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An Introduction To Science and Religion.

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Introduction

AN INTRODUCTION TO SCIENCE AND RELIGION ESSAY QUESTION 1) Explain two scientific accounts of the origins of the universe. The first account that I will explain is the Big Bang theory. In 1929 Edwin P. Hubble, observed a 'red shift' in the light coming from distant galaxies, this led to the theory that the universe is expanding in all directions. If we assume that galaxies have always been moving apart at the speeds we now observe, there must have been a time, many, many years ago, when all the galaxies in the Universe were in the same place. In other words, the universe must have begun with a colossal explosion or a 'big bang'. Additionally it is possible to calculate, from Hubble's measurements, when this Big Bang occurred. Using Hubble's Law we can establish that the universe was created around 20 billion years ago. The position from which the existing universe expanded in an immense explosion of vast amounts of heat and energy is called a spacetime singularity. It is a point from which space and time have come, not a point within space and time. This is a vital characteristic of the theory. In the Big Bang, time and space were created in unison with an explosion that flung matter outwards through space. The metaphor that can be used is that it is though we are in an expanding bubble, as scientists believe that the universe is expanding daily. ...read more.

Middle

Assess this view in the light of any scientific and theological accounts that you have studied. A common understanding of the relationship between religion and science is that they stand in opposition to each other. On the one hand you have religious belief with its foundational premise that God is the reason why the universe and everything in it exists. On the other hand you have the sciences with their initial principle that the explanation for why things happen in the universe and why anything is here does not require God just good science. However, the scientist turned Anglican priest John Polkinghorne believes Christianity should work within the context of a modern scientific understanding and try to bring together both sides. In other words, science and religion should fund each other rather than work against each other. Polkinghorne clearly believes it is possible for humans to observe the world in order to understand more about God. Such a belief also influenced the work of such scientists as Isaac Newton (1642-1727) and it was also on this premise, that to understand the world is to understand God, that some of the arguments for the existence of God were developed (E.g. the Design Argument). Concerning theological and scientific accounts of the universe, we can consider the Big Bang Theory, a scientific account of the origin of the universe. Is it adequate enough to say all that needs to be said? ...read more.

Conclusion

The Bible is a compilation of events and oral and religious traditions which have been collected in an arranged order. It is not to be read as a structured order of events, but rather to make people achieve a greater understanding of their purpose and place in the world, science simply cannot offer this. Biblical accounts attempt to explain that the world that God has created as essentially good, yet also with its imperfections and wrongs, e.g. the Fall of Man, Adam and Eve. The Genesis creation myth is clearly not a scientific account, I believe, instead that it is an analogy. One obviously can see that theological accounts on the creation of the universe are never going to explain how we are here, but instead provides a fundamental message for people. They question why we are here, which to many religious believers is paramount. That is not to say that scientific accounts are invalid, without them, we would have little knowledge about our scientific history and surroundings. Theological and scientific arguments can never be placed beside one another because they seek different answers. I feel though, that theological accounts should not be overlooked and seen to add nothing to our understanding and merely "muddy the waters." However, they are ostensibly ineffective to the atheist, particularly in our ever more secular culture where individuals on the whole are becoming less religious. ...read more.

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