"GOD’S WILL FOR YOU" Discerning The Will Of God INTRODUCTION 1. In this series, we have focused on things explicitly stated as God’s will for you... a. Rejoice always - 1Th 5:16 b. Pray without ceasing - 1Th 5:17 c. Give thanks in everything - 1Th 5:18 d. Your sanctification - 1Th 4:3-8 e. Do good - 1Pe 2:11-15 2. In the next four lessons, I would like for us to consider... a. How else we can discern the will of God b. Motivation for doing the will of God c. Making God's will priority one d. Seeking God's providential will [In regards to discerning the will of God, let’s turn to Ro 12:2, where we read how you can prove (discern, ESV) what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. First, we are told...] I. BE NOT CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD A. CONFORMITY DEFINED... 1. To conform to another’s pattern - RWP 2. E.g., the desire to be like someone else 3. A conformist is often afraid to be different, who feels a need to be like everyone else B. CONFORMITY DEPICTED... 1. Doing what others do, imitating how others talk, wearing what others wear 2. Occurs most often during adolescence, but frequently in adults 3. Complicated by advertisers marketing their products, encouraging conformity C. CONFORMITY’S DANGERS... 1. The majority is rarely right a. Most are on the path to destruction - Mt 7:13 b. The way to life is straight and narrow, which few follow - Mt 7:14 2. Conformity easily leads to doing things you know are wrong - cf. 1Co 15:33 a. Friends in a car for a joyride, and one begins popping pills b. Men and women at business functions, where alcohol is consumed 3. Conformity to things of this world will separate you from God! - cf. 1Jn 2:15-17 a. By giving way to the lust of the flesh (immorality) b. By succumbing to the lust of the eyes (materialism) c. By yielding to the pride of life (arrogance) [You will never discern God’s will trying to be like those in the world. That is very much the opposite of God’s will for you! You will be able to discern God’s will for you if you will...] II. BE TRANSFORMED BY RENEWING YOUR MIND A. TRANSFORMATION DEFINED... 1. The Greek word is metamorphoo a. "to change into another form" - Vine b. From which comes the word metamorphosis c. A change of form, as when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly 2. In the NT, this word is used to describe: a. What happened to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration - Mt 17:1-2 b. What is to happen to Christians in their service to God - Ro 12:1-2 B. TRANSFORMATION DEPICTED... 1. Christians are to "undergo a complete change, which under the power of God, will find expression in character and conduct" - Vine 2. We are to become like Christ a. The purpose of discipleship and our salvation - Lk 6:40; Ro 8:29 b. The goal of Christian living - Col 3:9-10 c. Slowly, but surely, we are transformed to be like Christ - cf. 2Co 3:18 3. Note that Paul uses the passive voice in our text - Ro 12:2 a. Indicating that transformation is something we allow to be done to us b. Not something we do by our own power alone c. We submit to God’s power, and by His grace we are "changed into another form" and become a "new creation" - 2Co 5:17 C. TRANSFORMATION DEVELOPED... 1. Begins with being in Christ (2Co 5:17), which requires baptism a. Whereby we put on Christ - Ga 3:27 b. Which is a washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit - Tit 3:5 2. Continues by renewing our minds - Ro 12:2; cf. Ep 4:20-24 a. Setting our minds on things above - Col 3:1-2 b. Setting our minds on the things of the Spirit - Ro 8:5 3. With our minds "renewed" we can experience a true transformation! a. Putting off the old man and putting on the new man - Col 3:2,5-10 b. Living according to the Spirit - cf. Ro 8:5,13 4. The process of transformation is really quite simple - cf. Ac 2:42 a. Studying and contemplating God and His Word b. Keeping in regular communication with God via prayer c. Involving your mind in spiritual worship via frequent assembling with others CONCLUSION 1. Discerning God’s will for you does not come through conformity to the world... a. Letting the world determine your standard of dress, speech and conduct b. Letting worldly people influence you with their evil behavior - cf. 1Co 15:33 2. Discerning God’s will for you comes through a remarkable transformation... a. With the aid of the Spirit of God in conversion and regeneration b. With God’s word renewing your mind so that you may discern good and evil - cf. He 5:11-14 Are you willing to let God and His Word transform your life in doing His will...?
Questions and Answers: Is there Proof of Bible Inspiration?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Q.What type of proof is available to show the Bible is inspired of God?
A.A There are any number of proofs which document that the Bible is inspired of God. But The Book’s uncanny brevity is one obvious proof of its divine origin. Throughout history, humans have been quite verbose in articulating their ideas and thoughts—from multi-volume encyclopedias, history books, and biographies, to the pronouncements of religious authorities via their councils, disciplines, and sundry theologies. In stark contrast to this human inclination, the books of the Bible are incredibly brief. Consider, for example, that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were given the weighty responsibility of reporting to the world for all ages the momentous events surrounding the life of Christ while He was on Earth. John even admitted that there were so many activities that occurred during Jesus’ life that, “if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). So what should be included, and what should be excluded in such a critical literary endeavor?
In reporting the events in the life of an extremely eminent figure in world history, what human writer would omit the birth—as Mark and John did? What author would skip over the first thirty years of the person’s life—as all four of the Gospel writers did (with Luke’s one exception of an incident in Jesus’ life at the age of twelve)? The baptism of Jesus is told in twelve lines by Matthew, and in six lines by Mark and Luke. Of the twelve post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, two are noted by Matthew, three each by Mark and Luke, and four by John. In Acts, Luke provided the only inspired report of the first thirty years of the history of the church and the spread of Christianity—and he did it in just twenty-eight chapters! The untimely death of the first apostle, James, which must have been a tremendous blow to the early church (on the order of, say, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to Americans), is recorded in a short eleven words. With such cataclysmic, earthshaking subject matter, how did these authors produce such succinct, condensed, concise histories consisting of only a few pages? The answer? They wrote under the overruling influence (in this case, restraint) of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
Implications of Atheism [Part I]
|by||Kyle Butt, M.A.|
[EDITOR’S NOTE: For several decades now, evolution has received preeminent exposure throughout American culture via public schools, natural history and science museums, television programming, national parks guide booklets, popular magazines, children’s toys and clothing, movies and cinema, and the list goes on. What have been the results of such widespread, unilateral propaganda? Has the teaching of evolution exerted a positive influence on society? Have people been enriched, elevated, and enobled by the teaching of evolution? Atheistic evolutionists do not relish taking responsibility for the logical implications and consequences of their belief system. Nevertheless, read for yourself the first installment in a series on the bitter fruits of atheism and its progeny, evolution.]On February 12, 1998, William Provine, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the distinguished Cornell University, took to the podium on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He was invited to deliver the keynote address at the second annual Darwin Day, a day dedicated to commemorating the life and teachings of Charles Darwin. In an abstract of that speech, on the Darwin Day Web site, Dr. Provine’s introductory comments are recorded in the following words: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent” (Provine, 1998). Provine’s ensuing message centered on his fifth statement regarding human free will. Prior to delving into the “meat” of his message, however, he noted: “The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them” (1998).
It is clear then, from Provine’s comments, that he believes naturalistic evolution has no way to produce an “ultimate foundation for ethics.” And it is equally clear that this sentiment was so apparent to “modern naturalistic evolutionists” that Dr. Provine did not feel it even needed to be defended. Oxford professor Richard Dawkins concurred with Provine by saying: “Absolutist moral discrimination is devastatingly undermined by the fact of evolution” (2006, p. 301).
Comments from such high-profile evolutionists provide an excellent springboard from which to examine the logical consequences of belief in naturalistic evolution. If it is true that humans evolved from non-living, primordial slime, then any sense of moral obligation must simply be a subjective outworking of the physical neurons firing in the brain. Theoretically, atheistic scientists and philosophers admit this truth. Charles Darwin understood it perfectly. He wrote: “A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones” (1958, p. 94, emp. added). On a pragmatic level, however, when a person or group of people actually allow the theoretical idea to influence their actions, the brutality of evolution’s immorality is brought to light, and its absurdity is manifested.
DEVALUING OF HUMAN LIFE
We can no longer base our ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation.... Our better understanding of our own nature has bridged the gulf that was once thought to lie between ourselves and other species, so why should we believe that the mere fact that a being is a member of the species Homo sapiens endows its life with some unique, almost infinite, value?... If we compare a severely defective human infant with a nonhuman animal, a dog or a pig, for example, we will often find the nonhuman to have superior capacities, both actual and potential, for rationality, self-consciousness, communication, and anything else that can plausibly be considered morally significant. Only the fact that the defective infant is a member of the species Homo sapiens leads it to be treated differently from the dog or pig. Species membership alone, however, is not morally relevant.... If we can put aside the obsolete and erroneous notion of the sanctity of all human life, we may start to look at human life as it really is: at the quality of life that each human being has or can achieve” (Singer, 72:128-129 emp. added).In his book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins expressed the same idea when he wrote: “Notice now that ‘pro-life’ doesn’t exactly mean pro-life at all. It means pro-human-life. The granting of uniquely special rights to cells of the species Homo sapiens is hard to reconcile with the fact of evolution.... The humanness of an embryo’s cells cannot confer upon it any absolutely discontinuous moral status” (2006, p. 300, italics in orig., emp. added).
In his book Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism, self-proclaimed Darwinian James Rachels stated that when the true moral implications of evolution are understood,
human life will no longer be regarded with the kind of superstitious awe which it is accorded in traditional thought, and the lives of non-humans will no longer be a matter of indifference. This means that human life will, in a sense, be devalued, while the value granted to non-human life will be increased. A revised view of such matters as suicide and euthanasia, as well as a revised view of how we should treat animals, will result (1990, p. 5, emp. added).He further noted: “The big issue in all this is the value of human life.... The difficulty is that Darwinism leaves us with fewer resources from which to construct an account of the value of life” (p. 197, emp. added).
According to atheistic evolution, whether a human child lives or dies should depend on the level of potential suffering, intelligence or lack thereof, mental retardation, or physical handicap. If resources are so limited that an intelligent chimpanzee and a human child cannot both be kept alive, then the child’s intelligence or threshold of suffering should be compared to the chimpanzee’s. If the chimp happens to be more “intelligent” or more capable of suffering, then the “simple” fact that the child is a human should not confer any special moral status. Thus, according to this line of thinking, it would be morally right to eliminate the human child in favor of the chimpanzee. Rachels presented this idea quite clearly:
An infant with severe brain damage, even if it survives for many years, may never learn to speak, and its mental powers may never rise above a primitive level. In fact, its psychological capacities may be markedly inferior to those of a typical rhesus monkey. In that case, moral individualism [of which Rachels is a proponent—KB] would see no reason to prefer its life over the monkey’s (1990, pp. 189-190).The absurdity of such thinking flies in the face of everything that humans have understood to be moral. The framers of the Declaration of Independence understood the special place that humans hold. They penned the famous words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (1776). Notice that the Declaration framers believed that humans had certain rights that were “self-evident.” In fact, the framers simply recorded this idea that had been understood by humanity for millennia.
What happens when individuals, who believe that humans should not be given any special moral status, put their belief into action? James Rachels shed a sickening light on that question when he concluded:
Some unfortunate humans—perhaps because they have suffered brain damage—are not rational agents. What are we to say about them? The natural conclusion, according to the doctrine we are considering, would be that their status is that of mere animals. And perhaps we should go on to conclude that they may be used as non-human animals are used—perhaps as laboratory subjects, or as food (1990, p. 186).
Population EliminationForrest Mims III is the Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science. He edits a publication titled The Citizen Scientists. On March 3-5, 2006, Mims attended the 109th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science, which was held at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Mims related the events that occurred during that meeting in an article titled Meeting Doctor Doom (2006). [Unless otherwise noted, the following quotes and facts are derived from that article.]
At the meeting, Dr. Eric R. Pianka, “the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist,” delivered a speech to about 400 attendees. Just before Pianka spoke, Mims noted that an official of the Academy was involved in a conversation with the cameraman who was recording the meeting. The conversation resulted in the cameraman pointing “the lens of his big camera to the ceiling and slowly walking away.” Mims started taking notes on the speech when Pianka began by warning the audience that most people are not ready to hear what he had to say to the assembly.
Mims noted that one of Pianka’s main points was that humans should not be given special status among other animals. “Pianka hammered his point home by exclaiming, ‘We’re no better than bacteria!’” In his speech, Pianka suggested that the Earth cannot survive the current human population increase, and that something needs to be done “to reduce the population to 10 percent of the present number.” Pianka then mentioned several ways this might occur. “His favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world’s population is airborne Ebola (Ebola Reston), because it is both highly lethal and it kills in days instead of years.” The speech ended with a question-and-answer period. Mims noted: “Immediately almost every scientist, professor and college student present stood to their feet and vigorously applauded the man who had enthusiastically endorsed the elimination of 90 percent of the human population. Some even cheered.”
Of course, many within the evolutionary community did not want to connect themselves closely with the idea that an evolutionary ecologist seems to think that his evolutionary ideas need to lead to the mass destruction of five billion humans. They quickly accused Mims of misrepresentation. On April 6, 2006, Nick Matzke wrote:
The wingnut echo chamber has recently gone insane over the idea that Eric Pianka, a distinguished and much-loved ecologist at UT, advocates mass genocide by ebola in order to bring down world population. The allegation was leveled by disgruntled creationist Forrest Mims, and rapidly spread to the blogosphere via places like Dembski’s blog (three posts!) and Telic Thoughts, and then went to the Drudge Report and caused a national media firestorm appearing in my local paper by Monday morning. I smelled a rat from the beginning, and now I have been proved right. KXAN News36 in Austin, TX, has just debunked the whole thing (2006, emp. added).Matzke’s statement that the information from News36 debunked “the whole thing” was far from the truth. In fact, in a letter dated April 10, 2006, Assistant Professor Dr. Kenneth R. Summy, the Vice-Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science, wrote:
My overall impression of Dr. Pianka’s presentation was a ‘doomsday’ message that life on earth is about to end, and the sooner the human population crashes the better. I hope he was joking or being sarcastic when he stated that a pandemic of ebola virus would be great for the earth? [sic] no sane person would really believe that (2006).Dr. Summy further noted:
Forrest Mims did not misrepresent anything regarding the presentation. I heard these statements myself, and would be willing to bet that most of the audience attending the presentation got the same impression that I did. In my opinion, the message contained in the keynote address detracted from what was otherwise an excellent meeting (2006).The following statements by a student “defending” Dr. Pianka add further credence to Mims’ record: “Dr. Pianka’s talk at the TAS meeting was mostly of the problems humans are causing as we rapidly proliferate around the globe.... He’s a radical thinker, that one! I mean, he’s basically advocating for the death of all but 10% of the current population! And at the risk of sounding just as radical, I think he’s right” (“Dr. Eric R. Pianka...,” 2006; see also “Revisiting...,” 2006).
Additionally, Dr. Pianka personally posted several student evaluations of his teaching. One student commented: “I don’t root for ebola [sic], but maybe a ban on having more than one child. I agree...too many people [are] ruining this planet” (“Excerpts from Student Evaluations,” 1999). Another wrote: “Though I agree that convervation [sic] biology is of utmost importance to the world, I do not think that preaching that 90% of the human population should die of ebola [sic] is the most effective means of encouraging conservation awareness” (“Excerpts from Student Evaluations”).
The fact is, Dr. Pianka’s evolutionary concepts of ecology push him to conclude that humans are no better than bacteria and that the human population needs to be dramatically reduced. As much as many of his fellow evolutionists would like to distance themselves from such radical thinking, they cannot logically do so. Atheistic evolution implies that humans are no better than bacteria. They may have more capacity to suffer, they may have more complex brains and body structures, but in the end, one living organism is only as valuable as another. If you have the moral right to destroy millions of bacteria because they are hindering the “progress” of humanity, you have the same moral right to destroy billions of humans because they are causing ecological problems for other, equally valuable, organisms on the planet.
AbortionThe Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines abortion as: “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus” (“Abortion,” n.d., emp. added). In the United States, this murderous practice has been legal since January 22, 1973, and has resulted in the deaths of more than 48 million innocent human lives in this country alone. If the abortions performed in Europe and Asia during the same time period were added to this figure, the death toll would easily reach into the hundreds of millions. Is it immoral to terminate the lives of unborn human children?
According to the atheistic evolutionary community, abortion is not an immoral practice. In fact, it is often viewed as something moral and right. One line of reasoning used to justify the practice is the idea that humans should not be treated differently than animals, since humans are nothing more than animals themselves. The fact that an embryo is “human” is no reason to give it special status. Dawkins wrote: “An early embryo has the sentience, as well as the semblance, of a tadpole.... One school of thought cares about whether embryos can suffer. The other cares about whether they are human.... Secular moralists are more likely to ask, ‘Never mind whether it is human (what does that even mean for a little cluster of cells?); at what ages does a developing embryo, of any specie become capable of suffering?’” (2006, pp. 297-298, italics and parenthetical items in orig.). Dawkins identifies himself as a “secular moralist” who would not factor into the moral equation the idea of “humanness.” How would he and other “secular moralists” decide if a human embryo should live? He noted:
A consequentialist or utilitarian is likely to approach the abortion question in a very different way, by trying to weigh up suffering. Does the embryo suffer? (Presumably not if it is aborted before it has a nervous system; and even if it is old enough to have a nervous system it surely suffers less than, say, an adult cow in a slaughterhouse.) (2006, p. 293, parenthetical item in orig., emp. added).The modern atheistic moralist simply “weighs up suffering.” If the human embryo has not yet reached the stage at which a nervous system develops, then it is less valuable than an animal that does have a nervous system. And even if it does have a nervous system, it probably does not suffer as much as a cow in a slaughterhouse. Thus, it would be more moral to stop killing cows in a slaughterhouse than to stop allowing humans to abort their children. As atheistic writer Sam Harris noted: “If you are concerned about suffering in this universe, killing a fly should present you with greater moral difficulties than killing a human blastocyst [three-day-old human embryo—KB]” (2006, p. 30). He further stated: “If you are worried about human suffering, abortion should rank very low on your list of concerns” (p. 37).
The moral bankruptcy of such thinking is brutally obvious. Since when is the amount of suffering the criterion by which moral decisions of human life and death are made? Yet that is exactly what Dawkins and his fellow atheistic moralists contend. He wrote: “Of course, it could be argued that humans are more capable of, for example, suffering than other species. This could well be true, and we might legitimately give humans special status by virtue of it” (2006, p. 301). According to Dawkins, it would be logically permissible to kill any person as long as they do not suffer, or others (like parents or siblings) do not suffer because of their deaths. Suppose, then, a society decides that five-year-old orphans with no siblings are less than ideal and need to be eliminated. In keeping with Dawkins’ morality, if policemen sneak up behind the children and deliver an immediately lethal bullet to their brains so that they never feel any pain, then such actions could be as morally viable as killing adult cows in a slaughterhouse. Dawkins and his fellow atheistic thinkers have absolutely no grounds on which to assert that killing five-year-olds in this fashion is “wrong.”
Peter Singer admits the reality of this logical implication of atheistic evolution. In his chapter titled: “Justifying Infanticide,” Singer concluded that human infants are “replaceable.” What does Singer mean by “replaceable”? He points out that if a mother has decided that she will have two children, and the second child is born with hemophilia, then that infant can be disposed of and replaced by another child without violating any moral code of ethics. He explained: “Therefore, if killing the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others, it would, according to the total view, be right to kill him. The total view treats infants as replaceable” (2000, p. 190).
He went on to argue that many in society would be aghast at killing an infant with a disability like hemophilia, but without good reason. He argued that such is done regularly before birth, when a mother aborts a child inutero after prenatal diagnosis reveals a disorder. He stated:
When death occurs before birth, replaceability does not conflict with generally accepted moral convictions. That a fetus is known to be disabled is widely accepted as a ground for abortion. Yet in discussing abortion, we say that birth does not mark a morally significant dividing line. I cannot see how one could defend the view that fetuses may be “replaced” before birth, but newborn infants may not (2000, p. 191).Singer further proposed that parents should be given a certain amount of time after a child is born to decide whether or not they would like to kill the child. He wrote: “If disabled newborn infants were not regarded as having a right to life until, say, a week or a month after birth it would allow parents, in consultation with their doctors, to choose on the basis of far greater knowledge of the infant’s condition than is possible before birth” (2000, p. 193). One has to wonder why Singer would stop at one week or one month. Why not simply say that it is morally right for parents to kill their infants at one year or five years? Singer concluded his chapter on infanticide with these words: “Nevertheless the main point is clear: killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all” (p. 193, emp. added). When the logical consequences of atheistic evolution are so clearly spelled out by its adherents, the prospects are grisly indeed.
Animals Kill Their Offspring
Notice that Burke recognizes the fact that humans kill their offspring, and justifies the practice by referring to “analogous” activities in the animal kingdom. Maybe, she reasons, humans kill their infants or unborn children because they inherited the murderous practice from their animal ancestors. By reasoning in this fashion, she attempts, not only to suggest that killing human infants is not morally neutral, but that it could be morally right if the practice is used to check population growth. In this regard, James Rachels wrote:
Finally, if one is nevertheless tempted to believe that humans are psychologically unique, it is useful to remember that the whole enterprise of experimental psychology, as it is practiced today, assumes otherwise. Animal behaviour is routinely studied with an eye to acquiring information that can then be applied to humans. Psychologists who want to investigate maternal behaviour, for example...might study the behaviour of rhesus monkey mothers and infants, assuming that whatever is true of them will be true of humans—because, after all, they are so much like us (1990, p. 166, emp. added).In response to such thinking, several points need to be considered. Humans are not animals. There is no documented evidence verifying the false idea that humans evolved from lower organisms (see Harrub and Thompson, 2002). In fact, all observable evidence verifies that humans maintain a completely unique status in regard to their mental, emotional, and cognitive components (see “In the Image...,” 2001; Lyons and Thompson, 2002). To justify human behavior based on behavior observed in the animal world exhibits a grotesque ignorance of everything humans understand about morality. Ten percent of the diet of an adult Komodo dragon often consists of its cannibalizing young Komodo dragons. Would anyone be so irrationally disturbed as to suggest that, because we see infant cannibalism in Komodo dragons, it would be natural for humans to eat their young as well? Apparently so. James Rachels wrote: “The whole idea of using animals as psychological models for humans is a consequence of Darwinism. Before Darwin, no one could have taken seriously the thought that we might learn something about the human mind by studying mere animals” (1990, p. 221, emp. added).
If all conceivable human behavior can be justified based on the idea that it mimics animal behavior, then why not abolish all laws, allow stronger humans to kill the weaker ones, allow mothers to eat their babies, allow men to murder sexual rivals, allow women to murder and cannibalize their lovers after intercourse, and simply chalk up such a deplorable situation to “nature”? The logical consequences of such philosophical justification are as obvious as they are ridiculous. The ploy to justify abortion (and other equally reprehensible immoralities) by suggesting that it is “natural” is little more than an attempt to cast aside all moral constraints and debase society to the point of mindless bestiality. Yet such is the logical result of atheism.
Death in the Name of AtheismNot all atheists are grotesquely immoral people. In fact, many of them would be viewed as moral individuals who do not steal, murder, abuse their children, or violate laws. The point to be made is not that all atheistic thinkers are living out the logical implications of their beliefs. The point is that the philosophy of atheism logically implies that immorality is acceptable or non-existent. It is true that most atheists do not put the implications of their belief into practice, but it is also true that some do, and that their actions cannot be construed to be anything other than what they are—the logical consequences of atheistic, evolutionary thinking.
Of course, “respectable” atheists deny that people commit heinously immoral crimes at the instigation of atheism. As Dawkins has stated: “Individual atheists may do evil things but they don’t do evil things in the name of atheism” (Dawkins, 2006, p. 278, emp. added). His assertion is patently false. People often do evil things in the name of atheism. These people understand their evolutionary atheism to be a primary contributing factor to their evil actions, and the full weight of atheism’s logical conclusions justifies their behavior.
Hundreds of police investigators, educators, political leaders, and other professionals delved into the reasons why Harris and Klebold snapped as they did. One eye-opening aspect of the research has been the very clear connection between the evolutionary idea of natural selection and Harris’ desire to kill his fellow humans. On the day of the shooting, Harris wore a white T-shirt with the words “Natural Selection” emblazoned on it (“Columbine,” 2008). This was not coincidental, but was designed to make a statement. According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Report, in a document found in his room, Harris wrote: “I would love to see all you f-------ds die. NBK. I love it! sometime [sic] in April me and V will get revenge and will kick natural selection up a few notches” (as quoted in “Columbine,” 2008, emp. added). His diary also stated: “I will sooner die than betray my own thoughts. but [sic] before I leave this worthless place, I will kill whoever I deem unfit for, anything at all, especially life” (as quoted in “Columbine,” 2008, emp. added).
In his article titled “Kill Mankind. No One Should Survive,” Dave Cullen reported extensively on the investigation surrounding the Columbine massacre. He wrote:
“They do consider the human race beneath them,” one investigator said. Harris “talks a lot about natural selection and that kind of leads into his admiration of Hitler and Nazism and their ‘final solution’—that we, the human race have interrupted or disrupted natural selection by inventing vaccines and stuff like that. In one of his writings, he talks about that: ‘It would be great if there were no vaccines, because people who should have died would have died, and we wouldn’t be perpetuating this kind of stuff’” (1999, emp. added).The Columbine killers’ evolutionary beliefs cannot be disconnected from their brutal slayings.
Auvinen explained the philosophy that led him to commit this dastardly mass murder. On a Web site message board post from before the slaying, he explained that he was a self-avowed “cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social social-Darwinist, realistic idealist and god-like atheist” (“Teen Dead...,” 2007, emp. added). He went on to state: “I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection” (2007, emp. added). There you have it. The reason he murdered eight innocent people is because he was an atheistic evolutionist who devalued human life and believed that he had the right to destroy any living being who he considered to be less fit than himself.
As much as evolutionists insist on separating themselves from such disgusting displays of immorality, the logical implications of their godlessness tie them indubitably to Auvinen’s actions. The only thing that separates Auvinen from other atheists is that he acted out the logical implications of his atheistic belief. It is high time atheism’s immorality is recognized, repudiated, and exposed for the reprehensible fruit it bears.
When a person perpetrates such brutal and deranged crimes against his fellow man, natural questions that arise in the minds of those who hear the details include: Why would a person commit such heinous crimes? What would cause a person to become such a murderer? In Jeffrey Dahmer’s case, he supplied the world with the answer.
In 1994, Stone Phillips interviewed Jeffrey Dahmer and his father Lionel Dahmer for NBC’s Dateline. In that interview, Stone Phillips asked Jeffrey Dahmer several questions regarding the possible causes of Dahmer’s behavior. In one portion of the interview, Jeffrey explained that he took complete and personal responsibility for his actions, and his crimes could not be blamed on his parents, school, or other external circumstances. Following those remarks, Jeffrey said: “There comes a point where a person has to be accountable for what he’s done.” His father, Lionel, then asked him: “Let me ask. When did you first feel that everyone is accountable for their actions?” Jeffrey responded:
Well, thanks to you for sending that creation science material. Because I always believed the lie that evolution is truth, the theory of evolution is truth. That we all just came from the slime, and when we died, you know, that was it. There was nothing. So the whole theory cheapens life.... And I’ve since come to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true Creator of the Earth. It didn’t just happen (Phillips, 1994, emp. added).Lionel Dahmer then began to discuss the period of time during Jeffrey’s upbringing that he thought most influenced Jeffrey’s murderous behavior. Lionel said: “At that period of time I had drifted away from a belief in a Supreme Being. And I never, as a result, passed along the feeling that we are all accountable. In the end, He owns us. And that basic concept is very fundamental to all of us.”
Stone Phillips then asked Lionel: “You feel that the absence, at least for a while, of a strong religious faith and belief may have prevented you from instilling some of that in Jeff?” Lionel responded: “That’s right.” Phillips then turned to Jeffrey and asked: “Is that how you feel?” Jeffrey responded to Phillips’ question: “Yes, I think that had a big part to do with it. If a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought, anyway” (Phillips, 1994).
To what, then, did Dahmer attribute his gruesome, horrifying crimes? He simply said he believed that evolution is true, that humans arose from primordial slime, and that there is no personal accountability inherent in the theory. Dahmer understood the logical implications of atheistic evolution perfectly. Dahmer’s behavior appalls society because he had the brains and drive to put the theoretical implications into practice in real life. When he did, society was justifiably outraged at his behavior. But such outrage is justifiable only in the context of a God to Whom all people are accountable. Without such accountability, Dahmer was right to conclude: “What’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?” Dahmer is yet another example of a person who committed heinously evil crimes in the name of atheism.
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Creation—Will It Stand the "Test of Science"?
|by||Bert Thompson, Ph.D.|
It is a fundamental evolutionary generalization that no external agent imposes life on matter. Matter takes the forms it does because it has the inherent capacity to do so. This is one of the most remarkable and mysterious facts about our universe: that matter exists that has the capacity to form itself into the most complex patterns of life (p. 234, emp. added).The second alternative and opposing world view is the concept of creation. According to the theory of creation, or as it may more properly be called, the creation model, the Universe is not self-contained. Everything in the Universe, and in fact, the Universe itself, came into being through the design, purpose, and deliberate acts of a supernatural Creator Who, using processes that are not continuing as natural processes in the present, created the Universe, the Earth, and all life on that Earth, including all basic types of plants and animals, as well as humans. As both evolutionists (see Wald, 1972, p. 187) and creationists (see Wysong, 1976, p. 5) have correctly pointed out, there are two and only two possibilities regarding origins. One or the other of these two philosophies (or models) must be true. That is to say, all things either can, or cannot, be explained in terms of a self-contained Universe by ongoing natural processes. If they can, then evolution is true. If they cannot, then they must be explained, at least in part, by extranatural processes that can account for a Universe which itself was created. Even evolutionists acknowledge this point. Richard Dawkins of Oxford University (a devout evolutionist) has noted: “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” (1982, 94:130). Dawkins then explained why he believes no Designer exists—all the while admitting the inherent complexity of living systems and the tremendous improbability of evolution!
THE PLAUSIBILITY OF THE CREATION MODEL:
The function of the Universe has to do with regular laws or
principles of science that are experimentally reproducible and that
therefore can be studied and observed (either directly or indirectly).
This we call operation science. On the other hand, an
understanding of the Universe includes some singular events, such as
origins. Unlike the recurrent operation of the Universe, origins cannot
be repeated for experimental testing. In the customary language of
science, theories of origins (origin science) cannot be falsified
by empirical test (if they are false) as can theories of operation
science. How, then, can origins be investigated? Simply put, the best we
can ever hope to achieve, scientifically speaking, is to render any
idea regarding origins either plausible or implausible. By the very nature of the case, true falsification is not possible.
THE PRINCIPLES OF CAUSALITY AND UNIFORMITY
How, then, does one determine whether an origin science scenario is plausible? Very simply, the principles of causality and uniformity are used. By cause we mean the necessary and sufficient condition that alone can explain the occurrence of a given event. By principle of uniformity we mean that the kinds of causes which we observe producing certain effects today can be counted on to have produced similar effects in the past. In other words, what we see as an adequate cause in the present, we assume to have been an adequate cause in the past; what we see as an inadequate cause in the present, we assume to have been an inadequate cause in the past. Evolutionists have relied heavily on the principles of causality and uniformity in attempts to work out evolutionary scenarios of the alleged past. Thaxton, Bradley, and Olsen have addressed these points.
Consider, for example, the matter of accounting for the informational molecule, DNA. We have observational evidence in the present that intelligent investigators can (and do) build contrivances to channel energy down nonrandom chemical pathways to bring about some complex chemical synthesis, even gene building. May not the principle of uniformity then be used in a broader frame of consideration to suggest that DNA had an intelligent cause at the beginning? Usually the answer given is no. But theoretically, at least, it would seem the answer should be yes in order to avoid the charge that the deck is stacked in favor of naturalism.We know that in numerous cases certain effects always have intelligent causes, such as dictionaries, sculptures, machines and paintings. We reason by analogy that similar effects have intelligent causes. For example, after looking up to see “BUY FORD” spelled out in smoke across the sky we infer the presence of a skywriter even if we heard or saw no airplane. We would similarly conclude the presence of intelligent activity were we to come upon an elephant-shaped topiary in a cedar forest.
In like manner an intelligible communication via radio signal from some distant galaxy would be widely hailed as evidence of an intelligent source. Why then doesn’t the message sequence on the DNA molecule also constitute prima facie evidence for an intelligent source? After all, DNA information is not just analogous to a message sequence such as Morse code, it is such a message sequence....
We believe that if this question is considered, it will be seen that most often it is answered in the negative simply because it is thought to be inappropriate to bring a Creator into science (1984, pp. 211-212, emp. in orig.).
Use of the principles of uniformity and causality enhance the creation model, for these are cherished concepts of scientific thinking. Albert Einstein once said that scientists are “possessed by the sense of universal causation.” Causality confirms that every material effect has an adequate antecedent cause. The basic question, then, is this: Can the origin of the Universe, the origin of life, and the origin of new life forms best be accounted for on the basis of nonintelligent, random, chance, accidental processes? Are these adequate causes? Or, are these phenomena best accounted for on the basis of a Creator (i.e., an adequate cause) capable of producing the complex, ordered, information-relating processes we see around us? Which of these two is more plausible?
Both evolution and creation may be referred to properly as scientific models, since both may be used to explain and predict scientific facts. Obviously the one that does the better job of explaining/predicting is the better scientific model. However, by the very nature of how science works, simply because one model fits the facts better does not prove it true. Rather, the model that better fits the available scientific data is said to be the one that has the highest degree of probability of being true. Knowledgeable scientists understand this, of course, and readily accept it, recognizing the limitations of the scientific method (due to its heavy dependence upon inductive, rather than strictly deductive, reasoning).
In order to examine properly the two models, they must be defined in broad, general terms, and then each must be compared to the available data in order to examine its effectiveness in explaining and predicting various scientific facts. What, then, by way of summary, do the two different models predict and/or include? The evolution model includes the evidence from various fields of science for a gradual emergence of present life kinds over eons of time, with emergence of complex and diversified kinds of life from “simpler” kinds, and ultimately from nonliving matter. The creation model includes the evidence from various fields of science for a sudden creation of complex and diversified kinds of life, with gaps persisting between different kinds, and with genetic variation occurring within each kind. The creation model denies “vertical” evolution (also called “macroevolution”?the emergence of complex from simple, and change between kinds), but does not challenge “horizontal” evolution (also called “microevolution”?the formation of species or subspecies within created kinds, or genetic variation). In defining the concepts of creation and evolution, an examination of several different aspects of each of the models demonstrates the dichotomy between the two. Placed into chart form, such a comparison would then appear as seen in Table 1.
|The creation model includes the scientific evidence and the related inferences suggesting that:||The evolution model includes the scientific evidence and the related inferences suggesting that:|
|I. The Universe and the solar system were created suddenly.||I. The Universe and the solar system emerged by naturalistic processes.|
|II. Life was created suddenly.||II. Life emerged from nonlife via naturalistic processes.|
|III. All present living kinds of animals and plants have remained fixed since creation, other than extinctions, and genetic variation in originally created kinds has occurred only within narrow limits.||III. All present kinds emerged from simpler earlier kinds, so that single celled organisms evolved into invertebrates, then vertebrates, then amphibians, then reptiles, then mammals, then primates (including man).|
|IV. Mutation and natural selection are insufficient to have brought about any emergence of present living kinds from a simple primordial organism.||IV. Mutation and natural selection have brought about the emergence of present complex kinds from a simple primordial organism.|
|V. Man and apes have a separate ancestry.||V. Man and apes emerged from a common ancestor.|
|VI. The Earth's geologic features appear to have been fashioned largely by rapid, catastrophic processes that affected the Earth on a global and regional scale (catastrophism).||VI. The Earth's geologic lectures were fashioned largely by slow, gradual processes, with infrequent catastrophic events restricted to a local scale (uniformitarianism).|
|VII. The inception of both the Earth and living kinds may have been relatively recent.||VII. The inception of both the Earth and of life must have occurred several billion years ago.|
|Table 1. The two models of origins (after Gish, et al., 1981)|
REVIEWING THE OPTIONSThroughout human history, one of the most effective arguments for the existence of God has been the cosmological argument, which addresses the fact that the Universe (Cosmos) is here and therefore must be explained in some fashion. In his book, Not A Chance, R.C. Sproul observed:
Traditional philosophy argued for the existence of God on the foundation of the law of causality. The cosmological argument went from the presence of a cosmos back to a creator of the cosmos. It sought a rational answer to the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” It sought a sufficient reason for a real world (1994, p. 169, emp. in orig.).The Universe exists and is real. Atheists and agnostics not only acknowledge its existence, but admit that it is a grand effect (e.g., see Jastrow, 1977, pp. 19-21). If an entity cannot account for its own being (i.e., it is not sufficient to have caused itself), then it is said to be “contingent” because it is dependent upon something outside of itself to explain its existence. The Universe is a contingent entity since it is inadequate to cause, or explain, its own existence. Sproul has noted: “Logic requires that if something exists contingently, it must have a cause. That is merely to say, if it is an effect it must have an antecedent cause” (1994, p. 172). Thus, since the Universe is a contingent effect, the obvious question becomes, “What caused the Universe?”
It is here that the Law of Cause and Effect (also known as the Law of Causality) is tied firmly to the cosmological argument. Scientists, and philosophers of science, recognize laws as “reflecting actual regularities in nature” (Hull, 1974, p. 3). So far as scientific knowledge can attest, laws know no exceptions. This certainly is true of the Law of Cause and Effect. It is, indisputably, the most universal, and most certain, of all scientific laws. Simply put, the Law of Causality states that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent cause. Just as the Law of the Excluded Middle is true analytically, so the Law of Cause and Effect is true analytically as well. Sproul addressed this when he wrote:
The statement “Every effect has an antecedent cause” is analytically true. To say that it is analytically or formally true is to say that it is true by definition or analysis. There is nothing in the predicate that is not already contained by resistless logic in the subject. It is like the statement, “A bachelor is an unmarried man” or “A triangle has three sides” or “Two plus two are four....” Cause and effect, though distinct ideas, are inseparably bound together in rational discourse. It is meaningless to say that something is a cause if it yields no effect. It is likewise meaningless to say that something is an effect if it has no cause. A cause, by definition, must have an effect, or it is not a cause. An effect, by definition, must have a cause, or it is not an effect (1994, pp. 172,171 emp. in orig.).Effects without adequate causes are unknown. Further, causes never occur subsequent to the effect. It is meaningless to speak of a cause following an effect, or an effect preceding a cause. In addition, the effect never is qualitatively superior to, or quantitatively greater than, the cause. This knowledge is responsible for our formulation of the Law of Causality in these words: Every material effect must have an adequate antecedent cause. The river did not turn muddy because the frog jumped in; the book did not fall from the table because the fly lighted on it. These are not adequate causes. For whatever effects we observe, we must postulate adequate antecedent causes—which brings us back to the original question: What caused the Universe?
There are but three possible answers to this question: (1) the Universe is eternal; it always has existed and always will exist; (2) the Universe is not eternal; rather, it created itself out of nothing; (3) the Universe is not eternal, and did not create itself out of nothing; rather, it was created by something (or Someone) anterior, and superior, to itself. These three options merit serious consideration.
Is the Universe Eternal?
The most comfortable position for the person who does not believe in God is the idea that the Universe is eternal, because it avoids the problem of a beginning or ending and thus the need for any “first cause” such as God. In fact, it was to avoid just such a problem that evolutionists Thomas Gold, Hermann Bondi, and Sir Fred Hoyle developed the Steady State Theory. Information had come to light that indicated the Universe was expanding. Dr. Hoyle suggested that the best way to try to explain both an expanding and eternal Universe was to suggest that at points in space called “irtrons” hydrogen was coming into existence from nothing. As hydrogen atoms arrived, they had to “go” somewhere, and as they did, they displaced matter already in existence, causing the Universe to expand. Hoyle suggested that the atoms of gaseous hydrogen gradually condensed into clouds of virgin matter, that within these clouds new stars and galaxies formed, etc.
In his book, Until the Sun Dies, astronomer Robert Jastrow noted that “the proposal for the creation of matter out of nothing possesses a strong appeal to the scientist, since it permits him to contemplate a Universe without beginning and without end” (1977, p. 32). Even after evidence began to appear that showed the Steady State theory to be incorrect, Jastrow suggested that “some astronomers still favored it because the notion of a world with a beginning and an end made them feel so uncomfortable” (1977, p. 33). Dr. Jastrow went on to say:
The Universe is the totality of all matter, animate and inanimate, throughout space and time. If there was a beginning, what came before? If there is an end, what will come after? On both scientific and philosophical grounds, the concept of an eternal Universe seems more acceptable than the concept of a transient Universe that springs into being suddenly, and then fades slowly into darkness.What does Jastrow mean when he says that “these attempts have not succeeded”? In a comment that was an obvious reference to the fact that Hoyle’s “creation of hydrogen out of nothing in irtrons” violates the First Law of Thermodynamics, Jastrow noted:
Astronomers try not to be influenced by philosophical considerations. However, the idea of a Universe that has both a beginning and an end is distasteful to the scientific mind. In a desperate effort to avoid it, some astronomers have searched for another interpretation of the measurements that indicate the retreating motion of the galaxies, an interpretation that would not require the Universe to expand. If the evidence for the expanding Universe could be explained away, the need for a moment of creation would be eliminated, and the concept of time without end would return to science. But these attempts have not succeeded, and most astronomers have come to the conclusion that they live in an exploding world (1977, p. 31).
But the creation of matter out of nothing would violate a cherished concept in science—the principle of the conservation of matter and energy—which states that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter can be converted into energy, and vice versa, but the total amount of all matter and energy in the Universe must remain unchanged forever. It is difficult to accept a theory that violates such a firmly established scientific fact (1977, p. 32).In his book, God and the Astronomers, Dr. Jastrow explained why attempts to prove an eternal Universe failed. “Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, and the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion; all indicated that the Universe had a beginning” (1978, p. 111). Jastrow—who is considered by many to be one of the greatest science writers of our time—certainly is no creationist. But as a scientist who is an astrophysicist, he has written often on the inescapable conclusion that the Universe had a beginning. Consider, for example, these statements from his pen:
Now both theory and observation pointed to an expanding Universe and a beginning in time.... About thirty years ago science solved the mystery of the birth and death of stars, and acquired new evidence that the Universe had a beginning (1978, pp. 47,105).The conclusion to be drawn from the scientific data was inescapable, as Dr. Jastrow himself remarked:
And concurrently there was a great deal of discussion about the fact that the second law of thermodynamics, applied to the Cosmos, indicates the Universe is running down like a clock. If it is running down, there must have been a time when it was fully wound up. Arthur Eddington, the most distinguished British astronomer of his day, wrote, “If our views are right, somewhere between the beginning of time and the present day we must place the winding up of the universe.” When that occurred, and Who or what wound up the Universe, were questions that bemused theologians, physicists and astronomers, particularly in the 1920’s and 1930’s (1978, pp. 48-49).
Most remarkable of all is the fact that in science, as in the Bible, the World begins with an act of creation. That view has not always been held by scientists. Only as a result of the most recent discoveries can we say with a fair degree of confidence that the world has not existed forever; that it began abruptly, without apparent cause, in a blinding event that defies scientific explanation (1977, p. 19).
The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence to the Universe, either in the past or in the future (1977, p. 30, emp. added).The evidence states that the Universe had a beginning. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, as Jastrow has indicated, shows this to be true. Henry Morris correctly commented: “The Second Law requires the universe to have had a beginning” (1974b, p. 26). Indeed, it does. The Universe is not eternal.
Did the Universe Create Itself Out of Nothing?
In the past, it would have been practically impossible to find any reputable scientist who would be willing to advocate a self-created Universe. George Davis, a prominent physicist of the past generation, explained why when he wrote: “No material thing can create itself.” Further, Dr. Davis affirmed that this statement “cannot be logically attacked on the basis of any knowledge available to us” (1958, p. 71). The Universe is the created, not the creator. And until very recently, it seemed there could be no disagreement about that fact.
However, so strong is the evidence that the Universe had a beginning, and therefore a cause anterior and superior to itself, some evolutionists are suggesting, in order to avoid the implications, that something came from nothing—that is, the Universe literally created itself from nothing! Anthony Kenny, a British evolutionist, suggested in his book, The Five Ways: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Proofs of God’s Existence, that something actually came from nothing (1980). Edward P. Tryon, professor of physics at the City University of New York, agreed when he wrote: “In 1973, I proposed that our Universe had been created spontaneously from nothing, as a result of established principles of physics. This proposal variously struck people as preposterous, enchanting, or both” (1984, 101:14). This is the same Edward P. Tryon who is on record as stating that “Our universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time” (as quoted in Trefil, 1984, 92:100).
In the May 1984 issue of Scientific American, evolutionists Alan Guth and Paul Steinhardt authored an article on “The Inflationary Universe” in which they suggested:
From a historical point of view probably the most revolutionary aspect of the inflationary model is the notion that all the matter and energy in the observable universe may have emerged from almost nothing.... The inflationary model of the universe provides a possible mechanism by which the observed universe could have evolved from an infinitesimal region. It is then tempting to go one step further and speculate that the entire universe evolved from literally nothing (1984, 250:128, emp. added).Therefore, even though principles of physics that “cannot be logically attacked on the basis of any knowledge available to us” preclude the creation of something out of nothing, suddenly, in a last-ditch effort to avoid the implications of the Universe having a cause, it is being suggested that indeed, the Universe simply “created itself out of nothing.”
Naturally, such a proposal would seem—to use Dr. Tryon’s words—“preposterous.” Be that as it may, some in the evolutionary camp have been willing to defend it. One such scientist is Victor J. Stenger, professor of physics at the University of Hawaii. In 1987, Dr. Stenger authored an article titled, “Was the Universe Created?,” in which he said:
...the universe is probably the result of a random quantum fluctuation in a spaceless, timeless void.... So what had to happen to start the universe was the formation of an empty bubble of highly curved space-time. How did this bubble form? What caused it? Not everything requires a cause. It could have just happened spontaneously as one of the many linear combinations of universes that has the quantum numbers of the void.... Much is still in the speculative stage, and I must admit that there are yet no empirical or observational tests that can be used to test the idea of an accidental origin (1987, 7:26-30, first emp. in orig., second emp. added).Such a concept, however, has met with serious opposition from within the scientific establishment. For example, in the summer 1994 edition of the Skeptical Inquirer, Ralph Estling wrote a stinging rebuke of the idea that the Universe created itself out of nothing. In his article, curiously titled “The Scalp-Tinglin’, Mind-Blowin’, Eye-Poppin’, Heart-Wrenchin’, Stomach-Churnin’, Foot-Stumpin’, Great Big Doodley Science Show!!!,” Estling wrote:
The problem emerges in science when scientists leave the realm of science and enter that of philosophy and metaphysics, too often grandiose names for mere personal opinion, untrammeled by empirical evidence or logical analysis, and wearing the mask of deep wisdom.Estling’s statements set off a wave of controversy, as was evident from subsequent letters to the Skeptical Inquirer. In the January/February 1995 edition of that journal, numerous letters were published, discussing Estling’s article. Estling’s response to his critics was published as well, and included the following observations:
And so they conjure us an entire Cosmos, or myriads of cosmoses, suddenly, inexplicably, causelessly leaping into being out of—out of Nothing Whatsoever, for no reason at all, and thereafter expanding faster than light into more Nothing Whatsoever. And so cosmologists have given us Creation ex nihilo.... And at the instant of this Creation, they inform us, almost parenthetically, the universe possessed the interesting attributes of Infinite Temperature, Infinite Density, and Infinitesimal Volume, a rather gripping state of affairs, as well as something of a sudden and dramatic change from Nothing Whatsoever. They then intone equations and other ritual mathematical formulae and look upon it and pronounce it good.
I do not think that what these cosmologists, these quantum theorists, these universe-makers, are doing is science. I can’t help feeling that universes are notoriously disinclined to spring into being, ready-made, out of nothing. Even if Edward Tryon (ah, a name at last!) has written that “our universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time.” ...Perhaps, although we have the word of many famous scientists for it, our universe is not simply one of those things that happen from time to time (1994, 18:430, emp. added, parenthetical comment in orig.).
All things begin with speculation, science not excluded. But if no empirical evidence is eventually forthcoming, or can be forthcoming, all speculation is barren.... There is no evidence, so far, that the entire universe, observable and unobservable, emerged from a state of absolute Nothingness. Quantum cosmologists insist both on this absolute Nothingness and on endowing it with various qualities and characteristics: this particular Nothingness possesses virtual quanta seething in a false vacuum. Quanta, virtual or actual, false or true, are not Nothing, they are definitely Something, although we may argue over what exactly. For one thing, quanta are entities having energy, a vacuum has energy and moreover, extension, i.e., it is something into which other things, such as universes, can be put, i.e., we cannot have our absolute Nothingness and eat it too. If we have quanta and a vacuum as given, we in fact have a pre-existent state of existence that either pre-existed timelessly or brought itself into existence from absolute Nothingness (no quanta, no vacuum, no pre-existing initial conditions) at some precise moment in time; it creates this time, along with the space, matter, and energy, which we call the universe.... I’ve had correspondence with Paul Davies [a British astronomer who has championed the idea that the Universe created itself from nothing—BT] on cosmological theory, in the course of which I asked him what he meant by “Nothing.” He wrote back that he had asked Alexander Vilenkin what he meant by it and that Vilenkin had replied, “By Nothing I mean Nothing,” which seemed pretty straightforward at the time, but these quantum cosmologists go on from there to tell us what their particular breed of Nothing consists of. I pointed this out to Davies, who replied that these things are very complicated. I’m willing to admit the truth of that statement, but I think it does not solve the problem (1995, 19:69-70, emp. added).This is an interesting turn of events. Evolutionists like Tryon, Stenger, Guth, and Steinhardt insist that this marvelously intricate Universe is “simply one of those things which happen from time to time” as the result of a “random quantum fluctuation in a spaceless, timeless void” that caused matter to evolve from “literally nothing.” This suggestion, of course, is in clear violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that neither matter nor energy may be created or destroyed in nature. Further, science is based on observation, reproducibility, and empirical data. But when pressed for the empirical data that document the claim that the Universe created itself from nothing, evolutionists are forced to admit, as Dr. Stenger did, that “there are yet no empirical or observational tests that can be used to test the idea....” Estling summarized the problem quite well when he stated: “There is no evidence, so far, that the entire universe, observable and unobservable, emerged from a state of absolute Nothingness.”
Ultimately, the Guth/Steinhardt inflationary model was shown to be incorrect, and a newer version was suggested. Working independently, Russian physicist Andrei Linde, and American physicists Andreas Albrecht and Paul Steinhardt, developed the “new inflationary model” (see Hawking, 1988, pp. 131-132). However, this model also was shown to be incorrect and was discarded. Renowned British astrophysicist Stephen W. Hawking put the matter in proper perspective when he wrote:
The new inflationary model was a good attempt to explain why the universe is the way it is.... In my personal opinion, the new inflationary model is now dead as a scientific theory, although a lot of people do not seem to have heard of its demise and are still writing papers on it as if it were viable (1988, p. 132, emp. added).Later, Linde himself suggested numerous modifications and is credited with producing what now is known as the “chaotic inflationary model” (see Hawking, 1988, pp. 132ff.). Dr. Hawking performed additional work on this particular model. But in an interview on June 8, 1994 dealing specifically with inflationary models, Alan Guth conceded:
First of all, I will say that at the purely technical level, inflation itself does not explain how the universe arose from nothing.... Inflation itself takes a very small universe and produces from it a very big universe. But inflation by itself does not explain where that very small universe came from (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 148).Science is based on observation and reproducibility. But when pressed for the reproducible, empirical data that document their claim of a self-created Universe, scientists and philosophers are at a loss to produce those data. Perhaps this is why Alan Guth lamented: “In the end, I must admit that questions of plausibility are not logically determinable and depend somewhat on intuition” (1988, 11:76)—which is little more than a fancy way of saying, “I certainly wish this were true, but I could not prove it to you if my life depended on it.” To suggest that the Universe created itself is to posit a self-contradictory position. Sproul addressed this when he wrote that what an atheist or agnostic
...deems possible for the world to do—come into being without a cause—is something no judicious philosopher would grant that even God could do. It is as formally and rationally impossible for God to come into being without a cause as it is for the world to do so.... For something to bring itself into being it must have the power of being within itself. It must at least have enough causal power to cause its own being. If it derives its being from some other source, then it clearly would not be either self-existent or self-created. It would be, plainly and simply, an effect. Of course, the problem is complicated by the other necessity we’ve labored so painstakingly to establish: It would have to have the causal power of being before it was. It would have to have the power of being before it had any being with which to exercise that power (1994, pp. 179,180).The Universe did not create itself. Such an idea is absurd, both philosophically and scientifically.
Was the Universe Created?
Either the Universe had a beginning, or it did not. But all available evidence indicates that the Universe did, in fact, have a beginning. If the Universe had a beginning, it either had a cause or it did not. One thing we know assuredly, however: it is correct—logically and scientifically—to acknowledge that the Universe had a cause, because the Universe is an effect and requires an adequate antecedent cause. Henry Morris was correct when he suggested that the Law of Cause and Effect is “universally accepted and followed in every field of science” (1974b, p. 19). The cause/effect principle states that wherever there is a material effect, there must be an adequate antecedent cause. Further indicated, however, is the fact that no effect can be qualitatively superior to, or quantitatively greater than, its cause.
Since it is apparent that the Universe it not eternal, and since likewise it is apparent that the Universe could not have created itself, the only remaining alternative is that the Universe was created by something, or Someone, that: (a) existed before it, i.e., some eternal, uncaused First Cause; (b) is superior to it—since the created cannot be superior to the creator; and (c) is of a different nature, since the finite, contingent Universe of matter is unable to explain itself (see Jackson and Carroll, n.d., 2:98-154). As Hoyle and Wickramasinghe have observed: “To be consistent logically, we have to say that the intelligence which assembled the enzymes did not itself contain them” (1981, p. 139).
In connection with this, another fact should be considered. If there ever had been a time when absolutely nothing existed, then there would be nothing now. It is a self-evident truth that nothing produces nothing. In view of this, since something does exist, it must follow logically that something has existed forever! As Sproul observed:
Indeed, reason demands that if something exists, either the world or God (or anything else), then something must be self-existent.... There must be a self-existent being of some sort somewhere, or nothing would or could exist (1994, pp. 179,185 emp. in orig.).Everything that humans know to exist can be classified as either matter or mind. There is no third alternative. The argument then, is this:
1. Everything that exists is either matter or mind.Or, to reason somewhat differently:
2. Something exists now, so something eternal exists.
3. Therefore, either matter or mind is eternal. A. Either matter or mind is eternal.
B. Matter is not eternal, per the evidence cited above.
C. Thus, it is mind that is eternal.
1. Everything that is, is either dependent (i.e., contingent) or independent (non-contingent).In the past, atheistic evolutionists suggested that the mind is nothing more than a function of the brain, which is matter; thus the mind and the brain are the same, and matter is all that exists. As the late evolutionist of Cornell University, Carl Sagan, said in the opening sentence of his television extravaganza (and book by the same name), Cosmos, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be” (1980, p. 4). However, that viewpoint no longer is credible scientifically, due in large part to the experiments of Australian physiologist Sir John Eccles. Dr. Eccles, who won the Nobel Prize for his discoveries relating to the neural synapses within the brain, documented that the mind is more than merely physical. He showed that the supplementary motor area of the brain may be fired by mere intention to do something, without the motor cortex (which controls muscle movements) operating. In effect, the mind is to the brain what a librarian is to a library. The former is not reducible to the latter. Eccles explained his methodology and conclusions in The Self and Its Brain, co-authored with the renowned philosopher of science, Sir Karl Popper (see Popper and Eccles, 1977).
2. If the Universe is not eternal, it is dependent (contingent).
3. The Universe is not eternal.
4. Therefore, the Universe is dependent (contingent). A. If the Universe is dependent, it must have been caused by something that is independent.
B. But the Universe is dependent (contingent).
C. Therefore, the Universe was produced by some eternal, independent (non-contingent) force.
In an article—“scientists in Search of the Soul”—that examined the groundbreaking work of Dr. Eccles (and other scientists like him who have been studying the mind/brain relationship), science writer John Gliedman wrote:
At age 79, Sir John Eccles is not going “gentle into the night.” Still trim and vigorous, the great physiologist has declared war on the past 300 years of scientific speculation about man’s nature.While discussing the same type of conclusions reached by Dr. Eccles, philosopher Norman Geisler explored the concept of an eternal, all-knowing Mind.
Winner of the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his pioneering research on the synapse—the point at which nerve cells communicate with the brain—Eccles strongly defends the ancient religious belief that human beings consist of a mysterious compound of physical and intangible spirit.
Each of us embodies a nonmaterial thinking and perceiving self that “entered” our physical brain sometime during embryological development or very early childhood, says the man who helped lay the cornerstones of modern neurophysiology. This “ghost in the machine” is responsible for everything that makes us distinctly human: conscious self-awareness, free will, personal identity, creativity and even emotions such as love, fear, and hate. Our nonmaterial self controls its “liaison brain” the way a driver steers a car or a programmer directs a computer. Man’s ghostly spiritual presence, says Eccles, exerts just the whisper of a physical influence on the computerlike brain, enough to encourage some neurons to fire and others to remain silent. Boldly advancing what for most scientists is the greatest heresy of all, Eccles also asserts that our nonmaterial self survives the death of the physical brain (1982, p. 77).
Further, this infinite cause of all that is must be all-knowing. It must be knowing because knowing beings exist. I am a knowing being, and I know it. I cannot meaningfully deny that I can know without engaging in an act of knowledge.... But a cause can communicate to its effect only what it has to communicate. If the effect actually possesses some characteristic, then this characteristic is properly attributed to its cause. The cause cannot give what it does not have to give. If my mind or ability to know is received, then there must be Mind or Knower who gave it to me. The intellectual does not arise from the nonintellectual; something cannot arise from nothing. The cause of knowing, however, is infinite. Therefore it must know infinitely. It is also simple, eternal, and unchanging. Hence, whatever it knows—and it knows anything it is possible to know—it must know simply, eternally, and in an unchanging way (1976, p. 247).From such evidence, Robert Jastrow concluded: “That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact...” (1982, p. 18). Apparently Dr. Jastrow is not alone. As Gliedman put it:
Eccles is not the only world-famous scientist taking a controversial new look at the ancient mind-body conundrum. From Berkeley to Paris and from London to Princeton, prominent scientists from fields as diverse as neurophysiology and quantum physics are coming out of the closet and admitting they believe in the possibility, at least, of such unscientific entities as the immortal human spirit and divine creation (1982, p. 77).In an article titled “Modern Biology and the Turn to Belief in God” that he wrote for the book, The Intellectuals Speak Out About God (for which former United States President Ronald Reagan wrote the preface), Dr. Eccles concluded:
Science and religion are very much alike. Both are imaginative and creative aspects of the human mind. The appearance of a conflict is a result of ignorance. We come to exist through a divine act. That divine guidance is a theme throughout our life; at our death the brain goes, but that divine guidance and love continues. Each of us is a unique, conscious being, a divine creation. It is the religious view. It is the only view consistent with all the evidence (1984, p. 50, emp. added).
CONCLUSIONScientifically, the choice is between matter only and more than matter as the fundamental explanation for the existence and orderliness of the Universe. The difference, therefore, between the evolution model and the creation model is the difference between: (a) time, chance, and the inherent properties of matter; or (b) design, creation, and the irreducible properties of organization. In fact, when it comes to any particular case, there are again only two scientific explanations for the origin of the order that characterizes the Universe and life in the Universe: either the order was imposed on matter, or it resides within matter. However, if it is suggested that the order resides within matter, we respond by saying that we certainly have not seen the evidence of such. The creation model not only is plausible, but also is the only one that postulates an adequate cause for the Universe and life in that Universe. The evolution model cannot, and does not. The evidence speaks clearly to the existence of a non-contingent, eternal, self-existent Mind that created this Universe and everything within it.
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