In a previous blog, The Science Box, I looked at the problem created when God is considered from a scientific perspective. The scientific method has evolved over time to assure that all persons who are called scientists can find common ground for discussing scientific findings. That method limits or constrains two important aspects of science. First, it channels the lines along which various theories are allowed to develop. In so doing it disallows some channels. Second, it provides fairly strict rules for the pursuit of knowledge that either supports or refutes various claims made from the theories. Within the context of science itself, this is a very reasonable arrangement.
So far all is well. Here’s the problem that discussion created for us. The scientific method places requirements on both the questions we ask and the way we ask the questions. That’s what the first paragraph was about. What if we want to ask a question a different way? Well, if we do that we have to do a lot of other work just to “prove” that is a valid way to ask the question. Science expands in that way, but it is hard. But when it comes to the questions we ask it gets a lot trickier. One requirement of science is that whatever question we ask must be one that suggests we can find an answer using its own methods. The scientific method channels the answer finding process. It even goes so far as to say that if the attempts to answer the question do not lend themselves to “rigid methodology” they won’t be allowed into the Science Box. Rigid methodology means either direct or indirect observations of evidence using the senses or instrumentation that aids the senses. For example, we can either actually see a thing or use a microscope to see it.
These requirements of the scientific method are very important. They, in essence, constitute a container into which questions must fit. If a question will not fit into the container, then it must remain outside the container. We called that the Science Box. So the theories and methods not only require thorough analysis, they also allow for intelligible discussion – not about truth but about knowledge and how we got the knowledge. While science, in a collective sense, tries hard to allow for great latitude regarding the nature of questions (inquiry), it places on itself and its practitioners fairly rigid rules. Those rules speak to what science considers legitimate inquiry, as science defines legitimacy. In other words, science determines what knowledge is. In a sense, if some “fact” does not comply with the rules of legitimacy as agreed to by scientists, the fact may even be declared to be not a fact at all.
When we consider only questions that “legitimately” comply with the requirements of science as determined by scientists, all is well. When we consider other kinds of questions, we have to say they do not comply. That’s okay at one level. We can state simply that the question is not of scientific type. Many in the community of scientists, though, have come to believe that questions and facts that don’t comply with the scientific method cannot exist. The strong implication of this position is that existence depends on consensus concerning the structure of the fact, not its actual content – in some cases. In that case we have a corollary condition that truth is determined not by its content but by the way it is found.
God created all that has been created. That is a statement of the type mentioned in the previous paragraph. It is either true or it is not true, but this statement cannot be penetrated by any scientific process. It cannot be contained in any scientific theory. It cannot be observed by any combination of raw or instrumentally-assisted natural senses. The content of the statement under consideration cannot be allowed into the Science Box or any of its component boxes. It cannot be fit into any box at all. No box that we have created for our understanding of things around us is adequate to contain the truth of that statement. It stands independently of science and of the scientific method. It is an important statement in its implications but is not scientifically well behaved.
An upshot of the declarations I made in the previous paragraph is that the Science Box is incapable of dealing with the question of creation. It has tried to do so, but it cannot. If we accept the proposition of a humongous explosion (big bang) that got things going, we still haven’t explained what exploded or where that exploding stuff came from. In fact, we haven’t said why the laws of physics that require it to have exploded would require it to explode. We can’t just say that “gravity is” in the absence of dealing with why gravity exists to begin with. The question, “Why is there gravity?” won’t fit into the Science Box. If we can’t answer that, then we can’t say why that tiny dot of matter blew up to begin with and so forth.
Science can sometimes be testy about its limitations (or at least scientists can), but the scientific method requires those limits. The limits are designed to keep science “legitimate,” but they are limits. The nature of a limit is that something could exist beyond the limit. If not, we wouldn’t need the limitation. There’s no need for a fence if there is nothing beyond the fence.
Now it is true, from my perspective, that there is nothing in the Science Box that does not have its origin and ongoing existence in God – nothing except the arguments and rules of men. Assessable facts and the technology for their assessment all go back to Him. But all of that does not add up to the simple fact that God exists. He does not derive His existence from what He has done and is doing. Another way of saying that is that God exists independently of what He has done. Had He never created anything, He would still exist within Himself. It’s the other way around in fact. Everything that can be measured or assessed was created by God. In the creation process, He built into that which was being created the properties of the created things that makes them measurable. Nothing in creation exists independently of God while God exists completely independently of all that He created.
God is in the creation but is not subordinate to it. Hence, while we may find Him in the creation, we will not find Him by using the tools we use to study the creation. He is “in” the creation because the creation cannot exist without Him. Even though He is in the creation, He is in no way limited by it so He cannot be scientifically found in it. These facts exist beyond the context of science. They cannot be made to conform to the requirements of the scientific method so they won’t fit into the Science Box. Looking for confirmation of the existence of God in the Science Box is a fruitless endeavor. The senses that are used to detect God are not the so-called “natural senses” (sight, hearing and so forth). He created the eyes and ears and such, but He does not ordinarily reduce Himself to their range of sensation and certainly not do so just because we tell Him He should.
So if God is not in the Science Box and we wouldn’t let Him in anyway, how are we to detect Him? It’s a sure thing that the scientific method will fail in any of its attempts. It can look at and talk about all kinds of things that He created but not Him directly. Is there some method other than the scientific method that will enable us to detect God in a way that is satisfactory to us?
Jesus said, “God is a spirit and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth (John 4:24, NASB). Is there a spiritual method that will reveal God to us? Can we find Him in some spiritual context? If we do, we will find Him in a place that is ignored or even denied in the practice of science. That place will be beyond the boundaries of the Science Box. By the way, the keepers of the Science Box forbid spiritual things as subjects of scientific consideration.
Whatever we call the method of finding God, it won’t be the same as the scientific method. Hence it will have different rules and different procedures. That method, like the subject of its investigations, will be otherwise unknown to all of us, scientists and laymen alike.
He can be found whether we can even describe the method or context in which He can be found. In one place scripture instructs us to “seek the LORD while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6, NASB). He cannot be successfully sought using our natural senses. Therefore, He cannot be found using our natural senses. Because He is who and what He is, we must carry out our pursuit of Him in our spiritual senses in a manner that meets His approval.