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Divine Action in the Twenty-First-Century Universe.

When the South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina grew concerned that their students felt they had to choose either their faith or modern science, faculty invited Hal Poe to bring a lecture to help the students think through how God might be able to act in the universe without violating the laws of nature. Poe spoke on September 26, 2017. In his lecture, Poe developed the idea that how science interacts with the laws of nature, suggests how God can interact with a universe governed by such laws of nature.

Many people believe that God cannot be involved in the universe, because that would mean violating the laws of nature. They tend to believe that the universe operates like a great clock, impervious to any outside influence beyond the closed continuum of cause and effect. David Hume, writing in the eighteenth century, defined a miracle as "a violation of the laws of nature." Since a violation of the laws of nature is impossible, then God cannot be involved in the universe.

With his definition, Hume not only affirmed the clockwork universe, but he also defined deity without saying so. The deity that Hume argues cannot violate the laws of nature, is not the God of the Bible, but the God of the philosophers. The intelligentsia of his day had long since forsaken the God of the Bible for the deistic God who set the clock in motion and remained aloof from its operation. The completely self-sufficient clock required no interference--the first self-winding clock. The problem with this view is that the universe of Hume, Aristotle, and Isaac Newton no longer exists.

Big Bang Cosmology: Things Happen

Between the work of Edgar Allan Poe, George Lemaitre, and Edwin Hubble, the big bang theory has become the commonly accepted cosmology of the scientific community. When Poe first proposed the big bang theory in 1848, the scientific community still lived in the universe of Aristotle, a universe of eternal duration. Hume proposed that with infinite time, an infinite number of possibilities could occur by accident, and that life was one such accident. The big bang universe, however, has not had so much time for accidents. It had to get it right the first time. This fact may merely mean that we lucked out. In terms of our topic, however, the most fascinating thing to me about the big bang universe is that it does things. Clocks are just static machines that turn. Instead of the static clock of Aristotle and Newton, the big bang universe does things that have never happened before.

The laws of nature did not cause the big bang universe. Instead, the universe produces the laws of nature. We should recall that the laws of nature are what Captain Barbossa of Pirates of the Caribbean would call "more guidelines than rules." The laws do not constrain nature, but rather they describe the [INCOMPLETE IN ORIGINAL SOURCE.]

Harry Lee Poe holds the Charles Colson Chair of Faith and Culture at Union University. The author of seventeen books on faith and culture, Poe has published four books on science and faith with his colleague Jimmy H. Davis, including Science and Faith, Designer Universe, Chance or Dance, and God and the Cosmos. A Fellow of the ASA, Poe served on the Executive Council and was president of the ASA in 2014-2015.

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Title Annotation:Communication
Author:Poe, Harry Lee
Publication:Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2018
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