by Jack Le Moine
Here’s some thoughts on the role the historian plays in helping humanity deal with the questions concerning God. I’m adopting a formal writing style here because I do not want to drift from history to advocacy. These points are intended to be academic in nature and not religious (or anti-religious). My conclusions should be acceptable to any belief system.
HISTORY AND EVENTS
Recorded history relies primarily on written documents. Prehistory relies on scientific artifacts. This does not mean that events before the invention of writing (recorded history) did not occur. Let’s not get hung up on prehistory, recorded history, and the reality of events that actually occurred.
Did those events occur naturally or with supernatural help? Or to put it more plainly, can they be explained without resort to the supernatural?
While civilization must look to scientist for the particulars of prehistoric events, the historian brings something to the table, too.
ORIGIN OF UNIVERSE
On a date around 13.8 billion years ago a massive explosion occurred. (The Big Bang Theory.) Out of this explosion came the universe. This is the first event in history.
The scientists have produced an impressive body of study of the times after this event. From the immediate milliseconds after it to minutes, hours, days, and years after the event, fantastic analysis describing the earliest universe have been produced.
BEFORE THE BIG BANG
The historian asks about what happened before the event. What about happenings surrounding an event? Before, after, during — this is the way the historian’s mind works.
Science does not respond. If offers embarrassed speculation: the explosion came from some alternative universe; or some multiverse; or some parallel universe. There is no substance behind any of these responses but just mere speculation. Or the declaration that space and time does not exist outside the universe so since time did not exist before the Big Bang questions are therefore moot.
This leaves the historian with a limitation of knowledge that ranges from the Unsatisfying to the Incomplete. So what conclusions can we draw from what we know of this event?
Lots of people have leaped to some very wrong conclusions:
Science has proven that God did not exist.
This statement is clearly false.
Science has explained the big things; God is unnecessary.
Another statement that is false and clearly so.
THE RIGHT CONLUSION
Historians should not include God unnecessarily in explanation and narration of historical events; they should not unnecessarily exclude Him, either.