the arising of life in the universe is so improbable that it becomes increasingly clear that some master intelligence is probably behind it.

But is this the right way to think about God as Creator? Is the rational basis for believing in His existence really dependent on the deliverances of modern science? Should one calibrate the depth of one’s faith on the basis of what researchers tell us about the plausibility of the “God hypothesis” in recent issues of the leading peer-reviewed science journals? The answer to all three question is no, since God is not a scientific hypothesis. For this reason, it is equally true that advances in our scientific knowledge cannot in principle count against the existence of God.

This is because God – as understood by the Catholic Church and by most other theistic traditions – is not a being in the universe, a superior agent whose existence we postulate in order to explain some natural phenomenon, but rather, Being Itself, that which all contingent reality depends for its existence.

Read all of Beckwith’s essay.  

I am not philosophically sophisticated enough to respond on this point, but my view is this: order in creation does not prove God, but it is a sign pointing to God. Even if God’s existence could be proved, it changes nothing; even the devil believes in God, but rejects Him. God desires to live in communion with us. Recognizing His existence with the intellect is only a start. He wants not our minds, but our hearts. In Kierkegaardian terms, God is a subjective truth — a truth that can only be known by appropriating it with the most passionate inwardness. We don’t know God like we know the Second Law of Thermodynamics; we know God like we know the love of our father.

Science can be a signpost on the way to God, but no more than that. A God whose existence can be proven is not God.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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