This article was written by Andrew McDiarmid and published by Focus on the Family
Finding a way to fit science and religion together can feel overwhelming. For our teens, logic and reasoning present some of the greatest threats to complete belief in Christianity. However, as parents, you can guide your teen to a deeper understanding of how God created science to support our faith and belief in Him.
Many teens are beginning to think about life’s big questions: Does God exist? Does life have purpose? Is the Bible at odds with science? They’re at the stage where they need answers to their questions, especially as peers, teachers and employers challenge their childhood beliefs. Christianity and science start to seem more opposed to each other than they are in agreement.
To help your teens better understand and defend their faith, tell them about three mind-blowing scientific discoveries of the 20th century that strongly point to an intelligent designer. These discoveries will affirm and support their belief in God.
The good news? Your teens don’t have to ditch science to follow God! By pursuing the evidence for God, they will be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks [them] for a reason for the hope that is in [them]” (1 Peter 3:15).
The Universe, Christianity, and Science
In Return of the God Hypothesis, geophysicist Stephen C. Meyer tells the story of a group of astronomers and physicists who discovered the universe had a beginning. By studying the light from distant galaxies, they established that the universe was expanding, like a gradually inflating balloon. This also suggested a finite universe with a beginning.
Some people had difficulty accepting this revolutionary idea. The famous German physicist Albert Einstein was one of them. Einstein was committed to an eternal, self-existent universe model. So he chose an arbitrary value for his cosmological constant (one that had no physical justification). However, evidence and analysis by other mathematicians and physicists (Willem de Sitter, Aleksandr Friedmann, Georges Lemaître) would force his hand and cause him to acknowledge the necessity of a “beginning.” He later said that his arbitrary value for the cosmological constant was the greatest blunder of his professional life.
That is, Einstein eventually owned up to his error and accepted the reality of an expanding universe that began with a sudden explosion of energy. The idea quickly became known as the Big Bang theory. Today, this theory is still the most widely accepted explanation our universe’s origin. Despite the lack of evidence, the Big Bang Theory presents a unique opportunity for conversations about Christianity and science. In fact, many Christians also say it lines up well with the account in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
A Carbon Problem
After scientists realized the universe had a beginning, they soon discovered that it was also finely tuned for life. Many properties of the universe are set within extremely narrow parameters that prove essential for life and our existence. Scientists also noticed that the initial distribution of matter and energy at the birth of the universe was just right to make life possible.
Astrophysicist Sir Fred Hoyle discovered many of these finely tuned factors as he tried to figure out how carbon, the life-essential element, became so abundant. Hoyle realized how unlikely it was that carbon would arise naturally in a growing universe, given the limitations of chemistry.
His work eventually forced him to reject his atheistic belief. As he put it, “A common-sense interpretation of the facts suggest that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics.” Culture offers countless creative ideas to explain away this remarkable fine-tuning. But none of them explains the evidence pointing to an intelligently designed planet.
The Digital Code
It’s undeniable. The universe had a beginning. Moreover, its beginning communicates a creative, divine consideration for human life. But there’s more! In 1953, scientists made a third breakthrough discovery that supports belief in God. Two molecular biologists—James Watson and Francis Crick—discovered that DNA stores information in digital code, and this code transmits precise instructions to cells for building important cellular stuff (aka proteins).The information in DNA isn’t simply mathematical. Scientists call it specified because it has a precise message sequence that cells can decode. The million-dollar question: Where does this information come from?
Many scientists believe an evolutionary mechanism is responsible, but the simple “sorting” process of natural selection has its limits. DNA sequences that create functional proteins are very rare, so the chance of mutation and selection producing one randomly is slim.
Let’s apply a little reasoning to this evidence. In our everyday experience, we know of just one cause that can produce digital code or specified information: intelligence. So we have good scientific reasons to believe that an intelligence added large amounts of information into our biosphere at key points in the history of the universe, including at the beginning and as new biological life began.
Final Thoughts on Reconciling Christianity and Science
This only scratches the surface of faith-science discussions you can have with your teens. Help your teen know compelling scientific evidence sustains belief in God. Finally, you can help strengthen your children’s faith through your consistent support and love. Commit to giving your teens the confidence they need to defend their faith.