Religion award goes to agnostic!

March 24, 2000

This year’s Templeton Prize-winner is an agnostic who believes that if there was a Creator, He was something of a bumbler, reports the Gannett News Service (March 23)!

Dr Freeman Dyson, who works at Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey, is the recipient of this year’s Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. Dr Dyson, formerly of Great Britain and a physicist by training, declares that since one cannot prove God exists (proof exists only in mathematical equations, Dyson insists), he must remain an agnostic (but not an atheist). If God does exist, he says, then He must not be all-powerful because if He were, He would be able to stop famine, suffering, and disease. He also echoes the late Carl Sagan’s comment that if there was a God, He was a ‘sloppy manufacturer.’

The Bible, however, explains why we have death and suffering in the world. The horrible things we see all around us should be blamed on the Fall of man and the subsequent Curse upon the world, not God’s sloppiness. (See our Creation: Why It Matters Q&A section and its articles on ‘The Relevance of Creation’ for commentary on this vital topic.) Thankfully, in the the new heaven and new earth to come one day, the Curse will finally be removed, and then there will be no death and suffering—just as it was in the perfect Garden of Eden before sin.

Interestingly, the Templeton Prize last year went to an outright evolutionist. Ian Barbour, professor emeritus of Carleton College in Minnesota, once wrote that ‘death was around long before human beings. Death is a necessary aspect of an evolutionary world.’ To be fair, the Templeton Prize does not always go to religious thinkers or leaders who disbelieve the Bible—past recipients include Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship and Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ. (By the way, although both these Christian leaders would call themselves creationists, they apparently will not take a stand against the false belief that there was death and suffering occurring millions of years before Adam sinned.)

The Templeton Prize was established in 1972 because its founder, Sir John Marks Templeton, believed that the Nobel Prize committee unfairly excluded religious leaders and scholars from being recognized for their achievements.

We will find out more about this year’s winner—including his views on the creation/evolution issue—and post our findings on this website.

Published: 11 February 2006