Science is a Human Investigative Enterprise

As I read through the science literature, an important point jumps out for today’s Christian…who rightly believes in the supernatural and in miracles.

Scientific investigation can be broken down into more easily understandable parts thusly: certain natural phenomenon occurs repeatedly and behaves uniformly…which can then be confidently assumed to be consistent enough to be classified as physical laws that we can rely upon day after day…for example, the unchanging force of gravity that supports our confidence in the aeronautical designs of aircraft, or the stable compressive strengths of different types of soils for supporting building structures.

But the entire edifice of science…the structure underlying the authority of science that encapsulates the mystery and beauty of science for the layman…is built upon two rock-solid concepts called inductive inference and the uniformity of nature…that are easy to understand.

Simply stated, inductive inference and the uniformity of nature say that we can infer from the observations made of repetitive occurrences and phenomenon in the natural world…that our scientific investigations will reveal repetitive physical behaviors that will reliably occur over and over again, and that these natural phenomenon follow uniform physical laws that we can recognize, categorize, and in many cases quantify in measurable units such as number, weight, length, and force.

But the critical point here in terms of a rational worldview that fully accepts the validity of the scientific method (recognizing its limitations) is that neither of these two fundamental concepts…inductive inference or the uniformity of nature…can be used by atheists as scientific grounds for excluding the supernatural or miracles…from reality.

Neither concept of inductive inference or the uniformity of nature is provable by the methodology of scientific investigation…because repeated observation of uniform occurrences over some finite, limited period of time can only assume this current reality will continue as before…which by the definition of the scientific method of observation and inference cannot be scientifically proved…for all future events.

The working concept of the uniformity of nature can never absolutely account for the rare exception.

Scientific investigation thusly defined…using inductive inference based upon the uniformity of nature…cannot logically be used to make a pronouncement about the existence of the supernatural or of miracles.

The misunderstanding here is fundamental.  All science can say with confidence is that the supernatural and miracles fall outside of the physically measurable and the uniformly repeatable…which are the standard, everyday definitions of miracles and the supernatural in the first place.

Without recognizably uniform physical laws and repetitive occurrence, a miracle would not stand out as a singularly unique event in history.

When Christians today affirm the miraculous and the supernatural in the Bible, they are not questioning the uniformity of nature or the power of physical laws.  Christians are merely saying that the natural system is open to its Creator to temporarily suspend or alter these laws on occasion.

The Creator of life can raise Jesus Christ from the dead.

This in no way threatens the normal, repetitive natural reality that people do not come back to life from the dead.  God had and still has this same capacity to raise people from the dead (1 Cor. 15:52; Acts 9:40).

When scientific investigation (and normal everyday observation) tells us that miracles do not normally occur…there is no disagreement here.

Christians agree in accordance with the uniformity of the natural world that God has supernaturally created.

Christians today must understand that when world-famous scientists who are atheists criticize the Bible because it contains numerous supernatural events…they do so not based on the solid authority of scientific investigation itself, but rather on an unwarranted extension of the assumptions underlying science…inductive inference and the uniformity of nature…that cannot bar a legitimate and rational worldview of an open system of nature allowing a Creator God to freely act outside of the physical laws He created…physical laws that allow for the human enterprise of scientific investigation and rational inductive inference.

There are many excellent books on this subject.  One in particular I would recommend is Chapter 5—Science and rationality, from God and Stephen Hawking, by John C. Lennox.

For an excellent discussion on how intelligent design has equal or better scientific standing in relation to common descent in evolution…both being historical sciences with essentially equivalent scientific methodologies…see Chapter 2—The Methodological Equivalence of Design & Descent, by Stephen C. Meyer, in the book The Creation Hypothesis, edited by J. P. Moreland.

For a brilliantly original and entertaining expose on why an understanding of science is accessible to everyday people…in our ability to easily recognize design…see Chapter 2—The Conflict Within, in the book Undeniable, by Douglas Axe.

Author: Barton Jahn

I worked in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have eight Christian books self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on more books on building construction.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: