Jane wanted to save some money to buy a new outfit. She planned to put twenty dollars into a cookie jar each Friday, and by the end of the month she would have the eighty dollars necessary to make the purchase. The first week she put a crisp twenty dollar bill into the jar. She did the same thing the next Friday. The third week she added two ten dollar bills. On the fourth Friday, she opened the cookie jar to take out the money and combine it with the twenty dollar bill she had in her purse. She was shocked, however, to discover that there was only thirty dollars in the jar, one twenty dollar bill and one ten. As Jane pondered what had happened, she first wondered if she had made an error in her addition. But twenty, plus twenty, plus two tens indeed equaled sixty. Besides, Jane was certain she had put four bills into the cookie jar, and now there were only two there. Something must have happened to the other two bills. Jane was puzzled. Perhaps she had removed the missing thirty dollars herself, but had forgotten. Or maybe she did it while sleep walking and was unaware of her action. Or, it was theoretically possible that the two bills had been destroyed by a process of spontaneous combustion. None of these scenarios seemed very plausible to Jane, yet there had to be some explanation as to what had happened to the missing thirty dollars.
I think it is clear that Jane is failing to consider a rather obvious explanation of what happened to the money. It is likely that another person had gone into the cookie jar and taken the thirty dollars. There may be reasons why Jane doesn’t want to consider that possibility. If she lives alone, she may not want to think about another person invading her home and taking something. Or if family members and friends have been in her kitchen, she may not want to suspect one of them of stealing money from her. Yet, the fact Jane may not want to think about it, doesn’t make it any less likely that another person has gone into the cookie jar and taken the money.
I believe the above story illustrates a flaw of those scientists committed to considering only naturalistic explanations for anything that occurs. Some, for example, automatically reject evidence pointing to God being the “intelligent designer” of the universe because they deem it to be “unscientific.” They refuse to consider that a God outside of the physical realm could intervene and impact that realm. In this way, they are like Jane, who entertains rather implausible explanations, because the more plausible explanation involves someone outside of her home being in the cookie jar. Scientists (and others) make a big mistake when their goal is not the true explanation, but a naturalistic (without God) explanation. As, Christian de Duve, a Nobel winning bio-chemist, observes, “Scientific enquiry rests on the notion that all manifestations in the universe are explainable in natural terms, without supernatural intervention. This is an appropriate working hypothesis, but one we should be prepared to abandon if faced with facts which defy all naturalistic explanations.”
Friends, I think it is important that people follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if it is to the God of the Bible. If God does not exist within the boundaries scientists have drawn, it may simply mean that the boundaries in the wrong place. May we always remember that finding the truth is more important than finding a “scientific explanation.”
Rev. Dan Erickson
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church