Both true science (not theoretical science masquerading as true science) and theology are different dimensions of truth. When properly understood, both complement each other. The wave/particle duality of quantum physics and the theological revelation of the Trinity are both radical paradoxes in their respective camps leading physicists and theologians to a new understanding of reality.
John Polkinghorne has been on both sides of the fence. After 25 years as a renowned quantum physicist, he became an Anglican priest. In his book Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship he insightfully concludes,
“Religious people who are seeking to serve the God of truth should welcome all truth from whatever source it may come, without fear or reserve. Included in this open embrace must certainly be the truths of science. In the case of scientists, the same insight implies that if they want to pursue the search for understanding through and through – a quest that it is most natural for them to embark upon – they will have to be prepared to go beyond the limits of science itself in the search for the widest and deepest context of intelligibility. I think that this further quest, if openly pursued, will take the enquirer in the direction of religious belief. It is a search for the Logos. In consequence, I believe that ultimately the cousinly relationship that we have investigated in this book find their most profound understanding in terms of that true Theory of Everything which is trinitrian theology.”
Dr. Jastrow was an American astronomer and planetary physicist with a PhD in theoretical physics. He was the first chairman of NASA’s Lunar Exploration Committee, which established the scientific goals for the exploration of the moon during the Apollo lunar landings. At the same time he was also the Chief of the Theoretical Division at NASA (1958–61). He became the founding director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in 1961, and served until his retirement from NASA in 1981. Concurrently he was also a Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University. After his NASA career he became a Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College (1979–1992), and was a Member of the NASA Alumni Association. Jastrow was also a Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the George C. Marshall Institute, and Director Emeritus of Mount Wilson Observatory and Hale Solar Laboratory.
"Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover. That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact."
... I assert that much of what is currently and matter-of-factly presented to the public as "modern science" is about as scientific as medieval alchemy, and has been more destructive than just about anything else in our modern culture. Secularists that bow before its' altar will one day discover that much of what they held sacred is nothing more than smoke, mirrors and fanciful thinking.
The greatest scientist of all time, Sir Issac Newton was also a strong believer. Ironically, as noted here, it was the Christian worldview that gave rise to modern science. The incredible arrogance of many modern scientists stands in stark contrast to Newton who said towards the end of his remarkable life ...
“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
― Isaac Newton
Reality has a rude way of trashing wishful thinking.
In Nov 2015, I wrote,
In his 1985 book "Quantum Reality: Beyond The New Physics", Nick Herbert writes, "One of the best kept secrets is that physicists have lost their grip on reality.
The impact of quantum physics extends far beyond the realm of physics. In his article entitled "God, Creation and Mr. Davies" published in the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science in 1986, William Lane Craig notes, "No serious religious thinker can ignore the tenets of the so-called new physics."
Classical physics points to an orderly God with the design of the universe considered to be a strong argument for a Creator. But quantum physics, resulting from the exploration of the sub-atomic realm, turns everything inside-out. The macro-universe described by Newtonian physics is orderly, neatly-arranged and predictable. In contrast, the micro-universe described by quantum physics is uncertain, unpredictable and currently impossible-to-describe. Melding these two understandings of physical reality is the holy grail of modern physics.
We must always remember that science cannot ultimately prove or disprove the existence of God. It may give evidence for His existence, but by definition we cannot "prove" the existence of God (who exists outside space and time) by any means available to us who are locked in the space-time continuum (see what I wrote earlier here.)
I think we possibly see the shadow of two theological truths mirrored in the strange world of quantum physics versus the orderly world of classical physics: the apparently irreconcilable yet simultaneous truths of (1) God's absolute sovereignty versus (2) free choice. As with classical and quantum physics, both are true but cannot be reconciled from the human perspective.
Theologians, by nature, tend to recognize the limits of their understanding when confronting the incomprehensible - i.e., infinity cannot be comprehensively grasped by finite human minds. Theologians are necessarily open to the inexplicable. They also understand that some truth (transcendent) is beyond human reach and available only via revelation. Transcendent truths are those unaffected by time or space; they are not defined by reality but preexist reality and define reality. Transcendent Truth is the only Truth that is ultimately beyond human discovery and before all concepts. It is beyond creation and thus undiscoverable from our perspective, as we are locked in time and space. We acquire transcendent truth only by revelation from Someone who is also necessarily transcendent (beyond time and space.) A proper incorporation of transcendent truth (accessible only via revelation) and discoverable truth (accessible via scientific investigation) is much like a globe in its' accurate depiction of reality. The most accurate map is a globe because it shows precisely where geographical features are on the (spherical) Earth. A globe depicts the world as it truly is. In contrast a flat map is necessarily distorted in its' depiction of reality; it is not an accurate depiction of reality.
Most scientists on the other hand tend to ground their worldview in both materialism and naturalism which has no room for transcendent truth (which by nature eludes any attempt on their part to discover since it can only grasped by revelation.) Without this crucial cornerstone of reality though, they are necessarily limited in their grasp of reality. Without the added dimension of transcendent truth, they are guided by a distorted understanding of reality for they are figuratively using a flat map.
The failure to incorporate transcendent truth with discoverable truth can be catastrophic. The current gender anarchy is a prime example. Minus the powerful transcendent truth that everyone is created either male or female in the image of God (Gen 1:27), the marvelous discoverable truths of modern medicine, cosmetic surgery, hormone therapy, etc. become Frankensteinian in application.
Quantum physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne has it right. The true theory of everything necessarily lies beyond the realm of physics ... in Trinitarian theology.
"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
Astronomer and Planetary Physicist