Quotes about God to consider…if you think science leads to atheism.
“The question of whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the Universe has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed.”
–Charles Darwin, the founder of evolutionary biology, as cited in his book Descent of Man.
“As we conquer peak after peak we see in front of us regions full of interest and beauty, but we do not see our goal, we do not see the horizon; in the distance tower still higher peaks, which will yield to those who ascend them still wider prospects, and deepen the feeling, the truth of which is emphasized by every advance in science, that ‘Great are the Works of the Lord’.”
—Sir Joseph J. Thomson, Nobel Prize winning physicist, discoverer of the electron. Thomson, who was a devout Christian, is recognized as the founder of atomic physics.
(In Presidential Address to the British Association, as quoted in Arthur L. Foley, ‘Recent Developments in Physical Science, The Popular Science Monthly (1910), 456)
“A scientific discovery is also a religious discovery. There is no conflict between science and religion. Our knowledge of God is made larger with every discovery we make about the world.”
–Joseph H. Taylor, Jr., who received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the first known binary pulsar, and for his work which supported the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe. Taylor is a devout Christian.
“The more I study science, the more I believe in God.”
(The Wall Street Journal, Dec 24, 1997, article by Jim Holt, “Science Resurrects God.”)
“Atoms are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The universe is also weird, with its laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it passes beyond the scale of our comprehension.”
“Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God’s gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences.”
“I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know his thoughts; the rest are details.”
(From E. Salaman, “A Talk With Einstein,” The Listener 54 (1955), pp. 370-371, quoted in Jammer, p. 123).
“God [is] the author of the universe, and the free establisher of the laws of motion.”
—Physicist and chemist Robert Boyle, who is considered to be the founder of modern chemistry. Boyle was a devout Christian.
“One way to learn the mind of the Creator is to study His creation. We must pay God the compliment of studying His work of art and this should apply to all realms of human thought. A refusal to use our intelligence honestly is an act of contempt for Him who gave us that intelligence.”
— Physicist Ernest Walton, who won the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics for his “atom smashing” experiments done at Cambridge University in the early 1930s, and so became the first person in history to artificially split the atom. Walton was a devout Christian.
(V. J. McBrierty (2003): Ernest Thomas Sinton Walton, The Irish Scientist, 1903-1995, Trinity College Dublin Press.)
“It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”
“People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”
–Physicist Paul Davies, the winner of the 2001 Kelvin Medal issued by the Institute of Physics and the winner of the 2002 Faraday Prize issued by the Royal Society (amongst other awards), as cited in his book God and the New Physics (first quote), and from his acceptance address of the 1995 Templeton Prize (second quote).
“Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare, and even the few dissenters hint that the tide is against them. Geoffrey Burbidge, of the University of California at San Diego, complains that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join ‘the First Church of Christ of the Big Bang.’”
–Astrophysicist Hugh Ross, former post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology and author of The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Latest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God.
“Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover…. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”
–Robert Jastrow, the astronomer and physicist who founded NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, as cited in his book God and the Astronomers.
“I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.”
“If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God.”
—Lord William Kelvin, who was noted for his theoretical work on thermodynamics, the concept of absolute zero and the Kelvin temperature scale based upon it. Kelvin was a devout Christian.
“The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who – in their grudge against traditional religion as the ‘opium of the masses’ – cannot hear the music of the spheres.”
“God created everything by number, weight and measure.”
“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”
“I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.”
—Sir Isaac Newton, who is widely regarded to have been the greatest scientist the world has ever produced. Newton was a devout Christian.
“Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.”
“There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other. Every serious and reflective person realizes, I think, that the religious element in his nature must be recognized and cultivated if all the powers of the human soul are to act together in perfect balance and harmony. And indeed it was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls.”
—Max Planck, the Nobel Prize winning physicist who made the crucial scientific contribution of founding quantum physics. Planck was a devout Christian and a member of the Lutheran Church in Germany.
Religion and Natural Science (Lecture Given 1937) Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers, trans. F. Gaynor (New York, 1949), pp. 184
“Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection in various forms. He appeared to Mary Magdalene so that they might take him for a gardener. Very ingeniously these manifestation of Jesus is to our minds difficult to penetrate. (He appears) as a gardener. The gardener plants seedlings in prepared soil. The soil must exert a physical and chemical influence so that the seed of the plant can grow. Yet this is not sufficient. The warmth and light of the sun must be added, together with rain, in order that growth may result. The seed of supernatural life, of sanctifying grace, cleanses from sin, so preparing the soul of man, and man must seek to preserve this life by his good works. He still needs the supernatural food, the body of the Lord, which received continually, develops and brings to completion of the life. So natural and supernatural must unite to the realization of the holiness to the people. Man must contribute his minimum work of toil, and God gives the growth. Truly, the seed, the talent, the grace of God is there, and man has simply to work, take the seeds to bring them to the bankers. So that we “may have life, and abundantly“.
—Gregor Mendel, who is regarded as “the father of modern genetics,” partly due to his pioneering work on plant hybridization. Mendel was also an Augustinian friar (Catholic priest). The above is an excerpt from an Easter sermon which he delivered.
“This sense of wonder leads most scientists to a Superior Being – der Alte, the Old One, as Einstein affectionately called the Deity – a Superior Intelligence, the Lord of all Creation and Natural Law.”
—Abdus Salam, winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in electroweak theory. He is here quoted in his article entitled Science and Religion.
“Yet even in earthly matters I believe that ‘the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead,’ and I have never seen anything incompatible between those things of man which can be known by the spirit of man which is within him, and those higher things concerning his future, which he cannot know by that spirit.”
—Michael Faraday, the British scientist who made crucial contributions to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. Faraday was a devout Christian.
Jones, B. 1870. The Life and Letters of Faraday: Volume II. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 325-326.
“I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence. Believe me, everything that we call chance today won’t make sense anymore. To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance.”
–Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and string theory pioneer.
“The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power.”
–Nikola Tesla, the inventor and futurist scientist known for numerous inventions, but best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electrical supply system. Tesla was the winner of: Edison Medal (1916); Elliott Cresson Medal (1894); John Scott Medal (1934)
“I have looked into most philosophical systems and I have seen that none will work without God.”
“Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”
—Physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell, who is credited with formulating classical electromagnetic theory, and whose contributions to science are considered to be of the same magnitude to those of Einstein and Newton. Maxwell was a devout Christian.
“For myself, faith begins with a realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence—an orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered—-‘In the beginning God.'”
“Science can have no quarrel with a religion which postulates a God to whom men are His children.”
—Arthur Compton, winner of the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the Compton Effect.
“Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist must be rather silly.”
“Something which is against natural laws seems to me rather out of the question because it would be a depressive idea about God. It would make God smaller than he must be assumed. When he stated that these laws hold, then they hold, and he wouldn’t make exceptions. This is too human an idea. Humans do such things, but not God.”
–Nobel Prize winning physicist Max Born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics.
“God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”
–Nobel Prize winning physicist Paul A. M. Dirac, who made crucial early contributions to both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics.
“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
“In the history of science, ever since the famous trial of Galileo, it has repeatedly been claimed that scientific truth cannot be reconciled with the religious interpretation of the world. Although I am now convinced that scientific truth is unassailable in its own field, I have never found it possible to dismiss the content of religious thinking as simply part of an outmoded phase in the consciousness of mankind, a part we shall have to give up from now on. Thus in the course of my life I have repeatedly been compelled to ponder on the relationship of these two regions of thought, for I have never been able to doubt the reality of that to which they point.”
—Werner Heisenberg, who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for the creation of quantum mechanics (which is absolutely crucial to modern science). Heisenberg was a Lutheran Christian, publishing and giving several talks reconciling science with his faith. He was a member of Germany’s largest Protestant religious body, the Evangelische Kirche.
“I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.” [Italics are mine]
—Albert Einstein, as cited in Antony Flew’s book, There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.
“…Those laws are within the grasp of the human mind. God wanted us to recognize them by creating us after his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts… and if piety allow us to say so, our understanding is in this respect of the same kind as the divine, at least as far as we are able to grasp something of it in our mortal life.”
–Johannes Kepler, the German mathematician and astronomer who discovered the laws of planetary motion which later served as one of the foundations for Issac Newton’s theory of universal gravitation. Kepler was a devout Christian.
“Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.”
—Charles Darwin, the founder of evolutionary biology, as quoted in his autobiography.
“The ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God.”
“Whence it follows that God is absolutely perfect, since perfection is nothing but magnitude of positive reality, in the strict sense, setting aside the limits or bounds in things which are limited.”
–Gottfried Leibniz, the German mathematician and philosopher (1646-1716) who founded calculus (concurrently with Isaac Newton). Leibniz also made major early contributions to physics.
“As I try to discern the origin of that conviction, I seem to find it in a basic notion . . . enunciated first in the Western world by the ancient Hebrews: namely, that the universe is governed by a single God, and is not the product of the whims of many gods, each governing his own province according to his own laws. This monotheistic view seems to be the historical foundation for modern science.”
–Biochemist Melvin Calvin, winner of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of the Calvin cycle.
“Those who have magnified more recent controversies about the relations of science and religion, and who have projected them back into historical time, simply perpetuate a historical myth. The myth of a perennial conflict between science and religion is one to which no historian of science would subscribe.”
—Former Oxford University Professor of Science and Religion Peter Harrison.
“The ghostly presence of virtual particles defies rational common sense and is nonintuitive for those unacquainted with physics. Religious belief in God, and Christian belief that God became Man around two thousand years ago, may seem strange to common-sense thinking. But when the most elementary physical things behave in this way, we should be prepared to accept that the deepest aspects of our existence go beyond our common-sense intuitions.”
–Nobel Prize winning physicist Tony Hewish as quoted in the foreword to John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Beale’s book Questions of Truth: Fifty-one Responses to Questions about God, Science, and Belief.
“The best data we have (concerning the Big Bang) are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”
“If there are a bunch of fruit trees, one can say that whoever created these fruit trees wanted some apples. In other words, by looking at the order in the world, we can infer purpose and from purpose we begin to get some knowledge of the Creator, the Planner of all this. This is, then, how I look at God. I look at God through the works of God’s hands and from those works imply intentions. From these intentions, I receive an impression of the Almighty.”
—Arno Penzias, the 1978 Nobel Prize recipient in physics as cited in New York Times on March 12, 1978 (first quote) and ‘The God I Believe in’, Joshua O. Haberman – editor, New York, Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994, 184. (second quote)
“There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. . . It seems as though somebody has fine tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe. . . The impression of design is overwhelming.”
–Physicist Paul Davies, mentioned above.
“Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word ‘miraculous’ without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word.”
“God is the creator and sustainer of the universe and of humankind, transcending the universe but immanent in it.”
“God’s nature embodies justice and holiness, but is also a personal and loving God who cares for each creature (so the name ‘father’ is indeed appropriate).”
“God’s nature is revealed most perfectly in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, who was sent by God to reveal the divine nature, summarized in ‘God is Love.'”
—George Ellis, the South African astrophysicist who was a collaborator on the Hawking-Penrose singularity theorems (regarding the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe), as cited in What Your Atheist Professor Doesn’t Know (But Should) by Stephen Williams.
“I believe that a full understanding of this remarkable human capacity for scientific discovery ultimately requires the insight that our power in this respect is the gift of the universe’s Creator who, in that ancient and powerful phrase, has made humanity in the image of God (Genesis I: 26-27). Through the exercise of this gift, those working in fundamental physics are able to discern a world of deep and beautiful order–a universe shot thorough with signs of mind. I believe that it is indeed the Mind of that world’s Creator that is perceived in this way. Science is possible because the universe is a divine creation.”
–Former Cambridge University Professor of Mathematical Physics John Polkinghorne, as quoted in his book Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship. Polkinghorne is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE). In part because of his insights about God from physics, Polkinghorne changed careers and joined the Anglican priesthood.
“It is relatively unusual that a physical scientist is truly an atheist. Why is this true? Some point to the anthropic constraints, the remarkable fine tuning of the universe. For example, Freeman Dyson, a Princeton faculty member, has said, ‘Nature has been kinder to us that we had any right to expect.'”
–Quantum chemist Henry F. Schaefer III, five time nominee for the Nobel Prize, as quoted in his essay Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang, and God.
“To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power; to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful workings of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more grateful than knowledge.”
–Nicolaus Copernicus, the mathematician and astronomer (1473-1543) who formulated a heliocentric model of the universe, as cited in The Language of God by Francis Collins. (“Heliocentric” places the sun, rather than the Earth, at the center of the universe).
“The significance and joy in my science comes in those occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, ‘So that’s how God did it.’ My goal is to understand a little corner of God’s plan.”
—Henry “Fritz” Schaefer, five time Nobel Prize nominee, Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry, and director of the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia, as cited in What Your Atheist Professor Doesn’t Know (But Should) by Stephen Williams. Schaefer is a devout Christian.
“It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.”
—James Joule, propounder of the first law of thermodynamics (on the conservation of energy). He also made important contributions to the kinetic theory of gases. The unit of heat known as the “Joule” is named after him. Joule was a devout Christian.
“There are many ways in which people are made aware of their power to believe in the supremacy of Divine guidance and power: through music or visual art, some event or experience decisively influencing their life, looking through a microscope or telescope, or just by looking at the miraculous manifestations or purposefulness of Nature.”
—Sir Ernst Chain, winner of the the 1945 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology “for the discovery of penicillin and its curative effect in various infectious diseases.”
“Let me say that I don’t see any conflict between science and religion. I go to church as many other scientists do. I share with most religious people a sense of mystery and wonder at the universe and I want to participate in religious ritual and practices because they’re something that all humans can share.”
—Sir Martin Rees, the British cosmologist and astrophysicist who has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and was the president of the Royal Society between 2005 and 2010. Rees is the winner of the Crafoord Prize (which is the most prestigious award in astronomy), amongst many other awards.
“The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Science brings men nearer to God.”
“In good philosophy, the word cause ought to be reserved to the single Divine impulse that has formed the universe.”
“Little science takes you away from God but more of it takes you to Him.”
—Louis Pasteur, the founder of microbiology and immunology. Pasteur was a devout Christian.
“My greatest discovery was that I needed God, and that I was nothing without him and that he loved me and showed his love by sending Jesus to save me.”
—Alexander Fleming, the Nobel Prize-winning British bacteriologist who discovered the life-saving antibiotic penicillin. Fleming was a devout Christian.
“A Creator must exist. The Big Bang ripples and subsequent scientific findings are clearly pointing to an ex nihilo creation consistent with the first few verses of the book of Genesis.”
–Quantum chemist Henry F. Schaefer III, five time nominee for the Nobel Prize, as above.
“Nevertheless, just as I believe that the Book of Scripture illumines the pathway to God, so I believe that the Book of Nature, with its astonishing details–the blade of grass, the Conus cedonulli, or the resonance levels of the carbon atom–also suggest a God of purpose and a God of design. And I think my belief makes me no less a scientist.”
—Owen Gingerich, research professor of astronomy and of the history of science emeritus at Harvard University. Gingerich, a devout Christian, is also senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
“When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it’s very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it.”
—Physicist Tony Rothman, former post-doctoral fellow at Oxford University
“When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”
“From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science.”
—Professor of Mathematical Physics Frank Tipler, author of The Physics of Christianity and The Physics of Immortality. Tipler is one of the two founders of the famous anthropic principle regarding the fundamental physical constants necessary for the origin of life. He became a Christian as a result of his science.
“It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. . . . I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”
“Religion is founded on faith. It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. For me that means Protestant Christianity, to which I was introduced as a child and which has withstood the tests of a lifetime.”
“But the context of religion is a great background for doing science. In the words of Psalm 19, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork’. Thus scientific research is a worshipful act, in that it reveals more of the wonders of God’s creation.”
–Arthur L. Schawlow, Professor of Physics at Stanford University and winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics.
To the question, “Many prominent scientists – including Darwin, Einstein, and Planck – have considered the concept of God very seriously. What are your thoughts on the concept of God and on the existence of God?”
Christian Anfinsen replied: “I think only an idiot can be an atheist. We must admit that there exists an incomprehensible power or force with limitless foresight and knowledge that started the whole universe going in the first place.”
—Christian Anfinsen, winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on ribonuclease.
“As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene . . . . No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrase-mongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot.”
–Albert Einstein, as cited in “What Life Means to Einstein,” The Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1929.
“Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.”
—Arno Penzias, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physics.
“The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine.”
—MIT physicist Vera Kistiakowsky
“Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one…. Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument.”
–Cosmologist and astronomer Edward Robert Harrison
“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”
–Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle commenting on the incredible fine-tuning necessary for life to exist (as quoted in The Creator and the Cosmos by Hugh Ross).
“Fred Hoyle and I differ on lots of questions, but on this we agree: a common sense and satisfying interpretation of our world suggests the designing hand of a superintelligence.”
–Former Harvard University Research Professor of Astronomy and the History of Science Owen Gingerich, who is also senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Gingerich, a devout Christian, is here reflecting on Fred Hoyle’s above comment.
“Perhaps the best argument…that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas…being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his or her theory.”
–Imperial College of London astrophysicist Christopher J. Isham, who is Britain’s leading quantum cosmologist.
“As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God].”
–Astrophysicist and mathametician Edward Milne (winner of the Royal Society’s Royal Medal, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Bruce Medal)
“We all know that there are regions of the human spirit untrammeled by the world of physics. In the mystic sense of the creation around us, in the expression of art, in a yearning towards God, the soul grows upward and finds fulfillment of something implanted in its nature. The sanction for this development is within us, a striving born with our consciousness or an Inner Light proceeding from a greater power than ours. Science can scarcely question this sanction, for the pursuit of science springs from a striving which the mind is impelled to follow, a questioning that will not be suppressed. Whether in the intellectual pursuits of science or in the mystical pursuits of the spirit, the light beckons ahead and the purpose surging in our nature responds.”
— Sir Arthur Eddington, the eminent English astronomer, physicist and mathematician known for his groundbreaking research in astrophysics, as quoted in his classic work The Nature of the Physical World. Eddington, a devout Christian, was the first person to investigate the motion, internal structure and evolution of stars, and is widely regarded to be one of the greatest astronomers of all time.
“What is the ultimate solution to the origin of the Universe? The answers provided by the astronomers are disconcerting and remarkable. Most remarkable of all is the fact that in science, as in the Bible, the world begins with an act of creation.”
–Astronomer Robert Jastrow from Until the Sun Dies
Then, last week, American scientists announced the discovery of radiation patterns in space that may mark the beginning of time itself. Said astrophysicist George Smoot, leader of the research team: “If you’re religious, it’s like looking at God. The order is so beautiful and the symmetry so beautiful that you think there is some design behind it.”
“Whatever caused the rapid expansion of the universe following the Big Bang–the same forces caused tiny ripples. Because if you try to do something too fast, you shake a little. God might be the designer. “
–Maclean’s, May 4, 1992 (the two above quotes are by astrophysicist and cosmologist George Smoot).
“Recently I have gone back to church regularly with a new focus to understand as best I can what it is that makes Christianity so vital and powerful in the lives of billions of people today, even though almost 2000 years have passed since the death and resurrection of Christ. Although I suspect I will never fully understand, I now think the answer is very simple: it’s true. God did create the universe about 13.7 billion years ago, and of necessity has involved Himself with His creation ever since. The purpose of this universe is something that only God knows for sure, but it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life. We are somehow critically involved in His purpose. Our job is to sense that purpose as best we can, love one another, and help Him get that job done.” (Smalley 2005)
—Richard Smalley, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of a new form of carbon (buckminsterfullerene or “buckyballs”).
“Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe–a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”
“In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”
Clark, Ronald W. (1971). Einstein: The Life and Times. New York: World Publishing Company
“This much I can say with definiteness – namely, that there is no scientific basis for the denial of religion – nor is there in my judgment any excuse for a conflict between science and religion, for their fields are entirely different. Men who know very little of science and men who know very little of religion do indeed get to quarreling, and the onlookers imagine that there is a conflict between science and religion, whereas the conflict is only between two different species of ignorance.”
“The first important quarrel of this sort arose over the advancing by Copernicus of his theory that the earth, instead of being a flat plane and the center of the universe, was actually only one of a number of little planets, rotating once a day upon its axis and circling once a year about the sun. Copernicus was a priest – the canon of a cathedral – and he was primarily a religious rather than a scientific man. He knew that the foundations of real religion are not laid where scientific discoveries of any kind can disturb them. He was persecuted, not because he went against the teachings of religion but because under his theory man was not the center of the universe and this was most displeasing news to a number of egoists.”
“To me it is unthinkable that a real atheist could be a scientist.”
“Religion and science, then, in my analysis are the two great sister forces which have pulled, and are still pulling, mankind onward and upward.”
“The impossibility of real science and real religion ever conflicting becomes evident when one examines the purpose of science and the purpose of religion. The purpose of science is to develop – without prejudice or preconception of any kind – a knowledge of the facts, the laws and the processes of nature. The even more important task of religion, on the other hand, is to develop the consciences, the ideals and the aspirations of mankind.”
—Robert Andrews Millikan, who won the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the elementary charge of electricity and on the photoelectric effect. Millikan was a devout Christian.
“I strongly believe in the existence of God, based on intuition, observations, logic, and also scientific knowledge.”
“Science, with its experiments and logic, tries to understand the order or structure of the universe. Religion, with its theological inspiration and reflection, tries to understand the purpose or meaning of the universe. These two are cross-related. Purpose implies structure, and structure ought somehow to be interpretable in terms of purpose.”
“At least this is the way I see it. I am a physicist. I also consider myself a Christian. As I try to understand the nature of our universe in these two modes of thinking, I see many commonalities and crossovers between science and religion. It seems logical that in the long run the two will even converge.”
–Charles Hard Townes, who received the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for his fundamental work in the field of quantum electronics. Townes was a devout Christian.
“I believe in God. In fact, I believe in a personal God who acts in and interacts with the creation. I believe that the observations about the orderliness of the physical universe, and the apparently exceptional fine-tuning of the conditions of the universe for the development of life suggest that an intelligent Creator is responsible.”
“I believe in God because of a personal faith, a faith that is consistent with what I know about science.”
“Being an ordinary scientist and an ordinary Christian seems perfectly natural to me. It is also perfectly natural for the many scientists I know who are also people of deep religious faith.”
—William D. Phillips, who won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.
“Science is experimental, moving forward step-by-step, making trial and learning through success and failure. Is not this also the way of religion, and especially of the Christian religion? The writings of those who preach the religion have from the very beginning insisted that it is to be proved by experience. If a man is drawn towards honor and courage and endurance, justice, mercy, and charity, let him follow the way of Christ and find out for himself. No findings in science hinder him in that way.”
–William Henry Bragg, winner of the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to the analysis of crystal structures by means of X-rays.
Bragg’s daughter Gwendolen Mary Caroe wrote about her father’s faith:
“Religious faith to W. H. Bragg was the willingness to stake his all on the hypothesis that Christ was right, and test it by a lifetime’s experiment in charity.”
“The more I work with the powers of Nature, the more I feel God’s benevolence to man; the closer I am to the great truth that everything is dependent on the Eternal Creator and Sustainer; the more I feel that the so-called science, I am occupied with, is nothing but an expression of the Supreme Will, which aims at bringing people closer to each other in order to help them better understand and improve themselves.”
“I am proud to be a Christian. I believe not only as a Christian, but as a scientist as well. A wireless device can deliver a message through the wilderness. In prayer the human spirit can send invisible waves to eternity, waves that achieve their goal in front of God.”
—Guglielmo Marconi, winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the first successful system of wireless telegraphy. Marconi is the inventor of the radio; his revolutionary work made possible the electronic communications of the modern world.
“I believe in God, who can respond to prayers, to whom we can give trust and without whom life on this earth would be without meaning (a tale told by an idiot). I believe that God has revealed Himself to us in many ways and through many men and women, and that for us here in the West the clearest revelation is through Jesus and those that have followed him.”
—Sir Nevill Mott, recipient of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physics for his research on the magnetic and electrical properties of noncrystalline semiconductors.
“Physics filled me with awe, put me in touch with a sense of original causes. Physics brought me closer to God. That feeling stayed with me throughout my years in science. Whenever one of my students came to me with a scientific project, I asked only one question, ‘Will it bring you nearer to God?’ ”
—Isidor Isaac Rabi, who won the 1944 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei.
“Science is a game – but a game with reality, a game with sharpened knives. If a man cuts a picture carefully into 1000 pieces, you solve the puzzle when you reassemble the pieces into a picture; in the success or failure, both your intelligences compete. In the presentation of a scientific problem, the other player is the good Lord. He has not only set the problem but also has devised the rules of the game – but they are not completely known, half of them are left for you to discover or to deduce. The uncertainty is how many of the rules God himself has permanently ordained, and how many apparently are caused by your own mental inertia, while the solution generally becomes possible only through freedom from its limitations. This is perhaps the most exciting thing in the game.”
—Erwin Schroedinger, winner of the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.”
“I believe in God. It makes no sense to me to assume that the Universe and our existence is just a cosmic accident, that life emerged due to random physical processes in an environment which simply happened to have the right properties. As a Christian I begin to comprehend what life is all about through belief in a Creator, some of whose nature was revealed by a man born about 2000 years ago.”
—Antony Hewish, winner of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of pulsars.
“Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety of things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being, necessarily existing.”
—Sir Isaac Newton, who is widely regarded to have been the greatest scientist of all time, as cited in Principia Mathematica, which is widely regarded to be the most important scientific work of all time. Newton was a devout Christian.
“Jesus knows our world. He does not disdain us like the God of Aristotle. We can speak to Him and He answers us. Although He is a person like ourselves, He is God and transcends all things.”
—Alexis Carrel, who won the 1912 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology “for his work on vascular suturing and the transplantation of blood-vessels and organs,” as quoted in his book Reflections on Life
“Science and religion are very much alike. Both are imaginative and creative aspects of the human mind. The appearance of a conflict is a result of ignorance. We come to exist through a divine act. That divine guidance is a theme throughout our life; at our death the brain goes, but that divine guidance and love continues. Each of us is a unique, conscious being, a divine creation. It is the religious view. It is the only view consistent with all the evidence.”
—Sir John Eccles, who received the 1963 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for establishing the relationship between inhibition of nerve cells and repolarization of a cell’s membrane. He is here cited in his article titled “Modern Biology and the Turn to Belief in God.”
“Is the Church inimical to science? Growing up as a Catholic and a scientist – I don’t see it. One truth is revealed truth, the other is scientific truth. If you really believe that creation is good, there can be no harm in studying science. The more we learn about creation – the way it emerged – it just adds to the glory of God. Personally, I’ve never seen a conflict.”
—Joseph E. Murray, winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for work that “proved to a doubting world that it was possible to transplant organs to save the lives of dying patients.”
“I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”
–Astronomer Allan Sandage, winner of the Crafoord Prize in astronomy (which is equivalent to the Nobel Prize). Sandage is considered to be one of the founders of modern astronomy and was widely regarded to be the world’s greatest cosmologist until his death in 2010. He came to belief in God as a result of his science, as he announced at a conference on the origin of the universe in 1985. He also became a Christian.
“We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it. So there is a chance that the best of all possible mathematics will be created out of physicists’ attempts to describe nature.”
–Russian theoretical physicist Alexander Polyakov, winner of the Lars Onsager prize in 2011, the Dirac Medal and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics in 1986, the Lorentz Medal in 1994, and the Oskar Klein Medal in 1996.
“If we need an atheist for a debate, we go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn’t much use.”
—Robert Griffiths, winner of the Heinemann Prize in mathematical physics.
“For many years I have believed that God is the great designer behind all nature… All my studies in science since then have confirmed my faith. I regard the Bible as my principle source of authority.”
—Sir Ghillean T. Prance, the knighted British botanist and ecologist, Fellow of the Royal Society.
“I build molecules for a living. I can’t begin to tell you how difficult that job is. I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. My faith has been increased through my research. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”
—James Tour, one of the world’s leading nanoscientists, and a devout Christian.
“The common belief that… the actual relations between religion and science over the last few centuries have been marked by deep and enduring hostility… is not only historically inaccurate, but actually a caricature so grotesque that what needs to be explained is how it could possibly have achieved any degree of respectability.”
–Cambridge University historian of science Colin Russell
” A little science estranges a man from God. A lot of science brings him back.”
—Sir Francis Bacon, the 17th century scientist and philosopher of science who is credited with discovering and popularizing the scientific method, whereby the laws of science are discovered by gathering and analyzing data from experiments and observations. Bacon was a devout Christian.
“An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.”
–Srinivasa Ramanujam, who is widely regarded to be one of the greatest mathematicians of all time (on a similar plane with such greats as Archimedes and Newton).
“God is Truth. There is no incompatibility between science and religion. Both are seeking the same truth. Science shows that God exists.”
“The observations and experiments of science are so wonderful that the truth that they establish can surely be accepted as another manifestation of God. God shows himself by allowing man to establish truth.”
–Sir Derek Barton, winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, as quoted in Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens.
To the question, “What do you think should be the relationship between science and religion?” Walter Kohn replied: “Mutual respect. They are complementary important parts of the human experience.” (Kohn 2002).
And to the inquiry, “What do you think about the existence of God?” Walter Kohn gave the following answer: “There are essential parts of the human experience about which science intrinsically has nothing to say. I associate them with an entity which I call God.” (Kohn 2002).
—Walter Kohn was the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for contributions to the understandings of the electronic properties of materials..
“The vast mysteries of the universe should only confirm our belief in the certainty of its Creator. I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”
“They (evolutionists) challenge science to prove the existence of God. But must we really light a candle to see the sun? They say they cannot visualize a Designer. Well, can a physicist visualize an electron? What strange rationale makes some physicists accept the inconceivable electron as real while refusing to accept the reality of a Designer on the grounds that they cannot conceive Him?”
“God deliberately reduced Himself to the stature of humanity in order to visit the earth in person, because the cumulative effect over the centuries of millions of individuals choosing to please themselves rather than God had infected the whole planet. When God became a man Himself, the experience proved to be nothing short of pure agony. In man’s time-honored fashion, they would unleash the whole arsenal of weapons against Him: misrepresentation, slander, and accusation of treason. The stage was set for a situation without parallel in the history of the earth. God would visit creatures and they would nail Him to the cross!”
“Although I know of no reference to Christ ever commenting on scientific work, I do know that He said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Thus I am certain that, were He among us today, Christ would encourage scientific research as modern man’s most noble striving to comprehend and admire His Father’s handiwork. The universe as revealed through scientific inquiry is the living witness that God has indeed been at work.”
—Werner von Braun, the father of space science and the most important rocket scientist involved in the development of the U.S. space program.
“There is no ground for supposing that matter and energy existed before [the Big Bang] and were suddenly galvanized into action. For what could distinguish that moment from all other moments in eternity? It is simpler to postulate creation ex nihilo—Divine will constituting Nature from nothingness.”
–English mathematical physicist Edmund T. Whittaker, winner of the Copley Medal, which is the most prestigious award in British science.
“The universe is a put-up job.”
— Cambridge University astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, referring to the fine tuning of the laws of nature which he felt “could not be just a happy accident,” as his Cambridge colleague John Polkinghorne put it in Quarks, Chaos, and Christianity.
“If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.”
–Harvard educated NASA astrophysicist John A. O’Keefe.
“Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the illusion of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism.” [“Solipsism” is defined as “the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.”]
–Physicist Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University
“This now tells how precise the Creator’s aim must have been, namely to an accuracy of one part in 10, to the power of 10, to the power of 123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full in the ordinary denary notation: it would be 1 followed by 10 to the power of 123 successive 0’s. Even if we were to write a 0 on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe- and we could throw in all the other particles for good measure- we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed.”
–Oxford University mathematical physicist, mathematician, and philosopher of science Roger Penrose, as cited in his book The Emperor’s New Mind. Penrose has received a number of prizes and awards, including the 1988 Wolf Prize for physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking for their contribution to our understanding of the universe.
“In a quiet revolution in thought and argument that hardly anyone would have foreseen only two decades ago, God is making a comeback. Most intriguingly this is happening…in the crisp intellectual circles of academic philosophers.”
—Time magazine, April 1980
“In the works of the Creator ever open to our examination, we possess a firm basis on which to raise the superstructure of an enlightened creed. The more man inquires into the laws which regulate the material universe, the more he is convinced that all its varied forms arise from the action of a few simple principles… The works of the Creator, ever present to our senses, give a living and perpetual testimony of his power and goodness far surpassing any evidence transmitted through human testimony. The testimony of man becomes fainter at every stage of transmission, whilst each new inquiry into the works of the Almighty gives to us more exalted views of his wisdom, his goodness, and his power.”
—Charles Babbage, the mathematician and inventor considered to be “the father of the computer” for his invention of the first computer. Babbage was a devout Christian.
“There are good reasons to believe in God, including the existence of mathematical principles and order in creation. They are positive reasons, based on knowledge, rather than default assumptions based on a temporary lack of knowledge.”
–Geneticist Francis Collins, the leader of the Human Genome Project and currently the director of the National Institutes of Health in the United States. Collins is a devout Christian.
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.”
—Blaise Pascal, the 17th century French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher who made important contributions to the study of fluids, and who clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum.
“…We then examine a particular coding system in DNA and discover that UI [universal information] is conveyed within the genes. Using this DNA evidence and scientific laws governing UI as premises, we are able to develop sound, logical deductions. This leads us to the following conclusion: the God of the Bible exists and He is responsible for originating and embedding Universal Information into biological life.”
—Werner Gitt, Director and Professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology, Germany. Gitt is also the head of the Department of Information Technology. The above is an excerpt from the introduction to his book Without Excuse, in which he utilizes the insights of information science to demonstrate that the origin of life can only be explained as the result of a conscious, intelligent creator. Please see my essay How Atheism Relies on Special Pleading, in which I cite Gitt’s skillful explanations.
“God created the universe out of nothing in an act which also brought time into existence. Recent discoveries, such as observations supporting the Big Bang and similar astronomical phenomena, are wholly compatible with this view.”
–Henry Margenau, Yale University Professor of Physics and Natural Philosophy, as cited in Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens.
“I think that God originated the universe and life. Homo Sapiens was created by God using the process that does not violate the physical laws of the universe significantly or none at all. (Hidden variables of quantum mechanics under God’s power?)”
–Shoichi Yoshikawa, Senior Research Scientist and Professor, Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, as cited in Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens.
Please also read this Wikipedia post detailing a list of Christian Nobel Laureates. According to 100 Years of Nobel Prize (2005), a review of Nobel prizes awarded between 1901 and 2000, 65.4% of Nobel Prize Laureates have identified Christianity as their religious preference (427 prizes). Overall, Christians have won a total of 78.3% of all the Nobel Prizes in Peace, 72.5% in Chemistry, 65.3% in Physics, 62% in Medicine. So much for calling Christianity an “unscientific” worldview!!
***Lastly, AND PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY please read Without Christianity, There Would Be No Science, which describes how science itself owes it’s origins to Christianity. Stanley Jaki, a leading philosopher of science and Distinguished Professor of Physics at Seton Hall University, explores this subject matter in detail. Please read Jaki’s books Christ and Science and The Savior of Science for a more thorough exploration of this subject.
Readers: Please note that several of the quotes featured in this post were extracted from nobelists.net. For a more exhaustive list of God believing scientists and Nobel Laureates (including exact citations), please visit this site and doload the pdf.