7 – Naturalism Versus Super-naturalism
At this point it might seem as if Creation cosmology is yanking at straws, invoking “miracle power” instead of being “scientific”. This might be a legitimate objection were it not for the fact that naturalist cosmology also invokes “miracle power”. For example, something called “cosmic microwave background” radiation raises a problem in Big Bang theory because of the fact that light doesn’t travel fast enough to bring the universe to its present day even temperature.
As a result Big Bang cosmologists have suggested that a faster speed of light in the distant past would make the theory more feasible. And this is only one of a number of other arbitrary, theoretical props that have crept into this naturalist cosmology. (See Appendix 2.)
Genesis is clear about the supernatural aspects of the origin of the natural world. Modern science philosophy, on the other hand, insists on the belief that “nature is all that there is” – Naturalism: a worldview that takes no account of God’s existence, much less His supernatural capacity to act beyond and outside the boundaries of the natural world.
During the present Age, God sustains the universe with the natural laws He created of gravity, electromagnetic force, thermodynamics, etc. And these are what naturalist science likes to investigate so that it may better understand the amazing wonders of the natural realm. And this kind of investigation is both useful and intriguing.
But when it comes to answering questions about how the natural world came into being, this is where naturalism runs into a dead end. For in this area of enquiry, it is illogical to assume that the natural world could come into being by the same processes by which it now operates.
In the examples mentioned earlier (in Post 5) about Earth’s landform geology and the presence in the past of vast ice sheets covering the landscape (the ice age), these are features that have puzzled scientists for decades. A great number of theories and explanations have been proposed, but all unsatisfactory. Why? Because they are based on trying to figure out how present processes of gradual erosion and weather/temperature patterns could have resulted in the monumental landform changes observed today or in the peculiar weather conditions required to produce an ice age.
The only way to resolve these geological and climatic mysteries is to accept what Genesis says about the Flood cataclysm. And then it becomes easy. Anyway, that is a big subject, but for the interested reader, more information is available in posts 2A-D and 3A-D from the Retrieving Our Lost Heritage series of posts.
And it is the same in these mysteries regarding the cosmos. The natural laws and processes operating today are inadequate to explain the supernatural work that was going on during the Creation week. It would be like saying that a flashlight created itself by its own ability to convert electricity into light when in reality it takes an outside agency, a knowledgeable manufacturer, to make a flashlight.
Although modern thinkers have tried to explain it away, there is no getting away from the fact that the realm of the supernatural exists, that only a supernatural Supreme Being could have brought this earthly realm and its inhabitants into existence.
Modern science’s refusal to factor God into their origin theories is nothing new. For centuries Naturalism has stood as a pillar in various philosophical and religious points of view – that nothing exists beyond the material world, that the universe is eternal.
In the Modern Age this deep-seated presumption took on its present form during the Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, in the 18th century. Anything that suggested the reality of the supernatural was ridiculed as unscientific, preposterous, some kind of throwback to superstitious belief. And in the modern day and age, this same educational climate has misled younger generations down a similar path, with theories of gradual evolution (and supposed evidence) about an extraordinarily long age for the Earth and the Universe.
By thus bestowing a sort of divinity on the natural world, that conveniently sidesteps having to acknowledge the realm of the supernatural and God’s hand in the formation of the natural world. Yes, the mystical beauty and splendor radiating from Mother Nature makes it easy to bestow a sort of divinity upon it. Nevertheless, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the Creator, who is very much involved with and sustains His created world, is also separate from it, and quite able to work outside and beyond its boundaries.
There is a need to disregard superstition, it is true, but at the same time educationalists should beware against “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. They should recognize when physical explanations for natural phenomena have reached their limit and be willing to acknowledge the hand of the Almighty in fashioning the awesome design, wonder, and beauty of the natural world we live in.