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8. Contemporary Teaching and Faith in God.


Science acknowledged long ago that the domain of analysis is almost in no way comparable to the domain of the unsearchable. More than that, the more that science discovers by scientific analysis, the broader are the fields that have yet to be investigated. "Every new discovery expands the realm of the unknown by arithmetic proportions" (A.C. Morrison). Science will never complete its work as long as the world stands.

Spokesmen of scientific analysis acknowledge that their knowledge of the world must be complemented by another source. That source is religion.

A great scientist of our time, Max Planck, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1918, says , "Religion and science are not mutually exclusive as was believed earlier and has been feared by many of our contemporaries; on the contrary, they are in complete accord and complement each other."

Prof. M.M. Novikov, Rector of the University of Moscow, who was awarded a gold doctoral diploma in 1965 from the University of Heidelberg, and who in 1957 was an active member of the New York Academy of Science, in his article "The Path of a Naturalist to Religion," writes, "One of the most striking facts in the history of science is that physics, the rigorous base of natural science, became the way of the ideal. It led to the conclusion that physical appearance is determined by divine, spiritual strength. This view was also expressed by three prominent scholars.

"The theory of relativity of Albert Einstein is well known in general social circles. But not every one is aware that it led the scientist to the formulation of ‘Cosmic religion.’ This religion, as does every other religion, acknowledges the existence of the supreme Spirit, the creator of earthly harmony.

"The quantum theory of Max Planck had great significance for the development of natural science. On an occasion that interests us, this author writes, The only primary data for the natural scientist is gathered by sensual perception and conclusions are drawn from its measurement/ From here, guided by the method of inductive reasoning, he attempts to come as close as possible to God and His natural order as the highest but forever unattainable goal. It follows that if both religion and natural science require faith in God for their validity, then for the first (religion) God stands at the beginning, and for the second (science), at the conclusion of all intellectual activity. For religion, God supplies the foundation; for science, He is the crown of any elaboration on world-outlook. Man depends on natural science for knowledge, but on religion, for civilized behavior. But the basis of our knowledge is nothing more than our sensual perception of the solid, primary particle.

"The assumption of the existence of some regular world order is prerequisite to formulation of fruitful scientific hypotheses. But formulating scientific hypotheses is not a suitable method for directing our behavior. For, with the display of our will, we are not able to wait for the time when all our knowledge is found perfect, and we acquire omniscience. In fact, life frequently requires us to make quick decisions."

Later Planck shows that if we attribute to God goodness and love in addition to omnipotence and omniscience, then proximity to Him supplies the seeking man with consolation in the sensation of happiness in high measure. "Against this presentation, from the point of view of natural science, it is impossible to advance the slightest objection."

A great sensation was caused by the work of August Heisenberg, Nobel Prize winner in 1932. He formulated the principle of indeterminacy (the uncertainty principle), which states that it is impossible to determine the existence of elementary particles except within certain limits — elementary particles being the smallest undecomposable units of matter. Furthermore, it is impossible to know simultaneously the exact position of the particle and the velocity of its movement. We maintain that electrons exist, but we are unable to distinguish them, one from another. Thus our previous understanding of matter becomes superfluous. The world, according to Heisenberg, consists of something, the essence of which is unknown. That "something" appears in the form of a particle, then in the form of a wave. If one seeks a name, then that "something" must be designated by the word energy, and that in quotation marks. Thus, so-called laws of natural science are not precisely regular, but are static in character (i.e., the activity of energy defying calculation).

To this consideration it is appropriate to add that the understanding of an indeterminate "something" is also applicable to vital phenomena. But in this case it takes a completely different character. Mathematical equations which describe elementary physical processes are not applicable to life processes. Life is composed of an autonomous, self-acting field, as Drish affirmed.

The noted professor I. A. Ilyin says, "In the present state of knowledge it is eminently well understood that the ‘scientific’ picture of the world is changing all the time. Everything is becoming more complicated, deepening, absorbed in detail, and never appearing as part of a full, clear whole... In the present state of knowledge it is known that science will never be in a condition to explain its last prerequisite or to define its fundamental understanding. For example, a scientist will never be able to establish exactly what an ‘atom’ is, or an ‘electron/ a ‘vitamin/ ‘energy’ or ‘psychological function.’ He knows that all his ‘definitions/ ‘explanations’ and ‘theories’ are only vague attempts to approximate the vivid mysteries of the material and spiritual world. Concerning the productivity of science there can be no dispute; all contemporary technology and medicine testify to it. But as to what seems to be the theoretical truth of these demonstrations, there science swims on a problematic, conjectural sea of mystery."

One of the most noted American scholars, president of the New York Academy of Science, A. Cressy Morrison, argues for the existence of God in his brilliant "Seven Reasons Why I Believe in God."

"We are still only in the dawn of scientific knowledge," says Morrison. "The closer we come to daybreak, the more brightly shines our morning, the more clearly the creation of the omniscient Creator is illumined before us. Now in the spirit of scientific humility, in the spirit of faith based on knowledge, we are all the more confirmed in our conviction of the existence of God.

"I personally number seven circumstances which determine my belief in God. They are:

"First: Absolutely distinct mathematical laws demonstrate the universality of the creation by a Supreme Intelligence.

"Suppose you take ten pennies and mark them from one to ten. Put them in a bag and give them a good shake. Now try to draw them out in sequence from one to ten putting each coin back in your sack after each draw. Your chance of drawing number one is one in ten. Your chance of drawing one and two in succession would be one in one hundred. Your chance of drawing one, two and three in succession would be one in a thousand. Your chance of drawing from number one to number ten in succession would reach the unbelievable figure of one chance in ten billion.

"By these same mathematical arguments they say that for origin and development of life on earth, such an incredible number of interrelated and interdependent events would have been required that without intelligent direction, simply by chance, there is no way it could possibly have arisen. The velocity of the rotation of the earth is a thousand miles an hour. If the earth rotated with the speed of one hundred miles an hour, then our days and nights would be ten times as long as now. The hot sun of summer would then burn up our vegetation each long day, and every sprout would freeze in such a night.

"The sun has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and our earth is just far enough away so that this ‘eternal fire’ warms us just enough and not too much. If the temperature on earth had changed so-much as fifty degrees on the average for a single year, all vegetation would be dead and man with it, roasted or frozen.

"The earth is tilted at an angle of twenty-three degrees. This gives us our seasons of the year. If it had not been tilted, the water vapor from the ocean would move north and south, piling up continents of ice. If the moon, instead of being at its present distance, were removed from us only by 50,000 miles, our high tides and low tides would be so enormous that twice a day all the lowlands of all the continents would be submerged by a rush of water so enormous that even the mountains would soon be eroded away. Had the crust of the earth been ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen and all life would be doomed to destruction. If the oceans were comparatively deeper, the carbon dioxide would absorb all the oxygen, and all life would again perish. If the atmosphere enveloping our earthly sphere were a little thinner, some of the meteors which are now burned in the outer atmosphere by the millions every day would strike all parts of the earth, and would set fire to every burnable object.

"These and innumerable other examples attest to the fact that for life to arise spontaneously on earth there is not one chance in a whole multitude of millions.

"Second: The wealth of source material from which life draws strength for fulfillment of its mission, in itself testifies to the presence of a self-sufficient and omnipotent Intelligence.

"What life is, no man has yet fathomed. It has no weight or dimensions. Life has force. A germinating kernel can demolish a rock. Life conquers water, dry land and air, possesses their elements, cramming them together, dissolving them, transforming their combinations.

"Life is a sculptor and shapes all living things, an artist that designs the leaf of every tree, that colors the flowers. Life is a musician and has taught each bird to sing its love songs, the insects to call each other in the music of their multitudinous sounds. Life is a chemist that gives taste to our fruits and perfume to the rose. Life’s chemistry changes water and carbonic acid into wood and sugar but in doing so, releases oxygen that animals may have the breath of life.

"Here before us is a drop of protoplasm, an almost invisible drop, transparent, jellylike, capable of motion, drawing energy from the sun. This single cell, this transparent, mist-like droplet, holds within itself the germ of all life, and has the power to distribute this life to every living thing, great and small. The powers of this droplet of protoplasm are greater than the powers of our existence, greater than all the animals or people, for all life came from it and without it no living thing would have been or could be. It is not nature that created life. Rocks split by fire and fresh water seas would not have been sufficient to meet the requirements for the origin of life.

"Who puts life into the speck of protoplasm?

"Third: The intelligence of animals is indisputable evidence of the wisdom of the Creator, who instilled instincts in His creatures, without which they would be completely helpless.

"The young salmon spends years at sea, then it returns to its native river and travels up the side of the river into which flows the tributary in which it was born. What brings them back with such precision? If a salmon going up a river is transferred to another tributary, it will at once realize it is not in the right tributary and will fight its way down to the mainstream and then turn up against the current to finish his destiny.

"Another great mystery is hidden in the behavior of the eel. These amazing creatures migrate at maturity from all ponds and rivers everywhere — those from Europe across thousands of miles of ocean — and go to the ocean depths south of Bermuda. There they breed and die. The little ones, with no apparent means of knowing anything to prevent their being lost in the ocean depths, go the way of their fathers, to the same streams, ponds and seas from which they first began their journey to the Bermuda islands. No American eel has ever been caught in European waters, and no European eel has ever been caught in American waters. Nature has also delayed the maturity of the European eel by a year or more to make up for its much greater journey. What is the source of this sense of direction and will power?

"A wasp, having overcome a grasshopper, stings it in exactly the right place. From this blow the grasshopper ‘dies.’ It loses consciousness but continues to live, as a form of preserved meat. After this, the wasp lays her eggs exactly in the right place that when they hatch, her children can eat without killing the insect on which they feed. Dead meat would be poison for them. Having completed her work, the wasp mother flies away and dies. She never sees her young. Is it not beyond doubt that the wasp must have done all this right the first time and every time, for otherwise there would be no wasps. This mysterious knowledge cannot be explained by the fact that wasps teach one another. It is deposited in their flesh and blood.

"Fourth: Man functions with more than animal instinct. He has reason. There has never been an animal which has had the capacity to count to ten. It is not able to comprehend the meaning of ten numerals. Instinct is like a single note on a flute, beautiful but limited; whereas the human brain contains all the notes of all the instruments in the orchestra. It is worth mentioning one point: thanks to our intelligence, we are able to understand what we are, we have self-awareness, and this capability is provided only by the spark of Universal Intelligence implanted in us.

"Fifth: The miracle of genes — the existence of which was unknown to Darwin — testifies to the fact that for all life there was manifested care.

"The genes are so infinitesimal that if all of them which are responsible for all human beings on earth today could be collected and put in one place, they would all be able to fit in a thimble. And the thimble still would not be full! These ultramicroscopic genes are the absolute keys to all human, animal and vegetable characteristics. A thimble is a small place in which to put all the individual characteristics of four billion human beings. However, the facts are beyond question. If this is so, does it follow that the gene contains in itself the key to the psychology of each separate being, containing all of this in such a tiny space?

"Here is the beginning of evolution! It begins at the cell, the entity which holds and carries the genes. The fact that a few million atoms contained in ultramicroscopic genes can be the absolute key governing life on earth, is evidence proving the manifest care for all life that someone provided for them beforehand, and that this providence proceeds from a Creative Intelligence. No other hypothesis in this case is able to help solve this riddle of existence.

"Sixth: How strange is the system of checks and balances in nature. We are compelled to acknowledge that only the most perfect intelligence is able to envisage all the correlations arising from such a complicated system of checks and balances.

"Many years ago in Australia, several species of cactus were planted for use as a hedge. The cactus had no insect enemies in Australia and soon began a prodigious growth. People began to seek the means to fight against it. The march of the cactus persisted until it had covered an area as great as England, crowded the inhabitants out of towns and villages and destroyed their farms, making cultivation impossible. No device the people discovered could stop its spread. The entomologists scoured the world and finally found an insect which lived exclusively on cactus, would eat nothing else, would breed freely, and which had no enemies in Australia. As soon as this insect conquered the cactus, the cactus pest retreated, and with it all but a protective residue of the insects, enough to hold the cactus in check forever.

The checks and balances have been provided, and have been persistently effective. Why indeed did not the insects which multiplied so incredibly quickly overcome all life? Because the insects have no lungs like man possesses, but breathe through tubes. When insects grow large, the tubes cannot grow in ratio to the increasing size of the body of the insect. Because of the mechanism of their structure and their method of breathing, there could never be an insect of great size. If this physical check had not been provided, man could not exist. Imagine a bumblebee as big as a lion.

"Seventh: The fact that man is capable of grasping the idea of the existence of God, is in itself sufficient evidence.

The conception of God arises from that mysterious capability of mankind which we call imagination. Only because of this power and only by means of its help, man, and no other living creature on earth, is able to find confirmation through abstract things. The expanse of knowledge which is opened by this capacity is perfectly immense. Indeed, thanks to precisely the imagination of man, the possibility of spiritual reality arises. Man is able to define, with obvious purpose, the great truth that Heaven exists everywhere and in everything, the truth that God lives everywhere and in all, and that He lives in our hearts.

"Thus, from science as well as from imagination, we find confirmation of the words of the psalmist, The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork (Ps. 19:1)."

The famous surgeon and professor in the universities of Cologne, Bonn and Berlin, August Bier (1861-1949) says, "If it ever happened that science and religion fell into disagreement, harmony would be restored through discovery of more precise basic data."

We will conclude our discussion by coming back to the words of the scholar, A.C. Morrison, "Man recognizes the necessity of moral principles; in them exists the feeling of debt, and from this, faith in God is born. The richness of religious experience finds the soul of man and lifts him, step by step, until he feels the Divine presence. The instinctive cry of man, ‘My God,’ is natural, and the crudest prayer lifts one closer to his Creator.

"Respect, sacrifice, strength of character, moral foundations, ingenuity are not born from negativism or atheism, the amazing self-deception which replaces God with man. Without faith, culture disappears, order becomes disorder, and evil prevails.

"Let us then hold fast to our belief in the Creator, in Divine love and in the brotherhood of man, lifting ourselves closer to Him by doing His will as we know it and firmly believing we are, as His creation, worthy of His care."

To the words of A. Cressy Morrison we add the words of the psychiatrist and Orthodox theologian I. M. Andreev, "True knowledge is incompatible with pride. Humility is a necessary condition for the capacity of grasping the Truth. Only humble scholars, as well as humble religious thinkers, bearing in mind the words of the Saviour, Without me ye can do nothing, and I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 15:5; John 14:6), are able to travel the right path, by the right method, toward the comprehension of the Truth. For God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:6)."

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