Science and God: Can Science Falsify Biblical Miracles?

            In this new Age of Information, the concept of the required perfection of information systems is now broadly understood thanks to the immergence and widespread use of the personal computer. 

            The common awareness that computer software programs from spreadsheets to games must be thoroughly debugged in order to function error-free before they are put-out into the marketplace, has entered into popular knowledge.  This was not the case a few decades ago prior to the invention of the writing of computer software language code. 

            In this new Age of Information, everything has changed.  Science has changed, and our cultural outlook has changed.

            Arguments that were reasonably compelling 50, 100, or 200 years ago now no longer hold water, when viewed from the perspective of a universe that is information-based requiring intelligent agency.  This is contrasted with the opposite perspective of a universe that is solely based upon mechanism…a wholly materialistic universe without intelligent agency.

            There are three or four major concepts that come to mind, that have been simplified and clarified as a result of the prioritizing of information above matter-and-energy.

            The first such centuries-old concept is that biblical miracles can and will be falsified through science. 

            This was a compelling argument historically made through the scientific investigation and description of matter-and-energy mechanisms in the natural world that produce empirical, fact-based evidence.

            But when understood in terms of information, the God of the Bible performing a miracle is no more incredulous than the modern architect or a homebuilder changing the location of a large walk-in closet to become a bathroom…and vice-versa, part-way into the construction at the preliminary rough-framing phase, to improve the floor-plan layout at the request of the homebuyer.

            This is an example of conceptual, creative information being translated into physical matter and energy, after the construction of the new house is already in progress.

            The God of the Bible performing a miracle, is no more incredulous than this same buyer of a custom-built new home requesting the architect or the builder to reframe a particular door opening to be wider, or to install a larger window at a particular bedroom, or to move a non-bearing wall 12-inches this way or that way…being common events that occur somewhere in the world every day in new housing construction.

            An information-based universe allows flexibility for the input of revisions, in the form of purposeful miracles recorded in the Bible, as long as the Architect/Builder possesses the means to bring this information into physical reality without violating structural engineering or the “local building codes.”

            Jesus can change water into wine at the marriage at Cana because Jesus invented water (Jn. 1:3, 2:1-11).

            This does not mean that the architect or the builder is required to explain to the new homebuyer precisely how they intend to accomplish these requested changes…in the detailed terms of the “means-and-methods” of building construction.

            The complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information we see everywhere in the natural world, required not only an Intelligent Designer God who had perfectly exhaustive and comprehensive access to information, but a God who invented from scratch all of this information in the form of matter, energy, time, and the laws of physics and chemistry.

            This is analogous to the same way that an architect starts with a blank sheet of paper or a blank computer screen, inventing the design information for a new building by using illustrated lines, spaces, and text/word notes.

            Because we now popularly have a sense of the complexity component involved in debugging thousands of lines of computer software language code for a business application or a game…of getting these lines of code right so that their applications are operatively functional…we now also have a popular sense of the organized complexity of the architectural and engineering design of a physical new building.

            This then easily translates into the concept of the requirement of intelligent agency in formulating the information in the design and construction of this physical, material universe that we study through scientific investigation.

            The complex, specified, and coherently integrated mechanisms in the natural world are somewhat analogous and similar in character to the standardized technology of the physical construction “means and methods” building trades techniques utilized in assembling a new house.

            Like the complexity of the writing of computer software language code, and the complexity of the architectural and engineering design of a new building, this now gives us a commonplace and popular sense of the inescapable role of agency in relation to the invention and organization of complex information systems.

            The old-fashioned idea that the study of mechanism through science would automatically preclude the existence and function of agency, because agency is information-based, no longer holds water, does not stack-up.

            The best refutation of the famous David Hume argument that biblical miracles violate natural laws, that I have heard, is given by John Lennox as an illustration in an interview entitled “Can science explain everything?” on You Tube[1]…which I will paraphrase and Americanize below:

            If while vacationing in California, I place in the top drawer of the dresser cabinet in my hotel room $100, and the next day I place another $100 in this same drawer, and the third day after sight-seeing I come back and open this dresser drawer and find that $150 is missing…then have the laws of nature been broken…or the laws of California?

            We would immediately conclude that the laws of California had been broken…telling us that the laws of nature and the laws of the state of California are different.

            But how are they different? 

            My hotel room is not a closed-system.  Even though I lock the door when I leave…an outside agent can gain entrance into this room (pick the lock, climb through a window, have a master key, etc.), open the top drawer of the dresser, reach-in and take out $150.

            The other explanation for the disappearance of the $150 would be a miracle that violates the laws of nature, according to the argument put forward by Hume.

            But nothing in the laws of nature tell us scientifically that these laws are a closed-system, that an outside agent cannot come into the hotel room, reach into the dresser drawer, and alter the dollar amount, in this illustration.

            The requirement that the laws of nature are somehow closed systems is an added philosophical assumption that is not evidenced within these laws themselves.

            In other words, the laws of nature tell us in this illustration that according to what normally occurs money does not by itself disappear into thin-air in a puff of smoke.  But these laws of nature do not and cannot tell us that an outside agent is absolutely barred from entering the room and taking money from the drawer. 

            The laws of nature that describe what normally occurs, and an agent who can act independently from what normally occurs are two different things, a reality that undermines Hume’s objection to biblical miracles.

            David Hume has to first assume the non-existence of God as the capable, independent, outside agent who can enter into the hotel room of nature and “take the money”…to make his case that “thefts” in nature called biblical miracles are unscientific and therefore also non-existent. 

            This is a case that devolves into a circular argument… that because God cannot violate the closed-system of the laws of nature then the laws of nature are a closed-system, thereby concluding that biblical miracles are unscientific and therefore do not exist.

            The correct starting assumption is that my hotel room is not an absolute closed-system…and that it is possible for an outside agent (thief) to gain entrance and alter the dollar amount in the dresser drawer.

            The parallel analogy of God being absolutely barred from entering into the closed-system of the natural world as an outside agent to perform a miracle is erroneously based upon the circular argument that science tells us that the natural world is a closed-system. 

Simple-to-complex is a mindset over-used to support gradualism and naturalistic materialism

            To suggest that the Big Bang creation of the universe was a simple event is as unscientific as is imaginable.

            The creative events involved in the beginning of this universe are open to scientific investigation, revealing organized complexity occurring in a split-second, of systems of information far in excess of the writing of any computer software language code, or the architectural and engineering design of the most complex building.

            The identity of the Intelligent Designer God of the universe is a separate issue.  The main point here is that the complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information in the natural world easily identify the presence of agency.

            Agency can no longer be pushed aside by the focused study of mechanism in the name of science, no more than the role of the architect as designer can be set aside and displaced by the mechanism of the actual building construction in progress.  The role of the computer software engineer as designer cannot be set aside and displaced from the functional application of the mechanism of the software program in use.

            The existence of agency follows from the organized complexity observed.

            Looking back in time, what have we learned through the scientific investigation of matter and energy…of concrete, physical mechanisms…in the twentieth century?

            At the beginning of the twentieth century…in 1916…we learned through the General Theory of Relativity that the speed of light was a fixed quantity, and that time was therefore relative to motion in relation to a fixed point of reference.

            In 1929, the scientific investigation of matter-and-energy mechanisms in the cosmos led to the discovery that the universe was expanding rapidly outward. 

            This was evidenced in the spectral red-shift of the light coming towards us from distant galaxies in the universe, viewed through the massive-sized telescope atop Mt. Wilson in Pasadena, California.  This generated the revolutionary idea of a beginning point in time of our universe…popularly coined the Big Bang.

            In 1953 and 1957, the discovery first of the double-helix structure of the molecule DNA in living organisms, and then the inconceivably vast and organized complexity of its specified information content, has to be one of the top three to five revelations in all of human history…this particular revelation coming from the investigation of matter-and-energy mechanisms through the scientific method.

            In 1973, the submission of a technical paper at a scientific conference by the British cosmologist Brandon Carter, on the apparent fine-tuning of the mathematical constants in several key areas of the physics of the universe to support carbon-based life like ourselves, has grown into the field of study known as the Anthropic Principle.[2]

            But the entirely unexpected, counterintuitive conclusion that the scientific investigation of matter-and-energy mechanisms in the natural world has produced, is that the understanding of mechanisms does not lead to atheism.

            Modern science does not rationally displace old-fashioned theism with a modern version of enlightened atheism…but instead unmistakably points towards the existence of a brilliantly ingenious God. 

            After centuries of the most intense investigation of the phenomena of the natural world it turns out that the fundamental conflict is not between God and science…but instead is between agency and mechanism.

            This is at bottom an illogically nonsensical dichotomy, because the two realities of agency and mechanism fit smoothly together rather than being separate and apart.

            Whatever and whoever we decide is the cause of the phenomena of the natural world, it should now be abundantly clear in our modern understanding of information that complex mechanism cannot create complex mechanism…cannot create itself.  The chemistry and physics of how ink bonds to paper is not the explanation for how this ink gets arranged into the letters of the English language to convey the specified information in the headlines of the New York Times newspaper.

            This is a good place to discuss the term “creation science.”

            There is no such thing as creation science.

            This has to be one of the worst abuses of the concept of creating a straw-man that is easy to knock down.

            Intelligent design is a competing skeletal-explanatory-framework hypothesis utilizing the exact same set of empirical facts arranged by scientific materialists in their explanatory secular storylines.

            Philosophical materialism has no more right to the empirical facts than does fiat creationism.  These are two opposing constructions…spins…placed upon the same set of facts in a similar way to two opposing trial lawyers arguing for guilt or innocence in the same court of law.

            When scientific materialists insist that proponents of intelligent design come up with an alternate program of “creation science,” they are making an incredibly short-sighted appeal based upon the idea that scientists who are Christian theists would have access to special information outside of the “standards of the industry” database that comprises modern science.

            When understood as a skeletal explanatory framework competing on the same level playing field as naturalistic materialism, utilizing the same set of facts, the insistence that intelligent design should produce an alternate program of “creation science” again can be seen as being illogically nonsensical.

From the book Pondering Our Creation: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.


[1] Can science explain everything?  An interview with John Lennox.  RZIM, Jan. 31, 2019.

[2] Patrick Glynn, God The Evidence (New York, Three Rivers Press, 1997), 7-9.

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:

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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: