Spiritual Limitations in Science - the Limits of Materialism
Viewpoint of Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman
As you know, evolution is weighed down with all kinds of scientific and logical problems – a result of materialist philosophy forced on science. In other words, it presumes that the natural/material world is all there is.
Materialism, however is totally inadequate – even for “science”. Take, for instance, “Le Gran Kilo”, a plug of platinum/iridium metal alloy at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures near Paris. It is the basis for all the world’s kilogram weights – the world’s most basic standard measure of matter.
Other calibration kilograms are manufactured to precisely the weight of Le Gran K, using diamond cutting tools and chamois cloth to polish the plugs down to the exact weight. Highly trained physicists at Standards Bureaus all over the world become their country’s mass measurement expert. They are in charge of keeping their calibration kilograms accurate and ultimately calibrated to Le Gran K. America’s standard kilo is known simply as K-20. Le Gran K became the standard reference for a pound in 1959 when the United States officially set the weight of one pound at precisely 0.45359237 kilogram.
If measurement differences are not noted through proper calibration, chaos results in the world of science. Accurate and precise measurements are critical, especially as they become tinier. Standard methods, procedures and definitions are the most basic ingredient to good science.
That's why the care given Le Gran K is so impressive. This King of Kilos is kept under three sealed bell jars in a safe which requires three keys to open it, including one which belongs to the National Archivist of France. From the time it was made in 1878, Le Gran K has rarely been disturbed for weighings roughly every 45 years. It is kept pristinely clean because dirt, dust and corrosion will change the weight. Metrologists (scientists who specialize in precision measurements) study the cleaning techniques for Le Gran K like choreographers study the steps of a master.
Yet, in spite of all this care and attention to detail, the weight of Le Gran K and its relation to the other first-derivative kilograms like K-20 has been changing ever so slightly. This is a bit of a crisis for science. Metrologists would much rather define a kilogram as equal to a more immaterial constant, and they have been searching for years for a better way to measure a kilogram of mass – indirectly.
From our perspective at Creation Moments, it is interesting that material failure (a limitation of materialism, if you will) is leading scientists to an immaterial standard for a most basic measure of materials. Does that not point to immaterial truth being a more reliable standard than material truth? Doesn't this suggest that material truth is merely an imperfect reflection of immaterial truth? This is, in fact, what people who believe the Bible have always said.
Just as scientists have a Kilo of Kilos, we have a King of Kings and Lord of Lords Who defines and personifies truth and Who provides the absolute, unchanging reference for our own calibration.
Let’s shift now from the science of standards to the science of atomic structure. The atomic stability of materials – matter – is itself a continuing puzzle to physicists and begs an immaterial, even spiritual explanation.
“When you consider all of the physical forces at work in matter, even in something as simple as a glass of water, it’s sort of miraculous that everything doesn’t just collapse and then, releasing huge amounts of energy, blow up.” - Elliott H. Lieb, mathematical physicist, Princeton University
Consider that water, H2O, is simply eight electrons for oxygen orbiting in “space” around eight tightly packed protons, with, at a further distance, two electrons, each orbiting around independent protons (2 hydrogen atoms). This 99.999…% spatial configuration incredibly has bulk and substance and, most of all, stability under the compressive stresses of gravity, atmospheric pressure and magnetic field. If we did not have atomic stability, we’d be at risk of setting off nuclear explosions every time we stirred a cup of coffee or a glass of tea.
Solid objects – even extremely dense metals – have the same essentially spatial composition. Their molecular arrangement also breaks down to a composition of tiny core protons surrounded at a distance by wispy electron clouds with still more vast distances between the nuclei of atoms in every molecule. The question is: Why are atoms and molecules so unnecessarily big, and why are wood and stone so bulky when they are essentially empty space? We should somehow be able to simply push two stones together to create one super-dense rock. But to do so would require intense magnetic fields that are much stronger than we are capable of generating. A neutron star, the result of a massive star’s collapse, is able to generate truly matter-crushing magnetic and gravitational fields. Such stars are believed to have the power to squeeze the entire Earth (rock, water, organic matter and everything else) into the size of a golf ball!
How is it that a few of “nature’s” critical physical constants are sufficiently exact so as to be perfectly balanced by the energies of gravitational and magnetic fields? Furthermore, what is behind the force that holds all those positively charged protons so close together in an atomic nucleus? After all, like charges repel each other while opposite charges attract. This is a mystery.
Who has set the physical constants of “nature”? What makes atoms and molecules so stable, yet so full of energy? Christians know because the Bible says of Christ, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible…and in Him all things hold together,” (Colossians 1:16-17).
Ultimately, Christ controls the stability and spatial density of things. He used this control to demonstrate His divinity to us. Possibly by using the space inherent in matter to cram more water molecules together, He was able to densify water under his feet so that it could support His weight (John 6:16-21). And even though proving to the disciple Thomas that He was flesh (matter), the risen Christ walked through matter (John 20:19-29). No big deal for the One who created matter in the first place – since matter is mostly space anyway.
The Bible also says that there will come a day (“the day of the Lord”) when things will no longer hold together as they are. In fact, it says that the root structure of matter will collapse with the release of incredible energy. “The elements (basic building blocks) will melt (dissolve, melt-down, collapse) with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up”, (2 Peter 3:10). Here we have an incredibly accurate picture of the power within the atom, written long before there were any nuclear scientists.
The wonder of creation, and of science itself, cannot be satisfactorily explained by materialism. It cannot be explained by the lie of evolution. It requires the truth of God’s Word. Because of godless materialism, vast numbers of people think they have good reasons for rejecting God's Word. Won't you ask the Lord how He wants you to help us spread the truth of God's Word to those who are perishing?