Strong Delusion

In his work, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins asserts that belief in God qualifies as a delusion: a fixed false belief which persists in light of conflicting evidence. Atheists often exude this conviction, that any belief in God is blind superstition, confident that science, logic and reason are entirely on their side.

When we’re at fault, we may find ourselves projecting our own error upon others, and then judging them mercilessly. (Rom 2:1) We find it so with many atheists, Dawkins being typical.

Just how difficult is it to prove God exists? If we’re honest with the facts, it’s relatively simple.

Consider the claim of the late Stephen Hawking, that there are only two possibilities for the origin of the universe: Either [P1] God created it ex nihilo, or [P2] The laws of physics did.

Being a committed atheist, Hawking chooses P2, positing that the laws of physics exist as creative forces independent of Nature. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” he writes. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”

The obvious flaw in P2 is that the laws of physics actually don’t exist: they are not creative forces, merely abstract concepts describing patterns we consistently observe in Nature. So, P2 is a delusion in the proper sense of the word: a claim explicitly contrary to science.

However, Hawking is so confident in P2 that he offers no third possibility. So, in his inestimable brilliance, Hawking leaves us with a very simple choice: Deity, or Delusion. He sides with Delusion; anything but Deity, no matter how absurd. This is atheism, at its very best.

I anticipate 3 possible responses:

[R1] Hawking is no expert in this field and should not be trusted. This is easily dismissed; Hawking was an eminently reliable authority, knowing the valid options on origins and distilling them for us.

[R2] I have misrepresented Hawking’s claim. Also easily refuted with commonly available facts.

[R3] Fall back on “God of the gaps” (GOTG), and assert that P2 is a valid choice, merely one scientists can’t fully support just yet. The problem here is that GOTG is reasonable only when bridging the “gap” in question does not require contradicting all known science. Claiming we might eventually discover how something which does not exist could create everything which does exist – ex nihilo, from NOTHING — does contradict all we know from science. In this case, GOTG isn’t an argument; it’s a cop out, a refusal to consider any evidence for God at all. (Ro 1:20)

If we have already presumed there can’t be a god then we must confidently choose P2, and never P1, no matter what the data say. Though the heavens declare the glory of God (Ps 19:1), our presupposition blinds us to the obvious. This is the essence of delusion.

God will eventually send strong delusion upon all who don’t love the truth. (2Th 2:11-12) There may be thousands of poorly framed arguments for the existence of God, but this is not one of them. It only takes one to convince the honest soul. What say you: Deity or Delusion?

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In Six Days

Evolutionists assert that Earth is billions of years old, so we expect some to try to interpret Scripture to accommodate an old earth. How might they do so?

Primarily by allegorizing the Creation myth and considering the days of Creation to be geologic ages, making each day as long as we like.  The general pattern of a lifeless earth (Day 1), then plants (Day 3), followed by sea creatures (Day 5), land animals and finally Man (Day 6) seems to more or less follow evolutionary sequence. It’s called the Day-Age Theory.

Obvious problems include the fact that the planet itself is created before light (Day 1), Earth, light and plants (Days 1-3) all appear before the sun, moon and stars (Day 4), birds (Day 5) come before all land animals (Day 6), and God blessing the 7th Day to start an ongoing 7-day rest cycle based on Him completing Creation in 6 days. (Ex 20:11)

Further, Adam is said to be the very first man (1Co 15:45) and his life-span is stated explicitly (Ge 5:5), along with those of all the antediluvian patriarchs (8-30) in the lineage of Christ (Lk 3:36-38), placing Creation around 4000 BCE.

So, to be consistent, we can’t simply allegorize the Creation account in isolation, we end up corrupting the integrity of Scripture throughout; its authors evidently understood the Creation account literally: if they were mistaken, they weren’t inspired. If the Day-Age Theory had any real basis in scripture, it’s difficult to explain why it appeared so late in history, only in the last 200 years. The interpretation thus appears forced in order to accommodate recent, opposing scientific claims.

Another approach, the Gap-Theory, allows for a literal interpretation of the Creation account, yet postulates a large gap between the first two verses; between the creation of the planet (Ge 1:1) and it being found formless and void. (2) This view harmonizes nicely with most scripture while providing for any age of the earth we like. However, it’s also inconsistent with the Sabbath Command (Ex 20:11), and begs the question of whether an old planet with no light or atmosphere, no sun or moon or stars, or any life form whatever as we know it, helps much to square the Word with evolutionary claims. What’s the point then?

We all choose an authority for determining what’s true, and if we earnestly want to know the truth we should insist on having no contradictions in our world view, no inconsistencies. If we accept God’s Word as Truth, in it’s entirety (Ps 119:160), then we must try to interpret it consistently, and discount unverified scientific claims, such as evolution, which contradict it. (1Ti 6:20-21)

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Clearly Seen

To design is to envision an outcome and then purposely determine how to rearrange matter to achieve that outcome. The context might be physical, resulting in a tool or a machine, or metaphysical – symbols or imagery conveying meaning, or a combination of the two. Design is ultimately produced only by intelligence; unconscious matter cannot envision, purpose or determine.

Easter Island StatueComplexity is a measure of difficulty in design; more complex designs require more intelligence. When we encounter highly complex, inanimate designs we immediately recognize them, and we naturally ascribe the intelligent cause to humans; proposing any other cause is irrational.

Yet living creatures also have the appearance of profoundly complex and exquisite design, far beyond human capability, so it’s natural to infer the existence of a supreme Mind, a God, the Designer of the human mind, and to be inspired unto worship. (Ps 139:14)

But when we’re predisposed to rule out the possibility of a transcendent, intelligent Cause a priori, we invariably struggle with the apparent design of living creatures, desperately looking for a natural cause rather than a divine one.

Enter Charles Darwin, a mid-19th century biologist offering an explanation (Evolution) for how unintelligent processes might account for the appearance of design in Nature: organisms change (evolve) over time due to slight, random changes in offspring (Common Descent), some of which improve chances of survival; in competing for scarce resources, random (unintelligent) processes tend to eliminate inferior organisms (Natural Selection), favoring those more suitably adapted to their environment. Given sufficient time, Darwin supposed such processes might plausibly account for design throughout Nature.

Yet Darwin and his contemporaries were unable to explain how Evolution works at the required level of detail; they were clueless about the complex biological machinery of life because the tools enabling this level of research were unavailable until the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Now, we understand the molecular mechanism which drives Evolution: random anomalies (mutations) may occur during DNA replication which alter the structure of proteins, the building blocks of living cells; some of these changes are beneficial, helping offspring survive.

This explains, for example, the wide variety of Galapagos finches or African cichlids; Evolution nicely accounts for variations within a kind of organism (generally within the same family classification, micro-evolution), but it has not yet explained how the various kinds of organisms (family and above, macro-evolution) came to exist in the first place. Why not?

Differences between families of organisms, say between a finch and a swan, or between a cichlid and a shark, lie at the molecular level, in the myriad array of biological machines which make up living cells. Many of these machines are irreducibly complex: disabling any one of the component parts breaks the machine; such machines cannot be formed gradually, in a step-wise manner, continuously improving or altering their function: it’s all or nothing.

Consequently, after decades of intense research, scientists hoping to find a naturalistic explanation for the apparent design of living systems find themselves at an impasse: mutations in DNA replication cannot reasonably account for the large differences between diverse kinds of biological machines. It’s like proposing that blueprints (DNA) for sewing machines came from haphazard copying errors (mutations) to blueprints for washing machines, one step at a time, such that each intermediate machine (none of which were ever actually observed) worked as well as or better than the prior one. It’s unthinkable, patently absurd.

It should come as no surprise then to find that, to date (early 2020), no scientific publication of any kind explains exactly how random rearrangements of DNA could reasonably account for the design of any irreducibly complex molecular machine in any living organism, not even the simplest of these machines. The reason is obvious: each one comprises many very complex proteins arranged in very specific ways to achieve very complex functions, much more complex than a sewing machine.

The chances of randomly forming a typical, useful protein molecule from scratch, even if all (20 or so) required types of components are present, compares to blindly selecting a particular atom from among all the atoms in the Milky Way galaxy.

Even if we start with a similar but fundamentally different kind of supposed parent machine, the time required to randomly generate just a handful of the numerous mutations needed to form the specific proteins required by any one of these complex biological machines would be astronomical. In other words, even the simplest of the biological systems is so extremely complex that it is inconceivable for even one of them to come into existence via Evolution.

This scientific impasse is not based on an absence of knowledge (God of the gaps), but on overwhelming biochemical evidence that is only becoming increasingly problematic for Evolution as we learn more about how living organisms work. No reasonable alternative theories have been proposed which explain the scientific data, and given the overwhelming nature of the evidence, we have no reason to ever expect a naturalistic explanation.

The only rational conclusion we can now derive from science is that every living thing is designed by a very powerful Mind. The entire body of scientific knowledge in biochemistry points to this conclusion; there is zero evidence for macro-evolution.

Divine design is now more evident in living things than is human design in inanimate things, which we readily accept where we’re free from crippling bias. Design is clearly seen everywhere, being understood by us all, whether we happen to like it or not. (Ro 1:20)

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The Creature Waits

Creation, all created things, evidently have a common consciousness: God says the whole creation groans together (Ro 8:22); created things are aware of being part of a sin-stained cosmos, and are waiting, earnestly expecting the resurrection and manifestation of God’s children. (Ro 8:19)

Since the individual animals with this expectation are constantly dying, just like we are, the implication here is that all created things are excitedly aware that they will all experience the resurrection of the dead together in all its glory along with us, sharing a common eternal destiny. (Ro 8:21)

Interestingly, Albert Barnes says of this text: Perhaps there is not a passage in the New Testament that has been deemed more difficult of interpretation than this; and after all the labors bestowed on it by critics, still there is no explanation proposed which is perfectly satisfactory, or in which commentators concur. It appears that reluctance to accept its plain, apparent meaning might lie in contradicting science, which we ought not allow. (1Ti 6:20-21)

Yet recent scientific discoveries in the paranormal are indicating this very thing, that all life forms, plants and animals, are connected in a common consciousness across time, and even that inanimate objects participate in this. Perhaps they are indeed struggling together with us under the stain of sin, in a universe infected by Man’s rebellion (Job 25:5), waiting for the adoption of the saints. (Ro 8:23)

What if God has temporarily silenced the creature (Ro 8:20), to allow men to rebel against Him with less obvious incrimination for a time? (Ro 11:32-33) If all Creation were free to proclaim God’s praise now (Lk 19:40), where would hatred and rebellion hide until wickedness is to be exposed? (2Th 2:7-8) And what if, in that final glorious day, all of creation will join with us in praising our living, transcendent, almighty Creator … together!

This insight puts Creation in an entirely different perspective, and encourages us to both treat it with respect, and also to enjoy the miracle of God’s expression of Himself through it all so much the more.

The heavens declare the glory of God, may be much more than metaphor. (Ps 19:1) It is truly for His pleasure that they are, and were created. (Re 4:11)

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