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The Laws of Nature

Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?

Professor Colin Humphreys is a Professor of Materials Science at Cambridge University. In this video, Colin Humphreys talks to students at St Mary’s School about why he believes in miracles.

Another scientist’s perspective: What are the laws of Nature and where does God fit in?

Dr Ard Louis is a Reader in Theoretical Physics at Oxford University. As a Christian, his view of nature has similarities with Colin Humphrey’s view. Ard Louis was recently interviewed by sixth form students from King Edward’s School. Here is how Ard Louis addressed the question of where God fits into the Universe that science seems to describe.

In the text below, Dr Ard Louis explains his understanding of nature and miracles. See what you think:

Nature and Miracles

The great fourth century African theologian, St. Augustine said, “Nature is what [God] does.”
By this St. Augustine didn’t mean that nature is the same as God (pantheism), for, as he also argued, God operates outside of space and time. There is also no room within a robust Biblical theism for the Deistic notion that God started the world up, and then left it to run on its own, completely independently. Descriptions of God’s continuous care for creation can be seen throughout Biblical scripture:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:29,30)

God sustains the Universe

As Christian thinkers throughout the Middle Ages wrestled with the questions of miracles and God’s action in the world, the following ideas emerged: The regular behaviour of nature can be viewed as the “customs of the creator” as it were. If God were to stop sustaining all things by his powerful word, the world would stop existing.


Of course there are also descriptions of events in the Bible that defy description in terms of current science. These are often called miracles. A Christian would say miracles are by definition times when, for divine purposes, God does not act in the way He usually does when sustaining the universe. Perhaps the most significant for Christians would be the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If anything, science has strengthened the case for this not occurring through the ordinary actions of God that we describe with science.


Read more by downloading this article,  “How can we obtain reliable knowledge about the world?” by Dr Ard Louis

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)