A few years ago I was privileged to share an airline flight with a physics professor from a prestigious Ivy League university. A cordial and refined gentleman, his gray hair matched his gracious manners and impressive credentials. He was a quark expert, specializing in the sub-atomic building blocks of the material universe, and he did not believe in God. Our flight passed quickly as I quizzed the captive but willing scholar about his studies and the nature of the world. His answers were thoughtful and detailed, with helpful charts, diagrams, and formulas composed on several scraps of paper. Throughout our talk, having asked him every question I could muster about the nature of atoms, quarks, and the laws of physics, he said nothing that contradicted the biblical account of reality. In fact, everything he described presented a marvelous picture of the necessity and genius of God to arrange and uphold all things. From his perspective, however, nothing he said gave the least evidence for the existence of God.
At one point the professor observed that if you remove all of the empty space from a 1,000 by 1,000 by 1,000 meter cube of water, the matter remaining would only fill a cubic centimeter. Interestingly, a few weeks earlier I viewed a lecture where a physicist claimed that even the cubic centimeter of matter could be compressed further, leaving nothing but space!
As the plane began its descent I asked my teacher why everything held together in such an organized, uniform, and consistent pattern when things are mostly space with electrical charges “bouncing around.” He noted that scientists can measure and predict things, and observe that things hold together in particular ways, but ultimately they don’t fully know why. He basically said the same thing about gravity.
We know from Scripture, however, that apart from God, nothing would exist, let alone hold together in the amazing order and complexity that animates our universe. Christ “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 13), and “by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible….and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17 NAS). What we discover in science reflects how God orders and sustains the matter and energy He created. What we call a miracle involves God ordering an aspect of His universe in a different way, at a particular time, for a particular purpose. God alone, then, determines what is possible and impossible in the universe, not those who observe and discover how He orders and sustains it.
And so the uniformity or laws of nature are no more than how God orders the various aspects of the universe as He sees fit, for as long as He sees fit. In fact, they are not really laws at all if by “laws” we mean they exist and operate apart from God’s ongoing power. In the end, we do better calling “natural” laws “divine” laws, for apart from God’s ongoing ordering of the smallest measure of matter and energy, no such laws would exist, nor would we exist to discuss such things.
© 2016 Craig Biehl, Adapted from Craig Biehl, God the Reason: How Infinite Excellence Gives Unbreakable Faith, Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2015.
Yes, I Want a PDF of “The Divine Laws of “Nature””
We respect your privacy. We’ll NEVER sell, rent, or share your email address. That’s more than a policy, it’s our guarantee!