"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" Chapter Four OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER 1) To notice the attitudes one should have in suffering for righteousness' sake 2) To review how we should serve God as we live in the "end times" SUMMARY The theme of suffering for righteousness' sake continues. Just as Christ was willing to suffer for us in the flesh, we should have the same attitude and strive to live for the will of God instead of the lusts of men. When we give up sins like lewdness, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, etc., those in the world make think it strange. Yet they themselves will give an account to Him who will judge both the living and the dead by the gospel preached to those who are dead (1-6). Living in the end times, Peter admonishes Christians to be serious and watchful in their prayers, fervent in their love for one another, and hospitable to one another without grumbling. They are to make use of their gifts as good stewards of God's manifold grace, whether it be in speaking or serving, using such abilities to glorify God through Christ who has all authority and power (7-11). Suffering for Christ should not be considered a strange thing, but an occasion to rejoice. Those who partake of Christ's sufferings will be exceedingly glad when His glory is revealed. In the meantime, they are blessed because the Spirit of God rests upon those who glorify Christ by their suffering. While they should not suffer for doing evil, there is nothing shameful about suffering for Christ. As God's judgment draws near, those who do not obey the gospel have no hope, whereas those who suffer according to God's will can commit their souls in doing good to Him who is a faithful Creator (12-19). OUTLINE I. OUR DUTIES AS SUFFERERS FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE (1-6) A. TO HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST (1-3) 1. Who suffered for us in the flesh a. Therefore we should arm ourselves with the same mind b. For he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin c. That he should no longer live in the flesh 1) For the lusts of men 2) But for will of God 2. No longer doing the will of the Gentiles a. Which we have done enough in our past b. Walking in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries B. NOT DAUNTED BY THE OPPOSITION (4-6) 1. They may think us strange a. That you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation b. Speaking evil of you 2. They will give an account a. To Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead b. For which reason the gospel was preached to those who are dead 1) That they might be judged according to men in the flesh 2) But live according to God in the spirit II. OUR DUTIES AS THOSE WAITING THE COMING OF CHRIST (7-19) A. TO PRAY, LOVE, AND SERVE (7-11) 1. Because the end of all things is at hand... a. Be serious and watchful in your prayers b. Above all things, have fervent love for one another, which covers a multitude of sins c. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling d. Minister your gifts to one another as good stewards of God's manifold grace 1) Those who speak should do so as the oracles of God 2) Those who serve should do so with the ability God provides 3) That in all things God may be glorified through Jesus, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever B. TO REJOICE AND GLORIFY GOD (12-16) 1. Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings a. Don't think the fiery trial to come as some strange thing b. When His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy c. You are blessed if reproached for the name of Christ 1) For the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you 2) On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified 2. Glorify God through such suffering a. Do not suffer as a murderer, thief, evildoer, or busybody b. Do not be ashamed for suffering as a Christian C. TO TRUST IN THE WILL OF GOD (17-19) 1. The time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God a. If it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? b. If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and sinner appear? 2. Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him a. In doing good b. As to a faithful Creator REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER 1) What are the main points of this chapter? - Our duties as sufferers for righteousness' sake (1-6) - Our duties as those waiting for coming of Christ (7-19) 2) What two reasons are given for us to have the "mind of Christ" regarding suffering? (1) - Christ suffered for us in the flesh - He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin 3) How should one live in whatever time they have left in the flesh? (2) - For the will of God, not the lusts of the flesh 4) What sins are mentioned as being "the will of the Gentiles"? (3) - Lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, abominable idolatries 5) How do people in the world react when you no longer do such things? (4) - They think it strange - They speak evil of you 6) To whom shall they have to answer? (5) - He who is ready to judge the living and the dead 7) Why was the gospel preached to those who are dead? (6) - That they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit 8) In view of the end of all things being at hand, how should we live? (7-10) - Serious and watchful in our prayers - With fervent love for one another - Hospitable to one another without grumbling - Ministering our gifts to one another, as good stewards of God's manifold grace 9) How should one speak? How should one serve? Why? (11) - As the oracles of God - With the ability God supplies - That in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ 10) What should be our reactions to any fiery trial that may come our way? (12-13) - Don't think it strange - Rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's suffering 11) What do those who suffer for Christ have to look forward to? (13) - Exceeding joy when Christ's glory is revealed 12) Why is one who suffers for Christ blessed? (14) - The Spirit of God rests upon them - On their part Christ is glorified 13) For what reasons should a Christian not suffer? (15) - As a murderer, thief, evildoer, busybody in other people's matters 14) How should one react if they suffer as a Christian? (16) - Do not be ashamed; glorify God in this matter 15) Upon whom does the judgment of God begin? Who will face the greater judgment? (17) - The house of God - Those who obey not the gospel of Christ 16) Who will be "scarcely saved"? (18) - The righteous 17) What should those who suffer according to the will of God do? (19) - Commit their souls to God in doing good - Commit their souls to God as to a faithful Creator
Does Song of Solomon Mention Muhammad?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Islamic apologists have attempted to bolster the credibility of their beliefs by claiming that the Bible, itself, makes reference to the coming of the prophet Muhammad. Ironically, this claim comes even in the face of the prevailing Islamic contention that the Bible has been corrupted, and thus cannot be relied upon as an accurate record of God’s Word. Nevertheless, Muslim polemicist Zakir Naik claims that Muhammad is mentioned by name in the Hebrew text of Song of Solomon 5:16. The reader is urged to weigh this claim in light of the exegetical evidence surrounding the passage.
In English, the verse reads: “His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!” (NKJV). A phonetic transliteration of the underlying Hebrew text reads: Kheeco mahm-tah-keem vuh-coollo ma-kha-madeem zeh dodee veh-tseh ray-ee beh-note yerushalayim. Muslims claim that the bolded word, though translated “altogether lovely,” is the name of Muhammad (Naik, n.d.). Consider six linguistic evidences that dispute Naik’s claim:
- The second syllable (kha) utilizes the Hebrew letter heth which has a hard initial sound like the “ch” in the Scottish word “loch.” It is to be distinguished from the Hebrew letter he which is the same as the English letter “h.” If Muhammad was being referred to, the simple “h” would have been more linguistically appropriate.
- Muslims claim that the eem (or im) in ma-kha-madeem in the Hebrew language was “added for respect” (Naik). This claim is untrue and unsubstantiated. The letters constitute the standard form for changing a singular to a plural—like adding “s” or “es” in English (cf. Weingreen, 1959, pp. 35ff.). As the eminent Emil Rödiger (who was professor for oriental languages at the University of Halle and the student of the well-known German Orientalist, H.F.W. Gesenius) noted in his editorial comment in the prestigious Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar: “The use of the plural as a form of respectful address is quite foreign to Hebrew” (Gesenius, 1898, p. 418).
- The meaning of the Hebrew ma-kha-madeem is different from the meaning of the word “Muhammad” in Arabic. According to Sheikh Abd al-Azîz, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the word “Muhammad” is derived from the Arabic root word hamd meaning “praise.” It is the emphatic passive participle of that root and can be translated as “the Oft-Praised One” (n.d.). However, the Hebrew term (makh-mahd) in the passage under consideration has a completely different meaning. It refers to “grace, beauty” (Gesenius, 1847, p. 464), “a desirable thing, delightfulness” (Brown, et al., 1906, pp. 326-327), “a pleasant thing” (Payne, 1980, 1:295), or “precious” (Holladay, 1988, p. 190). English translations render the term “altogether lovely” (NKJV, NIV), “wholly desirable” (NASB), and “altogether desirable” (ESV, RSV). No reputable English translation would render the underlying Hebrew as “praised one,” let alone as “Muhammad.” All Muslims have done is happen upon a Hebrew word that phonetically sounds somewhat like “Muhammad” and have erroneously concluded the word must be referring to him. Such handling of linguistic data is irresponsible—if not deceptive.
- Further, the claim that Muhammad is intended in the verse completely disregards the context and message of the book of Song of Solomon. The book consists of a dialogue between Solomon, his Shulamite bride-to-be, and the “daughters of Jerusalem,” with perhaps even God interjecting His comment (5:1b), as well as the Shulamite’s brothers (8:8-9). The term used in 5:16 that Muslims claim refers to Muhammad is also used in 2:3 to refer to the Shulamite’s beloved—“Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight.” “Great delight” is the Hebrew word also used in 5:16; in both cases the words of the Shulamite refer to her beloved—not Muhammad.
- Forms of the same Hebrew word are used elsewhere in the Old Testament, yet Muslims do not claim that those passages refer to Muhammad. Rightly so, since those verses cannot be forced to fit the notion that Muhammad is under consideration. For example, Isaiah 64:11 mourns the destruction of Jerusalem: “Our holy and beautiful temple, where our fathers praised You, is burned up with fire; and all our pleasant things are laid waste.” “Pleasant things” is a form of the same word in Song of Solomon 5:16. Would the Muslim contend that Muhammad was “laid waste” in Jerusalem? Additional occurrences of the same word—which dispel the misuse of the term by Muslims—are seen in 1 Kings 20:6; 2 Chronicles 36:19; Lamentations 1:10,11; Ezekiel 24:16,21,25; Hosea 9:9,16; Joel 3:5; et al. (Wigram, 1890, p. 687).
- Even if the Hebrew word “lovely/desirable” in Song of Solomon were the Hebrew equivalent of the Arabic word “praised one” (which it is not), it still would not follow that Muhammad is being referred to in the Bible. Instead, it would simply be an indication that the underlying word stands on its own as a term used for other applications. For example, the Hebrew word for “bitter” is mah-rah. It is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the concept of bitter. Yet, due to her unpleasant circumstances in life, Naomi (whose name means “pleasant”) requested that her name be changed to “bitter” (mah-rah) to reflect her bitter predicament. It does not follow, however, that when the Hebrew word “bitter” appears in the Old Testament, it refers to Naomi. If parents today were to name their child John, it would not follow that they intended to reflect an association with others in history who have worn the name John—nor would references to John in the Bible constitute prophecies pointing to their son. Muslims have the cart before the horse. Their claim is equivalent to parents naming their child “wonderful” or “special”—and then claiming that an ancient writer had their child in mind when the writer used the word “wonderful” or “special” in referring to another person contemporary to the writer.
The truth of the matter is that the Bible nowhere refers to Muhammad. All other biblical passages purported to do so may likewise be shown to be misinterpreted and misapplied (Miller, 2003). The Bible contains within itself evidence that all non-Christian religions are false and contrary to the will of the God of the Universe (for more, see Miller, 2005).
Al-Azîz, Sheikh Abd (no date), “The Meaning of the Prophet’s names ‘Muhammad’ and ‘Ahmad,’” Islam Today, http://en.islamtoday.net/quesshow-14-738.htm.
Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver, and Charles A. Briggs (1906), The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2000 reprint).
Gesenius, William (1847), Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979 reprint).
Gesenius, William (1898), Hebrew Grammar, ed. E. Kautzsch (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
Holladay, William (1988), A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Is Muhammad Mentioned in the Bible?” Apologetics Press,http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=8&article=88&topic=46.
Miller, Dave (2005), The Quran Unveiled (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Naik, Zakir (no date), “Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the Bible,” Islam 101, http://www.islam101.com/religions/christianity/mBible.htm.
Payne, J. Barton (1980), hamad in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason Archer, Jr. and Bruce Waltke (Chicago, IL: Moody).
Weingreen, J. (1959), A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew (Oxford: Clarenden Press), second edition.
Wigram, George W. (1890), The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980 reprint).
Are There Lost Books of the Bible?
I have heard that there are certain “lost books” mentioned in the Bible—books to which we no longer have access. Is this true? And if so, what impact does this have on the biblical text itself, or on a Christian’s faith?
In a manner that is somewhat similar to a modern research paper, citations appear in both the Old and New Testaments. The inspired writers sometimes referred to certain works that no longer exist—a fact that has caused some people to question the accuracy and completeness of the Bible. Atheists and skeptics claim that if it was truly God’s Word, then it would not lack any composition cited. Massimo Franceschini, an Italian convert to Mormonism, has suggested that the biblical text is more than sixty-five percent incomplete, due, in part, to the “lost books” cited within the Bible itself (Franceschini, 2002). If the Bible is, at most, thirty-five percent complete, then the Christian faith can be no more complete than that. Duane Christensen, in the October 1998 issue of Bible Review, listed twenty-three referenced books that have been lost in antiquity (14:29), to which we can add seven additional works mentioned in the Bible. Such compositions as the Book of Jashar (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18), the Acts of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29), and Paul’s previous Corinthian letter (see 1 Corinthians 5:9) are among the thirty cited works—twenty-eight from the Old Testament era, and two from the New Testament era—that are not included in the canon of Scripture, and that are missing from secular history. The contents of these books are known only by the fact that they are cited or quoted. Upon further examination, however, it appears that some of them actually may exist in another form.
Some scholars argue that a large number of these citations probably refer to the samecomposition. For example, the references found in 1 and 2 Kings to the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, and the Acts of Solomon, possibly denote a single work (Christensen, 14:29). It is a common practice, even in modern society, to refer to one thing by several different names. For example, a person may refer to Josephus’ work, Wars of the Jews, as “Josephus,” “Josephus’ Wars,” “Jewish Wars,” “Wars of the Jews,” “Josephus’ Jewish Wars,” etc.—all of which designate the same composition. In similar fashion, the many works cited throughout Kings and Chronicles very possibly refer to different sections of a single work. If there was a single original (one referred to by several names), it was likely a highly detailed record of the reigns of the kings in Israel and Judah. As a king lived and died, the records of his reign were added to this work by a scribe, prophet, historian, record keeper, or even by the administration of the next king, making it a composite work of many writers. The various names for this single account might have designated certain sections that made up the composite work. The differences between Kings’ and Chronicles’ naming and citing of the sections of the original, can be understood by the differences that exist among modern citation styles. The style of citation, list of works cited, and information provided vary widely, for example, among such modern-day guides as the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, The Chicago Manual of Style, and Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Nevertheless, each one of these provides sufficient information to refer the reader to the original source. Similarly, the writer of Kings’ style of citation, and the writer of Chronicles’ style of citation, both mentioned the original, but did so in a different manner. Nevertheless, both provided the reader with enough information to locate the section referenced in the source.
The idea of a composite source makes sense when applied to Jewish oral tradition. The Talmud—a collection of Hebrew oral law and legal decisions (the Mishna), along with transcribed scholarly discussions and commentary on the Mishna (the Gemara)—holds that Jeremiah wrote Kings, and that Ezra wrote Chronicles (Rodkinson, 1918, V:45). [NOTE: There is no internal evidence for Jeremiah’s authorship of Kings, but 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1-4 are almost identical, which supports Talmudic tradition of Ezra’s authorship of Chronicles.] One theory regarding the citation of lost books is that they were source material for the writers of Kings and Chronicles. Jeremiah possibly edited and/or condensed the original source (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) into the book of Kings, sometime before or during the Babylonian exile. This new, inspired book of Kings provided a summary of the histories of Israel and Judah for the captives to carry with them—a much smaller, lighter book than the original detailed work. After returning from the Babylonian exile, Ezra composed another history of the Hebrew nation—Chronicles. According to this theory, he used the same original work as Jeremiah for his primary source, but referred to the sections by different names than the ones used by Jeremiah. To this, he added parts of Samuel, Isaiah, possibly Lamentations, and some non-extant works. Like Jeremiah’s compilation, Ezra did this by inspiration. While the original source no longer exists, a condensed form of it survived through the inspired writings.
However, it also is possible that the original work to which Jeremiah and Ezra referred was not a source for their books, but was an uninspired composition of historical significance to which the reader could look for additional information. Under this theory, Jeremiah and Ezra received everything for the composition of their respective works, but also were inspired to include a reference for “extra information.” God did not require every single detail to be preserved in the biblical accounts of the history of the Jewish people, so He revealed what the authors of Kings and Chronicles needed to know, while guiding them to insert a “for more information, please see...” in the text.
Both of these theories allow for verbal inspiration. The first theory suggests that God inspired Jeremiah and Ezra to look at the single historical work as a source, and then He guided them (via the Holy Spirit) to include exactly what He wanted from that source into Scripture. According to the second theory, God revealed to Jeremiah and Ezra the necessary history, and then guided them to place a citation in the biblical text in order to refer the contemporary reader to a then-extant historical book. Some of the “lost books” are references to sections of this source, and others are different names for books that are not lost, but currently reside within the canon of Scripture.
The Book of the Wars of Yahweh
The Book of Jashar
2 Samuel 1:19-27
The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah
1 Kings 14:29; et al.
The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel
1 Kings 14:19; et al.
The Acts of Solomon
1 Kings 11:41
Book of the Kings of Israel
1 Chronicles 9:1-2;
2 Chronicles 20:34
Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel
2 Chronicles 16:11; et al.
Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah
2 Chronicles 27:7; et al.
Acts of the Kings of Israel
2 Chronicles 33:18
Acts of Samuel the Seer
1 Chronicles 29:29
Acts of Gad the Seer
1 Chronicles 29:29
Acts of Nathan the Prophet
1 Chronicles 29:29
History of Nathan the Prophet
2 Chronicles 9:29
Prophesy of Ahijah the Shilonite
2 Chronicles 9:29
Visions of Iddo the Seer
2 Chronicles 9:29
Acts of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer
2 Chronicles 12:15
Acts of Jehu Son of Hanani
2 Chronicles 20:34
Acts of the Seers
2 Chronicles 33:19
Midrash of the Prophet Iddo
2 Chronicles 13:22
Midrash on the Book of Kings
2 Chronicles 24:27
Book by the prophet Isaiah
2 Chronicles 26:22
Vision of Isaiah the prophet
2 Chronicles 32:32
Book of the Chronicles
Some additional writings, referenced in the Old Testament
and New Testament, can be added to Christensen’s list:
Book of the Covenant
Exodus 24:7; et al.
The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia
Book by Samuel
1 Samuel 10:25
Laments for Josiah
2 Chronicles 35:25
Chronicles of King David
1 Chronicles 27:24
Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans
Paul’s previous Corinthian letter
1 Corinthians 5:9
List of the “lost books”/“lost writings” of the Bible (per Christensen, 1998, with additions)
Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, and Acts of Solomon (non-extant)
These names probably refer to sections of the original, detailed source either used by Jeremiah (through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to compose Kings, or mentioned by Jeremiah as a source for additional information. The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah is cited in 1 Kings 14:29; 15:7; 15:23; 22:45; 2 Kings 8:23; 12:19; 14:18; 15:6; 15:36; 16:19; 20:20; 21:17; 21:25; 23:28; and 24:5. The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel is mentioned in 1 Kings 14:19; 15:31; 16:5; 16:14; 16:20; 16:27; 22:39; 2 Kings 1:18; 10:34; 13:8; 13:12; 14:15; 14:28; 15:11; 15:15; 15:21; 15:26; and 15:31. However, the Acts of Solomon is referred to only in 1 Kings 11:41. This compilation probably contained the records of each king’s reign, official decrees, judgments of the court, census reports, taxation records, etc.
Book of the Kings of Israel, Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel, Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah, Acts of the Kings of Israel, and Chronicles of King David (non-extant)
These five titles possibly were Ezra’s references to sections of the same source from which Jeremiah wrote Kings. According to the two theories, either he used this single historical work (again, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to compose Chronicles, or he referenced it as additional, uninspired information. The Book of the Kings of Israel is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:1-2 and 2 Chronicles 20:34. The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel is cited in 2 Chronicles 16:11; 25:26; 28:26; and 32:32. The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah is referred to in 2 Chronicles 27:2; 35:27; and 36:8. Finally, the Acts of the Kings of Israel, and the Chronicles of King David, are alluded to in 2 Chronicles 33:18 and 1 Chronicles 27:24, respectively.
Acts of Samuel the Seer, Acts of Gad the Seer, and Acts of Nathan the Prophet (1 & 2 Samuel)
The only citation to these works is found in 1 Chronicles 29:29. This probably refers to 1 and 2 Samuel, which Talmudic tradition says was written by Samuel until his death (see 1 Samuel 25:1), and was finished by Gad the seer and Nathan the prophet (Rodkinson, 1918, V:45-46). With this explanation, it stands to reason that Ezra was referring to one work (Samuel) by its composite authors—Samuel, Gad, and Nathan. So these three “lost books” probably cite a single, currently existing work, known to us as 1 and 2 Samuel. [NOTE: In the Hebrew Bible, 1 and 2 Samuel were one book (Samuel), as were 1 and 2 Kings (Kings) and 1 and 2 Chronicles (Chronicles). Also, Nehemiah was added to the end of Ezra in the Hebrew text, and Hosea through Malachi were one book—which resulted in the Hebrew Bible being twenty-four books (Josephus combined two of those, making a total of twenty-two), instead of the thirty-nine in our present-day Old Testament.]
Book by the Prophet Isaiah and Vision of Isaiah the Prophet (Isaiah)
The two “lost books,” cited in 2 Chronicles 26:22 and 2 Chronicles 32:32, respectively, are said to have contained the records of King Uzziah and King Hezekiah. Isaiah lived during the reigns of these men (Isaiah 1:1; 6:1; 7:1; 36:1-39:8), so these citations likely refer to the book of Isaiah that exists in our current canon.
Lament for Josiah (Lamentations 3)
In 2 Chronicles 35:25, it is recorded that Jeremiah composed a lament at the death of Josiah, who was the last unconquered king of Judah, and wrote it “in the Laments.” The book of Lamentations was the work of Jeremiah that mourned the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred not long after the death of Josiah. It is highly likely that the lament mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35:25 is included in Lamentations. It is perhaps in chapter 3, where the tone of the lament changes. There seems to be continuity between 2:22 and 4:1. Chapter 2 talks of God’s anger toward Jerusalem and the result of it, a thought that is continued in chapter 4. Chapter 3 takes on a more personal tone, which could be indicative of the personal grief experienced by Jeremiah at the death of Josiah. It is very possible that, in lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem (Lamentations 1-2), Jeremiah’s grief at the death of Josiah came freshly to his mind, and he digressed in his lament over Jerusalem to include the sorrow of Josiah’s passing (Lamentations 3). Following this digression, his thoughts returned to Jerusalem (Lamentations 4-5).
Book of the Chronicles (1 & 2 Chronicles)
Nehemiah mentioned a record of the Levites, which was kept in the Book of the Chronicles (Nehemiah 12:23). Since Nehemiah and Ezra were contemporaries, it is probable that Nehemiah was referring to the Chronicles written by Ezra—our 1 and 2 Chronicles. It appears that Nehemiah may have been citing 1 Chronicles 9:10-22 specifically, which contains a record like the one mentioned by Nehemiah.
Book of the Covenant (The Pentateuch)
Four places in the Old Testament refer to the Book of the Covenant: Exodus 24:7; 2 Kings 23:2; 23:21; and 2 Chronicles 34:30. This is another name for the Pentateuch, which is sometimes called the Law (see Deuteronomy 30:10; 31:26; 2 Kings 17:13; et al.) or the Law of Moses (see Joshua 8:31; 23:6; 1 Kings 2:3; et al.).
The Book of Jashar (Non-extant)
Recently, certain scholars have written about the Book of Jashar, especially in light of its “rediscovery.” There are only two quotations from the Book of Jashar: Joshua 10:12-13 and 2 Samuel 1:18-27. From these references, it appears that the Book of Jashar was either a book of songs or poems compiled throughout the ages by the Israelite nation, or a record of upright individuals among the Israelites (see McClintock and Strong, 1968, 4:785). The word “Jashar” is commonly translated “just” or “upright,” but some scholars contend that it may be a corruption of the Hebrew word for “song” (Christensen, 1998, 14:27).
Currently, five works claim to be the Book of Jashar, but all are spurious or recent compositions. The most popular of these is a manuscript forged by the Rosicrucians, a secret society dating back to the seventeenth century. The original supposedly was “found” by Alcuin—an Anglo-Saxon from Northumbria—in Gazna, Persia, and translated at some point during the eighth centuryA.D. The translation, which is the manuscript that is extant today, was “rediscovered” in 1721 and printed in London in 1751. This writing—which continues to be published despite the lack of evidence for its authenticity—is viewed to be a forgery produced no earlier than the eighteenth century (see Christensen, 14:30; McClintock, 4:768-788).
The Book of Jashar was used as source material by Joshua, as well as by Gad and Nathan. It no longer exists in its original form, and the five different recent works are almost universally rejected as forgeries.
The Book of the Wars of Yahweh (Non-extant)
Also called the Book of the Wars of the Lord, this composition is quoted in Numbers 21:14. The quotation is in lyrical form, so it is possibly a book of poetry or a hymnal. Some have suggested that the Book of Jashar and the Book of the Wars of Yahweh are the same work (Christensen, 14:30). Moses quoted it, so the date of its composition must have been prior to the completion of the Pentateuch, perhaps during the wanderings in the wilderness. Nothing else is known about it, and it survives only in Moses’ quotation.
Other Old Testament Works (Non-extant)
Many of the “lost books” actually exist either in a condensed form or under another name. However, some compositions now exist as mere citations in the Old Testament. The History of Nathan the Prophet, Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and Visions of Iddo the Seer are all cited together (2 Chronicles 9:29). If this is a form similar to the 1 Chronicles 29:29 reference to Samuel (using the composite authors for the citation), then it is possible that this was a single compilation cited by mentioning its authors. The same can be said of the Acts of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer (2 Chronicles 12:15). Another possibility is that these, along with the Acts of Jehu Son of Hanani (2 Chronicles 20:34), are all sections in a single work titled Acts of the Seers, which is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 33:19. Since the authors were prophets or seers, their works could have been gathered into a single book of prophetic revelation, similar to the manner in which the works of the twelve minor prophets were gathered into a single book (the Twelve Prophets). It is possible that Ezra used the composite work (if they were placed together), or the individual works, as additional source material in composing Chronicles, or that he cited them in the same manner as the single historical work. So far as we know, these books no longer exist, except in name.
Two other non-extant, but cited, works are commentaries on certain books. The Midrash of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22) was a commentary on a specific writing that contained the record of King Abijah of Judah. [NOTE: A midrash is a Jewish commentary, sometimes translated as “annals” or “commentary.”] Perhaps the work on which Iddo wrote his commentary was the original source used by Jeremiah and Ezra to compose Kings and Chronicles, respectively. Another possibility is that it was Kings itself. The Midrash on the Book of Kings (2 Chronicles 24:27) was possibly a commentary on either Jeremiah’s Kings or the original source for Kings and Chronicles. These midrashim could have been a single work, with the two citations referring to different parts of it. Ezra used these midrashim either as sources for his inspired composition of Chronicles, or as places to look if the reader wanted more information—but the originals have been lost.
Two remaining Old Testament-era books no longer exist except through citations: the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia, and a book by Samuel. The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia is mentioned in Esther 10:2. This is not considered a “lost book” of the Bible, because it was the official record of the Persian Empire, not an inspired source. It seems to be referenced in Esther 2:23 and 6:1, where the King of Persia is shown placing records in the book and reading from it. The Book of Esther mentions this contemporary Gentile source in order to point the early reader to further details about the Persian Empire, similar to Paul’s quotations from the Cretan poet Epimenides and the Cilician poet Aratus to make his point in Acts 17:28 (Bruce, 1977, p. 44). The Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia is a lost secular historical record. It is not a lostbiblical record.
Recorded in 1 Samuel 10:25 is Samuel’s writing of a book concerning the “behavior of royalty.” The biblical record said that he had “laid it up before the Lord,” but nowhere do we find anything that bears the markings of this book. The citation possibly could be a reference to the part of Samuel composed by the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1-24).
To summarize, eight of the “missing” Old Testament books probably are referring to Samuel, Isaiah, Chronicles, the Pentateuch, and Lamentations. Eight others appear to refer to sections of a single source used by the inspired Old Testament writers, making it only one “lost” historical record. Six others were written by prophets and seers, and might have been sections in a non-extant prophetic work known as the Book of the Seers. Two more were commentaries, which also could have been a single work, and two more were books of hymns or poetry. Therefore, the original number of Old Testament-era “lost books,” twenty-eight, actually numbers only a half-dozen. However, along with the “missing” books of the Old Testament era, there are two epistles referred to in the New Testament that some consider “lost books.”
Paul’s Letter to the Laodiceans
Paul, in Colossians 4:16, mentioned an epistle that he sent to the church at Laodicea. Since an epistle by this name is not found in our New Testament, some have claimed that it is non-extant. While this is one option, there are other possibilities. Some scholars say that it may actually exist in the canon of the Bible, but under a different name. According to this theory, Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians was written as an encyclical letter, meaning that it did not have one single destination. There is internal and external evidence to support this theory. Certain characteristics of the letter (like the omission of the phrase “in Ephesus” from Ephesians 1:1 in certain reliable manuscripts), the fact that some early Christians were not aware of the “in Ephesus” for verse 1, and a heretical reference to Ephesians as Paul’s epistle to the Laodiceans, appear to support this theory (Metzger, 2000, p. 532). Yet, the possibility remains that Paul’s letter to Laodicea was lost somewhere, perhaps in Asia Minor, before it could be copied (or the copies were destroyed or lost as well). [Passing mention should be made of a spurious epistle from the fourth century that claimed to be Paul’s letter to Laodicea (Bruce, 1988, pp. 237-240). ]
However, there is another possibility. The text never stated that the epistle was from Paul toLaodicea. It simply says that the Colossian church was to procure a certain letter in the possession of the Laodicean church. This would mean that the church at Laodicea probably had some canonical writing that Paul wanted the Colossian church to read, which would mean that there is no missing Laodicean letter. Of the three explanations (lost Laodicean letter, encyclical Ephesians, or canonical epistle in the possession of the Laodiceans), the latter appears to make the most sense. Most likely, the “missing” epistle to the Laodiceans was just a canonical epistle in the possession of the church in that city. Apparently, there was a section of it that Paul desired the Colossian brethren to read, and so he gave them directions for its procurement.
Paul’s First Corinthian Letter
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to Paul’s missing previous Corinthian letter. Technically, the epistles of 1 and 2 Corinthians could be called more properly 2 and 3 Corinthians, because Paul actually did write an earlier letter to the church in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 5:9, Paul said: “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.” While some would argue that Paul is referring to a previous section of 1 Corinthians (perhaps 5:1-8) rather than referring to a previous epistle, he then continued (in verse 10) to explain exactly what he meant by that statement, which is not what is said in 5:1-8. After explaining what the statement from the previous letter meant, Paul continued in 5:11 by showing the contrasting point, “But now I have written to you...”—explaining the difference between the statement from the previous epistle and the one from our 1 Corinthians.
What are we to say? This truly is a lost writing of the apostle Paul, and nothing is known about it except that it existed, it was sent to the Corinthian church, and it dealt with sexual immorality. With this book, and with the other “lost books,” we now must ask the question...
Do We Really Need These Books?
When mentioning the “lost books” of the Bible, many people wonder, “Why do we no longer have these books?,” and “Do we really need them?” First, some of the so-called “lost books” probably are references to inspired books that still exist, but by another name. Others were historical references used as sources for inspired books, such as Kings and Chronicles, and so the Jews saw no need to treat them with special reverence, nor to strive to preserve them. Some were books of poetry or song that were uninspired, but served as a record of Hebrew culture. Others were non-Hebrew sources, making them non-biblical compositions and therefore not canonical writings. Many of these “lost books” probably are references to sections of the same work, making the actual number of non-extant books cited in the Bible less than a dozen. However, we must face the fact that some compositions cited by the Old and New Testament writers no longer exist.
While under subjugation to the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires, the Jews ultimately were able to preserve only those books that were holy and inspired—everything else was destroyed or lost. While this is unfortunate, it should not affect our faith adversely. The books we have are inspired, and came from inspired men who sometimes mentioned non-inspired sources for recording historical fact, giving places to find additional information, or simply to make a point. These men, like modern researchers, felt compelled to cite their sources, but did not intend these sources to become writings on a par with Scripture. The missing books that are cited in the Old Testament apparently did not bother the Jews, who recorded in the first centuryA.D. that their writings consisted of only twenty-two to twenty-four works that correspond exactly to our thirty-nine, except for a difference in order and division (Josephus, 1987, Against Apion, 1:38-40; Bruce, 1988, pp. 28-34; Rodkinson, 1918, V:44-45). Obviously, the “lost books” did not present a problem to Jesus and the apostles, who accepted the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) as all they needed. They quoted from none of these books, and the only things they quoted as Scripture were the books of the Old Testament. To accept that God allowed the inspired writers to employ sources in composing historical books of the Bible does not negate inspiration by the Holy Spirit. If these men used sources, God still guided them by the Holy Spirit to correct, compile, and add to the uninspired source material. One of the gospel writers (Luke) apparently consulted various sources in compiling his letter (Luke 1:1-4). As was previously mentioned, Paul quoted Epimenides and Aratus in Acts 17, and quoted Epimenides again in Titus 1:12. It was not uncommon for the authors of the Bible to use or quote, by inspiration, either uninspired works or inspired works that no longer exist.
God obviously did not intend certain works to be preserved, because His hand would have guided their perpetuation, just as He guided the continuation of the canonical books. Like the lost Corinthian letter, it is likely that other inspired books were written that God intended for a particular historical setting, but did not intend to be preserved in the canon of the Bible. God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3), and our knowledge of Him is complete through the revealed Word. None of the books God intended to be in the Bible is lost, and the phrase “lost books” refers only to those books of which no record exists. Whatever these “lost books” contained is irrelevant, because we have the Word of God exactly as He wanted us to have it—nothing more, and certainly nothing less.
Bruce, F.F. (1977), The Defense of the Gospel in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Bruce, F.F. (1988), The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Christensen, Duane (1998), “Lost Books of the Bible,” Bible Review, 14:24-31, October.
Franceschini, Massimo (2002), “Lost Books,” [On-line], URL: http://www.bibleman.net/Lost_Books.htm.
Josephus, Flavius (1987), The Works of Josephus, trans. William Whiston (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
McClintock, John and James Strong (1968 reprint), Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Metzger, Bruce M. (2000), A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft), second edition.
Rodkinson, Michael L. (1918), New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud (Boston, MA: The Talmud Society), [On-line Version], URL: http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm, ed. J.B. Hare.
A Review of Discovery Channel's "Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?"
|by||Jeff Miller, Ph.D.|
Perhaps you saw the advertisements leading up to the commencement of Discovery Channel’s latest television series titled, “Curiosity,” in which things that humans are curious about are featured in each week’s new episode. The first show addressed the question, “Did God Create the Universe?” (“Curiosity…,” 2011). Perhaps you, like me, were hopeful that this often biased media outlet and longtime supporter of the liberal agenda would give the Creation perspective a fair shake. Sadly, hopes were dashed. For one hour, renowned atheist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, was given a platform to spread his atheistic perspective.
Throughout the show, Hawking is the speaker, although the voice switches between his computer-generated voice (Hawking has Lou Gehrig’s disease and cannot speak) and that of a man speaking for him with a British accent. The primary thrust of the show was for Hawking to assert the idea that the reasons many people have had in the past for being theists—namely that there are things we cannot explain in the Universe without a Supernatural cause—are no longer relevant. Though people used to attribute thunder and lightning to gods, we now know, scientifically speaking, what is actually occurring. So, a higher being is not necessary as an explanation, according to Hawking. He believes that everything, including origins, can be explained through science and nature without the need for God. While wrapping up the show, after discussing his theory about the origin of the Universe, he says, “So, what does that mean on our quest to find out if there is a God? It means that…you don’t need a God to create it. The Universe is the ultimate free lunch” (“Curiosity…”). Though he boldly and presumptuously makes that claim, he does not even address many of the arguments theists have used for centuries which still stand as proof positive that God exists (e.g., the Moral Argument, Teleological Argument, Aesthetical Argument, Intuitional Argument, and Ontological Argument). He spends his time addressing only one of the arguments—the Cosmological Argument, along with the law of nature closely connected with it, the Law of Causality. His dealings with that argument illuminate the fact that atheism, even in this enlightened age, is still an inadequate worldview.
Much of the first part of the show tap dances around the common logical fallacies known as an “appeal to consequences” and “straw man” (“Appeal to Consequences,” 2009; “Straw Man Fallacy,” 2009). The viewer is subtly encouraged to be an atheist (1) because of the pagan religious beliefs of the Vikings and other religionists of old who erroneously used various gods as a way to explain common natural phenomena, and (2) because of the inappropriate behavior of certain Catholic authorities in antiquity who viewed belief in the laws of nature as a heretical concept. The impression is left that such examples exemplify the nature of theism.
Such individuals in history, carrying the banner of theism, have been sadly misled, but such examples do not exhibit the nature of true theism. The views and practices of such people should not be a factor in the determination of truth, just as the views of the scientific world in the 1400s that spontaneous generation occurs should not be used as a reason to reject science. Likewise, the behaviors of some atheists throughout history, including Hawking himself, should not be used to dismiss atheism. Truth stands on its own, regardless of those who do or do not espouse it or represent it accurately.
“No Cook Needed” for the Universe Recipe
Halfway through the show, Hawking gets to his defense of his primary assertion—God is not necessary for the creation of the Universe. He boldly states, “Despite the complexity and variety of the Universe, it turns out that to make one, you need just three ingredients” (“Curiosity…”). He explains that those ingredients are matter, energy, and space, and further explains that matter and energy, according to Einstein, are ultimately one and the same. So, Hawking revises his cosmic cookbook and asserts that only two ingredients are really needed to make a Universe—energy and space. These, Hawking states, “were spontaneously generated in an event we now call ‘The Big Bang’” (“Curiosity…”).
How can one get these two ingredients from nothing? Hawking uses an illustration involving a man who builds a hill by digging a hole in the ground, thus perfectly balancing out the “positive” hill with the “negative” hole. He then claims, “This is the principle behind what happened right at the beginning of the Universe. When the Big Bang produced a vast amount of positive energy, it simultaneously produced the same amount of negative energy” (“Curiosity…”). But how could a bang “produce” or create something from nothing? A bang has no creative power. It is merely an explosion that is generated from already existing substances. Expansion will occur in an explosion, sometimes resulting in an enormous blast radius in comparison to its initial state, but there must initially be something to explode and expand from. Using Hawking’s analogy, how could a hole or hill be made without first having dirt—or in the case of the supposed Universe creation, energy? Where did the dirt, or energy, first come from?
Although such a contention is logically impossible, Hawking asserts that quantum mechanics provides the answer. According to Hawking, at the sub-atomic level, “conjuring something out of nothing is possible, at least for a short while” (“Curiosity…,” emp. added). Particles “can appear at random—stick around for a while and then vanish again to reappear somewhere else” (“Curiosity…,” emp. added). Since this happens, theoretically, in the sub-atomic world, then according to Hawking, the Universe could have popped into existence from nothing as do these particles. How, exactly, it follows from quantum particle generation that spontaneous Universegeneration is possible is a mystery, especially without any empirical evidence to support such a contention. Further, how, exactly, would spontaneous energy generation work without violating the First Law of Thermodynamics—i.e., that energy cannot be created or destroyed in nature, but can only change forms (see Miller, 2007)? If the Universe—all nature with all of its space, energy, and matter—came into existence on its own from nothing, the First Law would be violated.
As will be discussed, Hawking firmly believes in the immutability of the laws of nature and their application to the Universe as a whole. So, he would not wish to contradict his firm reliance on the laws of nature by holding to a theory that would violate one of those laws—and yet, his position (i.e., all energy coming from nothing) requires such a violation. Notice, however, that he contradicts himself on this matter. While he wants to believe that everything came from nothing, as his own statements imply, the alleged popping particles are actually already in existence and merely disappear and “reappear,” jumping around to different places. Thus, the ultimate problem with the atheistic position remains. Where did these particles originally come from? And where’s the empirical evidence that these particles that pop in and out of existence could stick around for the alleged billions of years of our existence, instead of the “short while” he asserts is possible? He does not explain. The truth is, there is no empirical evidence to verify the theory that sub-atomic particles could pop into existence and stick around for long periods of time at all, much less develop into a Universe over billions of years. That being the case, how would we expect Hawking to press the matter further? He cannot press what he cannot prove, and therefore, he moves on without further presentation of evidence. He condescendingly alleges, “Unless mathematics is your thing, this is hard to grasp, but it’s true” (“Curiosity…”). So, we are left to just blindly take his word for it and trust that he has the answer—though he will not share it.
Quantum Mechanics and Universe Generation
|Stephen Hawking in 1999|
Though Hawking does not enter into a discussion of the topic, a review of the scientific literature on the idea of quantum vacuum fluctuations accounting for the creation of the Universe reveals that such a theory does not actually start with nothing and end with something—which is what Hawking needs in order to eliminate the necessity of a higher being. In keeping with the First Law of Thermodynamics, quantum theories start with something and end with something. So, quantum mechanics does not provide an answer as to where the original “something” came from. Prominent humanist mathematician and science writer, Martin Gardner, wrote: “It is fashionable now to conjecture that the big bang was caused by a random quantum fluctuation in a vacuum devoid of space and time. But of course such a vacuum is a far cry from nothing” (2000, p. 303, emp. added). Philip Yam of Scientific American wrote: “Energy in the vacuum, though, is very much real. According to modern physics, a vacuum isn’t a pocket of nothingness. It churns with unseen activity” (1997, p. 82, emp. added). Edward Tryon, professor of physics at Hunter College in Manhattan, proposed the idea that the Universe could be the result of a large-scale vacuum energy fluctuation (1973). Alan Guth, professor of physics at M.I.T., wrote in response: “In this context, a proposal that the universe was created from empty space is no more fundamental than a proposal that the universe was spawned by a piece of rubber. It might be true, but one would still want to ask where the piece of rubber came from” (1997, p. 273). Theoretical physicist Alexander Vilenkin, a professor of physics and director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University, while explaining the problems inherent in Tryon’s work, said:
A more fundamental problem is that Tryon’s scenario does not really explain the origin of the universe. A quantum fluctuation of the vacuum assumes that there was a vacuum of some pre-existing space. And we now know that “vacuum” is very different from “nothing.” Vacuum, or empty space, has energy and tension, it can bend and warp, so it is unquestionably something (2006, p. 185, ital. in orig.).
Vilenkin went on to propose that quantum tunneling could be the answer to the creation of the Universe out of nothing. However, quantum tunneling starts with something and ends with something as well. Particles that can jump or tunnel through barriers still must initially exist to do so. So, the problem remains. There must be an ultimate Cause of the Universe. According to Hawking, in order to create a Universe, “you need” energy and space (“Curiosity…”). Though he boldly claims his theory provides these entities, his claims fall quite short of the truth. His needs simply remain unmet—without a Creator.
“There is No Time For God”
Towards the end of the episode, again without having addressed the multitude of arguments that theists have made over the centuries, Hawking asserts that “[t]he role played by time at the beginning of the Universe is, I believe, the final key to removing the need for a Grand Designer and revealing how the Universe created itself” (“Curiosity…”). According to Hawking, inside a “black hole itself, time doesn’t exist, and that’s exactly what happened at the start of the Universe” (“Curiosity…”). He then claims that since time does not exist in a black hole and the initial moments of the Big Bang were supposedly something of a black hole, there was no time before the Big Bang. He asserts:
You can’t get to a time before the Big Bang, because there was no before the Big Bang. We have finally found something that doesn’t have a cause, because there was no time for a cause to exist in. For me, this means that there is no possibility for a Creator, because there is no time for a Creator to have existed…. Time didn’t exist before the Big Bang. So, there is no time for God to make the Universe in (“Curiosity…”).
Setting aside the unsubstantiated assertion that Hawking can know with complete certainty anything about the true nature of a black hole (and whether they even exist; cf. Muir, 2002 and “New Theories Dispute the Existence of Black Holes,” 2002), and therefore, whether or not he can know the theoretical idea that time does not exist within one, there are still problems with Hawking’s claims. First of all, it is true that Einstein showed that there appears to be a correlation between gravity and time. Perfectly synchronized atomic clocks placed at different elevations on the Earth—and thus, with differing local gravitational accelerations—do not “tick” the same. The higher the gravitational force, the slower time appears to move. So, theoretically, on an entity of infinite mass and infinitesimal volume, and therefore, infinite gravitational acceleration, time would stop. Hawking implies that the initial “cosmic egg”—the “ylem,” as it has been called—was just such an entity. As Robert Jastrow of NASA stated, originally “all matter in the Universe was compressed into an infinitely dense and hot mass” that exploded in the Big Bang (1977, pp. 2-3, emp. added). The problem is that the hypothesis that such an entity was ever in existence is not in keeping with the contentions of Big Bang cosmologists themselves, much less scientific evidence.
First of all, Jastrow’s statements, “all matter” and “infinitely dense,” are contradictory. “All matter” implies that there is a quantifiable amount of matter in the Universe, while “infinitely dense” implies that the amount of matter cannot be enumerated. If matter is quantifiable, then the spatial volume that contains that matter must also be quantifiable, and therefore, its density has a finite value. So, as one should expect, cosmologists do not technically define the ylem as infinite in density, but rather, just really, really dense. The initial cosmic singularity is thought to have been 1014 times the density of water, yet smaller in volume than a single proton. Rick Gore, writing in National Geographic, said, “Astonishingly, scientists now calculate that everything in this vast universe grew out of a region many billions of times smaller than a single proton, one of the atom’s basic particles” (Gore, 1983, 163:705). Karen Fox, physics and astrophysics science writer, said the ylem was a “mind-bogglingly dense atom containing the entire Universe” (Fox, p. 69). So, the singularity is thought to be of a specific size and density—not infinitesimal or infinite, respectively. So, the “cosmic egg” is really not thought to be infinitely dense. Big Bang cosmologists loosely use the term “infinitely” as an approximation for “really, really dense.” Now, don’t miss the ultimate point. In theory, in order for time to completely stop, infinitegravitational acceleration would be necessary, but the hypothetical ylem does not provide that. Thus, time would tick on, albeit, theoretically very slowly. Bottom line: Stephen Hawking’s contention that time did not exist before the Big Bang is without merit—even if the Big Bang were true or even possible, which it is not.
A second problem with Hawking’s statement is that he strongly acknowledges the immutability of the laws of nature, as will be discussed further. These laws, according to Hawking, cannot be violated. They are fixed. The Law of Cause and Effect is no exception. And yet, Hawking contradicts himself by claiming that it was, in fact, violated at the beginning. He has no empirical evidence to substantiate such a claim. Instead, we are to take him at his word, although he claims that science, which is based on empirical evidence, can explain everything. If he, being a scientist intent on finding all of the origin answers without the need of the supernatural, is intent on basing his decisions on only the scientific evidence, then he must find empirical evidence that proves that the Law of Cause and Effect—a law of nature, which he says is immutable and fixed—has ever been violated. Until such evidence can be found, he is unjustified in theorizing such a violation. There is no such evidence—only his conjecture. According to the Law of Rationality, Hawking is guilty of being irrational since he has drawn conclusions that are not warranted by the evidence. To hold to that view is, therefore, illogical and unscientific. By definition, he has abandoned his premise. Science and its natural laws cannot explain the Universe without a Supernatural Creator, because the laws of nature are not in harmony with any theories that require a purely naturalistic origin.
Third, Hawking believes that the Creator would have to exist prior to the Big Bang, assumedly because of his interpretation of the Law of Cause and Effect. He believes that if the Big Bang is true, then time would not have existed before the Big Bang because of Einstein’s findings, and therefore, there could be no prior existence of a Creator and, therefore, no cause. We have already examined the false idea that time would have ceased to exist in the hypothetical “ylem.” However, even granting him his assertion that time could not have existed before the Big Bang, he is incorrect in claiming that the Law of Cause and Effect would prohibit the existence of a Creator. Such a contention illustrates Hawking’s ignorance concerning the true nature of the Law of Causality.
Even if the Big Bang were true (which it is not), the work of a Creator would not be in violation of the Law. First of all, the Law of Causality as a law of natural science only applies to that which can be empirically observed—namely, the natural Universe, not supernatural entities. So, it does not even apply to God. Second, even if it did apply to the Creator, Hawking’s belief that there’s no room for the Creator since the Law of Causality requires a previous cause—which could not be if time did not exist before the Big Bang—is erroneous. The Law of Cause and Effect (or Law of Causality) states that every material effect must have an adequate antecedent or simultaneouscause (see Miller, 2011a). When one sits in a seat, his legs form a lap. The cause of the lap is sitting, which occurs simultaneously with the creation of the lap. So, causes can take place simultaneously with their effects. A proper understanding of the Law of Causality reveals that the Law does not rule out the existence of a Creator even if the Big Bang were true, since the effect of the Universe could occur simultaneous with its causal activity. Again, though Hawking is inaccurate in his use of the Law of Causality, it is ultimately irrelevant since the Big Bang is unscientific and logically impossible.
A fourth problem with his statement is that a black hole is still something—not nothing. In order for time to theoretically not exist in a black hole, there has to be a black hole to start with. The question remains: where did the black hole come from? The Law of Cause and Effect cannot be dodged. A cause is always necessary in nature.
A fifth problem is that Hawking incorrectly assumes that spiritual entities are even bound by time as we know it. The nature of the Creator is such that He is omnipresent (cf. Exodus 3:14; John 8:58; Psalm 90:2,4; Psalm 139:7-8; 2 Peter 3:8; Hebrews 13:8). He is simultaneously everywhere and everywhen. Time is irrelevant to God. The temporal existence we reside in—one in which black holes may exist—came into being a few thousand years ago when God created it. However, He existed long before time came into being. Stephen Hawking betrays his ignorance of true theism by such assertions. Truly, the episode makes it clear that Hawking’s entire perspective on theism has been formed by various false religions—not by true Bible theism.
The Immutable Laws of Nature
Throughout the episode, Hawking ironically comes out strongly in support of the immutability of the laws of nature. He says,
[T]he Universe is a machine governed by principles or laws—laws that can be understood by the human mind. I believe that the discovery of these laws has been humankind’s greatest achievement…. But what’s really important is that these physical laws, as well as being unchangeable, are universal. They apply not just to the flight of the ball, but to the motion of a planet and everything else in the Universe. Unlike laws made by humans, the laws of nature cannot ever be broken. That’s why they are so powerful (“Curiosity…,” emp. added).
The implications of the immutable laws of nature have long been a strong contention of creation scientists in support of theism. Sadly, though Hawking acknowledges the immutability of the laws of nature, he does not allow his brilliant mind to follow the implications of such strong statements in support of the laws of nature. The laws of nature—specifically the Laws of Thermodynamics (see Miller, 2007), Law of Biogenesis (see Thompson, 2002), Law of Causality (see Miller, 2011a), Laws of Probability (see Miller, 2011b), and Laws of Genetics (see Thompson, 2002)—point unequivocally to the existence of a Supreme Being. With the exception of the Law of Causality, Hawking leaves these laws untouched in his lecture. How presumptuous to assert that science has answered all of life’s questions without the need of God, while not even addressing many of the arguments that theists have used through the millennia to highlight the need of a Supreme Being in the origins equation.
Hawking goes on to say, “If you accept, as I do, that the laws of nature are fixed, then it doesn’t take long to ask what role is there for God” (“Curiosity…,” emp. added). Quite a presumptuous statement to make, to be sure. There are hundreds of creation scientists, myself included, who have come to the exact opposite conclusion. The laws of nature attest to the existence of God. A list of just 186 of those credentialed scientists has been posted on-line by Creation Ministries International (cf. “Creation Scientists…,” 2010; Miller, 2010).
Ironically, though Hawking claims that science can explain our existence without the need of a Creator, in the show he actually acknowledged a significant problem with that claim which is inherent in the laws of nature for which science still cannot even attempt an answer. He said, “Did God create the quantum laws that allowed the Big Bang to occur? In a nutshell, did we need a god to set it all up so that the Big Bang could bang?” (“Curiosity…”). He, of course, made it clear that he did not believe that to be the case. However, he did not even attempt to offer an alternative option, much less any proof for his assertion. He moved on to discuss other matters, never to return to that question. Though he believes science has eliminated the need for a Creator, he simply did not address one of the most powerful proofs that attest to the need of a Supreme Being to explain what we see in nature.
How can there be law without a lawgiver? The eminent atheistic, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, Paul Davies, noted that very thing in the “round table discussion” on the Discovery Channel following “Curiosity,” titled, “The Creation Question: a Curiosity Conversation.” Concerning Hawking, Davies said, “In the show, Stephen Hawking gets very, very close to saying, ‘Well, where did the laws of physics come from? That’s where we might find some sort of God.’ And then he backs away and doesn’t return to the subject” (2011). In response, concerning the laws of science, Davies further said, “You need to know where those laws come from. That’s where the mystery lies—the laws…. I think the key point here is that these very laws that we’re talking about…are simply, for most scientists, unexplained. So, either you have an unexplained God or you have unexplained laws” (“The Creation Question…”). Davies, at least, is partially correct. The laws of nature are unexplained without God. The question is, who among the atheists are willing to drop all preconceived notions and bias and accept where the scientific evidence points? The answer to that question highlights the fact that most atheists, as well as most people on the entire planet, simply are not interested in the truth—no matter how much they claim that they are. Could it be that most people want to do what they want to do, without having to have a guilty conscience due to disobeying authority—especially the Ultimate Authority?
Unintentional Concessions in Favor of Theism
Though he certainly would not embrace several implications that follow from his statements, in this episode Hawking ultimately concedes the main thrust of at least three of the classical arguments for the existence of God. First of all, he acknowledges the “complexity and variety of the Universe” (“Curiosity…”), which creationists have long contended is evidence of a Designer. An explosion is not capable of the complexity and variety in the Universe. Intelligent design is necessary. Further, he makes the statement,
I believe that the discovery of these laws has been human kind’s greatest achievement. For it’s these laws of nature, as we now call them, that will tell us whether we need a god to explain the Universe at all…. Did God create the quantum laws that allowed the Big Bang to occur? In a nutshell, did we need a god to set it all up so that the Big Bang could bang (“Curiosity…”)?
So, he concedes the need for a law writer, but offers no explanation—other than “a god.” Therefore, by his lack of an alternate explanation, he concedes that there is no other. So, he tacitly concedes the validity of the Teleological Argument for the existence of God. There is evidence of design in the Universe, especially in the design of the laws of nature. Therefore, there must be a Designer—a law Writer.
Early on in the episode, Hawking states, “For centuries it was believed that disabled people, like me, were living under a curse inflicted by God” (“Curiosity…”). He is correct that many people throughout time have incorrectly believed that suffering and misfortune are necessarily a result of displeasing God or a god (consider Job’s friends, who were ultimately proven wrong in their contention). However, by this statement, Hawking acknowledges that the world, “for centuries,” has largely embraced some form of theism—believing in a god of some sort. This admission is the thrust of the Intuitional Argument for the existence of God. Humans have a religious inclination—a tendency to be religious and worship something. We may suppress it or ignore it, but it is there and has historically been so. People have always worshipped something. In fact, though he used the past tense “believed,” as though it is not the case anymore, human inclination to believe in Something and be religious is clearly still in our nature. In fact, according to Adherents.com, 92% of the world believein some form of theism (“Major Religions of the World…,” 2005). Our intuition tells us to be religious, and neither evolution nor a random explosion can account for that religious inclination. After this statement, Hawking went on to say, “I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way: by the laws of nature” (“Curiosity…”). As you will recall, he then attempted to prove that statement, and his explanation was shown above to be inadequate, logically and scientifically, in accounting for the existence of the Universe. So, we are left with his stated alternative. Belief in God is the logical choice. Human intuition to be religious still stands as the sensible viewpoint. No adequate explanation exists for our religious tendency without the existence of a Creator.
Recall also that Hawking stated the following:
So where did all this energy and space come from? How does an entire Universe full of energy—the awesome vastness of space and everything in it—simply appear out of nothing? For some, this is where God comes back into the picture. It was God that created the energy and space. The Big Bang was the moment of creation (“Curiosity…”).
This is the thrust of the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God. The Universe (i.e., the cosmos) is here and a Cause is needed. Hawking tacitly acknowledges that a Creator is needed in the equation if there is not an adequate explanation for the Universe without Him. He believes that science and nature provide that explanation, but again, that explanation has been shown to be scientifically unfeasable. So, again, the alternative that he raises—the existence of God—is still the best option for explaining the existence of the Universe. The Cosmological Argument stands unscathed as a testament to the existence of the Creator. The cosmos is here. Who made it?
In the end, Hawking’s assertions are just that—assertions. Before his claim that the power of science can eliminate the need for a Creator has validity, Hawking has a lot of answering to do. The truth is, science cannot explain our existence without a Creator. Quite the opposite is true. Science proclaims the Creator. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1, emp. added). “For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:20,22, emp. added). “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside tofables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4, emp. added). Stephen Hawking would do well to realize thatthere is a God in heaven, and according to Him, it is the fool that “has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’” (Psalm 14:1), not the man who believes himself to be more enlightened because of his atheistic mindset. Sadly, “not many wise according to the flesh…are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26).
We close with another quote from Paul Davies concerning Hawking and his wild assertions in “Curiosity”: “I think science can get a bad press by scientists appearing to be too arrogant and taking on more than perhaps they should. So, it’s as well to lace definitive statements with a certain amount of humility, I think” (“The Creation Question…”). Someone had to say it. Perhaps Hawking will hear it since it came from a fellow atheistic cosmologist.
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