Re: The wonders of science.

Bill Hamilton (
Tue, 07 Apr 1998 16:49:52 -0400

At 09:32 PM 4/7/98 -0500, Juan D. Guzman wrote:

>Science has this wonderful way of looking at things and distinguishing
>between the natural and the made.

For the Christian, "made"and "natural" are not mutually exclusive.
Everything in nature was created by God and provided with properties which
enable it to participate in the development of nature under God's
oversight. So the question is not whether an object was made or not, but
_who_ made it (or more properly, who transformed it last. We know God
created it initially and perhaps it underwent many transformations under
His oversight). When we look at, say an aircraft, we recognize the design
techniques men use, particularly a much smaller inventory of shapes than
God uses. Men tend to use straight lines, simple curves, etc. And when
men make objects with dynamics, they generally try to ensure that the
object has predictable behavior, and that generally implies that the
dynamics must be approximable by linear dynamics. God on the other hand
uses fractal geometry and nonlinear dynamics to achieve things we can't.
Feathers are light and provide excellent insulation, yet they tend to
conform to the slipstream when a bird flies, to provide low air resistance.
Trees branch fractally to provide leaves maximum exposure to air and light
while avoiding structural modes that will cause the tree to come apart in a
high wind. We have a great deal of experience with the way men design, but
assessing God's designs is much harder. In the first place we have no
example of anything _not_ subject to his design in some respect. Secondly,
as I mentioned above, He uses very different approaches from the ones we
use, and He is not constrained by finite knowledge and capabilities as we
are. Finally, He doesn't generally value showing Himself very highly.
Consider even the greatest event in Jewish history: the crossing of the Red
Sea and the subsequent demise of the Egyptian army. What do you suppose an
Egyptian eyewitness who did not believe in the God of Israel would have
reported back to his countrymen? I suspect he'd describe it in natural
terms: the wind blew the water out of the path of the Israelites so they
could cross. Then it subsided and let the waters drown the Egyptians. Of
course there would be some aspects that would be hard to explain, such as
the Israelites crossing on dry ground and the fact that such a combination
of wind and timing is very unliikely, but people who don't believe in God
like to gloss over such issues.

Bill Hamilton
Staff Research Engineer
Chassis and Vehicle Systems
GM R&D Center
Warren, MI