Between Modern Science and the Bible

The present-day space scientist has a much different view of the universe than did his predecessor of only 15 years ago. The observations made from spacecraft of the universe about us have revealed and undreamed of complexity and a breath-taking orderliness in the structure of the galaxies, stars and vast dust clouds that populate the cosmos. No longer can the space scientist accept the statement made by his predecessors that the universe just happened — that all the complexity and intricate arrangements came about by chance.

If not by chance, how did the universe originate? The only remaining possibility is that it was created by a Supreme Intelligence. Who is this Supreme Intelligence and what His relationship to men? Science has no answer to this last question, but the Bible claims to have it.

Can the space scientist of today accept the Bible as the revelation of the Supreme Intelligence (God) that, he is convinced, created the universe? What test can he apply? One possible test is compatibility of concept. If the Bible is truly the revelation of God, then its concepts should be compatible with modern science’s basic concepts. Let us see if we can establish such a parallelism.

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

Albert Einstein, perhaps the greatest scientist of our age, announced his famous Theory of Relativity in 1916. Although quite revolutionary when first announced, the theory is now widely accepted as the basic theory for understanding the structure of the universe. Certain parts have been verified by experiment, but some do not admit verification at our present state of scientific development.

In his theory, Einstein gives five characteristics to light (energy) that were not previously known to science. The amazing thing is that these characteristics are identical with those given to God in the Bible, which states that ‘God is Light”!

First, Einstein said that light is the fundamental substance of the universe; not matter, as scientists had previously thought. He supported his contention with the famous equation that is now the foundation of modern physics: e=mc2, where “e” stands for energy, “m” for mass, and “c” for the velocity of light. The Bible says that God is fundamental to the universe: He created it (Genesis 1:1).

Second, Einstein pointed out that light is to be found throughout the universe, whereas matter occupies only a small portion. He defined the extent of the universe as that portion of space occupied by light. The Bible says that God is everywhere in the universe (Psalm 139: 7-10).

Third, Einstein stated that the velocity of light was absolutely constant, and that many other physical quantities varied relative to it. Although velocity is normally considered a relative quantity, the velocity of light is a constant of the very structure of the universe. The Bible says that God is constant, He never changes (James 1:17).

Einstein said that if a material body, such as a spacecraft, could acquire a velocity close to that of light, three strange effects would take place: (a) the weight (mass) would increase; (b) time would slow down; and (c) distance in the direction of motion would shorten. To see what these effects really mean, let us assume that we are all passengers on a spacecraft headed for Alpha Centauri, the star nearest the Earth. It takes light four and one-third years to reach us from that star, and our journey will be a long one. We have a nuclear rocket motor with fuel enough to accelerate continuously, and we have now reached a speed almost as great as that of light. When we have approached sufficiently close to that velocity, our weight (mass) will have increased by a factor of sixty. Each one of us would weigh more than 3,000 kilograms (3 tons.) Time will have slowed down, so that one minute on our watches is one hour for the people back on Earth. And the distance from the tip of one’s nose to the back of the neck is one-eighth of an inch (less than half a centimeter).

As we travel still faster, but not quite as fast as light, our mass continues to increase — first as great the entire earth, then the sun, then our whole galaxy. If we could go exactly as fast light, our mass would become infinite — greater than all the galaxies in the universe! Mass becomes infinite at the velocity of light. The Bible says that God is infinite (Psalm 147:5).

While our weight is increasing, time is slowing down, until at exactly the speed of light, time ceases altogether. Time does not exist at the velocity of light. The Bible says that with God, time does not exist (John 8:58).

And our length in the direction of motion continues to shrink, until at exactly the speed of light it disappears altogether. We turn into light! The Bible says that God is light (1st John 1:5).

Thus the ancients who wrote the Bible have given to God the very same characteristics that Einstein gave to light in 1916, characteristics that were not previously associated with light. And then the ancients said that God is light. How did they know that light had those characteristics? Truly, the Bible has an amazing insight into the concepts of modern science.

The Calculus of Infinities

One of the most puzzling concepts in the Bible is the concept of the Trinity. Time after time, the three Persons of the Godhead are identified with one another (John 1:1; 10:30; Matthew 3:16; Acts 16:6,7), but the Bible is quite clear that there is only one God (see Mark 12:29). How can three Persons (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) be one God?

There is a theorem in the calculus of infinities, a branch of modern mathematics, that can explain this paradox. This theorem states that an infinity is such an entity that anything can be added to it, including another infinity, and it becomes no larger; also anything can be subtracted from an infinity, including another infinity, and it becomes no smaller. This in a way is a definition of an infinity. Let us observe these properties in a simple example.

If we count the ordinary numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, on and on) how far can we count? We could count the rest of our lives, and our children could continue to count after us, and our grand children, and so on until the human race disappears from earth and we would not reach the end of the series of natural numbers. Thus the count of the series
1,2,3,4,5,6,7, ... n...
where “n” is a number arbitrarily large, constitutes one infinity.

But we can also count only the even numbers (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, on and on). How many of them are there? There is no limit here either. The same is true for the odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, on and on). Both the set of even numbers and the set of odd numbers are infinities. But are there fewer of the even numbers or of the odd numbers than there are of all the numbers? Intuitively, one would think so. There should be only half as many. But in fact, there are just as many even numbers or odd numbers as there are of all the numbers, as the following comparison shows:

(All the numbers): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ... n ... 2n
(Even numbers only): 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, . . . 2n ... 4n
(Odd numbers only): 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, ... 2n—1 ... 4n—1

where “n” is arbitrarily large. One can readily see that if the even numbers are combined with the odd numbers (one infinity is added to another infinity) the result is the set of all the numbers (one infinity). This is the meaning of the theorem, and the basic property of infinities.

Thus we can see that if we combine God the Father (one infinite Person), God the Son (one infinite Person), and God the Holy Spirit (one infinite Person), the result must be only one infinite God. That is the nature of infinity. Also we can subtract the even numbers (one infinity) from the set of all the numbers (one infinity) and we still have left the odd numbers (one infinity). So when Jesus Christ (one infinite Person) came to Earth, infinity was subtracted from the infinite God in Heaven, but God the Father (one infinite Person) still remained.

The amazing thing about the concept of the Trinity as one God is that the ancients had no idea of the properties of infinities. To them an infinity is something that cannot be described or defined. This is understable when we realize that the much simpler concept of zero as a definite entity, as opposed to nothing as the absence of something, was also unknown to the ancients. There is no word for zero in Latin, Greek or Hebrew. How, then, did the writers of the Bible know that three infinite Persons could be one infinite God?

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

There is a law in physics that is known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The first law states that heat flows only from a higher temperature region to a lower temperature region. The second law states that when energy is converted from one form to another, some is always lost from the system in which the conversion is taking place. When we transfer energy from one mechanical system to another, we always lose some in friction, which is a form of heat energy. This law is very well established in astronomy, physics, chemistry, engineering, and many other fields. But the theory of evolution of life on Earth is contrary to this law. The theory of evolution says that life forms are continuously becoming more complex, whereas the second law of thermodynamics says that everything in the physical universe is becoming less complex, deteoriating, running down. The universe is moving inexorably from a state of concentrated energy at fantastically high temperature to a state of completely dispersed energy at a very low temperature. How, then, can the theory of evolution be accepted as a scientific theory, when it flagrantly contradicts one of the basic laws of the physical universe? The evolutionists have no satisfactory explanation.

The Bible avoids a contradiction of the law of thermodynamics by affirming that the increased complexity of life forms is due to the creative action of God, who is outside of the physical universe, and hence, in effect, is supplying energy to it in His acts of creation, which started by imbuing the universe with its initial supply of energy. (Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.”) Hence the Biblical account of the creation and growth of life (as opposed to mere diversification) is in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, whereas the theory of evolution is not.

The Genetic Theory of Reproduction

The science of genetics has progressed a long way toward an understanding of the mechanics of reproduction of living things. The mecha nism is fantastically complex, but very carefully designed to guarantee that the offspring will be organized identically to the parent. But it is also designed to bring about minor variations in size, coloration, and form of body parts, both to individualize the members of a species, and to permit a species to adapt to its environment. Darwin observed this capacity of living things to change so as to adapt to changes in their environment, and wrongly concluded that this capacity could explain the increasing complexity of life forms from the algae and protozoa (one celled plants and one-celled animals) to the very complex species of plant and animal that exist today.

Although many of the researchers who are developing the science of genetics believe the Darwinian theory, they have so far been successful in establishing that it is increasingly less likely to be true. The process of mutation can indeed change the structure of an organism, but only destructively, as far as present-day studies show. This is in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and is one more supporting link in the chain of evidence modern science is forging to support the validity of the creation statements in the first chapter of Genesis, which states that God created plants and animals to reproduce “after their kind”.

The Personality of Man

The point where the evolutionist and the theist come to their most serious conflict is the origin of man. Because man is physically quite similar to the higher vertebrates in his bodily structure, the evolutionists contend that man is no more than another step higher in the process of evolution. But this step is far more than a mere physical one. True, man’s body is only slightly better adapted to the environment than an ape’s, but his mental and aesthetic capabilities have no counterpart in the animal world. The differences between man and the ape are not a matter of degree, but of kind. These differences are explained very simply by the Bible in its account of the creation of man. They are due to the fact that God made man “in His Image” and “breathed His Spirit into man”. God did not do that for any of the animals. Hence man is a unique form of life on Earth. His personality has no counterpart in the animal world.

The One-Degree Corridor

When the astronauts return to Earth from space, the spacecraft must re-enter the atmosphere at a very precise angle, known as the re-entry corridor. At the velocity of return from the Moon, this corridor makes an angle of seven and a half degrees with the horizontal and is only one degree wide. If they attempt to enter the atmosphere at an angle greater than 8 degrees, the friction of the air will overheat their spacecraft and they will be burned to death. If they attempt to enter at an angle less than 7 degrees, they will be thrown back out into space, due to the skip effect (like a stone skipping over the water of a pond), and will never return to Earth. There is only one way they can reach the safety of the Earth’s surface, and that is through the narrow corridor of re-entry.

The Bible quotes two sayings of Jesus which form a parallel to the re-entry situation. The first is from Matthew 7:13,14, where Jesus says: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” The second is from John 14:6. “Jesus saith unto him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.'” Here Jesus is saying that He is the only way to God, and that way is a narrow way. What did Jesus mean by those statements?

There are two separate reasons why Jesus is the only way to God. The first is generally understood by all who have studied Christianity: Jesus died on the cross at Calvary, and thus paid the penalty for our sin of rebellion against God, permitting all who accept Him for this act to be forgiven by God and be reconciled to God. But why couldn’t someone else have done that, why only Jesus? The Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that the penalty for sin is death, eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). Hence if any person other than Jesus had died on the cross it would be only to pay the penalty for his own sin, and would not avail for anyone else. But since Jesus did not sin, He always obeyed God, and because He is an infinite Person, his death on the cross does avail for every person who ever lives on earth, provided that person accepts Jesus’ sacrifice by repenting of his sin.

The second reason is just as important as the first. No one can expect to be admitted to God’s presence unless he has learned how to live so as to please God. Jesus showed us by His teaching and by His example what kind of life that is. But it is humanly impossible to live that way! But Jesus, and only Jesus, can help us live that way, if we are willing to let Him direct our lives. On that basis, He will share His knowledge and His power with us, as we carry out the assignments He gives us, in effect giving us His righteousness, as thus we will be acceptable to God (John 15:1-11).

The astronauts returning from the Moon know they can enter the atmosphere only through this one angle of 7½ degrees, with a tolerance of only ½ degree on each side. If they attempt to enter the atmosphere at any other angle they will be destroyed. This is the way the physical universe is organized. If they come in more steeply than 8 degrees they will be heated up more rapidly than their heat shield can protect them and they will be incinerated. If they come in at less than 7 degrees they will be forced back out into space by the skipping effect, like a stone on a pond, and they will be lost in space. They can come into the earth’s atmosphere only through this one narrow corridor. There is no other way to come. Jesus says “I am the way... no man cometh unto the Father except by me.” We can well take a lesson from this, if we think we can go to God in any other way except through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wiser Than They Knew

There are many other parellels still that could be found in the scriptures. What has impressed me so much about them is that they reveal the deep insight into God’s ways, the universe and man. We in modern times are just beginning to realize what these things mean. Yet thousands of years have elapsed since these words were written and yet man has not really understood what they mean. To think that these ancient men could have derived this insight, this understanding, from human sources alone is unthinkable. Only God could have revealed it to them and could have inspired them to write it. This being so we must ask, what about all the other things the Bible tell us? Are they not also inspired by God? Are they not also God speaking to us through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ? In Revelation 3:20 He tells us: “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door (of his heart) I will come in to him and sup with him.” Jesus is ready to come into our hearts, to make Himself known to us personally and to share with us His great power, His love, His joy, His peace. Have you met Him? Have you realized that it is possible to meet Him?... All you need to do is to ask Him in, open the door of your heart and He will come in.