Diamond Hunting at the Beach

Can Science Disprove God?

Metal detectors are amazing, but they have limits.

One often sees people on the beach after a storm, using a metal detector to find lost rings, coins, or other unexpected treasures that may have washed onto the shore. But if a large diamond were to fall out of a woman’s wedding ring, it would make no sense for her to try to find it with a metal detector. As useful as they are, metal detectors can’t be used to discover everything.

As wonderful as science is, it also has limits.

Modern science has brought us amazing breakthroughs in medicine, travel, communication, and comfort. Thanks to science, we can do things our ancestors couldn’t even imagine. But since science is the study of the natural world, this means that it is limited in its scope: scientific inquiry can only answer questions about matters that are observable in time and space.

Science cannot make moral judgments.

Science helps us describe the world, but it cannot help us decide what is good or bad, right or wrong. For example, scientific inquiry cannot answer whether it is right or wrong for people to steal, or whether a human life is more valuable than the life of an endangered animal. Scientific research can open up new possibilities, such as the ability to clone a human being, but it cannot tell us what we should do with this knowledge.

Science cannot explain realities like love or beauty.

Scientists can observe the interactions between a mother and her child, but they cannot prove whether love exists between two people, or explain why it exists. Science can explain how the Grand Canyon was formed, but it cannot tell us whether or not it is beautiful. We know from experience that love and beauty are real, but such realities fall outside the purview of science.

Science cannot answer questions concerning God or religion.

Since science only examines the physical, natural world, it cannot give answers to supernatural questions such as, “Does God exist?” By definition, God is outside of space and time and thus beyond the limits of science. Science cannot be used to prove or disprove God, any more than a metal detector can establish the presence of a diamond in the sand.

There are reasons for faith in God.

If the woman in our example were looking for her diamond, she would search with other tools, such as a screen to sift through the sand. In a similar way, if we are to investigate God’s existence, we will need to employ avenues other than scientific research. In particular, we will need logical reasoning. In this message series, we will explore some of the reasons why it makes sense to believe in God.

View original print version.