Creation from a scientific perspective

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Master’s Divinity School


Bachelor’s Level

Professor: Stephen Caesar, M.A., anthropology and archaeology, Harvard University

Course Purpose:

This course will examine the scientific evidence for the position that the Universe is the result of creation by a Divine Intelligence rather than random chance, covering such issues as the “Anthropic Principle” and the “Golden Number.” It will also address the issue of cosmic dating and Earth dating, demonstrating the weakness of the dating methods that claim to prove the great age of the Cosmos. The course will also deal with common scientific objections to the Genesis record of Creation and the early Earth, as well as with science in the Bible outside of Genesis.

Course Objectives:

As a result of the successful completion of this course, the student will be able to articulate scientific evidence for the position that the Universe is the result of creation by a Divine Intelligence rather than random chance; to articulate and defend the weakness of the dating methods that claim to prove the great age of the Cosmos; and define and explain some of the common scientific objections to the Genesis record of Creation and the early Earth, as well as with science in the Bible outside of Genesis.


REQUIRED AUDIO CASSETTES (Provided by Master's Divinity School)

One audio lecture by Professor Caesar comprises the lecture component of this course.

REQUIRED PRINTED MATERIALS: (Purchased from Master's by the student)

The Bible Encounters Modern Science, by Stephen Caesar, available FOR UNDER $4.00 online ONLY AS AN E-BOOK by searching under the author’s last name at

It’s A Young World After All, by Paul D. Ackerman, available free by clicking on the book’s title or cover at


This Study Guide contains questions and written assignments that are related to the materials. These are referred to as Course Projects.


1. Listen to the tape (it is recommended that you listen to it at least twice), making notes as you listen.

2. Write a summary of the contents of the tape. Use not less than 500 words.


Part One: Read the textbooks and write a one-paragraph affirmation that you have read the required textbooks. Put your signature on this document.

Part Two: Assume that you are asked to write a Book Review of the required textbooks for a magazine. Write your review, as both a synopsis and a critique of the content. Use not less than 250 words for each book.

(The entire Written Lecture is printed at the end of this Study Guide)

Part One: Read the entire Written Lecture at least twice.

Part Two: Select one topic from the Written Lecture Outline below and create a project that converts the topic you have selected into a clear and easy to understand teaching brief. The brief must set forth the topics selected in such a manner that someone taking your project might follow it to teach a class of adults the materials you have set out to present. Your brief must be properly documented. The total word count for this project must not be less than 1,000 words.


I. Intelligent Design

    1. More Scientists Are Finding God

    2. The “Anthropic Principle”: Is the Cosmos a Giant Computer Program?

    3. Getting Computers to “Evolve”

    4. More on Artificial Life

    5. The “Golden Number”

    6. Life Is Not Here by Chance

II. Answering Scientific Objections to Early Genesis

  1. “Without Form, and Void”

  2. Was There Light before Stars?

  3. Was the Earth Formed before the Sun?

  4. Biblical and Scientific Facts about Our Atmosphere

  5. Where Did Cain Get His Wife?

III. Problems with Conventional Dating Methods

  1. New Discovery Challenges Star-Dating Techniques

  2. Scientists Reduce Ages of Celestial Bodies

  3. How Quickly Did Planets Form?

  4. The Fatal Flaw in Evolution’s Dating System

  5. The Unreliability of Some Old-Earth Dating Methods

6. The Recent, Catastrophic Formation of the Grand Canyon


This is the final project, and must be completed only after you have finished the cassette and textbook projects. Write a summary of the entire course. Include in this summary how this course has impacted your understanding of the subject; has helped you in your ministry to others; and how this understanding has changed the way you think and react in matters related to the subject of the course. Use not less than 500 words.

This completes the Projects for this course.

May God richly bless you as these biblical studies are used to enhance your ministry and enrich your life!







1. More Scientists Are Finding God

Thanks to recent scientific breakthroughs, more and more scientists are realizing that the Universe is the product of God’s design rather than the result of a grand accident. The mainstream press—never one to give religion a boost—has been quite forthcoming about this phenomenon. In 1993, the Boston Globe reported in a front-page article: “From Cambridge to California, a growing number of scientists are becoming more open to theological considerations, and the result has been a flurry of books, interviews, essays, symposia and conferences on the subject in the last year. Although the most sober-thinking among them are loath to call it a trend, some scientists acknowledge this drift into religious thought, a drift prompted, they say, by recent advances in biology, particle physics and especially cosmology” (Flint 1993: 1).

Newsweek magazine featured a similar front-page article entitled “Science Finds God.” It opened with the statement: “The more deeply scientists see into the secrets of the universe, you’d expect, the more God would fade away from their hearts and minds” (Begley 1998: 46). However, the article continued, “Big-bang cosmology…once read as leaving no room for a Creator, now implies to some scientists that there is a design and purpose behind the universe….And chaos theory…is being interpreted as opening a door for God to act in the world” (Begley 1998: 48). Concerning physics, the magazine stated that “the very science that ‘killed’ God is, in the eyes of believers, restoring faith. Physicists have stumbled on signs that the Cosmos is custom-made for life and consciousness” (Begley 1998: 48).

Similarly, The New Republic featured a front-page article entitled “Science Sees the Light,” which discussed the fact that the scientific community is jettisoning the concept of a purposeless, meaningless, Creator-less Universe in favor of one that has meaning, purpose, and direction. The piece contained such statements as “the interplay of science and religion, seemingly a dead issue a decade ago, has made a comeback,” and “science is trending away from dispirited views of a merciless cosmos toward a new vision of creation as poignantly favorable to life” (Easterbrook 1998: 27).

Scientists themselves have publicly declared that there is a growing alliance between science and religion. Astrophysicist Owen Gingerich of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts observed, “It does seem to me there’s been a great [surge] of interests in these sorts of things in the last 10 years….I am very enthusiastic to share with people what I see are features about the nature of the universe that make for self-conscious existence” (Convey 1998: 2). Ursula Goodenough, a geneticist at Washington University in St. Louis and president of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, observed: “Discoveries in biology in the last 30 years present a whole new world view, a whole new stage on which to think about origin and creation” (Flint 1993: 12).

Increasingly, top scientists are abandoning their atheistic or agnostic attitudes and embracing belief in God. Among them is Allan Sandage, an astronomer who was, in his own words, “almost a practicing atheist as a boy.” However, the more he probed the secrets of the universe, the more he came to realize that God must exist. At the age of 50, he became a believer. “It was my science,” he says, “that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science. It is only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence” (Begley 1998: 46).

John Polkinghorne is another scientist whose studies led him to faith in God. A distinguished physicist at Cambridge University, Polkinghorne became an Anglican priest in 1982. As with Prof. Sandage, Polkinghorne could not escape the conclusion that the amazing order of the Universe points to a Creator: “When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it” (Begley 1998: 48). He further remarked, “For me…there is a mind and a purpose behind the universe” (Begley 1998: 51).

Similarly, Robert John Russell was a physicist whose research led him so unmistakably to God that he became a theologian, and in 1981 founded the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. For him, the recent advances in physics point to the existence of God: “Quantum mechanics allows us to think of special divine action,” he declared (Begley 1998: 49).

Other accomplished, respected, and even decorated scientists agree. Charles Townes, who won the Nobel Prize in 1964 for his co-discovery of the principles of the laser, stated: “Many [scientists] have a feeling that somehow intelligence must have been involved in the laws of the universe” (Begley 1998: 49). He further remarked, “As a religious person, I strongly sense…the presence and actions of a creative being far beyond myself and yet always personal and close by” (Begley 1998: 49). S. Jocelyn Bell Burnell, famous for her discovery of pulsars, is an astronomer at England’s Open University as well as a practicing Quaker. “Would I do science differently if I weren’t a Quaker?” she asks rhetorically. “I don’t think so” (Begley 1998: 51).

Cancer biologist and Talmudic scholar Carl Feit of New York’s Yeshiva University notes that man’s ability to comprehend the mechanics of the Universe “seems to be telling us that something about human consciousness is harmonious with the mind of God” (Begley 1998: 49). Joel Primack, an astrophysicist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, remarked that “practicing science has a spiritual goal” (Begley 1998: 50). Elsewhere he stated that, as a practicing Jew, “I can’t think of any real conflict between Jewish traditions and modern science. Many of our psalms also say that the grandeur of the universe bears witness to the glory of God. So as a cosmologist who studies the grandeur of the universe in order to try to figure out what it is made of, how it got started, and how it evolved into its present form, I feel that I am right in the Jewish tradition” (Convey 1998: 2).

Francis Collins, who holds both a Ph.D. and a medical degree and is best known for heading the huge government program called the Human Genome Project (which has deciphered the human genetic structure), is another example of this growing trend. When he first became a scientist, he rejected the faith he grew up with. However, by the time he was 27, he re-embraced his belief in God. “When something new is revealed about the human genome,” he wrote, “I experience a realization that humanity now knows something only God knew before….I don’t believe God is threatened by scientific investigation. On the contrary, I presume that God is gratified by our curiosity” (Convey 1998: 2). Physicist Eric Chaisson, director of the Wright Center in Science and Education at Tufts University, agrees with Dr. Collins’ basic premise that science and religion need not be mutually antagonistic: “There’s too much condescension and arrogance in science. We’re trained to be pretentious. But there needs to be a better balance [between science and religion], sharing as well as discovering, and recognizing that we’re not the only ones striving to discover who we are and where we came from” (Flint 1993: 12).

Physicist F. Russell Stannard of the Open University even goes so far as to demonstrate how quantum physics helps to elucidate the Biblical doctrine that Christ is both fully God and fully man. Early in the 20th century, scientists learned that electrons were both fully particles and fully waves; somehow, they can be completely both at the same time with no logical self-contradiction. This can be compared to the divine and human natures of Christ: “He was fully both,” states Prof. Stannard emphatically (Begley 1998: 51).

For a long time, science was looked upon as a weapon to destroy faith. Now, thanks to the astonishing advances that have been made in physics, astronomy, and biology, scientists are learning that the very nature of the Universe serves as a visible and comprehensible testimony to the handiwork, and thus existence, of God.


Begley, S. 1998. “Science Finds God.” Newsweek, 20 July.

Flint, A. 1993. “More scientists look to divine.” Boston Globe, 12 July.

Easterbrook, G. 1998. “Science Sees the Light.” New Republic, 12 October.

Convey, E. 1998. “Religion and science dovetail.” Boston Herald, 6 November.

2. The “Anthropic Principle”: Is the Cosmos a Giant Computer Program?

Much has been said recently about the “anthropic principle,” a concept that deals with the origin of the Universe. The science journal Discover featured an article on this subject and its consequences for belief in a Creator. The article, entitled “A Universe That Is Built for Life,” stated:

Evidence of happy coincidences is everywhere. Anyone who has access to a good-size amateur telescope can spot a small patch of glowing gas in the constellation Taurus….This is the Crab nebula, the remains of a star that blew itself to kingdom come. If Earth had been nearby when this supernova exploded, we all would have been toast. And yet such exploding stars created the oxygen, carbon, silicon, and iron that make up much of our world and our bodies. If earlier generations of detonating stars had not seeded interstellar space with those elements, we would not exist.

By the late 1960s, scientists recognized that the entire cosmos exists in a similarly delicate balance. Had the Big Bang been one part in a billion more powerful, it would have rushed outward too quickly to allow galaxies to form. Even more remarkable, the four forces that govern the interaction of matter and energy have just the right properties to allow atoms to bond together into compounds, clump together into planets, or crash together to generate nuclear energy inside stars (Berman 2003: 29).

In 1961, Princeton physicist Robert Dicke published a paper offering an explanation for the fact that the Universe is “fine-tuned” for life. In 1974, British astrophysicist Brandon Carter expanded on Dicke’s proposal, naming this concept the “anthropic principle.” Discover defines it thus: “The universe must have properties that allow life to develop because it was designed to generate observers” (Berman 2003: 29).

Leading proponents of this concept include physicist John Wheeler and UCAL Berkeley astronomer Alex Filippenko, who stated: “Used appropriately, it has some predictive value. Small changes to seemingly boring properties of the universe could have easily produced a universe in which nobody would have been around to be bored” (Berman 2003: 29).

The Cosmos not only appears fine-tuned for life, but also seems to be run like a giant computer. Physicist Stephen Wolfram, who earned his Ph.D. at age 20 and became a professor at Caltech at 21, has recently made this theory widely known. The creator of Mathematica, a powerful scientific computer programming language, Wolfram is a leading expert in computer science. His studies of a type of computer program called a cellular automaton (CA) brought him to the conclusion that the Universe is essentially a huge but simple computer program. Having studied CA’s for 20 years, Wolfram began to realize that the endlessly shifting patterns they produce are reflected in the complexity of the Universe (Petit 2002: 48-9).

Ed Fredkin, former director of the computer science laboratory and current visiting scientist at MIT, has studied CA’s for 30 years and agrees. Having designed the earliest digital computers, Fredkin has embraced “digital philosophy,” in which he believes that the Universe is governed by pure whole numbers, as computers are (Petit 2002: 49). Also concurring is MIT physicist Seth Lloyd, a designer of hyperadvanced quantum computers who has gotten atoms and molecules to act like computer microprocessors: “I talk to atoms and molecules in their own language, and if we ask them very nicely they will compute for us” (Petit 2002: 50). In other words, the fundamental components of matter are essentially the microprocessors of the huge computer that is our Universe. The Aug. 19, 2002 issue of US News & World Report stated that

Wolfram, Fredkin, and their acolytes may be on to something. In recent years many researchers have begun thinking of physical interactions and calculations and as flows of information, rather than mere encounters among bits of matter and quanta of radiation. Science writer Tom Siegfried, in a recent book, The Bit and the Pendulum, calls it the ‘new physics of information’ (Petit 2002: 50).

Information is the key to the concept of the Universe as a gigantic computer program. (Anyone who has taken a computer course knows that information is the central concept in computer science.) Holmes Rolston III, professor of philosophy at Colorado State University, is an advocate of this view. Despite his reference to “creationists with bad science” and “evolutionary theorists with correct beliefs” (Rolston 1999: 192), he nonetheless wrote:

What is inadequately recognized in the ‘self-organizing’ accounts [of the first life on Earth] is that, though no new matter or energy is needed for such spontaneous organization, new information is needed in enormous amounts and that one cannot just let this information float in from nowhere. Over evolutionary history, something is going on ‘over the heads’ of any and all of the local, individual organisms. More comes from less, again and again. A more plausible explanation is that, complementing the self-organizing, there is a Ground of Information, or an Ambience of Information, otherwise known as God (Rolston 1999: 359).

The idea of information as the creating and binding force of the Universe matches the Biblical view. Information basically consists of two things: knowledge that you have in your head, and the spoken (or written) word necessary to communicate that knowledge. For example, if a friend were trying to reach your house by car, you would need to convey directions to him. You already possess this knowledge in your mind, but you must either tell him the directions or write them out.

According to Scripture, God used both aspects of information (knowledge and the spoken word) to create the Universe. Psalm 104:24 states, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all….” In Genesis 1, God created by speaking. In other words, God began with the wisdom/knowledge he had in His mind (Lev. 24:12 mentions “the mind of the Lord,” Rom. 8:27 mentions “the mind of the [Holy] Spirit,” and I Cor. 2:16 mentions “the mind of Christ”), and then conveyed this information into the void by speaking (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26). Significantly, the New Testament refers to Christ the Creator as “the Word” (John 1). The result: a perfect computer program. (The fall of Adam later put a bug into this program.)

Scientists who reject the idea of God as Creator must ask themselves: “If the Universe is indeed a huge computer program, with atoms and molecules as the microprocessors, then who created and programmed this computer?” We now have computers so advanced they can program themselves or other computers. But this only strengthens creationism, since these supercomputers need an outside intelligence to program them in the first place.


Berman, B. 2003. “A Universe That Is Built for Life.” Discover 24, no. 2.

Petit, C. 2002. “The Cosmic Code.” US News, 19 August.

Rolston III, H. 1999. Genes, Genesis and God. Cambridge University Press.

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