The Dead Sea Scrolls Shed Light on the Accuracy of the Bible

Dr. Patrick Zukeran,

Dr. Patrick Zukeran reviews the discovery of and important historical findings from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The texts discovered provide clear evidence as to the accuracy of our version of the Old Testament and the care with which it was preserved.

The Story of the Scrolls

Worship at the sacred Jerusalem Temple had become corrupt, with seemingly little hope for reform. A group of devoted Jews removed themselves from the mainstream and began a monastic life in the Judean desert. Their studies of the Old Testament Scriptures led them to believe that God’s judgment upon Jerusalem was imminent and that the anointed one would return to restore the nation of Israel and purify their worship. Anticipating this moment, the Essenes retreated into the Qumran desert to await the return of their Messiah. This community, which began in the third century B.C., devoted their days to the study and copying of sacred Scripture as well as theological and sectarian works.

As tensions between the Jews and Romans increased, the community hid their valuable scrolls in caves along the Dead Sea to protect them from the invading armies. Their hope was that one day the scrolls would be retrieved and restored to the nation of Israel. In A.D. 70, the Roman general Titus invaded Israel and destroyed the city of Jerusalem along with its treasured Temple. It is at this time that the Qumran community was overrun and occupied by the Roman army. The scrolls remained hidden for the next two thousand years.

In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd named Muhammad (Ahmed el-Dhib) was searching for his lost goat and came upon a small opening of a cave. Thinking that his goat may have fallen into the cave, he threw rocks into the opening. Instead of hearing a startled goat, he heard the shattering of clay pottery. Lowering himself into the cave, he discovered several sealed jars. He opened them hoping to find treasure. To his disappointment, he found them to contain leather scrolls. He collected seven of the best scrolls and left the other fragments scattered on the ground.

Muhammad eventually brought some of the scrolls to a cobbler and antiquities dealer in Bethlehem named Khando. Khando, thinking the scrolls were written in Syriac, brought them to a Syrian Orthodox Archbishop named Mar (Athanasius) Samuel. Mar Samuel recognized that the scrolls were written in Hebrew and suspected they may be very ancient and valuable. He eventually had the scrolls examined by John Trevor at the American School of Oriental Research (ASOR). Trevor contacted the world’s foremost Middle East archaeologist, Dr. William Albright, and together these men confirmed the antiquity of the scrolls and dated them to sometime between the first and second century B.C.

After the initial discovery, archaeologists searched other nearby caves between 1952 and 1956. They found ten other caves that contained thousands of ancient documents as well. One of the greatest treasures of ancient manuscripts had been discovered: the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Date and Contents of the Scrolls

Scholars were anxious to confirm that these Dead Sea Scrolls were the most ancient of all Old Testament manuscripts in the Hebrew language. Three types of dating tools were used: tools from archaeology, from the study of ancient languages, called paleography and orthography, and the carbon-14 dating method. Each can derive accurate results. When all the methods arrive at the same conclusion, there is an increased reliability in the dating.

Archaeologists studied the pottery, coins, graves, and garments at Khirbet Qumran, where the Essenes lived. They arrived at a date ranging from the second century B.C. to the first century A.D. Paleographers studied the style of writing and arrived at dates raging from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D. Scientists, using the radiocarbon dating method, dated the scrolls to range from the fourth century B.C. to the first century A.D. Since all the methods came to a similar conclusion, scholars are very confident in their assigned date for the texts. The scrolls date as early as the third century B.C. to the first century A.D.{1}

Eleven caves were discovered containing nearly 1,100 ancient documents which included several scrolls and more than 100,000 fragments.{2} Fragments from every Old Testament book except for the book of Esther were discovered. Other works included apocryphal books, commentaries, manuals of discipline for the Qumran community, and theological texts. The majority of the texts were written in the Hebrew language, but there were also manuscripts written in Aramaic and Greek.{3}

Among the eleven caves, Cave 1, which was excavated in 1949, and Cave 4, excavated in 1952, proved to be the most productive caves. One of the most significant discoveries was a well-preserved scroll of the entire book of Isaiah.

The famous Copper Scrolls were discovered in Cave 3 in 1952. Unlike most of the scrolls that were written on leather or parchment, these were written on copper and provided directions to sixty-four sites around Jerusalem that were said to contain hidden treasure. So far, no treasure has been found at the sites that have been investigated.

The oldest known piece of biblical Hebrew is a fragment from the book of Samuel discovered in Cave 4, and is dated from the third century B.C.{4} The War Scroll found in Caves 1 and 4 is an eschatological text describing a forty-year war between the Sons of Light and the evil Sons of Darkness. The Temple Scroll discovered in Cave 11 is the largest and describes a future Temple in Jerusalem that will be built at the end of the age.

Indeed, these were the most ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament ever found, and their contents would yield valuable insights to our understanding of Judaism and early Christianity.

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic Text

The Dead Sea Scrolls play a crucial role in assessing the accurate preservation of the Old Testament. With its hundreds of manuscripts from every book except Esther, detailed comparisons can be made with more recent texts.

The Old Testament that we use today is translated from what is called the Masoretic Text. The Masoretes were Jewish scholars who between A.D. 500 and 950 gave the Old Testament the form that we use today. Until the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947, the oldest Hebrew text of the Old Testament was the Masoretic Aleppo Codex which dates to A.D. 935.{5}

With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we now had manuscripts that predated the Masoretic Text by about one thousand years. Scholars were anxious to see how the Dead Sea documents would match up with the Masoretic Text. If a significant amount of differences were found, we could conclude that our Old Testament Text had not been well preserved. Critics, along with religious groups such as Muslims and Mormons, often make the claim that the present day Old Testament has been corrupted and is not well preserved. According to these religious groups, this would explain the contradictions between the Old Testament and their religious teachings.

After years of careful study, it has been concluded that the Dead Sea Scrolls give substantial confirmation that our Old Testament has been accurately preserved. The scrolls were found to be almost identical with the Masoretic text. Hebrew Scholar Millar Burrows writes, “It is a matter of wonder that through something like one thousand years the text underwent so little alteration. As I said in my first article on the scroll, ‘Herein lies its chief importance, supporting the fidelity of the Masoretic tradition.’”{6}

A significant comparison study was conducted with the Isaiah Scroll written around 100 B.C. that was found among the Dead Sea documents and the book of Isaiah found in the Masoretic text. After much research, scholars found that the two texts were practically identical. Most variants were minor spelling differences, and none affected the meaning of the text.

One of the most respected Old Testament scholars, the late Gleason Archer, examined the two Isaiah scrolls found in Cave 1 and wrote, “Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The five percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.”{7}

Despite the thousand year gap, scholars found the Masoretic Text and Dead Sea Scrolls to be nearly identical. The Dead Sea Scrolls provide valuable evidence that the Old Testament had been accurately and carefully preserved.

The Messianic Prophecies and the Scrolls

One of the evidences used in defending the deity of the Christ is the testimony of prophecy. There are over one hundred prophecies regarding Christ in the Old Testament.{8} These prophecies were made centuries before the birth of Christ and were quite specific in their detail. Skeptics questioned the date of the prophecies and some even charged that they were not recorded until after or at the time of Jesus, and therefore discounted their prophetic nature.

There is strong evidence that the Old Testament canon was completed by 450 B.C. The Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, is dated about two hundred fifty years before Christ. The translation process occurred during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus who ruled from 285 to 246 B.C.{9} It can be argued that a complete Hebrew text from which this Greek translation would be derived must have existed prior to the third century B.C.

The Dead Sea Scrolls provided further proof that the Old Testament canon existed prior to the third century B.C. Thousands of manuscript fragments from all the Old Testament books except Esther were found predating Christ’s birth, and some date as early as the third century B.C. For example, portions from the book of Samuel date that early, and fragments from Daniel date to the second century B.C.{10} Portions from the twelve Minor Prophets date from 150 B.C to 25 B.C.{11} Since the documents were found to be identical with our Masoretic Text, we can be reasonably sure that our Old Testament is the same one that the Essenes were studying and working from.

One of the most important Dead Sea documents is the Isaiah Scroll. This twenty-four foot long scroll is well preserved and contains the complete book of Isaiah. The scroll is dated 100 B.C. and contains one of the clearest and most detailed prophecies of the Messiah in chapter fifty-three, called the “Suffering Servant.” Although some Jewish scholars teach that this refers to Israel, a careful reading shows that this prophecy can only refer to Christ.

Here are just a few reasons. The suffering servant is called sinless (53:9), he dies and rises from the dead (53:8-10), and he suffers and dies for the sins of the people (53:4-6). These characteristics are not true of the nation of Israel. The Isaiah Scroll gives us a manuscript that predates the birth of Christ by a century and contains many of the most important messianic prophecies about Jesus. Skeptics could no longer contend that portions of the book were written after Christ or that first century insertions were added to the text.

Thus, the Dead Sea Scrolls provide further proof that the Old Testament canon was completed by the third century B.C., and that the prophecies foretold of Christ in the Old Testament predated the birth of Christ.

The Messiah and the Scrolls

What kind of Messiah was expected by first century Jews? Critical scholars allege that the idea of a personal Messiah was a later interpretation made by Christians. Instead, they believe that the Messiah was to be the nation of Israel and represented Jewish nationalism.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, written by Old Testament Jews, reveal the messianic expectations of Jews during the time of Christ. Studies have uncovered several parallels to the messianic hope revealed in the New Testament as well as some significant differences. First, they were expecting a personal Messiah rather than a nation or a sense of nationalism. Second, the Messiah would be a descendant of King David. Third, the Messiah would confirm His claims by performing miracles including the resurrection of the dead. Finally, He would be human and yet possess divine attributes.

A manuscript found in Cave 4 entitled the Messianic Apocalypse, copied in the first century B.C., describes the anticipated ministry of the Messiah:

For He will honor the pious upon the throne of His eternal kingdom, release the captives, open the eyes of the blind, lifting up those who are oppressed… For He shall heal the critically wounded, He shall raise the dead, He shall bring good news to the poor.

This passage sounds very similar to the ministry of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels. In Luke chapter 7:21-22, John the Baptist’s disciples come to Jesus and ask him if He is the Messiah. Jesus responds, “Go tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news brought to them.”

But, with the similarities there are also differences. Christians have always taught that there is one Messiah while the Essene community believed in two, one an Aaronic or priestly Messiah and the other a Davidic or royal Messiah who leads a war to end the evil age.{12}

The Essenes were also strict on matters of ceremonial purity while Jesus criticized these laws. He socialized with tax collectors and lepers which was considered defiling by the Jews. Jesus taught us to love one’s enemies while the Essenes taught hatred towards theirs. They were strict Sabbatarians, and Jesus often violated this important aspect of the law. The Qumran community rejected the inclusion of women, Gentiles, and sinners, while Christ reached out to these very groups.

The many differences show that the Essenes were not the source of early Christianity as some scholars propose. Rather, Christianity derived its teachings from the Old Testament and the ministry of Jesus.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have proven to be a significant discovery, confirming the accurate preservation of our Old Testament text, the messianic prophecies of Christ, and valuable insight into first century Judaism.

Two Major Prophets and the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls have been an asset in the debate regarding two major and well disputed books of the Old Testament, Daniel and Isaiah. Conservative scholars maintained that Daniel was written in the sixth century B.C. as the author declares in the first chapter. The New Testament writers treated Daniel as a prophetic book with predictive prophecies. Liberal scholars began teaching in the eighteenth century that it was written in the Maccabean Period or the second century B.C. If they are correct, Daniel would not be a prophetic book that predicted the rise of Persia, Greece, and Rome.

Before the discovery of the scrolls, critical scholars argued that the Aramaic language used in Daniel was from a time no earlier than 167 B.C. during the Maccabean period. Other scholars, such as well-respected archaeologist Kenneth Kitchen, studied Daniel and found that ninety percent of Daniel’s Aramaic vocabulary was used in documents from the fifth century B.C. or earlier.{13} The Dead Sea Scrolls revealed that Kitchen’s conclusion was well founded. The Aramaic language used in the Dead Sea Scrolls proved to be very different from that found in the book of Daniel. Old Testament scholars have concluded that the Aramaic in Daniel is closer to the form used in the fourth and fifth century B.C. than to the second century B.C.

Critical scholars challenged the view that Isaiah was written by a single author. Many contended that the first thirty-nine chapters were written by one author in the eighth century B.C., and the final twenty-six chapters were written in the post-Exilic period. The reason for this is that there are some significant differences in the style and content between the two sections. If this were true, Isaiah’s prophecies of Babylon in the later chapters would not have been predictive prophecies but written after the events occurred.

With the discovery of the Isaiah Scroll at Qumran, scholars on both sides were eager to see if the evidence would favor their position. The Isaiah Scroll revealed no break or demarcation between the two major sections of Isaiah. The scribe was not aware of any change in authorship or division of the book.{14} Ben Sira (second century B.C.), Josephus, and the New Testament writers regarded Isaiah as written by a single author and containing predictive prophecy.{15} The Dead Sea Scrolls added to the case for the unity and prophetic character of Isaiah.

Inventory of the Scrolls

The following is a brief inventory provided by Dr. Gleason Archer of the discoveries made in each of the Dead Sea caves.{16}

Cave 1 was the first cave discovered and excavated in 1949. Among the discoveries was found the Isaiah Scroll containing a well-preserved scroll of the entire book of Isaiah. Fragments were found from the other Old Testament books which included Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Judges, Samuel, Ezekiel, and Psalms. Non-biblical books included the Book of Enoch, Sayings of Moses, Book of Jubilee, Book of Noah, Testament of Levi and the Wisdom of Solomon. Fragments from commentaries on Psalms, Micah, and Zephaniah were also discovered.

Cave 2 was excavated in 1952. Hundreds of fragments were discovered, including remains from the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, Job, Psalms and Ruth.

Cave 3 was excavated in 1952. Here archaeologists found the famous Copper Scrolls. These scrolls contained directions to sixty-four sites containing hidden treasures located around Jerusalem. So far, no treasure has been found at the sites investigated.

Cave 4, excavated in 1952, proved to be one of the most productive. Thousands of fragments were recovered from nearly four hundred manuscripts. Hundreds of fragments from every Old Testament book were discovered with the exception of the Book of Esther. The fragment from Samuel labeled 4Qsam{17} is believed to be the oldest known piece of biblical Hebrew, dating from the third century B.C. Also found were fragments of commentaries on the Psalms, Isaiah, and Nahum. The entire collection of Cave 4 is believed to represent the scope of the Essene library.

Cave 5 was excavated in 1952 and fragments from some Old Testament books along with the book of Tobit were found.

Cave 6 excavated in 1952 uncovered papyrus fragments of Daniel, 1 and 2 Kings and some other Essene literature.

Caves 7-10 yielded finds of interest for archaeologists but had little relevance for biblical studies.

Cave 11 was excavated in 1956. It exposed well-preserved copies from some of the Psalms, including the apocryphal Psalm 151. In addition, a well-preserved scroll of part of Leviticus was found, and fragments of an Apocalypse of the New Jerusalem, an Aramaic Targum or paraphrase of Job, was also discovered.

Indeed these were the most ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament ever found, and their contents would soon reveal insights that would impact Judaism and Christianity.

Notes

1. James Vanderkam and Peter Flint, The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls (San Francisco, CA.: Harper Collins Publishers, 2002), 20-32.
2. Randall Price, The Stones Cry Out (Eugene, OR.: Harvest House Publishers, 1997), 278.
3. Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL.: Moody Press, 1985), 513-517.
4. Vanderkam and Flint, 115.
5. Price, 280.
6. Millar Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: Viking Press, 1955), 304, quoted in Norman Geisler and William Nix, General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 367.
7. Archer, 25.
8. J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Books, 1984), 665-670.
9. Geisler and Nix, 503-504.
10. Ibid., 137.
11. Ibid., 138-139.
12. Vanderkam and Flint, 265-266.
13. Randall Price, Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Eugene, OR.: Harvest House, 1996), 162.
14. Ibid., 154-155.
15. Ibid., 156-157.
16. Archer, 513-517.
17. Price, 162.

Bibliography

Archer, Gleason. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Chicago: Moody Press, 1985.

Geisler, Norman and William Nix. General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.

Payne, J. Barton. Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy. Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Books, 1984.

Price, Randall Price, Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Eugene, OR.: Harvest House, 1996.

Scanlin, Harold. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Modern Translations of the Old Testament. Wheaton, IL.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1993.

Vanderkam, James and Peter Flint. The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. San Francisco, CA.: Harper Collins Publishers, 2002.

© 2006 Probe Ministries

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Intelligent Design: The Scientific Choice

Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Some incorrectly assert that science and religion are incompatible—that religion is based on feeling, and science is based on reason and evidence. Sadly, the contention that religion is based on feeling and not evidence does, in fact, characterize the bulk of the religious world. However, true religion—biblical Christianity—is in perfect harmony with reason and true science. After all, God, Himself, instituted the field of science and commanded His followers to draw only those conclusions that are warranted by the evidence (1 Thessalonians 5:21; cf. Miller, 2012a). The Universe contains countless features that exhibit purpose, intent, and planning—characteristics which imply the necessity of an intelligent Designer, not random chance, which characterizes evolutionary theories. Thus, science supports intelligent design and stands against atheistic origin proposals.

The scientific evidence indicates, without exception, according to the work of Spallanzani, Redi, and Pasteur, that in nature, life comes only from life (see Miller, 2012b). That evidence poses a dilemma for the naturalistic scientist. The naturalist must be able to propose a theory for the natural origin of life from non-life (i.e., abiogenesis) in order to be consistent with naturalism, and yet science indicates that life cannot arise from non-life. So, the naturalist cannot be a naturalist and still be a legitimate scientist! There is no scientific evidence which supports abiogenesis. However, the intelligent design model contends that since life comes only from life in nature, in order to be in keeping with science, there must be a supernatural explanation for the origin of life. The supernaturalist can easily be a scientist without contradicting himself.

Similarly, science reveals that nothing can last forever, since everything is deteriorating and all energy is transforming into less usable forms according to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Science reveals that nothing could spontaneously pop into or out of existence according to the 1st Law of Thermodynamics (see Miller, 2007). Those truths come from the scientific investigation of nature, and yet naturalistic models must contend that the matter and energy of the Universe either always existed or initially popped into existence (before the alleged “Big Bang”). Once again, this proposal is against the scientific evidence. Since science indicates that in nature, matter cannot spontaneously generate or exist forever, unprejudiced reasoning leads to the conclusion that a supernatural source is required to explain the origin of the Universe—an intelligent Designer. Why not argue for the re-instatement of true science into the school system where you are? Intelligent Design is the model in keeping with the scientific evidence.

REFERENCES

Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), https://apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.

Miller, Jeff (2012a), “Science: Instituted by God,” Reason & Revelation, 32[4]:46, April (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), https://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1026&article=1760.

Miller, Jeff (2012b), “The Law of Biogenesis,” Reason & Revelation, 32[1]:2-11, January (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), https://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1018&article=1722.

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Answering the New Atheists – A Christian Addresses Their Arguments

Kerby Anderson

New Atheists

Kerby Anderson counters the claim by popular new atheists that Christianity (along with other religions) is blind, irrational and without any evidence. Kerby demonstrates that contrary to the atheists’ claims God is not an invention of mankind, that faith is not dangerous, and that science and Christianity support one another. From a Christian point of view, the new atheists are bringing out tired old arguments that don’t stand up to rational scrutiny.

Is Faith Irrational?

Many of the best selling books over the last few years have been written by the New Atheists. I’d like to consider some of the criticisms brought by these individuals and provide brief answers. You may never meet one of these authors, but you are quite likely to encounter these arguments as you talk with people who are skeptical about Christianity.

For our discussion, we will be using the general outline of the book Is God Just a Human Invention? written by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow.{1} I would encourage you to read the book for a fuller discussion not only of the topics considered here but of many others as well.

You cannot read a book by the New Atheists without encountering their claim that religion is blind, irrational, and without any evidence. Richard Dawkins makes his feelings known by the title of one of his books: The God Delusion.

Why does he say that? He says religions are not evidentially based: “In all areas except religion, we believe what we believe as a result of evidence.”{2} In other words, religious faith is a blind faith not based upon evidence like other academic disciplines. So he concludes that religion is a “nonsensical enterprise” that “poisons everything.”{3}

Each of the New Atheists makes a similar statement. Dawkins states that faith is a delusion, a “persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.”{4} Daniel Dennett claims Christians are addicted to blind faith.{5} And Sam Harris argues that “Faith is generally nothing more than the permission religious people give one another to believe things without evidence.”{6}

Is this true? Do religious people have a blind faith? Certainly some religious people exercise blind faith. But is this true of all religions, including Christianity? Of course not. The enormous number of Christian books on topics ranging from apologetics to theology demonstrate that the Christian faith is based upon evidence.

But we might turn the question around on the New Atheists. You say that religious faith is not based upon evidence. What is your evidence for that broad, sweeping statement? Where is the evidence for your belief that faith is blind?

Orthodox Christianity has always emphasized that faith and reason go together. Biblical faith is based upon historical evidence. It is not belief in spite of the evidence, but it is belief because of the evidence.

The Bible, for example, says that Jesus appeared to the disciples and provided “many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of ​​the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

Peter appealed to evidence and to eyewitnesses when he preached about Jesus as “a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know” (Acts 2:22).

The Christian faith is not a blind faith. It is a faith based upon evidence. In fact, some authors contend that it takes more faith to be an atheist than to believe in God.{7}

Is God a Human Invention?

Human beings are religious. We are not only talking about people in the past who believe in God. Billions of people today believe in God. Why? The New Atheists have a few explanations for why people believe in God even though they say God does not exist.

One explanation that goes all the way back to Sigmund Freud is projection. He wrote that religious beliefs are “illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind.”{8} In other words, we project the existence of God based on a human need. It is wish fulfillment. We wish there would be a God, so we assume that he exists.

As Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow point out in their book, there are five good reasons to reject this idea. One objection is that Freud’s argument begs the question. In other words, it assumes that there is no God and then merely tries to find an explanation for why someone would believe in God anyway.

The projection theory can also cut both ways. If you argue that humans created God out of a need for security, then you could also just as easily argue that atheists believe there is no God because they want to be free and unencumbered by a Creator who might make moral demands on them.

Perhaps the reasons humans have a desire for the divine is because that is the only thing that will satisfy their spiritual hunger. C.S. Lewis argued that “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desires: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire, which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. Probably earthly pleasures were never made to satisfy it, but only arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”{9}

Some atheists suggest that perhaps we are genetically wired to believe in God. One example would be the book by Dean Hamer entitled The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into Our Genes. It is worth noting that even the author thought the title was overstated and at least admitted that there “probably is no single gene.”{10} Since the publication of the book, its conclusions have been shown to be exaggerated. Francis Collins served as the director of the Human Genome Project and has plainly stated that there is no gene for spirituality.

Richard Dawkins believes that religious ideas might have survived natural selection as “units of cultural inheritance.”{11} He calls these genetic replicators memes. Although he has coined the term, he is also quick to acknowledge that we don’t know what memes are or where they might reside.

One critic said that “Memetics is no more than a cumbersome terminology for saying what everybody knows and that can be more usefully said in the dull terminology of information transfer.”{12} Alister McGrath perceives a flaw: “Since the meme is not warranted scientifically, we are to conclude that there is a meme for belief in memes? The meme concept then dies the slow death of self-referentiality, in that, if taken seriously, the idea explains itself as much as anything else.”{13}

There is another explanation that we can find in the Bible. Why do most people believe in a God? The writer of Ecclesiastes (3:11) observes that it is God who has “set eternity in the hearts of men.”

Is Religion Dangerous?

The New Atheists contend that religion is not just false; it’s also dangerous. Sam Harris believes it should be treated like slavery and eradicated.{14} Christopher Hitchens wants to rally his fellow atheists against religion: “It has become necessary to know the enemy, and to prepare to fight it.”{15} Richard Dawkins is even more specific: “I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been invented.”{16}

Much of the criticism against religion revolves around violence. We do live in a violent world, and religion has often been the reason (or at least the justification) for violent acts. But the New Atheists are kidding themselves if they think that a world without religion would usher in a utopia where there is no longer violence, oppression, or injustice.

Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow point out in their book on the New Atheists that details matter when you are examining religion. Injustices by the Taliban in Afghanistan ought not to be used as part of the cumulative cases against religion in general or Christianity in particular. The fact that there are Muslim terrorists in the world today does not mean that all Muslims are dangerous. And it certainly doesn’t mean that Christianity is dangerous.

Alister McGrath reminds us that “all ideals—divine, transcendent, human or invented—are capable of being abused. That’s just the way human nature is. And that happens to religion as well. Belief in God can be abused, and we need to be very clear, in the first place, that abuse happens, and in the second, that we need to confront and oppose this. But abuse of an ideal does not negate its validity.”{17}

Religion is not the problem. People are the problem because they are sinful and live in a fallen world. Keith Ward puts this in perspective:

No one would deny that there have been religious wars in human history. Catholics have fought Protestants, Sunni Muslims have fought Shi’a Muslims, and Hindus have fought Muslims. However, no one who has studied history could deny that most wars in human history have not been religious. And in the case of those that have been religious, the religious component has usually been associated with some non-religious, social, ethnic, or political component that has exerted a powerful influence on the conflicts.{18}

The New Atheists, however, still want to contend that religion is dangerous while refusing to accept that atheism has been a major reason for death and destruction. If you were to merely look at body count, the three atheistic regimes of the twentieth century (Hitler in Nazi Germany, Stalin in Russia, and Mao in China) are responsible for more than 100 million deaths.

Dinesh D’Souza explains that “Religion-inspired killing simply cannot compete with the murders perpetrated by atheist regimes.” Even when you take into account the differences in the world’s population, he concludes that “death caused by Christian rulers over a five-hundred-year period amounts to only 1 percent of the deaths caused by Stalin, Hitler, and Mao in the space of a few decades.”{19}

Religion is not the problem; people are the problem. And removing religion and God from a society doesn’t make it less dangerous. The greatest death toll in history took place in the last century in atheistic societies.

Is the Universe Just Right for Life?

The New Atheists argue that even though the universe looks like it was designed, the laws of science can explain everything in the universe without God. Richard Dawkins, for example, says that “A universe with a creative superintendent would be a very different kind of universe from one without.”{20}

Scientists have been struck by how the laws that govern the universe are delicately balanced. One scientist used the analogy of a room full of dials (each representing a different physical constant). All of the dials are set perfectly. Move any dial to the left or to the right and you no longer have the universe. Some scientists have even called the universe a “Goldilocks universe” because all of the physical constants are “just right.”

British astronomer Fred Hoyle remarked, “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.”{21}

McDowell and Morrow provide a number of examples of the fine tuning of the universe. First is the expansion rate of the universe. “If the balance between gravity and the expansion rate were altered by one part in one million, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, there would be no galaxies, stars, planets, or life.”{22} Second is the fine tuning of ratio of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force. That must be balanced to one part in 10 to the 40th power. That is 1 with 40 zeroes following it.

Scientists also realize that planet Earth has extremely rare conditions that allow it to support life at a time when most of the universe is uninhabitable. Consider just these six conditions: (1) Life must be in the right type of galaxy, (2) life must be in the right location in the galaxy, (3) life must have the right type of star, (4) life must have the right relationship to the host star, (5) life needs surrounding planets for protection, and (6) life requires the right type of moon.{23}

Scientists (including the New Atheists) are aware of the many fine tuned aspects of the universe. They respond by pointing out that since we could only exist in a fine-tuned universe, we shouldn’t be surprised that it is fine tuned. But merely claiming that we could not observe ourselves except in such a universe doesn’t really answer the question why we are in one in the first place.

Richard Dawkins admits that there is presently no naturalistic explanation for the find-tuning of the universe.<a href=”#text24>{24} But he is quick to add that doesn’t argue for the existence of God. And that is certainly true. We know about God and His character from revelation, not from scientific observation and experimentation. But we do see the evidence that the design of the universe implies a Designer.

Are Science and Christianity in Conflict?

The New Atheists believe that science and Christianity are in conflict with one another. They trust science and the scientific method, and therefore reject religion in general and Christianity in particular.

Sam Harris says, “The conflict between religion and science is unavoidable. The success of science often comes at the expense of religious dogma; the maintenance of religious dogma always comes at the expense of science.”{25}

Richard Dawkins believes religion is anti-intellectual. He says: “I am hostile to fundamentalist religion because it actively debauches the scientific enterprise . . . . It subverts science and saps the intellect.”{26}

Are science and Christianity at odds with one another? Certainly there have been times in the past when that has been the case. But to only focus on those conflicts is to miss the larger point that modern science grew out of a Christian world view. In a previous radio program based upon the book Origin Science by Dr. Norman Geisler and me, I explain Christianity’s contribution to the rise of modern science.{27}

Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow also point out in their book that most scientific pioneers were theists. This includes such notable as Nicolas Copernicus, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Johannes Kepler, Louis Pasteur, Francis Bacon, and Max Planck. Many of these men actually pursued science because of their belief in the Christian God.

Alister McGrath challenges this idea that science and religion are in conflict with one another. He says, “Once upon a time, back in the second half of the nineteenth century, it was certainly possible to believe that science and religion were permanently at war. . . . This is now seen as a hopelessly outmoded historical stereotype that scholarship has totally discredited.”{28}

The New Atheists believe they have an answer to this argument. Christopher Hitchens discounts the religious convictions of their scientific pioneers. He argues that belief in God was the only option for a scientist at the time.{29} But if religious believers get no credit for the positive contributions to science (e.g., developing modern science) because “everyone was religious,” then why should their negative actions (e.g., atrocities done in the name of religion) discredit them? It is a double standard. The argument actually ignores how a biblical worldview shaped the scientific enterprise.{30}

The arguments of the New Atheists may sound convincing, but once you strip away the hyperbole and false charges, there isn’t much left.

If you would like to know how to answer the arguments of the New Atheists, I suggest you visit the Probe Web page at www.probe.org and also consider getting a copy of the book by Sean McDowell and Jonathan Morrow. You will be able to answer the objections of atheists and be better equipped to defend your faith.

Notes

Is God Just a Human Invention? (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2010).
2. Richard Dawkins, “The Faith Trap,” 20 March 2010, bit.ly/fFvLlJ.
3. Ibid.
4. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), 28.
5. Daniel Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (New York: Penquin, 2006), 230-231.
6. Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation (New York: Vintage Books, 2008), 110.
7. Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004).
8. Sigmund Freud, The Future of Illusion (New York: Norton, 1989), 38.
9. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996), 119-122).
10. Quote of Dean Hamer in Barbara Bradley Hagerty, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (New York: Free Press, 2006), 263.
11. Dawkins, The God Delusion, 316.
12. Victor Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2007), 257.
13. David Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretension (New York: Basic Books, 2009), 26-27.
14. Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, 87.
15. Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: Twelve, 2007), 283.
16. Dawkins, The God Delusion, 36.
17. Alister McGrath, “Challenges from Atheism,” in Beyond Opinion, ed. Ravi Zacharias (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), 31.
18. Keith Ward, Is Religion Dangerous? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 73.
19. Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2007), 215.
20. Dawkins, The God Delusion, 78.
21. Quoted in Paul Davies, The Accidental Universe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 118.
22. Mark Whorton and Hill Roberts, Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding Creation ((Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2008), 308.
23. Sean McDowell, “Is There Any Evidence for God? Physics and Astronomy,” The Apologetics Study Bible for Students, gen. ed. Sean McDowell (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2010).
24. Dawkins, The God Delusion, 188.
25. Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, 63.
26. Dawkins, The God Delusion, 321.
27. “Origin Science,” www.probe.org/origin-science/.
28. Alister McGrath and Joanna Collicutt McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2007), 46.
29. “The Jewish God, the Christian God, or No God?” Debate between Christopher Hitchens, Dennis Prager, and Dinesh D’Souza, 1 May 2008.
30. Nancy Pearcey and Charles Thaxton, The Soul of Science (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994).

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“Evolution is the Scientific Consensus—So You Should Believe It!”

Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

“Everybody’s doin’ it. So, you should, too,” the little boy’s classmate says. After giving in and engaging in the inappropriate behavior and getting caught, what does the little boy’s mother say? “If everybody jumps off a cliff, are you going to jump with them?” We’ve all likely heard sound reasoning like that from an authority, and yet the truth of such logic must not have “sunk in” with many in the evolutionary community.

Recently, we received an e-mail at Apologetics Press responding to an article we posted a few weeks back titled, “Bill Nye: The (Pseudo-)Science Guy” (Miller, 2012a). The gentleman’s comments were not atypical of many of the comments we receive from the evolutionary community, but one line of reasoning, in particular, is representative of the mindset of many. Thus, we felt it was worth a formal, public response. The argument this individual based his contention on was that the scientific consensus on a subject—whatever it may be—should be ultimately accepted (i.e., considered as “gospel”), and any further scientific investigation and/or discovery should be viewed in light of the veracity of the scientific consensus on that subject. Specifically, he applied the concept to the idea that belief in Darwinian evolution is the scientific consensus today and therefore, should be accepted—not resisted, as we do at Apologetics Press. This gentleman is hardly the only one who espouses such a view. So, it is worthy of consideration to see if it holds up under scrutiny.

Perhaps the first objection one should have to such a mindset is that it falls into the category of logical fallacies known as Argumentum ad Populum—appeal to the majority (Archie, 2012). The variation of this fallacy known as “Bandwagon,” is the idea in which someone attempts to “prove a conclusion on the grounds that all or most people think or believe it is true” (Archie). In other words, just because a lot of people believe in something (like macroevolution), that does not make it true—and the number of people who believe in it should not be cited as evidence in support of the proposition. Just because bloodletting was “the most common procedure performed by surgeons for almost two thousand years,” that should not have made it an acceptable idea, though it carried the weight of consensus behind it (“Bloodletting,” 2012). Just because the consensus in medicine in the recent past, before the discovery of germs, was not to worry about cleanliness in operating rooms, that does not mean that such entrenched practices should not be questioned. Just because the consensus over millennia was that life could arise spontaneously from non-life (Balme, 1962)—a belief held even as late as 300 years ago when Francesco Redi conducted his experiments that began casting doubt on that idea—that does not mean that such a preposterous idea should have continued to exist. Just because the “consensus” in certain evolutionary circles only 100 years ago was that certain races should be considered inferior in the evolutionary chain (cf. Darwin, 1859; Stein and Miller, 2008), did that mean that everyone should have accepted the “consensus” and taken part in eliminating those deemed “weaker” or “less fit” by evolutionists?

“Majority rule” is hardly a suitable mindset for scientific investigation. Scientific breakthroughs are not made by the majority—but rather, by innovative individuals thinking outside the box, not thinking in the same way the majority thinks. In fact, the “consensus” view is often times the very viewpoint that is wrong because of the “herd mentality” humanity tends to have—the same mentality that Moses warned against in Exodus 23:2. Just because there is a consensus in this country among the rank and file Americans that evolution is false (cf. Miller, 2012b), that should not be taken as evidence for or against evolution—whether or not the population is deemed “scientific” enough in the minds of the science community’s self-promoting “credentials police.” There exists an overwhelming consensus (84%) in the world that some kind of god(s) exists (cf. “Major Religions of the World…,” 2007), and yet one can be assured that the atheistic evolutionary community would not want to appeal to the “consensus” argument in that case. Consider further: even if it is now the scientific consensus among the biology community that Darwinian evolution is true, what about before evolution had become consensus in that field? Should the “consensus rule” have been applied then, disallowing the spread of evolutionary theory? If so, then the biology community is in error for breaking their own rules and needs to go back to the old viewpoint in order to be consistent.

In truth, accepting the consensus view on a theory is a dangerous practice. Scientific theories are not “bad guys.” Theories are important in order to make scientific progress. However, a theory (like the Theory of Evolution or the Big Bang Theory), by its very definition, is not known as absolute, but rather, as a possible explanation of something. A theory tacitly acknowledges the potential that it may be incorrect and that there may be other theories that fit the facts better, that will one day be proven as legitimate. This makes accepting the consensus view on a scientific theory a dangerous practice, since the theory may be wrong. A scientific law, however, is not based on “consensus” or speculation, but on the evidence—the facts. Therefore, there should be “consensus” about the laws of nature, even if there isn’t. However, what makes them valid should not be, and is not, based on “consensus.” The goal of science should be the pursuit of truth—not consensus; truth—not what’s popular. That is what has and will lead to further scientific progress in this country and in the world.

The consensus in this country that has existed since its inception—that Creation is true and Darwinian evolution is false—has no doubt played a role in the scientific breakthroughs that individual scientists have made that have led to our nation’s success. Such breakthroughs are to be expected according to the biblical model. In this area, it is clear that following the “consensus” has been a good thing. It seems evident, based on God’s dealings with nations in the Bible, that He views the spiritual state of a nation by its consensus views on various matters, and He responds accordingly with blessings or punishments. In the past, God has showered this nation with blessings—scientifically, economically, militarily, and in many other ways—in large part due to the “consensus” of Americans that the God of the Bible is the one true God (cf. Miller, 2008). Sadly, the consensus is changing, and we should expect God’s blessings to diminish accordingly. May we encourage you always in your pursuit to boldly speak “the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), doing your part to make the American consensus one that believes in and seeks to obey the one true God of the Universe.

REFERENCES

Archie, John (2012), “Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic Argumentum Ad Populum,” Introduction to Logic, Lander University, http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/popular.html.

Balme, D.M. (1962), “Development of Biology in Aristotle and Theophrastus: Theory of Spontaneous Generation,” Phronesis: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy, 7[1-2]:91-104.

“Bloodletting” (2012), Science Museum Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine, http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/techniques/bloodletting.aspx.

Darwin, Charles (1859), On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (London: John Murray).

“Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents” (2007), http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html.

Miller, Dave (2008), The Silencing of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Miller, Jeff (2012a), “Bill Nye: The (Pseudo-)Science Guy,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2842.

Miller, Jeff (2012b), “Literal Creationists Holding Their Ground in the Polls,” Reason & Revelation, 32[9]:94-95, September (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), https://www.apologeticspress.org /APPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1093&article=2040#.

Stein, Ben and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media).

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Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics

Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

“[T]he principles of thermodynamics have been in existence since the creation of the universe” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 2, emp. added). So states a prominent textbook used in schools of engineering across America. Indeed, these principles prove themselves to be absolutely critical in today’s science world. Much of the engineering technology available today is based on the foundational truths embodied in the Laws of Thermodynamics. As the writers of one engineering thermodynamics textbook stated: “Energy is a fundamental concept of thermodynamics and one of the most significant aspects of engineering analysis” (Moran and Shapiro, 2000, p. 35). Do these laws have application to the creation/evolution debate as creationists suggest? What do they actually say and mean?

The word “thermodynamics” originally was used in a publication by Lord Kelvin (formerly William Thomson), the man often called the Father of Thermodynamics because of his articulation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in 1849 (Cengel and Boles, p. 2). The term comes from two Greek words: therme, meaning “heat,” and dunamis, meaning “force” or “power” (American Heritage…, 2000, pp. 558,1795). Thermodynamics can be summarized essentially as the science of energy—including heat, work (defined as the energy required to move a force a certain distance), potential energy, internal energy, and kinetic energy. The basic principles and laws of thermodynamics are understood thoroughly today by the scientific community. Thus, the majority of the work with the principles of thermodynamics is done by engineers who simply utilize the already understood principles in their designs. A thorough understanding of the principles of thermodynamics which govern our Universe can help an engineer to learn effectively to control the impact of heat in his/her designs.

THE FIRST AND SECOND LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS

Though there are many important thermodynamic principles that govern the behavior of energy, perhaps the most critical principles of significance in the creation/evolution controversy are the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. What are these laws that, not only are vital to the work of an engineer, but central to this debate?

The First Law

The First Law of Thermodynamics was formulated originally by Robert Mayer (1814-1878). He stated: “I therefore hope that I may reckon on the reader’s assent when I lay down as an axiomatic truth that, just as in the case of matter, so also in the case of force [the term used at that time for energy—JM], only a transformation but never a creation takes place” (as quoted in King, 1962, p. 5). That is, given a certain amount of energy in a closed system, that energy will remain constant, though it will change form (see Figure 1). As evolutionist Willard Young says in defining the First Law, “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another” (1985, p. 8).

Figure 1

This principle, also known as the “conservation of energy principle” (Cengel and Boles, p. 2), can be demonstrated by the burning of a piece of wood. When the wood is burned, it is transformed into a different state. The original amount of energy present before the burning is still present. However, much of that energy was transformed into a different state, namely, heat. No energy disappeared from the Universe, and no energy was brought into the Universe through burning the wood. Concerning the First Law, Young further explains that

the principle of the conservation of energy is considered to be the single most important and fundamental ‘law of nature’ presently known to science, and is one of the most firmly established. Endless studies and experiments have confirmed its validity over and over again under a multitude of different conditions (p. 165, emp. added).

This principle is known to be a fact about nature—without exception. One thermodynamics textbook, Fundamentals of Thermodynamics, says:

The basis of every law of nature is experimental evidence, and this is true also of the first law of thermodynamics. Many different experiments have been conducted on the first law, and every one thus far has verified it either directly or indirectly. The first law has never been disproved (Borgnakke and Sonntag, 2009, p. 116, emp. added).

That is why the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms defines a scientific law as “a regularity which applies to all members of a broad class of phenomena” (2003, p. 1182, emp. added). Famous atheist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, concurred:

But what’s really important is that these physical laws, as well as being unchangeable, are universal. They apply not just to the flight of the ball, but to the motion of a planet and everything else in the Universe. Unlike laws made by humans, the laws of nature cannot ever be broken. That’s why they are so powerful…. [T]he laws of nature are fixed (“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” 2011, emp. added).

The Second Law

In the nineteenth century, Lord Kelvin and Rudolph Clausius (1822-1888) separately made findings that became known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics (Suplee, 2000, p. 156). The Second Law builds on the First, stating that though there is a constant amount of energy in a given system that is merely transforming into different states, that energy is becoming less usable. Extending our wood burning illustration above, after the wood is burned, the total amount of energy is still the same, but transformed into other energy states. Those energy states (e.g., ash and dissipated heat to the environment) are less retrievable and less accessible (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Well-known atheist, physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, Paul Davies, explained it this way:

[T]he celebrated second law of thermodynamics…says, roughly speaking, that in any change the Universe becomes a slightly more disorderly place; the entropy goes up, the information content goes down. This natural tendency towards disintegration and chaos is evident all around us (1978, 80[1129]:506).

This process is irreversible. Lord Kelvin stated that energy is “irrecoverably lost to man and therefore ‘wasted,’ although not annihilated” (Thomson, 1882, p. 189, ital. in orig.). This principle is known as entropy. Simply put, entropy states that nature is tending towards disorder and chaos. Will the paint job on your house maintain its fresh appearance over time? Will your son’s room actually become cleaner on its own, or will it tend toward disorder? Even without your son’s assistance, dust and decay take their toll. Although work can slow the entropy, it cannot stop it. Renowned evolutionary science writer Isaac Asimov explained:

Another way of stating the Second Law then is “The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!” Viewed that way we can see the Second Law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself—and that is what the Second Law is all about (1970, p. 6).

Entropy is simply a fact of nature. Entropy can be minimized in this Universe, but it cannot be eradicated. That is where engineers come in. Engineers work to discover ways of minimizing energy loss and maximizing useful energy before it is forever lost. Thousands of engineering jobs are dedicated to addressing this fundamental fact of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Your energy bill is affected directly by it. If the Second Law was not fixed—unchanging—engineers could not develop the technology necessary to maximize usable energy, thereby lowering your energy costs.

Some engineers devote their entire careers to minimizing entropy in the generation of power from energy. All this effort is based on the principles established by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. These principles are established as fact in the scientific community. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines “law” as “a statement describing a relationship observed to be invariable between or among phenomena for all cases in which the specified conditions are met” (2000, p. 993, emp. added). Since laws are invariable, i.e., unchanging and constant, they have no exceptions. Otherwise, they would not be classified as laws. Tracy Walters, a mechanical engineer working in thermal engineering, observed:

It has been my experience that many people do not appreciate how uncompromising the Laws of Thermodynamics actually are. It is felt, perhaps, that the Laws are merely general tendencies or possibly only theoretical considerations. In reality, though, the Laws of Thermodynamics are hard as nails, and…the more one works with these Laws, the deeper respect one gains for them (1986, 9[2]:8, emp. added).

Evolutionist Jeremy Rifkin stated that “the Entropy Law will preside as the ruling paradigm over the next period of history. Albert Einstein said that it is the premier law of all science; Sir Arthur Eddington referred to it as the ‘supreme metaphysical law of the entire universe’” (1980, p. 6). Borgnakke and Sonntag, in Fundamentals of Thermodynamics, explain:

[W]e can say that the second law of thermodynamics (like every other law of nature) rests on experimental evidence. Every relevant experiment that has been conducted, either directly or indirectly, verifies the second law, and no experiment has ever been conducted that contradicts the second law. The basis of the second law is therefore experimental evidence (2009, p. 220, emp. added, parenthetical item in orig.).

Another thermal science textbook says, concerning the Second Law of Thermodynamics, “To date, no experiment has been conducted that contradicts the second law, and this should be taken as sufficient proof of its validity” (Cengel, Turner, and Cimbala, 2008, p. 266, emp. added).

IMPLICATIONS OF THE LAWS

When understood properly, the Laws of Thermodynamics apply directly to the creation/evolution controversy in precisely the same way they apply in the engineering world today (cf. Miller, 2007). In fact, these foundational truths, utilized daily by the engineering world, have eternally significant, spiritual implications in that they prove that God exists. How so?

If there is no God, the existence of the Universe must be explained without Him. The Big Bang theory claims that all matter in the Universe initially was condensed in a sphere smaller than the size of a period at the end of this sentence. That sphere exploded and helps to explain why the Universe, according to many cosmologists, appears to be expanding or inflating (see Thompson, et al., 2003, 23[5]:32-34,36-47). Even if the Big Bang were true (and it is not, cf. Thompson, et al.), this theory offers no explanation for the origin of that sphere. Evolutionist Alan Guth, a cosmologist and physics professor at M.I.T., admitted that “[i]nflation itself takes a very small universe and produces from it a very big universe. But inflation by itself does not explain where that very small universe came from” (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 148). He further stated, “[A] proposal that the universe was created from empty space is no more fundamental than a proposal that the universe was spawned by a piece of rubber. It might be true, but one would still want to ask where the piece of rubber came from” (Guth, 1997, p. 273). So where could the “rubber” have come from?

The only logical possibilities for the origin of the matter and energy comprising the Universe are that they are responsible for their own existence (i.e., they popped into existence out of nothing—spontaneous generation or they always existed—eternality) or Someone is responsible for their existence (i.e., they were placed here by something outside of the Universe—Creation) (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

As the well-known philosopher and evolutionist from the 19th century, Herbert Spencer said, “Respecting the origin of the Universe three verbally intelligible suppositions may be made. We may assert that it is self-existent [i.e., eternal—JM]; or that it is self-created [i.e., spontaneously generated—JM]; or that it is created by an external agency” (1882, p. 30).

Possibility 1: Spontaneous Generation of the Universe

Consider the entire physical Universe as a system consisting of all mass, matter, and energy that exists in the Universe. If one believes in the Big Bang model, the system’s boundary would be outside of the blast radius of the Big Bang, or outside of the original cosmic dot that exploded. Without God (i.e., something outside of the bounds of the Universe—something supernatural), this Universe would have to be a closed system. Since our system encompasses the entire Universe, there is no more mass that can cross into our system from the outside, which necessitates our system being closed. If mass, matter, and energy could enter and/or exit the system, the system would be an open system[NOTE: The creationist contends that the Universe is an open system, since there is Someone outside of the natural Universe Who can cross the boundary and put matter and energy into the system. However, without God, the entire physical Universe as a system logically would have to be a closed system. Atheists must so believe in order to explain the Universe without God.].

Evolutionary physicist Victor Stenger, in his book, God: The Failed Hypothesis, said:

Conservation of energy [i.e., the First Law—JM] and other basic laws hold true in the most distant observed galaxy and in the cosmic microwave background, implying that these laws have been valid for over thirteen billion years. Surely any observation of their violation during the puny human life span would be reasonably termed a miracle…. In principle, the creation hypothesis could be confirmed by the direct observation or theoretical requirement that conservation of energy was violated 13.7 billion years ago at the start of the big bang (2007, pp. 115-116, emp. added).

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that in a closed system, the amount of energy present in that system is constant, though it transforms into other forms of energy. So, if the Universe as a whole initially contained no mass, matter, or energy, and then all of the mass, matter, and energy in the Universe spontaneously generated, the First Law would be violated. Without intervention from an outside force, the amount of mass, matter, and energy in the Universe would have remained constant (unchanged) at nothing. According to the scientific evidence, matter/energy could not have originally spontaneously generated. Thus, according to Stenger, the creation hypothesis is confirmed based on the scientific evidence. The initial creation of energy from nothing amounted to a miracle.

As was mentioned earlier, there are no exceptions to laws, or else they would not be laws. The First Law of Thermodynamics has no known exceptions. The Law is accepted as fact by all scientists in general and utilized by engineers in particular. Therefore, the Universe, composed of all mass, matter, and energy, could not have spontaneously generated (popped into existence on its own) without violating the exceptionless and highly respected First Law of Thermodynamics. The energy level of the Universe would not have been constant. Spontaneous generation would amount to the creation of energy from nothing (see Figure 4). The Universe could not have come into existence without the presence and intervention of a Force outside of the closed system of the entire physical Universe. The Universe therefore must be an open system that was created by a non-physical Force (i.e., a Force not composed of mass, matter, and energy) outside of the physical boundary of this Universe (above nature, or supernatural) with the capability of bringing it into existence out of nothing. That Force can be none other than a supernatural God. To develop a theory that requires the violation of that principle would be against the scientific evidence. It would be unscientific. The evidence from science indicates that matter could not and cannot spontaneously generate.

Figure 4

Unfortunately, though this truth is so glaringly obvious to many, there has been a recent surge of sentiment in the impossible notion that this Universe could have created itself—that something could come from nothing. British evolutionist Anthony Kenny (1980), physics professor from City University in New York, Edward Tryon (1984), and physicists Alan Guth from M.I.T. and Paul Steinhardt of Princeton (1984) are just a few who are open proponents of this notion. Stephen Hawking said, “Bodies such as stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole universe can…. Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing” (2010, p. 180). However, the truth still stands. Until the First Law of Thermodynamics ceases to be a fundamental law explaining this Universe, the spontaneous generation of this Universe from nothing is impossible.

No wonder Victor Stenger, a proponent of the idea of spontaneous generation, said, “I must admit that there are yet no empirical or observational tests that can be used to test the idea of an accidental origin” (1987, 7[3]:30). According to Stenger, the idea is “speculative” (p. 30). No solid evidence. Just speculation. Famous evolutionary astronomer, Robert Jastrow, the founder and former director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, said:

But the creation of matter out of nothing would violate a cherished concept in science—the principle of the conservation of matter and energy—which states that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter can be converted into energy, and vice versa, but the total amount of all matter and energy in the Universe must remain unchanged forever. It is difficult to accept a theory that violates such a firmly established scientific fact (1977, p. 32).

Science studies what occurs in nature, not super-nature. In nature, matter and energy can be neither created or destroyed, but “must remain unchanged forever.” This is a “firmly established fact.” Nothing comes from nothing. If a molecule will not pop into existence from nothing, a sphere containing all of the matter and energy of the entire Universe will certainly not pop into existence.

Possibility 2: Eternal Existence of the Universe

Again, considering the entire Universe as a system necessitates that it be a closed system. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that though energy in a closed system is constant (First Law of Thermodynamics), that energy is transforming into less usable forms of energy (i.e., the Universe is “running down”). This process is irreversible. There is a finite amount of usable energy in the Universe (which explains the widespread interest in conserving energy). In the Big Bang model, that energy was originally in the cosmic egg that exploded, and now would be found within the blast radius of the original explosion. That usable energy is depleting according to the Second Law. Engineers strive to slow this inevitable depletion of energy, but it cannot be stopped.

If the Universe has always existed (i.e., it is eternal), but there is a finite amount of usable energy, then all usable energy already should be expended (see Figure 5). Yet, usable energy still exists. So, the Universe cannot have existed forever. It had to have a beginning. The eternality of matter would be the equivalent of a system with an energy input and 100% usable energy output (see Figure 6). It would be the equivalent of describing the Universe as a perpetual motion machine—a design that attempts to violate either the First or Second Law of Thermodynamics by, for instance, running forever without an energy input. No such machine has ever been designed, since such a machine would violate the laws of thermodynamics. Philip Yam, writing in Scientific American said, “Claims for perpetual-motion machines and other free-energy devices still persist, of course, even though they inevitably turn out to violate at least one law of thermodynamics” (1997, 277[6]:82).

Figure 5
Figure 6

No wonder evolutionists, themselves, have long conceded this truth. In his book, Until the Sun Dies, renowned evolutionary astronomer Robert Jastrow stated:

The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence of the Universe, either in the past or in the future (1977, p. 30, emp. added).

In his book, God and the Astronomers, Jastrow reiterated this truth:

And concurrently there was a great deal of discussion about the fact that the second law of thermodynamics, applied to the Cosmos, indicates the Universe is running down like a clock. If it is running down, there must have been a time when it was fully wound up…. Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion; all indicated that the Universe had a beginning (1978, pp. 48-49, 111).

Evolutionist Kitty Ferguson, award-winning science writer, agreed. She said, “It’s also common knowledge that the universe isn’t eternal but had a beginning” (1994, p. 89). Any person who develops a theory that claims that the Universe could be a perpetual motion machine, is guilty of contradicting the solid evidence from science. They are being unscientific, and their unscientific mindset has resulted in an unscientific theory.

Possibility 3: The Inevitable Implication

What does the scientific evidence actually say about the matter of origins? Forget speculation, conjecture, hypothesis, and theory—wishful, hopeful thinking that there might be some way to avoid a supernatural explanation and the restrictions that Being might have on our desires. What does the evidence say?

To repeat, logically, there are only three possible explanations for the existence of matter in the Universe. Either it spontaneously generated, it is eternal, or it was created by a non-physical Being outside of the boundaries of the Universe. Atheists use the theory of evolution in an attempt to explain the existence and state of the Universe today. In order for the theory of evolution to be true, thereby accounting for the existence of mankind, either all of the mass, matter, and energy of the Universe spontaneously generated (i.e., it popped into existence out of nothing), or it has always existed (i.e., it is eternal.). Without an outside force (a transcendent, omnipotent, eternal, superior Being), no other options for the existence of the Universe are available. However, as the Laws of Thermodynamics prove, the spontaneous generation and the eternality of matter are logically and scientifically impossible. One and only one possible option remains: the Universe was created by the Creator. The scientific evidence points to the existence of God. Bottom line: God designed the laws of thermodynamics. Creationists believe them. Engineers use them. Atheists cannot harmonize them with their beloved theory.

CONCLUSION

Evolutionists claim that science and the idea of God are irreconcilable. “Only one of them can be true,” they say, “and you cannot prove there is a God.” Not all theistic models for the origin of the Universe are in keeping with science. For instance, according to Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation account, the polytheistic Babylonians believed that matter is eternal (Pfeiffer, 1972, p. 226). This has been shown to be false. However, although not all Creation models are in harmony with the scientific evidence, one would expect the true Creation model to be in keeping with the evidence. The Laws of Thermodynamics, which science itself recognizes in its explanations of the phenomena in the Universe, were written by the Chief Engineer (cf. Miller, 2012). As expected, they prove to be in complete harmony with His existence, contrary to the claims of evolutionists. God, Himself, articulated these laws centuries ago in the Bible.

At the very beginning of the Bible, the First Law of Thermodynamics was expressed when Moses penned, “Thus the heavens and the Earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:1-2, emp. added). In Exodus 20:11, Moses wrote, “For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested (i.e., ceased) the seventh day.” Everything in the Universe was made in six days, and then the Lord stopped creating. Nothing else is coming into existence naturally. After the six days of Creation, the mass, matter, and energy creation process was terminated. As evolutionist Willard Young said regarding the First Law: “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another.” The thrust of the First Law of Thermodynamics was expressed in the Bible thousands of years ago, although it was not discovered and formally articulated by scientists until the 19th century.

Through the hand of the psalmist, God also stated centuries ago what scientists call the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “Of old You laid the foundation of the Earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end” (102:25-27, emp. added). The Universe is wearing out—decaying, like an old shirt: the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Once again, the Creation model is in perfect harmony with science. The evolutionary model fails its thermodynamics test.

The inspired writer wrote in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Paul declared in Acts 14:17, “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” The psalmist affirmed, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). Paul assured the Romans, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (1:20, emp. added). The scientific evidence points to God. There will be no excuse in the end for those who deny it.

In closing, we return to Lord Kelvin, the Father of Thermodynamics, for fitting final thoughts. In a short public speech in 1903, reported by The Times and followed up by an amending letter to the paper by Kelvin, Kelvin said:

I do not say that, with regard to the origin of life, science neither affirms nor denies Creative Power. Science positively affirms Creative Power…. It is not in dead matter that we live and move and have our being [Acts 17:28—JM], but in the creating and directive Power which science compels us to accept as an article of belief…. There is nothing between absolute scientific belief in a Creative Power, and the acceptance of the theory of a fortuitous concourse of atoms…. Forty years ago I asked Liebig, walking somewhere in the country if he believed that the grass and flowers that we saw around us grew by mere chemical forces. He answered, “No, no more than I could believe that a book of botany describing them grew by mere chemical forces”…. Do not be afraid of being free thinkers! If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all Religion. You will find science not antagonistic but helpful to Religion (as quoted in Thompson, 1910, pp. 1097-1100, emp. added).

According to the Father of Thermodynamics, evolutionists are failing to “think strongly enough.” No wonder the psalmist asserted: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (14:1).

REFERENCES

American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.

Asimov, Isaac (1970), “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even,” Smithsonian Institute Journal, pp. 4-10, June.

Borgnakke, Claus and Richard E. Sonntag (2009), Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (Asia: John Wiley and Sons), seventh edition.

Cengel, Yunus A. and Michael A. Boles (2002), Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill), fourth edition.

Cengel, Yunus A., Robert H. Turner, and John M. Cimbala (2008), Thermal-Fluid Sciences (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill).

“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.

Davies, Paul (1978), “Chance or Choice: Is the Universe an Accident?” New Scientist, 80[1129]:506-508, November.

Ferguson, Kitty (1994), The Fire in the Equations: Science, Religion, and the Search for God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Guth, Alan (1997), The Inflationary Universe (New York: Perseus Books).

Guth, Alan and Paul Steinhardt (1984), “The Inflationary Universe,” Scientific American, 250:116-128, May.

Hawking, Stephen (2010), The Grand Design (New York, NY: Bantam Books).

Heeren, Fred (1995), Show Me God (Wheeling, IL: Searchlight Publications).

Jastrow, Robert (1977), Until the Sun Dies (New York: W.W. Norton).

Jastrow, Robert (1978), God and the Astro­nomers (New York: W.W. Norton).

Kenny, Anthony (1980), The Five Ways: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Proofs of God’s Existence (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press).

King, A.L. (1962), Thermophysics (San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman).

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms (2003), pub. M.D. Licker (New York: McGraw-Hill), sixth edition.

Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, https://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.

Miller, Jeff (2012), “‘The Laws of Science’-by God,” Reason & Revelation, 32[12]:137-140, December, https://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1103&article=2072.

Moran, Michael J. and Howard N. Shapiro (2000), Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics (New York: John Wiley & Sons), fourth edition.

Pfeiffer, Charles F. (1972), The Biblical World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House).

Rifkin, Jeremy (1980), Entropy: A New World View (New York: Viking).

Spencer, Herbert (1882), First Principles: A System of Synthetic Philosophy (New York: D. Appleton and Company), fourth edition.

Stenger, Victor J. (1987), “Was the Universe Created?,” Free Inquiry, 7[3]:26-30, Summer.

Stenger, Victor J. (2007), God: The Failed Hypothesis (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books).

Suplee, Curt (2000), Milestones of Science (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society).

Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 23[5]:32-34,36-47.

Thompson, Silvanus P. (1910), The Life of William Thomson Baron Kelvin of Largs, Vol. 2, (London: MacMillan and Co.).

Thomson, William (1882), Mathematical and Physical Papers (Cambridge University Press).

Tryon, Edward P. (1984), “What Made the World?,” New Scientist, 101:14-16, March 8.

Walters, Tracy (1986), “A Reply to John Patterson’s Arguments,” Origins Research, 9[2]:8-9, Fall/Winter.

Yam, Philip (1997), “Exploiting Zero-Point Energy,” Scientific American, 277[6]82-85.

Young, Willard (1985), Fallacies of Creationism (Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Detselig Enterprises).

(original link)

The Qur’an From a Christian Perspective

Steve Cable

The Qur'an from a Christian Perspective
Steve Cable provides a biblical understanding of Islam’s holy book, drawing on James White’s book What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an {1}. Christians interacting with Muslims will benefit from a basic understanding of the development and the teaching of the Qur’an.

Introduction and Background

Beginning with the basics, we need to understand how the Qur’an came into our possession and how it is viewed by most Muslims. The founder of Islam, Muhammad, was born in Mecca around AD 570 and began to receive instruction leading to the religion of Islam at the age of 40 in AD 610. “The classical belief is that while [the Qur’an’s] entirety was “sent down” in one night, the Night of Power, but Muhammad himself received it piecemeal over twenty-two years.”{2} Muhammad did not receive a written version as Joseph Smith claimed to have received for the Book of Mormon. Rather he memorized what was told him by the Angel Gabriel and passed it on to certain followers.

The popular Muslim belief is summarized in a recent guide to Islam as follows: “The Qur’an is the literal word of God, which He revealed to His Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. It was memorized by Muhammad, who then dictated it to his Companions. They, in turn, memorized it, wrote it down, and reviewed it with the Prophet Muhammad. . . . Not one letter of the Qur’an has been changed over the centuries.”{3}

“From the position of Sunni Islamic orthodoxy, the Qur’an is as eternal as Allah himself. It is the very Word of God, without even the slightest imperfection. The finger of man has no place in it, as the book held reverently in the hand today is an exact copy of a tablet in heaven upon which the Qur’an has been written from eternity past.”{4}

How this view holds up to a critical review of the history of Muhammad and the early days of Islam following his death will be addressed later in this document. For now it is important to understand that to a devout Muslim, the Qur’an in its original Arabic is above analysis and above question, for it is a matter of faith that it has been perfectly transmitted and maintained. Note the Qur’an exists only in Arabic. Even though most Muslims depend upon a translation for their access to the teachings of the Qur’an, Muslims still would say the Qur’an itself is not translatable and the public prayers must also be done in Arabic.

It is interesting to realize that the Qur’an in multiple places states that Allah “sent down the Torah and the Gospel” as works that serve as guidance to mankind. One cannot help but wonder, why God would send down the Torah and the Gospels when the Qur’an existed from eternity past and according to Muslim thought supersedes and corrects misconceptions men developed from reading these earlier texts. Why didn’t God protect the Gospels in the same way as the Qur’an?

In what follows, we will look at where teachings of the Qur’an are counter to the truth of the Bible and to the historical facts. We will also consider how the current Qur’an came into existence, asking why the creator of the world would pass down his truth in such an uncontrolled fashion.

The Qur’an and Biblical Beliefs

Most Muslims, if they know anything about Christianity, will point to three primary problems with our faith:

1. the Trinity,
2. the resurrection of Jesus, and
3. the corruption of the Scriptures.

Is there anything taught in the Qur’an that causes them to reject the Christian concept of trinity?

In his book, James White describes the key Islamic belief in this way, “Ask any sincere follower what defines Islam, and they will answer quickly tawhid, the oneness of Allah, as expressed in Islam’s great confession, “I profess that there is only one God worthy of worship and Muhammad is His messenger.”  . . . Without tawhid, you have no Islam.”{5}

Interestingly, the word tawhid in that form does not appear in the Qur’an just as the word trinity does not appear in the Bible. They are words to describe a concept clearly taught in those two books. The difference between these two words is a major difference between these religions. The Islamic concept of tawhid is that Allah has only and can only exist in one form, the creator of the universe. The Christian understanding is that the one God is expressed in three ways or persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All the persons of God were involved in the creation of this universe and reflect the full nature of God. The Bible is very clear that the Trinity is one God as shown for example in 1 Corinthians 8:4, 6:

“There is no God but one . . . for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”

In Islam, the most feared of all sins is called shirk, associating anyone, or anything with Allah. A person who dies in this state of idolatry cannot be forgiven. In Islamic thought, Allah is free to forgive any other sin if he so desires, but he will not forgive anyone who dies in idolatry.

This teaching causes the Trinity to become an unforgivable sin for Christians. “Many Muslims believe that the doctrine of the Trinity and, in particular, the worship of Jesus is an (unforgivable) act of shirk. This has led many of them to conclude that Christians, as a group, are bound for hell.”{6}

The Qur’an attempts to address the Trinity but does it show knowledge of the concept so that the criticisms offered are accurate and meaningful? “The reason for the question is self-evident: If the Qur’an is the very words of Allah without admixture of man’s insights or thoughts, then it would follow inevitably that its representations will be perfectly accurate and its arguments compelling.”{7}

What does the Qur’an say about the Trinity? First, it holds up monotheism as the correction for the false Christian claim of the “three.” By holding to this concept of the “three,” Christians are actually polytheists, denying that God is one. The author of the Qur’an does not understand that Christians are saying there is one God who manifests in three distinct forms or persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But the misunderstanding goes much further than this. The Qur’an is very clear that the “three” are the Father, the Son, and Mary. As stated in Surah 5:116,

And when Allah said: “O Jesus son of Mary! Did you say to mankind: ‘Take me and my mother for two gods other than Allah?’” He said: “Transcendent are you! It was not mine to say that of which I had no right. . .”

And this view is reiterated in the Islamic commentaries, the hadith. “Nothing in the Qur’anic text actually addresses the essence of Christian faith, even though it is painfully clear the author thought he was doing so.”{8}

White believes this distinction helps us respond to the oft-asked question, “Is Allah the same god as Yahweh?” Although Muslims make reference to the one God of Abraham, they deny the witness of the incarnation and the resurrection. Thus denying the entirety of the Christian faith. “If worship is an act of truth, then Muslims and Christians are not worshiping the same object. We do not worship the same God.”{9}

So, we see the Qur’an misrepresents the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and relegates Allah to a lower status than omnipotent God by declaring that Allah is not capable of appearing in multiple forms.

The Qur’an, Jesus and Salvation

As we consider what Muslims are taught in the Qur’an, we next look at the second stumbling block in their view of Christianity: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

The Qur’an has quite a bit to say about Jesus as a prophet of God, specifically stating He was not God and was not crucified. The name of Jesus appears 25 times in the Qur’an, almost always as Isa ibn Mariam, i.e. Jesus the son of Mary. Jesus is presented as the result of a miraculous virgin birth. In the Qur’an, Surah 3:47, it is written, “She said, My Lord! How can I have a child, when no man has touched me? He replied, “such is the will of Allah. He creates what He will. When He decrees a thing He only says: ‘Be!’ and it is.”{10}

The question of how Jesus came to be is an important topic for comparison. First, we see the Qur’an says that Allah created Jesus by declaring His existence and having Him born of a virgin. Second, we understand that the author of the Qur’an believed Christians teach that Jesus came into being as the child of a physical, sexual union between God and Mary. Third, Christianity actually teaches that Jesus was the preexistent creator of the universe (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:16-17), always and fully God, who became fully man being born of a virgin. Note that the primary difference between the Qur’an’s view of Jesus’ birth and a biblical view of Jesus’ birth is not the role of Mary, but rather the Qur’an says that Jesus was created at His human conception and the Bible clearly states that Jesus is eternal and was not created but rather took on a new form at his birth:

Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)

The words attributed to Jesus in the Qur’an, beginning with words spoken from the crib, are not found in any source from the 1st through 5th centuries. “But the Muslim understanding is that no such historical foundation is needed for lengthy portions of narrative for its words to be true. This is the Qur’an. It has been preserved. For the large majority, that ends the discussion, even when the same believers will then embrace historical criticism to question the value of His words in the Gospels.”{11}

When it comes to the cross, the Qur’an stands firmly and inalterably against the mass of historical evidence and the almost universal view of the populace of itsday. This Qur’anic view is not sprinkled throughout the teaching, but rather appears in only one verse, namely Surah 4:157—

“They slew him not, nor crucified him, but it appeared so to them; and those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge of it except the pursuit of a conjecture; [but] certainly they slew him not. But Allah raised him up to Himself.”

This verse stands alone in the Qur’an and surprisingly without commentary in the hadith literature as well. This verse, written six hundred years after the events, in a place far removed from Jerusalem, takes a position counter to the gospel texts from the first century and counter to six centuries of Christian teaching. In more recent times, various Muslim apologists have surmised various tales to build upon this one verse. For example, some Muslims believe that someone else died on the cross and Jesus fled to India to continue his ministry there.{12} Regardless of what unsubstantiated fairy tales one conjures up to support its claim, this verse is based on no historical knowledge of the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus.

“This suggests the author did not have even the slightest knowledge of the centrality of God’s redeeming act in Christ on the cross. . .  The Qur’an places itself, and all who would believe in it, in direct opposition not only to the Gospels but also everything history itself says on the subject. The question must be asked: Who, truly, is following mere conjecture here? Those who were eyewitnesses on the Hill of the Skull outside Jerusalem? Or the author of the Qur’an, more than half a millennium later?”{13}

Without the cross, salvation in the Qur’an comes through an unknowable mixture of predestination, good works, and the capricious will of Allah. “In Islam, forgiveness is an impersonal act of arbitrary divine power. In Christianity, forgiveness is a personal act of purposeful and powerful yet completely just divine grace.”{14}

One cannot attribute these differences between the Qur’an and the New Testament to a minor corruption of the biblical text as they reflect the core themes of these books.

Corrupting the Gospels

As discussed above, most Muslims have been taught there are three primary problems with our faith: the Trinity, the resurrection of Jesus, and the corruption of the scripture. We have dealt with the Trinity and the resurrection of Jesus. Now let us turn to the corruption of scripture.

Most Muslims will affirm to you that the Christian scriptures cannot be relied upon because they have been changed and corrupted over the years and do not reflect the true message of Jesus. But is this affirmation what is taught by the Qur’an, and does it have any basis other than hearsay?

The Qur’an is very clear that the messages sent to the prophets of the Bible are to be believed. For example, Surah 3:84 says, “We believe in Allah . . . and that which was sent down to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes; and that which was given to Moses and Jesus and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have surrendered.” Or as stated in a hadith, “Therefore, faithful Muslims believe in every Prophet whom Allah has sent and in every Book He revealed, and never disbelieve in any of them.”{15}

Very clearly, the Qur’an states that what was given to the Old Testament prophets and to Jesus was the truth of God. It is not just the prophets themselves who were from the Lord, for the Qur’an states that Allah “sent down the Torah and the Gospel” as works that serve as “guidance to mankind.” If this is the case, why do Muslims not interpret the Qur’an in light of the truth from the Gospels, assuming that Allah’s truth never changes?

In contrast, it is a virtual pillar of Islamic orthodoxy to hold that the Bible has undergone significant revisions so much as to make them totally unreliable and thus, useless to a modern day Muslim. As James White puts it, “Muslims around the world are taught that the Jews and the Christians altered their Scriptures, though there is no agreement as to when this took place. If anything unites Islamic apologists, it is the persistent assertion of Qur’anic perfection in contrast to the corrupted nature of the Bible, particularly the New Testament.”{16}

This position certainly makes sense from a human perspective. For if one takes the position presented by the Qur’an that we are to believe every word of the Bible, then the huge differences between the theology of the New Testament and the theology of the Qur’an leave one little choice: either reject the Qur’an as not from God, or assume that all of the differences are the result of some massive corruption of the message of the Bible. The normal assumption taught to Muslims today is this corruption happened early on, perhaps even with the apostle Paul.

However, the preponderance of verses in the Qur’an which address this issue point to the corruption as being a distortion of the meaning (not the words) of the text. One example is found in Surah 3:78, “And there is a party of them who distort the Book with their tongues, that you may think that what they say is from the Book, when it is not from the Book.” As White observes, “We must conclude that the now predominant claim of the biblical texts themselves, having undergone major alteration and corruption, is a later polemical and theological perspective not required by the Qur’anic text itself. It comes not from the positive teachings of Muhammad but through the unalterable fact of the Qur’anic author’s unfamiliarity with the actual biblical text.”{17}

As noted by a Christian, Al-Kindi, writing to a Muslim around AD 820, “The situation is plain enough; you witness to the truth of our text—then again you contradict the witness you bear and allege that we have corrupted it; this is the height of folly.”{18}

In Surah 5:47, we are urged as Christians to judge by what Allah has revealed in the Gospels. If this admonition has any meaning at all, it must assume that Christians had access to a valid gospel in the 7th century during the life of Muhammad. What Christians had as the Gospels in the 7th century is what we have as the Gospels today. In fact, “each canonical gospel we read today we can document to have existed in that very form three centuries before Muhammad’s ministry. A Christian judging Muhammad’s claims by the New Testament and finding that he was ignorant of the teachings of the apostles, ignorant of the cross, the resurrection . . . and meaning of the gospel itself, is simply doing what the Qur’an commands us to do in this text.”{19}

Thus, while modern Muslims claim the Bible is corrupt and unreliable, the Qur’an appears to teach that the scriptures available to Jews and Christians during Muhammad’s day were correct and should be followed; as long as one did not reinterpret the meaning into something that was not really said. However, doing so would lead one to the conclusion that the Qur’an was written by someone who was not knowledgeable concerning Jewish and Christian scripture.

The Perfection of the Qur’an

As noted earlier, one of the primary objections Muslims voice toward Christianity is their belief that our Scriptures have been changed and corrupted while the Qur’an in Arabic is exactly the words given to Muhammad fourteen hundred years ago. Does this belief stand up to impartial scrutiny?

The modern Muslim view of the Qur’an does not allow for the critical examination of sources and variations as has been done for the New Testament. Many bible scholars such as Dallas Theological Seminary professor, Daniel Wallace{20}, point out that the large number of ancient manuscripts from different locations and times give us a richness of sources allowing us to identify the original text of the Christian New Testament with a high degree of confidence. Muslims on the other hand are relying on a specific follower, Uthman the third Caliph, who was purported to have assimilated the correct version and to have ordered the destruction of all other versions.

If the Qur’an is a perfect representation of the message from Allah, what accounts for the differences in multiple accounts of the same story recorded in the Qur’an? For example, four different Surahs contain the story of Lot in Sodom. Each recounting of the story is different from the others even when quoting what Lot said to the Sodomites. Thus we have Muslims pointing to differences in accounts among the Gospels but ignoring accounts of the same events throughout the Qur’an which differ in detail, order, and content.

When we find this type of variation in the Gospels, we recognize that each gospel was written by a different author with a different perspective inspired by the Holy Spirit. But if the Qur’an was preexistent in heaven and given to one man by one angel, one would not expect these types of variants. But as James White notes, “We could provide numerous examples of parallel passages all illustrating with clarity that the serious Muslim exegete must face the reality that the Qur’anic text requires exegesis and harmonization.”{21}

In addition to these troubling passages recounting different versions of the same events, we also find legendary stories about the life of Jesus which do not appear in any of the known accounts from the first century. White points out, “The Qur’an fails to make any differentiation between what is clearly legendary in character and what is based on the Hebrew or the Christian Scriptures. Stories that developed centuries after the events they pretend to describe are coupled directly with historically based accounts that carry serious weight and truth content. . . . This kind of fantastic legendary material is hardly the kind of source that can be trusted, and yet the Qur’an’s author shows not the slightest understanding of its nature and combines them with historical materials.”{22}

In addition to the inconsistencies in retelling stories and the incorporation of legends generated centuries after the actual events, we also should consider whether the current Qur’an is the perfectly accurate version of the earliest version supposedly shared verbally by Muhammad with certain followers. The common Islamic claims are strong and clear:

“The Qur’an is the literal word of God, which He revealed to His Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. It was memorized by Muhammad, who then dictated it to his Companions. They, in turn memorized it, wrote it down, and reviewed it with the Prophet Muhammad  . . . Not one letter of the Qur’an has been changed over the centuries.”{23}

“It is a miracle of the Qur’an that no change has occurred in a single word, a single [letter of the] alphabet, a single punctuation mark, or a single diacritical mark in the text of the Qur’an during the last fourteen centuries.”{24}

Interestingly, the hadiths give us early insight into one view of how the written Qur’an was collected and who was involved. At the time Muhammad died, there was no written version of the Qur’an. It was carried about in the minds of a set of men called the Qurra, each of whom had memorized at least a portion of the Qur’an. However, a number of these Qurra were being killed in battles, raising the prospect that a significant portion of the Qur’an might be lost. According to one hadith, Zaid bin Thabit undertook the task of collecting a written version.

“To many outside the Muslim faith, the Qur’an’s organization looks tremendously haphazard and even Islamic literature notes how one surah can contain materials Muhammad gave at very different times in his life. Many Muslims assume Muhammad was behind this organization, but there is little reason to believe it. Zaid and his committee are far more likely to have been responsible.”{25}

Eighteen years later the third Caliph, Uthman, charged Zaid and others with rewriting the manuscripts in perfect copies. In the process of doing this, Zaid reportedly found at least two more passages that he had missed in his earlier compilation. Once this was accomplished, “Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt.”{26}

Not every scholar agrees that this story from a hadith is accurate and many suggest a much later date after AD 705 for the compilation of the Qur’an we find today. Whether it was Uthman or some later compilation effort, since the eighth century, we have had a fairly stable text for the Qur’an with few variants. “Muslims see this as a great advantage, even an example of divine inspiration and preservation. In reality, just the opposite is the case. When a text has a major interruption in transmission, one’s certainty of being able to obtain the original text becomes limited to the materials that escape the revisionist pen. For the Muslim, Uthman had to get it right, because if he was wrong, there is little hope of ever undoing his work.”{27}

Al-Kindi, the Christian apologist writing around AD 820, had much to say on the formation of the Qur’an. He records that multiple versions were collated during the time of Uthman stating, “One man, then, read one version of the Qur’an, his neighbor another, and differed. One man said to his neighbor: “My text is better than yours,” while his neighbor defended his own. So additions and losses came about and falsification of the text.”{28} According to Al-Kindi, this situation caused Uthman to take his action while his rivals, such as Ali (Muhammad’s cousin and the 4th Caliph), created and kept their own manuscripts. Al-Kindi listed alterations and changes made to the earlier documents in creating Uthman’s version. One of the reasons Al-Kindi had access to this type of information was the open warfare between the Sunnis and the Shiites, led to charges and countercharges of corruption.

Al-Kindi concludes his discussion stating, “You know what happened between Ali, Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, how they hated each other and quarreled and corrupted the text; how each one tried to oppose his neighbor and to refute what he (had) said. Pray, how are we to know which is the true text, and how shall we distinguish it from the false?”{29}

As White states, “It is self-evident that no matter how stable or even primitive the Uhtmanic tradition is, it is not the only stream that can claim direct connection to Muhammad and the primitive period of Qur’anic compilation. The greatest concern for any follower of Muhammad should be what he said (or what he received from the Angel Gabriel), not what an uninspired Caliph later thought he should have said.”{30}

The study of manuscripts shows beyond all possible question that the Qur’an was neither written down in perfection in the days of Muhammad, nor was it never altered or changed in its transmission.

White concludes his study with this thought, “When we obey the command of Surah 5:4 and test Muhammad’s claims in the light of the gospel, of history, and of consistency and truthfulness, we find him, and the Qur’an to fail these tests. The Qur’an is not a further revelation of the God who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. The author of the Qur’an did not understand the gospel, did not understand the Christian faith, and as such cannot stand in the line of Moses to Jesus to Muhammad that he claimed.”{31}

Notes

1. James White, What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an, Bethany House Publishers, 2013.
2. Ibid, p. 24.
3. Ibrahim, I. A., A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, Houston: Darussalam, 1997, p. 5.
4. White, p. 19.
5. White, p. 59.
6. White, p. 68.
7. White, p. 75.
8. White, p. 98.
9. White, p. 72.
10. The Majestic Qur’an: An English Rendition of Its Meanings, 4th ed.
11. White, p. 113
12. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, www.alislam.org/library/books/jesus-in-india/ch2.html.
13. White, p. 142.
14. White, p. 158.
15. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Riyadh, Darussalam, 2003, 2:204.
16. White, p. 171.
17. White, p. 180.
18. Newman N. A., The Early Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Hatfield PA, Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 1993, 498-99.
19. White, p. 186.
20. Dr. Daniel Wallace, Executive Director of CSNTM & Senior Professor of NT Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, speaking at Prairie Creek Baptist Church on August 30, 2015.
21. White, p. 229.
22. White, p. 237-8.
23. Ibrahim, p. 5.
24. Kazi, Mazhar, 130 Evident Miracles in the Qur’an, Richmond Hill, ON, Canada, Cresecnt, 1997, p. 42-43.
25. White, p.258.
26. Sahih Al-Bukhari, 6:510.
27. White, p. 262.
28. This portion of Al-Kindi’s apology is found in Newman, The Early Christian-Muslim Dialogue: A collection of Documents from the First Three Islamic Centuries, 455-459.
29. Ibid.
30. White, p. 271.
31. White, p. 286.

© 2017 Probe Ministries

(original link)

7 Reasons to Believe in God

Mountains and a lake

Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Kyle Butt, M.Div. From Issue: Valor & Virtue – Issue 5, R&R – October 2014, Valor & Virtue – Issue 1

How can you know that God exists? You can’t see, hear, touch, smell, or taste Him. You can’t weigh Him like you can a five-pound bag of potatoes. You can’t put Him under an electron microscope to show your friends what He looks like on an atomic level. You can’t experiment on Him with probes and scalpels. You can’t take a picture of Him to show your neighbor that He’s not just an imaginary friend. You can’t magically make Him appear in the classroom of an atheistic professor who is challenging anyone to prove that God exists. So how can you know that God exists?

Although atheists contend that God does not exist and agnostics allege that there is a very high probability that He does not exist, theism is the rational belief that there is a God. A sincere pursuer of truth who follows the available evidence will come to the logical conclusion that God exists. Admittedly, this belief in the 21st century is not the result of seeing God’s Spirit or touching His actual essence (cf. John 4:24; Luke 24:39). What we have at our fingertips, however, is a mountain of irrefutable, indirect, credible evidence that testifies on God’s behalf. Consider seven lines of evidence that warrant the conclusion that an eternal, supernatural Creator (God) exists.

1. Matter Demands a Maker

No rational person denies the fact that matter exists. The Universe and every atom that makes it up is a reality. The logical question to ask is, “Where did it all come from?” From the Milky Way to the most-distant galaxy in the Universe—what was the cause? What made matter?

A study of the material Universe reveals that every physical effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause (an idea known as the Law of Cause and Effect or the Law of Causality). The American flag that stood erect on the surface of the moon in 1969 was neither eternal nor without a cause. Its existence on the Moon demands a sufficient cause. The robotic rovers that have rolled across the surface of Mars since the early 21st century are the effect of adequate causes. No one believes that they popped into existence from nothing or that they are the result of any number of ridiculous, insufficient causes that could be suggested (e.g., an accidental explosion in a junk yard on Earth sent metal objects spiraling toward Mars that assembled themselves into the robotic rovers). Simply put, all material effects demand adequate causes (see Miller, 2011 for more information).

So what caused the Universe and all of the matter in the Universe? The theory that atheistic evolutionists have advanced for several decades now, which supposedly best explains our existence from a purely naturalistic perspective, is known as the Big Bang. Allegedly, approximately 14 billion years ago all of the matter and energy in the Universe was concentrated in a tiny ball of matter that exploded, causing the eventual formation of galaxies throughout the Universe.

The obvious problem with this explanation is that even if the Big Bang actually happened (and sound science argues against such a theory—see May, et al., 2003), a person must still explain whence came the “original” ball of matter. It must have an adequate cause. What do some leading atheists and agnostics around the world argue about the cause of matter? Atheistic cosmologist Stephen Hawking stated on national television in 2011, “Nothing caused the Big Bang” (“Curiosity…,” emp. added). In the book The Grand Design that Dr. Hawking co-authored, he and Leonard Mlodinow asserted: “Bodies such as stars and black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole universe can” (2010, p. 180, emp. added). In 2006, Todd Friel asked Dan Barker, one of America’s leading atheists, “Do you really believe that something came from nothing?” (emp. added). Barker responded with a simple, “Yes” (“Wretched…”).

The observable truth is, however, in nature, matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed. Scientists refer to this fact as the First Law of Thermodynamics. Though evolutionists have alleged that the Universe began with the explosion of a ball of matter several billion years ago, they never have provided a reasonable explanation for the cause of the “original” ball of matter. “Nothing” is not a reasonable explanation. In 2007, the pro-evolutionary New Scientist magazine ran a cover story titled “The Beginning: What Triggered the Big Bang?” in which the publication attempted to explain the origin of the Universe. But consider the last line of the featured article: “[T]he quest to understand the origin of the universe seems destined to continue until we can answer a deeper question: why is there anything at all instead of nothing?” (“The Universe…,” 194[2601]:33, emp. added). The implication of such a question is quite clear: if at one time in the past “nothing” existed, then nothing should exist today. A reasonable, naturalistic explanation for the origin of the “original” ball of matter that supposedly led to the Universe does not exist. One of the world’s leading atheists, Richard Dawkins, has basically admitted such.

In a panel discussion in 2012 on Australian national television, Dr. Dawkins was asked “how it is that something as enormous as the universes came from nothing?” Notice what Dawkins admitted: “Of course it’s counterintuitive that you can get something from nothing. Of course common sense doesn’t allow you to get something from nothing. That’s why it’s interesting. It’s got to be interesting in order to give rise to the universe at all. Something pretty mysterious had to give rise to the origin of the universe” (“Q&A…,” emp. added). Indeed, atheism’s explanation for the origin of matter is “not agreeing with what seems right or natural” (“Counterintuitive,” 2014). According to Dawkins’ own admissions, the idea of getting something from nothing in nature defies “common sense.” It is far from “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts” (“Common Sense,” 2014).

What’s more, atheists cannot logically argue that the Universe is eternal. It seems that relatively few scientists even propose an eternal Universe anymore. (In fact, there would be no point in attempting to explain the “beginning” of the Universe in a Big Bang if atheists believed it always existed.) Furthermore, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that matter and energy become less usable over time, has led most scientists to conclude that the Universe has not always existed (else we would be out of usable energy; see Miller, 2013). The fact is, the Universe had a beginning. Alex Vilenkin, cosmologist from Tufts University, pressed this fact in his book titled Many Worlds in One: “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of acosmic beginning” (2006, p. 176, emp. added).

At one time in the past, the material Universe did not exist. Then, at some point, matter came into existence. But since matter is not eternal and cannot create itself from nothing, then something outside of the material realm must have brought matter into existence.

In short, matter demands a Maker. The evidence clearly indicates that the cause of the Universe is inexplicable without a supernatural Being. Something has to be eternally powerful, but we know it cannot be natural or material. Romans 1:20 says: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Without some type of eternal power, our Universe cannot exist, and the atheistic answer that our Universe created itself from nothing is the furthest thing from either a scientific or a rational explanation.

2. Life Demands a Life Giver

Life does not pop into existence from nothing. Neither the puppy at the pound nor the bacteria on the doorknob spontaneously generated. Every scientist, whether theist or atheist, knows this observation to be true.

In biology, one of the most widely recognized laws of science is the Law of Biogenesis. “Biogenesis” is composed of two words—“bio,” which means life, and “genesis,” which means beginning. Thus, this law deals with the beginning of life, and it simply says that in nature life comes only from previous life of its own kind. Over the years, the truthfulness of this law has been documented by thousands of scientists, most notably Louis Pasteur. His work dealt a crushing blow to the notion of spontaneous generation.

In 1933, evolutionist John Sullivan admitted that “it became an accepted doctrine that life never arises except from life. So far as the actual evidence goes, this is still the only possible conclusion” (p. 94, emp. added). Okay, but that was 1933. As we move further into the 20th century the obvious question was “Is it still the only possible conclusion?” What have we learned since the days of Louis Pasteur in the 19th century and John Sullivan in the first half of the 20th century? Observational science has reached the same conclusion experiment after experiment, year after year. The eminent evolutionist George Gaylord Simpson and his colleagues observed that “there is no serious doubt that biogenesis is the rule, that life comes only from other life, that a cell, the unit of life, is always and exclusively the product or offspring of another cell” (1965, p. 144, emp. added). Evolutionist Martin Moe noted that “a century of sensational discoveries in the biological sciences has taught us that life arises only from life” (1981, 89[11]:36, emp. added). More recently, staunch evolutionist Neil Shubin conceded the following in his book titled Your Inner Fish:

I can share with you one true law that all of us can agree upon. This law is so profound that most of us take it completely for granted. Yet it is the starting point for almost everything we do in paleontology, developmental biology, and genetics. This biological “law of everything” is that every living thing on the planet had parents. Every person you’ve ever known has biological parents, as does every bird, salamander, or shark you have ever seen…. To put it in a more precise form: every living thing sprang from some parental genetic information (2009, p. 174).

The importance of Shubin’s concession must not be missed. He recognizes that the actual scientific information verifies that life in the natural world must come from previously existing life. Yet he refuses to carry that fact to its proper conclusion: that life could not have sprung from non-living chemicals. Materialistic evolution cannot adequately account for or explain the most basic laws of science, not the least of which is the Law of Biogenesis.

If it is the case that the “only possible conclusion” which scientific evidence demands is that in nature “life never arises except from life,” then, pray tell, how did the first life come into being? Did it somehow break the most fundamental natural law of biology and arise “naturally” from non-life? Or is there another possibility? The truth is, there is another possibility (which science has not disproved), but it is one that evolutionists such as John Sullivan admitted that “scientific men find very difficult of acceptance” (p. 94, emp. added). According to Sullivan, “So far as the actual evidence goes,” biogenesis “is still the only possible conclusion. But…it is a conclusion that seems to lead back to some supernatural creative act” (p. 94, emp. added). Do not miss the point: real, true, operational science indirectly supports a “supernatural creative act,” which implies a supernatural Creator.

Evolutionist and Harvard University Professor George Wald similarly admitted in an article he wrote titled “The Origin of Life” that there ultimately are two options for life’s origin: (1) spontaneous generation and (2) “the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position” (1954, p. 46). Sadly, though “[m]ost modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis,” they are “unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation” (p. 46). Rather than follow the evidence where it ultimately leads (to a supernatural Creator!), atheists would rather put their confidence in a theory that was disproven long ago. Antony Flew, who for five decades was the world’s leading atheistic thinker, was forced in the end to conclude: “The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind” (2007, p. 132; see Miller, 2012 for more information).

3. Design Demands a Designer

Everyday observation reveals and confirms the obvious fact that complex, functional design demands a designer. Paintings demand painters. Poems demand poets. Architecture demands architects. And on and on we could go. Everyone knows that cars and computers, pianos and projectors all require engineers, technicians, and tuners for them to exist and function properly. But what about the Universe as a whole? Can it be described accurately as “designed”? If so, what could such design imply about its origin?

No honest, informed person can deny that the Universe is extremely fine-tuned and functionally complex. From the Earth’s precise orbit around the Sun to a shorebird’s 15,000-mile yearly migration pattern, literally millions of examples of fine-tuned design in nature could be pondered. But consider just one example involving electrons and protons. The ratio of the mass of an electron to a proton is 1:1836, which means that a proton is 1,836 times more massive than an electron. Even with this mass difference, however, electrons and protons have the same electrical charge. Scientists suggest that if the electrical charge of the electron were altered by one part in 100 billion, our bodies would instantly explode (Barrow and Tipler, 1986, pp. 293, 296). Is such precision indicative of precise design? Most certainly.

The truth is, atheists frequently testify to the “design” in nature. Australian atheistic astrophysicist Paul Davies has admitted that the Universe (which according to atheists is the result of mindless, naturalistic, random processes) is “uniquely hospitable” (2007, p. 30), “remarkable” (p. 34), and “ordered in an intelligible way” (p. 30). He even admitted to the “fine-tuned properties” of the Universe. In a 2008 National Geographic article titled “Biomimetics: Design by Nature,” the word “design” (or one of its derivatives—designs, designed, etc.) appeared no less than seven times in reference to “nature’s designs.” The author, evolutionist Tom Mueller, referred to nature’s “sophistication” and “clever devices” (2008, p. 79) and praised nature for being able to turn simple materials “into structures of fantastic complexity, strength, and toughness” (p. 79). After learning of the uncanny, complicated maneuverability of a little blowfly, Mueller even confessed to feeling the need to regard the insect “on bended knee in admiration” (p. 82). Why? Because of its “mysterious” and “complicated” design. The fact is, as evolutionist Jerry Coyne admitted, “Nature resembles a well-oiled machine…. The more one learns about plants and animals, the more one marvels at how well their designs fit their ways of life” (2009, pp. 1,3).

But how can you get design without purpose, intelligence, and deliberate planning? The first three definitions the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary gives for “design” (noun) are as follows: “1a: a particular purpose held in view by an individual or group…b: deliberate purposive planning… 2: a mental project or scheme in which means to an end are laid down; 3a: a deliberate undercover project or scheme”  (“Design,” 2014, emp. added). After defining “design” as a drawing, sketch, or “graphic representation of a detailed plan…,” the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Languagenoted that design may be defined as “[t]he purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or details” (“Design,” 2000, p. 492, emp. added). A design is preceded by “deliberate purposive planning,” “a detailed plan,” or an “inventive arrangement.” A design is the effect, not of time, chance, and unintelligent, random accidental explosions (what nonsense!), but of the purposeful planning and deliberate actions of an inventor or designer. Literally, by definition, design demands a designer; thus the designed Universe demands a Designer.

According to Paul Davies: “Our universe seems ‘just right’ for life. It looks as if…a super-intellect has been monkeying with physics” (2007, p. 30). Similarly, well-known skeptic Michael Shermer conceded, “The reason people think that a Designer created the world is because it looks designed” (2006, p. 65, emp. added).

Indeed, both honest observation and rational thought should lead every truth-seeking individual to the same conclusion that the psalmist came to 3,000 years ago: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). “The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Both the heavens and the Earth testify day after day and night after night to anyone and everyone who will listen (Psalm 19:2-4). “Lift up your eyes on high, and see Who has created these things” (Isaiah 40:26).

Since the Universe exhibits complex, functional design, and (by definition) complex, functional design demands a designer, then the Universe must have an intelligent designer. This argument for God is logically sound and observationally true. A person can know (without a doubt) that God exists if for no other reason than that the Universe’s design demands a Designer. “For every house is built by someone, but He Who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4).

4. Intelligence Demands an Intelligent Creator

Intelligence is defined as “the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge” (“Intelligence,” 2000, p. 910); “the ability to learn or understand things or to deal with new or difficult situations” (“Intelligence,” 2014). It is not difficult to identify certain things that have some measure of “intelligence,” while recognizing other things that have no intelligence. Man obviously has an extremely high level of intelligence. He has constructed spaceships that he can guide 240,000 miles to the Moon while both the Earth and the Moon are in motion. He has built artificial hearts that can extend the lives of the sick. He continues to construct computers that can process billions of pieces of information a second. He can write poetry, calculate where Mars will be 50 years from the present, and build everything from pianos to PlayStation video game consoles. Man is an intelligent being.

Although there is a great chasm between mankind and the animal kingdom, animals do possess a measure of intelligence. Dogs can learn to sit, stay, roll over, and play dead. Dolphins can learn to jump through hoops on command. Birds can make helpful “tools” from twigs in order to accomplish some basic tasks. A few years ago, two colorful, eight-legged cephalopods, known as cuttlefish, graced the cover of the journal New Scientist. The authors referred to this amazing sea creature as a “sophisticated,” “inventive,” eight-legged “genius” with “intelligence” and a “secret code” (Brooks, 2008).

According to atheistic evolution, billions of years ago “nothing” caused a tiny ball of matter to explode. Then, billions of years after this Big Bang, galaxies began to form from lifeless, mindless, unintelligent particles floating around in space in massive clouds of dust. Allegedly, Earth eventually evolved from such a dust cloud. Hundreds of millions of years later, intelligent animals and humans evolved.

What humans have consistently observed in nature, however, is that intelligence demands previous intelligence. The reason that humans in the 21st century are intelligent is because our ancestors were intelligent. The reason that animals have some measure of intelligence is due to intelligent creatures that came before them. Dust does not give way to organized dust particles that have “the capacity to acquire and apply knowledge.” Water does not think. The mindless mud that evolutionists contend gave way to intelligent life on Earth is nothing but a delusional tale unsupported by everything we know from observation and experience. Neither “nothing” nor inorganic matter ever produces intelligent creatures. So how did the first intelligent creatures come to inhabit the Universe? Just as the first life demands a supernatural life Giver, so the first intelligent beings demand a self-existent, miracle-working Creator of intelligence.

5. Morality Demands a Moral Law Giver

Why do people generally think that some actions are “right” and some actions are “wrong,” regardless of their subjective opinions? Why do most people believe that it is “evil” or “wicked” (1) for an adult to torture an innocent child simply for the fun of it? (2) for a man to beat and rape a kind, innocent woman? or (3) for parents to have children for the sole purpose of abusing them sexually every day of their lives? Because, as evolutionist Edward Slingerland noted, humans have metaphysical rights—rights that are “a reality beyond what is perceptible to the senses” (“Metaphysical,” 2014)—and  “rely on moral values” (as quoted in Reilly, 2007, 196[2629]:7). The fact is, most people, even many atheists, have admitted that real, objective good and evil exist.

Although objective morality may be outside the realm of the scientific method, every rational person can know that some actions are innately good, while others are innately evil. Antony Flew and Wallace Matson, two of the leading atheistic philosophers of the 20th century, forthrightly acknowledged the existence of objective morality in their debates with theistic philosopher Thomas B. Warren in the 1970s (see Warren and Flew, 1977; Warren and Matson, 1978). Atheist Michael Ruse admitted in his book Darwinism Defended that “[t]he man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children, is just asmistaken as the man who says that 2 + 2 = 5” (1982, p. 275, emp. added). Philosophers Francis Beckwith and Gregory Koukl said it well: “Those who deny obvious moral rules—who say that murder and rape are morally benign, that cruelty is not a vice, and that cowardice is a virtue—do not merely have a different moral point of view; they have something wrong with them” (1998, p. 59, emp. added). 

Most rational people do not merely feel like rape and child abuse may be wrong; they are wrong—innately wrong. Just as two plus two can really be known to be four, every rational human can know that some things are objectively good, while other things are objectively evil. However, reason demands that objective good and evil can only exist if there is some real, objective point of reference. If something (e.g., rape) can be legitimately criticized as morally wrong, then there must be an objective standard—“some ‘higher law which transcends the provincial and transient’ which is other than the particular moral code and which has an obligatory character which can be recognized” (Warren and Matson, p. 284).

Recognition by atheists of anything being morally wrong begs the question: How can an atheistlogically call something atrocious, deplorable, evil, or wicked? According to atheism, man is nothing but matter in motion. Humankind allegedly evolved from rocks and slime over billions of years. How could moral value come from rocks and slime? Who ever speaks of “wrong rocks,” “moral minerals,” or “corrupt chemicals”? People do not talk about morally depraved donkeys, evil elephants, or immoral monkeys. Pigs are not punished for being immoral when they eat their young. Komodo dragons are not corrupt because 10% of their diet consists of younger Komodo dragons. Killer whales are not guilty of murder. Male animals are not tried for rape if they appear to forcibly copulate with females. Dogs are not depraved for stealing the bone of another dog. Moral value could not arise from rocks and slime.

The fact that humans even contemplate morality testifies to the huge chasm between man and animals and the fact that moral value could not have arisen from animals. Atheistic evolutionists have admitted that morals arise only in humans. George Gaylord Simpson, one of the most recognized atheistic evolutionists of the 20th century, confessed that “[g]ood and evil, right and wrong, concepts irrelevant in nature except from the human viewpoint, become real and pressing features of the whole cosmos as viewed morally because morals arise only in man” (1951, p. 179, emp. added). Atheists admit that people (i.e., even “atheists”) have “their own innate sense of morality” (“Do Atheists…?, n.d.). No rational person makes such admissions about animals. “Humans,” not animals, “rely on moral values” (as quoted in Reilly, 2007, 196[2629]:7).

The moral argument for God’s existence exposes atheism as the self-contradictory, atrocious philosophy that it is. Atheists must either reject the truthfulness of the moral argument’s first premise (“If objective moral value exists, then God exists”) and illogically accept the indefensible idea that objective morality somehow arose from rocks and reptiles, or (2) they must reject the argument’s second premise (“Objective moral values exist”), and accept the insane, utterly repulsive idea that genocide, rape, murder, theft, child abuse, etc. can never once be condemned as objectively “wrong.” What’s more, if atheism is true, individuals could never logically be punished for such immoral actions, since “no inherent moral or ethical laws” would exist (Provine, 1988, p. 10).

If there is no God, then there is no objective basis to say that some things are right and others are wrong. Reason demands that objective good and evil can only exist if there is some real, objective reference point outside of nature. The only reasonable answer to an objective moral law for humans is a supernatural, moral law Giver.

6. The Bible’s Supernatural Attributes Demand a Supernatural Author

Christians do not believe that God exists simply because the Bible teaches that He does, nor do Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God simply because the Bible claims to be inspired by God. Anyone can make claims about whatever they wish. Simply because a person claims to have revelation from a supernatural Creator does not make it so (e.g., the Book of Mormon; see Miller, 2009). However, if the Bible possesses attributes that are super-human, then the Bible proves itself to be of supernatural origin and has indirectly proven the existence of the supernatural Author. American atheist Dan Barker alluded to the legitimacy of this argumentation for God’s existence in 2009 when he explained that one of the things which could falsify atheism would be if God spoke to man and gave him specific information about future events (see Butt and Barker, pp. 50-51).

Indeed, one extremely valuable line of evidence that confirms that the Bible is the inspired Word of God is the presence of accurate, predictive prophecy contained in its pages. Not only are the prophecies of the Bible fulfilled in minute detail with complete accuracy, but these fulfillments are often accomplished centuries after the prophecies were made. Even the skeptic understands that if this is the case, a supernatural agent must be responsible for the writing of the Bible. That is why the skeptic attempts to discredit the prophecies by claiming that they were written after the events or by claiming that they were not fulfilled in detail. By attempting to disparage the prophecies using these methods, the skeptic admits that if the prophecies were written centuries before the events, and if they are fulfilled in detail, then a supernatural agent is responsible for them. As the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “As for the prophet who prophecies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent” (28:9). Completely accurate, fulfilled prophecy is a characteristic that verifies the divine inspiration of the Bible.

One such prophecy concerned a man named Cyrus and two nations: Babylon and the Medo-Persian Empire. Isaiah, who prophesied around 700 B.C., vividly described how God would destroy the powerful kingdom of Babylon, “the glory of kingdoms” (13:19). Writing as if it had already occurred (commonly known as the “prophetic perfect,” frequently employed in the Old Testament to stress the absolute certainty of fulfillment, e.g., Isaiah 53), Isaiah declared Babylon would fall (21:9). He then prophesied that Babylon would fall to the Medes and Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). Later, he proclaimed that the “golden city” (Babylon) would be conquered by a man named Cyrus (44:28; 45:1-7). This is a remarkable prophecy, especially since Cyrus was not born until almost 150 years after Isaiah penned these words.

Not only did Isaiah predict that Cyrus would overthrow Babylon, but he also wrote that Cyrus, serving as Jehovah’s “anointed” and “shepherd,” would release the Jews from captivity and assist them in their return to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the temple. Isaiah’s prophecies were recorded almost 200 years before Cyrus conquered Babylon (539 B.C.). Amazing! [NOTE: Secular history verifies that all of these events came true. There really was a man named Cyrus who ruled the Medo-Persian Empire. He did conquer Babylon. And just as Isaiah prophesied, he assisted the Jews in their return to Jerusalem and in the rebuilding of the temple.]

Truly, “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). And, if men were inspired of God to write the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16), then God exists. In short, the Bible’s supernatural attributes logically demand a supernatural Author (see Butt, 2007 for more information).

7. The Historical, Miracle-Working, Resurrected Jesus Demands a Supernatural Explanation

Human beings can do many amazing things. They can run 26.2 miles without stopping. They can show remarkable courage in the face of great danger. They can even walk along a tightrope hundreds of feet above the ground. But there are certain actions that are humanly impossible. Humans cannot walk on water unassisted, give sight to the blind, instantly reattach severed ears with only their hands, or raise the dead. If ever such a “man” existed, his life would logically testify to the existence of a supernatural Being.

Atheists understand the rationality of this argument. Dan Barker once said on record, “If Jesus were to materialize” and work any number of miraculous deeds, atheism would be disproven (see Butt and Barker, p. 51), and thus theism would be established as a fact. The truth is, the very proof that Barker and other atheists request was provided 2,000 years ago when God put on flesh and came to Earth in the form of man. And He did not merely claim to be God; He did what a reasonable person could expect if God were ever to prove His divinity on Earth—He fulfilled precise prophecies and worked supernatural miracles, including coming back from the dead Himself. (For more information, see Butt and Lyons, 2006). The life and works of Jesus testify to the existence of a supernatural Being.

In 2012, renowned atheist Richard Dawkins was questioned about his unbelief in God. Specifically, he was asked, “What proof, by the way, would change your mind?” He quickly responded by saying, “That is a very difficult and interesting question because, I mean, I used to think that if somehow, you know, great, big, giant 900-foot high Jesus with a voice like Paul Robeson suddenly strode in and said, ‘I exist and here I am,’ but even that, I actually sometimes wonder if that would…” (“Q&A…,” 2012). So, though Dr. Dawkins raises the possibility of the legitimacy of disproving atheism with a 900-foot high, hypothetical Jesus, He continually rejects the historical, miracle-working, resurrected-from-the-dead Jesus Who walked the Earth 2,000 years ago. Sadly, such irrational, hard-hearted unbelief is nothing new. Even some in the very presence of Jesus in the first century, who testified to the supernatural feats that He worked, rejected Him (cf. John 11:45-53; 12:9-11). Thus, it should not be surprising that many will reject the Lord God today despite the evidence for His existence.

Conclusion

Atheists are fond of claiming that their way of thinking is logical, reasonable, and intellectual. Yet atheism irrationally says that everything came from nothing. Atheism says that an explosion caused exquisite order. It says that random chances produced precision and that life popped into existence in nature from non-life. Atheism contends that a well-designed Universe could come about without a Designer. Atheism says that fish and frogs are man’s distant forefathers and that intelligence is ultimately the result of non-intelligence. Atheism alleges that either man is on the same moral plane as a moose, or he actually evolved a sense of morality from amoral mice. While trying to convince others he is galloping confidently atop a stallion called Common Sense, atheism stumbles on the back of a donkey called Foolishness.

Theism, on the other hand, is absolutely rational. Why? Because (among other things) (1) matter demands a Maker; (2) life demands a Life Giver; (3) design demands a Designer; (4) intelligence demands an Intelligent Creator; (5) morality demands a Moral Law Giver; (6) the Bible’s supernatural attributes demand a Supernatural Author; and (7) the historical, miracle-working, resurrected Jesus demands a supernatural explanation (which demands God). Indeed, the Christian can say with all confidence, “I know that God exists.” As former atheist Antony Flew so eloquently concluded: “I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason. I have followed the argument where it has led me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being” (2007, p. 155).

REFERENCES

Barrow, John D. and Frank Tipler (1986), The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press).

Beckwith, Francis and Gregory Koukl (1998), Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).

Brooks, Michael (2008), “Do You Speak Cuttlefish?” New Scientist, 198[2653]:28-31, April 26.

Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2006), Behold! The Lamb of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Butt, Kyle and Dan Barker (2009), Does the God of the Bible Exist? (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

“Common Sense” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/common%20sense.

“Counterintuitive” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/counterintuitive.

Coyne, Jerry (2009) Why Evolution is True (New York: Viking).

“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.

Davies, Paul (2007), “Laying Down the Laws,” New Scientist, 194[2610]:30-34, June 30.

“Design” (2000), American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.

“Design” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/design.

“Do Atheists Have Morals?” (no date), http://www.askanatheist.org/morals.html.

Flew, Antony and Roy Varghese (2007), There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York: Harper Collins).

Hawking, Stephen and Leonard Mlodinow (2010), The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books).

“Intelligence” (2000), American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.

“Intelligence” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intelligence.

May, Branyon, et al. (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Parts 1-2],” Reason & Revelation, 23[5-6]:33-47,49-63.

“Metaphysical” (2014), Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metaphysical.

Miller, Dave (2009), “Is the Book of Mormon from God? [Part 1],” https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=108&article=2787.

Miller, Jeff (2011), “God and the Laws of Science: The Law of Causality,” https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3716.

Miller, Jeff (2012), “The Law of Biogenesis [Part 1],” https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4165&topic=93.

Miller, Jeff (2013), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2786.

Moe, Martin (1981), “Genes on Ice,” Science Digest, 89[11]:36,95, December.

Mueller, Tom (2008), “Biomimetics: Design by Nature,” National Geographic, 213[4]:68-91, April.

Provine, William (1988), “Scientists, Face It! Science and Religion are Incompatible,” The Scientist, 2[16]:10, September 5, http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/9707/title/Scientists–Face-It–Science-And-Religion-Are-Incompatible/.

“Q&A: Religion and Atheism” (2012), ABC Australia, April 9, http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3469101.htm.

Reilly, Michael (2007), “God’s Place in a Rational World,” New Scientist, 196[2629]:7, November 10.

Ruse, Michael (1982), Darwinism Defended: A Guide to the Evolution Controversies (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley).

Shermer, Michael (2006), Why Darwin Matters (New York: Henry Holt).

Shubin, Neil (2009), Your Inner Fish (New York: Vintage Books).

Simpson, George Gaylord (1951), The Meaning of Evolution (New York: Mentor).

Simpson, G.G., C.S. Pittendrigh, and L.H. Tiffany (1965), Life: An Introduction to Biology (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World).

Sullivan, John (1933), The Limitations of Science (New York: Viking Press).

“The Universe Before Ours” (2007), New Scientist, 194[2601]:28-33, April 28.

Vilenkin, Alex (2006), Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes (New York: Hill and Wang).

Wald, George (1954), “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191[2]:44-53, August.

Warren, Thomas B. and Antony G.N. Flew (1977), Warren-Flew Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).

Warren, Thomas B. and Wallace I. Matson (1978), The Warren-Matson Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).

“Wretched: Nothing Made Everything” (2006), http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sK2yNkTuJkY.

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Did God Create Us with a Desire to Sin?

Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

“There is no doubt that humans want to sin. Why would a loving God that does not want us to sin create us with that desire? What an evil thing to do! Apparently, He wants us to sin! How is that fair? Why would He expect us to not sin and then tempt us by giving us the desire to do it? That’s sick. How could He be a loving God?” Several months ago, a young lady approached me and made these accusations against God. Is this a dilemma for the God of the Bible?1

For the sake of argument, we will assume for a moment that it is true that God created us with a desire to sin. First, if we grant that He created us with a “desire to sin,” is it not also true that He simultaneously created us with an ability to choose not to sin? In other words, He did not create us so that we had to sin. He clearly gave us freewill—the freedom to make our own decisions. Every capable human proves on a daily basis that he does, in fact, have the freedom to do or not to do various activities. We are not mindless robots that act solely on instinct. You can choose to read this sentence or not. No matter how intense a particular temptation is, it has been proven to be able to be resisted by man. Now, if God wanted us to sin, and had the power to cause us to sin, why would He create us with the ability to choose not to do so? That would not make sense. Ironically, at the very beginning of time, God directly stated that it is not He Who wants sin to rule over us. Sin has a “desire” to do so, but He created us with the ability to “rule over it” (Genesis 4:7).

 Further, even if God did create us with a “desire to sin,” is it not also strange that He would give us a way of being cleansed or forgiven from that evil we desire to engage in? If He wanted us to fail, why would He do such a thing? The gift of forgiveness in the biblical model is a blatant inconsistency with such an idea, and serves as a formal proof that God does not want us to sin. Even more curiously, if He wanted us to sin, why would the system for forgiveness that He instituted entail His own agonizing death? Such a selfless act is not something a God would do who wanted us to sin and go to hell. Such behavior is, however, something a merciful God would do—a God Who wanted to give us independence and freedom of choice, and still give us a way to be forgiven when we make the wrong decisions.

That said, it simply is not accurate to say that God created Man with an inherent desire to do evil. If anything, since He gave us a conscience and inherent sense of justice or fairness, He created us with a pull or pressure to not do certain things. Every human being on the planet understands that there are some things that are fair, and some things that are not fair, and an unseared conscience pressures us to do the right thing by others.

Further, while we sometimes might desire to do evil, is it not also true that at other times we have a desire to do good? One could just as easily and equally ask the question, “Did God create us with a desire to do right?” Even the most hardened atheist or agnostic (e.g., Bart Ehrman2) admits that he wants (i.e., is tempted) to do good and does so (i.e., “succumbs” to that temptation) through various philanthropic activities. If God created us with a desire to sin, it must also be conceded that He created us with a desire to do good as well.

How can this apparent contradiction be explained? Is it not likely that God did not in fact create us with the desire to sin? We desire both activities at times because we have discovered that they both can make us feel good in different ways. That said, it is fair and consistent to conclude that God created us with that desire—i.e., the desire to feel good (i.e., to be happy, appreciate pleasure, to desire enjoyment and satisfaction), not purely the desire to do evil. For example, we were created to want to eat—to feel good from doing so—but not with the desire to be cannibals. Perhaps it would be better to describe it this way: God created us with the capacity to experience and appreciate feeling good. When we feel good, we naturally want to continue having that feeling. Those things with which we choose to fill the “feel good tank” up are our decisions as individuals with free will. Those decisions are no doubt influenced by many factors (e.g., experience, pride, our parents and teachers [Proverbs 22:6; 19:27], our friends [1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 13:20], Satan [2 Corinthians 2:11], etc.), but the bad influences or evil desires are never from God. James 1:13-14 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” We desire to do evil things because of the momentary pleasures or good feelings they can give, not because God wants us to do evil. The wise individual will recognize that not all pleasures should be engaged in at will. He will choose to endure temporary affliction if it is necessary to do right, rather than enjoying “the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25).

But why would He not create an environment where we have no interaction with others and cannot be deleteriously influenced by them? In such an environment, we would lose the blessings we receive from interacting with others as well (e.g., conversation, companionship, physical affection, kind words, medical attention, technological advancement, gifts, etc.). There is a reason why solitary confinement is used as a serious punishment within the prison system. Isolation and loneliness are unhealthy. “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Interaction with others, and the blessings we can have from those interactions, are gifts from God. We live on a planet with over seven billion others. Since we all live together, our free will inevitably affects those around us, for good or ill. If we could not affect others with our decisions, then we simultaneously would cease to have the free will to affect those people for good or ill. Only through creating an environment where all humans were forced to obey God could the temptation to disobey God be eliminated. But in such an environment, God would cease to be a loving God Who grants us freedom. He would be a dictator, forcing everyone to obey Him as mindless automatons.

But why would God give us the capacity to experience feeling good at all? If it makes us do evil, how is that a good thing? There is no doubt that God’s choice to allow us pleasure is a blessing to us, in spite of its dangers. Who would honestly argue that a life completely devoid of having pleasurable feelings or feeling good would be a good (i.e., pleasurable) one? The very idea is self-contradictory. For the same reason we long to make our children happy and give them joy in life, God created us to be able to experience the same. One would not expect an unloving God, One Who wanted humans to sin, to also create us to be able to experience pleasure and joy. Such a decision, however, would be perfectly in harmony with a loving, gracious God Who cares for us and wishes to bless us with happiness, in spite of the bad decisions we and others around us often make. So notice that the desire to feel good is not inherently evil. In fact, the Creator’s decision to instill in us the desire to feel good and to experience pleasure is actually a blessing, not a curse, as long as He gave us, along with the capacity for appreciating pleasure, the ability to distinguish the good kind of pleasure from the bad, either through instruction or creating an environment where we can learn from experience.

Is it not true that a loving parent wishes to maximize happiness or joy for his child? This includes giving that child an environment where he can have a certain degree of freedom and independence. He is not chained to his bed his whole life, but is given rules (i.e., advice), warnings about what will happen if the child chooses bad pleasures, and the freedom to decide whether or not to obey or disobey those rules. He can decide to believe his parents,that they know what will make him happy, or believe that his way will have a better result. A child might reason that he would be happier if he ignored his parents’ warnings, and touched the stove anyway. For a moment, the child experiences the pleasure we often feel from engaging our free will, and as he feels good from the freedom he pridefully believes that he has proven his parents wrong. A moment later, when he is burned, he discovers why his parents made the rule in the first place, and learns to trust (i.e., have faith in) them. But what about when he touches the stove and nothing happens because the stove is off? In such cases, a loving parent’s discipline is given in order to make sure the child does not happen to touch the stove the next time—when it is on. Though the child does not yet understand why the rule has been given in the first place (since nothing happened when he touched the stove the first time), he learns to obey his parents anyway, and in time, learns to trust their wisdom through the verification of that wisdom in numerous other rules and warnings. But why does the parent go through this procedure? Clearly, to maximize happiness for the child in the long run.

God has done the same for us. First, God created an environment conducive to learning right and wrong. Notice that the created order has a system of punishment worked into it to help us distinguish certain things on our own. For example, pleasure can generally be gained from sexual activity in any form, but that does not mean that all forms are going to maximize our happiness. So God communicated certain ways we should engage in such activity in order to maximize happiness. He also designed a natural system whereby when we deviate from His rules about sexual activity, pain and sorrow will come in some way (even if we do not always recognize that our behavior is the cause of it). While we have the freedom to reject God’s will, He still encourages us to do right through a system of punishment worked into the created order (e.g., venereal diseases; physical danger from a lack of sobriety or reckless, imprudent behavior; potential for drug overdoses; diseases and cancers that come from certain sins; depression; family strife; loneliness; etc.). Also in the created order are constant admonitions helping us to behave correctly (e.g., through pressure from our conscience to behave in certain ways, through lessons gained from our observations of others, as well as through the direct admonition given to us by others who have made bad decisions). Does the creation of such an environment sound more like the work of a God Who wants us to sin or not to sin? Does such a system prove that the Creator apparently wants to encourage us to obey Him, while also giving us independence and the freedom to disobey Him if we choose?

Second, as a loving parent would be expected to do, God was sure to give us direct instruction to warn us about the differences between good and bad pleasures. The Bible is clear in communicating explicitly that our happiness is a major motivation behind the rules that God gave us (e.g., Psalm 19:7-8). The rules in the Bible were not selected randomly merely to control humans, in the same way a loving parent’s rules are not so selected. The great Sermon on the Mount is begun with the Beatitudes—the Son of God’s rules of thumb for being happy (i.e., “blessed”) in life. In Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Moses reminds the Israelites that God’s rules were for their good. In Deuteronomy 6:24 he says that God’s laws are “for our good always, that He might preserve us alive.” God’s commandments are often about more than how to get to heaven. They affect our lives here and now. In Proverbs 29:18 Solomon warns his son that eliminating God’s rules (i.e., His “revelation”) from a society will certainly allow total, unbridled freedom in the behavior of that society (i.e., people will “cast off restraint”) and that conscience-free behavior will be thought to be the way to happiness. That total freedom, however, contrary to what we might think, will not bring people happiness. Solomon warns, “Happy is he who keeps [God’s] law.”

A child might think that having no rules about running out in the street will make him happy, but in truth, happiness in the long run comes from (1) having those rules, and (2) obeying his parents’ rules. We may not always agree at the moment with what He says will make us happy, just as a child does not always agree with his parents; but, as with a child, we are oftentimes simply not in a position to know in the long run what will be best for us and the people around us. A child would love to make those decisions on his own, and develop his own system of right and wrong. He thinks that he can do so effectively—just as adults sometimes think we know better than God what will make us happy. But the bottom line is that the parents know a lot more about what will bring lasting happiness, and so the parent teaches, makes rules, and enforces them—as does God. The difference is that humans are imperfect in designing and enforcing rules, because like a child, we also do not know everything we need to know to do it perfectly. Parents disciplined “us as seemed best to them” (Hebrews 12:10), but biblical rules were made by the omniscient Mind Who created the human mind. Who could possibly know better what will bring the human mind happiness than He Who created it?

Did God create us inherently to desire to do evil? No. God created us with the capacity to experience pleasure and happiness and the desire to pursue it. He created us to be able to enjoy pleasure and feel good, through our eyes, ears, tongues, noses, and nerves, as well as in our very souls. He created an environment where we can choose to fill our pleasure tanks in different ways—right and wrong ways—as a parent does with a child, and then He gave us valuable instruction about which are the best choices. By creating such a free environment, pain, suffering, and evil are inevitable, since humans will oftentimes reject God’s rules and admonitions. But with such inevitably bad decisions, He made sure to provide a means by which we can be forgiven, and eventually, live with Him in an environment free from all evil.

endnotes

1 Well-known reformation theologian John Calvin taught the doctrine that humans have a “sinful nature.” According to Calvin, sin has been passed down from Adam to all humans. Humans are, therefore, born in a state of “total depravity.” For a response to that false doctrine, see Caleb Colley (2010), “The Problematic Concept of a Sinful Human Nature,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=3749&topic=379; Kyle Butt (2004), “Do Children Inherit the Sin of Their Parents?” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=1378; Caleb Colley (2004), “Did David Authorize Infant Baptism?” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1062; and Moises Pinedo (2009), “Are Children Born With Sin?” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=2697.

2 Kyle Butt and Bart Ehrman (2014), Butt/Ehrman Debate: Pain, Suffering, and God’s Existence (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

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3 Good Reasons to Believe the Bible is from God

Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Kyle Butt, M.Div. From Issue: R&R – January 2015

The Bible is the most popular book that has ever been printed. It was one of the first books mass produced on Gutenberg’s printing press in 1455. To estimate a total number of Bibles and portions of it that have been produced and distributed worldwide throughout history would be virtually impossible, but the number stands well over 10 billion, since the United Bible Society alone has distributed over nine billion in the past 70 years (“God Facts,” n.d.). Without dispute, the Bible is the best selling book of all time worldwide (“Best Selling…,” 2014).

Why is the Bible so popular? The reason most often given is that those who are printing, distributing, and reading the Bible believe it is the inspired Word of God. Most people who read the Bible do not think it is good advice from mere men. Nor do they think it is a book of fairy tales written for entertainment. Instead, they believe the Book they are reading is the product of the one true God.

Oftentimes, when people are asked to give reasons that support their belief that the Bible is from God, they say that the Bible claims to be from God. It is certainly true that the Bible contains numerous statements that claim inspiration. Second Timothy 3:16-17 states: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God….” In fact, anyone who wants to search the entire Bible will discover that it contains more than 2,700 instances in which divine inspiration is claimed (e.g., “God said;” “the Lord said;” “by revelation He [God] made known”).

Yet, even though we would expect to find that any book produced by God would claim divine inspiration, such a claim does not prove anything in and of itself. It is a necessary trait of inspiration, but it is not a sufficient trait. Various books claim to be inspired by God (e.g., the Quran, the Book of Mormon), but are contradictory to the Bible, and can be proven to be inaccurate and deficient in other instances (see Miller, 2005; Miller, 2003). Simply because a book or writing claims divine inspiration is not positive proof of its inspiration. Any person could stand in front of an audience and claim to be the President of the United States of America. In fact, he could make that claim over 2,700 times. But his multiple claims to the presidency would fail to prove his case unless he could provide more adequate and sufficient evidence.

When Jesus revealed Himself to the world as the Son of God at about the age of 30 (Luke 3:23), He did not expect people to believe Him simply because He said He was the Messiah. On the contrary, Jesus said, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (John 10:37-38, emp. added). If the Messiah was not to be trusted merely based upon claims of messiahship, neither should the Bible. Again, though the claim of inspiration is important (and expected if the Bible is the Word of God), mere claims prove nothing.

Those who penned the Bible did not expect the world to receive their writings as God’s Word simply because they claimed they were. The Bible writers insisted that their writings were not based on imaginary, unverifiable people and events, but instead were grounded on solid, verifiable facts. The apostle Peter wrote: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). In his introduction to the book of Acts, Luke stated that Jesus “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3, emp. added). The Bible writers understood and insisted that the information they penned was accurate and factual, and should be accepted, not based on a lack of evidence or a “leap in the dark,” but on an abundance of verifiable proof.

So what is the proof that the Bible is of supernatural origin? Why should an honest truth-seeker come to the conclusion that the Bible is the special revelation from the Creator of the Universe? In short, the main, overarching reason that the Bible is demonstrated to be of divine origin is because the Bible writers were correct in everything they wrote—about the past, the present, and even the future.

Eighteenth-century English poet Alexander Pope succinctly noted in “An Essay on Criticism” what every rational person knows all to well—“to err is human” (1709). Even though we may set high standards for ourselves and learn all that we can, and even though we may put as many safeguards in place as is humanly possible, mistakes will be made; ignorance will be revealed; errors will occur. As great of a historian as Herodotus was, he sometimes erred. As brilliant of a man as Aristotle was, he was terribly incorrect at times (see Jackson, 1997). As accomplished a writer as was the eighth-century B.C. Greek poet Homer, sometimes “even good old Homer nods” (Horace, 1.359). It simply is humanly impossible to be correct about everything a person says or writes. “With God,” however, “all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

If an all-knowing, all-powerful God exists (and there is ample proof that He does—see Lyons and Butt, 2014), then such a God could produce written revelation for His human creation that was flawless in its original production. He could guide uneducated men to write about events that occurred hundreds or thousands of years before their time with complete accuracy. He could “move” (otherwise) ordinary men to write flawlessly about any number of contemporary people, places, and things (2 Peter 1:20-21). He could even guide man to write about future events with perfect accuracy. In truth, the all-encompassing reason (which shall be dissected into three parts) that a person can come to the rational conclusion that the Bible is “given by inspiration of God” is because the writers of the Bible were amazingly accurate…about everything.

Reason #1: Predictive Prophecy

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a horrible tragedy shocked the United States of America when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Amidst the tragedy, a rumor circulated that Nostradamus, a supposed fortuneteller, had predicted the turn of events. Web sites with information on Nostradamus received thousands, even millions of hits. After all was said and done, the rumored prediction had been fabricated and misunderstood; Nostradamus had not predicted the future. But it was obvious from the public’s response that anyone who can accurately predict the future is more than just a little special. The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Who is he who speaks, and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it?” (Lamentations 3:37). The prophet’s point was clear: no one accurately foretells the future unless God informs him of it. Therefore, if the Bible accurately predicts the future, we can know that it is from God.

The fact is, the Bible contains numerous prophecies that ancient history has shown to be perfectly fulfilled in every detail. Consider a few examples. [NOTE: For many other instances that space restraints will not allow in this article, please consult Apologetics Press’s book Behold! The Word of God or visit the “Inspiration of the Bible” section of http://www.apologeticspress.org.]

The Fall of the City of Tyre

According to history, the Phoenician city of Tyre stood as one of the most ancient and prosperous cities in history. During a visit to the temple of Heracles in Tyre in the fifth century B.C., the historian Herodotus inquired about the age of the temple, to which the inhabits replied that the temple was as old as “Tyre itself, and that Tyre had already stood for two thousand three hundred years” (Herodotus, 2:44). According to the early 20th-century Hebrew and Greek scholar, Wallace Fleming, in his book The History of Tyre, “As early as 1400 B.C., Tyre was not only a great city but was considered impregnable” (1966, p. 8).

In the early sixth century B.C., however, the prophet Ezekiel mentioned several events that were to occur in Tyre as punishment for the city’s arrogance and merciless actions (26:1-14,19-21). The prophet predicted: (1) Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, would build a siege mound against the city; (2) many nations would come against Tyre; (3) the city would be broken down, scraped like the top of a rock, and the stones, timber, and soil would be thrown in “the midst of the water;” (4) the city would become a “place for spreading nets;” and (5) the city would never be rebuilt.

History reveals that everything Ezekiel prophesied about Tyre came to pass.

  • Nebuchadnezzar “besieged Tyre for thirteen years in the days of Ithobal, their king” (Josephus, 1.21). The king of Babylon severely damaged the mainland as Ezekiel predicted, but the island city remained primarily unaffected.
  • Regarding the prediction that “many nations” would come against Tyre, in 392 B.C., “Tyre was involved in the war which arose between the Persians and Evagorus of Cyprus” in which the king of Egypt “took Tyre by assault” (Fleming, p. 52). Sixty years later, in 332, Alexander the Great besieged Tyre and crushed it. In fact, Tyre was contested by so many foreign forces that Fleming wrote: “It seemed ever the fate of the Phoenician cities to be between an upper and a nether millstone” (p. 66). Thus, Ezekiel’s prophecy about “many nations” remains as a historical reality that cannot be successfully gainsaid.
  • By 333 B.C., Ezekiel’s 250-plus-year-old prophecy that Tyre would be destroyed and its building material cast into the midst of the waters had yet to materialize. But that situation was soon altered. Ancient historian Diodorus Siculus, who lived from approximately 80-20 B.C., wrote extensively of Alexander the Great’s dealing with Tyre (see Siculus, 17.40-46). Secular history details Alexander’s destruction of Tyre, which coincides precisely with Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning what would happen to the city’s building materials. As Ezekiel had predicted, the stones, timber, and soil of the mainland city were thrown into the midst of the sea in an unprecedented military maneuver (Fleming, p. 56), which allowed Alexander to create a land bridge upon which his army could come across to defeat the island city of Tyre. For Ezekiel to have accurately “guessed” this situation would be to stretch the law of probability beyond the limits of absurdity.
  • Ultimately, in A.D. 1291, the Sultan Halil massacred the inhabitants of Tyre and subjected the city to utter ruin. “Houses, factories, temples, everything in the city was consigned to the sword, flame and ruin” (Fleming, p. 122). After this major defeat in 1291, Fleming cites several travel logs in which visitors to the city mention that citizens of the area in 1697 were “only a few poor wretches…subsisting chiefly upon fishing” (p. 124).

Taking these accounts into consideration, it is obvious that many nations continued to come against the island city, that it was destroyed on numerous occasions, and that it became a place for fishing, fulfilling Ezekiel’s prediction about the spreading of nets. Furthermore, it is evident that the multiple periods of destruction and rebuilding of the city have long since buried the Phoenician city that came under the condemnation of Ezekiel. The Columbia Encyclopedia, under its entry for Tyre, noted: “The principal ruins of the city today are those of buildings erected by the Crusaders. There are some Greco-Roman remains, but any left by the Phoenicians lie underneath the present town” (“Tyre,” 2006).

So accurate were the prophecies made by Ezekiel that skeptics are forced to suggest a later date for his writings. Yet, such a later date cannot be maintained, and the admission of Ezekiel’s accuracy stands as irrefutable evidence of the prophet’s divine inspiration. With the penetrating gaze that can only be maintained by the Divine, God looked hundreds of years into the future and instructed Ezekiel precisely what to write so that in the centuries following the predictions, the fulfillment of every detail of the prophet’s words could be denied by no honest student of history. “When the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent” (Jeremiah 28:9).

The Fall of Babylon and the Rise of Cyrus

Imagine taking a trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and visiting the State House where the Constitutional Convention took place in 1787. During the tour, your guide points to a document dating back to just this side of the Convention—about the year 1820. The piece of parchment tells of a man named George W. Bush from Austin, Texas who would be President of the United States within the next 200 years. But how could someone know that a man named George W. Bush would be born in the United States? And how could someone know more than a century before Mr. Bush ever was born that he would be President of the United States? Furthermore, how could someone in 1820 know that a man from Texas (named George W. Bush) would be President of the United States when Texas wasn’t even part of the Union yet? Such a prophecy truly would be amazing! Yet, obviously no such prediction was ever made. Amazingly, the Bible makes a comparable prediction, which was fulfilled with complete accuracy.

In the eighth century B.C., Isaiah vividly described how God would destroy the powerful kingdom of Babylon, “the glory of kingdoms” (13:19). Writing as if it had already occurred (commonly known as the “prophetic perfect,” frequently employed in the Old Testament to stress the absolute certainty of fulfillment), Isaiah declared Babylon would fall (21:9). He then prophesied that Babylon would fall to the Medes and Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). Later, he proclaimed that the “golden city” (Babylon) would be conquered by a man named Cyrus (44:28; 45:1-7). (This prophecy is remarkable, especially since Cyrus was not even born until almost 150 years after Isaiah penned these words.) Not only did Isaiah predict that Cyrus would overthrow Babylon, he also wrote that Cyrus, serving as Jehovah’s “anointed” and “shepherd,” would release the Jews from captivity and assist them in their return to Jerusalem for the purpose of rebuilding the Temple. All of this was written almost two centuries before Cyrus conquered Babylon (539 B.C.).

Amazingly, secular history verifies that all of these events came true. There really was a man named Cyrus who ruled the Medo-Persian Empire. He did conquer Babylon. And just as Isaiah prophesied, he assisted the Jews in their return to Jerusalem and in the rebuilding of the Temple.

Jeremiah also predicted the destruction of Babylon, the most powerful nation in the world at the time the predictions were made (Jeremiah 50-51). He predicted that Babylon’s water would be dried up, and her soldiers would be drunken and sleep a perpetual sleep. The precision of his predictions was remarkably verified when Cyrus redirected the Euphrates River and entered Babylon through the opening where the river usually entered. The entrance was left unattended because the Babylonians were getting drunk during a festival celebration.

Messianic Prophecies

Throughout the pages of the Old Testament there are over 250 prophecies about a coming Messiah. Each one of these is fulfilled in minute detail in the life of Jesus Christ. While it is true that most people’s lives can only be chronicled after they have lived it, the life of Jesus was chronicled before He arrived on Earth. In addition, a host of the prophecies concerning Christ were intentionally specific and could not have been arranged by a mere human who was falsely claiming to be the Messiah. For instance, the Old Testament told where the Messiah would be born (Micah 5:2), a situation that cannot be manipulated by the one being born. The circumstances of the Messiah’s death were detailed, even down to His burial, which provides another instance in which the deceased could not have connived a fulfillment.

In contrasting the God of Israel with the pagan idols of old, the prophet Isaiah issued a challenge to those who believed in the potency of their pagan deities. Isaiah said this about the idols: “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them…. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods” (41:22-23). According to Isaiah, any deity that could consistently forecast the future would be recognized as a true God, while any unable to tell the future should be relegated to the rubbish pile of false religions. In order to prove that the God of Israel was the true God, Isaiah quoted this from the mouth of God: “I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (46:9-10). Truly, Isaiah’s God could tell the future. The fall of Tyre and Babylon, the reign of Cyrus, and the coming Messiah are but a few of the more prominent examples. When evidence is honestly considered, the truth seeker must admit that the prophecies contained in the Bible show that it was penned by the inspiration of God.

Reason #2: Scientific Accuracy and Foreknowledge

While the Bible does not present itself as a scientific or medical textbook, it is only reasonable that if God really did inspire the books of the Bible, they would be completely accurate in every scientific or medical detail found within their pages. Furthermore, all scientific and medical errors that fill the pages of other ancient, non-inspired texts should be entirely absent from the biblical record. Is the Bible infallible when it speaks about scientific disciplines, or does it contain the errors that one would expect to find in the writings of fallible men in ancient times?

The Egyptians were renowned in the ancient world for their progress in the field of medicine. Dr. Samuel Massengill, early 20th-century pharmaceutical chemist, noted that “Egypt was the medical center of the ancient world” (1943, p. 13). Herodotus recorded that it was king Darius’ practice “to keep in attendance certain Egyptian doctors, who had a reputation for the highest eminence in their profession” (Herodotus, 3.129). Among the ancient documents that detail much of the Egyptian medicinal knowledge that has survived, the Ebers Papyrus (discovered in 1872) ranks as one of the foremost sources (Bryan, 1930, p. 1). It consists of a host of medical remedies purported to heal, enhance, and prevent. “Altogether 811 prescriptions are set forth in the papyrus, and they take the form of salves, plasters, and poultices; snuffs, inhalations, and gargles; draughts, confections, and pills; fumigations, suppositories, and enemata” (p. 15). Among the hundreds of prescriptions, we find disgusting treatments that caused much more harm than good. For instance, under a section titled “What to do to draw out splinters in the flesh,” a remedy is prescribed consisting of “worm blood, mole, and donkey dung” (p. 73). Remedies to help heal skin diseases included such things as cat dung, dog dung, and a hog’s tooth (p. 92). It seems that the Egyptians were among the first to present the idea of “good and laudable pus” (McMillen and Stern, 2000, p. 10). While it must be noted that some of the Egyptian medicine was helpful, the harmful remedies and ingredients cast a sickening shadow of untrustworthiness on the entire Egyptian endeavor as viewed by the modern reader.

Admittedly, the Bible is not devoted to long lists of medical prescriptions. The Bible writers did not intend to write a medical textbook. There are, however, especially in the first five books of the Old Testament, numerous rules for sanitation, quarantine, and other medical procedures that were to govern the daily lives of the Israelites. Interestingly, the harmful remedies and ingredients prescribed by other ancient civilizations are missing entirely from the pages of the Bible. In fact, the Pentateuch exhibits an understanding of germs and disease that the “modern” medical community did not grasp until relatively recently.

Germs, Labor Fever, and Biblical Sanitation

In 1847, an obstetrician named Ignaz Semmelweis was the director of a hospital ward in Vienna, Austria. Many pregnant women checked into his ward, but 10-18% of those women never checked out. About one out of every six that received treatment in Semmelweis’ ward died of labor fever (Nuland, 2003, p. 31). Autopsies revealed pus under their skin, in their chest cavities, in their eye sockets, etc. Semmelweis was distraught over the mortality rate in his ward, and other hospital wards like it all over Europe. Nuland noted that Australia, the Americas, Britain, Ireland, and practically every other nation that had established a hospital suffered a similar mortality rate (pp. 41-43). If a woman delivered a baby using a midwife, then the death rate fell to only about 3%. Yet if she chose to use the most advanced medical knowledge and facilities of the day, her chance of dying skyrocketed immensely!

Semmelweis had tried everything to curb the carnage. He turned all the women on their sides in hopes that the death rate would drop, but with no results. He thought maybe the bell that the priest rang in the wee hours of the morning scared the women. So, he made the priest enter silently, yet without any drop in death rates. As he contemplated his dilemma, he watched young medical students perform their routine tasks. Each day the students would conduct autopsies on the dead mothers. Then they would rinse their hands in a bowl of bloody water, wipe them off on a shared, dirty towel, and immediately begin internal examinations of the still-living women. Medical doctor and historian Sherwin Nuland commented concerning the practice: “Because there seemed no reason for them to wash their hands, except superficially, or change their clothing before coming to the First Division, they did neither” (p. 100). As a 21st-century observer, one is appalled to think that such practices actually took place in institutes of what was at the time “modern technology.” What doctor in his right mind would touch a dead person and then perform examinations on living patients—without first employing some sort of minimal hygienic practices intended to kill germs? But to Europeans in the middle-19th-century, germs were virtually a foreign concept.

Semmelweis then ordered everyone in his ward to wash his or her hands thoroughly in a chlorine solution after every examination. In three months, the death rate fell from 18% to 1%. Semmelweis had made a groundbreaking discovery…or had he? Almost 3,300 years before Semmelweis lived, Moses had written: “He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean” (Numbers 19:11-12). Germs were no new discovery in 1847; the biblical text recorded measures to check their spread as far back as circa 1500 B.C.

Germs and the Water of Purification

When Old Testament instructions are compared to the New Testament explanations for those actions, it becomes clear that some of the ancient injunctions were primarily symbolic in nature (e.g., John 19:31-37). With the presence of such symbolism in the Old Testament, it is important, however, that we do not overlook Old Testament instructions that were pragmatic in value and that testify to a Master Mind behind the writing of the Law. One such instruction is found in Numbers 19, where the Israelites were instructed to prepare the “water of purification” that was to be used to wash any person who had touched a dead body.

At first glance, the water of purification sounds like a hodge-podge of superstitious potion-making that included the ashes of a young cow, hyssop, cedar wood, and scarlet. But this formula was the farthest thing from a potion intended to “ward off evil spirits.” On the contrary, the recipe for the water of purification stands today as a wonderful example of the Bible’s brilliance, since the recipe is nothing less than a procedure to produce an antibacterial soap.

When we look at the ingredients individually, we begin to see the value of each. First, consider the use of ashes. The chemical known as lye is one of the main ingredients in many soaps today. In fact, lye, in high concentrations, is very caustic and irritating to the skin. In more diluted concentrations, it can be used as an excellent exfoliate and cleansing agent. Various lye-soap recipes reveal that, to obtain lye, water often is poured through ashes. The water retrieved from pouring it through the ashes contains a concentration of the chemical. Moses instructed the Israelites to prepare a mixture that would have included lye mixed in a diluted solution, which would have been ideal for stopping the spread of germs.

What about the specific ingredients for the water of purification? Hyssop contains the antiseptic thymol, the same ingredient that we find today in some brands of mouthwash (McMillen and Stern, p. 24). “Cedar wood has long been used for storage cabinets because of its ability to repel insects and prevent decay. In oil form, applied to humans, it is an antiseptic, astringent, expectorant (removes mucus from respiratory system), anti-fungal, sedative and insecticide” (“Cedar Oil,” n.d.). The Israelites were instructed to toss into the mix “scarlet,” which most likely was scarlet wool (see Hebrews 9:19). Adding wool fibers to the concoction would have made the mixture the “ancient equivalent of Lava® soap” (McMillen and Stern, p. 25).

Thousands of years before any formal studies were done to see what type of cleaning methods were the most effective; millennia before American pioneers concocted their lye solutions; and ages before our most advanced medical students knew a thing about germ theory, Moses instructed the Israelites to concoct an amazingly effective recipe for soap, that, if used properly in medical facilities like hospitals in Vienna, would literally have saved thousands of lives.

Quarantine

The Old Testament record added another extremely beneficial practice to the field of medicine in its detailed descriptions of maladies for which living individuals should be quarantined. The book of Leviticus lists a host of diseases and ways in which an Israelite would come in contact with germs. Those with such diseases as leprosy were instructed to “dwell alone” “outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:46). If and when a diseased individual got close to those who were not diseased, he was instructed to “cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’” (13:45). It is of interest that the covering of one’s mustache (“upper lip”—ASV) would prevent spit and spray from the mouth of the individual to pass freely through the air, much like the covering of one’s mouth during a cough.

In regard to the understanding of contagion that is evident in the quarantine rules in the Old Testament, Roderick McGrew noted in the Encyclopedia of Medical History: “The idea of contagion was foreign to the classic medical tradition and found no place in the voluminous Hippocratic writings. The Old Testament, however, is a rich source for contagionist sentiment, especially in regard to leprosy and venereal disease” (1985, pp. 77-78). Here again, the Bible exhibits amazingly accurate medical and scientific knowledge that surpasses any known human ingenuity available at the time of its writing.

Many physicians who have compared Moses’ medical instructions to effective modern methods have come to realize the astonishing value and insight of the Bible. As 20th-century pharmacologist and Hebrew scholar, Dr. David Macht of Johns Hopkins University, once wrote: “Every word in the Hebrew Scriptures is well chosen and carries valuable knowledge and deep significance” (1953, p. 450). Indeed, the accurate medical practices prescribed thousands of years before their significance was completely understood provide excellent evidence for the divine inspiration of the Bible.

Reason #3: The Overall Factual accuracy of the Bible

Suppose we were to ask a group of historians to author the most up-to-date history of the United States of America on the market. Suppose we gave them years to finish it and unlimited resources to use for their research. At the end of that period, with their newly published volume in hand, could we be confident that they had accurately recorded the significant dates and information perfectly? No, we could not. In fact, within just a few years, as every decent publishing company owner knows, we would need a second edition. Within a decade, so much new information would have come to light that a third or fourth edition would be necessary. And within 20 years, we most likely would need a completely new book if we wanted to preserve history accurately. But when we look into the 66 books of the Bible, we find perfect historical accuracy that has never needed updating or correcting.

Every single statement of the Bible that can be historically checked or verified has shown that the Bible writers never once made a mistake. The fact that the books of the Bible are perfectly accurate indicates that an intelligence beyond human ability must have been involved in the composition of the books.

The Accuracy of Acts

Sir William Ramsay was a one-time unbeliever and world-class archaeologist. His extensive education had ingrained within him the keenest sense of scholarship. But along with that scholarship came a built-in prejudice about the supposed inaccuracy of the Bible (specifically the book of Acts). As Ramsay himself remarked:

[A]bout 1880 to 1890, the book of the Acts was regarded as the weakest part of the New Testament. No one that had any regard for his reputation as a scholar cared to say a word in its defence. The most conservative of theological scholars, as a rule, thought the wisest plan of defence for the New Testament as a whole was to say as little as possible about the Acts (1915, p. 38).

As could be expected of someone who had been trained by such “scholars,” Ramsay held the same view. He eventually abandoned it, however, because he was willing to do what few people of his time dared to do—explore the Bible lands themselves with an archaeologist’s pick in one hand and an open Bible in the other. His self-stated intention was to prove the inaccuracy of Luke’s history as recorded in the book of Acts. But, much to his surprise, the book of Acts passed every test that any historical narrative could be asked to pass. In fact, after years of literally digging through the evidence in Asia Minor, Ramsay concluded that Luke was an exemplary historian. Lee S. Wheeler, in his classic work Famous Infidels Who Found Christ, recounted Ramsay’s life story in great detail (1931, pp. 102-106), and then quoted the famed archaeologist, who ultimately admitted:

The more I have studied the narrative of the Acts, and the more I have learned year after year about Graeco-Roman society and thoughts and fashions, and organization in those provinces, the more I admire and the better I understand. I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it here [in the book of Acts—KB/EL]. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s, and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment, provided always that the critic knows the subject and does not go beyond the limits of science and of justice (Ramsay, 1915, p. 89).

Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, is now widely acknowledged as an extremely accurate historian in his own right—so much so that Ramsay came to believe in Christianity as a result of his personal examination of the preciseness of Luke’s historical record. What legitimate reason is there to reject Luke’s amazingly accurate testimony? As Wayne Jackson summarized:

In Acts, Luke mentions thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine Mediterranean islands. He also mentions ninety-five persons, sixty-two of which are not named elsewhere in the New Testament. And his references, where checkable, are always correct. This is truly remarkable, in view of the fact that the political/territorial situation of his day was in a state of almost constant change (1991, 27:2).

The Pilate Inscription

The last few days of Jesus’ life were the most tragic of any in human history. Amidst all the violence, there stood one man who had the power to stop all the torture. One man could call off the Roman soldiers and save Christ from being crucified. His name—Pontius Pilate, the Roman official who governed the area of Judea at the time of Christ’s death. The story of the crucifixion can hardly be told without mentioning the name of this Roman official who sentenced Christ to death—even though Pilate knew He was innocent (John 18:38; 19:4,6).

Although the Bible mentions Pilate on several occasions, his name could not be found among the archaeological evidence. For hundreds of years, no stone inscriptions or other physical evidence could be produced to support the idea that a man named Pilate had anything to do with either Christ or Judea. Because of this, many mocked the Bible and claimed that creative biblical writers concocted Pilate from their own fertile imaginations. After all, if Pilate were such a prominent leader, wouldn’t there be some kind of archaeological evidence to verify his existence?

Critics were silenced when, in 1961, an Italian archaeological team working at Caesarea found a stone tablet that measured 32 inches high, by 27 inches wide, by 8 inches thick. On this slab, now known as the “Pilate Inscription,” were the remains of this simple title: “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea”—almost the exact same title as the one given to him in Luke 3:1. This, then, became yet another find to remind us that the more we uncover the past, the more we uncover the truth that the Bible is indeed the Word of God (see Price, 1997, pp. 307-308).

The truth is, numerous archaeological finds have verified the Bible’s accuracy. As the renowned archaeologist Nelson Glueck wrote: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible” (1959, p. 31). Truly, the perfect historical accuracy, without the tell-tale mistakes that are found in works written by mere humans, testifies to the Bible’s divine origin.

Conclusion

No series of books in human history has maintained the supernatural consistency that is present within the pages of the Bible. From the first book of Genesis to the last book of Revelation, approximately 40 men penned individual treatises that combine to form the best-selling, most widely distributed, perfectly unified, flawlessly written book ever produced. Mere human genius never could have produced a work with such predictive prophecy, scientific foreknowledge, and overall factual accuracy. Common sense demands an adequate explanation. The only rational conclusion, which is in keeping with the evidence at hand, is that the Bible is “given by inspiration of God.”

References

“Best Selling Book of Non-Fiction” (2014), Guinness World Records, http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-1/best-selling-book-of-non-fiction/.

Bryan, Cyril (1930), Ancient Egyptian Medicine: The Papyrus Ebers (Chicago, IL: Ares Publishers).

“Cedar Oil” (no date), Spavelous, http://www.spavelous.com/Articles/Health_Nutrition/Aromatherapy_Chart.html.

Fleming, Wallace B. (1966), The History of Tyre (New York: AMS Press).

Glueck, Nelson (1959), Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Cudahy).

“God Facts” (no date), http://www.wwj.org.nz/gfacts.php.

Herodotus (1972 reprint), The Histories, trans. Aubrey De Sélincourt (London: Penguin).

Horace, “Ars Poetica,” http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/horace/arspoet.shtml.

Jackson, Wayne (1991), “The Holy Bible—Inspired of God,” Christian Courier, 27:1-3, May.

Jackson, Wayne (1997), “Homer Sometimes Nodded, but the Bible Writers Never Did!” Apologetics Press, https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=249.

Josephus, Flavius (1987), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus: Against Apion, trans. William Whitson (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2014), “7 Reasons to Believe in God,” Reason & Revelation, 34[10]:108-120, https://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1175.

Macht, David I. (1953), “An Experimental Pharmacological Appreciation of Leviticus XI and Deuteronomy XIV,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 27[5]:444-450, September-October.

Massengill, S.E. (1943), A Sketch of Medicine and Pharmacy (Bristol, TN: S.E. Massengill).

McGrew, Roderick (1985), Encyclopedia of Medical History (London: Macmillan Press).

McMillen, S.I. and David Stern (2000), None of These Diseases (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell), third edition.

Miller, Dave (2003), “Is the Book of Mormon from God?” Apologetics Press, https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1187.

Miller, Dave (2005), The Quran Unveiled (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Nuland, Sherwin B. (2003), The Doctor’s Plague (New York: Atlas Books).

Pope, Alexander (1709), “An Essay on Criticism,” http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/myl/ldc/ling001/pope_crit.htm.

Price, Randall (1997), The Stones Cry Out (Eugene, OR: Harvest House).

Ramsay, William (1915), The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (London: Hodder and Stoughton).

Siculus, Diodorus (1963), Library of History, trans. C. Bradford Welles (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

“Tyre” (2006), Columbia Encyclopedia, http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Tyre.aspx.

Wheeler, Lee S. (1931), Famous Infidels Who Found Christ (Peekskill, NY: Review and Herald Publishing Association).

(original link)

5 Reasons Racism is Ridiculous

Eric Lyons, M.Min. From Issue: Valor & Virtue – Issue 7

Atheism has no rational basis upon which to call anything objectively just or unjust, including racism. If mankind is merely the result of billions of years of mindless evolution and is nothing more than animals (as atheistic evolution contends; Marchant, 2008), then man can logically make evolutionary-based racist remarks that are consistent with the godless General Theory of Evolution. In fact, Charles Darwin’s “Bulldog,” atheist Thomas Huxley, did just that in his 1865 essay, “Emancipation—Black and White.” He alleged, for example, “no rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less superior, of the white man.” In truth, if there is no God, mankind could just as easily look down upon and mistreat others (whom he deems are less evolved), as he does roaches, rats, and orangutans (Lyons, 2011; Lyons and Butt, 2009). Those who are Christians, however, logically contend that since (1) God exists, and (2) the Bible is the Word of God, racism is morally wrong—and completely ridiculous for the following five reasons.

#1—All Human Beings Are Made in the Image of God

Not only did God specially create Adam and Eve in His image and vastly different than all other living things on Earth (Genesis 1:26-27), since then, every human being has been made according to God’s likeness. While preaching to Gentiles in Athens thousands of years after the Creation, Paul, a Jew, did not contend that man was once the offspring of God; he said, “We are” the offspring of God (Acts 17:28-29). [The Greek word esmen in 17:28 is the first person plural of eimi (to be). This recognition of being God’s offspring served as a basis for his argument, as the next verse indicates: “Being then the offspring of God….”]

James wrote: “But the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God: out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren these things ought not so to be” (3:8-9, ASV, emp. added). [The English verb “are made” (ASV) derives from the Greek gegonotas, which is the perfect participle of the verb ginomai. The perfect tense in Greek is used to describe an action brought to completion in the past, but whose effects are felt in the present (Mounce, 1993, p. 219).] The thrust of the expression, “who are made after the likeness of God” (Greek kath’ homoisosin theou gegonotas), is that humans in the past have been made according to the likeness of God, and they are still bearers of that likeness. For this reason, praising the Creator at one moment, while hurling unkind, racist remarks at another time, is terribly inconsistent in a most unChristlike way. All human beings (of every color and ethnicity) are divine image bearers.

#2—God Only Made One Race—The Human Race

Although people come in different colors, shapes, and sizes, and although they often associate more closely with those whom they find more similar in ways to themselves, the fact is, there is only one human race. Racism is ridiculous because we are all related, not by means of naturalistic evolution, but by special Creation. No one person is inherently of more value than another person. We are all sons and daughters of Adam and Eve—the specially created couple whom God made thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:20). What’s more, we are also sons and daughters of Noah and his wife, through whom the Earth was repopulated after the worldwide Flood of Genesis 6-8.

As the apostle Paul informed the idolatrous Athenians 2,000 years ago, God “made from one blood every nation to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). Adam and Eve had children, who had children, who had children…who had you and me. We are all physically related. We are all of one race—the one human race. We are all (as modern science classifies us) of the same human species—Homo sapiens. We all trace our ancestry back to Noah, and then back to Adam. We may have different skin color, facial features, hair texture, etc., but we are all brothers and sisters! We are family—a part of the same human race.

#3—God Doesn’t Play Favorites…and Neither Should We

Although God is omnipotent, He is actually color-blind. His all-loving, perfectly just nature will not allow Him to love someone more than another based upon the color of a person’s skin or the nation in which one was born. Similar to how God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), God cannot show favoritism.

Moses wrote: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19). Peter said: “God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35, emp. added). According to Paul, God “does not receive a face” (Galatians 2:6, NASB literal footnote rendering); that is, “God does not judge by external appearance” (Galatians 2:6, NIV).

In short, it is impossible to hold “the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, (the Lord) of glory, with respect of persons” (James 2:1, ASV). The Christian’s care and concern for his fellow brother by Creation and by Christ is to be color-blind.

#4—Love is Not Racist

Whereas racism is fueled by earthly ignorance and hate, the Christian is filled with the fruit of Heaven’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The child of God is directed by an omniscient, omni-benevolent Father Who expects His children to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). To the Philippians Paul wrote, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (1:9-11, emp. added). 

In two of the more challenging sections of Scripture, Paul wrote: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, ESV). “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…. Repay no one evil for evil…. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:9-18).

No Christian can be a racist, and any racist who claims to be a Christian is, in truth, a liar. As the apostle John explained, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21).

“[W]hatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor [regardless of his or her color and ethnicity—EL]. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:9-10, NIV).

#5—Jesus is EVERYONE’S Savior

In one of the earliest Messianic prophecies, God promised Abraham that it would be through One of his descendants that “all the nations” and “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 22:18; 12:3, emp. added). It certainly was an honor for Abraham’s family to be chosen as the one through whom the Savior of the world would come, but Jesus did not come only to save the Jews. God did not enact a plan of salvation to save one particular color of people. He did not send Jesus to take away the sins of a particular ethnic group or nation. Jesus is the answer to the whole world’s sin problem; He is “the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17, emp. added).

“God…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4, emp. added). For this reason, “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:47, emp. added)—to people of all colors, in all cultures, in whatever countries.

The Gospel “is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, emp. added). And when individuals in the world “obey the Gospel” (2 Thessalonians 1:8; see Lyons and Butt, n.d.) and are added to the Lord’s Church by God Himself (Acts 2:47), we all become one in Christ Jesus. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:29).

Conclusion

I do not claim to be an expert on race relations, but I know that some people genuinely struggle with the sin of racism. Some struggle with being the recipients of racism, which in turn may cause them to be tempted to react in racist ways. Others struggle with cowardly silence as they tolerate the sin of racism in their homes, churches, schools, businesses, and communities. Still others seem so preoccupied with advancing their own racial agenda that they appear to hastily interpret most everything as a racial problem, when most things are not.

Jesus once taught the hypocrites of His day, saying, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). May God help us to see as He sees: “for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). What a better world this would be if everyone realized the foolishness of judging a book by its cover. Racism really is ridiculous.

REFERENCES

Huxley, Thomas (1865), “Emancipation—Black and White,” http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/CE3/B&W.html.

Lyons, Eric (2011), “The Moral Argument for the Existence of God,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4101&topic=95.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (no date), Receiving the Gift of Salvation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), https://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Receiving%20the%20Gift%20of%20Salvation.pdf.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2009), “Darwin, Evolution, and Racism,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=2654.

Marchant, Jo (2008), “We Should Act Like the Animals We Are,” New Scientist, 200[2678]:44-45, October 18-24.

Mounce, William D. (1993), Basics of Biblical Greek (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

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