The Goldilocks Principle: The Earth is Designed for Us by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.



The Goldilocks Principle: The Earth is Designed for Us

by  Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Do you recall the story of Goldilocks from your youth? She struggled as she sought the right porridge, chair, and bed, but in the end, her discoveries were “just right.” The Goldilocks Principle in secular cosmology is a recognition by scientists that the Earth appears to be “just right” for life to exist on it. Leading science magazines routinely run articles updating their audiences on the hunt for other Goldilocks planets with just the right conditions for life to exist upon them as it does on Earth. The Earth appears to be designed for us.

Atheistic philosopher Paul Ricci summed up the Teleological Argument for the Existence of God well when he said, “[I]t’s true that everything designed has a designer…. ‘Everything designed has a designer’ is an analytically true statement.”1 There are an infinite number of examples of design that present themselves to us when we study the natural realm—a problem for Ricci and his atheistic colleagues, to be sure. Manuel Canales, Matthew Chwastyk, and Eve Conant wrote an article in National Geographic titled “One Strange Rock: 13 Things that Make Life on Earth Possible.”2 “Earth is well equipped as a planet and ideally placed in our solar system and galaxy to support life as we know it,” they explain.3 What kinds of features make Earth so special?

  • If the Earth’s rotation axis was tilted differently…: “A change in the rotation axis of the Earth…would be catastrophic. The number of the seasons would change and their duration. If the rotation axis became parallel to the orbital plane, as for Uranus, we could have winter in the Northern hemisphere for 6 months followed by summer. The Sun would set on the entire Northern hemisphere and not rise again for 6 months.”4
  • If the Earth was spinning faster…: “Hurricanes will spin faster…and there will be more energy in them.”5 A faster rotation speed by only 10% would translate to so much water bulging around the equator, that all equatorial land would be flooded while the sea level at the poles would lower.6 Human and animal life would be forced to live closer to the poles, which would result in catastrophic extinctions.
  • If the Earth’s orbit was closer to the Sun…: If the average distance from the Sun was “reduced by only about three-tenths of a percent,” disastrous atmospheric changes would occur, including “sea-level rise, increases in extreme weather, species extinctions and agricultural disruptions.”7 As it makes its elliptical path around the Sun, the Earth bends from its straight course “only one ninth of an inch” every 18½ miles.8 “If the orbit changed by one-tenth of an inch every 18 miles, our orbit would be vastly larger and we would all freeze to death. One-eighth of an inch? We would all be incinerated.”9 In fact, the Earth’s perfect distance from the Sun is called the “Goldilocks zone,” “where it’s not too close and not too far from the sun for water to be liquid on its surface.”10 Earth’s temperature is “not too hot or too cold.”11
  • If the Earth had less water…: About 75% of the entire area of the Earth is covered by water. If there was less water on the Earth, it would suffer from the drastic temperature changes seen in deserts—extremely hot during the day and extremely cold during the night. Most of the Earth does not have this problem, due in large part to the fact that the Earth has so much water on it. Water has a high specific heat capacity, which means that water can hold a lot of heat—way more than almost any other natural substance on Earth. Water can store a lot of heat or lose a lot of heat without its temperature being drastically changed, causing it to act like an air conditioning unit for the Earth, keeping its temperature relatively constant. A different liquid other than water or less water would make Earth inhospitable for life.
  • If the Earth was like other planets…: Citing the work of University of Washington’s Peter Ward, Stanford University’s Kate Maher, NASA’s Karina Yager, and the University of Idaho’s Jason Barnes, Canales and his colleagues highlighted that Earth “recycles life-friendly carbon over time,” has an “ozone layer to block harmful rays,” “a big moon to stabilize our axial wobble,” “varied surfaces [to] support many life-forms,” and a “magnetic field” that “deflects solar tempests.” Earth is “situated safely away from gas giants”—if it were closer, their “powerful gravity could cause disastrous fluctuations in Earth’s distance from the sun.” The star of our solar system—the Sun—“is a stable, long-lasting star,” as opposed to less massive, allegedly younger stars that are “often unstable and are prone to blasting their planets with bursts of radiation.” Earth has “the right stuff to host a dynamic core” (i.e., sufficient radioactive elements to generate a “churning core” and protective magnetic field that could, theoretically, last for billions of years). Earth has “giant planets that protect us from afar,” like Jupiter, whose size and gravity protect “Earth from overly frequent collisions that might trigger extinctions.” Zooming out further to the scale of the galaxy, we observe that “our sun offers protection from galactic debris,” “our galactic path steers us clear of hazards,” and “our location is far from stellar crowds,” reducing the “risks to Earth from gravitational tugs, gamma-ray bursts, or collapsing stars called supernovae.”12 Truly Earth is just right for us—as though it was made for humans.

Dozens of such examples could be illustrated.13 In the words of famous skeptic and science writer Michael Shermer, who has a monthly column in Scientific American, “The design inference comes naturally. The reason people think that a Designer created the world is because it looks designed.”14 Agreed.


1 Paul Ricci (1986), Fundamentals of Critical Thinking (Lexington, MA: Ginn Press), p. 190.

2 Manuel Canales, Matthew Chwastyk, and Eve Conant (2018), “One Strange Rock: 13 Things That Make Life on Earth Possible,” National Geographic, 233[3]:78-87.

3 Ibid., p. 78.

4 Sten Odenwald (no date), “What Would Happen if the Rotation Axis of the Earth Changed?” NASA Image Education Center, https://image.gsfc.nasa.gov/poetry/ask/q278.html.

5 Sarah Fecht (2017), “What Would Happen if Earth Started to Spin Faster?” Popular Science, https://www.popsci.com/earth-spin-faster.

6 Ibid.

7 Victoria Roberts (2017), “Even Tiny Changes in Earth’s Orbit Would Yield Global Catastrophe,” The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/science/earth-orbit-sun-catastrophe.html.

8 David Peck Todd (1906), A New Astronomy (New York: American Book Company), p. 383.

9 “Everyday Science” (1981), Science Digest, 89[1]:124.

10 Canales, et al., p. 81; cf. J.R. Minkel (2007), “All Wet? Astronomers Claim Discovery of Earth-like Planet,” Scientific American, April 24, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/all-wet-astronomers-claim/.

11 Canales, et al., p. 81.

12 Canales, et al.

13 See the various “Design” topics in the “Existence of God” category on the Apologetics Press Web site—www.apologeticspress.org.

14 Michael Shermer (2007), Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design (New York, NY: Henry Holt), Kindle edition, p. 65, ital. in orig.

Suggested Resources


The Four Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



The Four Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Whereas our “adversary the devil,” the father of lies, seeks to keep humanity in a cloud of darkness and doubt,1 our omnibenevolent “God is not the author of confusion but of peace,”2 comfort,3 and illumination.4 “[T]he Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning…brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:17-18). God’s unchanging, rock-solid Truth, brings enlightenment and stability to a dark and chaotic world.

Even after seeing the light and obeying the Truth, we as Christians sometimes lose our spiritual bearings and find ourselves among the rocks and thorns (Luke 8:13-14). We can feel like we are drowning in a quagmire of doubt and despair, with blurred vision and hearts that are questioning all sorts of things which God settled long ago. Rather than living the Christian life to its fullest, we can get stuck in neutral (or reverse), “grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

Thankfully, frequent contemplation of the most fundamental spiritual truths of life can bring clarity amidst confusion, peace amongst apprehension, and courage in the face of fear. In a world full of sin, doubt, and chaos, walking daily with God’s answers to the four most important questions of life provides lucidity, focus, and a real, soul-anchoring hope.

These questions are so fundamental and so important that, if I had only one opportunity to speak to the world about anything, or if there was only one article that I could ever write, this is what I would say.

Question #1—Why Am I Here?

Do you know why you are here? This question is not about what you are doing at this very moment, or what you hope to do next month or next year. Rather, behind it all, underneath everything, at your very core, what is your “Why?” Why do you exist? What is your purpose in life?

Some contend that humanity has no real purpose. One of the world’s most celebrated atheistic, evolutionary writers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Richard Dawkins, has argued: “The Universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom…no purpose…nothing but pitiless indifference.”5 Graham Lawton, Executive Editor of New Scientist magazine, penned a one-page article in 2016 titled, “What is the Meaning of Life?” What answer did this leading atheistic evolutionist give? Here was his heavy-hitting first line: “The harsh answer is ‘it has none.’”6 “Your life may feel like a big deal to you,” he wrote, “but it’s actually a random blip of matter and energy in an uncaring and impersonal universe.”7 Since we supposedly “will never get objective data on the matter,” we are unable “to capture a ‘true’ or ‘higher’ meaning” to life.8

Logically speaking, if there is no God and this natural realm is all there is, then Lawton and Dawkins are exactly right: there is no true, higher, objective purpose in life. We might “feel like” there is, but if we are just “dust in the wind” (as the band Kansas sang in the 1970s), then our lives really are as meaningless as “a random blip of matter.”

Yet, despite the innate vacuousness of naturalism, most people still seek to find purpose and meaning on an experiential level (though still purely subjective). If our lives do not naturally have meaning, then we’ll just keep searching for it anyway, or we’ll make it up as we go along. And so, we tend to look for purpose in pleasures, in power, in education, in employment, in riches, in rest, in conservation, or in trying to escape death. Yet still, a real, life-anchoring meaning, which brings hope, joy, and endurance even in the darkest of times, escapes us—just as it did one of the wisest and wealthiest men ever to live.

In the book of Ecclesiastes (one of the more unusual books of the Bible), King Solomon9 exclaimed:

  • “I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge” (1:16; cf. 1 Kings 3:9-13).
  • “I made my works great…. [M]y heart rejoiced in all my labor” (2:4,10).
  • “I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings…. I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me” (2:8,7).
  • “I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem” (2:9).
  • “I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure…. I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine…and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives…. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them, I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure” (2:1,3,10).

If anyone could say, “I’ve tried it all,” it was Solomon.

  • Abundant knowledge and wisdom?
  • Extensive labor?
  • Great riches?
  • Unparalleled power and prestige?
  • Extravagant fleshly pleasures, including 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3)?

Yet, even though he “had everything” and “experienced it all,” Solomon repeatedly stressed the meaninglessness of life “under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). From a purely naturalistic, earthly perspective, “all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (1:14).

  • “[I]n much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (1:18).
  • “[T]here is no end to all his labors…. [H]is work [is] burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest” (4:8; 2:23). Solomon wrote: “I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool?” (2:17-19).
  • “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance with increase. This also is vanity” (5:10).
  • A man may be so powerful that it could be said, “there was no end of all the people over whom he was made king.” But even then, “those who come afterward will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind” (4:16).

The cold, hard truth is: all naturalistic pursuits for ultimate meaning and satisfaction are futile. On both a logical and experiential level, the material realm is incapable of providing “objective data on the matter.”10 So, where do we find the answer to the meaning of life? Why am I here?

Question #2—Where Did I Come From?

The answer to the first question is imbedded firmly and deeply within the answers to the next three, beginning with coming to understand where we came from. The reason atheists incorrectly conclude that life has no meaning is that they think that we came from nothing, from nowhere. If, as popular American atheist Dan Barker admitted, “Something came from nothing,”11 and, if, as the late, renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking concluded, “Nothing caused the Big Bang,”12 then we have no logical reason to be here. There would be no ultimate meaning to life. We simply would be the result of a mindless, cosmic accident, which is impotent to provide a real purpose for our existence.

However, atheism is fatally flawed because matter demands a Maker; life on Earth demands a life Giver; complex, functional design in the Universe demands a Designer; and the supernatural attributes of the Bible demand a Supernatural Author.13 Thus, the evidence indicates that God exists and the Bible is His Word.14 In Ecclesiastes 12:1, the wise man gave the perfect starting point to finding real meaning to our lives: “Remember now your Creator.” Truly we can only begin to learn of our real purpose in life by reflecting on exactly where we came from.

We are not the result of a cosmic accident, nor are we the descendants of bacteria or baboon-like creatures. On the contrary, as Solomon concluded: we were specially made by the Divine Creator. Similar to God Himself, Who “is Spirit” (John 4:23-24), He made us as spiritual beings, but ones that inhabit physical bodies (Ecclesiastes 12:7). He made one man and one woman on the sixth day of Creation, saying, “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” (Genesis 1:26-27).15 Not only did God specially make Adam and Eve, but He has uniquely made every spirit of every person since then. Thousands of years after Creation, Paul said to an audience of unbelievers in Athens, “We are the offspring of God” (Acts 17:28-29). He did not say that man had been a divine image-bearer in the past; he said, “we are (esmen)16 also his offspring” (17:28).17

James wrote: “But the tongue can no man tame; it is a restless evil, it is full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God: out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren these things ought not so to be” (3:8-9, ASV).18 The thrust of the expression, “who are made after the likeness of God,” is that humans in the past have been made according to the likeness of God, and they are still bearers of that likeness. All human beings are divine image-bearers. All of us are sons and daughters of God by Creation. In a sense, all of us have royalty in our blood. Contrary to what some leading atheists contend (and we say this confidently, yet humbly), “We are a big deal!” because we come from a Big God!

Whether or not we come to know and acknowledge that we ultimately originated from the hand of God makes all of the difference in the world. Apart from Him, we are nothing and have no real meaning to our lives. But, “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Only upon coming to this fact-based and fascinating conclusion can we successfully answer the most important questions of life, including our previous question, “Why am I here?” as well as our next question, “Where am I going?”

Question #3—Where Am I Going?

If there is no God and this supposed accidental, material realm is all there is, then we’re not going anywhere when our short lives are over. In a 1994 debate at Stanford University on Darwinism, atheistic professor William Provine summarized his views on modern evolutionary biology and its “loud and clear” implications. According to Dr. Provine, “There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is…no ultimate meaning in life.”19 But Dr. Provine is wrong: there is ultimate purpose, because the evidence indicates that an eternal, spiritual Creator exists, Who revealed to us why we are here and where we are going.

So where are we going? To be blunt, we are all on our way to the grave. A dash on a tombstone begins at birth and points to the day of death. “[T]he living know that they will die” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). “[I]t is appointed for men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27). Yet, the day of physical death is not the end.

After reminding man to reflect upon our origins at the hand of the Creator, Solomon revealed that man’s “spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Just as Rachel’s soul departed her body at death (Genesis 35:18), so does the spirit of every man (James 2:26)—not to go out of existence, but to enter the Creator’s eternal, spirit realm to await Judgment. Twice in the final 16 verses of Ecclesiastes we learn that “God will bring you into judgment” (11:9). In fact, “God will bring every work into judgement, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (12:14). Indeed, “God will judge both the righteous and the wicked man, for a time for every matter and for every deed is there” (3:17, NASB)—at the judgment seat of God.

After instructing the Athenians about where they came from (“we are the offspring of God”—Acts 17:29), the apostle Paul logically directed their attention to where we are going: God has “appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man Whom He has ordained” (Acts 17:31), the Son of God, to Whom the Father “has committed all judgment” (John 5:22). The coming Judgment is a constant theme in the New Testament. In fact, when the Judge previously came to Earth as our Savior, He repeatedly warned mankind (especially in His parables) of His coming Judgment. From the wheat and tares to the dragnet (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43,47-50), from the rich fool to the wicked vinedressers (Luke 12:13-21; Matthew 21:33-40), and from the wise and foolish virgins to the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:1-46), Jesus continually reminded man where we are going.

Just prior to Judgment, “the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all the nations: and he shall separate them one from another” (Matthew 25:31-32, ASV). No one knows when this time will come (Matthew 24:36). In fact, “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:10)—suddenly and unexpectedly.

The Bible speaks of “the time of your stay upon earth” (1 Peter 1:17, NASB). Like “a stay” at a hotel for a brief period of time, we are all just passing through this world. This planet is not our home, but only a temporary residence. If this physical realm lasts much longer, we are all going to die. But whether we die prior to Jesus’ return or whether He comes in our lifetime (and we avoid physical death), we are all going somewhere forever—we are returning to our Maker (Ecclesiastes 12:7); we are going to Judgment. And then, we are either going to receive eternal life or eternal punishment; we are going to heaven or hell (Matthew 25:46).

Question #4—How Do I Get There?

Realizing that every person will ultimately end up in either heaven or hell, the next logical, all-important question to ask is, “How?” How do we get from here to there?

Virtually no one professes that they actually want to go to hell, yet the path leading there is quite broad, and “many are those who enter” it in many different ways (Matthew 7:13). How exactly?

  • By refusing to acknowledge where we came from.20
  • By doing little-to-nothing—like the lazy servant in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
  • By rejecting the spiritual (and practical) wisdom of God and going full-steam ahead with a materialistic lifestyle. As Ecclesiastes highlights, a focus on earthly wisdom, prosperity, and worldly pleasures is a recipe for spiritual disaster.
  • By doing whatever “I think” is best. Rather than listen to God, man often does what is “right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Yet, “the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Indeed, “[t]here is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
  • In short, by sinning and not wholly trusting in the Lord—Who is the one and only answer to the sin (and punishment) problem.21

Similar to how God set “life and death, blessing and cursing” before the Israelites (prior to their entrance into the land of Canaan—Deuteronomy 30:19), God sets spiritual life and death before us all and pleads with us to “choose life.” God doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9). He “desires all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4). From the moment wretched sin entered the world, God began revealing His answer to the sin problem (Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3). Following thousands of years of Old Testament promises and prophecies pointing to the ultimate “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), “God sent forth His Son” to redeem the slaves of sin and allow them to become His saved-from-sin children (Galatians 4:4-5). “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoeverbelieves in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). Indeed, God is so loving that He not only warned us of the eternal consequences of unforgiven sin, but even when we succumbed to sin, God took upon Himself the just punishment for our sins, that we might be saved! So why will many people still go to eternal hell? Because they choose to. Because they “trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was [they were] sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace” (Hebrews 10:29).

Our Overall Response to God In General Terms

The Bible is all about God, His plan to save man, and what He requires from us in response. In general terms, God calls us to do what Solomon concluded 3,000 years ago about the “whole matter”: “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Another way of stating what our general response to God should be is found in Solomon’s words in Proverbs 3:5-7: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths…. Fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Or, we could rightly summarize the essence of faithfulness (under Judaism and Christianity) with these challenging words from Jesus (Who was quoting the Old Testament22): “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

Our Initial Response to God In Specific Terms

How do I get there—to heaven, that is? How do I go from being lost in sin to being saved by the grace of God? In other words, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30; 2:38; 22:10).

Specifically, God wants us to hear His saving Gospel message and believe it (Romans 10:14,17; John 8:24; Acts 15:7). He wants us to recognize our sinful ways and humbly repent of them (Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30). He wants us to confess a sincere belief in Christ on our way to becoming a child of God. (In the past 2,000 years, many people have been put to death for uttering the simple phrase, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” In the 21st century, it carries no less weight.) By confessing Jesus as the Son of God and as Lord and Savior, we are saying that we have stopped living for ourselves and started living for the King of kings, the Master of our souls.23 The apostle Paul observed: “With the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:10).

After confessing a sincere belief in Jesus, we have one simple yet profound step to take in order to become a child of God: be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Just as Saul was commanded to be immersed in water in order to “wash away” his sins by the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16), so must we (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21). As Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), when we are baptized we “die” to sin, are buried in water, and rise to live a new life as a Christian (Romans 6:3-4).

Press On, Help Others, and Look Forward to Where We’re Going

The New Testament epistles of Romans through Revelation were written to a diverse group of individual Christians and churches. They may be generally summarized with these words: grow in your commitment to the Lord as you await His return, and help others become and remain faithful.

Although living a committed Christian life can be tough, we will be able to accomplish all things that He has called us to do through Christ Who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). We can confidently “walk in the light as He is in the light,” and know that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin…. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7,9). We can live forgiven and guilt-free, and know that we are saved (1 John 5:13). “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).24

Faithful Christians can actually look forward (without any dread) to where we are going—to the end of time and the return of Jesus. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). Thus, “[w]e are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:8-10).

Along the way, we have the blessed privilege to help others in their journey to meet Jesus at Judgment. There is no better way to love our neighbors as ourselves than to help them get to heaven. Like Paul, let’s become “all things to all men,” that we might “by all means save some.” Let’s seek “the other’s well-being” that, in the end, “they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22; 10:24,33).


We have now come full circle; we can end where we began. Since we can know where we came from, where we are going, and how to get there, we can absolutely know why we are here. Our lives are not meaningless. We are not mere molecules, DNA, or “dust in the wind.” The life of every individual human being is precious and important because of where we came from and where we are going. Our purpose is to prepare our souls for eternity and to help others do the same.

In a world of so much unbelief, doubt, despair, confusion, and insecurity, the God-revealed, crystal-clear, soul-stirring answers to the four most fundamental questions of life desperately need to be heard. Thoughtful meditation on these truths can clear away the fog of unbelief and refocus our lives around what really matters—the true meaning of life.


1 1 Peter 5:8; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

2 1 Corinthians 14:33; cf. Romans 15:33; 16:20; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20.

3 Romans 15:4-5; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

4 1 John 1:5.

5 Richard Dawkins (1995), “God’s Utility Function,” Scientific American, 273[5]:85, November, emp. added.

6 Graham Lawton (2016), “What is the Meaning of Life?” New Scientist, 231[3089]:33, September 3, emp. added.

7  Ibid., emp. added.

8 Ibid., emp. added.

9 “The Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1).

10 Lawton, p. 33.

11 “Wretched: Nothing Made Everything” (2006), http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sK2yNkTuJkY, emp. added.

12 “Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7, emp. added.

13 For these and other reasons, see Eric Lyons and Kyle Butt (2014), “7 Reasons to Believe in God,” http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=5045.

14 For a plethora of evidence for the existence of God and the divine inspiration of the Bible, see www.apologeticspress.org.

15 For a lengthy discussion on what it means to be created in God’s image, see Eric Lyons (2002), “In the ‘Image and Likeness of God’ [Parts 1 & 2],” https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=149 and https://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=151.

16 The Greek word esmen is the first person plural of eimi (to be). This recognition of being God’s offspring served as a basis for his argument as the next verse indicates: “Being then the offspring of God…” (Acts 17:29).

17 All bold text in Scripture quotations has been added for emphasis.

18 The English verb “are made” (ASV) derives from the Greek gegonotas, which is the perfect participle of the verb ginomai. The perfect tense in Greek is used to describe an action brought to completion in the past, but whose effects are felt in the present [see William Mounce (1993), Basics of Biblical Greek (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), p. 219].

19 W.B. Provine and Phillip E. Johnson (1994), “Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy?” Origins Research, 16[1], Fall/Winter, www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/161main.htm.

20 Romans 1:28; Hebrews 11:6; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9.

21 Romans 6:23; 3:23; John 3:16-17; 14:6; Acts 4:12.

22 Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18.

23 Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:1-23; Philippians 1:21; Matthew 16:24-27.

24 For helpful material on learning what it means to live the Christian life and the responsibilities that Christians have, see Kyle Butt’s book, Your Wonderful New Life in Christ (https://store.apologeticspress.org/collections/books/products/apbkkb0030), as well as Jeff Miller’s booklet, Helpful Tools as You Begin Building Your Christian Life (https://store.apologeticspress.org/collections/books/products/helpful-tools-as-you-begin-building-your-christian-life).

The Foolishness of Atheism by Eric Lyons, M.Min.



The Foolishness of Atheism

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Atheists are fond of claiming that their way of thinking is logical, reasonable, and intellectual. They maintain that they are open-minded and refer to themselves as free thinkers. Unlike Christians, who are allegedly delusional, irrational, blind, and absurd, atheists consider themselves utterly rational, sensible people who follow the evidence wherever it leads.

Yet atheism says that everything came from nothing. Atheism says that an explosion caused exquisite order. It says that random chances produced precision and that life popped into existence in nature from non-life. Atheism says that the design of the human eye is a delusion, while the design of a camera is apparent. Atheism says that fish and frogs are man’s distant forefathers and that intelligence is the result of non-intelligence. Atheism alleges that either man is on the same moral plane as a moose, or he actually evolved a sense of morality from amoral monkeys. Atheism spends multiplied millions of dollars and countless thousands of hours in search of extra-terrestrial life, which has never been found.

When atheism is stripped of pompous proclamations and arrogant allegations, its naked soul is seen for what it really is: weak, illogical, unscientific, and worthless. Atheists blindly believe that, for example, life came from non-life. Rather than accept what scientific experimentation has repeatedly concluded over the past 200 years (that in nature life comes only from life and that of its own kind), atheists remain committed to a disproven theory. Man has never witnessed mindlessness bring forth intelligence. He’s never seen something come from nothing.

While trying to convince others he is galloping confidently atop a stallion called Common Sense, in truth, atheism stumbles on the back of a donkey called Foolishness. Is there any wonder why David said, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1)?

For since the creation of the world His [God’s] 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, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:20-22).

"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" To Whom Shall We Go? (6:67-69) by Mark Copeland



To Whom Shall We Go? (6:67-69)


1. When Jesus talked about being the Bread of Life, it troubled some people...
   a. He used figurative language, which sounded cannibalistic - cf. Jn 6:51-59
   b. Difficult to understand, some were offended (those lacking in faith) - cf. Jn 6:60-65
   c. Many of His disciples left Him - cf. Jn 6:66
   -- Prompting Jesus to ask the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"- Jn 6:67

2. Peter's response serves as the text of our lesson...
   a. "To whom shall we go?" - Jn 6:68a
   b. He acknowledged that Jesus alone has the words of eternal life - Jn 6:68b
   c. He also confesses their faith in Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God - Jn 6:69
   -- His question is one that we do well to ask today

[For the answers to our true purpose and mission in life, to find the
words of eternal life, "To Whom Shall We Go?"  There are many places we
could turn to, indeed many do turn to, but they are not the right ones.
For example, consider...]


      1. Many people look to whatever the majority believes
         a. E.g., what their peers thinks
         b. E.g., whatever the latest polls indicate
      2. But consider the words of Jesus, in describing the end of the majority - Mt 7:13-14
      3. If you followed the majority...
         a. In Noah's day, you would have perished in the flood
         b. In Joshua's day, you would have perished in the wilderness

      1. Many feel that human wisdom can lead them to truth and life
         a. Especially that pronounced by educated professors
         b. Or that pronounced by "pop" psychologists on talk shows
      2. But God's thoughts and ways are not always our own - cf. Isa 55:8-9
      3. In fact, God has chosen to save man in a manner specifically
         designed to confound those who depend solely upon human wisdom
         - cf. 1Co 1:18-29

      1. It is common for people to trust their preacher, priest, or pastor
      2. They reason that surely these "men of God" could not be wrong
         or lead them astray
         a. Yet Paul warned of how we can easily be misled - cf. 2 Co 11:13-15
         b. And Jesus warned about the "blind leading the blind" - Mt 15:12-14

      1. "Let your conscience be your guide" is the motto of many
      2. But our conscience cannot always be reliable
         a. Paul had served God with a good conscience throughout his life - Ac 23:1
         b. Even at a time when he was persecuting Christians! - cf. Ac 26:9-11
      3. Our conscience is like a clock, which works properly only if set properly

      1. This is often where many people turn
         a. Who go by whatever "feels right"
         b. Who place stock in things "better felt than told"
      2. Yet the Bible declares the danger of trusting in "feelings"
         a. "There is a way which seems right...but its end is the way of death." - Pr 14:12
         b. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool..." - Pr 28:26
         c. "O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not
            in man who walks to direct his own steps." - Jer 10:23

[None of these should be the ultimate source to where we turn if we are
looking for the words of eternal life.  As confessed by Peter, there is only One...]


      1. As Peter confessed in our text - Jn 6:68-69
      2. He is the one who provides "food which endures to everlasting
         life" - Jn 6:27,35,40
      3. He is the way, the truth and the life - Jn 14:6
      4. Upon this One has God "set His seal" - Jn 6:27
         a. I.e., confirmed Him to be the source of eternal life
         b. Through the miracles, and ultimately His resurrection - Jn 5:36; Ro 1:4
      -- Yet how does one "go to Jesus" when He no longer walks on the
         earth?  We must turn to...

      1. Jesus prepared and equipped His apostles to carry on and complete His work
         a. He told them of the Holy Spirit - Jn 16:7-11
         b. Who would guide them into all the truth - Jn 16:12-13
      2. To receive the apostles (apostolos, lit., one sent) is to receive Jesus - Jn 13:20
      3. Thus the apostles were authoritative spokesmen for Christ
         - e.g., 1Th 4:1-2,8; 1Jn 4:6; Jude 17
      4. They received all things pertaining to life and godliness- 2Pe 1:3
      5. They did not shun to proclaim the whole counsel of God - Ac 20:20-21,27
      -- But how do we "go to the apostles" when they no longer live on
         the earth?  We must turn to...

      1. The apostles wrote that we might benefit from their understanding- e.g., Ep 3:3-5
      2. We must view their words as the commandments of the Lord- e.g., 1Co 14:37
      3. Therefore we are to hold fast to what they taught - cf. 2 Th2:15; 3:14; Jude 3
      4. As exemplified by the very first church in Jerusalem - Ac 2:42
      -- The words of the apostles preserved in their writings, can lead
         us to Him who alone has the words of eternal life!


1. To whom shall we go...?
   a. The answer must be "Jesus!"
   b. He is "...the Christ, the Son of the living God"
   c. He alone has "...the words of eternal life"

2. Where will you find Jesus...?
   a. Not in the words of modern theologians and filmmakers, who have
      sought to remake Jesus according to their own image
   b. But in the words of His apostles, eyewitnesses of His majesty and
      inspired by the Spirit to reveal all that we need to experience life and godliness

Don't let the cacophony of modern voices lead you away from Jesus and
His words of eternal life. Make sure that it is His apostles' writings,
the Word of God, that leads you to Him who is the way, the truth and the
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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When Nothing is Sacred, Everything is Profane by Ken Weliever, The Preacherman



When Nothing is Sacred, Everything is Profane

Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas are 1500 miles apart, but over the weekend became one in shock and sorrow, as a nation was once again stunned by two mass murders.

At least 31 were left dead and dozens more were injured, leaving pundits, talking heads, and average American citizens with the same old haunting questions. Why? What were the motives of the two young gunmen? And what can be done so this never happens again?

James Howard Kunstler, an author, social critic, and blogger framed it this way. “In a nation afflicted by fads, crazes, manias, and rages, mass murder is the jackpot for nihilists — begging the question: why does this country produce so many of them?”

His answer? “This is exactly what you get in a culture where anything goes and nothing matters. Extract all the meaning and purpose from being here on earth, and erase as many boundaries as you can from custom and behavior, and watch what happens, especially among young men trained on video slaughter games.”

“For many,” Kunstler wrote, “there is no armature left to hang a life on, no communities, no fathers, no mentors, no initiations into personal responsibility, no daily organizing principles, no instruction in useful trades, no productive activities, no opportunities for love and affection, and no way out.”

As a nation mourns, many outraged citizens are crying out to our leaders, “Do something! Do Something,” like the crowd did during a speech by Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine during a Sunday night vigil for the victims. Yet the stark reality makes us silently wonder not IF this will happen again, but WHEN?

We are living in a culture, as Kunstler reminds us of the old truism “when nothing is sacred, everything is profane.”

“And what could be more profane, he asked, “than slaughtering your fellow humans en masse, for no good reason? Just because you felt like it at the time? Another time, you might feel like scarfing some tacos, or checking in on the free porn sites, or tweaking some crushed-up oxycontin. One message from the culture of anything-goes-and-nothing-matters comes through loud and clear: if it feels good, do it! And if you feel bad, do something to make yourself feel better.”

Kunstler and I were born in the same year. We have seen the changes in American society in the past 60 years, where human life is not deemed sacred. Abortion on demand. Calls for legalized euthanasia. The failure of a judicial system to exercise capital punishment on murderers. And an entertainment industry that glorifies violence.

I remember the days when school began with a prayer and saying the pledge of allegiance. All of the classmates in my elementary school came from a nuclear family–a father and a mother. People went to church. We were taught respect for authority figures. Society generally agreed on basic Judeo-Christian values. And imagine this, high school students had guns on the gun racks of their pickup trucks. But there were no mass shootings.

I’m not suggesting it was a perfect time. Or that returning to a nostalgic bygone era is the answer to our ills. We must go farther back than the values of a 1950’s America.

While Kunstler is probably correct that “the political process of recognizing what really ails this society is mired in bad faith, idiocy, and neuroticism,” he really doesn’t offer any viable solutions.

The answer is not in politicians passing more laws, or restricting gun sales. It’s not something that any President or political party can fix with secular solutions.

Our nation’s problem is the same as our personal problem. Sin. We live in a fallen, broken world. Evil exists. And evil men will “grow worse and worse.”

Only a return to Biblical values and God’s Word will restore some sanity to a crazy culture that has lost its way. The prophet of old was right when he cried, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23).

While we can’t personally stop the chaos in our culture, or eradicate the evil in our world, Christians can find God’s peace in our own hearts and shine as lights in a “crooked and perverse generation” (Phil 2:15).

We can “depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it” (Ps 34:14). We can look for ways to extend a helping hand to those who need it. Offer hope. And pray for our strife-torn world.

Rather than curse the darkness, let’s light a candle to show others the way of righteousness. In our lives. Our homes. Our churches. Our professions. And our communities.

Let’s reject every vestige of hatred, pride, and prejudice. And be filled with the fruit of Spirit that produces love, humility, patience, and peace.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

APOSTLES DOCTRINE? by steve finnell




APOSTLES DOCTRINE? by steve finnell

The three thousand converts on the Day of Pentecost continued in the apostles doctrine. [Acts 2:40-42 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation."41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine....] NKJV

The apostles doctrine came from the apostles.

 Who are not apostles? Scribes and Pharisees, Thomas Campbell, Mary Baker Eddy, Tony Campolo, Judaizers, John Calvin, Joseph Smith Jr., Gnostics, Pope Francis, Kenneth E. Hagin,
Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Bill Hybels, Paul Washer, Martin Luther, William Miller, Charles Taze Russel, Brigham Young, Jimmy Swaggart, Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll, Alexander Campbell, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, John Piper, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dwight L. Moody, and Billy Graham.

From whom did the apostles receive their doctrine? From God the Father through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

 [John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.](NKJV)

John 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (NKJV)

The apostles had all truth. There was, nor is there, new truth after the apostles died.

Galatians 1:11-12 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached   me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. (NKJV)

The apostle Paul was taught by Jesus Christ.

John 12:49 "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. (NKJV)

 John 7:16 Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. (NKJV)

The apostles doctrine came from God the Father through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The apostles were guided into all truth. There is no new truth. New truth ended with the death of the last apostle.

 The apostles doctrine is found in the Bible alone.

The question is, do men today continue in the apostles doctrine or do they follow man-made doctrine? 

Introduction to the Letter of Jude by Charles Hess



Introduction to the Letter of Jude

Copyright ©2000, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington


The writer of this short letter[ 1 ] identifies himself as 'IOUDAS Judas or Jude, brother of James.[ 2 ] Most commentators assume that he was also a half-brother of Jesus. He was certainly not Judas Iscariot. Both Matthew and Mark mention a Jude (Judas) as a brother of the Lord. "Is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon and Judas?" (Mt 13:55). "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses [Joseph], and Judas and Simon?" (Mk 6:3).

The writer was familiar with the OT. He mentions Sodom and Gomorrah (verse 7), Moses (verse 9), Cain (verse 11), Balaam (verse 11), Korah (verse 11) and Enoch (verse 14). Early in His earthly ministry, Jesus' brothers (including Jude) did not believe in Him (Joh 7:5). However, after the resurrection they did (Ac 1:14).

  1. Brother of Jesus (Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3).
  2. Ancestor of Christ (Lu 3:30).
  3. Apostle, not Iscariot, son of James (Lu 6:16; Ac 1:13).
  4. Iscariot, treasurer, traitor (Joh 6:71; 12:4-6; 13:29).
  5. Surnamed Barsabas, proposed as Judas' successor (Ac 1:23; 15:22, 27, 32).
  6. Galilean insurrectionist (Ac 5:37).
  7. Owner of inn, in street called Straight at Damascus (Ac 9:11).


There are several reasons why we believe that the book of Jude was not an "early" letter. For one thing, he speaks of the faith once delivered (verse 3). He calls upon his readers to remember the words of the apostles (verses 17, 18). All of the twelve except John are thought to have died before AD 70. Under the reign of Domitian, Jude's two grandsons were brought in for judgment. Apparently, Jude was not. From these considerations, we may assume the letter was written before AD 81.[ 3 ] Jude may have died by that time. Since he mentions several cases of punishment by God, it is likely he would have alluded to the destruction of Jerusalem if it had already occurred. Since he did not, there is a suggestion that he wrote prior to AD 70. If 2 Peter was penned about AD 67,[ 4 ] Jude must have been written shortly afterwards (see following paragraph).

  1. False prophets to introduce heresies (Jude 4; 2Pe 2:1).
  2. Sinful angels (Jude 6; 2Pe 2:4).
  3. Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 7; 2Pe 2:6).
  4. Despise authority, revile dignities (Jude 8; 2Pe 2:10).
  5. Angels not abusive (Jude 9; 2Pe 2:11).
  6. Like unreasoning animals (Jude 10; 2Pe 2:12).
  7. Balaam (Jude 11; 2Pe 2:15).
  8. Arrogance of false teachers (Jude 16; 2Pe 2:18).


Jude and Peter warned against the same or similar false teachers. Both stated that evil men denied their Lord (2Pe 1:1; Jude 4). The false teachers attended assemblies of Christians (2Pe 2:13; Jude 12). Several other similarities are listed in the chart SIMILARITIES OF JUDE AND 2 PETER. The comparison with 2 Peter does not, in itself, prove that one book was written before the other.[ 5 ] The Holy Spirit inspired both of them.[ 6 ] However, in 2 Peter, false teachers are predicted. In Jude, they have appeared. This suggests that Jude was written after 2 Peter.


The letter of Jude is genuine. That is, it was penned by its claimed writer. It is authentic, trustworthy and reliable. Those who consider the letter a counterfeit need to come up with a rational motive for forgery. Jude's main claim to fame must have been that he was the Lord's brother but that is not even mentioned in the letter. As to recognition by others, the epistle of Jude is listed in the "Muratorian Canon" (about AD 200); also by Tertullian, Clement and Origen (third century).[ 7 ]


The "postcard" or "memo"[ 8 ] was written to Christians, "to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ" (Jude 1).

  1. Worldly living.
  2. Denying the Lord.
  3. Rebelling against authority.
  4. Irreverence.
  5. Presumptuous speech.
  6. A hedonistic spirit.
  7. False teachers who deceive the unstable.
  8. Corrupting the love feasts.


Licentious, false teachers had appeared on the scene as if from nowhere. These men who denied their "only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" had "crept in unnoticed" (Jude 4). They had to be dealt with. Jude sternly warns those who would lead God's people astray. Not only was there an urgent need for Jude's readers, as well as all Christians everywhere and for all time, to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (verse 3). Following false teachers would cause Christians to be lost eternally. "Pull them out of the fire" is Jude's earnest appeal (verse 23).


[ 1 ] The Bible version used in this Introduction is the American Standard Version (ASV) unless otherwise noted. Occasionally, its archaic language has been updated.
[ 2 ] There were two apostles named James (see Lu 6:14, 15). In Matthew's list, Lebbeus (Thaddaeus) is listed tenth (Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18). In Luke's list, the tenth is Simon called the Zealot followed by Judas brother of James (see Lu 6:15, 16). This has prompted some to think the apostles Judas and Lebbeus were the same but this is not conclusive (see also Joh 14:22; Ac 1:13; 15:13; Ga 1:19; 2:9).
[ 3 ] Domitian became emperor of Rome in AD 81. Hegesippus (about 110-180) wrote that two grandsons of Jude were brought before Domitian as descendants of David but were dismissed as harmless peasants. If Jude were still living, it is likely he would have been mentioned or, possibly, as a descendant of David himself, brought before Domitian for trial (Zondervan 456).
[ 4 ] See Introduction to 2 Peter.
[ 5 ] It is possible to explain the similarities between Jude and 2 Peter in one of four ways: (1) One writer got information from the other. (2) The two men talked over what they would write. (3) Both relied upon a third source. (4) The Spirit inspired both of them to write similar words. My view is number 4.
[ 6 ] Instances of writers saying almost the same words are found in the Proverbs, Psalms and Gospels.
[ 7 ] Harrison 1487.
[ 8 ] Jude's "book" of one page (25 verses) is respectfully termed a memo or postcard.

Copyright ©2000, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington, U.S.A.
This material may be copied for personal study only.
It may not be distributed or published in any form whatever
without the copyright owner's written permission.
This copyright notice must be included on all copies made.

Published in The Old Paths Archive (http://www.oldpaths.com)