Author: Ron Graham
Seven Questions Scientists Cannot Answer
—Lesson against Atheism
These seven simple questions might be hard, but they are quite straightforward. Scientists currently do not know the answers to these questions.
On these questions, scientists may put forward hypotheses to debate and to test if possible. But that's not knowing the answer. Now here's the point: since scientists currently lack the knowledge of these seven lesser things, how can they rationally take the position that there is no God or hope beyond this life?
What this lesson does NOT say...
- It doesn't say that scientists will never answer these questions.
- It doesn't attempt to prove or infer the existence of God.
- It doesn't claim that the Bible answers all these questions.
- It DOES say that atheistic and agnostic scientists should lay aside their hubris and admit, “We don't know enough to say that there is no God, or that we cannot know whether God exists, or that the hope people have in God is untrue.”
1 What is the size and shape of the cosmos?
Scientists know a lot about the universe, however they don't yet know its size and shape. God asks a related question: "Where is the way to the dwelling of light... Can you discern the paths to its home?" Then God chides, "You know because you were born then, and great are your days!" (Job 38:19).
If a person doesn't know something as basic as the size and shape of the universe, do you really think that person knows enough to deny your belief and hope in God?
2 What basic particles is the cosmos made of?
Not only are scientists still trying to work out the form of the universe, they are also still trying to discover the basic particles from which everything is made.
The Bible says, "By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen is not made from things which are visible" (Hebrews 11:3).
If a person doesn't know the basic “building blocks” of the universe, is that person in a position to contradict your faith in God s word?
3 What is time and where did it come from?
On earth, we use the Global Positioning System (GPS) to guide our aeroplanes, boats, cars, and perhaps our feet. Precisely tracked satellites orbit earth carrying atomic clocks accurate to a billionth of a second (a nanosecond). Time signals from several of these space clocks are used to plot position with amazing accuracy.
Because the space clocks travel at high speed in low gravity compared to an identical clock on earth, the space clocks do not register time in step with the earth clock. The lesser gravity in orbit “speeds up” time. On the other hand, the speedier motion of the satellite “slows down” time. The net effect is that the space clocks “tick off” more nanoseconds than the earth clock.
However, none of the clocks has lost accuracy. In practice, the space clocks are adjusted to a precise inaccuracy so as to keep the GPS accurate (otherwise in a single day the whole system would be useless).
Puzzles of Time
Such are the puzzles of time. We can ask curly questions. For example, imagine an atomic clock was sent into orbit a year ago. It was set going from zero at the same moment as an identical clock left on earth. By now the space clock has registered more elapsed time than the earth clock. Does that mean the space clock has existed longer than the earth clock?
Scientists don't have any real answers to these puzzles. Some of them say that time is an illusion concocted by our brain to help us make sense of reality. Does that make sense?
Our faith looks beyond time and temporal experience. We look to eternity. Time sits between a beginning (John 1:1-3), and an end (John 12:48). By contrast, followers of Jesus will enjoy "everlasting life" in heaven (John 3:16).
Is a person qualified to deny that hope and assurance, if that person doesn't even know the origin and nature of time?
4 What is life and where did it come from?
Scientists struggle to explain how life began on earth —if “life” refers to organisms dependent upon cells capable of reproduction.
There is no such thing as a “simple” cell. Even a tiny bacterium is every bit as complex as your computer; or a motor car; or a chocolate factory; or a jumbo jet.
The Bible claims that life began not as one microscopic living thing, but as many basic kinds of plants, fish, birds, animals, creeping things —plus of course a pair of humans (Genesis 1:12,21,25,27).
If a person doesn't know how life arose, and can only guess, is that person’s ignorance any threat to your belief that God created the first living creatures?
5 What is mind, and how do thoughts arise?
We all have thoughts —thousands of them every day. But where do they originate? Our brains help us perceive and think. They help us process, communicate, and act upon our thoughts. But do our brains originate thoughts? Am I my brain? Scientists often assume so. But they don't know so.
The Bible asks, "Who among men knows the thoughts of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him?" (1Corinthians 2:11). So you believe you are spirit as well as flesh, and mind is not a fleshly organ only.
By what authority can a person refute you, if that person doesn't even know how thinking happens and where thoughts originate?
6 What is the purpose or goal of the cosmos?
Many scientists say that there is no overall purpose for the cosmos. It has no destiny. They can deduce purpose in parts of the cosmos, of course. There is a purpose in a bird having wings. But as to any high purpose, a goal for the universe, scientists don't know where the universe is heading or why.
The Bible says, "The creation was subjected to futility... it will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:18-25).
If a person knows only futility in the universe, and cannot find a goal, who is that person that he or she should scorn our assurance of hope that this creation will be reborn in a new and glorious form as a new heavens and a new earth?
7 Why is there something rather than nothing?
This question about nothing proves nothing. Nevertheless it is a puzzle to scientists. Some of them claim the universe came from nothing, but they propose something (a “singularity” for instance) yet call it “nothing” —which is cheating.
By saying, "God created" (Genesis 1:1), the Bible solves the question, but the atheist is confronted with it.
If a person does not know why there is something rather than nothing, how can that person logically shake your belief in God?