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Roxane B. Salonen, Published May 10 2013

Living Faith: Science leads us straight to reality of God

Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and one of today’s foremost atheists, says we can learn everything from science and nobody needs God.

Hawking denies the existence of any kind of afterlife and says heaven is a fairy story for those who fear death.

Science has led him to these conclusions, and he’s convinced many. But in my own less brilliant but still logic-seeking mind, I detect a big black hole in the way of his getting it right.

I don’t mean to demean Hawking. I respect his mind. But as a person of faith, I consider his views on God dangerous to the soul.

In my own seeking and questioning, I’ve yet to be convinced of the incompatibility of science and faith. On the contrary, the two work together quite handily.

This is important because one-third of us process the world analytically. The analytical-minded deserve to know God, too. They also need more than warm-fuzzy feelings; hard evidence if you please.

I’m grateful to report science delivers.

When I first heard of the Big Bang theory as a teen, I embraced it. It made sense to me that God’s “Let there be light” proclamation recorded in Genesis could have been his words as he lit the match of the Big Bang explosion that set the world alight.

With the help of Robert Spitzer, a Jesuit priest, philosopher, educator and author who spoke in Fargo several months ago, I can more easily present the logic of God’s existence.

Let’s start at the most logical place: the beginning.

Science can’t prove God doesn’t exist. But what about proving his existence?

Most physicists today believe the universe started with a giant explosion from a single point where all matter, time and space came into being. But what – or who – started the Big Bang?

Since something can’t come from nothing, whatever started the universe was infinite, something that always has been. Many call that infinite thing God.

When Georges Lemaitre introduced the Big Bang Theory in 1923, Albert Einstein scoffed, having thought the world was static. Eventually he retracted, calling it “the most beautiful and satisfying explanation of creation” he’d heard.

In 1929, Edwin Hubble, after discovering our galaxy expands, put a scale to the expanding universe, and noted that the farther away from us something becomes, the faster it moves. By applying that to our galaxy in reverse, we arrive at a single point in time when the world began.

More recently, scientists have discovered physical evidence for the Big Bang. Also through science, we know it happened about 13.7 billion years ago.

Perhaps most intriguing of all, in 2003, scientists Arvind Borde, Alan Guth and Alex Vilenkin proposed a new proof leading to the conclusion of a creator that has yet to be refuted.

The BGV Theorem says the average rate of expansion of any possible universe must be greater than zero, and that in its lifetime, it will expand more than contract. In its simplest terms, the theorem leads to the conclusion that the universe doesn’t have to end but it does have to begin.

Even if other universes were discovered, they’d need a beginning point and, necessarily, something to ignite them; something orderly and intelligent, it seems.

The logic, the facts, the science lead us straight into the reality of a creator. Scripture tells us that creator loves us in abundance.

When Hawking meets his maker someday, I hope there will be a beautiful moment of recognition, and that he’ll find in that the grace to thank God for his blessed and amazing life.

This column was written exclusively for The Forum.

Roxane B. Salonen is a freelance writer who lives in Fargo with her husband and five children. If you have a story of faith to share with her, email roxanebsalonen@gmail.com