Friday, August 23, 2013

Limitations of Human Knowledge

I am often reminded of King Benjamin's counsel to his people which is a reminder to me of the limitation and imperfections of human knowledge:

Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend (Mosiah 4:9).

Robert Jastrow in his interesting book, God and the Astronomers observes:

When an astronomer writes about God, his colleagues assume he is either over the hill or going bonkers. In my case it should be understood from the start that I am an agnostic in religious matters. However, I am fascinated by some strange developments going on in astronomy--partly because of their religious implications . . . . Consider the enormity of the problem. Science has proven that the Universe exploded into being at a certain moment. It asks, What cause produced this effect? Who or what put the matter and energy into the universe? Was the Universe created out of nothing, or was it gathered together out of pre-existing materials? And science cannot answer these questions, because, according to the astronomers, in the first moments of its existence the Universe was compressed  to an extraordinary degree, and consumed by the heat of a fire beyond human imagination . . . . The scientist's pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation. This is an exceedingly strange development . . . . 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 mountains 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 [From Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 1978, 11, 114-16].

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