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it bears on the problem concerning the origin of our world. Here the testimony of science is clearly and unmistakably in favor of the creation or absolute origin of matter and energy, in the only form in which science can bear any testimony on the subject. It is, of course, impossible that science should present direct testimony to the fact of creation, as it is impossible that history should; for such a fact as creation must be entirely beyond the range of science. But in testifying to the indestructibility and uncreatability of matter under the conditions capable of being investigated by observational science; and in bearing the same testimony as to the energy in the world, it offers all the support it is capable of offering to the reality of the supernatural,— testifying to the dependence of nature on some power altogether transcending itself. But here I prefer rather to use the words of a purely scientific observer. When dealing with the doctrine of energy, and specially with the consequences of dissipation of energy, Professor Tait uses these words,—w As it alone is able to lead us, by sure steps of deductive reasoning, to the necessary future of the universe —necessary, that is, if physical laws remain forever unchanged—so it enables us distinctly to say that the present order of things has not been evolved through infinite past time by the agency of laws now at work; but must have had a distinctive beginning, a state beyond which we are totally unable to penetrate; a state, in fact, which must have been produced by other than the now visibly acting causes." * This is the utmost that science can say, bearing on the great problem of the origin of the universe; and nothing more powerful could be said in direct testimony to the reality of the supernatural, and the reasonableness of Christian faith, thus shown to be in complete harmony with science.
It is not here suggested that all scientific men would employ such language as that now quoted, or even readily acquiesce in its use. I have been careful to indicate, that a passionately excited antagonism to any recognition of the supernatural is avowed by some scientific men. Accordingly, it must be granted that the conclusion here stated is not so manifest a deduction as to preclude denial. The testimony of the senses commonly terminates dispute, but such testimony is not available as
* Becent Advances, p. 22.
to the reality of the supernatural. The only testimony that can be given here must be of a different kind; and if there be some who refuse to credit anything save what comes within range of the senses, or is deducible directly and simply from what the senses make known, there is no help for them. Neither science, nor philosophy, nor religion can deliver them from the narrow round of materialism. But neither science, nor philosophy, nor religion, can restrict itself to the testimony of the senses. A deeper, and wider range of inquiry is demanded of the man who would walk at large in the vast field spread out in nature. . All human life is subjected to the test of accepting evidence other than that the senses supply. If some refuse to submit to this deeper and wider test, narrowing their convictions accordingly, others are not to be restricted in this way, nor are they to be influenced by such determination even on the part of highly distinguished scientific men. For, it can not be overlooked that this is not a question of science, nor does it imply any thing but an ordinary exercise of intelligence. The one test for the public mind is this,—Is it or is it not true that not an atom of matter can be originated or destroyed? Is the doctrine of the conservation of energy to be taken as scientifically demonstrated? These things science must decide, and beyond these, all is clear for ordinary intelligence. Of the testimony of science on these two questions there is no doubt whatever. Religion, therefore, has no conflict with science here; it simply accepts the teaching of science, finding in it ample support for its fundamental position. What creation really means, or how we can fittingly represent it to our minds, does not in the least affect the question here under discussion, for these are not points on which science can offer any testimony. Nor have the defenders of religion any complaint to urge against the claims which science makes to explain all that belongs to nature. But when those who make the largest claims for science, acknowledge that science is baffled here, their testimony gains in value by reason of the strength of their antipathy to the acknowledgment of the miraculous. When from an accredited scientific witness we have these words:—"The investigation of nature does not shrink from enrolling life and the processes of life in the world of the comprehensible," followed up by this explicit statement, "We are foiled only at the conception of matter and force " ;* the claims of science are raised to the highest pitch; and yet its insuperable limits are clearly defined. The defender of the harmony of scientific with religious thought has nothing more to desire. The very place where science comes to a halt, acknowledging that its utmost boundary has been reached, is the place where it is demonstrated that scientific thought and religious are not involved in real conflict.