Newton fractal, image credit: Solkoll

Laws of Physics

Newton fractal, image credit: Solkoll

[First published in May, 2012]

Why can we describe the world with “laws”?

Equations of Motion

“There are four major concepts in science: facts, hypotheses, laws, and theories,” Coppinger told Live Science. “Laws are descriptions — often mathematical descriptions — of natural phenomenon; for example, Newton’s Law of Gravity or Mendel’s Law of Independent Assortment. These laws simply describe the observation. Not how or why they work.”

A couple of months ago I picked up a copy of Is God a Mathematician” at a discount store because it sounded interesting. The author, Mario Livio, thinks that the Catholic church rejecting Galileo’s work proves that the Bible has nothing to say about science.

Apparently, the Church at that time believed that everything in space was perfect, so the moon couldn’t have craters even if telescopes showed them. (An idea that originated with Aristotle.) They also thought Joshua’s long day (Joshua 10) meant that the sun and moon went around the earth, so Galileo couldn’t have been right. Of course, this doesn’t begin to prove that Evolution and long ages are facts (called a Straw Man Argument), but this was just a small part of Livio’s book.E=MC2

It is very exciting to me to realize just how much God loves math and used it to set up His universe. I’m not that great at math myself, but I remember how cool it was to figure out how algebra works (I just couldn’t remember how to do it the next day!). Here’s the fist paragraph of the Amazon review of Livio’s book:

“Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner once wondered about “the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” in the formulation of the laws of nature. From ancient times to the present, scientists and philosophers have marveled at how such a seemingly abstract discipline could so perfectly explain the natural world. More than that — mathematics has often made predictions, for example, about subatomic particles or cosmic phenomena that were unknown at the time, but later were proven to be true….
how can it so accurately describe and even predict the world around us?”

Those who refuse to admit that there is a Creator have no answer to these questions. WE DO!!

The LORD possessed me [wisdom] in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. Proverbs 8:22-23

Hubble Deep Space Galaxies

Interestingly, there is one study of distant stars that ‘seems’ to have broken one of the laws of electromagnetic interaction. If you want to know what that means read this Article “for kids” and leave me a comment if you can explain it! The only thing I understand is that the way light from very distant stars is acting in the northern part of the sky is different from their southern sky cousins. There’s a good picture of this on a skeptic’s article showing the (very slight) variation in wave length.

That the constants of the universe would have one minor exception in very distant space fits what God has been telling us all along. And all I was looking for was info on how absolute these laws are!!!

Laws give God a place to hide

One more point on all of these clues in the Bible is the uncomfortable fact that God has chosen to almost always disguise Himself. God doesn’t want us to worship, serve, fear and love Him because we Must but because we Choose to. Although the Bible records a few times when God appeared to people in an unmistakable way, these times are always rare. Even then, people sometimes chose to refuse to honor God for who He is (Genesis 4:6; Daniel 5:5; Numbers 22:13+31:16).

Jesus said: But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. John 4:23

Mossy Rock

A Scientist’s Prayer

Yesterday someone was looking for this prayer and ended up on my Pray For Us page. I don’t think that was what they were searching for, but it got me thinking. What should scientists, and anyone else thinking scientifically, ask God to help them with? Here are some of my thoughts and I’d love to add any more you all come up with as well.

Dear Creator God,

Scientist observing cowpea leaf under microsco...

(Photo credit: IITA Image Library)

Today I’m seeking to understand more about you and the way you made the world. I know your thoughts are as high above mine as the heavens are above the earth (Isaiah 55:9), but I also know you love to fill us with your wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5).

I come to you knowing you have all the power and authority (Matthew 28:18); it is only when I fear you and place my mind under yours that I can really know anything (Proverbs 1:7). Remembering you is also what I need to develop theories and think through how to use the facts I uncover (Proverbs 8:12).

Soil Scientist at Work (9)

(Photo credit: Soil Science @ NC State)

Thank you, Jesus, for being the root and foundation of science (John 1:1-4 The Word= λόγος). Thank you for translating God’s truth into a language we can understand (John 1:14; John 14:9). Please guide my thoughts and actions to the best ways to uncover the truth.

Bless me with wisdom to see what natural people would never dream of looking for.

Most of all, Lord God, I ask that all I discover may reveal more of your glory. May we recognize in a deeper way your genius, orderliness (I Corinthians 14:33), and beauty (Psalm 27:4).

For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever (Matthew 6:13). Amen

Johannes Kepler engraving

Johannes Kepler

“Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.” –Johannes Kepler

“Without Him I understand nothing; without Him all is darkness… Every period has its manias. I regard Atheism as a mania. It is the malady of the age. You could take my skin from me more easily than my faith in God.” –Henri Fabre

Galileo Galilei, a renowned Italian scientist ...

Galileo Galilei

the glory and greatness of Almighty God are marvellously discerned in all his works and divinely read in the open book of heaven. For let no one believe that reading the lofty concepts written in that book leads to nothing further than the mere seeing of the splendour of the sun and the stars and their rising and setting, which is as far as the eyes of brutes and of the vulgar can penetrate…” –Galileo Galilei