A common argument from certain contemporary secular voices is that science has, or at least will, replace the need for God. The more science advances in explaining the universe, the less need there is for a Creator. Carl Sagan, for instance, said, “As science advances, there seems to be less and less for God to do…. Whatever it is we cannot explain lately is attributed to God…. And then, after a while, we explain it, and so that’s no longer God’s realm.”
At the very end of his fascinating book A Brief History of Time, after outlining the human search for a grand unified theory which explains the entire universe, Stephen Hawking (a non-theist) says this:
“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to the bother of existing?”
My thought: sooner or later all scientific inquiry smacks into the question of God, for even if we could exhaustively understand everything that happens in the physical universe, we would still have to face the larger, philosophical question of why there is a universe in the first place, and what makes its laws and gives them their consistency. Far from displacing God, scientific advance inexorably leads us back to Him again and again. Greater knowledge about how the universe works makes more poignant, not less poignant, the question of why it works that way – and why it is there at all.