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Scientific Evidence for God/a Creator

Based on “The Reason Series,” by Fr. Robert Spitzer of the Magis Center for Faith and Reason

The question is asked, “Can science disprove there God?” The answer is. “No.” It is difficult to disprove
many things by science. For example, it would be impossible to prove by the scientific method 1 that aliens
do not exist in the universe, because one would have to prove there are no aliens anywhere in the whole
universe. Science can definitely not disprove anything that is transcendent—that is something that exists
outside of the universe. Science can only measure things observable in our universe. Therefore, it is also
true that science cannot prove the existence of a transcendent God, nor can it prove the existence of an
immaterial, immortal human soul.

But, let’s ask a second question: “Can the scientific method be useful for providing evidence for the
existence of God?” The answer to that question is, “Yes—in two ways:”

First, if science can show that the universe had a beginning in time, then it would imply a Creator. Why?
If it came into existence at one point, then prior to that beginning there would have been nothing. Since
nothing can do nothing, something must have moved it from nothing to something.

Second, if science can show that the conditions and constants necessary to support life are highly
improbable, it is reasonable to conclude a superior intelligence (like God) designed it that way.
Contrarians propose a rather desperate multiverse hypothesis, that is, an infinite number of universes
could overcome the odds. Problem is, there is no evidence for it. Even if it were true, it would only move
the beginning back in time because the multi-verse hypothesis would still require a beginning. Those who
say that science and faith can’t exist together are wrong. If the universe looks to scientists like it is fine-
tuned for life, then it is a good bet it was fine-tuned, that is, designed for life by an intelligent designer.
We call that intelligent designer God.

Most scientists now believe that the universe had a beginning and that it began with the event we know as
the Big Bang—a giant explosion that occurred at starting point for the universe called “singularity”. Many
with great scientific minds like Fr. Robert Spitzer of the Maris Institute for Faith and Reason say that it is
more than just highly improbable that it was dumb luck that all the matter, conditions and constants
necessary for a planet earth and life could all have been present at the moment of the Big Bang . In fact,
the odds against the almost 30 Anthropic2 Principals required for any life to form being present by chance
at that beginning approach infinity to one—or virtually impossible!

How Science Came to the Realization that the Universe had a Beginning

1
Mr. Dwyer’s five steps that defined of the scientific method: 1) ask a question; 2) do background research; 3)
construct an hypothesis; 4) Test you hypothesis by doing an experiment; 5) analyzing your data and drawing a
conclusion; 6) communicating your results.
2
Anthropic is an ancient Greek word meaning “human.”
1
In 1916, Albert Einstein, called the father of modern physics, formulated his Theory of General Relativity.
His theory indicated that the universe was expanding. If true, it meant that the universe likely had a
beginning. Like most of those before him who looked to the heavens with wonder and for understanding,
Einstein believed that the universe always existed. It greatly disturbed Einstein to have to consider that
the eternal steady state existence of the universe was not the case. It was so problematic for him that he
arbitrarily included a constant into his calculations that eliminated this troublesome aspect of his
equations. Einstein would later say that doing this was the worst professional mistake he ever made.

In the 1922 Edwin Hubble, astronomer and astrophysicist at Mt. Wilson Observatory on the outskirts of
Los Angeles, observed that our Milky Way galaxy was not alone in the universe. Hubble detected our
nearest neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. At that moment our known universe expanded exponentially.

In 1927, a Belgian Catholic priest, Fr. George Lemaitre, could see there was a problem with Einstein’s
calculations in his General Theory of Relativity. He was able to show mathematically that the universe
was expanding. He would later gain the title of the “Father of the Big Bang Theory.”

In 1929 Hubble was still at Mt. Wilson and was working with spectrographic images of the universe. He
was observing variations in red-shifts (FYI: redshift is observed when light or other electromagnetic
radiation from an object moving away from the observer increases in wavelength, or shifts to the red end
of the spectrum.). With this tool Hubble was able to determine the expansion rate of the universe. Einstein
was still skeptical. Hubble invited Einstein to visit Mt. Wilson, which he did in 1932. Hubble was able at
that time to show Einstein the visible evidence of an expanding universe.

In 1964, Dr Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, while working at the Bell labs in New Jersey, detected
background radiation noise coming equally from every part of the sky. The realized that it was Cosmic
Microwave Background Radiation remaining from the Big Bang event. They would win a Noble prize in
physics for their work.

Most scientists today recognize that the universe is expanding from a central point as the result of the Big
Bang event. However, skeptics remain who are not convinced that expansion proves the universe had a
beginning. In 2003, Dr. Alexander Vilenkin working with associates presented a hypothesis that
demonstrated mathematical proof that all variant models of expanding universes had to have a beginning.
Since our universe is shown to be expanding, the hypothesis of Vilenkin means it had a beginning. This
hypothesis has been subjected to peer review for over a decade, and it still holds up.

The Anthropic Principles and the Implications for Faith in the Existence of God

For life to form in the universe after the Big Bang, matter at that point of singularity had to be highly
ordered with matter and energy. Scientists call this a state of low entropy—entropy being the irreversible
process of energy and matter moving from an ordered and useable state to a disordered and unusable state
(high entropy). Physicist Roger Penrose calculated the odds against our universe having a state of low
entropy at the moment of the Big Bang at an astronomical (pardon the pun) 1010 to the 123rd power.

The Anthropic Principles (i.e., matter, and physical laws necessary for human life) that had to be so
precisely set include: all four forces in the universe (i.e., the gravitational constant; the strong nuclear

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force coupling constant; the weak force constant; and the electromagnetic force); Hubble’s Constant;
Plank’s Constant; and the Cosmological Constant. Astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle was particularly
astounded by the long odds that carbon (a building block of life) could emerge and become abundant in
the universe. He likened the odds against this happening alone to a tornado sweeping through a junkyard
and constructing a Boeing 747 ready for flight. Sir Fred was once a Big Bang skeptic. In fact, he coined
the phrase Big Bang as a pejorative to mock Lemaitre’s theory—but the name stuck. Hoyle would
become a believer. With the seeming impossibility of the presence of all the Anthropic Principles
necessary for life, Sir Fred Hoyle wrote that the most reasonable explanation for all the precisely set
values and constants in the universe was that they were the work of a “super intellect.”

The Catholic Church and Evolution

The philosophical proofs for the existence of God were studied in Theology I. In harmony with the great
Greek philosopher Aristotle (d. 322.BC.), St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1275 A.D.) presented his five
philosophical proofs for the existence of God in his greatest work, The Summa Theologica. Like Aristotle,
Thomas begins his argument with the proposition that all things must have a cause; and since an ordered
universe exists, it must have a cause. For Aristotle, the ordered universe (he called the Cosmos) was the
result of a cold impersonal “Prime Mover” or “First Cause” who created a lesser divinity (the logos or
word), whose wisdom brought order to an eternally existing but chaotic universe. But Thomas was more
than a philosopher, he was a Catholic theologian with the faith that all things were created “by”, “with”,
and “in” Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thomas’ God was not the impersonal divinity of Aristotle but a
loving God who created the universe from nothing (“ex nihilo”) and was the “Intelligent Designer” whose
existence could be seen “in the work of his hands.”

Pope Pius XII in his 1950 encyclical Humani Generis stated that the Church is open to the theory of
evolution as long as the belief is held that God is the immediate creator of the human soul. Pope John
Paul II publically announced his belief in 1996 that the scientists have made their case that evolution is
“more than a hypothesis.” Pope Benedict XVI stated in 2011that God was responsible for the Big Bang.

The cosmological discoveries of recent times prove our universe is continually expanding and therefore
had a beginning—and therefore, of necessity, it had a first cause for that beginning. The irony is as the
prominent astrophysicist Dr. Robert Jastrow put it that once scientists finally climbed to the top of the
mountain and realized that the universe had a beginning, they found theologians who had been waiting
there for them for centuries.

Note: Having established that science provides evidence for the existence of God, the question of what
science says about the nature of God (e.g., He is loving God) remains a topic for another day.