Religion, science pair to prove origin of universe
Published: Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07
Science and religion are normally viewed as entirely different belief systems. It is a rarity to find someone who can embrace the fact-seeking and hard-evidence-demanding nature of science and yet pray to a God they cannot see.
The Trotter Prize is awarded each year to those rare members of the scholarly community who bridge this gap. This year's recipients — Gerald L. Schroder and Hugh N. Ross — gave their lectures on how they view creation theory and big bang theory as one in the same.
Although they come from different religions, both Schroder and Ross posit the origins of creation in science and religion are complimentary rather than contradictory. The scholars presented their hypothesis on how texts in the Old Testament of the Bible and science prove the same beginnings of the world.
Schroder is a lecturer from the Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Students in Jerusalem, Israel. The foundation of his lecture came from using ancient commentary to analyze the first five books of the Bible, the Torah.
"Both Torah and science hold by the fact that there was one physical creation," Schroeder said.
It all comes down to the source of energy that created our universe. Schroder went on to say that both science and religion agree on the idea that something non-physical, outside of time and possessing the ability to create caused the beginning of our universe. Religion defines this power source as God.
The second speaker also argued for the evidence that the bible and science can coexist. Hugh N. Ross is the founder and president of "Reasons to Believe," an organization in its 26th year that seeks to spread the ideals of Christianity through scientific research.
Ross said the commonalities between the big bang theory and cosmology caused him to become the first Christian in his family. Ross said that since there was a beginning, there has to be a beginner.
"Everyone agrees that we see design in nature," Ross said. "The real debate is who or what is responsible for the design we see."
To answer that question, Ross turns to the Bible. Ross described creation as a miracle that cannot be explained without the supernatural — that in order for there to be life that comes from nothing, we have to live under just right conditions. There is no universe that is a twin to ours, leading Ross to conclude that ours is unique and made by a higher being.
Additionally, Ross has found the scientific method, the theory that the universe is continually expanding and the laws of physics all appear in the Bible multiple times. He believes that increasing evidence is science continues to support the idea that there is a God.
When being introduced by the award's namesake Ide Trotter, he described the scholar's theories as different than award winners from years past.
"They are both fully committed to understanding nature," Trotter said. "They also hold the view deemed controversial at best, and possibly irrational in most academic circles."
This proved to be true when it came time for the question and answer section at the end of the lecture.
A Texas A&M cosmology professor said he disagreed with everything Ross said, and that he wished the Trotter Lecture Series had given him a chance to express his opinions and theories. He said he felt left out because his views were not represented, and that he wanted a chance to speak at the next lecture.
Physics graduate student Andrew Traverso disagreed with much of what was said at the lecture. He found the evidence provided at the lecture to be less than convincing, and taken out of context.
"Most of what they proposed is very weak evidence that there is a God," Traverso said.
Traverso is both a scientist and a Catholic. He said he does believe that science and religion complement one another, and that the fundamental idea to this coexistence is faith.