A question was asked of Dr. Allan Sandage:  Can a person be a scientist and also be a Christian?”  A scientist reflects upon religious belief…

“Yes. As I said before, the world is too complicated in all its parts and interconnections to be due to chance alone. I am convinced that the existence of life with all its order in each of its organisms is simply too well put together. Each part of a living thing depends on all its other parts to function. How does each part know? How is each part specified at conception? The more one learns of biochemistry the more unbelievable it becomes unless there is some type of organizing principle-an architect for believers-a mystery to be solved by science (even as to why) sometime in the indefinite future for materialist reductionalists.

“This situation of the complication and the order to function of an organism, where the sum is greater than its parts (i.e. has a higher order), becomes more astonishing every year as the scientific results become more detailed. Because of this, many scientists are now driven to faith by their very work. In the final analysis it is a faith made stronger through the argument by design. I simply do not now believe that the reductionalist philosophy, so necessary to pursue the scientific method and, to repeat, the method which all scientists must master and practice with all their might and skill in their laboratory, can explain everything.

“Having, then, been forced via the route of Pascal and Kierkegaard in their need for purpose to come to the edge of the abyss of reason, scientists can, with Anselm “believe in order to understand” what they see, rather than “understand in order to believe.” Having willed oneself to faith by jumping to the other side, one can pull, at first, a wee small thread across the abyss, pulling in turn a still more sturdy rope, until finally one can build a bridge that crosses in reverse the chasm that connects the sides of life that are reason and faith. It is, then, by faith that a scientist can become a Christian, and yet remain a scientist-believing in some form of Abelard’s dictum.

“Without that faith there is no purpose, and without purpose all the arguments for its need drive one once again to build Pascal’s bridge.

“Dr. Allan Sandage, of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution, is described as the most influential astronomer of the last half-century.  Sandage is credited with founding the discipline of observational cosmology.  As Edwin Hubble’s star student, he took over Hubble’s mission to measure the universe’s expansion and, through those measurements, to determine the physics of the cosmic creation event.  He is the recipient of the prize for cosmology, equivalent to the Nobel Prize, from the Swedish parliament.  Dr. Allen Sandage became a Christian at the age of 50.”

~ David Norris

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