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The Works of His Hands: A Scientist’s Journey from Atheism to Faith

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Raised in a militant atheist family, Sy Garte fell in love with the factual world of science. He became a respected research biochemist with an anti-theistic worldview to bolster his work--and he had no intention of seeking a God he didn't believe in. That is, until the very science he loved led him to question the validity of an atheistic worldview. His journey to answer the questions that confronted him drew him into becoming a fully committed Christian, determined to show others the modern science doesn't contradict God at all but instead supports Christianity. In the first half of the book, Sy begins with how his experiences and quest for knowledge as a student and early in his career brought him to question his materialist assumptions. He goes on to reveal how lessons from physics, biology, and human nature--all presented for lay readers to easily understand--actually argue for belief in God. In the second half of the book, Sy looks at the arguments often presented against God in academic and scientific settings and explains the false foundations on which they rest. For those who have been told that the realities of science call for a rejection of God--but can't quite get rid of the feeling that this shouldn't be true-- The Works of His Hands is an ideal reminder that the two don't have to be bitter enemies. Instead, this transformative book shares the beauty of the marriage between science and faith--and how, together, they can bring even the most unlikely to salvation.

256 pages, Paperback

Published November 19, 2019

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Sy Garte

3 books19 followers

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Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
January 3, 2020
As someone trained in the field of biochemistry, I was eager to read this book by Dr. Garte. Regardless of one's views on creation/evolution, every Christian can appreciate Sy’s personal account of he came to know and love our Lord Jesus.

Psalm 138 tells us that “though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.” Other verses speak to the same truth – namely, that God resists the proud. I kept thinking of these verses as I read this book, as both gratitude and humility were key components of every step in Sy’s journey towards Jesus. It takes humility to admit the limits of one’s own knowledge and it takes a humble heart not to presume one should be given more in life. When we can muster that kind of humble gratitude, the God in whom we live and move and have our being is not far from us. And he was not far from Sy.

What strikes me the most is that apart from the evidences from science, Dr. Garte’s conversion hinged on his humble wonder at the world and deep gratitude for the goodness that surrounded him. He struggled as much with the problem of good as some struggle with the problem of evil. When he looked at the world, the tremendous good confounded him as much as the evil. He discusses how one’s “default position” is crucial when it comes to our ability to draw near to God. “Those with a humbler default position,” he writes, “often find great joy in the happiness they find.” Like the Psalmist, they can more readily see that God has hemmed them in, behind and before. Such an incredibly wise insight that even as Christians we are too prone to forget. I was so thankful for the reminder. This book is full of these.

In this, he reminds me so much of one of my favorite thinkers and hearts, G.K. Chesterton. Gratitude and wonder were for Chesterton the highest forms of thought – but these are impossible without humility. God resists the proud.

Garte’s conversion account offers up a wonderfully integrated mix of scientific evidences, classic apologetics (stated in new and unique ways – I love his computer analogy to illustrate the Argument from Reason – one of my favorites), and deeply personal testimony. I particularly like his use of stories as illustrations. These enchanting, imaginative excursions offer the reader some fun ways of understanding the deeper points that he is making. Again, very Chestertonian!

I think that to see the extraordinary in the everyday is actually a discipline – it takes practice and determination. It doesn’t come easy for us for, as Chesterton once said, fallen creatures such as ourselves have sinned and grown old – repetition in life (and nature) wears us out. In a passage titled “An Ordinary Human Takes an Ordinary Trip”, Garte offers the reader an excellent example of how to practice this discipline of wonder.

In the end, the greatest benefit of reading Dr. Garte’s conversion story is that it will renew your wonder at the world our Lord created, helping you see, once again, the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. Our modern world is in desperate need of re-enchantment. This book goes far in doing just that. Enjoy!
Profile Image for Sheila.
Author 79 books186 followers
January 23, 2020
My own background is in science and faith, so the two were never enemies for me. But I live in a world where many people see them as opposite forces, so it’s a delight to find a serious, scientific book which is also both faith-filled and eminently readable. The Works of His Hands tells how a doctor of biochemistry, raised as a non-believer, asked an awful lot of questions, and came to faith through answers, reason and love.

The prose is personal enough to make this book read like a conversation with the author. The information is well-organized and detailed enough to appeal to scientists and non-scientists alike (with the most complex explanations left to the appendices). And the chapters include very reasonable, well-reasoned responses to many familiar anti-faith arguments (no, faith isn’t the root of all evil, or even of all wars). The book presents an honestly argued faith in a God who works through logical laws, not magical whims.

Harmonious prose leads readers to a pleasing harmony of faith and science. Whimsical anecdotes delight and amuse (even introducing the possibility of a whimsical God, delighting in his creation). Meanwhile serious questions invite us to look at the author’s very serious answers, and to see the works of God's Hands.

The Works of His Hands isn’t “light reading” but nor is it heavy. It’s well-balanced, inviting, and appealing. It’s neither too deeply nor too shallowly scientific. As an honest report of personal investigation, it invites honesty in its readers. And as a faith-filled testimony of change, it invites us to recognize that faith and science’s supposed enmity is a myth we should be happy to dispense with.

Disclosure: I’ve met the author online and followed his blog. I could hardly wait to read his book. Then I waited forever to write a review because… well, life intervened. It’s a wonderful book and I'm recommending it to everyone!
Profile Image for David Kent.
Author 6 books130 followers
November 24, 2019
This is a personal memoir and therefore reflects the author's path from atheism to evangelism. Garte is an accomplished career scientist, so not surprisingly, the science he presents is both impeccable and insightful. Scientific discussion - support for evolution, for example - comprise the majority of the book. This is well supported and documented. Evangelicals who dismiss evolution would be wise to read these portions closely.

There is a lot one could disagree with, and there are more than a few leaps of faith - both literal and figurative - but he clearly explains how he came to shed what he calls his "militant atheistic upbringing" and find religion. Along the way he offers much that is thought provoking, including some rational questioning of religious dogma. Near the end he notes he has no interest in proving God's existence and that doing so is likely impossible; that faith is not subject to scientific methodology. In essence, God exists because you believe he exists, and that's perfectly okay. And while his conversion is not scientifically based, Garte states that he believes the existence of science and belief in God are not inconsistent. Indeed, he suggests they are compatible and perhaps even complementary.

Overall, the old crutch of “this is the kind of book you will like if you like this kind of book” applies, but even if you normally wouldn’t read such a book, this one is worth reading. It might get you thinking, even if you disagree.
Profile Image for Sarah.
958 reviews31 followers
December 1, 2019
The Works of His Hands: A Scientist's Journey from Atheism to Faith is a memoir and a personal journey of how Sy a scientist went from being an atheist to following Jesus. This book isn't my cup of tea in the sense of one that I would go out to purchase because I am not interested in this type of reading, but it is a very interesting book. He offers very thought provoking questions about the existence of God and faith.
Overall, this is the kind of book that if it's something that interests you, this is the perfect book for you. If you are someone that likes apologetics, you would really like this book.
Profile Image for Haur Bin Chua.
213 reviews4 followers
May 14, 2022
“The first gulp from the glass of science will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” Werner Heisenberg.

Science and religion are sometimes thought to be mutually exclusive. In this book, a biochemist and an ex-atheist, shared his journey in science that led him to faith. Through his scientific lens, he saw the works of the divine Creator.

As a scientist, he fully understood the limitations of science to answer all of life’s questions. The existence of constants in science is in themselves observable phenomenons but unsolved mysteries. With the likes of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principles and Godel’s incompleteness theorems, they demonstrate the limitations of science as the single tool for understanding the physical world. At the end of the pathway that science can take us, we need to get off the science automobile to take the last steps in faith to reach where we want to go, to complete our quest for understanding the world around us.

When it comes to the sciences of life, biology and chemistry, the beauty of its complexity is even more perplexing for scientists. For example, many of our bodily functions are driven by basic chemistry. In the natural world, chemical reactions are rare and tend to react quickly towards equilibrium. However, in the world of living, chemical reactions happen all the time - photosynthesis, metabolism, amino acid synthesis. When it comes to realm of genetics, it is even more marvellous, embedded inside is, DNA which is a genetic blueprint that gets passed down the generations. As we learn about how proteins are built through transcription of the DNA sequence, we can’t help but marvel at the complexity and ingenuity designed within each and every one of us. It’s too simple to say that all these just come about randomly. There has got to be some grand design and hence a Creator.

If science and religion are compatible, what about evolution? For the author, akin laws of physics or chemistry, evolution is a biological law built into all living things to maximise the chance for survival - natural selection, by increasing diversity of species through small mutations. Also similar to the laws of physics and chemistry, this biological law has to be written by a Creator and not a product of randomness. Two examples cited - the evolution of eye balls in mammals and octopi as well as evolution of wings in birds and insects went through parallel evolutionary paths but somehow converged to something remarkably similar - seems to suggest evolutionary paths are not as random as some prevailing theories suggest.

What about the miracles? How can they be explained by science? As for miracles, at the core of the argument, is the duality between naturalism and supernaturalism. For naturalists, the world is a closed system as there is nothing outside of it (a Creator). The argument against this and for supernaturalism is the existence of higher thoughts - why is human thinking able to transcend what is experienced? In a closed system, there should no purpose, beginning or end. Nothing matters. As such, there has to be the supernatural and hence miracles are merely the interventions of supernatural on the natural world, still obeying its laws. Think about it, we are always able to rationalise away the miraculous events or coincidences, working back on hindsight.

As we get back to science, as we improve our scientific methods to understand the world better, three major origins in our world that have been difficult to explain. These are:

1. The origin of the universe
2. The origin of life
3. The origin of human consciousness

There are many questions still left unanswered. What happens before the Big Bang? What triggered it? Where did the matter and energy come from? Did laws of physics apply before the Big Bang? How did the first cell come about? Where did it get its energy source? Which function came first, metabolism or replication? Why are humans so different from other animals? Why do we have consciousness? Why do we yearn?

Ultimately the conclusion is summarised in the quote above. Science and religion are not exclusive. Science is merely a tool. With this tool, we develop better understanding of the Creator’s works. It’s like taking apart a sophisticated watch piece to understand the mechanisms but in the end we come to appreciate the ingenuity of its design. As we take apart the world around us, its beauty and mysteries helps to affirm that these are too good to be result of rolling the dice but indeed the divine works of His hands.
Profile Image for Jim.
27 reviews1 follower
February 9, 2023
The book is soft science and if you are not into science it could be challenging to read. However, Sy takes the time and patience to walk you through and explain the research that he was doing and which ones caused him to ask questions.

I apologize, my thoughts about atheists were stereotyped. Thinking they are dogmatic about their beliefs, that no one and nothing will change their minds? Sy's scientific research includes many "what if" scenarios and exploratory questions. His research itself begins to show evidence of order and purpose and the need for divine design.

I am a Christian and have been for 60 years. So much of my life revolves around Christianity. Nevertheless, I had a question about my beliefs. It wasn't that I was beginning to doubt. But I was wondering why I believe what I believe because it is true and I believe it. Or do I believe it because I have been taught about it for so long, and have not really put the research into my belief, to quantify my belief? So I dug deeper into the Bible and through the use of the Bible I validated my beliefs. I think that this is similar to Sy and his conversion. Delving deeper into research could bring him to the need for something outside of science and this was God.

Sy came to the understanding that evolution was the means God used for creation.

One of Sy's questions struck me. "Can we learn anything about our world without using the methods, tools, and results of science?" Then I realized the book was written by a biochemist researcher who is a polymath. Perhaps it is more difficult for such a person to look at things from a more simplified view. His question was "Can we understand anything about our world without using the methods, tools, and results of scientific investigation?" I read that question with puzzlement. Because I don't have a formal education and have learned a lot about the world without scientific investigation or tools. Granted I wasn't trying to split any atoms either. However, I believe that having a child-like faith in God and believing that He can do infinitely more than we could ever imagine is imperative. Why, then would it be impossible for him to have unsearchable thoughts? That he could do far more than mere men could think of. In science, we assume that one day we will understand all there is to understand. This blows my mind. There is no possible way to know everything about everything there is to know, without first knowing what there is. It would then itself be God, all-knowing.
Author 10 books2 followers
January 10, 2020
Sy Garte offers us a unique and enjoyable book on a scientist’s journey from atheism to faith. It is unique in at least three ways.
(1) Sy’s trajectory was not the typical individual raised in cultural Christianity who lost faith and then regained it. He was raised by atheist parents immersed in Marxist ideology. There was no religious baggage to be jettisoned before considering alternatives. There was no family pressure to come back into the fold.
(2) Sy does not follow his backstory with the usual launch into the arguments or experiences that convinced him of the truth of the Bible. Instead, he lauds the beauty and wonder of science, communicating why modern science does, in fact, reflect what is seen in nature. There was no scientific baggage that had to be jettisoned in order to see an alternative truth in the Bible. His journey to faith started with a deep appreciation for science – and a recognition that science was limited in its explanatory power. As an example, science can potentially answer the question of how feelings of love manifest neurologically in the brain, but not whether love is intrinsically real, or if it has an origin or purpose beyond physical reproduction.
(3) Sy makes no apologies for embracing the role of personal experience in his search for truth. While actively engaged in the scientific enterprise, he also rejects the logic of those insisting that only that which is testable by science can serve as genuine evidence. His personal encounters with God included dreams, something Middle Eastern converts are far more familiar with than most in the West.
Profile Image for Susan Lambeau.
1 review7 followers
December 19, 2019
The writer takes us through his journey of how, as a scientist, he found that pure materialism just could not answer the deeper questions of life - he saw that there are limits to what science could and could not address. As his career as a scientist progresses, he discovers hints that there was indeed something more. And God, it seems, wasn't going to let him go until he fully realized that there was a great God who loved him and wanted a personal relationship with him. The writer artfully describes the path he took as little by little he had to let go of years of indoctrination that there was no god, and certainly not the Christian God.

This is the perfect book for those who struggle with faith, and who believe that science and faith are natural enemies. But even better, for those of you who know someone that loves science and has serious doubt that a belief in anything other than what “can be proved by science” can even be rationally considered. This book shows that science and faith are but two ways of legitimately exploring the wonderful world we find ourselves in.
Profile Image for Elisha.
173 reviews
March 8, 2020
A friend posted an article by Sy on Facebook and it peaked my curiosity about his story. This book is the story of how Sy went from a communist atheistic worldview to a believer in Christ. There is a lot of cool science in this book and some of it went very deep into different theories. Sy is a evolutionary creationist/theistic evolutionist. While I don't agree with many of his conclusions and found several leaps of logic that I just don't agree with; I found it fascinating to read his journey and thought processes and to learn about how people come to the conclusion of theistic evolution. I do not doubt that Sy's faith is sincere and the fact that his vast scientific knowledge pointed him to Christ is a testament to God's glory and majesty in nature. Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." Romans 1:20 "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."
Profile Image for Joan C Benson.
Author 5 books224 followers
May 19, 2022
The Works of His Hands by Sy Garte, PhD

This book is a thorough journey through the science of life and faith, written from the understanding made possible through the education and insights of a biochemist. His scientific insights raise universal questions such as how life began, the theory of evolution, if humans are exceptional or are a mere animal species, but even more confounding issues like how can there be a good God if evil exists? As an atheist, Garte held fast to the dictum that no loving God would allow evil. Acknowledging the challenge of this dichotomy, Garte does not flee now he has chosen to believe in the Christian faith.

Anyone with an inquiring mind should enjoy digging into this scientist’s journey from “devout atheism” to a Christian believer in Jesus Christ as God in human form sent to earth. His writing is well-executed, organized, colorful, sometimes humorous, and sprinkled with illustrative “fables” to convey ideas.

This book was given to me as a gift, but the opinions expressed in this review are mine and not influenced by anyone.
56 reviews
December 1, 2020
Briefly stated, this book describes an atheist in his transformation from a strict evolutionist to a believer in God, without giving up his science beliefs in
an ancient earth, evolution, or the Big Bang. He writes a personal story about what caused him to begin to doubt that science had all the answers to his existential questions and how a belief in God became tenable.
It is written for readers of all educational levels to understand, but having some background in the sciences, especially DNA knowledge, is helpful in understanding this book.

Those who insist upon a young earth creationism will likely throw this book in the trash bin in disgust. But for those who have an open mind, this book is a valuable resource on how even highly educated people in the sciences can believe in God.

There is nothing dramatic here, no life crisis emotional appeal - just a rational discussion of issues that compelled the author to become a believer in God.
Profile Image for Frank Peters.
817 reviews43 followers
March 22, 2021
This is an excellent book on science and faith covering the personal journey of one scientist from atheism to faith. The book is especially good, in that it remains respectful of dissenting views and at least tries not to use straw man arguments to criticize them. He did unfortunately skim over and essentially ignore specified an irreducible complexity, which I was disappointed about. But the author does admit where there are uncertainties in his own view. This was very refreshing, as I am too used to authors from all perspectives writing as if there was no uncertainty and their view was clearly entirely correct. So, even though I would have a number of disagreements with the author, I very much respect his views and the way he is working through them. I hope to work through my views in a similar vein, and perhaps some day we may even agree with each other.
March 17, 2023
Deep science deep faith. A rare mix that brings deep joy!

Sy writes like a real honest to goodness human. I am more of a theologian and anthropologist. Biology is not my forte. But I feel I got a decent, certainly overly brief, overview of current biological science and how that lead this scientist to faith! Really? Science led an atheist to Christian faith??? Seriously? C'mon, give me a break. yep. Just read the book. Like acoustic music, it can't hurt you.
157 reviews2 followers
February 27, 2020
Fantastic book! I enjoyed learning about the author's journey from a militant atheist to a follower of Jesus through his study of science, particularly biochemistry. I appreciated the insights into his faith journey and recommend this book for science minded people interested in the intersection of faith and science.
344 reviews1 follower
November 16, 2021
An excellent book for an atheist who thinks science and Christianity are incompatible and an excellent book for a Christian who thinks evolution is incompatible with Christianity. His background of ethnic Jewish, revolutionary communist, atheistic materialism gives him credibility. His conversion to Christianity didn't come in spite of science, but because of it.
Profile Image for Caleb Watson.
130 reviews2 followers
April 1, 2022
This is a wonderful book written by a respected biochemist on his journey from communistic atheism to Christianity. Sy Garte does an excellent job illustrating not only the compatibility of science and religion but also how the fields of astrophysics, evolutionary biology, and even quantum mechanics lend support to the God hypothesis.
December 19, 2019
What an awe inspiring book by an author that came from an atheistic background but through diligent research found that science cannot answer some of the most basic questions and that so much evidence points to the existence of a God.
Profile Image for Rachel Denning.
21 reviews28 followers
August 24, 2020
A straight-forward, non-sensational approach to the coalition of science and faith. I appreciated the scientific explanations of biology and evolution and why they do not need to result in diminishing faith.
Profile Image for Cari.
122 reviews
March 2, 2022
I enjoyed this book a lot. It's an atheist's journey to God through science. How refreshing to read a book where science leads a person *to* God! This autobiography is a wonderful blend of faith and knowledge. It was a comfort to read!
Profile Image for Fagunwa Omololu.
1 review32 followers
March 21, 2022
This is one of such good books to read on understand the science-faith dialogue especially for an former atheist perspective. I recommend it for everyone, but it could be a most helpful for anti-believer in Biblical God.
January 30, 2023
Excellent read

I've had my own journey of faith and doubt. Sy Garte's book is informing and easy to read. Some parts are pretty technical but all in all it's in layman's language. I highly recommend the book and I love to read how an atheist comes to belief. I also very much like his counter argument against the alien simulation theory.
January 2, 2020
I used this book as a resource for my undergraduate Honors Senior Seminar class. I would highly recommend it!
8 reviews1 follower
February 28, 2021
Very thought provoking. Will have to read again in a few years.
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