Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Discovery Would Make You Doubt God?

Ever since the Age of Enlightenment (about the 17th century) there has been a tension between faith and science. Even though I am a strong believer in systematic theology, I must admit there is a certain portion of trust in the unknown needed for religious faith. That said, I recently came across an extinction timeline from 1950-2050. It is a chronological list of when certain things will disappear from human society. Here are a couple of examples: 1940's- Ottoman Empire, 1970's- Smallpox, 2000's- Pluto, 2020's- Blogging, 2050's- Death.

The timeline itself falls somewhere between entertaining and just plain silly. But that last prediction, the extinction of death, got me thinking. I have heard a lot about how science may be able to stop aging and one day totally prevent death. And I have to admit it is at least plausible. The average age in the Medieval Period was about 30 years, but now it's more than twice that. I am amazed at the scientific advances I enjoy that my parents couldn't have dreamed of.

The title of this post is "What Discovery Would Make You Doubt God?", and I must admit, if science could one day end human suffering, pain, and death (which this timeline says will happen in my lifetime) I would really have to evaluate the doctrines of Christianity. If the wages of sin is death, and there is no death, then there must not be any sin, and only sinners need a savior.


  1. I still maintain that, infallibility and all, Romans 6:23 should read "The wages of sin ARE death." Wages = plural = are. It's fine with me if an amanuensis somewhere forgot one of his/her conjugations.

    I think the thing that would make me doubt God's existence would be the eradication of good. If the world decayed to the point that all moral and physical pleasure were gone, I would doubt the existence of a benevolent God. Call me a sucker who needs to learn his theodicy, but I would doubt God under those conditions.

    On the other hand, human annihilation of death doesn't bother me that much, as God could swoop down all of a sudden, zap a bunch of people and say, "That's what you get for thinking you conquered death!" Perhaps I should read less Jerry B. Jenkins.

    That's enough Paul, stop.

  2. I mean this as a serious question: What do you think the likelihood of that happening is?

  3. I ask that because I think that stopping the "disease" of aging seems to be at least plausable. Here's a pretty smart guys who thinks so:


    A part of me feels like to be honest in my certainty of Christianity, I should donate to his research. Or maybe I'm just taking this too seriously.

  4. A cure for aging isn't going to happen.
    Think about it like this.
    1) Even someone who lives 1,000 years (as proposed by Grey) still dies.
    2) As a person's lifespan increase, so does his/her chance for a fatal accident. If this accident occurs, you could never prove he/she wasn't going to die of aging at, say, 500 years. Fact: The chance of being killed or seriously injured in a car accident in an average lifespan of 86 years is 1/3.
    3) Grey's research on aging merely focuses on the aging of tissue. As people age, however, there are many more complications besides merely tissue aging. For instance, the longer you live, the greater probability of a fatal genetic mutation (your cells are already mutating as we speak, but your body can deal with it the first few times around).
    4) Increased lifespan increases risk of death due to environmental factors, which are not affected by "tissue aging."

    Once again, I shall stop. But I could go on.

  5. Conclusion: Save your money and take your wife on a nice date.

  6. I think you're right. I sure was giving this thing some serious thought for second there.

  7. You really don't need to go as far as all that. An eternal human is essentially a perpetual motion machine. It defies the laws of physics for us to live forever. If we stay confined to one body, it will never happen. But we could probably slow aging down a WHOLE lot more than we have so far.

    Not only that, there is a lot more to pain and suffering than science.

    Not only that, there is a lot more to "death" (as it's used in that passage) than physically dying - you know, your heart stopping and all that. I wish it were that simple.

    To answer your question, Harrison, I can't think of a scientific discovery which would make me doubt the existence of God. There are plenty which would make me doubt Christianity - actually, there are plenty which do.

  8. Don't be so cryptic Justin. Share please.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.