Posts Tagged ‘Creation’

Could Religion Really Not Exist?

I was discussing with an atheist friend on his blog the idea of supernaturalism vs. naturalism, and one of the arguments he brought up was surprising to me. His claim was that if you were to erase all memory of anything having to do with science, we would still get science roughly as we see it today. However, if you were to erase all memory of anything religious, it would be reasonable to expect that religion would be very different than we see it today, and quite possibly not even exist. Is this reasonable?

I would disagree for two reasons:

1) As an atheist, my friend would have to assume that there was initially a time period where neither science nor religion existed, because under atheism man was not present at the beginning, but later evolved over time. And yet under these conditions, both science and religion still arose in their current formats. So based on the evidence we have of a time where there was no presence of science or religion, we can safely assume that a similar state would produce both, since it has been done before.

2) General revelation seems to point men to an outside source for the creation of our world. As Aristotle said in his work “On Philosophy”:

When thus they would suddenly gain sight of the earth, seas, and the sky; when they should come to know the grandeur of the clouds and the might of the winds; when they should behold the sun and should learn its grandeur and beauty as well as its power to cause the day by shedding light over the sky; and again, when the night had darkened the lands and they should behold the whole of the sky spangled and adorned with stars; and when they should see the changing lights of the moon as it waxes and wanes, and the risings and settings of all these celestial bodies, their courses fixed and changeless throughout all eternity–when they should behold all these things, most certainly they would have judged both that there exist gods and that all these marvelous works are the handiwork of the gods.

This is a man who shaped much of medieval scholarship in areas like physics, logic, poetry, rhetoric, linguistics and biology. He also predated the coming of Jesus and the writings of the New Testament. And yet Aristotle did not see it possible to explain science without the supernatural. The things he could see in creation pointed him to the gods.

Is it any wonder that Paul would testify to this revelation in Romans? “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” — Romans 1:20

I think these are two powerful pieces of evidence that would lead us reasonably to assume that if memories of both science and religion were erased, science and religion would both be born anew.

It’s just one minor but still relevant argument pointing in the favor of God’s existence as more probable than improbable.

Creation: God Does It Best

I was sent this link to a video by a co-worker this morning. The subject is really quite astounding. A man has created PVC “creatures” that move on their own based solely on the wind. He is able to get them to move up and down beaches without any assistance. It truly is remarkable.

But it was a quote around the 1:55 mark that caught my attention. After trial and error and several generations of work, the architect finally had the machine that would move on its own, one that included a propellor and wings. The architect says, “I have found with all of these experiences the problems the real Creator must have had in creating this world.” It’s true that the kinds of variability needed in natural life appears that it would pose all sorts of problems. Some things need wings to survive; some don’t. And yet it all works together somewhat seamlessly.

The issue to me is this: God didn’t have any problems in creating this world. My favorite word recently has been “omnisapience”, which means “all-wise” or “knowing the best means to achieve an end result.” God alone possesses such omnisapience; He has always known exactly what each unique creature would need in order to survive. Don’t believe me? Look at Matthew 6:8, which says, “Do not be like them, for Your heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” God understands our needs, has always understood our needs. From the beginning of time God knew the parts and features we would need to not only survive, but also thrive in our environment.

Think about it for just a minute. How well would man do in the African plains against lions, gazelles, gorillas, etc. without unique intelligence and planning abilities? How well would geese do in alligator-infested waters without the ability to fly and lift off quickly? Evolution would tell you that it took millions of years of natural selection and genetic mutation to get to where we are today. I say it took one Mind having pure omnisapience and omnipotence to be able to carry out the needs of each species on this earth, carefully crafted and designed.

Staying true to expositional study, the verse right after Matthew 6:8, Matthew 6:9 (no duh, right?) is the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer. Is it any wonder that the first part of the Lord’s Prayer is to “hallow” God’s name, after such an amazing promise in verse 8? I hope that when we take a look around at some of the workmanship that God so wonderfully created for us, we immediately seek to “hallow” His name. Amen.

Nature of the Gaps

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, and I hope anyone who has come recently hoping to find a new blog hasn’t been too disappointed and left my blog entirely. The holiday season has been a crazy one, to be sure. But life keeps on chugging, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back on here more frequently and talk about some of things God has been doing in my life, as well as some of the things He continues to show me.

This blog is courtesy of Systematic Theology, Volume 2 by Norman Geisler. In his chapter titled “The Sustenance of Creation,” he makes an interesting argument about the differences between origin science and operation science.

Before I get into his points, let me back up and explain to anyone not familiar with the term “God of the gaps.” This is a term that has a rather negative connotation to theists. In a sense, non-theists state that theists will use God to explain anything that doesn’t have an already-determined explanation for its cause. This is used of anything that may not have a foolproof naturalistic explanation as to its cause; although the answer may not be there, it’s not right to insert God as the answer for what we don’t know.

This is where the arguments of origin science vs. operation science begin to take place. Operation science is much of what we consider modern science today. Operation science is rooted in observable regularities, meaning something that we can see taking place, and that can be repeated and deemed as a process. The scientific method is based off of these basic principles, taking something scientific to be observable, measurable and repeatable. Anything that can be deemed an observable regularity is considered to be part of operation science (examples: the metamorphosis of a butterfly, the 3 changeable states of water). If it is something that can be seen as part of a natural process and repeated, it is operation science. It is true that God of the gaps has no business in operation science, and we can all agree.

The counter-argument to that is the idea of “nature of the gaps.” Just like God of the gaps, nature of the gaps is the misconception that whatever we don’t know, we should insert the belief that a natural cause is responsible. This is applicable to origin science, which is based upon unobservable singularities. This is an event that happens only once, therefore it cannot be repeated, which means modern science cannot hope to measure it, study the process of it, and therefore determine its cause. The ultimate conclusion is this: God of the gaps has no place in operation science, and nature of the gaps has no place in origin science.

Perhaps when I get home and can get to the book I will edit this post and let Geisler put it more eloquently than I just did. But I think it’s safe to say that to be too presumptuous about any area of science we don’t completely understand is a tenuous position to hold, and we ought to step back and consider what place our argument really has weight. When we fully realize we are not as smart as we think we are, only then are we truly in a position to understand and learn.

Chicken Or The Egg?

Of course it’s the age-old question of which came first. Apparently it finally has an answer.

Science has determined that the egg had to have come first. This article explains the secular science viewpoint about why the egg had to have come first. To quote the article:

Chickens evolved from non-chickens through small changes caused by the mixing of male and female DNA or by mutations to the DNA that produced the zygote. These changes and mutations only have an effect at the point where a new zygote is created. That is, two non-chickens mated and the DNA in their new zygote contained the mutation(s) that produced the first true chicken. That one zygote cell divided to produce the first true chicken.

Prior to that first true chicken zygote, there were only non-chickens. The zygote cell is the only place where DNA mutations could produce a new animal, and the zygote cell is housed in the chicken’s egg. So, the egg must have come first.

However, a recent development made by British scientists suggests that science is, in fact, wrong in this conclusion. This article states that these scientists have proven that the chicken had to have come first. To quote this article:

The scientists found that a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries is necessary for the formation of the egg, according to the paper Wednesday. The egg can therefore only exist if it has been created inside a chicken.

The protein speeds up the development of the hard shell, which is essential in protecting the delicate yolk and fluids while the chick grows inside the egg, the report said.

“It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,” said Dr. Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University’s Department of Engineering Materials, according to the [Daily] Mail.

“The protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation, but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process,” he said.

While it not only gives us a seemingly definitive answer to a question that has befuddled philosophers and scientists alike, it also seems that this scientific discovery may force science to flat-out reject the evolutionary theory that previously supported the “egg first” idea. Interestingly, while rejecting the idea of evolution to produce the chicken, it also supports the creationist idea found in the Bible; Genesis 2:19 says “Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air.” If the chicken came first, it becomes not only possible but extremely plausible that an Intelligent Designer created it, especially given the exactness of balance needed for an egg to be the right hardness and have the proper oxygen intake and release in order to produce a baby chick and further sustain “chickenkind.”

God is good, and His Word stands forever!

The Teleological Argument

I never realized until now that God has been training me even since I knew what it meant.

I grew up in a Christian home that was never short on Bibles. When I was growing up, my favorite Bible was a New Century Version because interspersed throughout the Bible were stories (both fiction and non-fiction) or some facts you might find in a science or history book that were pertinent to what Scriptures were on the page. I don’t remember what the Scriptures were for, but I do remember one such excerpt talking about the idea that if the earth were a few thousand feet closer to the sun we would burn up, and if it were a few thousand feet further away from the sun we would all freeze. The purpose, of course, was to point out intelligent design.

In reading up in Systematic Theology by Norman Geisler, I realized that such arguments are under the banner of a bigger argument for the existence of God: the Teleological Argument. This argument contains 2 pieces. One is the “anthropic principle,” which encompasses what I talked about above and I’ll get into some more detail about later. The second piece is one I hadn’t heard of until my Bible study went through the Truth Project recently. That second piece is the notion of “irreducible complexity.”

Let me explain this concept the best way I can. The term “irreducible complexity” is actually a term taken from Darwin. In Chapter VI of his book “On the Origin of Species,” Darwin explains that one of the bases for his theory is the ability for organisms to undergo slight modifications over a period of time to evolve into their current state. His conclusion says thus: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.” He goes on to say that such an organ would be “irreducibly complex,” and would destroy his theory.

The interesting thing is that modern biochemistry seems to have found what Darwin could not — an irreducibly complex organism. Ironically, this organism is the basis for all human life. It is the structure of the human cell. It has been determined that if any one piece of the cell’s make-up were to be removed, the entire structure of the cell would fall apart and cease to be. If every single piece is necessary, then there is no “evolutionary link” that could have been lacking any part of its structure. The cell either exists in full form or it doesn’t exist; there is no middle ground.

One other such example is the bacterial flagellum, which requires all parts in order to be a fully functioning organism. Those attempting to refute this idea suggest that not enough is yet known about the bacterial flagellum with which to make this conclusion to a certainty. Another interesting concept is the idea of blood clotting. If this process evolved the way other processes evolve, then the starting point or middle ground would have meant that blood would not clot properly, in which case a person (or ape, or whatever) would simply bleed out because nothing could stop the bleeding. If all of these creatures were dead, then how could they evolve? It appears that Darwin’s theory is breaking down.

The anthropic principle is equally important to emphasize the nature of a Creator with intelligence and a perfect knowledge of what we need. My understanding of this principle is that there is evidence suggesting some intelligent design in the way the Earth was created for us to be able to sustain life on it . Some examples given by Geisler:

1) Earth’s atmosphere is 21% oxygen. If this ratio was 25%, fires would erupt; if it was 15%, humans would suffocate.
2) If the gravitational force were altered by merely one part in ten to the 40th power (ten followed by 40 zeroes), the sun would not exist and the moon would crash into the earth or veer off into space.
3) If the universe were expanding at a rate one-millionth more slowly than it is, the temperature on Earth would be 10,000 degrees Celsius.
4) If the earth’s crust were thicker, too much oxygen would be transmitted to support life. If it were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would make life untenable.

Albert Einstein may have summed it up best when he said, “The harmony of natural law…reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

What’s most telling about the teleological argument is that its claims are made based on scientific discovery, which is the primary rebuttal against a pro-theistic stance (no evidence of intelligent design in science). From what I’ve seen in debates on YouTube and other websites (which of course, is filled with bias both ways and what I’ve seen in no way represents every mention of the subject), it appears that evolutionary biology is scrambling to find answers to these questions posed to them. I admit that I entered this realm with a definite bias, but this type of science leaves me with fewer questions and more answers, which is more than I can say about evolution at this point.

I guess ultimately what I’m saying is that I’m so glad to have a God that is omniscient and can foresee our needs, and as a result tailored together such a wonderful thing that can support our existence. I’m sure similar posts are forthcoming, as this is only chapter two in volume one of systematic theology. I’m anxious to learn more about our great God!