Does the Presence of History in the Gospels Mean that They are Old Testament Books? by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Does the Presence of History in the Gospels Mean that They are Old Testament Books?

by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

Some have attempted to subvert the teachings of Christ by suggesting that the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John belong in the Old Testament instead of in the New Testament (see Billingsley, n.d., p. 4; see also Brewer, 1941, pp. 85-90 for additional documentation of those who hold such a position). In doing so, they have promoted an erroneous theory that we can summarize in the following statement: “The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are history books, so they are Old Testament books. They contain a beneficial historical record of the life and times of Jesus Christ as He lived under Mosaic law, but no New Testament doctrine.”
What about the Gospel accounts? They contain substantial history concerning the life of Christ, but they also contain certain of His teachings. If any of those teachings can be shown to be different from Old Testament material and applicable to New Testament Christians—obligatory for faith and practice—then the books themselves must be accepted as part of the New Testament canon, because they contain commandments that are obligatory for those living under Christ’s covenant, as opposed to Moses’ covenant. The Gospel accounts contain just such doctrine. Consider the following passages:
Matthew 3 (and Mark 1; Luke 7): Jesus was baptized with John’s baptism “to fulfill all righteousness” (3:15). Jesus clearly endorsed John’s baptism (Luke 7:29), and when the Pharisees declined to submit to that baptism, they rejected the “counsel of God” (7:30). In this instance, Jesus required certain people to do more than what the Law of Moses required. The baptism of John certainly was foreign to the rules of the Mosaic Law. It would have done Moses no good to command the children of Israel to submit to the baptism of John, for John was not yet born, so his baptism would not have washed their sins away—yet here, Christ encouraged it (Mark 1:2-11; Luke 7:29-30). One purpose of John’s baptism was to prepare the hearts of people for the coming kingdom (Matthew 3:1-2; see Psalm 2). Baptism, as a religious ceremony, had been practiced, because of rabbinical tradition (Lindsay, 1994, 1:389; Moseley, n.d.). However, John’s teaching was distinct from the Law of Moses, ushering in a new era of obligation, as again emphasized in Luke 16:16: “The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it” (emp. added).
Matthew 15 (and Mark 7): Christ taught something that, at the very least, sounded quite different from the then-operative Old Testament Law—the idea that foods which were considered unclean under the Old Testament Law did not defile a person, but rather the things that come from within (Matthew 15:11; cf. Mark 7:18-23). Jesus noted that foods do not go into people’s hearts—they do not directly affect people spiritually—but only go into the digestive system and are eliminated. “All these evil things,” Jesus said (specifically having mentioned adulteries, evil thoughts, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness), “come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:23). It appears that Christ taught a new doctrine here—one that would not become operative until after He took the Old Testament Law out of the way.
Matthew 18: In this similar circumstance, Jesus taught specific doctrine concerning how one should deal with an erring brother (18:15-20). The doctrine contained in Matthew 18:19-20 specifically addressed discipline in the church. Christ’s teaching in this instance is not merely an attempt to call erring Jews back to faithful Judaism; rather, Christ taught something new in this case, and unique to the rest the Bible (see Elkins, 1978, p. 528).
Matthew 26 (and Mark 14; Luke 22): Jesus initiated the Lord’s Supper (26:26-29), the practice of which is entirely different from any Mosaic ceremony. The fact that Christ initiated an ordinance that was not to be enforced immediately, but only after the church was established, is illustrative of the fact that Christ was within His rights when He gave legislation that would come into effect after the New Testament Law came into effect.
Matthew 28 (and Mark 16): Jesus gave to His apostles the command to take the Gospel to the whole world (a New Testament principle in itself). Notice that Jesus Himself stated that He had preached New Testament doctrine to His disciples. Christ told the apostles that, as they converted lost souls to Christ, they were to teach them “to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (28:20). Included in “all things that I have commanded you” was New Testament doctrine, because, in this instance, Christ was commanding His disciples to take the Gospel to “all the nations” for the purpose of baptizing people (28:19). If Christ had preached nothing but Old Testament doctrine, He surely would not have commanded His disciples to spread “all things that I have commanded you” to the nations after the Old Testament law had been put away.
John 3: Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Jesus called this the act of being “born again” (verse 7). Though the particular requirement of new birth through baptism was, in a sense, administered by John and Jesus in their baptisms, there was no provision for baptism in the Old Covenant.
John 13: Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (13:34, emp. added). In stating that the commandment was new, Jesus obviously intended to draw a distinction between His commandment and everything else that would have been familiar to His disciples concerning the topic they were discussing. Though the command to love one’s neighbor was not new (Leviticus 19:18), Christ’s command was new in that it demanded that we love not as we love ourselves, but as God loves us. This would be the sign to non-Christians that the disciples really were followers of Christ (13:35; see Pack, 1977, 5:54-55). The command itself is repeated in the record of John 15:12,17, and Christ emphasized it again in Luke 10:33-36 when He relayed the parable commonly called “The Good Samaritan,” illustrating that followers of Christ are to have love for all people (Galatians 6:10).
We are assured that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John belong in the New Testament, for they contain teachings that are not contained in the Old Testament, but that are obligatory for the Christian’s faith and practice. The gospels certainly are much more than just Old Testament history books.


Billingsly, Dan (no date), “Roy Deaver’s Doctrinal Dilemma,” Fundamental Bible Studies.
Brewer, G.C. (1941), Contending for the Faith (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Elkins, Garland (1978) “A Review of the ‘No-Remarriage-for-Any-Reason’ Theory,” Your Marriage Can Be Great, ed. Thomas B. Warren (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).
Lindsay, T.M. (1994), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, ed. James Orr (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).
Moseley, Ron (no date), “The Jewish Background of Christian Baptism,” [On-line], URL: http://www.haydid.org/ronimmer.htm.
Pack, Frank (1977), The Living Word Commentary, ed. Everett Ferguson (Austin, TX: Sweet).



                              Chapter Five


1) To note the unexpected nature of the coming of the Lord, and how we
   should prepare for that event

2) To see what our responsibilities are toward those who are over us in
   the Lord, and what responsibilities we have to one another

3) To appreciate what the will of God is for us as it relates to joy,
   thanksgiving, and prayer


Continuing his apostolic instructions, Paul knows he does not need to
write to the Thessalonians concerning the timing of the Lord's coming,
for they know full well that He will come as a thief in the night and 
with sudden destruction catch many people unexpectedly (1-3).  Such 
should not be the case for Christians, however, for they are "sons of 
light" and "sons of the day"; therefore they should watch and be sober,
putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and having as a helmet 
the hope of their salvation (4-8).  Knowing that God has appointed them
to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ, they know that whether dead
or alive they will live with Christ.  Through such hope they should
therefore comfort and edify one another, just as they were doing

A series of exhortations follows.  First, to recognize and esteem those
who labor among them and are over them in the Lord, and to be at peace 
among themselves (12-13).  Then, exhortations related to our concern 
for one another, along with a call to rejoice always,  to pray without 
ceasing, to give thanks in everything, to quench not the Spirit nor 
despise prophecies, yet testing all things, holding fast to what is 
good and abstaining from all that is evil (14-22).

Paul concludes his epistle with a prayer for their sanctification as it
relates to the coming of Christ, a reminder of the faithfulness of God,
a plea for prayer in his behalf, and final instructions concerning 
greeting one another and having the epistle read to all the brethren.  
He signs off with a prayer for grace from the Lord Jesus in their 
behalf (23-28).



      1. Concerning times and seasons, Paul did not need to write to 
         them (1)
      2. They understood that the day of the Lord will come as a thief
         in the night (2)
      3. It will come unexpectedly upon many, and such will not escape
      4. But they are not in darkness, so that day would overtake them
         as a thief (4)

      1. We are not to be of the night or of darkness (5)
      2. Therefore we must watch and be sober, unlike those who sleep
         and get drunk (6-7)
      3. Those of the day are to be sober, and properly attired by 
         putting on... (8)
         a. The breastplate of faith and love
         b. The hope of salvation as a helmet

      1. He did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation 
         through Jesus Christ (9)
      2. Who died for us, that whether dead or alive, we should live
         together with Him (10)
      3. Therefore we need to comfort and edify one another (11)


      1. To recognize those...
         a. Who labor among us (12c)
         b. Who are over us in the Lord (12b)
         c. Who admonish us (12c)
      2. To esteem them highly in love for their work's sake (13a)
      3. To be at peace among ourselves (13b)

      1. Exhorted to...
         a. Warn those who are unruly (14a)
         b. Comfort the fainthearted (14b)
         c. Uphold the weak (14c)
         d. Be patient with all (14d)
      2. To render not evil for evil to anyone (15a)
      3. To always pursue what is good for yourselves and for all (15c)

      1. Rejoicing always (16)
      2. Praying without ceasing (17)
      3. Giving thanks in everything (18a)
      -- Which is God's will for us in Christ Jesus (18b)

      1. They were not to quench the Spirit, nor despise prophesies
      2. Yet they were to test all things; holding fast to that which
         is good, and abstaining from all forms of evil (21-22)


   A. A PRAYER FOR THEM (23-24)
      1. That the God of peace sanctify them completely (23a)
      2. That their whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless
         at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (23b)
      3. Reminding them that the One who calls them is faithful, who 
         will also do it (24)


   C. FINAL CHARGES (26-27)
      1. To greet all the brethren with a holy kiss (26)
      2. That this epistle be read to all the brethren (27)



1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Walk in light (1-11)
   - Walk in obedience (12-22)
   - Concluding remarks (23-28)

2) Concerning what did Paul feel no need to write to the Thessalonians?
   - Times and seasons related to the coming of the Lord

3) What did they already know? (2)
   - That the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night

4) What will people being saying when the Lord comes? (3)
   - "Peace and safety!"

5) What will come upon them when the Lord comes?  Will they escape? (3)
   - Sudden destruction
   - No

6) Why will the Day of the Lord not overtake Christians as a thief?
   - They are not in darkness
   - They are sons of light and sons of the day

7) What is our responsibility as "sons of light" and "sons of the day"?
   - To watch and be sober

8) What are we to put on? (8)
   - The breastplate of faith and love
   - The hope of salvation as a helmet

9) To what has God appointed us? (9)
   - To obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ

10) Why did Jesus die for us? (10)
   - That whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him

11) What is our responsibility to one another in view of such things?
   - To comfort each other and edify one another

12) What is our responsibility to those who labor among us and are over
    us in the Lord? (12-13)
   - To recognize them
   - To esteem them highly in love for their work's sake
   - To be at peace among ourselves

13) What six charges did Paul give concerning those around us? (14-15)
   - Warn those who are unruly
   - Comfort the fainthearted
   - Uphold the weak
   - Be patient with all
   - See no one renders evil for evil to anyone
   - Always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all

14) What three things does Paul say is the will of God for us in Christ
    Jesus? (16-18)
   - Rejoice always
   - Pray without ceasing
   - In everything give thanks

15) What five admonitions does Paul give related to the Spirit and
    prophecies? (19-22)
   - Do not quench the Spirit
   - Do not despise prophecies
   - Test all things
   - Hold fast what is good
   - Abstain from every form of evil

16) For what two things does Paul pray in behalf of the Thessalonians?
   - May the God of peace Himself sanctify them completely
   - May their whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at
     the coming of the Lord

17) What assurance is there that God will do this? (24)
   - The God who calls them is faithful (dependable, trustworthy)

18) What two final admonitions does Paul give the Thessalonians?
   - Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss
   - To have this epistle read to all the brethren

19) What is Paul's final benediction? (28)
   - The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland.... "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS" Chapter Four


                              Chapter Four


1) To understand how the Christian should increase more and more in 
   such matters as obedience, holiness, love, and diligence

2) To appreciate the precious hope and comfort we have for those who 
   have died in Christ


With this chapter Paul begins a series of apostolic instructions
related to the Christian's walk in holiness, especially in view of the
coming of Christ.  Urging them to abound more and more so that they 
might please God, he first focuses on their sanctification and the need
to abstain from sexual immorality (1-8).  He then urges them to 
increase more and more in brotherly love, even though they had been 
taught by God to love another and did so toward all the brethren 
throughout Macedonia (9-10).  That they might walk properly toward 
outsiders, he urges them to lead quiet lives, mind their own business, 
and to work with their own hands (11-12).

Paul then addresses the matter of those who have fallen asleep in 
Jesus.  He did not want the Thessalonians to sorrow over them as others
who have no hope.  For just as God raised Jesus from the dead, even so
He would bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (13-14).  This leads
to a description of the Lord's coming, especially as it relates to how
those who are alive and remain until His coming will in no way precede 
those who have died.  Indeed, when the Lord comes from heaven, the dead
in Christ will rise first, and we who are alive and remain will at that
time be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air, to be
with Him forever.  Christians should therefore comfort one another with
these words (15-18).



   A. TO PLEASE GOD (1-2)
      1. An exhortation in the Lord Jesus to abound more and more (1)
      2. According to the commandments Paul gave them through the Lord
         Jesus (2)

      1. For this is the will of God, their sanctification (3)
      2. That each one know how to posses his own vessel (4-5)
         a. In sanctification and honor (4)
         b. Not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know
            God (5)
      3. That no one take advantage of and defraud his brother in this
         matter (6)
         a. Because the Lord is the avenger of such things (6a)
         b. As Paul forewarned and testified (6b)  
      4. For God called us in holiness, not to uncleanness (7)
      5. To reject this is to reject God, who has also given us His 
         Holy Spirit (8)


      1. Concerning brotherly love, Paul really did not need to write
         anything (9a)
      2. For they were taught by God to love one another (9b)

      1. Indeed, their love was manifest toward all the brethren 
         throughout Macedonia (10a)
      2. Yet Paul urges them to increase in their love even more (10b)


      1. They should aspire to lead quiet lives, to mind their own 
         business (11a)
      2. Working with their own hands, as Paul commanded them (11b)

      1. Conducting themselves properly toward those outside (12a)
      2. So that they may lack nothing (12b)

IV. WALK IN HOPE (13-18)

      1. Paul does not want them to be ignorant (13)
         a. Concerning those who have fallen asleep (13a)
         b. Lest they sorrow as others who have no hope (13b)
      2. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God
         will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus (14)

      1. Those who are alive when Christ comes will not precede those
         who are asleep (15)
         a. The Lord Himself will descend from heaven (16)
            1) With a shout
            2) With the voice of an archangel
            3) With the trumpet of God
         b. And the dead in Christ will rise first (16b)
      2. Then we who are alive and remain... (17)
         a. Shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
            the Lord (17a)
         b. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (17b)
      3. Therefore comfort one another with these words (18)


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Walk in holiness (1-8)
   - Walk in love (9-10)
   - Walk in diligence (11-12)
   - Walk in hope (13-18)

2) What did Paul urge and exhort them in the Lord Jesus to do? (1)
   - To abound more and more

3) What is the will of God regarding our sanctification? (3)
   - To abstain from sexual immorality

4) What should each person do regarding "his own vessel"? (4-5)
   - Possess it in sanctification and honor
   - Not in passion of lust, like Gentiles who do not know God

5) Why should we be careful not to defraud our brother in this matter?
   - Because the Lord is the avenger of all such things
   - For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness

6) If we reject Paul's warning, who is it we are really rejecting? (8)
   - God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit

7) Why did Paul not need to write to the Thessalonians about brotherly
   love?  Yet what does he urge them? (9-10)
   - Because they were taught by God to love one another
   - Because they showed love toward all the brethren throughout
   - To increase more and more

8) What three things does Paul encourage them to do in order to walk
   properly toward outsiders and be lacking in nothing? (11-12)
   - Aspire to lead quite lives
   - Mind their own business
   - Work with their own hands   

9) Why did Paul not want them to be ignorant concerning those who have
   fallen asleep? (13)
   - Lest they sorrow as those who have no hope

10) Who will God bring with Jesus? (14)
   - Those who sleep in Jesus

11) What is said of those who are alive and remain until the coming of
    the Lord? (15)
   - They will by no means precede those who are asleep

12) List the order of events that will occur when Jesus comes again 
   - The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the
     voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God
   - The dead in Christ will rise first
   - We who are alive shall be caught up together with them in the
     clouds to meet the Lord in the air
   - Thus we shall always be with the Lord

13) In view of these coming events, what we should we do? (18)
   - Comfort one another with these words

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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From Mark Copeland... "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS" Chapter Three


                             Chapter Three


1) To see the very real danger of being tempted, and the need to stand
   fast in the Lord

2) To appreciate how our own steadfastness can be a source of joy and
   strength to those who taught us in the faith

3) To understand the need to increase and abound in love, in order to
   establish our hearts blameless before God when Christ returns


As Paul expresses his concern for their faithfulness, he explains why
Timothy had been sent to them while he himself remained in Athens.  
Fearful that their afflictions might have given Satan an opportunity to
tempt them and render his labors with them in vain, Timothy was sent to
establish and encourage them in their faith (1-5).

Timothy brought back good news to Paul concerning the church at 
Thessalonica, telling him of their faith and love, their fond memories 
of Paul, and their desire to see him again.  This greatly comforted 
Paul who was suffering his own afflictions, and he is overwhelmed with
thankfulness and joy.  Praying night and day that he might see them 
again and perfect what is lacking in their faith, he offers a prayer 
that God and Jesus might direct his way to them.  He also prays that 
the Lord will help them to increase and abound in love to one another 
and to all, and to establish their hearts blameless in holiness before
God at the coming of Christ with all His saints (6-13).



      1. When he could endure it no longer, Paul remained in Athens
         alone (1)
      2. He sent Timothy...
         a. To establish and encourage them in the faith (2)
         b. That they not be shaken by their afflictions (3a)
            1) To which they had been appointed (3b)
            2) As Paul told them before (4)
         c. To know of their faith...
            1) Whether they had been tempted (5a)
            2) Whether his labor might be in vain (5b)

      1. Timothy's return brought good news...
         a. Of their faith and love (6a)
         b. Of their fond memories of Paul (6b)
         c. Of their desire to see him, just as he desires to see them
      2. Such news brought comfort to Paul in his affliction (7-8)
         a. He was comforted, knowing of their faith (7)
         b. He felt alive, knowing of their steadfastness in the Lord
      3. He is thankful beyond words (9-10)
         a. Thankful to God for them, for the joy they bring to him (9)
         b. Praying night and day that he may soon see them and perfect
            what is lacking in their faith (10)


      1. A request made to both God the Father, and the Lord Jesus 
         Christ (11a)
      2. That he may come to the Thessalonians again (11b)

      1. That the Lord make them increase and abound in love...
         a. To one another and to all (12a)
         b. Just as Paul does toward them (12b)
      2. So that the Lord might establish their hearts blameless in 
         a. Before our God and Father (13a)
         b. At the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Paul's concern for their faithfulness (1-10)
   - Paul's concern for their continued growth (11-13)

2) Where did Paul stay when he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica? (1)
   - Athens

3) Why did Paul send Timothy? (2)
   - To establish them and encourage them in their faith

4) What was Paul fearful of that might have shaken their faith? (3)
   - Their afflictions

5) What two reasons are given for Paul sending Timothy to learn of
   their faith? (5)
   - Lest by some means the tempter had tempted them
   - Lest Paul's labor might have been in vain

6) What good news had Timothy brought back to Paul? (6)
   - Of their faith and love
   - Of their fond memories of Paul
   - Of their desire to see him again

7) How did this news affect Paul? (7-9)
   - Brought him comfort in his affliction and distress
   - Made him feel alive
   - Overwhelmed him with thankfulness and joy

8) For what did Paul pray night and day? (10)
   - To see their face and perfect what was lacking in their faith

9) For what did Paul pray concerning himself? (11)
   - That God and Jesus direct his way to the Thessalonians

10) For what did Paul pray concerning the Thessalonians? (12-13)
   - That they increase and abound in love toward one another and to
   - That their hearts be established blameless in holiness before God
     at the coming of Christ with all His saints

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2015

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Does It Really Matter Who Wrote the Pentateuch? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Does It Really Matter Who Wrote the Pentateuch?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Since the “period of Enlightenment,” liberal scholars have been extremely critical of those who teach that Moses was the inspired human author of the first five books of the Bible. These critics teach that the Pentateuch was compiled from four original source documents—designated as J, E, D, and P—which supposedly were written at different times by a different author (or authors), and eventually were compiled as the Pentateuch by a redactor (editor) around 200 B.C. This theory, which wears various names (Graf-Wellhausen Theory, Documentary Hypothesis, JEDPTheory, etc.), has becoming increasingly popular through the years. Numerous commentaries, religious journals, and Web sites promote it. And many professors who teach religious courses espouse it. Undoubtedly, it is the champion among topics discussed in classes on a critical introduction to the Bible. In most “scholarly” circles, if one does not hold to the Documentary Hypothesis (or at least some form of it), he is considered fanatical and uneducated. In fact, we at Apologetics Press received an e-mail some time ago inquiring as to why we do not hold to this theory, since “it is accepted by almost all scholarly interpreters.” In his book The Darwin Wars, Andrew Brown mentioned an interview he had with the rabbi Jonathan Sacks, in which Dr. Sacks defended the proposition that Moses wrote or dictated the first five books of the Bible. Brown’s response was: “That is the most shocking thing I have ever heard an intellectual say” (1999, p. 167).
Since the theory that Moses did not write the Pentateuch has become so widely accepted by “intellectuals,” many Christians are “caving in” under pressure and declaring that “it doesn’t really matter who wrote the first five books of the Bible as long as we believe they are inspired.” This certainly is true of other books of the Bible, so why not the first five? We do not consider it a necessity to know whom God inspired to write the book of Job or the epistle of Hebrews. We do not draw lines of fellowship over who wrote 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Why, then, should the discussion of who penned the first five books of the Bible be any different? The difference is that the Bible is replete with references attributing these books to Moses.
Within the Pentateuch itself, one can read numerous times how Moses wrote the law of God.
“And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord” (Exodus 24:4).
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write these words…’ ” (Exodus 34:27).
“Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord” (Numbers 33:2).
“So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests…” (Deuteronomy 31:9).
Bible writers throughout the Old Testament credited Moses with writing the Pentateuch (also known as the Torah or “the Law”). A plain statement of this commonly held conviction is expressed in Joshua 8:32: “There in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he [Moses—EL] had written” (NIV, emp. added). Notice also that 2 Chronicles 34:14 states: “...Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses” (emp. added; cf. Ezra 3:2; 6:18; Nehemiah 13:1; Malachi 4:4). As Josh McDowell noted in his book, More Evidence that Demands a Verdict, these verses “refer to an actual written ‘law of Moses,’ not simply an oral tradition” (1975, pp. 93-94).
The New Testament writers also showed no hesitation in affirming that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. John wrote: “The law was given through Moses” (John 1:17). Luke recorded of the resurrected Jesus: “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them [His disciples—EL] in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself ” (Luke 24:27). Referring to the Jewish practice of publicly reading the Law, James affirmed Mosaic authorship: “For Moses from generations of old hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath” (Acts 15:21). With this Paul concurred saying, “For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them’ ” (Romans 10:5, emp. added; cf. Leviticus 18:5). In 2 Corinthians 3:15 Paul also wrote: “Moses is read.” The phrase “Moses is read” is a clear example of the figure of speech known as metonymy (when authors are put for the works which they have produced). Today, we may ask someone if he has read Homer, Virgil, or Shakespeare, by which we mean to ask if he has read the writings of these men. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, one can read where Abraham spoke to the rich man concerning his five brothers saying, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:29). Were Moses and the Old Testament prophets still on Earth in the first century? No. The meaning is that the rich man’s brothers had the writings of Moses and the prophets.
Furthermore both Jesus’ disciples and His enemies recognized and accepted the books of Moses. After Philip was called to follow Jesus, he found his brother Nathanael and said, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45, emp. added). Notice also that New Testament Sadducees considered Moses as the author, saying: “Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man’s brother dies, and leaves his wife behind, and leaves no children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother” (Mark 12:19, emp. added; cf. Deuteronomy 25:5).
A final reason that one must defend the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, instead of idly sitting by and claiming that “it doesn’t really matter who wrote it,” is because Jesus Himself claimed “the Law” came from Moses. In Mark 7:10 Jesus quoted from both Exodus 20 and 21, attributing the words to Moses. Later in the gospel of Mark, we read where Jesus asked the Sadducees, “Have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ ” (12:26, emp. added). But, perhaps the most convincing passage of all is found in John 5:46-47 where Jesus said: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (emp. added; cf. Deuteronomy 18:15-18). The truth is, by claiming that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch, one essentially is claiming that Jesus is not God. As M.R. DeHaan explained in his book, Genesis and Evolution:
Prove that Moses did not write the books of the Pentateuch and you prove that Jesus was totally mistaken and not the infallible Son of God he claimed to be. Upon your faith in Moses as the writer of the five books attributed to him rests also your faith in Jesus as the Son of God. You cannot believe in Jesus Christ without believing what Moses wrote. You see, there is much more involved in denying the books of Moses than most people suppose (1982, p. 41).
Indeed, believing that Moses wrote the Torah is very important. It is not a trivial matter that we should discuss frivolously while suggesting that “it really doesn’t matter.” It matters because the deity of Christ and the integrity of the Bible writers are at stake!


Brown, Andrew (1999), The Darwin Wars (New York: Simon and Schuster).
DeHaan, M.R. (1982), Genesis and Evolution (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
McDowell, Josh (1975), More Evidence that Demands a Verdict (San Bernardino, CA: Campus Crusade for Christ).

Design Rules by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.


Design Rules

by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by one of A.P.’s auxiliary staff scientists. Dr. Fausz holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and serves as liaison to the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. (All images in Dr. Fausz’ article are Courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiTTMTechnologies, www.mems.sandia.gov.)]
One of the most fascinating areas of modern engineering research is the development of what has become known as MicroElectroMechanical Systems, or MEMS. Imagine a closed-cycle steam engine no bigger than a pinhead that operates on a single drop of water (e.g., Frechette, et al., 2003, pp. 335-344), or mirror mechanisms for micro-optical systems with structures that can be obscured by a single dust mite (McWhorter, 2001; McWhorter, 2006). These devices are so miniscule that their operational performance has to be verified through a microscope. MEMSdevices are used to actuate airbags in automobiles, precisely control optics in digital projectors and video cameras, and perform a variety of other functions (see “SAMPLES Program,” 2005; “MEMS Technology,” 2006). Yet, we have barely scratched the surface of possible applications for MEMS.
spider mite
Spider mite on mirror assembly
The fabrication process for MEMSdevices is the epitome of exacting, painstaking effort, requiring the highest levels of intricacy and precision. Built on technology developed to fabricate integrated circuits, the procedures for buildingMEMS must follow methodical rules and be carried out in a tightly controlled environment. This requires very expensive, high fidelity robotic assembly lines operating in clean rooms with extremely low contaminant concentrations (one speck of dust could be the proverbial monkey wrench for these mechanisms). As in the case of micro-chips, MEMS fabrication controls must be followed strictly for the devices to have any chance of carrying out their design functions once their fabrication is complete (“SAMPLES Program,” 2005).
Thus, in the design, fabrication, and operation of MEMS devices, it is clear that “small” is not synonymous with “simple” or “easy to understand or fabricate.” As seen through the microscope,MEMS parts are easily as complex as their counterparts on the larger scale, if not more so. Furthermore, due to the strict requirements imposed by the meticulous fabrication process, theMEMS designer must exercise much more care in laying out the configuration of his design than would a designer working on a larger scale.
The incredible MEMS clutch mechanism. The miniscule gears are 50 microns across. Keep in mind that there are 25,400 microns to an inch.
To aid the designer in accounting for the tight constraints of a particular MEMSfabrication process, the developers of that process typically provide him a set of design rules to follow in laying out the design. In turn, these rules usually are incorporated within the fabrication process itself through software that checks designs against these rules, and will not admit a design that violates them (“SAMPLESProgram,” 2005). So, we see that the design rules and the fabrication process work together to produce devices that ideally will fulfill the desire of the designer throughout its operational life. The design rules characterize fundamental aspects of the fabrication process and, thus, leave an indelible imprint of those process characteristics on each and every new design. These design rules, then, represent a bridge between the mind of the designer and the finished product, in a sense “guiding” the design through the fabrication process.
It is amazing that many of the engineers and scientists who have worked to make MEMStechnology a reality believe that the vast, intricate, mechanical workings of the Universe, a Universe that appears to conform to immutable natural laws, came about through mostly random processes. They have witnessed the microscopic complexity of MEMS, yet they admit reasoning that suggests the galaxies, solar systems, planets, and stars evolved from “simpler” particles of matter that somehow came into existence at the beginning of time. They hold these beliefs in spite of their understanding of the painstaking process that is required to design and fabricate a single MEMS mechanism.
Fully-functioning MEMS transmission
Scientists continue to discover with increasing clarity that the elementary particles of matter that make up everything in the observable Universe, though extremely small, are far from “simple.” In his book, A Brief History of Time, well-known physicist Stephen Hawking states:
Up to about twenty years ago, it was thought that protons and neutrons were “elementary” particles, but experiments in which protons were collided with other protons or electrons at high speeds indicated that they were in fact made up of smaller particles. These particles were named quarks by the Caltech physicist Murray Gell-Mann, who won the Nobel prize in 1969 for his work on them.... So the question is: What are the truly elementary particles, the basic building blocks from which everything is made? (1988, p. 65).
Since science so far has been incapable of even identifying the most elementary components of the Universe, it is unreasonable to conclude that “small” means simple or easy. Given this unexpected complexity at the sub-microscopic (quantum) level, it is incredible that otherwise reasoned thinkers would conclude that everything we observe resulted from random processes.
Close-up view of one vernier; the teeth are two microns wide and the spaces between them measure four microns.
Likewise, small structures in biological study exhibit extremely high levels of order, complexity, and information content. Now that scientists actually are able to observe single-cellular life, accounts of the immense complexity in these “simple” life forms are becoming increasingly abundant. Consider Dean Overman’s summary of the research of Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe in his monograph, A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization:
Sitting atop some MEMS gears, this spider mite is the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
Because there are thousands of different enzymes with different functions, to produce the simplest living cell, Hoyle calculated that about 2,000 enzymes were needed with each one performing a specific task to form a single bacterium like E. coli. Computing the probability of all these different enzymes forming in one place at one time to produce a single bacterium, Hoyle and his colleague, Chandra Wickramasinghe, calculated the odds at 1 in 1040,000. This number is so vast that any mathematician would agree that it amounts to total impossibility.... [T]he total atoms in the observable universe are estimated to be only approximately 1080(1997, pp. 58-59, emp. added).
The performance observed in such a system (a bacterium) is so intricate and complex on such a small scale, that so far humans are incapable of duplicating it—MEMS is about as close as science has come to doing so. Yet, in stark contradistinction, many scientists seem to accept that a “simple” life form must have organized by accident and, in turn, given rise to all of the life that we observe on Earth.
ratchet mechanism
Complex MEMS ratchet mechanism
The complexity inherent in MEMS, especially in comparison to larger scale systems, suggests a more natural conclusion regarding the existence of the Universe. If one were looking through a microscope in a science class, or working in a laboratory, and unexpectedly saw tiny gears turning or pistons moving, what would he conclude? This scenario actually has been used as a story line in multiple science fiction shows, and the conclusion reached was not that the microscopic machines had evolved naturally through random processes. Besides the fact that such a conclusion might make for a rather boring story, it is simply an unsound conclusion under the circumstances. Complexity on such a small scale, as we have noted, is not easy to design, so why would we ever conclude that it came about by accident? As in the science fiction scenario depicted, the intricate complexity that we observe on such a small scale is not only evidence of a designer, but also evidence of an incredibly advanced design capability—not of undirected random processes.

The world’s smallest functioning triple-piston steam engine. One piston is five microns across or 1/5080 of an inch.
The fact that the Universe operates under seemingly immutable natural laws is further evidence of a designer. We have noted that MEMSdesigners utilize design rules to ensure the viability of their designs. While science has not fully characterized the rules that govern the Universe, or even proved their existence, scientists firmly believe in them. Countless observations and experiments have demonstrated that the Universe appears to behave in repeatable and predictable ways, indicating that there is an inherent yet unobservable constraint being enforced on that behavior. Similar toMEMS design rules, the natural laws of the Universe determine what structures can viably exist in the system (Conservation of Matter and Energy), how they will behave (Causality, Laws of Motion, Relativity, etc.), and how long they will last (Thermodynamics). It simply is no more reasonable to assume that random processes gave rise to the behavior of the Universe than to assume that random fabrication processes could give rise to operational MEMS devices.

drive gear
Drive gear chain and linkages, with a grain of pollen (top right) and coagulated red blood cells (top left, lower right) to demonstrate scale.
Indeed, experience with MEMSillustrates that the ordered complexity we observe at every level within the Universe, but especially on the small scale, is indisputable evidence of a Designer whose capability far exceeds human accomplishment. MEMS research is impressive and fascinating, but pales in comparison to what we observe at the microscopic level, and what we theorize at the sub-atomic level. The science and engineering of mankind has not come anywhere close to duplicating the intricate functional complexity that exists in the realm of nature’s small scale. The Designer responsible for these micro- mechanisms fully understands the fabrication process parameters that are required to bring them into existence and sustain their operation, and has used that process to its utmost effectiveness in the creation of everything we observe. Furthermore, the “design rules” that have been employed to accomplish this are nothing less than the natural laws that, in turn, continue to constrain and direct the ongoing operation of His design.


Frechette, L.G., C. Lee, S. Arslan, and Y.C. Liu (2003), “Design of a Microfabricated Rankine Cycle Steam Turbine for Power Generation,” American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Mechanical Engineering Congress, International Meeting on Energy Conversion Engineering, pp. 335-344, November.
Hawking, Stephen (1988), A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam).
McWhorter, Paul (2001), “Intelligent Multipurpose Micromachines Made at Sandia,” Sandia National Laboratories, [On-line], URL: http://www.sandia.gov/media/micro.htm.
McWhorter, Paul (2006), MEMS Image Gallery, [On-line], URL:http://www.memx.com/image_gallery.htm.
MEMS Technology” (2006), [On-line], URL: http://www.memx.com/technology.htm.
Overman, Dean (1997), A Case Against Accident and Self-Organization (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield).
SAMPLES Program” (2005), Sandia National Laboratories, [On-line], URL:http://mems.sandia.gov/samples.

David’s Census and the Plague by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


David’s Census and the Plague

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

The biblical account of David’s census in 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 is (for some) among the most enigmatic portions of the Bible. One of the first questions that arises when reading the text is who “moved” David to number Israel. Second Samuel 24:1 says that the Lord did, while 1 Chronicles 21:1 says Satan did. We have dealt with this idea in a previous article and shown that there is no contradiction between these verses (Lyons, 2003).
Another alleged problem that the skeptic is quick to point out is the “injustice” of God’s punishment for David’s sin. Because of David’s census, the Bible says: “So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel from the morning till the appointed time. From Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men of the people died” (2 Samuel 24:15). The skeptic accuses God of punishing the wrong people. If David sinned, why did the plague kill the people? In his Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, Steve Wells wrote: “Even David can see the injustice of God’s punishment” (2001). Wells further commented that those killed during the plague were “innocent,” implying that they had done nothing wrong in the affair.
Upon closer inspection of the biblical text, however, we see that Wells’ accusation of injustice on God’s part is inaccurate. Second Samuel 24:1 says that “the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel” (emp. added). Apparently, the nation of Israel had so sinned that they had angered God. Yet, even though God was angry, the Israelites could have manifested their obedience to God’s commands during the census. God gave Moses instructions hundreds of years earlier concerning any census taken among the Israelites. He said: “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary...” (Exodus 30:12-13, emp. added).
In the accounts of David’s census, there is no indication that the people gave the ransom of half a shekel in order to avoid being plagued. The plaguing of the Israelites is exactly what one would have expected, knowing what God said in Exodus 30:12-13. The Israelites should have known these verses and they should have complied with them. The feeling that one gets from reading the accounts of David’s census is that the command to pay half a shekel ransom had been completely forgotten and neglected during the intervening years between Moses and David. The people died for their disobedience to God’s command. A similar event occurred when, under David’s leadership, the Israelites did not carry the Ark of the Covenant correctly, bringing about the death of Uzzah. Concerning that episode, David himself stated: “[T]he Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order” (1 Chronicles 15:13, emp. added). Neither did the Israelites consult God’s Word about the “proper order” concerning the census.
God, through Moses, gave the Israelites instructions concerning a census. He also warned them that a plague would ensue if they neglected to follow these instructions. Hundreds of years after His warning, the Israelites were counted, with no indication that they offered half a shekel ransom to avoid being plagued. A plague ravaged the people, exactly as God had warned. Simple obedience to God’s instructions could have prevented the plague. It is the sad truth that God’s people are often “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). King David once profoundly stated the solution when he said concerning God’s word: “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).


Lyons, Eric (2003), “Who Incited David to Number Israel?” [On-line], URL:http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/604.
Wells, Steve (2001), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, [On-line], URL:http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/1cor/index.html.

The Da Vinci Code, the Sabbath, and Sunday by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Da Vinci Code, the Sabbath, and Sunday

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Many outlandish accusations and assertions have been made through the centuries. Some have claimed that Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime never murdered millions of Jews (see Harwood, 1974). Others have concluded that one way a man can rid himself of the AIDS virus is to have sexual relations with a virgin (see Govender, 1999). Enemies of America have accused the U.S. of being uncaring and insensitive to the suffering that takes place around the world when, in truth, few if any countries on the planet do as much to help the distressed following various catastrophes than America. [Although the U.S. certainly has lost its way in regard to promoting certain biblical and Christian values (e.g., the value of an unborn child’s life, heterosexual marriages, etc.), America is always at the forefront of helping the afflicted.]
Unfortunately, more lies have been told (and believed!) about God and Christianity than perhaps anything or anyone else on Earth. This, of course, is not surprising since “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30) and “the father” of lies (John 8:44)—Satan—wants nothing more than to deceive people regarding the one true religion. One of Satan’s recent outlets has been Dan Brown’s bookThe Da Vinci Code. Millions of readers have been mislead by this allegedly “historical” (Brown, 2003b), “fact-based” novel (MacEwen, 2003). It casts suspicion and purports several lies about early Christianity, the integrity of the Bible, and the deity of Christ.
One of the many wild assertions in Brown’s book is his criticism of the day on which Christians assemble to partake of the Lord’s Supper and worship God. According to one of Brown’s main characters, Robert Langdon,
Originally...Christianity honored the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, but Constantine shifted it to coincide with the pagan’s veneration day of the sun.... To this day, most churchgoers attend services on Sunday mornings with no idea that they are there on account of the pagan sun god’s weekly tribute—Sunday (Brown, 2003a, pp. 232-233).
Supposedly, Christians worship God on Sunday because in the fourth century A.D. Constantine decided that the church should worship on Sundays rather than Saturdays, and thus follow the pagan sun god’s day of tribute. What is the truth of the matter?
Long before the time of Constantine, Christians were gathering together on the first day of the week to worship God. Both inspired Bible writers and non-inspired, early (pre-Constantine) Christians viewed Sunday as the day to eat the memorial feast, as well as engage in other acts of worship. The apostle Paul instructed the Christians in Corinth (as he had earlier taught the churches of Galatia) to lay a portion of their income aside “on the first day of every week...that no collections be made when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2, NASV, emp. added). Luke later wrote how the disciples in Troas came together “on the first day of the week” to break bread in remembrance of the Lord’s death (Acts 20:7, emp. added; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:17-26). Ignatius wrote in his letter to the Magnesians (believed to be penned around A.D. 110) how Christians “have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day” (1:62, emp. added; cf. Revelation 1:10). In chapter 67 of his First Apology (written around A.D. 150), Justin Martyr noted how Christians would gather together “on the day called Sunday” to read the writings of the apostles and prophets, instruct, pray, give, and eat of bread and wine (emp. added). It simply is a blatant lie to assert that 300 years after Christianity was born the Emperor Constantine “shifted” the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. Christians have been worshiping God on the first day of the week since the first century, when about 3,000 Jews were converted to Christ on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2)—which was a Sunday.
But why did the early Christians meet on Sunday, and why do God’s people still assemble on this day? Is it, as Brown indicates, “on account of the pagan sun god’s weekly tribute”? Absolutely not! Christians have met on Sundays to worship God for the past 2,000 years because this is the day that God has set aside for us to worship Him, including eating the memorial feast. We know that it was on the first day of the week that Jesus rose from the grave (Matthew 28:1-6; Mark 16:1-6; Luke 24:1-3; John 20:1-2), that the church was established on this day (Acts 2), and that the early Christians met on this day (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Furthermore, early non-inspired preachers repudiated any connection between paganism and worshiping God on “the Lord’s day” (Sunday). Around A.D. 200, Tertullian twice dealt with this matter (“Ad Nationes,” 1:13; “Apology,” 16). In his “Apology,” he indicated that Christians “devote Sun-day to rejoicing” for a “far different reason than Sun-worship” (XVI). “Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly,” wrote Justin Martyr (nearly two centuries before Constantine), because “Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun,” he “appeared to His apostles and disciples” (“First Apology,” 67).
Once again, an outlandish assertion about Christianity is proven to be false. Faithful Christians never worshiped God on Sunday in any age because that day coincided with the pagan’s veneration of the Sun. What’s more, Constantine had nothing to do with saints assembling on the first day of the week. Christians have been worshiping God “on the Lord’s day” ever since the establishment of the church of Christ in the first century.


Brown, Dan (2003a), The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday).
Brown, Dan (2003b), “Today,” NBC, Interview with Matt Lauer, June 9.
Govender, Prega (1999), “Child Rape: A Taboo With the AIDS Taboo,” [On-line], URL: http://www.aegis.org/news/suntimes/1999/ST990401.html.
Harwood, Richard (1974), Did Six Million Really Die? (England: Historical Review Press).
Ignatius (1973 reprint), “Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Justin Martyr (1973 reprint), “The First Apology of Justin,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
MacEwen, Valerie (2003), “Try Putting This Book Down,” [On-line], URL: http://www.popmatters.com/books/reviews/d/da-vinci-code.shtml.
Tertullian (1973 reprint), “Ad Nationes,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Tertullian (1973 reprint), “Apology,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

Altruistic Animals: Compatible With Evolution? by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.


Altruistic Animals: Compatible With Evolution?

by Caleb Colley, Ph.D.

The humanistic sociologist Auguste Comte coined the term “altruism,” derived from the Italianaltrui, which means “other” (Rhode, 2005). Under Comte’s definition, altruism signified an unselfish regard for the welfare of others (Rhode, 2005). People are not entirely self-interested. If they were, then families would be nonexistent. Yet, 90 percent of Americans marry (Coltrane, 44[4]:395). Modern instances of what we generally call altruism abound. For an example of obvious altruism on a grand scale, over $4.25 billion was raised for Hurricane Katrina-related relief and recovery (“Hurricane...,” 2006).
The animal world also is filled with animals that appear to help other creatures. Eduardo Porter noted in The New York Times, “altruism isn’t an exclusively human trait. Vampire bats are pretty altruistic, too, regurgitating blood for members of the group that haven’t eaten. Sterile worker bees, which are incapable of conscious thought, let alone moral behavior, are about as altruistic as a living creature can be: they give their lives so their queen may reproduce” (2005). TheStanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy reveals:
In numerous bird species, a breeding pair receives help in raising its young from other ‘helper’ birds, who protect the nest from predators and help to feed the fledglings. Vervet monkeys give alarm calls to warn fellow monkeys of the presence of predators, even though in so doing, they attract attention to themselves, increasing their personal chance of being attacked (Okasha, 2003).
As we ask of all relevant features of scientific data, we ask of the phenomenon of altruism in the animal kingdom: Does it best fit the creation model or the evolution model? Evolutionists categorize altruism as a product of genetic determinism (i.e., genetics explain all behavior), while Christians believe that God instilled altruism as an instinct in animals and a psychological, moral force in humans (see Thompson, 2004, pp. 23-24; cf. Jackson, 1992).
Of course, we are ignorant as to exactly what goes on inside the heads of animals and humans. We do not expect a dolphin to answer intelligibly when we ask, “Why did you help that other creature, even when it created the potential of danger to your own health?” Animal altruism troubled Charles Darwin, who popularized evolution in the 1800s. Darwin wrote that “[n]atural selection will never produce in a being anything injurious to itself, for natural selection acts solely by and for the good of each. No organ will be formed, as Paley has remarked, for the purpose of causing pain or for doing any injury to its possessor” (1859, p. 228). As Okasha well noted, “From a Darwinian viewpoint, the existence of altruism in nature is at first sight puzzling.... Natural selection leads us to expect animals to behave in ways that increase their own chances of survival and reproduction, not those of others” (2003).
Indeed, traditional evolutionary theory has emphasized the individual, to the neglect of any social obligation. McFadden commented, “Altruism—helping others at our own expense—puzzled Charles Darwin, whose theory predicted that individuals should act selfishly to serve their self-interest. Why should wolves share their kill; or sparrows draw attention to themselves by issuing a warning call when they spot a hawk” (2004)? Major observed, “If a bird helps a breeding pair build its nest and feed its young, without breeding itself, then it would seem to be a loser in the struggle for life. While this individual is busy helping others, it is missing out on the opportunity to produce heirs of its own” (1999). How, then, do evolutionists account for altruism in animals?


Group Selection

Evolutionists have suggested that natural selection involves “group selection,” whereby a member of a group of animals would do something for the biological benefit of its entire group. In this way, evolutionists argue, the fittest group will survive, and natural selection will have met its obligation. Of course, there are severe problems with natural selection (Thompson, n.d.; Thompson and Harrub, 2003, pp. 227-270). Problems with group selection theory further illustrate the flaws in natural selection as a mode of evolution. As evolutionist Bryan Appleyard observed, “[Group selection theory—CC] makes no sense in the context of the selfish gene because all the gene can possibly see is the survival of its own particular organism” (1998, p. 112, emp. added). The selfish gene is Dawkins’ notion, reflective of Darwin, that the individual gene will do whatever it takes to ensure that the individual in which they are stored produces additional copies of the gene (1989; cf. Thompson, 2004).
Even if we were to admit that group selection occurs, however, it would not prove that genetic determinism is responsible for altruism in animals. Major explained:
[Group selection theory—CC] does not explain how the gene for altruism can survive over the long term. If an individual carrying this mutation behaves unselfishly and, as a result, leaves fewer or no offspring, then the mutation will die out. Also, the group needs to discourage cheaters—individuals that take advantage of altruists to further their own selfish interests, and thus neutralize the benefits of altruism for the species as a whole (1999).
By attempting to account for legitimate altruism by introducing a faulty hypothesis that maintains dependence on the genetically selfish individual, evolutionists have moved right back where they started.

Kin Selection

Dawkins (1989) proposed a solution to the problems with the group selection idea: “kin selection” (i.e., since close relations share genes, a gene may prompt its organism to help others who are closely related). The theory of kin selection is responsible for much of the development of sociobiological research. McFadden objected: “Altruism isn’t always restricted to kith and kin. When a female vervet monkey is attacked, non-relatives will often come to her aid. Studies show that the likelihood that a non-relative helps depends on how recently the distressed monkey groomed the helper” (2004).
Even if we were to suppose that some animal altruism occurs due to some “kin selection” mechanism, evolutionists “still have a gaping hole in an attempt to explain altruism. If, for example, I help a blind man cross the street, it is plainly unlikely that I am being prompted to do this because he is a close relation and bears my genes. And the animal world is full of all sorts of elaborate forms of cooperation which extend far beyond the boundaries of mere relatedness” (Appleyard, 1998, p. 112).
cheating still is possible. A mutation could arise that mimicked the identifying features of individuals that carried the gene for altruism. This introduces the need for some sort of policing strategy.... The problem now is that the difficulties have multiplied. The evolutionists sought to explain a highly complex social behavior in biological terms, and ended up having to explain other complex behaviors, such as cheating and policing (Major, 1999).
Again, if evolutionists merely repackage selfishness and call it “altruism,” they fail to explain how real altruism fits in evolutionary theory. They may insist that altruism is only apparent. But such a notion is untenable, particularly in the wake of such a generous, altruistic outpouring of support to those devastated by Katrina. Evolutionists are forced to dichotomize aspects of beings, artificially separating the biological from the psychological/moral. The fact is, we differentiate between selfish human acts and altruistic acts, because we can identify altruism when we see it. Altruism is real, and even in the light of kin selection theory, remains biologically inexplicable.

Game Theory

A more recent evolutionary explanation involves attributing even more psychological human qualities to biological features of animals that “help”: game theory. “Game theory seeks to make sense of competition by analyzing different moves in as clear a mathematical way as possible” (Appleyard, p. 111). When applied to animal altruism, game theory suggests that various organisms play an instinctive, mathematical “game” to determine what is best for the group. When some lions share a zebra corpse, for example, they are playing a sharing game that involves “subtleties of calculation and...a remarkable distillation of all the complexities in any confrontation” (p. 111). In short, game theory is the idea that organisms cooperate because it is beneficial (p. 112).
Observe that reductionist, evolutionary game theorists again have reduced a discussion of altruism to an explanation of survival tactics. In order to prove that game theory accounts for the altruism exhibited in nature, evolutionists would be forced to prove that animals are capable of solving very complex mathematical equations about which advanced college students study regularly (see “Certificate...,” 2006). Such proof is—and will be—unavailable. Furthermore, evolutionists would need to explain why, on occasion, some members of a particular “kind” of animal help members of another “kind,” which would seem to be excluded from the “game.” For example, dogs occasionally “adopt” orphaned kittens (“Mother Dog...,” 2006).
Game theory cannot explain why animals, with no prior training, occasionally appear to help humans. For example, a group of New Zealand swimmers had to depend on a group of dolphins, which formed a protective circle that kept a great white shark at bay (McFadden, 2004). Moreover, proof that all animals coexist by playing these types of “games” would fall woefully short of proving evolution and disproving the biblical creation account. The Creator endowed animals with instinctive dictates that allow them to live together.


Having demonstrated that the major evolutionary explanations of altruism fail, we reach the conclusion that evolution logically implies that altruism, as an instinctive motivation in animals, or as a psychological/moral factor in humans, is imaginary (cf. Lipe, n.d.). However, we observe altruism in nature and in the clear teaching of the Bible (John 15:13; Philippians 2:2-4). Altruism embarrasses evolution, but makes perfect sense in light of the biblical creation account.


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