When People Scoff About The Lord's Return (3:1-9) INTRODUCTION 1. A wonderful promise that serves to motivate Christians toward godly living is that concerning our Lord's return... a. A promise made first by Jesus Himself - Jn 14:1-3 b. A promise made at His ascension into heaven - Ac 1:9-11 c. A promise not far from the lips of devoted disciples... 1) "O Lord, come!" - 1Co 16:22 2) "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" - Re 22:20 2. But it is also a promise that some delight to scoff (i.e., to mock, deride, reproach, ridicule) - cf. 2Pe 3:3-4 3. As we patiently await the coming of the Lord, what can we do when faced by those who ridicule the hope that we have? 4. Peter addresses this concern in 2Pe 3:1-9, and will serve as the basis for this lesson entitled: "When People Scoff About The Lord's Return" [The key element to dealing with such scoffers can be summarized in one word: "remember" This becomes evident as we find Peter stressing that we should first...] I. REMEMBER THAT SCOFFERS ARE TO BE EXPECTED (1-4) A. ONCE AGAIN, WE SEE THE VALUE OF BEING REMINDED... 1. Earlier in this epistle, Peter stressed his desire to remind them - 2Pe 1:12-15 2. Now, he does it again - 2Pe 3:1-2 3. In both passages, his desire is to "stir up" their pure minds - 2Pe 1:13; 3:1 B. WE ARE TO BE ESPECIALLY MINDFUL OF... 1. The words spoken before by the holy prophets a. Peter may have reference to New Testament prophets b. But he might also be referring to Old Testament prophets, to whom we were told to give heed earlier in this epistle - 2Pe 1:19 2. The commandment of the apostles of the Lord and Savior a. As the Lord's "ambassadors" (cf. 2Co 5:20), the apostles speak for the Lord Himself - cf. 1Co 14:37 b. Therefore, we need to "continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine" - Ac 2:42 C. IF WE ARE MINDFUL OF THEIR WORDS, SCOFFERS WILL NOT BE UNEXPECTED... 1. We will know that they will come "in the last days" - 2Pe 3:3a a. A reference to the age of the Messiah b. Which began with His first coming, and will be culminated at His second coming - cf. Ac 2:16-17; 1Co 10:11; He 1:1-2 c. Thus we can expect scoffers at any time during the "Christian dispensation" 2. We will know the motivation behind their scoffing... - 2Pe 3:3b a. For they will be "walking according to their own lusts" b. Knowing that coming of the Lord is designed to judge the ungodly, they "scoff" as a way to soothe their guilty conscience 3. We will know the major argument they are likely to use - 2 Pe 3:4 a. Their argument will be: "all things continue as they were..." b. An argument akin to the doctrine of "uniformitarianism" [Knowing that scoffers will come, and what their charges will be, we can prepare for it. But again, only if we will be sure to remember what the holy prophets and apostles have said. For example, the apostle Peter would have us...] II. REMEMBER THAT GOD'S WORD IS CONSISTENT (5-7) A. THE SCOFFERS FORGET ABOUT THE FLOOD... 1. In arguing that "all things continue as they were from the beginning", they overlook the fact such was not the case with the flood - 2Pe 3:5-6 2. Peter says they "willfully" forget... a. They purposefully choose not to remember an event that proves their argument wrong b. Of course, their desire is not to determine truth, but to justify their lifestyle c. Many people today resort to the same tactics... 1) Conveniently ignore evidence that would weaken their case 2) Ridicule the opposition rather than dealing with it fairly and seriously B. BUT THE FLOOD IS EVIDENCE OF THE CERTAINTY OF GOD'S WORD... 1. By God's word, the world was once destroyed by "water" - 2 Pe 2:5-6 2. By the same word (God's word), the universe is "kept in store" (treasured up, reserved) for "fire" - 2Pe 2:7 3. The same word that promised and carried through with the promise about the flood, is the word that promises and will carry through about the Lord's coming and the conflagration to accompany it 4. Since God kept His first promise to destroy the world, we can expect Him to keep His present promise as well! ["But," the scoffer might say, "it has been so long since the promise was made!" Indeed, for us today it has been nearly two thousand years since the promise of the Lord's return and the world's destruction was made. But as Peter continues, we should...] III. REMEMBER THAT GOD IS NOT AFFECTED BY TIME (8) A. UNLIKE MAN, GOD IS NOT A CREATURE OF TIME... 1. "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2. This is not a passage revealing some sort of key to interpreting prophecy... a. Such as, "a day in prophecy equals a thousand years in fulfillment" b. For if so, then why could not one just as easily say "a thousand years in prophecy equals a day in fulfillment"? c. Indeed, such efforts are a clear "twisting" (cf. 2Pe 3:16) of this passage 3. The point is simply that time is irrelevant to God B. SO WHILE IT MAY HAVE BEEN TWO THOUSAND YEARS... 1. To God that is no different than two days! - cf. Ps 90:4 2. Another two thousand years could pass, and God's Word would not be weakened at all... a. It was two thousands years before God fulfilled His promise to Abraham ("in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" - Gen 12:3) b. It was at least four thousand years before He fulfilled His promise to the serpent ("And I will put enmity...between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." - Gen 3:15) 3. Since God kept His promise about the first coming of Christ, we can expect Him to fulfill the promise of His Son's return! 4. As for the "times and seasons", that should not be our concern - cf. Ac 1:7 [Finally, we will not be moved by the scoffers' arguments about the delay of the Lord's return if we...] IV. REMEMBER THAT GOD IS LONGSUFFERING, NOT SLACK (9) A. SOME MIGHT THINK THE LORD IS SLACK CONCERNING HIS PROMISE... 1. It _has_ been nearly two thousand years since the promise was made 2. And while _man_ might consider that slackness, there is another reason for the delay B. THE LORD IS LONGSUFFERING, NOT WILLING THAT ANY PERISH... 1. While God is a just God, He is also a merciful and loving God 2. While His justice requires "judgment and perdition of ungodly men", His love and mercy is willing to give them time to repent 3. This explains the Lord delay in returning: He has given every generation that has lived during the last two thousand years time to repent! 4. Thus He has "suffered long", hoping that people will repent... a. Such goodness is designed to encourage people to repent - cf. Ro 2:4 b. But for those who despise His longsuffering... 1) They are "treasuring up...wrath in the day of wrath" - cf. Ro 2:5-6 2) Just as the Lord has "treasured up" the heavens and earth for fire at the day of judgment - cf. 2Pe 2:7 CONCLUSION 1. Peter will have more to say about "the day of the Lord" and what will occur when He comes again, in the next section (2Pe 3:10-13) 2. But that we might not lose heart, nor be discouraged by the scoffers who will ridicule the idea of the Lord's return, Peter has left these words by which we can "stir up your pure minds by way of reminder" - 2Pe 3:1 3. Has the thought of the Lord's return and the day of judgment stirred you up? a. Remember that the Lord wants you to be saved... 1) He sent His Son to die for your sins 2) He has delayed the sending of His Son a second time, to give you time to repent b. Remember, though, that in His justice things are being "treasured up" 1) The heavens and earth are "kept in store" (treasured up) for the day of judgment 2) Those who despise God's longsuffering are "treasuring up" for themselves "wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" - cf. Ro 2:5 c. How much better, then... 1) To receive the "riches of His grace" in obedience to the gospel of His grace 2) Instead of receiving the "treasures of His wrath" to be given at the day of judgment! As Peter said on the Day of Pentecost, "Be saved from this perverse generation." (Ac 2:40) The context reveals how one might be saved - cf. Ac 2:36-41
|by||Kyle Butt, M.Div.|
Throughout the centuries, the nature of God has been at the center of many heated debates. Entire counsels have assembled to discuss whether God is composed of three personalities having one nature, whether Jesus is a part of the Godhead, how the Holy Spirit factors into the equation, and a host of similar questions. The answers to these questions can have far reaching theological and practical consequences. It is the purpose of this article to prove the thesis that the Bible teaches that the Godhead is three personalities—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in one nature.
As in all discussions dealing with a proper understanding of truth, an agreed upon and acceptable, sufficiently precise definition of the major terms must be set out in the beginning.
- Godhead or Divinity: A description of the totality, both of nature and personality, of the supernatural Creator of the world (see Lenski, 1961, p. 98).
- Nature: “The inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing; essence” (“Nature,” 2015).
- Personality: A recognizable, distinct entity that has mind and desire. As described by Merriam-Webster: “The complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual….The totality of an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics; a set of distinctive traits and characteristics” (“Personality,” 2015).
While most words that will be discussed concerning the Trinity, such as “personality,” “nature,” and even “divinity” or “Godhead,” are fairly easy to define, that does not mean the aspects of God that they describe are easy to understand. In fact, the Godhead is so complex and beyond human capability to fully understand, that any attempt to discuss God quickly reveals the limitations of the human mind. We can never fully understand the Godhead. As the apostle Paul so eloquently wrote about God’s revelation of the Gospel: “Oh, the depth and the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out” (Romans 11:33). We should not conclude, however, that nothing can be known of God. Were that the case, to have any discussion about Him, say His name, or even to identify the concept of God, would be impossible for us. On the contrary, while we may not be able to understand fully all that the term “nature” of God entails, and while we may not be able to define the concept of a “personality” so that we comprehend everything about it, we can know enough about the terms “Godhead,” “nature,” and “personality” to say that the Godhead is three personalities in one nature.
THE BASIC ARGUMENT FOR THE TRINITY
The basic argument for the Trinity proceeds as follows:
- Premise one: the Bible teaches that the Godhead is one in nature.
- Premise two: the Bible teaches that God the Father is one personality of the Godhead.
- Premise three: the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is one personality of the Godhead.
- Premise four: the Bible teaches that Jesus the Son is one personality of the Godhead.
- Conclusion: Therefore, God is composed of three personalities in one nature.
THE GODHEAD IS ONE IN NATURE
Various Scriptures demonstrate that the Godhead is one in nature. One of the most well-known passages that relates this truth is Deuteronomy 6:4, which states: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” A similar passage is found in Ephesians 4:4-6, which reads, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” In addition, Malachi 2:10 says, “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” The fact that God is one is clearly stated in the Bible.
The clear statements of God’s oneness lead some to deny that God is composed of three personalities. They suggest that if God is one, then He cannot be three in any way; so His oneness excludes the possibility that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God. As M. Davies wrote: “We have seen how that, throughout the Bible God is only described as being one being…. So it is to the Bible we must turn, and when we do, we do not find any evidence to suggest that God is made up of three beings” (2009). Thus, the critics of the doctrine of the Trinity do not differentiate between the concept of nature and that of personality. This idea will be expanded upon in the section dealing with common objections. It is included here simply to set up the argument for God’s oneness being in nature, and not personality.
The Bible says that “one God” created us (Malachi 2:10). A closer look, however, at the Creation of man shows that some type of multiplicity was involved. Genesis 1:26-27 states, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.… So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” The Hebrew language used in this passage cannot be definitively used to prove a multiplicity, but it is written in such a way that certainly allows for the one God to have some aspect of multiplicity or plurality. A better understanding of this plurality is gained by looking at the verses in the Bible that discuss the Creation. John 1:1 explains, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Later in the first chapter of John we learn that the Word “became flesh and dwelt among us.” Thus, the Word refers to Jesus, who was with God and was God and created all things along with the Father (John 1:14). We can see, then, that the oneness of the Creator must allow for at least some aspect of God to have a multiplicity of something.
In logical form, we could arrange the argument as follows. There is one God who created man. The concept of oneness either means that nothing about God can have any type of plurality, or that some aspect of God is completely unified but at least one other aspect of God can have multiplicity to it. It cannot be the case that nothing about God can have any multiplicity since the Bible gives at least one aspect of God (the Father and the Son) that has multiplicity. Therefore, some aspect of God is completely unified, but at least one aspect of God can have, and has, multiplicity.
Once we determine logically that at least one aspect of God has to be “one” and completely unified without multiplicity, we need to identify what that concept is. We see several ideas that are applied to God in His entirety. God is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2; Deuteronomy 33:27). God’s eternality applies to the Father, as well as to God the Son, as is evidenced from the fact that Isaiah 9:6 describes the Messiah (Who is recognized in the New Testament as Jesus) as being called “Everlasting Father.” The concept of eternality equally applies to the Spirit, as the Hebrews writer stated, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God” (Hebrews 9:14, emp. added). Since the concept of eternality equally applies to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, then we have successfully determined at least one aspect of God that is completely unified and applies equally to every aspect of God. Such qualities compose the nature or essence of the being of God. And while it is true that we cannot know or understand all of the aspects of God’s essence, we can compile a list of ideas or attributes that make-up this unified whole that applies equally to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- God’s essence is immutable, or unchangeable (Psalm 103:17; Hebrews 13:8).
- God’s essence is morally perfect (Habakkuk 1:13; 1 Peter 2:22).
- God’s essence is founded on justice (Psalm 89:14; Matthew 23:23).
- God’s essence is love (1 John 4:8).
- God’s essence is eternal (Psalm 90:2; Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 9:6).
The Bible provides a much more exhaustive list of the attributes of God’s nature or essence. This short list is provided to make the point that all three personalities of God (i.e., the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), share one unified nature that applies equally to all of them.
THE THREE PERSONALITIES OF GOD
Having established the fact that God is one in essence or nature, we can now move to dealing with the idea that God is three personalities. The burden of this portion of the article will be to establish that the three personalities of God are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
God the Father
The premise that one personality of the Godhead is the Father is one of the least disputed and easily proven concepts in this discussion. In fact, many people and religious groups consider the Father to be the only personality of God (which we will show is not the case), but very few who accept the Bible as the Word of God argue that God the Father is not God. This is the case because there are so many verses in the Bible that identify God in the personality of the Father. Let us examine a few of those. In 2 Peter 1:17, the text states that Jesus “received from God the Father honor and glory.” Jude 1 is written to those “who are called, sanctified by God the Father.” When Jesus was instructing His disciples to pray, He taught them to say, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9). Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you” (1 Thessalonians 3:11). As with other aspects of the argument, a much longer list could be compiled showing that the Bible refers to God the Father as being part of the Godhead. Thus, as our argument proceeds, we have now established that the Godhead has one unified nature, and has at least one personality, namely, God the Father.
God the Holy Spirit
Because of the way many people view the term “spirit,” it has often been the case that the Holy Spirit is misidentified. He is often referred to as an “it,” and some do not recognize the fact that He is a personality of the Godhead. The Scriptures, however, are clear that the Holy Spirit is a personality of the Godhead in the same way as the Father and the Son. First, recall that the Bible explains that the Spirit is eternal (Hebrews 9:14). That means that He is not a created being, but has always existed. In argument form we would say, God is the only being that is eternal. The Holy Spirit is eternal. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is God. In addition, we read that just as God knows all things, the Spirit does as well. First Corinthians 2:10-11 states, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God…. Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”
The book of Acts contains a memorable story about two early Christians named Ananias and Sapphira. These two sold a piece of property, gave the money to the church, but lied about the price of the land. When the apostle Peter rebuked them for their sin, he said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit.... You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:3-4). Notice that Peter stated that by lying to the Holy Spirit, Ananias had lied to God, equating God and the Holy Spirit. In addition, 1 Peter 1:2 says that the Christians there had participated in the “sanctification of the Spirit.” In 2 Thessalonians 5:23, the Bible says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely.” Again, we see that the work of sanctifying the Christian is accomplished by God, but is attributed to the Holy Spirit. This line of reasoning can be extended to other aspects of God’s action. In 2 Timothy, Paul states that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (3:16). Peter explains that the Scriptures were produced when “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). We then can reason that God inspired the Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures, thus the Holy Spirit is God.
Once we establish that the Holy Spirit is God, we next need to show that He is a person, not simply a nebulous force. We have defined the word “person” as a recognizable, distinct entity that has mind and desire. The Bible paints a consistent picture that the Holy Spirit, like the Father, is a person. First, the Scriptures state that the Holy Spirit can, and has, talked to people using language that those people can understand. In Acts 8:29, we read that “the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.’” This was not a nebulous, impersonal force, but a recognizable voice used by a person to communicate His desire to a man named Philip. The apostle Paul explained that “the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith” (1 Timothy 4:1). Once again, the Spirit speaks in understandable language. In Revelation, the text says that “the Spirit and the bride say ‘Come!’” (22:17). Only a person with a will and identity could offer such an invitation. In addition, consider that the Holy Spirit can be blasphemed (Matthew 12:31-32), lied to (Acts 5:3), insulted or despised (Hebrews 10:29), and grieved (Ephesians 4:30) (Olbright, 1999, p. 25). The Holy Spirit is God, and has all the traits of a person. We therefore conclude that the Father is one personality of God, and the Holy Spirit is another personality of God, proving that the one God has a multiplicity of personalities.
God the Son
In addition to the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Bible mentions another person Who composes the Godhead—Jesus Christ the Son. In fact, the Bible mentions these three together. Matthew 28:19 quotes Jesus as saying that His followers should baptize disciples in the name of the “Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Peter wrote that Christians were “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus” (1 Peter 1:2). A straightforward reading of these passages seems to put the three on equal footing. Some have contended, however, that even though Jesus is the Son of God (which the Scriptures teach in numerous places; see Matthew 14:33; 16:16; Mark 1:1; Luke 8:28; John 3:16-18; 2 Corinthians 1:19), that does not mean He was equal to God or had/has the same nature as God. Fred Pearce, who denies that Jesus is God, wrote: “But he is God’s Son, because he has been ‘begotten.’ The ruler is not God; he is the Son of God; and he began to exist on the day he was ‘begotten.’ Like all sons, he is preceded by his Father” (n.d.). Some have contended that God created Jesus first, and then Jesus created everything else. Thus, they would argue that Jesus is not God, but only the Son of God, a creation of God, or an elevated angel. Others would argue that Jesus was only a man and never claimed to be God or even an angel. The Bible, however, denies both of these positions, and presents a thorough and consistent picture of Jesus Christ the Son of God as God in nature and as a third personality of the Godhead. Consider the following three affirmations:
I. Jesus the Son is Referred to as God
The prophet Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would come in the form of a Child. That Messiah was going to be known as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Notice specifically that the coming Child would be called Mighty God. In the New Testament, we see that Jesus was that Child, the anointed Messiah, the Son of David described in Isaiah 9:6. In John 4:25, the woman with whom Jesus talked at the well stated, “I know the Messiah is coming” to which Jesus responded, “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:26). When we put the premises together, the argument looks like this: The Messiah is Mighty God. Jesus Christ the Son of God is the Messiah. Therefore, Jesus Christ is Mighty God.
In the first chapter of John, the text says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Again, notice that the Word is called God. Just a few verses later, the text explains that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” and that John “testified of Him” (John 1:14-15). In John 3:22-36, the person John testified about is Jesus Christ the Son of God. Putting the pieces together, we arrive at the following argument: The Word is God. Jesus Christ the Son is the Word. Therefore, Jesus Christ the Son is God. The apostle Thomas added his voice to this conclusion when he saw the wounds in Jesus’ body and proclaimed to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
II. Jesus the Son is Worthy of and Accepted Worship
Matthew wrote a detailed account of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. During that temptation, the devil enticed Jesus to fall down and worship him. Jesus responded by saying, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matthew 4:1). Jesus’ argument went as follows: All people are morally bound to worship only one being, that is, God. The devil is not God. Therefore, no one should ever worship the devil. From this line of reasoning, it is clear that anyone who is faithful to God will not encourage the worship of any being other than God. We see this truth played out in a number of episodes in the Bible. In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas were in the city of Lystra when they healed a crippled man. The residents of the city were so enamored with the two, they began to worship them. Paul and Barnabas rushed in among the crowd and tried to stop their worship, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men with the same nature as you” (Acts 14:15). Their argument was similar to the one Jesus made. All people are morally bound to worship only one Being, that is, God. Paul and Barnabas are not God. Therefore, no people should ever worship Paul and Barnabas. The same thought process is used in Revelation 22:6-9. In that passage, the apostle John is introduced to an angel. The apostle “fell down to worship before the feet of the angel” (Revelation 22:8), but the angel said to him, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant…. Worship God” (Revelation 22:9). The angel’s argument can be laid out in the following way. God is the only Being any person should worship. I, an angel, am not God. Therefore, no person should ever worship me.
When we consider how Jesus responded to being worshiped, we can see that He readily accepted it as a proper response to His personality and power. On numerous occasions, the Bible records that people worshiped Jesus Christ. Matthew 14:33 says that his disciples “came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’” Jesus accepted the worship and did not rebuke them. In John 9:38, Jesus healed a man who had been born blind. Jesus then instructed the man to believe in the Son of God. The man responded by saying, “Lord, I believe!” then the text says, “And he worshiped Him” (see also Matthew 2:11; 28:9; John 20:28). As we analyze this argument, we see that Jesus said all people are morally bound to worship only God, and Jesus accepted worship as the proper attitude of people toward Him. Either Jesus violated Scripture and accepted worship contrary to the Bible’s teaching, or Jesus is God. Jesus never violated Scripture (Hebrews 4:15; John 8:46). Therefore, Jesus is God.
III. Jesus the Son is Equated with Jehovah
In the Hebrew Bible the special name for God is called the Tetragrammaton. It is composed of four Hebrew letters and is transliterated Jehovah or Yahweh. The actual pronunciation of the name has been lost since the original Hebrew did not have vowels. This name is used only to describe the eternal Creator God of the Universe. In Isaiah 6, the prophet records a time when he saw God in a vision. The angelic beings who stood around God’s throne addressed God as “Jehovah” of hosts in Isaiah 6:3 and used the same name (the Tetragrammaton) in verse five. There is no doubt that Isaiah was describing a vision of the eternal God. When we turn to the New Testament, we see the apostle John describing this scene from Isaiah. John writes that although He (Jesus) “had done so many signs before them, they did not believe” (John 12:38). He then references Isaiah 6:9-10, and says, “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him” (John 12:41). The fact that the pronoun “Him” in verse 41 is referring to Jesus is verified by the use of the pronoun to describe Jesus in verse 37 and verse 42. Thus, the argument can then be made as follows: Isaiah saw the glory of Jehovah God in Isaiah 6. John says that Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus and references the episode in Isaiah 6. Thus, John equates Jesus with Jehovah.
Additionally, other passages reference Jesus as being Jehovah. Isaiah 40:3 explains that a messenger would be sent as the forerunner of the Messiah. This messenger would be “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” who would “prepare the way of the Lord (Jehovah); make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3). The New Testament applies this prophecy to John the Baptizer (John 1:11) and declares that John prepared the way for Jesus, thus equating Jesus with Jehovah. Again, the argument is as follows: Isaiah said the messenger would prepare the way for Jehovah. John was the messenger Isaiah predicted. He prepared the way for Jesus. Thus, Jesus is equated with Jehovah.
From these passages and the arguments they present, the Bible student is drawn to a concrete conclusion about Jesus the Son. Not only is Jesus directly called God, He accepted worship that is reserved only for God, and the holy name of Jehovah is applied to Jesus; thus Jesus is God. The idea that Jesus is a person who has a personality is undisputed. Therefore, Jesus is one personality of the Godhead [NOTE: For more information on the deity of Christ, see Miller, 2005 and the entire section of the Apologetics Press Web site dedicated to that topic under the heading “Deity of Christ” at http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10.] We have now established that the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son are three personalities of the Godhead, and they are composed of one nature. Let us turn to some common objections to this conclusion.
As with any subject pertaining to God and the Bible, an exhaustive list of objections and responses to them would be so extensive it would take hundreds or thousands of pages to complete. With that in mind, we will have to content ourselves with responses to a few of the more common objections to the thesis we have presented.
The Word Trinity is Not in the Bible
The concept that the Godhead is three personalities—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in one nature is often summarized as presenting a triune God. The term triune denotes a trinity of personalities in one unified nature. The noun form of the adjective is Trinity. The term Trinity is used by the vast majority of Christians, and others who accept the thesis of this article, to describe the nature and personalities of God. One primary objection to the use of this word, and the conclusion that it is used to describe, is that the term is not even used in the Bible. For example, one critic of the idea of the Trinity wrote:
But did you realize that, even though it is a common assumption among many sincere religious people, the word Trinity does not appear anywhere in the Bible? In fact, the word Trinity did not come into common use as a religious term until centuries after the last books of the Bible were completed—long after the apostles of Christ were gone from the scene! (“Is the Trinity...?” 2011, italics in orig.).
Supposedly, because the Bible does not use the term Trinity to describe God, then the idea of a Trinity is an extrabiblical idea that was forced into the text.
In truth, the objection that the term Trinity is not used in the Bible can be refuted by showing that there certainly are words used today that describe concepts in the Bible, but those words or terms are not in the text. For instance, the Bible never uses the term “atheist” or “atheism.” Can we argue from that fact that the Bible does not deal with the concept of a person who does not believe in God? No, since we can see that Psalm 14:1 states, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Our modern term “atheism” accurately describes a person who says, “There is no God,” even though the term is not used in the text. In addition, the Bible never uses the word “Sunday,” yet we use that word today to accurately describe the day the Bible calls “the first day of the week,” which came after the Sabbath. Incidentally, we use the word “Saturday” to describe the Sabbath, even though “Saturday” is never used in the Bible. These examples show the logical inconsistency of claiming that a concept is not taught in the Bible if the word we currently use to describe the concept is not in the Bible.
If God is One, He Cannot Be Three
Another often heard objection to the thesis is the idea that if God is one, there is no way that He can be three. Those who use this argument quote verses such as Deuteronomy 6:4, “The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” and Ephesians 4:6 which says there is “one God and Father of all.” They argue that if God is one, as these verses say, then He cannot be three at the same time, because this would be a violation of the law of logic known as the Law of Contradiction.
In responding to this argument, it is helpful to review what the Law of Contradiction actually says. Warren states the law as: “Nothing can both have and not have a given characteristic (or property) in precisely the same respect” (1982, p. 23). Another way to state the law is that nothing can both be something, and not be that same thing at the same time, in the same way. The pertinent aspect of the Law of Contradiction as it relates to the Trinity discussion is the idea of a person or thing having a certain characteristic “in precisely the same respect” or “in the same way.” For instance, we could say that a person named Bob is very rich and very poor. While it seems contradictory at first, we could mean that he is physically and financially prosperous, but he is very shallow and spiritually poor. So, in one sense he is rich (monetarily) and in another sense he is poor (spiritually). Therefore, it can be true that he is both rich and poor at one and the same time. In the same way, God can both be one and be three at the same time precisely because the terms “one” and “three” apply to different aspects of God. When we use the word “one” we are discussing God’s eternal nature or essence. When we use the word “three” we are describing the personalities of God, not His nature. Thus, it is important to understand that the Godhead is three personalities in one nature. This statement does not violate the Law of Contradiction and accords with what the Bible says.
Jesus Denied That He is God
Some who argue against the Trinity claim that Jesus did not view Himself as God, and on several occasions denied His deity. One of the passages most often used to bolster this claim is Mark 10:17. In this passage, a wealthy young man ran to see Jesus and asked Him, “Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded by saying, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” According to the skeptical view, Jesus is denying that He is God. But a closer look at Jesus’ comment reveals just the opposite to be the case. Notice that Jesus never denies that He is the “good teacher.” He simply makes the comment that there is only one Who is truly good, and that is God. Thus, if the young man’s statement is true that Jesus is the “good teacher” (and it is), and there is only one Who is “good,” and that is God, then Jesus is acknowledging His deity, not denying it. As with all discussion of Scripture, it is important to look at what the text actually says and not what other people claim the text says [NOTE: For a more complete list of answers to objections to Christ’s deity see Lyons, 2006; in addition, for a thorough case for the deity of Christ, see Butt and Lyons, 2006.]
A discussion of the nature and personalities of God is important for several reasons. First, if God includes information about Him in the Bible, then He must want humans to study and learn that information. Second, a misunderstanding of God’s personalities could result in a spiritually catastrophic conclusion that is at odds with God’s Word. If a person misunderstands that Jesus is the eternal God on par with the Father and Spirit, that person may never grasp the significance of the fact that God in the flesh came to Earth to die for his or her sins. Such a misunderstanding may also cause that person to fail to honor Christ as the Bible commands. Jesus stated “that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23). Only if a person understands that the Son is God just as the Father is God can that person honor the Son “just as” he or she honors the Father. Thus, a discussion of the Trinity is necessary to sound Christian doctrine and practice.
If a person approaches the sum of Scripture motivated by an earnest desire to know the truth about the Godhead, that person can, with complete confidence, infer from the biblical premises and implications that the Godhead is three personalities—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in one nature.
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2006), Behold! The Lamb of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Davies, Matt (2009), “God—A Single Entity and Not a Trinity,” The Gospel Truth, http://www.the-gospel-truth.info/bible-teachings/god-unity-or-trinity/.
“Is the Trinity Biblical?” (2011), United Church of God, http://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/is-god-a-trinity/is-the-trinity-biblical.
Lenski, R.C.H. (1961 reprint), The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Lyons, Eric (2006), “Answering Christ’s Critics,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=6&article=578&topic=71.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Jesus’ Claims to Deity,” Apologetics Press, https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=10&article=2465.
“Nature” (2015), Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nature.
Olbright, Owen (1999), The Holy Spirit: Person and Work (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).
Pearce, Fred (no date),“Jesus: God the Son or the Son of God? Does the Bible Teach the Trinity?” http://www.christadelphia.org/pamphlet/jesus.htm.
“Personality” (2015), Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/personality.
Warren, Thomas B. (1982), Logic and the Bible (Ramer, TN: National Christian Press).
The Teleological Argument for the Existence of God [Part 2]
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
It is disturbing to contemplate the fact that 100 years ago, more Americans believed in the God of the Bible. The universal teaching of the public schools was Creation as depicted in the Bible. In stark contrast, we have lived to see an unbelievable transformation in which the universal teaching of the public schools is evolution, we have filled our university faculties with atheists, and we have banned God from the public square under the guise of “separation of church and state.” The impact on the thinking of children who are now adults has been catastrophic.
But on the Day of Judgment, there will be no excuses. Every accountable human being on the planet can know that God exists. The created order possesses characteristics that inherently demand the existence of a transcendent, supernatural Creator. As a matter of fact, the evidence that exists in the material order—the Universe/cosmos, the planet Earth, the animals, the plants, and the human body—communicate the clear message that all owe their origin to the divine Creator. This message is being continually communicated all over the planet regardless of geographical location, time of day, and language spoken (Psalm 19:1-3).
In the previous article, we mentioned very briefly several marvelous, convincing evidences for the existence of God as seen in the remarkable human body and some of the features of the created order—phenomena inexplicable apart from Almighty God. We now turn to more of “the things that are made” (Romans 1:20)—additional decisive evidence—that also offers amazing proof of the great Governor of the Universe.
SYMBIOSIS AND MUTUALISM
One feature of the Earth that proves the existence of the God of the Bible involves symbiotic relationships. Although definitions and distinctions abound, generally speaking, symbiosis refers to a close, usually obligatory, association of two or more plants or animals of different species that depend on each other to survive. Each gains benefits from the other. These include both mutualistic and parasitic species. Obligate interactions exhibit considerable specificity and typically involve interaction with only a single species or genus.
For example, a large percentage of herbivores have mutualistic gut fauna that help them digest plant matter, which is more difficult to digest than animal prey. One species of butterfly employs complex chemical and acoustical signals to manipulate ants. Coral reefs are the result of mutualisms between coral organisms and various types of algae that live inside them. Most land plants and land ecosystems rely on mutualisms. Plants convert carbon from the air. Fungi help in extracting minerals from the soil. Many types of tropical and sub-tropical ants have complex relationships with certain tree species.
Those plants and animals that both need each other to survive would have had to come into existence close in time to each other. They most certainly could not have been separated from each other by millions or billions of years of alleged evolutionary adjustments. They would have had to have been created by the Creator to function precisely the way they function. Such massive complexity, interdependency, and sophisticated diversity scream divine design.
The Human Mouth1
Take, for example, the interior of the human mouth. Setting aside the incredible design necessary for the mouth to function, including teeth, gums, tongue, lips, muscles, nerves, cells, etc., all of which must work together from the beginning if the individual is going to receive nourishment to survive, evolution simply cannot provide a credible explanation for the condition of the human mouth on a microscopic level.
Microbiologists estimate that over 700 distinct bacterial species are present in the mouth. How could 700 separate creatures come together in one place to create a complex ecosystem of mixed organisms that co-exist with each other to perform marvelous feats of chemical engineering—from breaking down food particles and mopping up shed body cells, to competing with intruder organisms to protect us from infection? The complexity is inexplicable in terms of evolution. This sophisticated arrangement had to have been created by God.
The Nile Crocodile and the Egyptian Plover2
Another amazing proof that divine Creation is true and evolution is false is seen in the relationship sustained by the Egyptian Plover bird and the Nile crocodile. Africa’s largest crocodilian, these primordial brutes can reach 20 feet in length and weigh up to 1,650 pounds. Their diet entails mainly fish, but they will attack almost anything: zebras, small hippos, birds, porcupines, and other crocs. They are ambush hunters—they wait for fish or land animals to come close, and then rush out to attack. They are vicious man-eaters: up to 200 people die each year in the jaws of a Nile croc.
Despite these facts regarding the deadly nature of the Nile crocodile, it is absolutely astounding to learn that the Egyptian Plover bird has a symbiotic relationship with this creature that entails entering the croc’s mouth for the purpose of cleaning its teeth and gums. The croc will open its mouth and allow the bird to enter, sometimes keeping it open and sometimes closing it gently with the bird still inside. The bird then uses its beak to remove parasites, leeches, worms, and bits of food that infest the crocodile’s mouth. The Plover enjoys a ready source of food, and the crocodile gets a valuable teeth cleaning to promote health and minimize disease. Such an arrangement could not have evolved. No crocodile could have gradually decided it was in its best interest to let a bird clean its mouth. Such sophisticated relationships among diverse creatures prove pre-planning and programming—intelligent design by the Master Designer and Creator.
The Emerald Wasp and the Cockroach3
|Wikimedia.org (Chiswick Chap) 2018 license CC-by-sa-4.0|
Another astounding example of symbiosis that demonstrates the existence of God pertains to the Emerald Cockroach Wasp and the American cockroach. The latter insect is six times larger than the Emerald Wasp. Yet, the wasp enacts a brilliantly strategic sting into the central nervous system of the cockroach to cause temporary paralysis of the front legs. This temporary paralysis allows the wasp to deliver a second sting into a carefully chosen spot in the brain ganglia to control the escape reflex. The brain sting causes a dramatic behavioral change: the cockroach becomes passive and zombie-like. Its breathing slows, and it makes no attempt to escape. As a result of this sting, the roach will groom itself, become sluggish, and fail to show normal escape responses.
The wasp then leads the cockroach by its antennae, like a leash, to the wasp’s burrow. The wasp does not have to drag the cockroach, since the roach willingly walks on its own legs. Inside the burrow, the wasp lays a white egg, about two millimeters long, on the roach’s abdomen. It then exits and uses debris to barricade the defenseless roach inside the burrow (to keep other predators out). With its escape reflex disabled, the stung roach remains calm and complacent as the wasp’s egg hatches after about three days. The hatched larva drills a hole into the leg of the cockroach to retrieve nutrition from the blood system of the roach for four to five days. Then the larva burrows into the abdomen of the cockroach, crawls inside, and over a period of eight days, consumes the roach’s internal organs in an order which guarantees that the roach will stay alive, at least until the larva enters the pupal stage and forms a cocoon inside the roach’s body. Six weeks from the first sting, a new adult wasp emerges from the hollowed out dead body of the roach.
The venom of the Emerald Wasp is carefully calibrated to shut down signals carried by a key neurotransmitter brain chemical called dopamine. The wasp delivers the sting with the precision of microscopic brain surgery. This remarkable skill could not have evolved. Nor was it learned. It was hardwired by the Creator into each wasp—making it a natural born neurosurgeon. The offspring of the wasp literally depend on the perfect execution of the mother’s sting. Too much venom, and the cockroach would immediately die, eliminating the wasp offspring’s fresh food source. Too little (or poorly aimed) venom, and the roach would escape. Millions of years of trial and error cannot be the source of this relationship. Failure of any one step in this complex process would prevent reproduction—and terminate the species. Can such design, complexity, order, purpose, and intelligence come out of mindless, evolutionary chaos? Absolutely not. The Emerald Wasp and the American cockroach were created by the Creator to function precisely as they do. “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalm 104:24). The Creation declares the reality of the Creator.
The Leafcutter Ant and Fungus4
Leafcutter ants nest in underground chambers in the Amazonian rain forest of Brazil. They regularly leave their nests to forage hundreds of feet into the forest. Most tropical plants are permeated by toxic chemicals to deter foragers. So, using specially designed “mouth cutters,” the ants cut out portions of the leaves they find, being careful not to ingest any of the poisonous chemicals. They then transport their cargo back to the nests and deliver it to smaller worker ants. These ants clean the leaves and chew them into pulpy mulch—again, being careful not to “swallow.” They then feed the mulch to another organism that the ants actually cultivate—a fungus. This fungus breaks down the toxins in the leaves while generating proteins and sugars. These proteins and sugars constitute the food that the ants eat. The ants need the fungus for food—and will die without the fungus. The fungus, on the other hand, cannot live without the ants, since they are dependent on the ant to bring the leaves. This is a mutual co-dependency that could not have evolved.
Incredibly, this particular fungus grows only in the underground chambers of the Leafcutter ant’s nest. And the fungus will not consume all leaves, since some are toxic to the fungus. The Leafcutter ants are sensitive enough to adapt to the fungi’s preferences and, hence, cease collecting those leaves. Scientists think that the ants can detect chemical signals from the fungus which communicate the preferences of the fungus.
What’s more, researchers have identified an aggressive mold that threatens the fungus. When the researchers remove the ants from the nest, the mold destroys the fungus. Entomologists have discovered that the ants—especially the ones that tend the fungus—have a white, waxy coating on their body. The coating, which fights the mold for the fungus, has been identified as tangled mats of bacteria that produce many of the antibiotics that humans use for medicine. The ants are essentially wearing portable antimicrobials. Yet humans only discovered antibiotics within the last century. No wonder Solomon observed: “Go to the ant...consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8).
The Yucca Moth and the Yucca5
About 50 species of yucca plant grace the planet. Incredibly, the yucca plant is completely unable to pollinate itself in order to grow more seeds and reproduce. It is wholly dependent on the genetically programmed yucca moth to facilitate reproduction and perpetuate the species.
From their subterranean cocoons in spring, male and female yucca moths crawl to the surface and fly to nearby yucca plants. Yucca plants are just opening their flowers. The female yucca moth collects pollen from the yucca flower and fashions it into a sticky ball, using a pair of long, curved “claws” (proboscis) protruding from her mouth area, to collect, form, compact, and carry the golden pollen ball. The yucca’s pollen is in a curved region of the plant. Only the yucca moth has the specially curved proboscis to gather the pollen from the plant’s male reproductive organs.
Having collected the pollen, she then flies to another plant where she inserts a moth egg into the ovary wall of the yucca plant, using her ovipositor—itself a marvel of engineering design. Still carrying the pollen ball in her facial claws, she climbs to the top of the ovary. She presses the pollen into the stigma, fertilizing hundreds of immature seeds inside. When the moth larvae hatch, they feed on the seeds of the yucca. If they were to eat all the seeds, the yucca plants would stop reproducing, and both they and the moths would cease to exist. God designed the moth to calibrate the number of larvae growing inside each flower so that all the yucca seeds will not be consumed.
The life cycle of the yucca moth is timed so the adult moths emerge in the spring exactly when the yucca plants are in flower. The yucca moth and yucca plant were designed to function together. They had to have been created in close temporal proximity. No wonder evolutionary biologist Dr. Chris Smith conceded: “It is pretty mind-boggling to imagine how this arose. It’s very strange.”6 “Mind-boggling”? Absolutely. “Strange or inexplicable”? No—unless you ignore, reject, or dismiss the obvious.
The Black Wasp and the Aphid7
When plants in the southeastern United States are besieged by aphids—small sap-sucking, extremely destructive insect pests—they release a chemical mist that signals black wasps to come to their rescue. Upon arrival, wasps do not kill the aphids outright. With clinical precision, the wasps inject a single egg into each aphid’s body. Each wasp can inject eggs into 200 aphids. The aphid’s body then serves as the incubator for the offspring of its predator. As the ravenous wasp larvae grow, they literally eat the aphid alive from the inside out until they are ready to emerge and begin the process all over again.
Observe that this divinely designed means of controlling the aphid population is simply one marvelous system among others. The diversity and complexity of a variety of systems, all working in concert in the natural order, imply an overarching, overruling master plan to ensure the ongoing perpetuation of the created order. In addition to the black wasp, ants also participate in controlling aphids.
The Ant and the Aphid8
Aphids sustain another complicated relationship. They are equipped with special, syringe-like mouth parts to pierce plants and retrieve fluid from them. Some species of ants literally “cultivate” the aphids by “milking” them without harm to the insect. Ants stroke the aphids with their antennae, causing the aphids to secrete honeydew which the ants can then consume. The aphids, therefore, provide a ready food supply for the ants. In exchange, the aphids receive protection since the ants act as a team to fight off invaders and predators, like ladybugs.
But this interrelationship goes even deeper. The sap which the aphids retrieve from plants is rich in carbohydrates, but lacks essential amino acids—which aphids cannot synthesize. Enter a third actor in this mutualistic drama: tiny endosymbiont bacteria (Buchnera aphidicola). These bacteria live in the aphid’s special cells called bacteriocytes. The amino acids are supplied by these bacteria. Neither the bacteria nor the aphid can exist without the other.
Amazing: the ant depends on the aphid for food; the aphid depends on the ant for protection; the aphid depends on internal bacteria for amino acids; the aphid provides the bacteria with energy, carbon, and shelter inside specialized cells. Symbiosis within symbiosis—decisive proof of divine design!
Such remarkable examples of divine design could be multiplied endlessly. They absolutely point to God. But, of course, evolutionists attempt to offer an “explanation” for symbiosis among the wondrous organisms that grace our planet. It goes something like this:9 “Organisms that depend on each other for survival co-evolved, gradually becoming dependent on each other by means of minute changes over millions of years.” Such a claim is then liberally peppered with nullifying qualifications: “Surprisingly little is known about how mutualistic symbioses evolved and persist.” “Despite their ubiquity and importance, we understand little about how mutualistic symbioses form between previously free-living organisms.” “The evolutionary sequence of events in most lineages is unknown.” “Exactly how these associations evolve remains unclear.” “Much remains to be learned about the mechanisms that maintain mutualism as an evolutionarily stable interaction.” Rationally-thinking Christians have a responsibility before God to train themselves to recognize nonsensical gobbledygook when they hear it. The fact is that any alleged “transitions” or “minute changes”—when pinpointed and examined as moments in time—are seen to be unworkable, imaginary, impossible, and nonexistent. Both organisms needed each other from the beginning of their existence. How did these creatures gain nourishment before becoming dependent? Each of these organisms possesses concise design variables that prove the inability of gradual mutation and natural selection as effectual causative agents.
Recall the debate conducted in 1976 on the campus of North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, when Thomas B. Warren debated Antony G.N. Flew—at the time, arguably the foremost atheistic philosopher in the world. Flew’s attempt to substantiate the credibility of evolution is seen in this statement: “[I]t is, it seems to me, a consequence of evolutionary theory that species shade off into one another.”10 “Shade off into one another”? Evolutionists attempt to cloud the mind by implying that all organisms came into existence as a result of very slow, almost imperceptible changes over time. But where on the planet are these alleged increments or “shades” from one kind of animal to another? We know chimps exist. We know humans exist. We know nothing of any alleged “shades.” Nor does true science.
Warren challenged Flew to face the fact that even if evolution theorizes numerous pre-human ancestors, there had to be a first human being to arrive on the scene. Where did he/she come from? The very first human being on the planet had to come into existence somehow. But how? Was this first human being a male or female? A baby or an adult? In reality, there are only two possibilities: (1) either a nonhuman had to transform into a human during its lifetime, or (2) a nonhuman had to give birth to a human. Philosophically and scientifically, these are the only two possibilities—and neither is tenable. Evolution is not only scientifically unfeasible; it is logical and philosophical nonsense! Indeed, evolution is false, and there is a God.
The smaller and deeper we go in examining God’s creation, the more complex, sophisticated, and astounding the discoveries.11 One would have to be prejudiced and deliberately determined to deny God to brush aside the overwhelming evidence of Him in His creation. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). “Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14).
If you were to toss a stick of dynamite into a print shop, and do so every day for a million years, would a dictionary ever be the result? Can such design, complexity, order, purpose, and intelligence ever come out of mindless, evolutionary chaos? The answer is an unequivocal “No!” The late British evolutionist Sir Fred Hoyle addressed specifically the many problems faced by those who defend the idea of a naturalistic origin of life on Earth. In fact, Dr. Hoyle described the atheistic concept that disorder gives rise to order in a rather picturesque manner when he observed that “the chance that higher forms have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.”12 Dr. Hoyle, even went so far as to draw the following conclusion:
Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly miniscule as to make the random concept absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favourable properties of physics on which life depends, are in every respect deliberate.... It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect in a valid way the higher intelligences...even to the extreme idealized limit of God.13
Or as Dawkins conceded:
The more statistically improbable a thing is, the less we can believe that it just happened by blind chance. Superficially, the obvious alternative to chance is an intelligent Designer.14
Indeed, the interdependent, interconnected, interpenetrating features of God’s creation are beyond the capability of man to trace out—let alone to “manage” or “assist.” Neither a pine tree nor a pinecone is sentient. They have no thinking capacity or consciousness. They possess no personhood, soul, or spirit. Pine trees did not get together and discuss the threat of forest fires to their future survival, and then decide to produce pinecones that would remain closed during a fire only to open afterwards. No crocodile convention was ever held in which crocs decided it was in their best health interests to refrain from chomping down on Plover birds while all other animals remained “fair game.” The standard explanations by evolutionists for such wonders of creation are incoherent, nonsensical, and just plain pitiful. Elihu reminded Job: “Behold, God is exalted in His power; Who is a teacher like Him? Who has appointed Him His way, and who has said, ‘You have done wrong’? Remember that you should exalt His work, of which men have sung. All men have seen it; man beholds from afar” (Job 36:22-25, NASB).
Indeed, the realm of nature literally shouts forth the reality of the all-powerful Maker Who alone accounts for the intelligent design of the created order. As the psalmist so eloquently affirmed: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.... There is no speech, nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Only a foolish person would conclude there is no God (Psalm 14:1).
The only plausible explanation for the Universe and the entire created order is “the great God who formed everything” (Proverbs 26:10). “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions” (Psalm 104:24). We can know there is a God. The Creation declares the reality of the Creator. To repeat Paul’s declaration in Romans: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (1:20).
1 See Jørn Aas, et al. (2005), “Defining the Normal Bacterial Flora of the Oral Cavity,” Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 43(11):5721-5732, November; Human Oral Microbiome Database (2015), http://www.homd.org/.
2 See Leo Africanus (1896 reprint), The History and Description of Africa, trans. John Pory (London: Hakluyt Society), 3:951-952, https://archive.org/details/historyanddescr02porygoog; Robert Curzon (1851), A Visit to the Monasteries in the Levant (New York: George P. Putnam), 1:131, https://goo.gl/PRGnsJ; “Egyptian Plover” (2014), Bird Forum, http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Egyptian_Plover; “Endangered Crocodiles and Caimen” (no date), 50 Birds, http://www.50birds.com/animals/endangered-alligators-2.htm; Thomas Howell (1979), Breeding Biology of the Egyptian Plover, Pluvianus Aegyptius (Berkeley, CA: University of California), pp. 3ff., https://goo.gl/n6WCRn; Richard Meinertzhagen (1959), Pirates and Predators: The Piratical and Predatory Habits of Birds (London: Oliver & Boyd); “Nature in Egypt” (no date), http://traditionalegypt.co.uk/egypt/nature-in-egypt.php; Alfred Newton (1899), A Dictionary of Birds (London: Adam & Charles Black), pp. 442,732-733, https://goo.gl/1y0MbY; “Nile Crocodile” (no date), MediaLibrary.org, http://medlibrary.org/medwiki/Nile_crocodile#cite_note-26; “Nile Crocodile” (2015), National Geographic, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/nile-crocodile/; “Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), 2010” (2015), San Diego Zoo Global Library, http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/nile_crocodile; Grace Norton, ed. (1908) The Spirit of Montaigne (Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin & Company), p. 78, https://goo.gl/KwULiY; Henry Scherren (1907), Popular Natural History (New York: Cassel & Company), pp. 268-269, https://goo.gl/9DLqQy; Philip Sclater (1893), The Ibis (London: Gurney and Jackson), vol. 5, 6th series, pp. 275-276, https://archive.org/details/ibis10uniogoog.
3 See Ram Gal and Frederic Libersat (2008), “A Parasitoid Wasp Manipulates the Drive for Walking of its Cockroach Prey,” Current Biology, 18:877-82, June 24; Ram Gal and Frederic Libersat (2010), “A Wasp Manipulates Neuronal Activity in the Sub-Esophageal Ganglion to Decrease the Drive for Walking in Its Cockroach Prey,” PLoS One, 5:e10019, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2850919/; G. Haspel, L.A. Rosenberg, and F. Libersat (2003), “Direct Injection of Venom by a Predatory Wasp into Cockroach Brain,” Journal of Neurobiology, 56:287-92, September 5, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12884267/; G. Haspel, E. Gefen, et al. (2005), “Parasitoid Wasp Affects Metabolism of Cockroach Host to Favor Food Preservation for its Offspring,” Journal of Comparative Physiology, 191:529-34, June, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15864597/; Frederic Libersat (2003), “Wasp Uses Venom Cocktail to Manipulate the Behavior of Its Cockroach Prey,” Journal of Comparative Physiology, 189:497-508, July, http://www.bgu.ac.il/life/Faculty/Libersat/pdf/JCP.2003.pdf; Eugene Moore, Gal Haspel, Frederic Libersat, Michael Adams (2006), “Parasitoid Wasp Sting: A Cocktail of GABA, Taurine, and -alanine Opens Chloride Channels for Central Synaptic Block and Transient Paralysis of a Cockroach Host,” Journal of Neurobiology, 66:811-820, July, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/neu.20254/abstract.
4 See Frank Aylward, Kristin Burnum-Johnson, et al. (2013), “Leucoagaricus gongylophorus Produces Diverse Enzymes for the Degradation of Recalcitrant Plant Polymers in Leaf-Cutter Ant Fungus Gardens,” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 79:3770-3778, June, http://aem.asm.org/content/79/12/3770.full.pdf+html; Matias Cafaro, et al. (2011), “Specificity in the Symbiotic Association Between Fungus-Growing Ants and Protective Pseudonocardia Bacteria,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 278:1814-1822, http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/278/1713/1814.full.pdf; Eric Caldera, et al. (2009), “Insect Symbioses: A Case Study of Past, Present, and Future Fungus-Growing Ant Research,” Environmental Entomology, 38:78-92, February, http://ee.oxfordjournals.org/content/38/1/78; Cameron Currie, Ulrich Mueller, and David Malloch (1999), “The Agricultural Pathology of Ant Fungus Gardens,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 96:7998-8002, July, http://www.pnas.org/content/96/14/7998.full.pdf; Cameron Currie, Michael Poulsen, et al. (2006), “Coevolved Crypts and Exocrine Glands Support Mutualistic Bacteria in Fungus-Growing Ants,” Science, 311:81-83, January 6, http://www.sciencemag.org/content/311/5757/81.abstract; Hermógenes Fernández-Marín, Jess Zimmerman, et al. (2006), “Active Use of the Metapleural Glands by Ants in Controlling Fungal Infection,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 273:1689-1695, March, http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/273/1594/1689.full.pdf; Hermógenes Fernández-Marín, David Nash, et al. (2015), “Functional Role of Phenylacetic Acid from Metapleural Gland Secretions in Controlling Fungal Pathogens in Evolutionarily Derived Leaf-Cutting Ants,” Proceedings B, 282:20150212, April 29, http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1807/20150212; Susanne Haedera, Rainer Wirthb, et al. (2009), “Candicidin-Producing Streptomyces Support Leaf-Cutting Ants to Protect Their Fungus Garden against the Pathogenic Fungus Escovopsis,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 106:4742-4746, http://www.pnas.org/content/106/12/4742.full.pdf; Ainslie Little, Takahiro Murakami, et al. (2006), “Defending against Parasites: Fungus-Growing Ants Combine Specialized Behaviours and Microbial Symbionts to Protect Their Fungus Gardens,” Biology Letters, 2:12-16, August, http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/roybiolett/2/1/12.full.pdf; Ainslie Little and Cameron Currie (2007), “Symbiotic Complexity: Discovery of a Fifth Symbiont in the Attine Ant-Microbe Symbiosis,” Biology Letters, 3:501-504, August, http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/roybiolett/3/5/501.full.pdf; Lucas Meirelles, Scott Solomon, et al. (2015), “Shared Escovopsis Parasites Between Leaf-Cutting and Non-Leaf-Cutting Ants in the Higher Attine Fungus-Growing Ant Symbiosis,” Royal Society Open Science, 2:150257, http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royopensci/2/9/150257.full.pdf; Ulrich Mueller and Nicole Gerardo (2002), “Fungus-Farming Insects: Multiple Origins and Diverse Evolutionary Histories,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 99:15247-15249, November 26, http://www.pnas.org/content/99/24/15247.full.pdf; Hannah Reynolds and Cameron Currie (2004), “Pathogenicity of Escovopsis weberi: The Parasite of the Attine Ant-Microbe Symbiosis Directly Consumes the Ant-Cultivated Fungus,” Mycologia, 96:955-959, September/October, http://www.mycologia.org/content/96/5/955.abstract; Andre Rodrigues, Ulrich Mueller, et al. (2011), “Ecology of Microfungal Communities in Gardens of Fungus-Growing Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): A Year-Long Survey of Three Species of Attine Ants in Central Texas,” FEMS Microbiological Ecology, 78:244-255, http://femsec.oxfordjournals.org/content/femsec/78/2/244.full.pdf; Hassan Salem, Laura Florez, et al. (2015), “An Out-of-Body Experience: The Extracellular Dimension for the Transmission of Mutualistic Bacteria in Insects,” Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 282:20142957; Christopher Trantera, Lauren LeFevreb, et al. (2015), “Threat Detection: Contextual Recognition and Response to Parasites by Ants,” Behavioral Ecology, 26:396-405, http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/2/396.abstract; Mingzi Zhang, Michael Poulsen, and Cameron Currie (2007), “Symbiont Recognition of Mutualistic Bacteria by Acromyrmex Leaf-Cutting Ants,” The ISME Journal, 1:313–320, June, http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/v1/n4/full/ismej200741a.html.
5 See W.P. Armstrong (1999), “The Yucca and Its Moth,” Zoonooz, 72:28-31, April, http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ww0902a.htm; Henry Brean (2011), “Joshua Tree, Yucca Moth Co-Evolution Fascinates Researchers,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, April 18, http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/water-environment/joshua-tree-yucca-moth-co-evolution-fascinates-researchers; Beatriz Moisset (no date), “Yucca Moths (Tegeticula sp.),” United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/pollinator-of-the-month/yucca_moths.shtml; Olle Pellmyr (1997), “Prodoxidae: The Yucca Moth Family (Version 13),” The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/Prodoxidae/11872/1997.01.13; Olle Pellmyr and John Thompson (1992), “Multiple Occurrences of Mutualism in the Yucca Moth Lineage,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 89:2927-2929, April, http://www.pnas.org/content/89/7/2927.full.pdf; Olle Pellmyr, John Thompson, et al. (1996), “Evolution of Pollination and Mutualism in the Yucca Moth Lineage,” The American Naturalist, 148:827-847, November, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2463408?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents; Marylee Ramsay and John Richard Schrock (1995), “The Yucca Plant and the Yucca Moth,” The Kansas School Naturalist, 41, June, http://www.emporia.edu/ksn/v41n2-june1995/; Carol Sheppard and Richard Oliver (2004), “Yucca Moths and Yucca Plants: Discovery of ‘the Most Wonderful Case of Fertilisation,’” American Entomologist, 50:32-46, Spring, http://entomology.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/yucca2.pdf; J. Arthur Thomson (1922), The Outline of Science (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 1:76,79; “Yucca Moth” (no date), DesertUSA, http://www.desertusa.com/animals/yucca-moth.html.
6 As quoted in Brean.
7 See “Aphid Control with Aphidius & Aphelinus Parasites” (2015), Greenmethods.com, https://greenmethods.com/aphidius/; “Cunning Super-Parasitic Wasps Sniff Out Protected Aphids and Overwhelm Their Defenses” (2012), ScienceDaily, 24, February, BioMed Central Limited, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120224110739.htm; B.M. Drees and J. Jackman (1999), Parasitic Wasp. Field Guide to Texas Insects (Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company); Lukas Gehrer and Christoph Vorburger (2012), “Parasitoids as Vectors of Facultative Bacterial Endosymbionts in Aphids,” Biology Letters, 8:613–615, March 14, http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/8/4/613; Paul Gross (1993), “Insect Behavioral and Morphological Defenses Against Parasitoids, Annual Review of Entomology,” 38:251-27, January; Kerry Oliver, J.A. Russell, N.A. Moran, M.S. Hunter (2003), “Facultative Bacterial Symbionts in Aphids Confer Resistance to Parasitic Wasps,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100:1803; Kerry Oliver, Koji Noge, Emma Huang, Jamie Campos, Judith Becerra, and Martha Hunter (2012), “Parasitic Wasp Responses to Symbiont-Based Defense in Aphids,” BMC Biology, 10:11, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/10/11; “Parasitic Wasps & Aphids” (no date), National Geographic, Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLtUk-W5Gpk; “Parasitic Wasps, Order Hymenoptera” (no date), Symbiont, http://www.drmcbug.com/parasitic.htm; E. Wajnberg, C. Bernstein, and J. Van Alphen (2008), Behavioral Ecology of Insect Parasitoids—From Theoretical Approaches to Field Applications(UK: Blackwell Publishing).
8 See N. Bluthgen, N.E. Stork, and K. Fiedler (2004), “Bottom-Up Control and Co-Occurrence in Complex Communities: Honeydew and Nectar Determine a Rainforest Ant Mosaic,” Oikos, 106:344-358; M. Doebeli and N. Knowlton (1998), “The Evolution of Interspecific Mutualisms,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 95:8676-8680; B. Holldobler and E.O. Wilson (1990), The Ants (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press); B. Holldobler and E.O. Wilson (1994), Journey to the Ants (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press); Naomi Pierce, Michael Braby, et al. (2002), “The Ecology and Evolution of Ant Association in the Lycaenidae (Lepidoptera),” Annual Review of Entomology, 47:733-771; V. Rico-Gray and P. Oliveira (2007), The Ecology and Evolution of Ant-Plant Interactions (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press); Bernhard Stadler and Anthony F.G. Dixon (2008), Mutualism: Ants and Their Insect Partners (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press); J.J. Stachowicz (2001), “Mutualism, Facilitation, and the Structure of Ecological Communities,” BioScience, 51:235-246, March.
9 Cf. Ed Grabianowski (2008), “How Symbiosis Works,” HowStuffWorks.com., March 7, http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/evolution/symbiosis2.htm; Durr Aanen and Ton Bisseling (2014), “The Birth of Cooperation,” Science, 345:29; Erik Hom and Andrew Murray (2014), “Niche Engineering Demonstrates a Latent Capacity for Fungal-Algal Mutualism,” Science, 345:94.
10 Antony G.N. Flew and Thomas B. Warren (1976), The Warren-Flew Debate on the Existence of God (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press), p. 25.
11 Jerry Fausz (2007), “Design Rules,” Reason & Revelation, 27:49-52, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=591.
12 Fred Hoyle (1981), “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature, 294:105, November 12.
13 Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe (1981), Evolution from Space (London: J.M. Dent & Sons), pp. 141,144, emp. in orig.
14 Richard Dawkins (1982), “The Necessity of Darwinism,” New Scientist, 94:130, April 15, emp. added.