Friday, January 21, 2022

Cause and Effect Research

A treasured area of my personal bookcase contains over two dozen special science volumes. The authors are a group of scientists from the Christian organization Reasons to Believe. Each RTB scientist voices strong support for the conflation of science and Christian faith. The promotion of this linkage is unusual in our world where science is promoted as a secular activity: According to the tradition of our day, science should not have any connection with religion or Christian theology. The secularization of science was a landmark trend beginning in the 19th century. In one of our past posts from 2011 we discussed the issue in some detail:

In spite of the movement toward secularization, a significant number of scientists still endorse the strong linkage between the Creator and scientific knowledge. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross has become well known for articulating this connection. Dr. Ross tells the fascinating story of how the latest research into origins not only has sealed the case for divine creation, but has revealed the identity of the Creator Himself. The RTB organization was founded in 1986. 

In 1993 our family visited the Wheaton College bookstore—our daughter had just been enrolled at Wheaton. One of the early publications of the newly founded Reasons to Believe ministry was the well known book The Fingerprint of God. The book was published in 1991. I purchased a copy and presented it to my father. The memory of our bookstore visit rekindled recollections of my then octogenarian father who was uniquely blessed by the ministry of RTB and their early efforts to connect science and faith. In succeeding years Dr. Ross has enlisted many fine scholars to highlight and strengthen the science/faith connection. Ross has been a guest on the John Ankerberg Show several times. 

On a personal level we must state that both my father and I were affirmed in our faith by the RTB ministry. Weeks after our visit to the Wheaton bookstore, I was pleased to discover he was devouring The Fingerprint of God and other RTB publications such as The Creator and the Cosmos and Beyond the Cosmos. He ordered these by mail on his own. In my possession is a book, The Genesis Question, (1998), personally autographed “To Paul, Praise for His glory revealed to us all! Hugh Ross Ps. 50:6.” My father’s eyes were failing from macular degeneration, but he retained enough vision to read difficult books! He was even able to view Comet Hale-Bopp through an Astroscan telescope. (Check our post from 12/25/21.) 

We wrote the following tribute to “Dad” a few days after he departed this life in August 1999: “This life chronicle would not be complete without a description of one of Dad’s greatest joys in his last five years. He became interested in the writings of several committed Christian scientists who promoted the idea that modern scientific discoveries, particularly in the last 20 years, instead of threatening the foundation of our faith, actually bolster the witness of scripture concerning the evidence for God’s existence and His characteristics. Dad devoured these writings word for word, concept for concept. He would gaze at the sky and the forest with more appreciation and knowledge than ever before. How he was able to read so extensively with such impaired vision we hardly understand. The increase in Dad’s grasp of the greatness and majesty of God was inspiring. I hasten to add that the grasp was exceedingly strong already! He came to understand that in the realm of science and theology, from the macrocosm to the microcosm ‘facts are the crucial foundation for meaningful faith.’ There were numerous times over the years that our questions or comments about scriptural matters would evoke wonderfully enriching and informative discussions, nourished by Dad’s enormous  knowledge of the scriptures (he studied scripture and scripture commentaries all his life). The scientific books expanded our theological discussions to a new dimension.”

Our ability to seek knowledge of God is a bountiful gift. Through science we are able to observe the reality of our existence and establish that God is the omnipotent, ultimate Cause of all things. Through science we are able to accurately observe effects. Through science we are able to establish truth and separate truth from ideology. 



Sunday, January 9, 2022

Causes and Effects

 Science is basically a study of causes and their effects: In simplest terms one event or action is the direct result of a previous event or action. Scientists must insure that their judgements are not compromised by errant thinking, particularly with respect to ultimate causes. For example, does God exist and did He create and design the characteristics present in our universe? 

Scientific literature offers evidence that effects in the world of our everyday experience are produced by definite causes. Scientists have developed formal methods for accurately determining the chain of events sequence. When we determine the sequence we discover truths about the world of reality permeating our universe.  Understanding causality demands a heavy dose of scientific knowledge gained from systematic study. The Creator of All Things has implanted in humans the ability to investigate cause and effect without error.

We speak of a fundamental pairing of phenomena we observe daily. Our ability to study causal relationships is a gift of the Creator. Consider the term for God we have used many times: the Creator of All Things. This includes our ability to detect ever-present relationships in which we are immersed every moment of our lives. These relationships include (1) characteristics and behavior of the physical, material universe, (2) the characteristics and behavior of living things, and even (3) the phenomenon of human consciousness. Humans are unique in their consciousness of God—the ultimate “Cause.”

Very young children observe cause/effect phenomena when parents place action toys in their play pen. Older children identify these phenomena during their playground games. The same children become aware of human relationships when they are trained to obey and be respectful of others. They quickly learned causes and effects of their behavior—sometimes appropriate, sometimes inappropriate. As teenagers and young adults, they may have deep questions about how the universe began. Did the universe always exist, or did the universe have a beginning? Was there an omnipotent Beginner, an ultimate Cause to whom humans owe allegiance? Wise parents and church leaders are pleased to address young people’s deep, thoughtful questions about the existence of God as the ultimate Cause. This is an awesome responsibility for parents and youth leaders.

The cause/effect relationship is germane to the discussion about the existence and traits of God, the Creator. Is God the divine Cause of All Things? The famous Cosmological Argument  proposes that God’s existence is proven by the fact that “things exist.” This is a heavy exercise in logic, perhaps too deep for most young people. In the absence of concrete proof for God’s divine existence, we must offer relevant evidence short of absolute proof.


We reference material from a blog we posted on June 1, 2010. The post refers to God as the Intelligent Designer, another way to describe God as the “Ultimate Cause.” The following excerpts are quotations concerning intuition, sometimes cited in the absence of concrete proof: Intuition is defined as “an immediate apprehension of truth…in the absence of conscious, rational processes.” Intuition is an excellent starting point for discussions of the real world, such as the topic of origins…As an evidentialist, I have confidence in the function of intuition, but only as a prelude to more formal investigative processes of science.

Fundamental questions about the existence of God and His workings in our world and in our lives are some of the most important questions we could ask. What provisions did the Creator make for our redemption? The issues of cause and effect are integrally related to these questions. They help us understand the broad dimensions of God’s loving character and His love for humanity.