Imagine an art historian whose life work is to study Picasso paintings. She analyses the minute flecks of paint on each work, to determine their composition. She also goes to conferences where people divide the paintings into different eras, and tries to see if her results can be related to their discoveries.
However, she doesn't believe Picasso actually existed. Nor do most of her colleagues. A few of them do, but it is considered somewhat gauche to mention it in talks or official publications.
It's a bit like this whenever a scientist doesn't believe in God. The work may have technical expertise, even brilliance, but it misses the forest for the trees. It is blind to the biggest, most important result of all.
I don't mean to imply that Atheism is as implausible as Picasso-denial would be. The philosophical arguments for the existence of God require careful contemplation, and some thoughtful individuals have resisted them as (in their opinion) fallacious. Indeed, most scientists don't give the question careful thought at all. But as somebody who is convinced God exists, the final outcome still seems (regardless of how understandable it may be) a little bit comic or absurd. You may not believe in God, but you carefully study his laws and decrees. Look up from your work, contemplate the ocean or hills, and ask your heart where all this beauty came from!
There is yet another respect in which God haunts Science, as its inspiration and origin. We can also look at the scientist as a human being. Without the human mind, Nature would of course still exist, but Science (which is just the careful study of Nature by beings with minds) would not.
Jews and Christians believe that all human beings — no exceptions! — are created in the image of God. It is because we have a likeness to the Creator, that we are capable of both Science (understanding God's creation) and Art (making our own creations). So scientists who don't believe in God aren't just blind to what's in front of them, they are also blind to their own true self, to the spiritual power that enables them to work on a calculation or a measurement. But, their work still reflects God's glory, even though they don't recognize it.
Now God is invisible. As the Creator, God precedes Nature and transcends it. Divinity has no physical form, and the human mind cannot comprehend it. To make a graven image of any animal or person, and worship that as if it were divine, is regarded in the Bible as idolatry, a serious sin. Yet this same book insists from its very first chapter that God created men and women in his own image!
The human animal may be a rather Picasso-esque, surreal representation of the uncreated, bodiless, singular Power that set the stars in the sky and binds quarks into nuclei; yet it is the representation that is given to us, as a handle to reach out and touch the divine. We are not God, but we are like God; and by serving our neighbor we also serve the one who made him.
And although none of us yet fully live up to our potential as icons or paintings of God, we have the promise that the Master Artist is working on us, striving forcefully to mold us into that perfect image (if only we allow ourselves to be worked on). We are all broken in many ways, and that definitely includes me! But the same God who patiently waited billions of years to make our world — who brought forth the evolution of single cells, sponges, fish, dinosaurs, and (in these last days) birds — is also working to redeem each of us, and the human family as a whole. That is why Christ came to earth, on a daring rescue mission: to put us back in touch with the source of the whole universe.
This is far more exciting and interesting than the shallow sentiments that most moderns try to console themselves with. As St. Dorothy Sayers observed, "There was never anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy, nothing so sane and so thrilling." In that respect it is, again, like the best moments of scientific discovery.