This particular book by John C Lennox has a permanent spot on my bookshelf. It’s an all time favourite that I first got when I was 19, but every few years I visit it over and over again. The books packs in so much in it’s 200 odd pages, like a mini encyclopedia that I come back to for reference so often. Perhaps its really just my passive aggressive nature, but I have not felt the need to defend God against science because in my opinion he doesn’t need it. However this book is amazing if you’re a science buff trying to connect God and science. It really delves into the beautiful laws of science that inundate our universe and what God’s got to do with it all. Depending on where you are in your journey and understanding, the answer might be a simple, God is everywhere so it defies logic to say he cannot be found in science.
As someone who is more inclined to science related stuff; (yes I was that much of a geek that at the age of 18 not much was more interesting to me than quantum physics), it’s been a journey to tie these two ideas together. God is more real to me than Einstein’s theories, no matter how much I agree with them. To me science does not prove the redundancy of my God, because he is written in every fibre in my being, his DNA and imprint is upon all humanity and creation. He is in the smallest of particles, leptons and quarks and in the galaxies stretching far and wide. What I struggled to articulate was how I could be a mad scientist and still be crazy in love with Jesus. Somehow it worked, it still works and it fits so perfectly well, the two are not at odds within me. How could I explain that to people who think Christians seem to be lacking in elementary reasoning and inquisitiveness of the categorical mechanics of our world? To someone who thinks we blindly attribute everything to a big, old, invisible, bearded white man sat on a throne in the sky?
If you’ve ever been in a position where you had to articulate what has often felt like a struggle between God and science and which is the ultimate truth, this book will get you further in your journey. I love how John Lennox manages to convey his ideas in relatively simple terms, communicate the intricate physics that holds this beautiful planet together so perfectly well. I will admit, this is not an easy read, I needed my thinking cap on, it has a sizeable bit of scientific and philosophical ideas, enough to get a glimpse of what science means to him and to most Christian scientists. How do they marry their vocation, which they are ferociously passionate about with their faith, when society suggests faith is a result of disengaging one’s brains? Is it an act of intellectual laziness on their part?
When I read this book by John Lennox I might have a little too many of the “aah this is what I’ve been trying to say” moments. He managed to articulate precisely how it is not God vs science. We somehow got the narrative wrong by pitting God against science, not through one particular group’s fault. I suppose as “Christians” in the past, the church did not help when there was denial of basic scientific principles. My only wish is that more and more people would come to realise that it is not a war, God and science work handsomely well. To me God is a God of principle and laws. So why would he not put laws into nature too, like the law of gravity? If he has simple principles such as if you give it shall be given to you, why would the theory of relativity be offensive to him or beyond him?
For me this quote Lennox uses by Richard Swinburne sums up the whole argument;
“Note that I am not postulating a ‘God of the gaps’, a god merely to explain the things that science has not yet explained. I am postulating a God to explain why science explains; I do not deny that science explains, but I postulate God to explain why science explains. The very success of science in showing us how deeply ordered the natural world is provides strong grounds for believing that there is an even deeper cause for that order.”
Lennox takes you on this journey of understanding why its not a choice of God or science. At the beginning he gives a simple analogy of a ford engine. We know the physics principles that underly the workings of that engine, but I presume if Henry Ford had not designed that system by manipulating those very principles, we might have been denied Ford cars.
After reading this book, every new perplexing scientific development or discovery that comes out, astounds me for different reasons to most people I suspect. To know that God took the time to create such an intricate universe, bewilders and humbles me. How he chose you and I to be part of this perplexingly magnificent world which is intricately detailed, brings out a song of worship in my soul.
“Our involvement is too intimate…We are truly meant to be here.”
I may not be a seasoned intelligent-design theologist, but what I know of the nature of God; his innumerable workings including science, brings me peace that surpasses understanding. He has laid before us a universe with great mysteries to give us a purpose and to continue discovering the many enigmas he has hidden in this universe. I highly recommend this book if you like me, are on this particular journey. I hope it helps you make sense of a few things you’ve always wondered about your fondness for science and devotion to God.