Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Facts on the Ground: Science, God, and the testimony of Great Thinkers

Hubble Telescope images used with permission thanks to Hubblesite.org

Hubble Telescope images used with permission thanks to Hubblesite.org

“Discoveries of the last half of the 20th century have brought the scientific community to the realization that our universe and our planet in the universe are so remarkably unique that it is almost impossible to imagine how this could have happened accidentally, causing many agnostic scientists to concede that indeed some intelligent creative force may be required to account for it.” –Dr. Walter Bradley, Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A & M University

Is it reasonable to believe in God?  Can we confidently believe?  This is a quick description of some of the keys to unlocking the truth hidden in plain sight.  

Science or God is a false choice.  Don't subscribe to that.  The Christian faith inspired some of the greatest scientists in history.  That continues today.  Is it reasonable to believe in God?  Based on a great deal of inquiry, into multiple disciplines and from the testimony of great men and women over the ages, I do believe it is highly reasonable to believe in God.

There are a lot of lies and distortions out there.  Don't believe it.  They try to push this agenda, that it has to be science vs. God.  But that is nonsense!  God and science are not in conflict.  People want to divide and conquer in that area though.  Be careful for the bias in the media, in the sciences, history, philosophy, and in culture all together.  Many of these quotes I'm sharing here do not fit the media narrative and the cultural narrative.

“Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system. I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance."
Sir Isaac Newton

In my view the best argument for the existence of God is the argument from design.  It screams very loudly from every angle, from the smallest cells in our bodies to the galaxies surrounding the milky way.  Every small and large part of life testifies that God exists.  Why?  Because harmonious complexity does not come from random chance, it never has and it never will.  Entropy, and the second law of thermodynamics.

To illustrate the the argument from design: It's like admiring a beautiful painting, of a lush forest with great mountains in the background.  It's awe inspiring and magnificent.  As you walk nearer to inspect the design you start to spot the brush marks on the canvass where the artist, the painter, the designer, brought the painting to life.  In the same way, when we inspect the vast, incalculable complexity of the universe, and the cells of the human body, of nature, and the union of intersections all precisely tuned to allow for a natural order, we understand that we are seeing the paint brush strokes of a grand designer, we're seeing the handiwork of God himself.

“It's natural to be skeptical of a story like Noah. However, the greatest miracle in the Bible is not Noah and the flood. The greatest miracle in the Bible is recorded in the first verse: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." If that miracle is true, then every miracle in the Bible is at least possible (including Noah's Ark). If God created the universe, then He can do whatever He wants inside it.” –Frank Turek  

Quite parallel to the argument from design is the Kalam cosmological argument.  This argument basically indicates that something can't come from nothing.  Travel back with me to the birth of the universe.  The big bang if you believe in such a thing, where did it come from?  Who generated the explosion?  Nothing can't trigger a big bang.  The universe can't pop into existence from nothingness, it makes no sense.  The cosmological argument indicates that the best explanation for the existence of the universe is that a timeless, eternal, all powerful being created the universe.

To escape from this obvious conclusion atheist scientists will speculate that well, perhaps an infinite number of possible universes all exist at the same time in parallel dimensions and we just happen to be in the one where a perfect harmony was developed to allow for human life to flourish and sustain itself on a planet bearing natural plant life edible to humans with a perfect ecosystem to allow for life, plants, animals, and the planet itself all to sustain one another in a perpetuating circle of life.  

They call this the multiverse theory.  And the multiverse theory isn't just ridiculous, it's down right embarrassing.  First, it's purely speculative to suggest an infinite number of universes all exist.  There is no way to test such a theory.  Second, Occam's razor cuts it off immediately as being much too far fetched and exceedingly complicated.  It neglects a much more simple, and workable explanation: God.  Third, the theory engenders a logical fallacy called special pleading.  When cornered with a finely tuned universe, this is the special case scenario being entirely preposterous, is still suggested as an alternative to the elephant in the room: God.    

 “Is it really credible that random processes could have constructed a reality...which excels in every sense anything produced by the intelligence of man?” –Michael Denton

A God created the universe.  Fair enough, which God?  Let's look at the Bible.  Is it credible?  Is it really the word of God, inspired through the minds of men?  Is there evidence outside the Bible to testify to it's truthfulness?  

One area that testifies to the truth of the Bible is archaeology. 

“It is not too much to say that it was the rise of the science of archaeology that broke the deadlock between historians and the orthodox Christian. Little by little, one city after another, one civilization after another, one culture after another, whose memories were enshrined only in the Bible, were restored to their proper place in ancient history by the studies of archaeologists…The over-all result is indisputable. Forgotten cities have been found, the handiwork of vanished peoples has reappeared, contemporary records of Biblical events have been unearthed and the uniqueness of biblical revelation has been emphasized by contrast and comparison to the newly understood religions of ancient peoples. Nowhere has archaeological discovery refuted the Bible as history.” –John Elder, archaeologist (Quoted in Don Stewart, The Ten Wonders of the Bible, 1990, p. 58)

What about the Bible itself?  Is it reliable?  We must remember that many, if not most who expel skepticism at the biblical documents are working from an extreme bias against the supernatural.  They are defending their worldview, which is naturalistic.  Naturalism is the doctrine that the physical world and universe is all there ever was or will be.  It's entirely unproveable.  It's a worldview.  Is the Bible reliable?  Listen to the testimony of the experts:

“There exists no document from the ancient world witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical testimonies, and offering so superb an array of historical data on which the intelligent decision may be made. An honest [person] cannot dismiss a source of this kind. Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon an irrational bias.” –Dr. Clark Pinnock, Skeptics Who Demanded a Verdict, Josh McDowell, p. 84.

“It's ironic that Isaac Newton, discoverer of the laws of motion that were later used by others to attempt to contradict parts of the Bible, was one of its greatest defenders. He wrote several papers supporting the accuracy of the text and spoke out against the Biblical critics of his day.” –Ralph O. Muncaster, The Bible: Scientific Insights, p. 20. 

“Is the Bible the Word of God? Then let us all resolve from this day forward to prize the Bible more. Let us not fear being idolaters of this blessed book. Men may easily make an idol of the Church, of ministers, of sacraments, or of intellect. Men cannot make an idol of the Word. Let us regard all who would damage the authority of the Bible, or impugn its credit, as spiritual robbers. We are traveling through a wilderness: they rob us of our only guide. We are voyaging over a stormy sea: they rob us of our only compass. We are toiling over a weary road: they pluck our staff out of our hands. And what do these spiritual robbers give us in place of the Bible? What do they offer as a safer guide and better provision for our souls? Nothing! absolutely nothing! Big swelling words! Empty promises of new light! High sounding jargon; but nothing substantial and real! They would fain take from us the bread of life, and they do not give us in its place so much as a stone. Let us turn a deaf ear to them. Let us firmly grasp and prize the Bible more and more, the more it is assaulted....God has given us the Bible to be a light to guide us to everlasting life. Let us not neglect this precious gift. Let us read it diligently, walk in its light, and we shall be saved.” –J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)

“Born in the East and clothed in Oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet and enters land after land to find its own everywhere. It has learned to speak in hundreds of languages to the heart of man. Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wise men at its warnings, but to the wounded and penitent it has a mother’s voice. It has woven itself into our dearest dreams; so that love, friendship, sympathy, devotion, memory, hope, put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech. No man is poor or desolate who has this treasure for his own. When the landscape darkens, and the trembling pilgrim comes to the Valley of the Shadow, he is not afraid to enter; he takes the rod and staff of Scripture in his hand; he says to friend and comrade, ‘Goodbye; we shall meet again’; and confronted by that support, he goes toward the lonely pass as one who walks through darkness into light.” –Henry Van Dyke (Quoted by Don Stewart, The Ten Wonders of the Bible, 1990, p. 9)

We have to be careful about the society around us.  In going to public schools and then attending the liberal university of Wisconsin colleges network I found that I was being indoctrinated into a worldview.  It was a worldview that encouraged skepticism toward the Bible and unquestioning faith in other areas, like liberalism, evolution, post-modernist philosophy, and many other areas.  I'm not saying those worldviews and ideologies are necessarily entirely fallacious, but I am indicating that I was taught a sort of devotion to them.  A devotion much like the devotion a Christian might have for his worldview.  

In my life I've found that I must peel away many misconceptions from my mind.  I must unlearn so many things that I've already learned.  I held an unwavering skepticism toward the Bible and an unwavering faith toward my own judgment and discernment.  I wanted life to be what I wanted it to be.  I ignored the truth.  Western society pushes a secular ideology at every turn.  You may not realize that many of the beliefs you hold are ingrained from a secular perspective not based on facts, but based on faith in naturalist presuppositions, and secular approaches to all disciplines of life, from psychology to family, to finances, philosophy, and of course science. 

I'll give you just one example out of many.  I was watching the History channel, an influencer of tens of millions of people, if not more.  On the show I was watching they were trying to show how the events in the Bible could be explained by scientific means.  When I clicked onto the channel they were discussing the star the wise men followed to find the recently born Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.  The historians, scientists, and archaeologists on the show were trying to show that perhaps the "star" they saw was a meteor or some sort of trick of light based on science.  See, they know the biblical accounts are historically reasonable, but they must absolutely refuse any reference to the supernatural.  Later they were discussing the escape of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.  They were trying to explain that perhaps the river become clogged further upstream creating a sand bar along the water so they could pass over safely.  I kept wondering, why won't they consider the possibility of a supernatural occurrence?  The screen switched to an speaker who indicated that the text says Moses called upon God to make the waters split, but "that's a fantasy."  And I wondered, how do you know it's a fantasy?  You've provided no proof that it's a fantasy.  You've indicated no evidence that the supernatural is impossible.  You've simply acted on an unfounded presupposition that the supernatural is impossible.  Which is unacceptable, especially when your giving off an air of objectivity. 

“The excessive skepticism of many liberal theologians stems not from a careful evaluation of the available data, but from an enormous predisposition against the supernatural.” –Millar Burrows, former Yale University Professor 

“All I am in private life is a literary critic and historian, that's my job...And I'm prepared to say on that basis if anyone thinks the Gospels are either legends or novels, then that person is simply showing his incompetence as a literary critic. I've read a great many novels and I know a fair amount about the legends that grew up among early people, and I know perfectly well the Gospels are not that kind of stuff.” –C. S. Lewis

Have you ever heard that before?  "The Bible is just a book of legends."  The only problem with that statement is it's completely false.  The Bible is accepted by the vast majority of historians as reliable accounts of historical events.  Explain that one to an atheist, they will go crazy.  They don't like to bring up history though, or science for that matter.  Unless of course it's in relation to a strawman of the Christian faith, matched with a false dichotomy of religion vs. science. 

“It is generally the man who is not ready to argue, who is ready to sneer.” –G.K. Chesterton, as quoted in The Christian Research Journal, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2009, p. 44. 

In conclusion, there is strong, powerful evidence for faith in the God of the Bible.  The testimony stretches from presidents, to nobel prize winners, to the best scientists of history, and to some of the greatest minds today.  They all indicate that the God of the Bible is real.  There are excellent arguments, like the cosmological argument and the argument from design.  You may rest assured that Jesus Christ is Lord, and he is alive today.  You may rest assured that the Bible is the word of God, and we may place all our trust in the God who cares for us and keeps us in his protection until the day of Christ Jesus.  Amen. 

“Therefore, when a person refuses to come to Christ it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God's Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God.” –William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, p. 35-36.

Hubble Telescope images used with permission thanks to Hubblesite.org

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