The new atheism rejects God and the afterlife on the basis that their existence is not falsifiable. This is the position of Richard Dawkins, playing off of Karl Popper’s assertions, and for some reason Dawkins has captured the imagination of the modern world and become a de facto authority on searching for spiritual truth. Atheists hold theological and spiritual principles contingent upon materialistic scientific tests, which is a concept first popularized by the philosopher David Hume. While one can easily knock down this argument as a misapplication of the scientific method – that it’s simply the wrong tool for the job – materialists have nonetheless put all their eggs in this one basket (to mix metaphors), and their worldview simply will not budge.
With that in mind, here’s a scientistic theory of God and the afterlife that’s just as legitimate and falsifiable as quantum mechanics.
We can easily design an experiment to verify God and the afterlife by testing the veracity of the following statement. Jesus told the believing thief hanging on the cross next to him, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43b). The scientist conducting this experiment must first believe in Jesus Christ as his or her savior, and second, he or she must die and simply observe what happens – paradise or nothingness being the two hypothesized outcomes. This isn’t a thought experiment, since every believing scientist who has died has conducted it already, and to a person all the results are in. And for all those unbelieving scientists, a corresponding experiment can be conducted to verify or falsify the hypothesized outcome of hell and torment (Luke 16:23).
This falsifiable experiment can be performed, but it cannot be reported back to others on this side of death beyond all doubt. Some people report having experienced death and coming back, but their claims cannot be verified. This has much in common with both Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and the observer effect (AKA Schrödinger’s cat). There’s a fundamental limit to the certainty with which confirmation of Jesus Christ’s existence and promise of the afterlife can be known to observers living in the world, and at the same time, conducting the experiment necessarily eliminates the superposition of life and death, collapsing the wave function, so to speak.
My point here is not that the experiment can resolve the question of God for unbelievers. Far from it. Instead, I’m just pointing out that the indeterminate status of God in scientific terms does not disqualify it as a valid possibility, and in fact puts it in the same category as the quantum phenomenon that has so excited scientists over the last century.
Furthermore, the God hypothesis predicts consciousness, an orderly universe and moral law. It is this predictable order that enables science in the first place. The materialistic hypothesis, on the hand, predicts the sort of chaos and undirected disorder you’d find in a shaken box of junk and goo. And no, invoking the name of Darwin does not make a materialistic universe orderly and complex, nor does it make us aware and moral – all it does is give unbelievers a temporary way to suppress the truth of God, like taking a sleeping pill to avoid the guilt of living apart from Him. It will work for a short time, until they lift up their eyes and find themselves in the place of the dead beyond hope and mercy.