Category Archives: Apologetics

God versus Science

Now begins the blogging of the November 13th cover story of Time Magazine.

God vs. Science

We revere faith and scientific progress, hunger for miracles and for MRIs. But are the worldviews compatible? TIME convenes a debate
By DAVID VAN BIEMA

There are two great debates under the broad heading of Science vs. God. The more familiar over the past few years is the narrower of the two: Can Darwinian evolution withstand the criticisms of Christians who believe that it contradicts the creation account in the Book of Genesis? In recent years, creationism took on new currency as the spiritual progenitor of “intelligent design” (I.D.), a scientifically worded attempt to show that blanks in the evolutionary narrative are more meaningful than its very convincing totality. I.D. lost some of its journalistic heat last December when a federal judge dismissed it as pseudoscience unsuitable for teaching in Pennsylvania schools.

I have reviewed the Pennsylvania decision and in my opinion it was entirely boneheaded and unscientific. I also think that we can immediately see from the phrase, “very convincing totality” that this article is being written with a definite pro-evolution slant. But that is to be expected from Time.

But in fact creationism and I.D. are intimately related to a larger unresolved question, in which the aggressor’s role is reversed: Can religion stand up to the progress of science?

This statement flies in the face of the fact that most early scientists were not only believers in God, but their belief that God was both orderly and logical and good allowed them to trust in certain rules of testing and evidence that remain in use today. Life is not random. Also, belief in God exists outside of one’s opinion about origins even if it may be related.

This debate long predates Darwin, but the antireligion position is being promoted with increasing insistence by scientists angered by intelligent design and excited, perhaps intoxicated, by their disciplines’ increasing ability to map, quantify and change the nature of human experience.

Now the writer is gushing! He might want to consider writing advertising copy instead of a supposedly scientific treatise.

Brain imaging illustrates–in color!–the physical seat of the will and the passions, challenging the religious concept of a soul independent of glands and gristle. Brain chemists track imbalances that could account for the ecstatic states of visionary saints or, some suggest, of Jesus. Like Freudianism before it, the field of evolutionary psychology generates theories of altruism and even of religion that do not include God.

The above is speculative, of course, and when it comes to Jesus it is downright insulting to believers. The writer suggests to an extent that Jesus was simply experiencing chemical brain imbalances!!!!! Makes you wonder why those with imbalances these days don’t heal the sick, raise the dead and provide a basis for moral behavior for Western Civilization, right?

Something called the multiverse hypothesis in cosmology speculates that ours may be but one in a cascade of universes, suddenly bettering the odds that life could have cropped up here accidentally, without divine intervention. (If the probabilities were 1 in a billion, and you’ve got 300 billion universes, why not?)

This is also remarkably speculative and doubtless thought up primarily because the odds against the creation of the Universe, life and other tenets of naturalistic thinking are so insurmountable otherwise. This is why odds against those things are no longer anything I pay much attention to, since evolutionists will just pull the multiverse thing out of their back pocket and the discussion can no longer continue. Once life was established on earth, though, the odds do pertain, but that is another discussion.

Roman Catholicism’s Christoph Cardinal Schönborn has dubbed the most fervent of faith-challenging scientists followers of “scientism” or “evolutionism,” since they hope science, beyond being a measure, can replace religion as a worldview and a touchstone. It is not an epithet that fits everyone wielding a test tube. But a growing proportion of the profession is experiencing what one major researcher calls “unprecedented outrage” at perceived insults to research and rationality, ranging from the alleged influence of the Christian right on Bush Administration science policy to the fanatic faith of the 9/11 terrorists to intelligent design’s ongoing claims.

Really, I am surprised that evolutionists aren’t tearing their clothes and rioting in the streets! That this author ties Christians with murdering terrorists and then brings in ID in the same breath reveals that he is more than against God, he is downright hostile to God and all who believe. Intelligent Design makes many claims that evolutionists have made only the most pathetic and futile inroads against. School boards can be flummoxed by the problems involved but real scientists, at the very least, agree that there are uncounted ID problems that evolution has no good answer for, not the least of which is the process known as photosynthesis.

Some are radicalized enough to publicly pick an ancient scab: the idea that science and religion, far from being complementary responses to the unknown, are at utter odds–or, as Yale psychologist Paul Bloom has written bluntly, “Religion and science will always clash.” The market seems flooded with books by scientists describing a caged death match between science and God–with science winning, or at least chipping away at faith’s underlying verities.

There are plenty of God-believers who also believe in evolution, and there are those who don’t buy either one. Christianity and evolution are not mutually exclusive. In my view, a careful consideration of evolution will bring you to a need to choose sides at some point but that is just me.

Finding a spokesman for this side of the question was not hard, since Richard Dawkins, perhaps its foremost polemicist, has just come out with The God Delusion (Houghton Mifflin), the rare volume whose position is so clear it forgoes a subtitle. The five-week New York Times best seller (now at No. 8) attacks faith philosophically and historically as well as scientifically, but leans heavily on Darwinian theory, which was Dawkins’ expertise as a young scientist and more recently as an explicator of evolutionary psychology so lucid that he occupies the Charles Simonyi professorship for the public understanding of science at Oxford University.

Does anyone else find it funny that the author chooses a non-scientist to represent “Science” in his article while a genuine scientist takes the other side? In fact, the discussion is ongoing with scientists being on both sides. The actual title should be “Godless Science versus Science with God”, were the author being both honest and balanced.

Dawkins is riding the crest of an atheist literary wave. In 2004, The End of Faith, a multipronged indictment by neuroscience grad student Sam Harris, was published (over 400,000 copies in print). Harris has written a 96-page follow-up, Letter to a Christian Nation, which is now No. 14 on the Times list. Last February, Tufts University philosopher Daniel Dennett produced Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, which has sold fewer copies but has helped usher the discussion into the public arena.

If Dennett and Harris are almost-scientists (Dennett runs a multidisciplinary scientific-philosophic program), the authors of half a dozen aggressively secular volumes are card carriers: In Moral Minds, Harvard biologist Marc Hauser explores the–nondivine–origins of our sense of right and wrong (September); in Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast (due in January) by self-described “atheist-reductionist-materialist” biologist Lewis Wolpert, religion is one of those impossible things; Victor Stenger, a physicist-astronomer, has a book coming out titled God: The Failed Hypothesis. Meanwhile, Ann Druyan, widow of archskeptical astrophysicist Carl Sagan, has edited Sagan’s unpublished lectures on God and his absence into a book, The Varieties of Scientific Experience, out this month.

Fine, and I can find you plenty of books on Scientology, too. Or Astrology. Whatever. The sheer volume of books that are pro-evolution and hostile to God doesn’t make them right. The loudest voice isn’t necessarily the best.

Dawkins and his army have a swarm of articulate theological opponents, of course. But the most ardent of these don’t really care very much about science, and an argument in which one party stands immovable on Scripture and the other immobile on the periodic table doesn’t get anyone very far.

The above statement is either remarkably ignorant or deliberately false. There are hundreds of respected scientists who are pro-Creation and anti-evolution as anyone who has studied the subject or even simply read this blog would know without doubt.

Most Americans occupy the middle ground: we want it all. We want to cheer on science’s strides and still humble ourselves on the Sabbath. We want access to both MRIs and miracles. We want debates about issues like stem cells without conceding that the positions are so intrinsically inimical as to make discussion fruitless. And to balance formidable standard bearers like Dawkins, we seek those who possess religious conviction but also scientific achievements to credibly argue the widespread hope that science and God are in harmony–that, indeed, science is of God.

Well, my research indicates that the majority of the great scientists of the past, like Newton, were actually believers in a created Universe and believed that science was the study of God’s creation. More propaganda from the author. I am really looking forward to the dialogue between the two protagonists so that more than one point of view gets presented. Good grief!

Informed conciliators have recently become more vocal. Stanford University biologist Joan Roughgarden has just come out with Evolution and Christian Faith, which provides what she calls a “strong Christian defense” of evolutionary biology, illustrating the discipline’s major concepts with biblical passages. Entomologist Edward O. Wilson, a famous skeptic of standard faith, has written The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, urging believers and non-believers to unite over conservation. But foremost of those arguing for common ground is Francis Collins.

Uh-oh! Are we actually going to have a debate between an ardent evolutionist and an ardent Creationist or is this going to be black versus off-white?

Collins’ devotion to genetics is, if possible, greater than Dawkins’. Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute since 1993, he headed a multinational 2,400-scientist team that co-mapped the 3 billion biochemical letters of our genetic blueprint, a milestone that then President Bill Clinton honored in a 2000 White House ceremony, comparing the genome chart to Meriwether Lewis’ map of his fateful continental exploration. Collins continues to lead his institute in studying the genome and mining it for medical breakthroughs.

He is also a forthright Christian who converted from atheism at age 27 and now finds time to advise young evangelical scientists on how to declare their faith in science’s largely agnostic upper reaches. His summer best seller, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (Free Press), laid out some of the arguments he brought to bear in the 90-minute debate TIME arranged between Dawkins and Collins in our offices at the Time & Life Building in New York City on Sept. 30. Some excerpts from their spirited exchange:

Okay, maybe he will be okay…tomorrow we begin the actual debate between the two men concerning this issue. But look at how long this very slanted prologue went on! The author was determined to preconfigure the audience to take his side in the debate. Bad form, that! Furthermore, one side is represented by a non-scientist who just wrote a book, “The God Delusion” that by it’s very title is dismissive and arrogant. Meanwhile the God side seems to be represented by a balanced, non-hostile scientist. Knowing that this very slanted journalist is going to pick and choose portions of the debate between the men, one might expect that the result is going to favor evolution whether or not the actual discussion went quite that way. But curiosity drives us to review it anyway.

Now continues the blogging of the November 13th cover story of Time Magazine.

TIME: Professor Dawkins, if one truly understands science, is God then a delusion, as your book title suggests?

DAWKINS: The question of whether there exists a supernatural creator, a God, is one of the most important that we have to answer. I think that it is a scientific question. My answer is no.

Ah, the naturalist is given a leading question. He cannot perceive God by naturalistic methods, with a worldview that cannot see the supernatural, so it is no surprise he wants to assert that there is no God.

TIME: Dr. Collins, you believe that science is compatible with Christian faith.

COLLINS: Yes. God’s existence is either true or not. But calling it a scientific question implies that the tools of science can provide the answer. From my perspective, God cannot be completely contained within nature, and therefore God’s existence is outside of science’s ability to really weigh in.

Good answer. Science cannot either prove or disprove the existence of God, nor is it supposed to do so. Unfortunately people like Darwin and Dawkins have tried to use science to eliminate the concept of God and many laymen have been so deceived.

TIME: Stephen Jay Gould, a Harvard paleontologist, famously argued that religion and science can coexist, because they occupy separate, airtight boxes. You both seem to disagree.

COLLINS: Gould sets up an artificial wall between the two worldviews that doesn’t exist in my life. Because I do believe in God’s creative power in having brought it all into being in the first place, I find that studying the natural world is an opportunity to observe the majesty, the elegance, the intricacy of God’s creation.

DAWKINS: I think that Gould’s separate compartments was a purely political ploy to win middle-of-the-road religious people to the science camp. But it’s a very empty idea. There are plenty of places where religion does not keep off the scientific turf. Any belief in miracles is flat contradictory not just to the facts of science but to the spirit of science.

So Dawkins asserts here that there are no miracles. Hmmm. He must believe that the miracles performed by Jesus didn’t happen. The problem is that even the non-Christian Jews, who considered Jesus to be a problem, recorded that He had performed miracles. There were hundreds of witnesses to most of the miracles of Jesus and just because they are all dead now doesn’t change things. Dawkins wants us to ignore the New Testament scriptures and hundreds of witnesses and the witness of the non-believing Jews and claim that miracles are “flat contradictory not just to the facts of science but to the spirit of science.”

TIME: Professor Dawkins, you think Darwin’s theory of evolution does more than simply contradict the Genesis story.

DAWKINS: Yes. For centuries the most powerful argument for God’s existence from the physical world was the so-called argument from design: Living things are so beautiful and elegant and so apparently purposeful, they could only have been made by an intelligent designer. But Darwin provided a simpler explanation. His way is a gradual, incremental improvement starting from very simple beginnings and working up step by tiny incremental step to more complexity, more elegance, more adaptive perfection. Each step is not too improbable for us to countenance, but when you add them up cumulatively over millions of years, you get these monsters of improbability, like the human brain and the rain forest. It should warn us against ever again assuming that because something is complicated, God must have done it.

Darwin provided a simpler explanation largely because he had no concept of how complex life really is. Early 19th century scientists had just begun to absorb the work of pioneers like the Pasteurs, just begun to see that the makeup of living organisms consisted of far more complexity than previously imagined.

I have posted many times about a multitude of problems with Darwinian theory, and the ID argument is just one of them. There is no evidence of macroevolution ever being observed, by the way, so Dawkins is speaking of things that are speculative and not observed or proven.

COLLINS: I don’t see that Professor Dawkins’ basic account of evolution is incompatible with God’s having designed it.

ALARM! DIVEDIVEDIVE! Now here comes yet another problem with this article. I believe I have established that the author of this piece is predisposed to take the Darwin side of the question. But now we discover that the scientist he has chosen to take the Creation side isn’t acutally a pure Creationist! We aren’t being presented with black versus white, but rather as I feared it is black versus off-white.

TIME: When would this have occurred?

COLLINS: By being outside of nature, God is also outside of space and time. Hence, at the moment of the creation of the universe, God could also have activated evolution, with full knowledge of how it would turn out, perhaps even including our having this conversation. The idea that he could both foresee the future and also give us spirit and free will to carry out our own desires becomes entirely acceptable.

DAWKINS: I think that’s a tremendous cop-out. If God wanted to create life and create humans, it would be slightly odd that he should choose the extraordinarily roundabout way of waiting for 10 billion years before life got started and then waiting for another 4 billion years until you got human beings capable of worshipping and sinning and all the other things religious people are interested in.

Oh boy. Now I find myself agreeing with Richard Dawkins! I agree that such a view is a cop-out indeed. Collins runs away from the argument entirely.

COLLINS: Who are we to say that that was an odd way to do it? I don’t think that it is God’s purpose to make his intention absolutely obvious to us. If it suits him to be a deity that we must seek without being forced to, would it not have been sensible for him to use the mechanism of evolution without posting obvious road signs to reveal his role in creation?

Come on! Why would God come up with a way to bring about all current living things by producing untold generations of organisms dying and failing and struggling to adapt to a cruel world? That is a loving God? Plus, if the Genesis account of the Bible is not reliable, then doesn’t that mean that the Bible itself is unreliable? If we cannot believe that the Bible reveals God, then what good is it and how do we then know what God wants us to know?

TIME: Both your books suggest that if the universal constants, the six or more characteristics of our universe, had varied at all, it would have made life impossible. Dr. Collins, can you provide an example?

COLLINS: The gravitational constant, if it were off by one part in a hundred million million, then the expansion of the universe after the Big Bang would not have occurred in the fashion that was necessary for life to occur. When you look at that evidence, it is very difficult to adopt the view that this was just chance. But if you are willing to consider the possibility of a designer, this becomes a rather plausible explanation for what is otherwise an exceedingly improbable event–namely, our existence.

Weak example. Dr. Hugh Ross lists 154 examples of the incredibly narrow parameters required to allow life on Earth alone, as I have listed previously, and the list grows when you consider requirements for the existence of the Universe.

That Dr. Collins is a Big-Banger and also that he allows for evolution being driven by God means that he really doesn’t make a good debate opponent for Dawkins. Dr. Ken Ham is one of many hundreds of far better candidates. Alas, we have what we have for now.

DAWKINS: People who believe in God conclude there must have been a divine knob twiddler who twiddled the knobs of these half-dozen constants to get them exactly right. The problem is that this says, because something is vastly improbable, we need a God to explain it. But that God himself would be even more improbable. Physicists have come up with other explanations. One is to say that these six constants are not free to vary. Some unified theory will eventually show that they are as locked in as the circumference and the diameter of a circle. That reduces the odds of them all independently just happening to fit the bill. The other way is the multiverse way. That says that maybe the universe we are in is one of a very large number of universes. The vast majority will not contain life because they have the wrong gravitational constant or the wrong this constant or that constant. But as the number of universes climbs, the odds mount that a tiny minority of universes will have the right fine-tuning.

I am curious as to why Dawkins can assert that the existence of God is improbable and that statement goes unchallenged? The rules of logic dictate that the simplest explanation is the best and the existence of a Creator God is far and away the simplest explanation for the Universe and all of life having come about. You must being bringing in corrolary assumptions when you dismiss God. Dawkins in this case is counting on those 300 billion universes or whatever the theory is this week. Is there any real evidence for this, or was it thought up just out of necessity?

COLLINS: This is an interesting choice. Barring a theoretical resolution, which I think is unlikely, you either have to say there are zillions of parallel universes out there that we can’t observe at present or you have to say there was a plan. I actually find the argument of the existence of a God who did the planning more compelling than the bubbling of all these multiverses. So Occam’s razor–Occam says you should choose the explanation that is most simple and straightforward–leads me more to believe in God than in the multiverse, which seems quite a stretch of the imagination.

Yeah. Like I said. So why, Francis, not apply Occam’s to the evolution versus Creation question, too?

DAWKINS: I accept that there may be things far grander and more incomprehensible than we can possibly imagine. What I can’t understand is why you invoke improbability and yet you will not admit that you’re shooting yourself in the foot by postulating something just as improbable, magicking into existence the word God.

Gee, Dawk old boy, the idea of God was around a long time before either you or Collins were born. No “magicking” was involved. God was the first explanation for our existence, and the simplest and most logical. You simply can’t grok.

COLLINS: My God is not improbable to me. He has no need of a creation story for himself or to be fine-tuned by something else. God is the answer to all of those “How must it have come to be” questions.

DAWKINS: I think that’s the mother and father of all cop-outs. It’s an honest scientific quest to discover where this apparent improbability comes from. Now Dr. Collins says, “Well, God did it. And God needs no explanation because God is outside all this.” Well, what an incredible evasion of the responsibility to explain. Scientists don’t do that. Scientists say, “We’re working on it. We’re struggling to understand.”

Ah, but when Creation is the logical explanation, and more so as we learn more about life, then to me those who deny God are the ones who are doing the evading. Dawkins comes from the “ohnonotGod” school of thought, wherein God cannot be the answer no matter what. Meanwhile, believing scientists study to learn more about life without being hindered by such a prejudice.

COLLINS: Certainly science should continue to see whether we can find evidence for multiverses that might explain why our own universe seems to be so finely tuned. But I do object to the assumption that anything that might be outside of nature is ruled out of the conversation. That’s an impoverished view of the kinds of questions we humans can ask, such as “Why am I here?”, “What happens after we die?”, “Is there a God?” If you refuse to acknowledge their appropriateness, you end up with a zero probability of God after examining the natural world because it doesn’t convince you on a proof basis. But if your mind is open about whether God might exist, you can point to aspects of the universe that are consistent with that conclusion.

Hey, go ahead and study anything and everything that interests you! We all benefit from good research. Collin’s belief in God, which Dawkins sees as anti-science, has led to several great achievements. I quote from the National Human Genome Research Institute site: His research has led to the identification of genes responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington’s disease and Hutchison-Gilford progeria syndrome.

Dawkins has been credited with discoveries advancing the study of evolution, primarily. He is so hostile to God that it pretty well exhudes from his very pores. Allow me to give you an example:

Standing in the pulpit of the First Parish Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Richard Dawkins introduced his “sermon” this way:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

The 600 people in attendance laughed and applauded, clearly excited to hear the author read from his new book, The God Delusion.

Dr. Dawkins has come to America to promote his book and expand the ranks of the “new atheists”—those who unashamedly “come out of the closet” to proclaim their atheism. According to Wired magazine’s Gary Wolf, they are “a band of intellectual brothers … mounting a crusade against belief in God.”

In my estimation, Collins has done more for mankind than Dawkins despite his “handicap” of belief.

COLLINS: Certainly science should continue to see whether we can find evidence for multiverses that might explain why our own universe seems to be so finely tuned. But I do object to the assumption that anything that might be outside of nature is ruled out of the conversation. That’s an impoverished view of the kinds of questions we humans can ask, such as “Why am I here?”, “What happens after we die?”, “Is there a God?” If you refuse to acknowledge their appropriateness, you end up with a zero probability of God after examining the natural world because it doesn’t convince you on a proof basis. But if your mind is open about whether God might exist, you can point to aspects of the universe that are consistent with that conclusion.

This is an idea I have expressed before and it seems like a powerful one: that when one refuses to consider the supernatural he automatically eliminates a subset that may include the answers to the questions being asked. Those who demand only naturalistic solutions may miss the actual solution entirely.

We go forward…

DAWKINS: To me, the right approach is to say we are profoundly ignorant of these matters. We need to work on them. But to suddenly say the answer is God–it’s that that seems to me to close off the discussion.

TIME: Could the answer be God?

DAWKINS: There could be something incredibly grand and incomprehensible and beyond our present understanding.

COLLINS: That’s God.

DAWKINS: Yes. But it could be any of a billion Gods. It could be God of the Martians or of the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri. The chance of its being a particular God, Yahweh, the God of Jesus, is vanishingly small–at the least, the onus is on you to demonstrate why you think that’s the case.

The onus is on who? Why not put the onus on Dawkins to show that God can’t apply to a situation? In fact, why put any special requirement on an argument from either God or not-God, but rather let suppositions stand or fall on their own.

When it comes to science, the idea is to seek truth not to justify a belief system. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is plausible to allow scientific discoveries to be applied to your belief systems. But when you do scientific research, the idea is to look for the answer. If the answer is that God created, there is no special requirement to get a note from your mother in order to say it.

To me, at the bottom of it all you either think Goddidit or chancedidit. Okay, either way, the job of most disciplines of science is to figure out how things work and how we can apply it to our lives more so than concentrating on which didit didit. Right?

TIME: The Book of Genesis has led many conservative Protestants to oppose evolution and some to insist that the earth is only 6,000 years old.

COLLINS: There are sincere believers who interpret Genesis 1 and 2 in a very literal way that is inconsistent, frankly, with our knowledge of the universe’s age or of how living organisms are related to each other. St. Augustine wrote that basically it is not possible to understand what was being described in Genesis. It was not intended as a science textbook. It was intended as a description of who God was, who we are and what our relationship is supposed to be with God. Augustine explicitly warns against a very narrow perspective that will put our faith at risk of looking ridiculous. If you step back from that one narrow interpretation, what the Bible describes is very consistent with the Big Bang.

This is why Collins is a bad choice to oppose Dawkins. He and Dawkins agree from the get-go on certain issues such as this one. There are plenty of believing scientists who don’t believe the Genesis account is incorrect.

DAWKINS: Physicists are working on the Big Bang, and one day they may or may not solve it. However, what Dr. Collins has just been–may I call you Francis?

COLLINS: Oh, please, Richard, do so.

DAWKINS: What Francis was just saying about Genesis was, of course, a little private quarrel between him and his Fundamentalist colleagues …

COLLINS: It’s not so private. It’s rather public. [Laughs.]

DAWKINS: … It would be unseemly for me to enter in except to suggest that he’d save himself an awful lot of trouble if he just simply ceased to give them the time of day. Why bother with these clowns?

COLLINS: Richard, I think we don’t do a service to dialogue between science and faith to characterize sincere people by calling them names. That inspires an even more dug-in position. Atheists sometimes come across as a bit arrogant in this regard, and characterizing faith as something only an idiot would attach themselves to is not likely to help your case.

A bit arrogant? The situation in Iraq is a bit sticky. Boxing is a bit violent.

TIME: Dr. Collins, the Resurrection is an essential argument of Christian faith, but doesn’t it, along with the virgin birth and lesser miracles, fatally undermine the scientific method, which depends on the constancy of natural laws?

Dumb question, incredibly slanted. Counsel is leading the witness, your honor!

COLLINS: If you’re willing to answer yes to a God outside of nature, then there’s nothing inconsistent with God on rare occasions choosing to invade the natural world in a way that appears miraculous. If God made the natural laws, why could he not violate them when it was a particularly significant moment for him to do so? And if you accept the idea that Christ was also divine, which I do, then his Resurrection is not in itself a great logical leap.

Well, duh. If God made the laws, any way in which He works is natural. Trust me, evolutionists depend on the idea that conditions on earth today have not always been the same and so do Creationists. We keep finding that there are addendums to the “Laws of Nature” as we learn more and more. Newtonian physics yielded to Einstein and Quantum Theory. The speed of light, we have recently discovered, is apparently NOT a constant.

TIME: Doesn’t the very notion of miracles throw off science?

COLLINS: Not at all. If you are in the camp I am, one place where science and faith could touch each other is in the investigation of supposedly miraculous events.

DAWKINS: If ever there was a slamming of the door in the face of constructive investigation, it is the word miracle. To a medieval peasant, a radio would have seemed like a miracle. All kinds of things may happen which we by the lights of today’s science would classify as a miracle just as medieval science might a Boeing 747. Francis keeps saying things like “From the perspective of a believer.” Once you buy into the position of faith, then suddenly you find yourself losing all of your natural skepticism and your scientific–really scientific–credibility. I’m sorry to be so blunt.

Too bad. The world wasn’t made to accomodate one man’s view of how scientific methods must be carried out. Belief in God didn’t stop Newton from making discoveries, or Crick, or Pasteur. Dawkins may see it as a hindrance but in fact history says that it is not.

COLLINS: Richard, I actually agree with the first part of what you said. But I would challenge the statement that my scientific instincts are any less rigorous than yours. The difference is that my presumption of the possibility of God and therefore the supernatural is not zero, and yours is.

Collins reiterates that very good point that Dawkins has failed to address.

TIME: Dr. Collins, you have described humanity’s moral sense not only as a gift from God but as a signpost that he exists.

COLLINS: There is a whole field of inquiry that has come up in the last 30 or 40 years–some call it sociobiology or evolutionary psychology–relating to where we get our moral sense and why we value the idea of altruism, and locating both answers in behavioral adaptations for the preservation of our genes. But if you believe, and Richard has been articulate in this, that natural selection operates on the individual, not on a group, then why would the individual risk his own DNA doing something selfless to help somebody in a way that might diminish his chance of reproducing? Granted, we may try to help our own family members because they share our DNA. Or help someone else in expectation that they will help us later. But when you look at what we admire as the most generous manifestations of altruism, they are not based on kin selection or reciprocity. An extreme example might be Oskar Schindler risking his life to save more than a thousand Jews from the gas chambers. That’s the opposite of saving his genes. We see less dramatic versions every day. Many of us think these qualities may come from God–especially since justice and morality are two of the attributes we most readily identify with God.

DAWKINS: Can I begin with an analogy? Most people understand that sexual lust has to do with propagating genes. Copulation in nature tends to lead to reproduction and so to more genetic copies. But in modern society, most copulations involve contraception, designed precisely to avoid reproduction. Altruism probably has origins like those of lust. In our prehistoric past, we would have lived in extended families, surrounded by kin whose interests we might have wanted to promote because they shared our genes. Now we live in big cities. We are not among kin nor people who will ever reciprocate our good deeds. It doesn’t matter. Just as people engaged in sex with contraception are not aware of being motivated by a drive to have babies, it doesn’t cross our mind that the reason for do-gooding is based in the fact that our primitive ancestors lived in small groups. But that seems to me to be a highly plausible account for where the desire for morality, the desire for goodness, comes from.

I have a highly plausible bridge to sell you, in Brooklyn. Dawkins is inventing genetic characteristics and predispositions out of whole cloth. It is clever obfuscation but it remains baseless speculation (BS for short)!

COLLINS: For you to argue that our noblest acts are a misfiring of Darwinian behavior does not do justice to the sense we all have about the absolutes that are involved here of good and evil. Evolution may explain some features of the moral law, but it can’t explain why it should have any real significance. If it is solely an evolutionary convenience, there is really no such thing as good or evil. But for me, it is much more than that. The moral law is a reason to think of God as plausible–not just a God who sets the universe in motion but a God who cares about human beings, because we seem uniquely amongst creatures on the planet to have this far-developed sense of morality. What you’ve said implies that outside of the human mind, tuned by evolutionary processes, good and evil have no meaning. Do you agree with that?

Stay tuned until tomorrow for the last part of this article. Collins leaves us with a great question, which Dawkins has presented to us in the midst of his assertions. Is there such a thing as good and evil? By what justification do those who believe in evolution assert that good and evil even exist? For in their world we are random beings formed by the workings of random and unthinking processes and neither good nor evil should be considered to exist, right?

How does one explain the inherent knowledge within the great majority of people that there is good and evil? How about the understanding inherent within normal folks that individual life has value? Only the few mutant souls among us are born without such knowledge and we call them sociopaths, moral monsters who easily become serial killers or totalitarian rulers. Yet evolution provides no evidence that such inherent knowledge should have ever come about.

(original link)

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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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The Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

Jeff Miller, Ph.D. From Issue: R&R – May 2016

The famous philosopher from the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas, is generally given credit for articulating what is known as the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God, although the Bible described the essence of the argument hundreds of years before he was on the scene (e.g., Hebrews 3:4). The argument essentially says that the cosmos is here and had to come from somewhere. It could not have created itself. Nothing comes from nothing in nature, as verified by the First Law of Thermodynamics (Miller, 2013).

The rational person will only draw conclusions that are supported by the evidence (Ruby, 1960, pp. 130-131). The evidence from the natural realm indicates that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent (or simultaneous—Miller, 2012a) cause. The mass of a paper clip is not going to provide sufficient gravitational pull to cause a tidal wave. There must be an adequate cause for the tidal wave, like a massive, offshore, underwater earthquake (“Tsunamis,” 2000, pp. 1064, 2000). Leaning against a mountain will certainly not cause it to topple over. Jumping up and down on the ground will not cause an earthquake. If a chair is not placed in an empty room, the room will remain chairless. If matter was not made and placed in the Universe, we would not exist. There must be an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause for every material effect. If this Law of Cause and Effect seems intuitive to you, then you understand why the Cosmological Argument is powerful, logical evidence for the existence of God.

Causality and History

The Law of Cause and Effect, or Law/Principle of Causality, has been investigated and recognized for millennia. From at least the time of Plato (1966, 1:96a-b) and Aristotle (2009, 1[3]) in the fourth century B.C., philosophers have pondered causality. In 1781, the renowned German philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote concerning the Principle of Causality in his Critique of Pure Reason that “everything that happens presupposes a previous condition, which it follows with absolute certainty, in conformity with a rule…. All changes take place according to the law of the connection of Cause and Effect” (Kant, 1781, emp. added). In the nineteenth century, German medical scientist and Father of Cellular Pathology, Rudolf Virchow, affirmed that “[e]verywhere there is mechanistic process only, with the unbreakable necessity of cause and effect” (1858, p. 115, emp. added). Fast forwarding another century, our increased understanding of the world still did not cause the law to be discredited. In 1934, W.T. Stace, professor of philosophy at Princeton University, in A Critical History of Greek Philosophy, wrote:

Every student of logic knows that this is the ultimate canon of the sciences, the foundation of them all. If we did not believe the truth of causation, namely, everything which has a beginning has a cause, and that in the same circumstances the same things invariably happen, all the sciences would at once crumble to dust. In every scientific investigation this truth is assumed (p. 6, emp. added).

The truth of causality is so substantiated that it is taken for granted in scientific investigation. It is “assumed.”

This principle is not some idea that can simply be brushed aside without consideration. If the Law of Causality were not in effect, science could not proceed—it would “crumble to dust” since, by its very nature, it involves gathering evidence and testing hypotheses in order to find regularities in nature. The goal of scientific experimentation is to determine what will happen (i.e., what will be the effect) if one does certain things (i.e., initiates certain causes). If there were no relationship between cause and effect, then nothing could be taken for granted. One day gravity may be in effect, and the next day it may not, and there would be no point in studying it, since it might be different tomorrow. There would be no such thing as a “scientific law,” since there would be no such thing as a “regularity,” which is fundamental to the definition of a law of science (McGraw-Hill Dictionary…, 2003, p. 1182).

Moving farther into the 20th century, the Law of Cause and Effect still had not been repealed. In 1949, Albert Einstein, in The World as I See It, under the heading “The Religiousness of Science,” wrote, “But the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation” (2007, p. 35, emp. added). In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, renowned American philosopher and professor Richard Taylor wrote, “Nevertheless, it is hardly disputable that the idea of causation is not only indispensable in the common affairs of life but in all applied sciences as well” (1967, p. 57, emp. added).

Even today, when scientific exploration has brought us to unprecedented heights of knowledge, the age old Law of Causality cannot be denied. Today’s dictionaries define “causality” as:

  • “the principle that nothing can happen without being caused” (“Causality,” 2009).
  • “the principle that everything has a cause” (“Causality,” 2008).

The National Academy of Science’s guidebook, Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, says, “One goal of science is to understand nature. ‘Understanding’ in science means relating one natural phenomenon to another and recognizing the causes and effects of phenomena…. Progress in science consists of the development of better explanations for the causes of natural phenomena” (1998, p. 42. emp. added). Notice that, according to the National Academy of Science (NAS), there can be no progress in science without causality. The NAS, though entirely naturalistic in its approach to science, recognizes causality to be fundamental to the nature of science. It is not, and cannot rationally be, denied—except when necessary in order to prop up a deficient worldview. Its ramifications have been argued for years, but after the dust settles, the Law of Cause and Effect still stands unscathed, having weathered the trials thrust upon it for thousands of years.

The Law of Causality—A Problem for Atheism

The Law of Causality is fundamental to science, and yet it stands in the way of the bulk of today’s scientific community due to their flawed definition of “science.” In an interview in 1994, the late, famous evolutionary astronomer Robert Jastrow, founder and former director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, said:

As Einstein said, scientists live by their faith in causation, and the chain of cause and effect. Every effect has a cause that can be discovered by rational arguments. And this has been a very successful program, if you will, for unraveling the history of the universe. But it just fails at the beginning…. So time, really, going backward, comes to a halt at that point. Beyond that, that curtain can never be lifted…. And that is really a blow at the very fundamental premise that motivates all scientists (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 303, emp. added).

The scientific community today, by and large, incorrectly defines “science” in such a way that anything supernatural cannot be considered “scientific,” and therefore science “fails” in certain areas. Only natural phenomena are deemed worthy of being categorized “science.” According to the definition, if something cannot be empirically observed and tested, it is not “scientific.” [NOTE: The naturalistic community contradicts itself on this matter, since several fundamental planks of evolutionary theory are unnatural—they have never been observed and all scientific investigation has proven them to be impossible (e.g., spontaneous generation of life and the laws of science, macroevolution, etc.; cf. Miller, 2012b).] One result of this flawed definition is highlighted by Jastrow, himself, in the above quote. Contrary to Jastrow’s statement, the laws of science, by definition, do not “fail.” They have no known exceptions. So, it would be unscientific to claim, without conclusive evidence in support of the claim, that a law has failed.

This leaves atheistic evolutionists in a quandary when trying to explain how the effect of the infinitely complex Universe could have come about “unscientifically”—without a natural cause. Four decades ago, Jastrow wrote:

The Universe, and everything that has happened in it since the beginning of time, are a grand effect without a known cause. An effect without a known cause? That is not the world of science; it is a world of witchcraft, of wild events and the whims of demons, a medieval world that science has tried to banish. As scientists, what are we to make of this picture? I do not know (1977, p. 21).

When Jastrow says that there is no “known cause” for everything in the Universe, he is referring to the fact that there is no known natural cause. If atheism were true, if the material realm is all that exists, if naturalistic science can shed light on the matter of origins, there must be a natural explanation of what caused the Universe. Scientists and philosophers recognize that there must be a cause that would be sufficient to bring about matter and the Universe—and yet no natural cause is known. The McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms says that “causality,” in physics, is “the principle that an event cannot precede its cause” (p. 346). However, the atheist must concede that in order for his/her claim to be valid, the effect of the Universe did not precede its cause—rather, it actually came about without it! Such a viewpoint is hardly in keeping with science.

The Law of Causality—A Friend to Creationists

Instead of flippantly disregard­ing the truth of the Law of Causality because it contradicts naturalistic theories, why not recognize that the highly respected, exception-less Law of Causality is not the problem? Why not recognize the fact that naturalistic theories, such as the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory, are simply not in harmony with science on a fundamental level? Why not consider an option that does not contradict the Law? If one were to follow the evidence wherever it leads, rather than defining God out of science, one is led to the unavoidable conclusion that there must be Someone super-natural that caused the Universe to be. If every material (i.e., natural) effect must have a cause, then the ultimate Cause of the Universe must be supernatural.

Every material effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause. Notice that creationists have absolutely no problem with the truth articulated by this God-ordained law from antiquity. In Hebrews 3:4, the Bible says that “every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” A house must have a cause—namely, a builder. It will not build itself. Scientifically speaking, according to the Law of Cause and Effect, there had to be a Cause for the Universe. And that is the essence of the Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God.

The only book on the planet which contains characteristics that prove its production to be above human capability is the Bible (see Butt, 2007). The God of the Bible is its author (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and in the very first verse of the inspired material He gave to humans, He articulated with authority and clarity that He is the Cause Who brought about the Universe and all that is in it. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1).

Emile Borel was a famous French mathematician for whom the Borel lunar crater was named (O’Connor and Robertson, 2008). He once said concerning the amazing human brain that is able to author works of literature, “Now the complexity of that brain must therefore have been even richer than the particular work to which it gave birth” (1963, p. 125). The effect of the brain’s existence, like a work of literature, must have an adequate cause. In the same way, we know that the infinite Mind behind the creation of this infinitely complex Universe had to be, and was, more than adequate for the task of bringing it all into existence (Revelation 19:6).

Uncaused Cause?

“But if everything had to have a beginning, why does the same concept not apply to God? Doesn’t God need a cause, too? Who caused God?” First, notice that this statement is based on a misunderstanding of what the Law of Cause and Effect claims concerning the Universe. The law states that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneous cause. A law of science is determined through the observation of nature—not super-nature. Since they have not observed the supernatural realm, scientists cannot apply the scientific Law of Causality to it. The laws of nature do not apply to non-material entities. The God of the Bible is a spiritual Being (John 4:24) and therefore is not governed by physical law. In the words of skeptic Michael Shermer, executive director of the Skeptics Society and columnist for Scientific American:

If God is a being in space and time, it means that He is restrained by the laws of nature and the contingencies of chance, just like all other beings of this world. An omniscient and omnipotent God must be above such constraints, not subject to nature and chance. God as creator of heaven and earth and all things invisible would need necessarily to be outside such created objects (2006, Ch. 8, emp. added).

Recall also what Professor W.T. Stace wrote in A Critical History of Greek Philosophy concerning causality. “[E]verything which has a beginning has a cause” (p. 6, emp. added). God, according to the Bible, had no beginning. Psalm 90:2 says concerning God, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (emp. added). The Bible describes God as a Being Who has always been and always will be—“from everlasting to everlasting.” He, therefore, had no beginning. Recall Hebrews 3:4 again, which indicates that God is not constrained by the Law of Cause and Effect, as are houses, but rather, presides as the Chief Builder—the Uncaused Causer—the Being Who initially set all effects into motion (John 1:3).

Again, philosophers recognize that, logically, there must be an initial cause of the Universe. [Those who attempt to sidestep the need for a Cause and argue the eternality of the physical Universe are in direct contradiction to the Law of Causality (since the Universe is a physical effect that demands a cause), as well as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which indicates that nothing physical lasts forever (see Miller, 2013).] Aristotle, in Physics, discussed the logical line of reasoning that leads to the conclusion that the initial cause of motion must be something that is not, itself, in motion—an unmoved mover (1984, 1:428). Aquinas built on Aristotle’s reasoning and said:

Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another…. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality…. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e., that it should move itself. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently no other mover…. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God (1952, 19:12,13, emp. added).

God, not being a physical, finite being, but an eternal, spiritual being (by definition), would not be subject to the condition of requiring a beginning. Therefore, the law does not apply to Him. Concerning the Law of Causality, Kant said that “everything which is contingent has a cause, which, if itself contingent, must also have a cause; and so on, till the series of subordinated causes must end with an absolutely necessary cause, without which it would not possess completeness” (2008, p. 284, emp. added). An uncaused Cause is necessary. Only God sufficiently fills that void.

Consider: in the same way that dimensional space—length, width, and height—are part of the physical Universe, time, itself, is as well. In the same way that space had to have a cause, time itself had to as well: time had a beginning. That means that its Creator logically could not have a beginning. A “beginning” implies a specific timeframe that has begun. Without time in existence, there could be no such thing as a “beginning.” So the Cause of the Universe could not have a beginning since He created time, itself. In essence, there was no such thing as a “beginning” until the uncaused Cause began something. [NOTE: If time was not created, then it exists apart from God and even God is subject to it. The Bible affirms, however, that time itself was created along with the Universe when it uses the phrase “in the beginning” in Genesis 1:1.]

Consider further: if there ever were a time in history when absolutely nothing existed—not even God—then nothing would continue to exist today, since nothing comes from nothing (in keeping with common sense and the First Law of Thermodynamics; Miller, 2013). However, we know something exists (e.g., the Universe)—which means something had to exist eternally, or we would eventually get to a point in past time when nothing existed, which we have already noted cannot be. That something that existed forever could not be physical or material, since such things do not last forever (cf. the Second Law of Thermodynamics; Miller, 2013). It follows that the eternal something must be non-physical or non-material. It must be mind rather than matter. Logically, there must be a Mind that has existed forever. That Mind, according to the Bible, is God. He, being spirit, is not subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and can exist forever—the uncreated Creator. While usable energy in the Universe is inevitably expended, according to the Second Law, moving the Universe ever closer to a state of completed deterioration and unusable energy, God’s power is “eternal” (Romans 1:20).

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 (Psalm 102:25-27, emp. added).

The Universe exists. It cannot be eternal according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It could not create itself according to the First Law of Thermodynamics. Its existence requires an adequate, supernatural Cause. The Bible calls Him Jehovah.

REFERENCES

Aquinas, Thomas (1952), Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago).

Aristotle (1984), Physics in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. Jonathan Barnes (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

Aristotle (2009), Metaphysics, trans. W.D. Ross, http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/metaphysics.1.i.html.

Borel, Emile (1963), Probability and Certainty (New York: Walker).

Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), https://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Behold%20the%20Word%20of%20God.pdf.

“Causality” (2008), Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press), http://www.wordreference.com/definition/causality.

“Causality” (2009), Collins English Dictionary—Complete & Unabridged (New York: HarperCollins Publishers), tenth edition, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Causality?x=35&y=25.

Einstein, Albert (2007), The World As I See It (New York: BN Publishing).

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

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

Kant, Immanuel (1781), The Critique of Pure Reason, trans. J.M.D. Meiklejohn (London: Henry G. Bohn), 1878 edition, http://philosophy.eserver.org/kant/critique-of-pure-reason.txt.

Kant, Immanuel (2008), Kant’s Critiques: The Critique of Pure Reason, the Critique of Practical Reason, the Critique of Judgment (Radford, VA: Wilder Publications).

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

Miller, Jeff (2012a), “Simultaneous Causation,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=687&topic=57.

Miller, Jeff (2012b), “The Atheistic Naturalist’s Self-Contradiction,” Apologetics Press, https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4225&topic=296.

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

O’Connor, John J. and Edmund F. Robertson (2008), “Felix Edouard Justin Emile Borel,” The MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive, http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Mathematicians/Borel.html.

Plato (1966), Plato in Twelve Volumes, trans. Harold North Fowler (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0170%3Atext%3DPhaedo%3Asection%3D96a.

Ruby, Lionel (1960), Logic: An Introduction (Chicago, IL: J.B. Lippincott).

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

Stace, W.T. (1934), A Critical History of Greek Philosophy (London: Macmillan).

Taylor, Richard (1967), “Causation,” in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards (New York: Philosophical Library).

Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998), National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC: National Academy Press).

“Tsunamis” (2000), The Oxford Companion to the Earth, ed. Paul L. Hancock and Brian J. Skinner (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press).

Virchow, Rudolf (1858), “On the Mechanistic Interpretation of Life,” in Disease, Life, and Man: Selected Essays, ed. by L.J. Rather (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press), 1958 edition.

(original link)

Science as a Tool of Evangelism

Michael G. Houts, Ph.D. From Issue: R&R – November 2017

Romans 1:20 states: “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.” Acts 17:16-34 gives the account of Paul speaking to the men of Athens about “God, who made the world and everything in it.” The fact is, mankind’s general understanding of Creation can be used as a very effective tool for evangelism. Advances in science continue to confirm the Bible and refute philosophies that are opposed to the Bible.

Regardless of the specific approach, evangelistic efforts must focus on encouraging people to study the Bible, obey the Gospel, and remain faithful.  Colossians 3:2 tells us: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Mark 8:36 states: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Acts 2:38 reads: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Topics that are easy to understand can often be effective in encouraging people to consider the Bible with an open mind. For example, most individuals will agree that they can make choices. The most important choice we will ever make is discussed in Joshua 24:15, which states:

[C]hoose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

But how could we make even the simplest of choices if God had not given us a spirit? The answer is, we could not.  From science we know that chemical and physical reactions follow the natural laws that God established. If humans were nothing more than a collection of several thousand trillion trillion (octillion) atoms undergoing a sophisticated chemical reaction (as atheists allege), then we could have no free will whatsoever. Acknowledgment that we can make choices is an acknowledgement of God, which can be an excellent first step in our efforts to evangelize. Once a person acknowledges God, we can then focus on helping them realize that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word, and that we need to live our lives accordingly.1

From science we know that life cannot make itself from non-living material.2 The fallacy of “spontaneous generation” can be discussed at any technical level desired. Perhaps the simplest way to initiate a conversation would be to point out that hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent in the field of biotechnology, with extremely sophisticated laboratories, and highly intelligent researchers. Yet, no one has ever come close to making life from non-living material.  Even attempts to make simple, self-replicating molecules in highly contrived environments continue to fail. Given a few billion dollars, mankind was able to create the space shuttle. Does that somehow add credence to the idea that space shuttles can create themselves? Obviously not. Claiming life (which humans cannot make) could somehow create itself is vastly less scientific than claiming cell phones, cars, airplanes, or rockets (all of which humans can make) could make themselves.

Science has also shown us that information is being lost from the genome—not gained3—further refuting religions based on Darwin’s theory of evolution. Organs and structures once thought to be “vestigial” have been shown to have useful functions,4 and the whole concept of vestigial organs and structures is now viewed as nothing more than an example of scientific ignorance that was overcome by advances in real science. Homologous and analogous physical structures are exactly what Christians would expect given that God created all life.  As the Bible states, it is the spiritual difference between humans and animals that make humans completely unique (Genesis 1:26-27). Ideas that contradict the Bible in areas related to the age of the Earth or the origin of the Universe have also been shown to be seriously flawed and based on arbitrary assumptions.5 In short, there are numerous areas of science that Christians can simply and effectively use in evangelism.

But what about topics that are difficult to discuss with individuals who are skeptical about everything? Many agnostics are committed to the idea that nothing can be known for certain. While our primary concern should be the effect that idea has on the agnostic’s willingness to study the Bible and obey the Gospel, the idea that “nothing can be known” can also affect secular conversations that we may have. Those conversations can, in turn, affect our ability to establish the trust necessary for effective evangelism.

Two contemporary examples include the idea of a “flat Earth” and the idea that the U.S. never landed astronauts on the Moon. While a person’s views on those subjects are unimportant compared to their view of Christ, useful conversations can still be had. Calm, logical discussions on secular topics can often lead to calm, logical discussions on spiritual topics.

Moon Landing

Interesting parallels can be drawn between the methods that are used in attempts to convince people that the U.S. did not land on the Moon and the methods that are used in attempts to convince people that the Bible is not God’s inerrant Word. For example, one argument used against the Moon landing is that there is a “geographical dependence” on whether or not a person believes we landed on the Moon. A Gallup Poll taken in 2001 showed that 5% of Americans believed the Moon landing was faked, and 6% did not know. At the same time 28% of Russians believed the landings were faked, and up to 75% of people in Cuba and in countries that were heavily influenced by Cuban teachers believed the landings were faked. If a person grew up near Cape Canaveral, knew people who worked on the Apollo program, witnessed Saturn V launches firsthand, and believed the U.S. landed on the Moon, his belief could be dismissed as a “geographical dependence.” The observation is made that if that same person had grown up in Cuba, he likely would not have believed in the Moon landing.  But even if that suggestion were true, does it have any bearing at all on whether or not the U.S. actually landed on the Moon? Obviously not. Likewise, atheists will often observe that if a person grows up in an area where knowledge of the Bible is strong they are much more likely to become a Christian than a person who grows up in an area where there is no knowledge of the Bible, and where becoming a Christian is punishable by death. But does that “geographical dependence” have any bearing at all on whether or not the Bible is true? Again, obviously not.

Moon-landing skeptics and agnostics often ask that if we were able to land on the Moon, why have we not returned to the Moon? One answer could be that the initial goal was achieved (land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth) and that additional goals (such as establishing a lunar outpost) will be achieved in the future. In the same vein, people often ask, “If Christ came to Earth once, why has He not returned?” The Bible gives very clear answers, such as 2 Peter 3:9 which states: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Skeptics and agnostics also point out that the Moon landings seemed too perfect. The U.S. first landed on the Moon with only six months to spare (to meet the stated objective), and the final Moon landing occurred just before the Soviet Union allegedly deployed technology that could prove the landings were fake. (The Soviet Union actually had adequate technology throughout the program.) All of the landings also occurred under the Nixon administration. 

Similar accusations are also made against the Bible. Christ perfectly fulfilled all Old Testament prophecies, and the Bible (written by 40 different authors over a period of 1,600 years) is perfectly consistent. The obvious answer for this perfection is given in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Numerous other methods are used to instill doubt concerning the U.S. Moon landing, but perhaps the most popular is “with all of the inconsistencies with the Moon landing claim, how can anyone still believe we landed on the Moon?”  Numerous examples are then typically presented, including cross hatches in front of photographed objects, odd looking (non-parallel) shadows, a flag that appears to be “waving,” no blast craters from landers, no visible flame from ascent stages, high radiation levels in the Van Allen belts (how could the astronauts survive?), no stars visible in photographs, footprints in Moon dust are too well preserved, etc.6 Direct evidence of fraud is also mentioned.  For example, in 2009 the Moon rock at the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam was examined and found to be petrified wood. There is missing data (Apollo 11 telemetry), and a woman in Perth, Australia even claims to have seen a soft drink bottle in the frame while watching the Moon landing.

In an analogous fashion, the “numerous inconsistencies” approach is often used against the Bible.7 Questions include: “How could a loving God allow pain and suffering?” “How can God simultaneously be omniscient and give us free will?” “How can the Earth be less than 10,000 years old and the Universe appear the way it does?” “How could a virgin give birth?” “How could Jesus be resurrected from the dead?” In both cases, a good approach is to ask the skeptic which alleged inconsistency troubles him the most, and then spend whatever time is necessary fully addressing his concern. Logically sound explanations exist for all alleged contradictions with the Moon landing, just as logically sound explanations exist for all alleged contradictions within the Bible. In two extensive volumes, Eric Lyons examines and refutes many of the most popular allegations against the Bible.8

From the standpoint of positive evidence, there are also many analogies between belief in the Moon landing and belief in the Bible. Developing and launching a 7.8-million-pound thrust, 363-foot-tall rocket (the Saturn V) was a key aspect of the Moon landing, and millions of people saw the Saturn V launch with their own eyes. Likewise, Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection are a key aspect of Christianity, and hundreds of people saw the risen Christ with their own eyes (1 Corinthians 15:6). Hundreds (likely thousands) of people both inside and outside of the U.S. were involved in the preparations where they could have easily shown the Moon landing to be a hoax (if the landings had been), but no one did. Likewise hundreds (if not thousands) of people were in a position where they could have refuted Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection had it not occurred, but they did not. In fact, those closest to Jesus (and those who would have needed to be involved in any type of fraud) were willing to die for their knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God.

One final analogy can be made relative to discussions about Moon landings. Just as the Moon landings will be reconfirmed when mankind returns to the Moon, the Bible will be reconfirmed when Christ returns to the Earth (Philippians 2:9-11).

Flat Earth

A similar subject of interest is the recent surge in belief in a flat Earth, seemingly led by a handful of professional athletes and others. As with discussions related to the Moon landing, it is important to keep our minds set on things above. While Romans 14:15 speaks specifically about food, the same sentiment applies to other subjects as well. We should not risk destroying “one for whom Christ died” over a disagreement related to a secular idea.

Two recent articles provide numerous facts and observations related to refuting the idea of a flat Earth—biblically and scientifically.9 If an agnostic or skeptic is committed to a belief, though, a “rescue mechanism” can almost always be devised to claim that, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, their belief is true. Ironically, the same techniques used to garner support for a flat Earth have been used to gain acceptance for the Big Bang, an equally false but more widely accepted cosmology. Observations that contradict either the flat Earth or the Big Bang theory are typically explained away through the use of sophisticated fudge factors, or by framing the theories in a way that any observation or piece of experimental evidence can be accommodated.10

First Corinthians 9:22 states “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Along those lines, it is important that we be able to discuss virtually any subject in a non-confrontational manner. Three ideas related to flat Earth discussions can involve contacting a friend, purchasing (or borrowing) a telescope, and working with a local university.

For instance, the mobility of 21st-century society and the ability to affordably travel and communicate over long distances have allowed many people to develop friendships around the world.  If a person has a friend living a few time zones away (i.e., a few thousand miles east or west of him) and at roughly the same latitude, then a simple text or phone call can provide good evidence for a spherical Earth. For example, a call could be made near sunset, and the friend could be asked about the Sun’s position in the sky at his location. The spherical Earth model would exactly predict the response, which would be either “the Sun set a few hours ago” (if the friend lived to the east) or “the Sun won’t be setting for a few hours” (if the friend lived to the west). While there might be a set of “fudge factors” that could be applied to certain flat Earth models to allow for the same response, the use of those factors would show the models to be highly contrived at the very least. A friend living at very high latitudes (e.g., Fairbanks, Alaska; Iceland; Greenland; etc.) could also add to the discussion based on the extreme differences in solar position between winter and summer. A friend living in the opposite hemisphere (e.g. New Zealand, Tasmania, etc. for people living in the U.S.) could be used to obtain other useful data. All of the observations and discussions would show the consistency of a spherical Earth model, and present extreme difficulties for a flat Earth model.

Buying or borrowing a telescope can also be useful in many ways.  Not only do telescopes allow detailed observation of God’s creation from Earth, but they also allow us more fully to appreciate Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” 

From the standpoint of a flat Earth discussion, a telescope can (given clear skies) allow us to view objects on the horizon where the lower portion of the object is blocked because of the curvature of the Earth. A classic example is a ship traveling out to sea. As the ship gets further away, a greater portion of the ship “disappears” below the horizon. This effect is again exactly what is expected on a spherical Earth, and very difficult to explain in a flat Earth model.

Universities are often involved with the launch of high altitude balloons. While the curvature of the Earth is much more obvious from orbit, it can still be discerned from altitudes that can be attained by balloons. If a skeptic or agnostic feels that all international space programs are somehow “covering up” evidence for a flat Earth, perhaps more personal involvement with a local university would encourage them to think otherwise. Some universities have also begun launching experiments on sub-orbital and even orbital flights, which could provide even more opportunity for first-hand observations that the Earth is spherical.

Although beliefs—such as the U.S. never having landed on the Moon or the Earth being flat—are typically attributed to agnostics and skeptics, it is important to remember that both non-Christians and Christians alike can have inaccurate beliefs on secular topics. When discussing any secular topic, we need to remember to keep our mind set on things above. We should focus on spiritual issues and not worry too much about correcting false secular beliefs that have little bearing on eternity. However, it is also important to note that vigorously promoting a false secular belief can have a negative influence on our ability to evangelize. Christians should be very careful about accidentally losing influence by endorsing a secular fad that, while popular in certain circles, is ultimately incorrect.

Another observation concerning both belief in a faked Moon landing and belief in a flat Earth—no matter what the evidence—people can still choose to believe what they want to believe. Likewise, regardless of the evidence, an atheist or agnostic can, ironically, still choose to believe they have no free will, choose to believe that life somehow made itself, choose to believe that all of the information in the genome somehow created itself, and choose to believe the many other falsehoods required to deny God. 

While science is an excellent tool for evangelism, we also know that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). We need to stay focused on encouraging people to read God’s Word, obey the Gospel, and remain faithful. Our ultimate commission is summarized in Matthew 28:19-20—

Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

ENDNOTES

1 Additional discussion concerning “free will” is given in Kyle Butt (2016), “Atheism and Free Will,” Reason and Revelation, 36[10]:110-118, October, https://apologeticspress.org.

2 Jeff Miller (2017), Science vs. Evolution (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), second edition.

3 J.C. Sanford (2014), Genetic Entropy (FMS Publications).

4 Jerry Bergman and George Howe (1990), “Vestigial Organs” are Fully Functional (Creation Research Society).

5 Alex Williams and John Hartnett (2006), Dismantling the Big Bang (Master Books); Don DeYoung (2005), Thousands… Not Billions (Master Books).

6 “Moon Landing Conspiracy Theories” (2017), Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing_conspiracy_theories.

7 Kyle Butt (2013), A Christian’s Guide to Refuting Modern Atheism (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

8 Eric Lyons (2003/2005), The Anvil Rings: Volumes 1 & 2 (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

9 Branyon May and Alana May (2017), “Flat or Spherical Earth?  Evaluating Astronomical Observations,” Reason and Revelation, 37[8]:86-95, August, https://apologeticspress.org; Justin Rogers (2017), “Does the Bible Teach a Flat Earth,” Reason and Revelation, https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=5428&topic=24#.

10 Additional discussion in Mike Houts (2015), “Assumptions and the Age of the Earth,” Reason and Revelation, 35[3]:26-34, March, https://apologeticspress.org.

(original link)

The Teleological Argument for the Existence of God [Part 2]

Dave Miller, Ph.D. From Issue: R&R – March 2018

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part 1 of this two-part series appeared in the February issue. Part 2 follows below and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended. Both articles are excerpted from our just released volume Does God Exist?]

It is disturbing to contemplate the fact that 100 years ago, more Americans believed in the God of the Bible. The universal teaching of the public schools was Creation as depicted in the Bible. In stark contrast, we have lived to see an unbelievable transformation in which the universal teaching of the public schools is evolution, we have filled our university faculties with atheists, and we have banned God from the public square under the guise of “separation of church and state.” The impact on the thinking of children who are now adults has been catastrophic.

But on the Day of Judgment, there will be no excuses. Every accountable human being on the planet can know that God exists. The created order possesses characteristics that inherently demand the existence of a transcendent, supernatural Creator. As a matter of fact, the evidence that exists in the material order—the Universe/cosmos, the planet Earth, the animals, the plants, and the human body—communicate the clear message that all owe their origin to the divine Creator. This message is being continually communicated all over the planet regardless of geographical location, time of day, and language spoken (Psalm 19:1-3).

In the previous article, we mentioned very briefly several marvelous, convincing evidences for the existence of God as seen in the remarkable human body and some of the features of the created order—phenomena inexplicable apart from Almighty God. We now turn to more of “the things that are made” (Romans 1:20)—additional decisive evidence—that also offers amazing proof of the great Governor of the Universe.

Symbiosis and Mutualism

One feature of the Earth that proves the existence of the God of the Bible involves symbiotic relationships. Although definitions and distinctions abound, generally speaking, symbiosis refers to a close, usually obligatory, association of two or more plants or animals of different species that depend on each other to survive. Each gains benefits from the other. These include both mutualistic and parasitic species. Obligate interactions exhibit considerable specificity and typically involve interaction with only a single species or genus.

For example, a large percentage of herbivores have mutualistic gut fauna that help them digest plant matter, which is more difficult to digest than animal prey. One species of butterfly employs complex chemical and acoustical signals to manipulate ants. Coral reefs are the result of mutualisms between coral organisms and various types of algae that live inside them. Most land plants and land ecosystems rely on mutualisms. Plants convert carbon from the air. Fungi help in extracting minerals from the soil. Many types of tropical and sub-tropical ants have complex relationships with certain tree species.

Those plants and animals that both need each other to survive would have had to come into existence close in time to each other. They most certainly could not have been separated from each other by millions or billions of years of alleged evolutionary adjustments. They would have had to have been created by the Creator to function precisely the way they function. Such massive complexity, interdependency, and sophisticated diversity scream divine design.

The Human Mouth1

Take, for example, the interior of the human mouth. Setting aside the incredible design necessary for the mouth to function, including teeth, gums, tongue, lips, muscles, nerves, cells, etc., all of which must work together from the beginning if the individual is going to receive nourishment to survive, evolution simply cannot provide a credible explanation for the condition of the human mouth on a microscopic level.

Microbiologists estimate that over 700 distinct bacterial species are present in the mouth. How could 700 separate creatures come together in one place to create a complex ecosystem of mixed organisms that co-exist with each other to perform marvelous feats of chemical engineering—from breaking down food particles and mopping up shed body cells, to competing with intruder organisms to protect us from infection? The complexity is inexplicable in terms of evolution. This sophisticated arrangement had to have been created by God.

The Nile Crocodile and the Egyptian Plover2

Another amazing proof that divine Creation is true and evolution is false is seen in the relationship sustained by the Egyptian Plover bird and the Nile crocodile. Africa’s largest crocodilian, these primordial brutes can reach 20 feet in length and weigh up to 1,650 pounds. Their diet entails mainly fish, but they will attack almost anything: zebras, small hippos, birds, porcupines, and other crocs. They are ambush hunters—they wait for fish or land animals to come close, and then rush out to attack. They are vicious man-eaters: up to 200 people die each year in the jaws of a Nile croc.

Despite these facts regarding the deadly nature of the Nile crocodile, it is absolutely astounding to learn that the Egyptian Plover bird has a symbiotic relationship with this creature that entails entering the croc’s mouth for the purpose of cleaning its teeth and gums. The croc will open its mouth and allow the bird to enter, sometimes keeping it open and sometimes closing it gently with the bird still inside. The bird then uses its beak to remove parasites, leeches, worms, and bits of food that infest the crocodile’s mouth. The Plover enjoys a ready source of food, and the crocodile gets a valuable teeth cleaning to promote health and minimize disease. Such an arrangement could not have evolved. No crocodile could have gradually decided it was in its best interest to let a bird clean its mouth. Such sophisticated relationships among diverse creatures prove pre-planning and programming—intelligent design by the Master Designer and Creator.

The Emerald Wasp and the Cockroach3

Wikimedia.org (Chiswick Chap) 2018 license CC-by-sa-4.0

Another astounding example of symbiosis that demonstrates the existence of God pertains to the Emerald Cockroach Wasp and the American cockroach. The latter insect is six times larger than the Emerald Wasp. Yet, the wasp enacts a brilliantly strategic sting into the central nervous system of the cockroach to cause temporary paralysis of the front legs. This temporary paralysis allows the wasp to deliver a second sting into a carefully chosen spot in the brain ganglia to control the escape reflex. The brain sting causes a dramatic behavioral change: the cockroach becomes passive and zombie-like. Its breathing slows, and it makes no attempt to escape. As a result of this sting, the roach will groom itself, become sluggish, and fail to show normal escape responses.

The wasp then leads the cockroach by its antennae, like a leash, to the wasp’s burrow. The wasp does not have to drag the cockroach, since the roach willingly walks on its own legs. Inside the burrow, the wasp lays a white egg, about two millimeters long, on the roach’s abdomen. It then exits and uses debris to barricade the defenseless roach inside the burrow (to keep other predators out). With its escape reflex disabled, the stung roach remains calm and complacent as the wasp’s egg hatches after about three days. The hatched larva drills a hole into the leg of the cockroach to retrieve nutrition from the blood system of the roach for four to five days. Then the larva burrows into the abdomen of the cockroach, crawls inside, and over a period of eight days, consumes the roach’s internal organs in an order which guarantees that the roach will stay alive, at least until the larva enters the pupal stage and forms a cocoon inside the roach’s body. Six weeks from the first sting, a new adult wasp emerges from the hollowed out dead body of the roach.

The venom of the Emerald Wasp is carefully calibrated to shut down signals carried by a key neurotransmitter brain chemical called dopamine. The wasp delivers the sting with the precision of microscopic brain surgery. This remarkable skill could not have evolved. Nor was it learned. It was hardwired by the Creator into each wasp—making it a natural born neurosurgeon. The offspring of the wasp literally depend on the perfect execution of the mother’s sting. Too much venom, and the cockroach would immediately die, eliminating the wasp offspring’s fresh food source. Too little (or poorly aimed) venom, and the roach would escape. Millions of years of trial and error cannot be the source of this relationship. Failure of any one step in this complex process would prevent reproduction—and terminate the species. Can such design, complexity, order, purpose, and intelligence come out of mindless, evolutionary chaos? Absolutely not. The Emerald Wasp and the American cockroach were created by the Creator to function precisely as they do. “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalm 104:24). The Creation declares the reality of the Creator.

The Leafcutter Ant and Fungus4

Leafcutter ants nest in underground chambers in the Amazonian rain forest of Brazil. They regularly leave their nests to forage hundreds of feet into the forest. Most tropical plants are permeated by toxic chemicals to deter foragers. So, using specially designed “mouth cutters,” the ants cut out portions of the leaves they find, being careful not to ingest any of the poisonous chemicals. They then transport their cargo back to the nests and deliver it to smaller worker ants. These ants clean the leaves and chew them into pulpy mulch—again, being careful not to “swallow.” They then feed the mulch to another organism that the ants actually cultivate—a fungus. This fungus breaks down the toxins in the leaves while generating proteins and sugars. These proteins and sugars constitute the food that the ants eat. The ants need the fungus for food—and will die without the fungus. The fungus, on the other hand, cannot live without the ants, since they are dependent on the ant to bring the leaves. This is a mutual co-dependency that could not have evolved.

Incredibly, this particular fungus grows only in the underground chambers of the Leafcutter ant’s nest. And the fungus will not consume all leaves, since some are toxic to the fungus. The Leafcutter ants are sensitive enough to adapt to the fungi’s preferences and, hence, cease collecting those leaves. Scientists think that the ants can detect chemical signals from the fungus which communicate the preferences of the fungus.

What’s more, researchers have identified an aggressive mold that threatens the fungus. When the researchers remove the ants from the nest, the mold destroys the fungus. Entomologists have discovered that the ants—especially the ones that tend the fungus—have a white, waxy coating on their body. The coating, which fights the mold for the fungus, has been identified as tangled mats of bacteria that produce many of the antibiotics that humans use for medicine. The ants are essentially wearing portable antimicrobials. Yet humans only discovered antibiotics within the last century. No wonder Solomon observed: “Go to the ant…consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).

The Yucca Moth and the Yucca5

About 50 species of yucca plant grace the planet. Incredibly, the yucca plant is completely unable to pollinate itself in order to grow more seeds and reproduce. It is wholly dependent on the genetically programmed yucca moth to facilitate reproduction and perpetuate the species.

From their subterranean cocoons in spring, male and female yucca moths crawl to the surface and fly to nearby yucca plants. Yucca plants are just opening their flowers. The female yucca moth collects pollen from the yucca flower and fashions it into a sticky ball, using a pair of long, curved “claws” (proboscis) protruding from her mouth area, to collect, form, compact, and carry the golden pollen ball. The yucca’s pollen is in a curved region of the plant. Only the yucca moth has the specially curved proboscis to gather the pollen from the plant’s male reproductive organs.

Having collected the pollen, she then flies to another plant where she inserts a moth egg into the ovary wall of the yucca plant, using her ovipositor—itself a marvel of engineering design. Still carrying the pollen ball in her facial claws, she climbs to the top of the ovary. She presses the pollen into the stigma, fertilizing hundreds of immature seeds inside. When the moth larvae hatch, they feed on the seeds of the yucca. If they were to eat all the seeds, the yucca plants would stop reproducing, and both they and the moths would cease to exist. God designed the moth to calibrate the number of larvae growing inside each flower so that all the yucca seeds will not be consumed.

The life cycle of the yucca moth is timed so the adult moths emerge in the spring exactly when the yucca plants are in flower. The yucca moth and yucca plant were designed to function together. They had to have been created in close temporal proximity. No wonder evolutionary biologist Dr. Chris Smith conceded: “It is pretty mind-boggling to imagine how this arose. It’s very strange.”6 “Mind-boggling”? Absolutely. “Strange or inexplicable”? No—unless you ignore, reject, or dismiss the obvious.

The Black Wasp and the Aphid7

When plants in the southeastern United States are besieged by aphids—small sap-sucking, extremely destructive insect pests—they release a chemical mist that signals black wasps to come to their rescue. Upon arrival, wasps do not kill the aphids outright. With clinical precision, the wasps inject a single egg into each aphid’s body. Each wasp can inject eggs into 200 aphids. The aphid’s body then serves as the incubator for the offspring of its predator. As the ravenous wasp larvae grow, they literally eat the aphid alive from the inside out until they are ready to emerge and begin the process all over again.

Observe that this divinely designed means of controlling the aphid population is simply one marvelous system among others. The diversity and complexity of a variety of systems, all working in concert in the natural order, imply an overarching, overruling master plan to ensure the ongoing perpetuation of the created order. In addition to the black wasp, ants also participate in controlling aphids.

The Ant and the Aphid8

Aphids sustain another complicated relationship. They are equipped with special, syringe-like mouth parts to pierce plants and retrieve fluid from them. Some species of ants literally “cultivate” the aphids by “milking” them without harm to the insect. Ants stroke the aphids with their antennae, causing the aphids to secrete honeydew which the ants can then consume. The aphids, therefore, provide a ready food supply for the ants. In exchange, the aphids receive protection since the ants act as a team to fight off invaders and predators, like ladybugs.

But this interrelationship goes even deeper. The sap which the aphids retrieve from plants is rich in carbohydrates, but lacks essential amino acids—which aphids cannot synthesize. Enter a third actor in this mutualistic drama: tiny endosymbiont bacteria (Buchnera aphidicola). These bacteria live in the aphid’s special cells called bacteriocytes. The amino acids are supplied by these bacteria. Neither the bacteria nor the aphid can exist without the other.

Amazing: the ant depends on the aphid for food; the aphid depends on the ant for protection; the aphid depends on internal bacteria for amino acids; the aphid provides the bacteria with energy, carbon, and shelter inside specialized cells. Symbiosis within symbiosis—decisive proof of divine design!

Evolutionary Explanation?

Such remarkable examples of divine design could be multiplied endlessly. They absolutely point to God. But, of course, evolutionists attempt to offer an “explanation” for symbiosis among the wondrous organisms that grace our planet. It goes something like this:9 “Organisms that depend on each other for survival co-evolved, gradually becoming dependent on each other by means of minute changes over millions of years.” Such a claim is then liberally peppered with nullifying qualifications: “Surprisingly little is known about how mutualistic symbioses evolved and persist.” “Despite their ubiquity and importance, we understand little about how mutualistic symbioses form between previously free-living organisms.” “The evolutionary sequence of events in most lineages is unknown.” “Exactly how these associations evolve remains unclear.” “Much remains to be learned about the mechanisms that maintain mutualism as an evolutionarily stable interaction.” Rationally-thinking Christians have a responsibility before God to train themselves to recognize nonsensical gobbledygook when they hear it. The fact is that any alleged “transitions” or “minute changes”—when pinpointed and examined as moments in time—are seen to be unworkable, imaginary, impossible, and nonexistent. Both organisms needed each other from the beginning of their existence. How did these creatures gain nourishment before becoming dependent? Each of these organisms possesses concise design variables that prove the inability of gradual mutation and natural selection as effectual causative agents.

Recall the debate conducted in 1976 on the campus of North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, when Thomas B. Warren debated Antony G.N. Flew—at the time, arguably the foremost atheistic philosopher in the world. Flew’s attempt to substantiate the credibility of evolution is seen in this statement: “[I]t is, it seems to me, a consequence of evolutionary theory that species shade off into one another.”10 “Shade off into one another”? Evolutionists attempt to cloud the mind by implying that all organisms came into existence as a result of very slow, almost imperceptible changes over time. But where on the planet are these alleged increments or “shades” from one kind of animal to another? We know chimps exist. We know humans exist. We know nothing of any alleged “shades.” Nor does true science.

Warren challenged Flew to face the fact that even if evolution theorizes numerous pre-human ancestors, there had to be a first human being to arrive on the scene. Where did he/she come from? The very first human being on the planet had to come into existence somehow. But how? Was this first human being a male or female? A baby or an adult? In reality, there are only two possibilities: (1) either a nonhuman had to transform into a human during its lifetime, or (2) a nonhuman had to give birth to a human. Philosophically and scientifically, these are the only two possibilities—and neither is tenable. Evolution is not only scientifically unfeasible; it is logical and philosophical nonsense! Indeed, evolution is false, and there is a God.

The smaller and deeper we go in examining God’s creation, the more complex, sophisticated, and astounding the discoveries.11 One would have to be prejudiced and deliberately determined to deny God to brush aside the overwhelming evidence of Him in His creation. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). “Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14).

Conclusion

If you were to toss a stick of dynamite into a print shop, and do so every day for a million years, would a dictionary ever be the result? Can such design, complexity, order, purpose, and intelligence ever come out of mindless, evolutionary chaos? The answer is an unequivocal “No!” The late British evolutionist Sir Fred Hoyle addressed specifically the many problems faced by those who defend the idea of a naturalistic origin of life on Earth. In fact, Dr. Hoyle described the atheistic concept that disorder gives rise to order in a rather picturesque manner when he observed that “the chance that higher forms have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.”12 Dr. Hoyle, even went so far as to draw the following conclusion:

Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly miniscule as to make the random concept absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favourable properties of physics on which life depends, are in every respect deliberate…. It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect in a valid way the higher intelligences…even to the extreme idealized limit of God.13

Or as Dawkins conceded:

The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less we can believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially, the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer.14

Indeed, the interdependent, interconnected, interpenetrating features of God’s creation are beyond the capability of man to trace out—let alone to “manage” or “assist.” Neither a pine tree nor a pinecone is sentient. They have no thinking capacity or consciousness. They possess no personhood, soul, or spirit. Pine trees did not get together and discuss the threat of forest fires to their future survival, and then decide to produce pinecones that would remain closed during a fire only to open afterwards. No crocodile convention was ever held in which crocs decided it was in their best health interests to refrain from chomping down on Plover birds while all other animals remained “fair game.” The standard explanations by evolutionists for such wonders of creation are incoherent, nonsensical, and just plain pitiful. Elihu reminded Job: “Behold, God is exalted in His power; Who is a teacher like Him? Who has appointed Him His way, and who has said, ‘You have done wrong’? Remember that you should exalt His work, of which men have sung. All men have seen it; man beholds from afar” (Job 36:22-25, NASB).

Indeed, the realm of nature literally shouts forth the reality of the all-powerful Maker Who alone accounts for the intelligent design of the created order. As the psalmist so eloquently affirmed: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork…. There is no speech, nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Only a foolish person would conclude there is no God (Psalm 14:1).

The only plausible explanation for the Universe and the entire created order is “the great God who formed everything” (Proverbs 26:10). “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions” (Psalm 104:24). We can know there is a God. The Creation declares the reality of the Creator. To repeat Paul’s declaration in 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).

EndNotes

1 See Jørn Aas, et al. (2005), “Defining the Normal Bacterial Flora of the Oral Cavity,” Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 43(11):5721-5732, November; Human Oral Microbiome Database (2015), http://www.homd.org/.

2 See Leo Africanus (1896 reprint), The History and Description of Africa, trans. John Pory (London: Hakluyt Society), 3:951-952, https://archive.org/details/historyanddescr02porygoog; Robert Curzon (1851), A Visit to the Monasteries in the Levant (New York: George P. Putnam), 1:131, https://goo.gl/PRGnsJ; “Egyptian Plover” (2014), Bird Forum, http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Egyptian_Plover; “Endangered Crocodiles and Caimen” (no date), 50 Birds, http://www.50birds.com/animals/endangered-alligators-2.htm; Thomas Howell (1979), Breeding Biology of the Egyptian Plover, Pluvianus Aegyptius (Berkeley, CA: University of California), pp. 3ff., https://goo.gl/n6WCRn; Richard Meinertzhagen (1959), Pirates and Predators: The Piratical and Predatory Habits of Birds (London: Oliver & Boyd); “Nature in Egypt” (no date), http://traditionalegypt.co.uk/egypt/nature-in-egypt.php; Alfred Newton (1899), A Dictionary of Birds  (London: Adam & Charles Black), pp. 442,732-733, https://goo.gl/1y0MbY; “Nile Crocodile” (no date), MediaLibrary.org, http://medlibrary.org/medwiki/Nile_crocodile#cite_note-26; “Nile Crocodile” (2015), National Geographic, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/nile-crocodile/; “Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), 2010” (2015), San Diego Zoo Global Library, http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/nile_crocodile; Grace Norton, ed. (1908) The Spirit of Montaigne (Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin & Company), p. 78, https://goo.gl/KwULiY; Henry Scherren (1907), Popular Natural History (New York: Cassel & Company), pp. 268-269, https://goo.gl/9DLqQy; Philip Sclater (1893), The Ibis (London: Gurney and Jackson), vol. 5, 6th series, pp. 275-276, https://archive.org/details/ibis10uniogoog.

3 See Ram Gal and Frederic Libersat (2008), “A Parasitoid Wasp Manipulates the Drive for Walking of its Cockroach Prey,” Current Biology, 18[1]:877-82, June 24; Ram Gal and Frederic Libersat (2010), “A Wasp Manipulates Neuronal Activity in the Sub-Esophageal Ganglion to Decrease the Drive for Walking in Its Cockroach Prey,” PLoS One, 5[4]:e10019, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850919/; G. Haspel, L.A. Rosenberg, and F. Libersat (2003), “Direct Injection of Venom by a Predatory Wasp into Cockroach Brain,” Journal of Neurobiology, 56[3]:287-92, September 5, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12884267/; G. Haspel, E. Gefen, et al. (2005), “Parasitoid Wasp Affects Metabolism of Cockroach Host to Favor Food Preservation for its Offspring,” Journal of Comparative Physiology, 191[6]:529-34, June, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15864597/; Frederic Libersat (2003), “Wasp Uses Venom Cocktail to Manipulate the Behavior of Its Cockroach Prey,” Journal of Comparative Physiology, 189[7]:497-508, July, http://www.bgu.ac.il/life/Faculty/Libersat/pdf/JCP.2003.pdf; Eugene Moore, Gal Haspel, Frederic Libersat, Michael Adams (2006), “Parasitoid Wasp Sting: A Cocktail of GABA, Taurine, and -alanine Opens Chloride Channels for Central Synaptic Block and Transient Paralysis of a Cockroach Host,” Journal of Neurobiology, 66[8]:811-820, July, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/neu.20254/abstract.

4 See Frank Aylward, Kristin Burnum-Johnson, et al. (2013), “Leucoagaricus gongylophorus Produces Diverse Enzymes for the Degradation of Recalcitrant Plant Polymers in Leaf-Cutter Ant Fungus Gardens,” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 79[12]:3770-3778, June, http://aem.asm.org/content/79/12/3770.full.pdf+html; Matias Cafaro, et al. (2011), “Specificity in the Symbiotic Association Between Fungus-Growing Ants and Protective Pseudonocardia Bacteria,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 278:1814-1822, http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/278/1713/1814.full.pdf; Eric Caldera, et al. (2009), “Insect Symbioses: A Case Study of Past, Present, and Future Fungus-Growing Ant Research,” Environmental Entomology, 38[1]:78-92, February, http://ee.oxfordjournals.org/content/38/1/78; Cameron Currie, Ulrich Mueller, and David Malloch (1999), “The Agricultural Pathology of Ant Fungus Gardens,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 96:7998-8002, July, http://www.pnas.org/content/96/14/7998.full.pdf; Cameron Currie, Michael Poulsen, et al. (2006), “Coevolved Crypts and Exocrine Glands Support Mutualistic Bacteria in Fungus-Growing Ants,” Science, 311[5757]:81-83, January 6, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/311/5757/81.abstract; Hermógenes Fernández-Marín, Jess Zimmerman, et al. (2006), “Active Use of the Metapleural Glands by Ants in Controlling Fungal Infection,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 273:1689-1695, March, http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/273/1594/1689.full.pdf; Hermógenes Fernández-Marín, David Nash, et al. (2015), “Functional Role of Phenylacetic Acid from Metapleural Gland Secretions in Controlling Fungal Pathogens in Evolutionarily Derived Leaf-Cutting Ants,” Proceedings B, 282[1807]:20150212, April 29, http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1807/20150212; Susanne Haedera, Rainer Wirthb, et al. (2009), “Candicidin-Producing Streptomyces Support Leaf-Cutting Ants to Protect Their Fungus Garden against the Pathogenic Fungus Escovopsis,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 106[12]:4742-4746, http://www.pnas.org/content/106/12/4742.full.pdf; Ainslie Little, Takahiro Murakami, et al. (2006), “Defending against Parasites: Fungus-Growing Ants Combine Specialized Behaviours and Microbial Symbionts to Protect Their Fungus Gardens,” Biology Letters, 2:12-16, August, http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/roybiolett/2/1/12.full.pdf; Ainslie Little and Cameron Currie (2007), “Symbiotic Complexity: Discovery of a Fifth Symbiont in the Attine Ant-Microbe Symbiosis,” Biology Letters, 3:501-504, August, http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/roybiolett/3/5/501.full.pdf; Lucas Meirelles, Scott Solomon, et al. (2015), “Shared Escovopsis Parasites Between Leaf-Cutting and Non-Leaf-Cutting Ants in the Higher Attine Fungus-Growing Ant Symbiosis,” Royal Society Open Science, 2:150257, http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royopensci/2/9/150257.full.pdf; Ulrich Mueller and Nicole Gerardo (2002), “Fungus-Farming Insects: Multiple Origins and Diverse Evolutionary Histories,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 99[24]:15247-15249, November 26, http://www.pnas.org/content/99/24/15247.full.pdf; Hannah Reynolds and Cameron Currie (2004), “Pathogenicity of Escovopsis weberi: The Parasite of the Attine Ant-Microbe Symbiosis Directly Consumes the Ant-Cultivated Fungus,” Mycologia, 96[5]:955-959, September/October, http://www.mycologia.org/content/96/5/955.abstract; Andre Rodrigues, Ulrich Mueller, et al. (2011), “Ecology of Microfungal Communities in Gardens of Fungus-Growing Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): A Year-Long Survey of Three Species of Attine Ants in Central Texas,” FEMS Microbiological Ecology, 78[2]:244-255, http://femsec.oxfordjournals.org/content/femsec/78/2/244.full.pdf; Hassan Salem, Laura Florez, et al. (2015), “An Out-of-Body Experience: The Extracellular Dimension for the Transmission of Mutualistic Bacteria in Insects,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 282[1804]:20142957; Christopher Trantera, Lauren LeFevreb, et al. (2015), “Threat Detection: Contextual Recognition and Response to Parasites by Ants,” Behavioral Ecology, 26[2]:396-405, http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/2/396.abstract; Mingzi Zhang, Michael Poulsen, and Cameron Currie (2007), “Symbiont Recognition of Mutualistic Bacteria by Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants,” The ISME Journal, 1:313–320, June, http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/v1/n4/full/ismej200741a.html.

5 See W.P. Armstrong (1999), “The Yucca and Its Moth,” Zoonooz, 72[4]:28-31, April, http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0902a.htm; Henry Brean (2011), “Joshua Tree, Yucca Moth Co-Evolution Fascinates Researchers,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 18, http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/water-environment/joshua-tree-yucca-moth-co-evolution-fascinates-researchers; Beatriz Moisset (no date), “Yucca Moths (Tegeticula sp.),” United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/pollinator-of-the-month/yucca_moths.shtml; Olle Pellmyr (1997), “Prodoxidae: The Yucca Moth Family (Version 13),” The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/Prodoxidae/11872/1997.01.13; Olle Pellmyr and John Thompson (1992), “Multiple Occurrences of Mutualism in the Yucca Moth Lineage,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 89:2927-2929, April, http://www.pnas.org/content/89/7/2927.full.pdf; Olle Pellmyr, John Thompson, et al. (1996), “Evolution of Pollination and Mutualism in the Yucca Moth Lineage,” The American Naturalist, 148[5]:827-847, November, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2463408?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents; Marylee Ramsay and John Richard Schrock (1995), “The Yucca Plant and the Yucca Moth,” The Kansas School Naturalist, 41[2], June, http://www.emporia.edu/ksn/v41n2-june1995/; Carol Sheppard and Richard Oliver (2004), “Yucca Moths and Yucca Plants: Discovery of ‘the Most Wonderful Case of Fertilisation,’” American Entomologist, 50[1]:32-46, Spring, http://entomology.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/yucca2.pdf; J. Arthur Thomson (1922), The Outline of Science (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 1:76,79; “Yucca Moth” (no date), DesertUSA, http://www.desertusa.com/animals/yucca-moth.html.

6 As quoted in Brean.

7 See “Aphid Control with Aphidius & Aphelinus Parasites” (2015), Greenmethods.com, https://greenmethods.com/aphidius/; “Cunning Super-Parasitic Wasps Sniff Out Protected Aphids and Overwhelm Their Defenses” (2012), ScienceDaily, 24, February, BioMed Central Limited, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120224110739.htm; B.M. Drees and J. Jackman (1999), Parasitic Wasp. Field Guide to Texas Insects (Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company); Lukas Gehrer and Christoph Vorburger (2012), “Parasitoids as Vectors of Facultative Bacterial Endosymbionts in Aphids,” Biology Letters, 8:613–615, March 14, http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/8/4/613; Paul Gross (1993), “Insect Behavioral and Morphological Defenses Against Parasitoids, Annual Review of Entomology,” 38:251-27, January; Kerry Oliver, J.A. Russell, N.A. Moran, M.S. Hunter (2003), “Facultative Bacterial Symbionts in Aphids Confer Resistance to Parasitic Wasps,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100[4]:1803; Kerry Oliver, Koji Noge, Emma Huang, Jamie Campos, Judith Becerra, and Martha Hunter (2012), “Parasitic Wasp Responses to Symbiont-Based Defense in Aphids,” BMC Biology, 10:11, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/10/11; “Parasitic Wasps & Aphids” (no date), National Geographic, Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLtUk-W5Gpk; “Parasitic Wasps, Order Hymenoptera” (no date), Symbiont, http://www.drmcbug.com/parasitic.htm; E. Wajnberg, C. Bernstein, and J. Van Alphen (2008), Behavioral Ecology of Insect Parasitoids—From Theoretical Approaches to Field Applications (UK: Blackwell Publishing).

8 See N. Bluthgen, N.E. Stork, and K. Fiedler (2004), “Bottom-Up Control and Co-Occurrence in Complex Communities: Honeydew and Nectar Determine a Rainforest Ant Mosaic,” Oikos, 106:344-358; M. Doebeli and N. Knowlton (1998), “The Evolution of Interspecific Mutualisms,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 95:8676-8680; B. Holldobler and E.O. Wilson (1990), The Ants (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press); B. Holldobler and E.O. Wilson (1994), Journey to the Ants (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press); Naomi Pierce, Michael Braby, et al. (2002), “The Ecology and Evolution of Ant Association in the Lycaenidae (Lepidoptera),” Annual Review of Entomology, 47:733-771; V. Rico-Gray and P. Oliveira (2007), The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press); Bernhard Stadler and Anthony F.G. Dixon (2008), Mutualism: Ants and Their Insect Partners (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press); J.J. Stachowicz (2001), “Mutualism, Facilitation, and the Structure of Ecological Communities,” BioScience, 51:235-246, March.

9 Cf. Ed Grabianowski (2008), “How Symbiosis Works,” HowStuffWorks.com., March 7, http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/evolution/symbiosis2.htm; Durr Aanen and Ton Bisseling (2014), “The Birth of Cooperation,” Science, 345[6192]:29; Erik Hom and Andrew Murray (2014), “Niche Engineering Demonstrates a Latent Capacity for Fungal-Algal Mutualism,” Science, 345[6192]:94.

10 Antony G.N. Flew and Thomas B. Warren (1976), The Warren-Flew Debate on the Existence of God (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press), p. 25.

11 Jerry Fausz (2007), “Design Rules,” Reason & Revelation, 27[7]:49-52, https://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=591.

12 Fred Hoyle (1981), “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature, 294:105, November 12.

13 Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe (1981), Evolution from Space (London: J.M. Dent & Sons), pp. 141,144, emp. in orig.

14 Richard Dawkins (1982), “The Necessity of Darwinism,” New Scientist, 94:130, April 15, emp. added.

(original link)

The Teleological Argument for the Existence of God [Part 1]

Dave Miller, Ph.D. From Issue: R&R – February 2018

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a two-part series on the teleological argument for the existence of God. Part II will appear in the March issue.]

Several years ago, astronomers from more than 30 research institutions in 15 countries worked together to select a site for a giant telescope that they hoped would read TV or radio signals from alien civilizations. Slated to cost one billion dollars, the Square Kilometer Array, or SKA, would be the world’s most powerful radio telescope. Speaking at a conference of the International Society for Optical Engineering in Orlando, Florida, project astronomers said they hoped to find “immediate and direct evidence of life elsewhere in the Universe.”1

Despite this bold venture, the scientists admitted that “such a search would have distinct limitations, to be sure.” “Distinct limitations”? Like what? For one, the scientists “aren’t sure how to recognize such signals, if they do turn up. The hope is that the signals would consist of organized patterns suggestive of intelligence, and not attributable to any known celestial sources.”2 Wait a minute. Evolutionary scientists are renowned for their condescending ridicule of creationists because those who believe in God assert that evidence of intelligent design in the Universe is proof of an Intelligent Designer. No, the evolutionists counter, the Universe got here by accident through random chance, mindless trial and error, and the blind, mechanistic forces of nature. They maintain that life on Earth owes its ultimate origin to dead, non-purposive, unconscious, non-intelligent matter. Yet they were perfectly willing to squander one billion dollars on a telescope with the speculative idea that solid proof—hard evidence—for the existence of alien life would reside in undecipherable radio or TV signals that convey “organized patterns suggestive of intelligence.”3 Atheistic evolutionists want it both ways: organized patterns prove the existence of intelligent alien design and organized patterns do not prove the existence of an Intelligent Designer. Philosophers and logicians refer to such duplicitous posturing as irrational and “logical contradiction.” Apparently, evolutionists call it “science.” Nevertheless, the basic thrust of the teleological argument for the existence of God is self-evident.

THE UNIVERSE—A “Waste of Space”?

“The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”4 So began Carl Sagan’s immensely popular book and PBStelevision series: Cosmos. A more atheistic, humanistic, materialistic declaration could not be spoken. Sagan (1934-1996), who was an astronomer at Cornell University who lived his entire life resistant to the possibility of God and an afterlife, maintained his unbelief—in the words of his third wife—“unflinching” to the end.5 She, herself, finds comfort after his passing “without resorting to the supernatural.”6

When people reject or avoid the implications of the design in the created order—i.e., that it is logically the result of a Supreme Creator—they have inevitably “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Skeptical of the survival of the Earth at the mercy of Homo sapiens, Sagan turned his attention to an almost obsessive dedication to finding answers and solutions from life forms beyond Earth. In his own words: “In a very real sense this search for extraterrestrial intelligence is a search for a cosmic context for mankind, a search for who we are, where we have come from, and what possibilities there are for our future—in a universe vaster both in extent and duration than our forefathers ever dreamed of.”7

Less than a year after his death, Hollywood released a movie on July 11, 1997 based on Sagan’s novel Contact.8 The film’s central character, Dr. Eleanor Arroway (played by Jodie Foster), was surely the embodiment of the formative experiences, philosophical perspectives, and spiritual beliefs of Sagan himself. On three separate occasions in the film, a pseudo-intellectual remark, obviously designed to defend the naturalistic explanation of the existence of the Universe while ridiculing the Christian viewpoint, is offered up to viewers. As a child, “Ellie” asks her father if life exists out in the Universe, to which he responds: “Well, if there wasn’t, it’d be an awful waste of space.” As an adult, she converses with Palmer Joss (played by Matthew McConaughey), and, staring up at the starry Puerto Rican sky, expresses her confidence in the evolution of other life forms elsewhere in the Universe: “If just one in a million of those stars has planets, and if only one in a million of those has life, and if just one in a million of those has intelligent life, then there are millions of civilizations out there.”9 Ellie is pleasantly stunned when Joss repeats the same line that her father uttered to her when she was a child. Near the close of the film, Ellie speaks the line again to a group of school children when asked if life exists in space.

This triple declaration was obviously intended to offer a “logical” proof that, rather than looking to some supernatural Being Who is transcendent of the Universe, humans had best recognize that the only life beyond planet Earth are those life forms that have evolved (like our own) on other planets in far off galaxies. The materialist is forced to follow Sagan’s presupposition: life must exist elsewhere in the Universe since there is no God. If there is a God Who created life only on Earth, then He was guilty of poor teleological design—creating a vast physical realm that serves absolutely no purpose—and thus producing a nearly infinite realm of “wasted space.”

But wait! The Bible long ago anticipated the skepticism of the materialist astronomer. At the creation of the Universe, God said: “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth” (Genesis 1:14-15). The luminaries that God made included the stars: “God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night” (vss. 17-18). One very specific function of the stars that occupy space far beyond our solar system is illumination (cf. Psalm 136:9). They are “light-bearers.”10

Another very specific purpose of the vastness of space is seen in the multiple declarations regarding the infinitude of God and the evidence that points to His existence, His glory, His eternality, and His power. Paul affirmed very confidently that “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” (Romans 1:20). It is absolutely incredible—and, according to Paul, inexcusable—for a rational human being to contemplate the magnitude of the Universe and the vastness of space, and then to reject the only logical, plausible explanation for it all: God. We simply have no excuse for rejecting God when we are surrounded by such an overwhelming display of wonders and marvels in the created order. Indeed, atheism, evolution, and humanism are simply more sophisticated forms of the polytheism that has plagued humanity for millennia. Moses warned the Israelites of this very thing: “[T]ake heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage” (Deuteronomy 4:19). Evolutionary astronomy assigns an inflated value to the vastness of space by postulating that it can provide mankind with an alternative explanation for the existence of life—an explanation that absents God. Any such postulation ultimately amounts to idolatry.

David, too, paid homage to the glory of the Creator, as evidenced by the eloquent symphony of the majestic Universe that is played perpetually—24 hours a day:

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat (Psalm 19:1-6; cf. 74:16-17; 136:7-8).

Separate and apart from the latest evidence that confirms the movement of the Sun through space,11 these verses reaffirm the fact that the created Universe loudly announces the existence of the Universe-Maker. David also declared: “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, You have set Your glory above the heavens! …When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:1,3). God “stretched out the heavens like a curtain” (Psalm 104:2). No wonder even a philosopher on the order of Immanuel Kant observed: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”12

A third biblical explanation for the creation of the vast Universe was hinted at by God Himself in the attitude-adjusting lecture He delivered to Job: “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion? Can you lead forth a constellation in its season? Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you fix their rule over the earth?” (Job 38:31-33). Notice the action terms that are used to refer to the movement of the constellations: bind, loose, lead forth, and guide. Observe also the “laws of the heavens” and their relationship to “ruling over the earth.”13 These verses imply that the heavenly bodies, and the laws that govern them, have been deliberately orchestrated, modulated, and regulated by the Creator to serve a purpose or purposes far beyond our present understanding. The text seems to hint that Earth’s status, with its living beings, is somehow affected by the phenomena of the cosmic bodies. Even as the comprehension of scientists has been lacking through the centuries on many features of the physical realm, only eventually to discover the meaning that lay behind observable phenomena, even so our present comprehension of space is woefully inadequate to justify passing judgment on the intentionality and teleology that lie behind many astronomical phenomena.

Evolutionists have far better arguments with which to attempt to prop up their atheistic stance (the “problem of evil” being the strongest, though refutable14). The “wasted space” argument is anemic, pitiful, and hardly worthy of rebuttal. However, since they brought it to our attention, the Christian is once again reminded of the unfathomable attributes of the great God Who stands above and beyond this vast physical realm. The immensity and vastness of the Universe only spurs the rational mind to marvel at the One whose own metaphysical transcendence surpasses the visible. In the words of the psalmist: “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness” (145:5-6). “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:4-5). Isaiah agreed: “Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power” (40:26). Indeed, “the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:  ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created’” (Revelation 4:10-11). The vast cosmos points directly and unmistakably to an awesome God.

The Revelation of God

You see, the infinite God of the Bible has revealed Himself to the human race by means of two forms of revelation: natural (or generic) and supernatural (or special). Special revelation consists of the Bible—the self-authenticating, supernatural book that God imparted to humanity by miraculously directing human writers to record His will (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).

Natural revelation consists of nature: the material realm, the created order. Since God created the heavens and the Earth, His “fingerprints” are all over it. Humans can easily recognize these fingerprints—if they are unbiased, honest, and willing to follow the evidence to its logical conclusion.

Sadly, the number of those who reject the obvious is legion. Why? They are generally unwilling to accept the implications of the existence of God: the need to bring one’s fleshly appetites and actions into harmony with the will of the Creator. But that fact does not lessen the magnitude of the evidence and its availability. Indeed, the psalmist said there is no language where the evidence for God is unavailable (Psalm 19:1-2).

Teleology

The word “teleology” comes from the Greek term teleios, meaning “complete, perfect,” taken from telos which means “end,” “outcome, result.”15 The teleological argument maintains that one proof for God’s existence is the fact that the Universe is the result or outcome of intentional design, order, and purpose. The characteristics of design in the Universe demonstrate the existence of a Designer. In addition to the passages given previously, the Bible also articulates this principle when the Hebrews writer stated this rationale succinctly in Hebrews 3:4—“For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” If houses with their sophisticated designs cannot just happen or evolve over millions of years, how could worlds? If a watch cannot occur by chance, neither can the systematic chronometers of the Universe. Their geometric precision is so superior to human invention that eclipses, planetary movements, and other astronomical phenomena can be predicted centuries in advance. The Universe is literally a finely tuned, organized machine. If we readily recognize that intelligent planning is behind all ordered design, how could nature’s intricate networks have no Planner? To observe the fantastic design in nature and then conclude there is no Supreme Designer is to behave irrationally. The evidence that surrounds us in the material Universe demands the conclusion that God exists.

Decisive Evidence

Do cars just happen? Of course not. Their multiple systems are interactive and integrated with each other in order for the automobile to operate. A mind—no, multiple minds—lie behind the creation of a car. Yet, compared to the Universe, or compared to the human body, or even compared to the inner workings of one tree leaf, a car is a crude and primitive invention. If the creation of a car demands the existence of the remarkable human brain/mind, what must be required for the creation of the human brain/mind? Obviously, something or Someone far superior to the human mind would be needed for its creation. Logically, that Someone must be the powerful, transcendent Creator: the God of the Bible.

The naturalistic explanation given by evolutionists for the existence of the created order cannot meet the dictates of logic that characterize the unencumbered, unprejudiced human mind. The more one investigates the intricacies and complexities of the natural realm, the more self-evident it is that a grand and great Designer is responsible for the existence of the Universe. In fact, the evidence is overwhelming and decisive.

The Human Body16

Take, for example, the human body, which possesses such complexity that it simply could not have evolved. Its amazing intricacies absolutely demand a mind—a higher intelligence—behind them. The development of the camera was based upon the human eye. Yet, for all we have accomplished with video and sophisticated photographic equipment, the living, full color optical system of the human eye is unsurpassed. What’s more, we possess a self-restoring, self-repairing healing system; a sensitive stereophonic auditory system; tireless muscular-connecting tissue systems; a well-engineered skeletal framework; a computerized memory-bank brain; a ventilation-insulation skin envelope which constitutes an efficient cooling system of 2000 pores per square inch of skin; and a cardiovascular system that constantly oxygenates our blood with every breath. The human body is absolute proof of God. Atheism cannot explain it. Evolution cannot logically account for it. Scientists have yet to fully understand it. Multiple lifetimes would be necessary even to begin to grasp the massive amount of evidence inherent in the human body.

The psalmist also stated, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). Indeed, the human body itself is sufficient proof of the existence of the Divine Creator. Right now, your body is performing amazing feats of engineering, chemistry, and physics that no machine designed by man can duplicate. Great human minds have applied themselves to the task of duplicating the various capabilities of the human body. Some incredible things have been accomplished in their efforts to copy God’s Creation, but they simply cannot compare with the marvel of God’s design.

The Flagellum17

Consider yet another among the millions of amazing proofs of the reality of the Creator. Bacteria, like salmonella, have as part of their anatomy several flagella filaments extending from their cell body. These flagella are marvels of engineering—bio-nanomachines—that appear to possess the remarkable ability of self-assembly. The bacterium’s flagellum assembly process begins with the formation of an MS ring in the cytoplasmic membrane. Then a switch complex called a “C” ring is assembled on its cytoplasmic side, followed by integration of the protein export apparatus inside the ring. The export apparatus sends out flagellar proteins from the cell body to the distal end of the flagellum to grow the structure.

Next, the “hook,” working as an efficient universal joint, extends to the outside of the cell. Then two junction proteins, Hap1 and Hap3, are attached, followed by the binding of the cap protein, Hap2, to form a capping structure under which the assembly of flagellum molecules begins to grow the flagellar filament. Flagellum molecules are then inserted successively just below the cap, and the flagellar filament continues to grow. All of the flagellar axial proteins produced in the cell body are sent into the central channel of the flagellum and transported to and polymerized at its growing end. Some 20 to 30,000 flagellum molecules polymerize to construct a 10 to 15 micrometer long filament.

The flagellar motor is similar to manmade motors—since both were built on fundamental principles set in place by the Creator. The flagellum consists of rotor and stator units in the cell membrane, including switching unit, bushing, universal joint, and helical screw propeller. To generate thrust, the rotary motor is driven by protons flowing into the cell body. The motor then drives the rotation of the flagellum at around 300 Hz, at a power level of 10-16 W, with energy conversion efficiency close to 100%. The resulting speed is up to 20,000 rpms—faster than the speed of Formula 1 race car engines. This highly efficient, flagellar motor is far beyond the capabilities of manmade, artificial motors. It is so sophisticated, that to suggest that it evolved is the height of irrationality and blind prejudice. Indeed, the evidence is decisive: there is a Designer.

The Pine Tree18

Consider the pine tree. Some 120 species and subspecies of the pine tree exist worldwide. The Ponderosa pine tree (pinus ponderosa) is one of America’s abundant tree species, covering approximately 27 million acres of land. A young Ponderosa pine has brownish-black bark that changes to a distinctive orange-brown color as the tree grows older. The bark is segmented into large, plate-like structures whose appearance has been likened to a jigsaw puzzle. This unusual design has a purpose. If the tree catches fire, these plates pop off as the bark burns. The tree, in effect, sheds its burning bark! This design, along with the great thickness of the bark, allows the tree to be very resistant to low intensity fires. Since design demands a designer, Who is responsible for this intricate design?

Another species of pine tree is the Lodgepole Pine (pinus contorta), so named since Native Americans used Lodgepole pine for the “lodge poles” in their tepees. This amazing pine tree grows cones that are slightly smaller than a golf ball, are tan when fresh, but turn gray with age. These serotinous cones remain closed until the heat of a forest fire prompts them to open. After the fire, the cones open and reseed the forest. The species literally regenerates itself—even though the forest fire kills the tree itself. Since such design demands a designer, Who is responsible for this ingenious design?

Yet another species of pine tree is the Whitebark Pine (pinus albicaulis). This tree possesses a symbiotic relationship with a bird species known as the Clark’s Nutcracker. The tree is dependent on this bird for reproduction, while the seed of the tree is a major source of food for the bird. This mutualistic relationship is further seen in the fact that Whitebark pinecones do not open and cast seed when they are ripe. The cones remain closed until the Nutcracker comes along, pries the cone open with its bill, and stores the seed within a pouch beneath its tongue. The bird then caches the seed to be used later as a food supply. Some of these seed caches are forgotten, or are not needed, thus enabling the tree to reproduce. Such amazing design—with no Mind behind it? Illogical!

Seed: The Dandelion, Tipuana tipu, and the Alsomitra macrocarpa19

When the Creator created the Universe in six literal days, He created seed on the third day:

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day (Genesis 1:11-13).

God designed three main mechanisms for seed dispersal: (1) via animals (e.g., a bird eating a piece of fruit containing seed, and flying to another location where the seed passes out of its body), (2) drifting in ocean and fresh water, and (3) floating with the wind. Incredibly, each of these mechanisms points to the orchestration of a Mastermind.

Consider the ordinary dandelion. It possesses a magnificent crown of plumose hairs forming a symmetrical sphere. Upon closer investigation, this sphere is composed of numerous shafts, each equipped with its own umbrella-like canopy of intricately branched hairs. At the base of each shaft is a single seed. Each individual shaft with its canopy and single seed closely resemble the same design as that utilized in parachutes.

As breezes blow across the surface of the dandelion, the canopy of hairs catch the wind which tugs at the shaft with its host of attached seeds, gently pulling them free from the dandelion head. The parachute-like canopy of hairs then allows the entire assembly to drift with the wind. In fact, the canopy of hairs is precisely designed to achieve flight. The length of the shaft is just right to enable aerodynamic positioning of the canopy to enable it to come to a landing in another location. The attached seed can then take root and start the process all over again. The dandelion is absolute, undeniable proof of God.

Then there is the Tipuana tipu tree (also called Rosewood), originally from South America, but now planted as a shade tree throughout the world. This tree produces achenes—a type of fruit consisting of a dry, membranous sheath that surrounds a seed. The tipu tree has a unique type of achene called a samara, which facilitates a specialized form of wind dispersal. It possesses a fan-shaped wing with a slight pitch (like a propeller or fan blade) which causes it to spin like the auto-rotation of helicopter blades when it falls. The spinning creates lift that slows descent, giving more opportunity to be carried a substantial distance from the tree by the wind, depending on wind velocity and distance above the ground. The decomposed seed spirals down to the ground to become established and perpetuate the species—an unmistakable example of flawless aerodynamic wing design.

Also known for its ingenious aerodynamic configuration is the seed of a tenacious tropical climbing vine identified as Alsomitra macrocarpa. Also called the Javan cucumber, it hangs from trees high in the rain forest canopy in the Sunda Islands of the Malay Archipelago and the Indonesian islands. Each football-sized fruit/gourd is densely packed with large numbers of winged “Stealth Bomber” seeds. A single seed is enveloped by two transparent, papery wings, about five inches across, angled slightly back from and extending either side of the seed. Upon ripening, the wings become dry and the long edge opposite the seed curls slightly upwards.

Each one becomes airborne when released through a hole at the bottom of the gourd and sails through the air, majestically spiraling downward in 20 foot circles. The carefully designed aerodynamic features of the seed are such that it can glide great distances from its point of origin—a classic example of mechanical dispersal in the forest. Moving through the air like a butterfly in flight, it gains height, stalls, dips, and accelerates, once again producing lift—a maneuver known as phugoid oscillation. The seed’s stability in pitch and roll inspired the early aviation pioneer Igo Etrich. Scientists studying this amazing plant describe its lift-to-drag ratio and the rate of descent in these terms: “flight was so stable that samples were seen to take their optimal trimmed angle of attack with a value between the maximum gliding ratio and the minimum rate of descent.”

Evolutionists are confident in their conviction that their explanations for such marvels demonstrate nature’s independent, autonomous existence to the exclusion of God. They virtually “jump through hoops” and engage in “scientific ventriloquism” in their quest to achieve legitimacy for their atheistic bent. However, when all relevant evidence eventually comes to light, it fits “hand in glove” with the presence of the God of the Bible.

Wood20

Prior to the invention of modern plastics, what would the Creator have humans to use for suitable containers? Wood, stone, or clay, and eventually metal, pretty much exhausted the possibilities. Yet, government agencies, like the USDA and the FDA, generally have advocated the use of plastic for cutting boards and other surfaces that sustain food contact, on the grounds that the micropores and knife cuts in wood provide hidden havens for deadly bacterial organisms. As one Extension Specialist from the Department of Human Nutrition stated: “for cleanability and control of microorganisms, plastic is the better choice.”

However, the best research available on the subject suggests otherwise. Dr. Dean Cliver, microbiologist formerly with the Food Safety Laboratory and World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Food Virology at the University of California-Davis, disputed the oft’-repeated claim regarding the superiority of plastic over wood. His research findings, conducted over a period of several years, consistently demonstrated the remarkable antibacterial properties of wood.

Dr. Cliver and his research associates tested five life-threatening bacteria (Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus) on four plastic polymers and more than 10 species of hardwood, including hard maple, birch, beech, black cherry, basswood, butternut, and American black walnut. Within three minutes of inoculating wooden boards with cultures of the food-poisoning agents, 99.9% of the bacteria were “unrecoverable.” On the other hand, none of the bacteria tested under similar conditions on plastic died. In fact, leaving microbe populations on the two surfaces overnight resulted in microbial growth on the plastic boards, while no live bacteria were recovered from wood the next morning. Interestingly, bacteria are absorbed into the wood, but evidently do not multiply, and rarely if ever thrive again. In contrast, bacteria in knife scars in plastic boards remain viable (even after a hot-water-and-soap wash) and maintain their ability to surface later and contaminate foods. Treating wood cutting boards with oils and other finishes to make them more impermeable actually retards wood’s bactericidal activity. Microbiologists remain mystified by their inability to isolate a mechanism or agent responsible for wood’s antibacterial properties. Incredible, divine design.

Do these research findings bear any resemblance to Mosaic injunctions 3,500 years ago which required the destruction of pottery that had become contaminated—while wood was simply to be rinsed (Leviticus 6:28; 11:32-33; 15:12)? Dr. Cliver concluded: “I have no idea where the image of plastic’s superiority came from; but I have spent 40 years promoting food safety, and I would go with plastic if the science supported it. I don’t necessarily trust ‘nature,’ but I do trust laboratory research.” Kudos to Dr. Cliver’s honesty. What about trusting nature’s God?

Summary

Founding Father Thomas Paine was among the small handful of Founders who rejected Christianity. Yet he was not an atheist. He believed that the created order proves God exists. In fact, he considered atheists to be “fools” for their rejection of the plain evidence of creation. In Age of Reason, he explained:

Deism, then, teaches us, without the possibility of being deceived, all that is necessary or proper to be known. The creation is the Bible of the Deist. He there reads, in the handwriting of the Creator himself, the certainty of his existence and the immutability of his power, and all other Bibles and Testaments are to him forgeries. The probability that we may be called to account hereafter will, to a reflecting mind, have the influence of belief; for it is not our belief or disbelief that can make or unmake the fact. As this is the state we are in, and which it is proper we should be in, as free agents, it is the fool only, and not the philosopher, or even the prudent man, that would live as if there were no God.21

Don’t be foolish. The evidence for the marvelous, creative handiwork of God is simply staggering. The only plausible, rational explanation for the existence of human beings on this planet is God. The intricacies of the created order attest to that living God.

[to be continued]

Endnotes

1 “Sites Under Review for Telescope that Could Detect Alien TV” (2006), World Science, July 10, http://www.world-science.net/exclusives/060711_ska.htm.

2 Ibid., emp. added.

3 One is reminded of NASA’s Viking mission to Mars in the mid-seventies in which scientists eagerly declared evidence for life on Mars based on initial photos that appeared to show a “B” or even a face on a rock. Such judgments soon were deemed premature and incorrect. Cf. “‘Life’ on Mars” (2006), http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/stu/mars_life.html. Also Thomas Warren and Antony Flew (1976), The Warren-Flew Debate (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press), pp. 112,156.

4 Carl Sagan (1980), Cosmos (New York: Random House), p. 4.

5 Carl Sagan (1997), Billions and Billions (New York: Random House), p. 225.

6 Ibid., p. 228.

7 Carl Sagan, ed. (1973), “Introduction,” Communication with Extraterrestrial Intelligence [CETI] (MIT Press), pp. ix-x.

8 Carl Sagan (1985), Contact (New York: Simon and Schuster).

9 As cited in Ray Bohlin (1998), “Contact: A Eulogy to Carl Sagan,” http://www.probe.org/docs/contact.html. Of course, the scientific evidence does not support this conclusion—see Ray Bohlin (2002), “Are We Alone in the Universe?” http://www.probe.org/docs/lifemars.html.

10 C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch (1976 reprint), Commentary on the Old Testament: The Pentateuch (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 1:56; Herbert Leupold (1950 reprint), Exposition of Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), p. 71.

11 See “StarChild Question of the Month for February 2000,” High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/GSFC, https://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question18.html: “[T]he Sun—in fact, our whole solar system—orbits around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. We are moving at an average velocity of 828,000 km/hr. But even at that high rate, it still takes us about 230 million years to make one complete orbit around the Milky Way!”

12 As quoted in Norman Geisler (1983), Cosmos: Carl Sagan’s Religion for the Scientific Mind (Dallas, TX: Quest), p. 59.

13 See Frank Gaebelein, ed. (1988), The Expositor’s Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 4:1037,1042.

14 See Thomas Warren (1972), Have Atheists Proved There Is No God? (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press). Also Dave Miller (2015), Why People Suffer (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press); Kyle Butt (2010), A Christian’s Guide to Refuting Modern Atheism (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

15 Barclay Newman (1971), A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament (London: United Bible Societies), p. 180.

16 The following details were gleaned from: “The Brain Initiative” (2015), National Institutes of Health, http://www.braininitiative.nih.gov/index.htm; “The Cardiovascular System” (2008), SUNY Downstate Medical Center, http://ect.downstate.edu/courseware/histomanual/cardiovascular.html; D.D. Clark and L. Sokoloff (1999), Basic Neurochemistry: Molecular, Cellular and Medical Aspects, ed. G.J. Siegel, B.W. Agranoff, R.W. Albers, S.K. Fisher, M.D. Uhler (Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott), pp. 637–670; Brian Clegg (2013), “20 Amazing Facts about the Human Body,” The Guardian, January 26, http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jan/27/20-human-body-facts-science; “Fantastic Facts about the Human Body” (2008), DiscoveryHealth.com writers, HowStuffWorks.com, August 12, http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/parts/facts-about-the-human-body.htm; Henry Gray (1918), Anatomy of the Human Body (Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger); Bartleby.com, 2000, www.bartleby.com/107/; “Human Anatomy” (2015), http://www.innerbody.com/; “Human Body” (2015), National Geographic, http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-body/; Tanya Lewis (2015), “Human Brain: Facts, Anatomy & Mapping Project,” LiveScience, March 26, http://www.livescience.com/29365-human-brain.html; Marcus E. Raichle and Debra A. Gusnard (2002), “Appraising the Brain’s Energy Budget,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99[16]:10237-10239, August 6, http://www.pnas.org/content/99/16/10237; Nikhil Swaminathan (2008), “Why Does the Brain Need So Much Power?” Scientific American, April 29, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-the-brain-need-s/; “Understanding the Brain” (no date), The National Science Foundation, http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/brain/; Carl Zimmer (2004), Soul Made Flesh: The Discovery of the Brain—and How It Changed the World (New York: Free Press).

17 See Anton Arkhipov, Peter L. Freddolino, Katsumi Imada, Keiichi Namba, and Klaus Schulten (2006), “Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Simulations of a Rotating Bacterial Flagellum,” Biophysical Journal, 91:4589-4597; Anton Arkhipov, Peter Freddolino, and Klaus Schulten (2014), “Bacterial Flagellum,” Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, NIH Center for Macromolecular Modeling & Bioinformatics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Research/flagellum/; Howard Berg (2000), “Motile Behavior of Bacteria,” Physics Today, 53[1]:24, January, http://scitation.aip.org/docserver/fulltext/aip/magazine/physicstoday/53/1/1.882934.pdf?expires=1447448109&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=4DB7CE4D03EA780CE104B9A03A1CD811; “‘Clutch’ Stops Flagella” (2008), Photonics.com, June 23, http://www.photonics.com/Article.aspx?PID=6&VID=35&IID=258&AID=34236; Tim Dean (2010), “Inside Nature’s Most Efficient Motor: The Flagellar,” Australian Life Scientist, August 2, http://www.lifescientist.com.au/content/molecular-biology/news/inside-nature-s-most-efficient-motor-the-flagellar-1216235209; Zoltán Diószeghy, Péter Závodszky, Keiichi Namba, and Ferenc Vonderviszt (2004), “Stabilization of Flagellar Filaments by HAP2 Capping,” FEBS Letters, 568[1-3]:105-109, June 18, http://www.febsletters.org/article/S0014-5793(04)00623-4/abstract; Erato Protonic Nanomachine Project, Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University, http://www.fbs.osaka-u.ac.jp/labs/namba/npn/index.html; Vitold Galkin, Xiong Yu, Jacob Bielnick, et al. (2008), “Divergence of Quaternary Structures among Bacterial Flagellar Filaments,” Science, 320[5874]:382-385, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/320/5874/382, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/320/5874/382; Abhrajyoti Ghosh and Sonja-Verena Albers (2011), “Assembly and Function of the Archaeal Flagellum,” Biochemical Society Transactions, 39[1]:64-69, February 1, http://www.biochemsoctrans.org/content/39/1/64#fn-group-1; Ken Jarrell, Douglas Bayley, and Alla Kostyukova (1996), “The Archaeal Flagellum: a Unique Motility Structure,” Journal of Bacteriology, 178[17]:5057-5064, September, http://jb.asm.org/content/178/17/5057?ijkey=bb6062450f68ce38ff0bb584daab03fe3ff79f1b&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha; H. Lodish, A. Berk, S.L. Zipursky, et al. (2000), “Cilia and Flagella: Structure and Movement” (Section 19.4), Molecular Cell Biology (New York: W.H. Freeman), fourth edition, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21698/; Robert Macnab (2003), “How Bacteria Assemble Flagella,” Annual Review of Microbiology, 57:77-100, October, http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.micro.57.030502.090832; Saori Maki-Yonekura, Koji Yonekura, and Keiichi Namba (2010), “Conformational Change of Flagellin for Polymorphic Supercoiling of the Flagellar Filament,” Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 17:417-422, March 14, http://www.nature.com/nsmb/journal/v17/n4/full/nsmb.1774.html; G.L.M. Meister and H.C. Berg (1987), “Rapid Rotation of Flagellar Bundles in Swimming Bacteria,” Nature, 325[6105]:637-640; Yoshio Nagata (2014), “Unlocking the Secrets of Nature’s Nanomotor,” Nikkei Asian Review, June 2, http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/Unlocking-the-secrets-of-nature-s-nanomotor; Fadel Samatey, Katsumi Imada, et al. (2001), “Structure of the Bacterial Flagellar Protofilament and Implications for a Switch for Supercoiling,” Nature, 410[15]:331-337; “Self-Assembly NanoMachine” (2008), ICORP Dynamic NanoMachine Project, Japan Science and Technology Agency, NHK Joho Network, Research Director Keiichi Namba, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw0-MHI_248.

18 “Lodgepole Pine” (no date), USDA Forest Service, http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/helena/resources/trees/LodgepolePine.shtml; “Ponderosa Pine” (no date), USDA Forest Service, http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/helena/resources/trees/PonderosaPine.shtml; “Ponderosa Pine” (1995), Western Wood Products Association, http://www.wwpa.org/ppine.htm; “What Are Pine Trees?” (no date), The Lovett Pinetum Charitable Foundation, http://www.lovett-pinetum.org/1whatare.htm; “Whitebark Pine” (no date), USDA Forest Service, http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/helena/resources/trees/WhitebarkPine.shtml.

19 Trevor Armstrong, et al. (2003), “Rosewood or tipuana tree (Tipuana tipu),” Weed Management Guide, CRC Weed Management, https://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/publications/guidelines/alert/pubs/t-tipu.pdf; W.P. Armstrong (1999), “Blowing in the Wind: Seeds & Fruits Dispersed By Wind,” Wayne’s Word, http://waynesword.palomar.edu/plfeb99.htm#helicopters; Akira Azuma and Yoshinori Okuno (1987), “Flight of a Samara, Alsomitra macrocarpa,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, 129[3]:263-274, December 7, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519387800012; Y. Bar-Cohen (2012), “Biologically Inspired Technologies for Aeronautics,” in Innovation in Aeronautics, ed. Trevor Young and Mike Hirst (Philadelphia, PA: Woodhead Publishing); J.W. Dunne (1913), “The Theory of the Dunne Aeroplane,” The Aeronautical Journal, April, 83-102; “Helicopter Seed Dispersal—Tipuana tipu Samara” (2012), TheNerdyGardener, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caGTvw-CRaA; J. Hutchinson (1942), “Macrozanonia Cogn. and Alsomitra Roem,” Annals of Botany, 6[1]:95-102, http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/content/6/1/95.full.pdf; K. Jones (1995), Pau d’Arco: Immune Power From the Rain Forest (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press); Ch’ien Lee (2015), “Alsomitra macrocarpa,” Image # cld06121913, from East Kalimantan, Indonesia, Nature Photography of Southeast Asia, http://www.wildborneo.com.my/photo.php?k=East Kalimantan, Indonesia&p=1&i=7; P. Loewer (1995), Seeds: The Definitive Guide to Growing, History, and Lore (New York: Macmillan Company), R.A. Rolfe (1920), “Macrozanonia Macrocarpa,” Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew), 6:197-199, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4118666?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents; Tipuana tipu (no date), The Australian Government,http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/weeddetails.pl?taxon_id=67959; Percy Walker (1974), Early Aviation at Farnborough Volume II: The First Aeroplanes (London: Macdonald), 2:174-175.

20 Dean Cliver (2002), “Plastic and Wooden Cutting Boards,” Unpublished manuscript; Dean Cliver (2002), personal letter; Karen Penner (1994), “Plastic vs. Wood Cutting Boards,” Timely Topics, Department of Human Nutrition, K-State Research and Extension; Janet Raloff (1993), “Wood Wins, Plastic Trashed for Cutting Meat,” Science News, 143[6]:84-85, February 6; Janet Raloff (1997), “Cutting Through the Cutting Board Brouhaha,” Science News Online, Food For Thought, July 11.

21 Thomas Paine (1794), Age of Reason, Part II, Section 21, emp. added, http://www.ushistory.org/paine/reason/singlehtml.htm.

(original link)

Evidence for the Resurrection

by Josh McDowell

For centuries many of the world’s distinguished philosophers have assaulted Christianity as being irrational, superstitious and absurd. Many have chosen simply to ignore the central issue of the resurrection. Others have tried to explain it away through various theories. But the historical evidence just can’t be discounted.

A student at the University of Uruguay said to me. “Professor McDowell, why can’t you refute Christianity?”

“For a very simple reason,” I answered. “I am not able to explain away an event in history–the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

How can we explain the empty tomb? Can it possibly be accounted for by any natural cause?


A QUESTION OF HISTORY

After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings–or it is the most remarkable fact of history.

Here are some of the facts relevant to the resurrection: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet who claimed to be the Christ prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures, was arrested, was judged a political criminal, and was crucified. Three days after His death and burial, some women who went to His tomb found the body gone. In subsequent weeks, His disciples claimed that God had raised Him from the dead and that He appeared to them various times before ascending into heaven.

From that foundation, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and has continued to exert great influence down through the centuries.


LIVING WITNESSES

The New Testament accounts of the resurrection were being circulated within the lifetimes of men and women alive at the time of the resurrection. Those people could certainly have confirmed or denied the accuracy of such accounts.

The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means “good news,” the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.

F. F. Bruce, Rylands professor of biblical criticism and exegesis at the University of Manchester, says concerning the value of the New Testament records as primary sources: “Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective.”


IS THE NEW TESTAMENT RELIABLE?

Because the New Testament provides the primary historical source for information on the resurrection, many critics during the 19th century attacked the reliability of these biblical documents.

By the end of the 1 9th century, however, archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the New Testament manuscripts. Discoveries of early papyri bridged the gap between the time of Christ and existing manuscripts from a later date.

Those findings increased scholarly confidence in the reliability of the Bible. William F. Albright, who in his day was the world’s foremost biblical archaeologist, said: “We can already say emphatically that there is no longer any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament after about A.D. 80, two full generations before the date between 130 and 150 given by the more radical New Testament critics of today.”

Coinciding with the papyri discoveries, an abundance of other manuscripts came to light (over 24,000 copies of early New Testament manuscripts are known to be in existence today). The historian Luke wrote of “authentic evidence” concerning the resurrection. Sir William Ramsay, who spent 15 years attempting to undermine Luke credentials as a historian, and to refute the reliability of the New Testament, finally concluded: “Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians. “


I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history . . .

E. M. Blaiklock
Professor of Classics
Auckland University



BACKGROUND

The New Testament witnesses were fully aware of the background against which the resurrection took place. The body of Jesus, in accordance with Jewish burial custom, was wrapped in a linen cloth. About 100 pounds of aromatic spices, mixed together to form a gummy substance, were applied to the wrappings of cloth about the body. After the body was placed in a solid rock tomb, an extremely large stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb. Large stones weighing approximately two tons were normally rolled (by means of levers) against a tomb entrance.

A Roman guard of strictly disciplined fighting men was stationed to guard the tomb. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal, which was meant to “prevent any attempt at vandalizing the sepulcher. Anyone trying to move the stone from the tomb’s entrance would have broken the seal and thus incurred the wrath of Roman law.

But three days later the tomb was empty. The followers of Jesus said He had risen from the dead. They reported that He appeared to them during a period of 40 days, showing Himself to them by many “infallible proofs.” Paul the apostle recounted that Jesus appeared to more than 500 of His followers at one time, the majority of whom were still alive and who could confirm what Paul wrote. So many security precautions were taken with the trial, crucifixion, burial, entombment, sealing, and guarding of Christ’s tomb that it becomes very difficult for critics to defend their position that Christ did not rise from the dead. Consider these facts:


OVER 500 WITNESSES

Several very important factors arc often overlooked when considering Christ’s post-resurrection appearances to individuals. The first is the large number of witnesses of Christ after that resurrection morning. One of the earliest records of Christ’s appearing after the resurrection is by Paul. The apostle appealed to his audience’s knowledge of the fact that Christ had been seen by more than 500 people at one time. Paul reminded them that the majority of those people were still alive and could be questioned. Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, associate professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, emphasizes: “What gives a special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren being still alive. St. Paul says in effect, ‘If you do not believe me, you can ask them.’ Such a statement in an admittedly genuine letter written within thirty years of the event is almost as strong evidence as one could hope to get for something that happened nearly two thousand years ago.” Let’s take the more than 500 witnesses who saw Jesus alive after His death and burial, and place them in a courtroom. Do you realize that if each of those 500 people were to testify for only six minutes, including cross-examination, you would have an amazing 50 hours of firsthand testimony? Add to this the testimony of many other eyewitnesses and you would well have the largest and most lopsided trial in history.


HOSTILE WITNESSES

Another factor crucial to interpreting Christ’s appearances is that He also appeared to those who were hostile or unconvinced.

Over and over again, I have read or heard people comment that Jesus was seen alive after His death and burial only by His friends and followers. Using that argument, they attempt to water down the overwhelming impact of the multiple eyewitness accounts. But that line of reasoning is so pathetic it hardly deserves comment. No author or informed individual would regard Saul of Tarsus as being a follower of Christ. The facts show the exact opposite. Saul despised Christ and persecuted Christ’s followers. It was a life-shattering experience when Christ appeared to him. Although he was at the time not a disciple, he later became the apostle Paul, one of the greatest witnesses for the truth of the resurrection.


If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt.


F. F. Bruce
Manchester University


The argument that Christ’s appearances were only to followers is an argument for the most part from silence, and arguments from silence can be dangerous. It is equally possible that all to whom Jesus appeared became followers. No one acquainted with the facts can accurately say that Jesus appeared to just “an insignificant few.”

Christians believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected in time and space by the supernatural power of God. The difficulties of belief may be great, but the problems inherent in unbelief present even greater difficulties.

The theories advanced to explain the resurrection by “natural causes” are weak; they actually help to build confidence in the truth of the resurrection.


THE WRONG TOMB?

A theory propounded by Kirsopp Lake assumes that the women who reported that the body was missing had mistakenly gone to the wrong tomb. If so, then the disciples who went to check up on the women’s statement must have also gone to the wrong tomb. We may be certain, however, that Jewish authorities, who asked for a Roman guard to be stationed at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ body from being stolen, would not have been mistaken about the location. Nor would the Roman guards, for they were there!

If the resurrection-claim was merely because of a geographical mistake, the Jewish authorities would have lost no time in producing the body from the proper tomb, thus effectively quenching for all time any rumor resurrection.


HALLUCINATIONS?

Another attempted explanation claims that the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection were either illusions or hallucinations. Unsupported by the psychological principles governing the appearances of hallucinations, this theory also does not coincide with the historical situation. Again, where was the actual body, and why wasn’t it produced?


DID JESUS SWOON?

Another theory, popularized by Venturini several centuries ago, is often quoted today. This is the swoon theory, which says that Jesus didn’t die; he merely fainted from exhaustion and loss of blood. Everyone thought Him dead, but later He resuscitated and the disciples thought it to be a resurrection. Skeptic David Friedrich Strauss–certainly no believer in the resurrection–gave the deathblow to any thought that Jesus revived from a swoon: “It is impossible that a being who had stolen half-dead out of the sepulchre, who crept about weak and ill, wanting medical treatment, who required bandaging, strengthening and indulgence, and who still at last yielded to His sufferings, could have given to the disciples the impression that He was a Conqueror over death and the grave, the Prince of Life,


For the New Testament of Acts, the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Any attempt to reject its basic historicity, even in matters of detail, must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.

A. N. Sherwin-White
Classical Roman Historian


an impression which lay at the bottom of their future ministry. Such a resuscitation could only have weakened the impression which He had made upon them in life and in death, at the most could only have given it an elegiac voice, but could by no possibility have changed their sorrow into enthusiasm, have elevated their reverence into worship.”


THE BODY STOLEN?

Then consider the theory that the body was stolen by the disciples while the guards slept. The depression and cowardice of the disciples provide a hard-hitting argument against their suddenly becoming so brave and daring as to face a detachment of soldiers at the tomb and steal the body. They were in no mood to attempt anything like that.

The theory that the Jewish or Roman authorities moved Christ’s body is no more reasonable an explanation for the empty tomb than theft by the disciples. If the authorities had the body in their possession or knew where it was, why, when the disciples were preaching the resurrection in Jerusalem, didn’t they explain: “Wait! We moved the body, see, He didn’t rise from the grave”?

And if such a rebuttal failed, why didn’t they explain exactly where Jesus’ body lay? If this failed, why didn’t they recover the corpse, put it on a cart, and wheel it through the center of Jerusalem? Such an action would have destroyed Christianity–not in the cradle, but in the womb!


THE RESURRECTION IS A FACT

Professor Thomas Arnold, for 14 years a headmaster of Rugby, author of the famous, History of Rome, and appointed to the chair of modern history at Oxford, was well acquainted with the value of evidence in determining historical facts. This great scholar said: “I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.” Brooke Foss Westcott, an English scholar, said: “raking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it.”


REAL PROOF: THE DISCIPLES’ LIVES

But the most telling testimony of all must be the lives of those early Christians. We must ask ourselves: What caused them to go everywhere telling the message of the risen Christ?

Had there been any visible benefits accrued to them from their efforts–prestige, wealth, increased social status or material benefits–we might logically attempt to account for their actions, for their whole-hearted and total allegiance to this “risen Christ .”

As a reward for their efforts, however, those early Christians were beaten, stoned to death, thrown to the lions, tortured and crucified. Every conceivable method was used to stop them from talking.

Yet, they laid down their lives as the ultimate proof of their complete confidence in the truth of their message.


WHERE DO YOU STAND?

How do you evaluate this overwhelming historical evidence? What is your decision about the fact of Christ’s empty tomb? What do you think of Christ?

When I was confronted with the overwhelming evidence for Christ’s resurrection, I had to ask the logical question: “What difference does all this evidence make to me? What difference does it make whether or not I believe Christ rose again and died on the cross for my sins!’ The answer is put best by something Jesus said to a man who doubted–Thomas. Jesus told him: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

On the basis of all the evidence for Christ’s resurrection, and considering the fact that Jesus offers forgiveness of sin and an eternal relationship with God, who would be so foolhardy as to reject Him? Christ is alive! He is living today.

You can trust God right now by faith through prayer. Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. If you have never trusted Christ, you can do so right now.

The prayer I prayed is: “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and trust You as my Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You that I can trust You.”


Josh McDowell, according to a recent survey, is one of the most popular speakers among university students today. He has spoken on more than 650 university and college campuses to more than seven million people in 74 countries during the last 21 years.

©1992 Josh McDowell Ministry

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