Why “Science can’t prove God” doesn’t really work
“I’m under no obligation to believe in a God that science can’t prove to exist”
“My rejection of all gods is common sense backed up by the absolute lack of evidence.”
These sound like very reasonable justifications for not seeking God. But unfortunately it’s not that easy. The truth is that we don’t need science to prove God because he’s already done that without science.
In Paul’s argument to the Romans, he writes “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Creation is God’s visible testimony to his invisible being. Just as a work of art, let’s say a painting, is the artist’s visible testimony to his being. You don’t need to see the painter to know that he exists if you have the painting in front of you. Even if there’s no historical record of who painted the painting, you still know that someone did. But how? Did science prove that to you? No. Science can’t. Science can take a sample of the paint and measure its chemical composition, but it can’t offer any evidence whatsoever that a painter ever existed. However, that’s still no valid reason not to believe in a painter. The painting itself is the visible testimony giving knowledge of the invisible painter, and that sure knowledge is gained apart from the scientific method.
In the same way, lack of scientific evidence for God is not a valid reason not to believe in him. We can still know that he exists without science having to prove that to us. There are other sources of sure knowledge apart from science.
Thus atheism is not a natural belief system for any creature. History in fact shows us that atheism was only ever a reaction to theism of various forms (hence “a-theism”). To illustrate, take a hypothetical human being who’s had no contact with any other humans. He’s had no indoctrination, never been exposed to another person’s ideas or writings – a completely clean slate. Now plonk him in the middle of untouched creation. What would he think? – when he considers the stars and the mountains towering above him, when he considers how his body works, and the food growing from the ground to perfectly nourish it, the ordered sequence of day and night… he would of course naturally assume it has been designed that way. The fact that the designer is not immediately observable would cause him to seek one out, to give due recognition. It would come as a shock to him to hear that no designer exists. In any event, atheism would not be a natural first assumption.
Why then do we not naturally seek out our creator, and give him the recognition that should be instinctive? The bible says it’s because we don’t want to. To recognize our creator would be to obligate ourselves to obey him, and it’s much easier to obey ourselves. In fact, we know we can’t obey God like we should, and so it’s much easier to alter what we believe rather than believe what is true about him. It is that burden of obedience to which atheism is a reaction. But not just atheism – we all have a tendency to choose what to believe to support our lifestyle, rather than taking on the burden of believing what is true.
But there is another way to deal with the burden of obedience, which doesn’t involve running away from it. The other way is to recognize that Jesus became one of us to take that burden on himself, and carried it perfectly for us. And so instead of suppressing the truth, we can now embrace it…
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Jesus