Saturday, November 19, 2011

not at all natural











"And [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him." (Acts 17:26-27 ESV) 


An age-old question of philosophers is, "why is there something rather than nothing?"  Another question easily overlooked is the follow-up, "why is there this something rather than something else?" 


Sixty years ago, in an article titled "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences," Physicist Eugene Wigner, who received a Nobel Prize for theoretical contributions to nuclear physics, remarked, "it is not at all natural that 'laws of nature' exist, much less that man is able to discover them."


Here are some other things he wrote:


"The enormous usefulness of mathematics in the natural sciences is something bordering on the mysterious and that there is no rational explanation for it... 

"The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning...

"It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of laws of nature and of the human mind's capacity to divine them." 


Albert Einstein said something very similar, when he said, "How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality?"


Einstein summed it up this way: "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible."


We have a world we can see and measure and explain.  Natural laws are a blessing of creation.  Even the very laws of identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle are miraculous gifts which testify to our Creator God, and lead us onward that we might come to know him.  



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