On What Grounds Can One Claim that the Christian God is the Creator?
Christian doctrine is broadly compatible with scientific accounts of our origins.
Photo Credit: Sarah Bodbyl Roels
Christian doctrine is broadly compatible with the scientific accounts of our origins. The Genesis creation story, for example, speaks of beginnings in a way that reminds us of the Big Bang theory, although this concept would certainly not have been a part of the author’s worldview.
Science shows us a universe that reflects many of the Christian God’s characteristics, such as omnipotence, love and perfection.1 For example, God’s omnipotence and perfection are evident through the laws of nature, all of which are finely tuned to allow life to develop. From a scientific standpoint, these features of the universe are surprising and warrant further explanation. But in light of the Christian narrative—in which a rational God intentionally created a universe congenial to life—the fine tuning of the universe makes sense. The Bible also claims that human beings have been created in God’s image.2 Our ability to love others and engage in meaningful relationships is therefore consistent with the existence of a loving God. And although radical altruism challenges evolutionary explanation, it resonates nicely with Christianity. Why, for example, would Mother Theresa of Calcutta spend her life with the poor? Why would a soldier sacrifice his life for people he does not know? These examples fit with the story of a God who sacrificed his own Son Jesus for his creation, and whose image we bear.
Consider the words of Albert Einstein: “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.”3 The simple fact that we have the intellect and skills to inquire and test and make scientific discoveries is remarkable. But with a rational, all powerful God in whose image we are made, it is no surprise that we are able and eager to make scientific sense of the world around us. Oxford University professor Alister McGrath puts it well:
The Christian vision of reality offers us a standpoint from which we may view the natural world, and see certain things that others might indeed regard as puzzling, or strange—such as fine-tuning—as consonant with the greater picture that the Christian has to offer.4
Many of the underlying themes of the monotheistic traditions are shared. Benevolence and justice, for example, are valued in many faiths. The central difference between Christianity and other faiths is the identity of Jesus as God’s Son and the truth of his resurrection from the dead, which brings salvation for those who believe. There is nothing about evolutionary science that conflicts with the central Christian trinitarian understanding of Jesus.
Though belief in the Christian God is not scientifically provable, it is not irrational. Commitment to Christ is a reasonable choice supported by a variety of non-scientific evidence from the Bible, history, philosophy, and the testimony of others. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit works in each person’s life to bring them into relationship with Jesus.
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