Atheists, conservative theists, and religious liberals often read the history of science in ways that support their own position. Atheists expect continual mutual support between science and nonbelief, conservatives emphasize theistic metaphysical foundations for science; and liberals find a historical development toward separate spheres for science and religion. The rise of science was more complicated than anticipated by any of these stories. Atheism and science have usually developed almost independently, with weak connections. Today, the naturalism of modern scientific descriptions of the world is consonant with an atheistic position. But even now, significant tensions between science and atheism remain.
William E. Carroll
Maimonides remarked that a fundamental tenet held by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is that God is the Creator of all that is. In the Middle Ages, scholars in all three religious traditions sought to articulate what it means for God to create, and to do this in the context of scientific and philosophical traditions, notably Aristotelian and Neoplatonic, that they inherited. One feature of that heritage which attracted special interest was the view that the world is eternal. Is a world created and eternal an oxymoron? Ancient science uniformly affirmed that all change requires some thing that undergoes change; that from nothing, nothing comes. Does this principle of the natural sciences call into question the view that the world is created ‘out-of -nothing’?