It is somewhat rash to assume that the only role of science is to answer the
question 'How?' That was true in the days of Newton, when an educated person
could have a grasp in outline of all human knowledge. Science then filled some
of the gaps left by the deliberations of the philosopher and the theologian.
Since then, it has far outstripped the contributions of both. Philosophy has
degenerated into historical study and has no modern contribution to make.
Theology has made no advance since the Middle Ages. The mantle of seeking
answers to man's most fundamental questions has fallen on science. Whether these
questions will ever be answered is an entirely different matter, but there is no
other way ahead. So the topic-statement is fundamentally wrong.
By 'science', of course, is meant physics, which is fundamental to all studies -
chemistry, biology, astronomy, indeed all macro and micro investigation. Physics
has identified the laws which keep the universe in a state of equilibrium, and
today seeks a unified theory to account for the space-time continuum necessary
to the existence of that equilibrium, and the various other 'dimensions' beyond
the four known which are postulated. So science moves towards the first
philosophical question, 'Is there a unified theory, or are events ultimately
random?' The answer to this question, if ever found, leads to the far more
fundamental question, 'To what extent, if any, id God (the Creator) limited by
his own creation?' The determinism of Laplace is now seen to be totally beside
the point, and belongs to a mechanistic view of the universe which can no longer
be sustained. Today, science is moving rapidly towards a 'chaos' theory which
takes into account God's freedom of action plus the predictable results of laws
already known to us, and also unpredictable events.
It is interesting that whereas the old scientific determinism either limited to
the Creator's function or precluded the necessity of a Creator, or saw the
Creator as totally detached from his creation, science today is begin forced
into a belief in God. It also moves towards an acceptance that the
scientifically unknown area, the God - mankind 'personal' relationship, is not
only feasible, but likely. So science has become much more than 'a way of
studying things'. Whether science can get beyond this point is a matter of
conjecture. At a shrewd guess, science may well establish the possibility of
'eternal life', without being able to advance any more proof than could the
old-time theologian. World religions have always said that such a belief depends
on revelation and personal faith, and it may well be the Creator's intention to
keep it that way. Faith, at least, would be greatly devalued if it could ever
become the subject of scientific proof, whatever that may be.
Another answer, again stemming from the 'chaos' theory, is to the co-existence
of good and evil. If there is a Creator, it follows that evil, at least as
understood by humanity, must have been allowed to enter the world-scene at some
point, but deliberately. Redemption from its consequences is another result, and
history is the record of the struggle between the two forces. This says science,
although leading to apparently random results, such as the little child stepping
under the bus, or a death from cancer, is not random at all. All the same, it
may stem from 'chaos', if this is seen in conjunction with a belief in the
indestructibility of the human personality. So, say the faithful, 'God not only
creates, He cares', and science today is not disposed to reject this
possibility, the two approaches may converge on the same point. The processes of
the universe are incredibly diverse and complicated, so why should the
possibility of life after death be ruled out ?
Such a belief is an essential corollary to any concept of justice in the
Creator's character. This is not justice merely in the sense of retribution. The
early Jews believed the Creator got so fed up with humanity that He destroyed
them in the Flood, but made a fresh start with Noah's family and the paired
livestock' Divine justice is part of the concept of Divine Love, which
postulated creation, with mankind as it's highest sentient form, as an
expression of that love.
So the great world religions have this at least in common with modern science;
there is a benevolent Creator who offers post-earthly life in some other
dimension in exchange for the human response of kindness and observance of a
revealed moral law. Justice, therefore, moves into an eternal setting.
A religious scientist will find no essential disharmony between his or her faith
and the scientific outlook. The great questions of life have satisfying, if
unprovable answers. Some of the inadequacies of religion, such as early church
doctrines of the cosmos, and strictly Bible-based theories of the origin of
species, have been corrected by scientific investigation without detriment to
the central core of belief.
Where science, or more precisely the scientist, inevitably falls short is in the
application of an essentially simple moral code to the complex issues raised by
scientific advance. Genetic manipulation is a case in point. The whole question
of in-vitro fertilization is highly controversial.
All that is on the local scale. On the grand scale the Creator may, or may not
allow the discovery of a unified theory of the universe which will provide
answers to supplement, rather than displace the answers already provided by the