Thursday, December 07, 2006

On Purpose and Life's Meaning

Here's another assignment I've done that I thought you might enjoy reading. It's another science/theology thing. It deals with an interesting "idea" scientists have only recently come to the conclusion about: the anthropic principle. Rather interesting; hope you enjoy it...Steve

The anthropic principle is a theory on the why the universe (and the laws that make it operate) exist as they do. This principle states that things are as they are because “the physical features of the universe” must support life (Giberson 205). This is apparently in contradiction to the hopeless (and unreasonable) former scientific conclusion that the universe just happened to explode into a perfect existence. According to the anthropic principle, matter must exist for a reason, and that reason is to support life.

I suppose that this is science’s verification that there was a thinker behind the existence of the physical universe. Though this principle might seem slightly obvious to a Christian (especially a Creationist), it is actually a rather dynamic statement. Think about it—everything exists as it does so it can support life. WOW! Here, we find the evidence of something...something deeper than just chance. This has implications that are much more far reaching than just the start of the world.

If matter was created (or came into being) for a specific purpose, then maybe people all have a purpose too! If life is not by chance, mere circumstance, than maybe presupposition comes before every life. That presupposition is demonstrably not present in every human parent’s act of procreation, so there is good reason to wonder about a supernatural Being doing the supposition. This may be a little off the subject, but we are not merely discussing science when we discuss the beginning of being; we are discussing the roots to a whole worldview. How one believes the world came into being is reflected in every aspect of one’s worldview. Thus, it is no giant leap from the anthropic principle to the issue of sanctity of life. Purpose is the question being presented here, and purpose is also the answer to the questions of why (if not who).

I have talked in previous assignments about the abyss I see between science and religion. This abyss, as I havestated before, is filled by God, and I believe, is where science and religion meet. This abyss is formed by the question of purpose. It is put into very apt words by the anthropic principle. In reality neither science nor religion has the answer to why. Neither can say “I know the whole truth,” because neither of them do. Throughout much of world history, religion has often been recognized as the keeper of the answer, and in recent years scientists have tried to finder a more “plausible” answer for an increasingly prosaic culture. However, neither of them have the answer.

Neither of them hold the answer, but both of them lead to it. Or, at least, they can both lead to it if truth is the object of the seeker. In order to emphasize my point, allow me to state the matter like this: Religion is the science of the spiritual realm of God’s presence, and Science is the religion of the natural realm of God’s presence. I know that this statement will probably not be well-received by either camps, but I use it in order to accentuate the fact that both Science and Religion are viable paths to God. He is most definitely present in both places (and at the same time, too!), and He brings them both together in Himself. The abyss is not really so great as we might suppose, it is simply God Himself. Both religion and science’s journeys of discovery ultimately end in the question of purpose (why, how and who), and both can find their ultimate answer in the One Who initiated both studies.

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