Science has figured out many things that we once thought could be explained only by positing a supernatural intervention. We might still pray for rain, but we can trace the cause of thunder without invoking bowling gods. Sudden outbreaks of disease or a return to health were once so poorly understood that it seemed God must have been directly responsible for them. The question then arises: Is there still a place for God in a world explained by science—and if so, what is it?
The 19th-century British mathematician and philosopher Augustus De Morgan told a famous story (probably embellished a bit) in which Napoleon asks one of the leading scientists of the day, Pierre-Simon Laplace, why he has not mentioned the Creator in his new book, Systeme du Monde. Laplace answers, “I had no need of that hypothesis.”
J. B. Stump teaches philosophy at Bethel College in Indiana. He is the author (with Chad Meister) of Christian Thought: A Historical Introduction, and he edited (with Alan Padgett) The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity.