Big idea: Christianity doesn’t compete with science to explain the world: it explains why we can do science at all.
Ready for Impact (15 mins)
Take time to welcome any newcomers and catch up on the past week (over drinks or snacks if possible).
Pray a short prayer, asking for the wisdom and insight to have a helpful discussion that informs our lives on campus.
This session looks at the idea that science ought to prove God’s existence.
Discuss: How have you come across the idea of conflict between science and Christianity among your fellow scientists?
Read the following quotes, then discuss: how might these perspectives feed into your conversations?
“To say it for all my colleagues and for the umpteenth million time…science simply cannot (by its legitimate methods) adjudicate the issue of God’s possible superintendence of nature. We neither affirm nor deny it; we simply can’t comment on it as scientists.”
“There is a richer, though somewhat ignored history of partnership between science and faith...The modern notion that deep faith in what cannot be seen is somehow in direct opposition to one’s ability to do rigorous study of what can be seen [science] is a fallacy.”
“I never cease to be amazed at quite how impressive the world is…the intricacies, and the variety, and yet the depth of simplicity at times of underlying physical laws and principles. It really is beautiful in many ways, and leads me to think about God.”
Impacted by the Word, part 1 (10 mins)
Read: Romans 1:20, Psalm 19:1-4
Discuss: What are the potential pitfalls of trying to learn about God using science?
(Hints: science is about evidence not proof; scientific knowledge is always provisional; we need to remember that creation is groaning; it won’t reveal Jesus!)
Impacted by the Word, part 2 (10 mins)
Watch and read the following video and quote from biophysicist and theologian Prof. Alister McGrath:
“Natural theology, which is really the attempt to make a link… between the natural world and God is very exciting and it's something we find in scripture itself. But of course these things can go wrong… For me, one of the worst things that can go wrong is that you fall into what I call the ‘God of the gaps’ approach. In other words, “Science can't explain this so that's where faith comes in - that sorts it all out”. And of course that's silly a) because it confines God to gaps which is ridiculous and b) those gaps will contract over time.”
Discuss: What do you think of the concept of the God of the gaps, and Alister’s warning about it?
Impacting Our Hearts (10 mins)
Read the following quote:
“For me it's not gaps, it's the fact we can make so much sense of nature, that requires explanation. So the quote I love from Albert Einstein which says the eternal mystery of the world is its explicability. Explicability needs explanation. If Christianity is right, it explains why we can explain.”
Discuss: What do you think of this as a route into a conversation about the existence of God? How might you get this conversation started with a course mate?
Wrap up (5 mins)
Thank everyone for coming, and ask someone to thank God for your time together in prayer.
See you soon!
If you want to explore this week's topic further, take a look at:
Science and knowledge of God:
Thinking about fine-tuning:
If science explains the origin of the universe, do I still need God?