Does Nature Suggest Transcendence?
By Neil D. Broom
That the living world might, in some deep mysterious way, be expressive of a transcendent dimension is largely rejected by contemporary secular thinkers. Most will argue that modern science has demonstrated, at least in principle, that life in all its evolving complexity and sophistication is the inevitable product of entirely natural, unplanned processes. Biological materialism, or naturalism, is an all-embracing material explanation of how molecules evolved into complex living organisms including us humans.
In this view all of life is accounted for in terms of the outworking of scientifically describable chemical and physical processes guided entirely by rules and constraints resident within a wholly material universe. And so it asks - Why insist on a role for a Creator when science has shown there is nothing left for a Creator to do?
In this paper I do not wish to explore the fundamental God versus no-God issue—that I shall leave to the theologians and philosophers. Rather, I want to linger briefly within the scientific ‘camp’ and ask whether the particulars that science reveals, and science has done this task with remarkable thoroughness, do in fact point to a purposeful, transcendent dimension.
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NEIL BROOM is Professor of Materials Science at the University of Auckland New Zealand. He completed his PhD in Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Auckland.