Presentation on theme: "Is Anybody Up There? This presentation may not be altered without the permission of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ."— Presentation transcript:
Is Anybody Up There? This presentation may not be altered without the permission of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ.
2 Atheism In the 1880s, Friedrich Nietzsche declared "God is dead.”
3 Two Competing Theories Two major influences on what we learned in school about the origin of life: 1.Atheism 2. Christianity
Two Evidences for a Creator Two arguments for the existence of a creator: 1.the argument for Design, and 2.the case for an Expanding Universe. 4
5 The Design Argument
A Heavenly Watchmaker One of the oldest arguments for intelligent design came from Anglican theologian William Paley. In 1802, he wrote Natural Theology. Paley suggested that if you were walking along a path and saw a stone, all you would think is that the stone had possibly been there forever. 6
7 The Design Argument A Heavenly Watchmaker But then suppose it was a watch you saw lying on the ground. Because a watch is a system of interacting components, you would immediately realize the watch had a designer who purposefully created it. Applying this to the larger universe, Paley called this designer the heavenly "watchmaker" of creation.
8 The Design Argument There is a legitimate argument that can be made for the existence of an original cause or creator just by observing the order and complexity of the universe we see all around us. There is a legitimate argument that can be made for the existence of an original cause or creator just by observing the order and complexity of the universe we see all around us.
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? Is Natural Selection Really A Blind Watchmaker? In 1986, atheist and biologist Richard Dawkins responded to Paley's design argument with his book, The Blind Watchmaker. Dawkins claimed that the process of natural selection resulted in the universe and was "the blind watchmaker" operating by mere chance without the aid of a creator. 9
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? Is Natural Selection Really A Blind Watchmaker? Dawkins tried to use evolutionary theory for ideological purposes to discredit Christianity. Upon hearing Dawkins' suggestion that a watch or even the universe was created by mere chance, many people would respond, "I'm sorry, but I don't have enough faith to believe that the world was created by mere chance.". 10
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? The Limits Of Evolutionary Theory "Ernst Mayer, a longtime champion of evolution, writes that when Darwin published the Origin of Species 'he actually did not have a single clear-cut piece of evidence for the existence of natural selection.‘” “Another Darwin enthusiast, Jonathan Weiner concedes that despite its title, Darwin's book ‘does not document the origin of a single species.'" 11 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 148.
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? Perhaps natural selection might explain common genetic material between species, but Richard Dawkins' attempt to use the theory to disprove God falls short. 12
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? 1. The theory of evolution is limited to the arena of biology. 2. It does not explain anything about origins. 3. Natural selection does not attempt to explain how humans obtained a conscious awareness, the ability to reason or a sense of morality. 13
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? Andy Knoll, Harvard biologist, states: “If we try to summarize by just saying what, at the end of the day, we do know about the deep history of life on Earth, about its origin, about its formative stages that gave rise to the biology we see around us today, I think we have to admit that we’re looking through a glass darkly here. We don’t know how life started on this planet. We don’t know exactly when it started, we don’t know under what circumstances.” 14 Andy Knoll, PBS Nova Interview, May 3, 2004.
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? Biochemist Michael Behe has “no reason to doubt” physicists’ assertion that the universe is billions of years old, but he sees limitations in the theory of natural selection: “Although Darwin’s mechanism – natural selection working on variation – might explain many things, however, I do not believe it explains molecular life.” 15 Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 5.
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? Since the 1950s, electron microscopes have revealed an astounding complexity and order in the cells of living organisms: “The cumulative results show with piercing clarity that life is based on machines – machines made of molecules! Molecular machines haul cargo from one place in the cell to another along ‘highways’ made of other molecules, while still others act as cables, ropes, and pulleys to hold the cell in shape.” 16 Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 4-5.
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? “Machines turn cellular switches on and off, sometimes killing the cell or causing it to grow. Solar-powered machines capture the energy of photons and store it in chemicals. Electrical machines allow current to flow through nerves. Manufacturing machines build other molecular machines, as well as themselves. Cells swim using machines, copy themselves using machinery, ingest food with machinery. In short, highly sophisticated molecular machines control every cellular process.” 17 Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 4-5
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? Paul Davies, a physicist and cosmologist, states: “The cell is also an information storing, processing and replicating system. We need to explain the origin of this information, and the way in which the information processing machinery came to exist... The problem of how meaningful or semantic information can emerge spontaneously from a collection of mindless molecules subject to blind and purposeless forces presents a deep conceptual challenge.” 18 P aul Davies, “The Origin of Life II: How Did It Begin?” as found in Antony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York, HarperCollins, 2007), 129.
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? Behe’s Conclusion: “In the face of the enormous complexity that modern biochemistry has uncovered in the cell, the scientific community is paralyzed. No one at Harvard university, no one at the National Institutes of Health, no member of the National Academy of Sciences, no Nobel prize winner – no one at all can give a detailed account of how the cilium, or vision, or blood clotting, or any complex biochemical process might have developed in a Darwinian fashion.” 19 Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 87.
Natural Selection: Watchmaker? Going beyond biology, the idea of natural selection does not explain how the earth, for example, was placed at just the right distance from the sun or how the earth rotates in just the right manner to create 24-hour days in which the sun perpetually rises and sets. 20 Natural selection does not explain how the earth was placed at the right distance from the sun or how the earth rotates in just the right manner to create 24-hour days so the sun perpetually rises and sets.
Origins Though some atheists claim that natural selection explains origins, but it does not explain the ultimate force that originally created the universe or where the very first life form came from. 21 Some atheists claim that natural selection explains origins, but it does not explain the ultimate force that originally created the universe or where the very first life form came from.
Origins Though he was strongly opposed to Christianity, in his own autobiography, Charles Darwin said “When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; I deserve to be called a Theist.” However, his original theory of evolution did not even attempt to explain how the first cell was created or the origin of the universe. 22 Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin , ed. Nora Barlow (London: Collins, 1958),
Origins Even Immanuel Kant, an Enlightenment philosopher, made the point that it is impossible to prove that this physical environment we experience with our senses is all that exists. 23
Origins "Perhaps the greatest scientist of all time, Newton, viewed his discoveries as showing the creative genius of God's handiwork in nature. 'This most beautiful system of sun, planets, and comets," he wrote, "could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.‘” 24 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL:Tyndale House Publishers, 2007), p. 100 and Richard Westfall, "Isaac Newton," in Gary Ferngren, editor, Science and Religion (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 155.
Origins “Newton's God was not a divine watchmaker who wound up the universe and then withdrew from it. Rather, God was an active agent sustaining the heavenly bodies in their positions and solicitous of His special creation, man." 25 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL:Tyndale House Publishers, 2007), p. 100
Origins The order and complexity of the universe is undeniable. As Paley said, there must have been a divine watchmaker. Probability alone would indicate that such an intricate design points to the existence of a creator. 26
Origins "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1 (NIV) "The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea and its motion. Yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form, doth witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”Alma 16: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1 (NIV) "The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea and its motion. Yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form, doth witness that there is a Supreme Creator.” Alma 16:54-55
Origins Every person is given the ability to view creation and determine what they believe. There is a legitimate argument that can be made for the existence of a divine creator just by observing the order and complexity of the universe we see around us. 28
Origins William Paley's argument that there must have been a designer has never been refuted. In fact, with recent scientific developments, Paley's position is even stronger today than it was in We will discuss recent discoveries in the next segment called The Expanding Universe. 29
Discussion 1.In William Paley’s example, a complex and orderly system of interacting components is the difference between a _s_______ and a _w________. 2.Did Darwin’s evolutionary theory ever attempt to explain how the very first life form on earth was originally created? 3.Electron microscopes in the 1950s allowed us to directly observe in elaborate detail how complex a _c_____ is. 30
Four Aspects of the Genesis Account 32
Genesis "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1 (KJV) 33
Genesis 1. God created “time” Time itself had a beginning. The phrase "in the beginning God created..." is unique to Christianity and Judaism. Other major religions do not teach that time started at a given point. 34
Genesis 2. God created the universe out of nothing John 1 says, "In the beginning was the Word." Genesis 1 says, “And God said..." God merely spoke the words and the universe was created ex nihilo (out of nothing).. 35
Genesis 3. God created the universe in six days The Hebrew word for “day” in Genesis can mean: a literal 24-hour day, or a much longer period of time. 36
Genesis 4. God created man “in his own image” God is a spiritual being. So being created "in God's image" has typically implied that man received certain attributes of God such as a conscious awareness, the ability to reason and a sense of morality. 37
Genesis Christians believe that God created the universe as described in the Genesis account. 38
Discussion 1.By saying “In the beginning, God created...” the book of Genesis is making what claim about the idea of “time”? 2.According to the Genesis narrative, did God use already- existing material to create the universe? 3.Does accepting Genesis require that I must believe the universe was created in six 24-hour days? 39
41 The Expanding Universe
Two Evidences for a Creator An earlier slide in this presentation stated that we would present two arguments for the existence of a creator: 1.the argument for Design, and 2.the case for an Expanding Universe. We now would like to present evidence for an expanding universe. 42
Origin of the Universe In the last several decades, science has been torn between two competing theories about the origin of the universe: a Big Bang explosion in which the universe was suddenly created, and Steady State Theory in which the universe has perpetually existed without change going backward infinitely in time. 43
44 Genesis claims that God spoke and the universe leapt into existence by the power of his word..
Origin of the Universe In the early twentieth century, there were two stunning scientific developments that seemed to confirm this idea of a universe created by a supernatural, primordial explosion of heat and light: Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, and Edwin Hubble's discovery of an expanding universe. 45
Slipher’s Discovery “The scientific story of Genesis begins in 1913, when Vesto Melvin Slipher... discovered that about a dozen galaxies in our vicinity were moving away from the earth at very high speeds, ranging up to two million miles per hour... By 1925 he had clocked the velocities of 42 galaxies... Slipher himself had never realized the connection between his measurements and the expanding Universe.. Slipher believed that the galaxy to which the sun belonged was drifting through space...” 46 Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 17, 21., 27.
Theory of Relativity “Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic – and by now it was wartime – Einstein published his equations of general relativity in Willem de Sitter, a Dutch astronomer, found a solution to them almost immediately that predicted an exploding Universe, in which the galaxies of the heavens moved rapidly away from one another. This was just what Slipher had observed. However, because of the interruption of communications by the war, de Sitter probably did not know about Slipher’s observations at that time.” 47 Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 18.
Theory of Relativity “Around this time, signs of irritation began to appear among the scientists. Einstein was the first to complain. He was disturbed by the idea of a Universe that blows up, because it implied that the world had a beginning. In a letter to de Sitter... Einstein wrote ‘This circumstance [of an expanding Universe] irritates me,’ and in another letter about the expanding Universe, “To admit such possibilities seems senseless’... I suppose that the idea of a beginning in time annoyed Einstein because of its theological implications.” 48 Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992),
Theory of Relativity “The great physicist was, by his own account, 'irritated' by the idea of an expanding universe. He went so far as to invent a new force, the 'antigravity' force, as well as a number called the 'cosmological constant,' to try to disprove the notion of a beginning. Later Einstein admitted his errors and called his cosmological constant the biggest mistake of his life.'" 49 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 119
50 Hubble’s Discovery In the early 1920s, astronomers vigorously debated whether luminous swirls in space were just nearby wisps of gas in our own Milky Way galaxy or distant, gigantic galaxies. Some thought that the universe did not extend beyond the Milky Way. In the late 1920s, astronomer Edwin Hubble, who was inspired by de Sitter’s hypothesis of an expanding universe, began to painstakingly plot both the distance and speed of many different galaxies.
Hubble’s Discovery Using the powerful 100-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory (90 miles northeast of Los Angeles), he could see for the first time that the luminous swirls were distant galaxies each containing billions of stars. Hubble concluded that the farther away a galaxy was, the faster it was moving away from our own Milky Way galaxy. This proved that the entire universe was extremely large and rapidly expanding. 51
Hubble’s Discovery Edwin Hubble had made perhaps the greatest discovery of the twentieth century. For the first time, we became aware that we had vastly underestimated the size of a universe that was comprised of many galaxies separated by millions of light years, galaxies that were dispersed by a kind of primordial explosion. 52
Hubble’s Discovery “This was the first observational evidence that Einstein’s unfudged equations were correct in their prediction concerning the expansion of the universe. And it did not take a rocket scientist (although plenty were around) to mentally reverse the expanding universe and conclude that at some time in the past, all of the matter in the universe was concentrated into a very small space. This was the beginning of the Big Bang hypothesis.” 53 Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 244.
Hubble’s Discovery Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said that Hubble’s “discovery of the expansion of the universe was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the twentieth century. It came as a total surprise, and it completely changed the discussion of the origin of the universe.” 54 Stephen Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell (New York: Bantam Books, 2001), 76.
Hubble’s Discovery Prior to Hubble’s discovery in the late 1920s: Scientists assumed that the universe had always existed going back infinitely in time. Nothing about the laws of nature or the cosmos indicated a beginning to them. Nothing ever indicated that all the matter in the universe could have, at one time, been concentrated into a small space, possibly as dense as a single atom. 55.
Hubble’s Discovery Over 3,000 years ago, the book of Genesis claimed that God created the universe out of nothing. In the book of John, it says “in the beginning was the word.” This passage in John appears to indicate that the words of God were the original cause that brought the universe into existence. “Nonetheless, despite its religious implications, the Big Bang was a scientific theory that flowed naturally from observational data, not from holy writings or transcendental visions.” 56 Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 244.
Hubble’s Discovery Other religions, such as that of ancient Greece, have creation myths in which their gods make the world out of preexisting material. The Genesis record is unique and seems to be vindicated by modern science. There was a beginning, and a “creation from nothing” appears to have been possible. 57 Like ancient Greece, other religions have creation myths in which their gods make the world out of preexisting material. The Genesis record is unique and seems to be vindicated by modern science. There was a beginning, and a “creation from nothing” appears to have been possible.
Hubble’s Discovery "Even so, many scientists were visibly upset by the concept of a Big Bang... Like Einstein, prominent scientists began to advance theories that would eliminate the need for a beginning. They worked very hard to find a scientifically credible way for the universe to have existed forever.” 58 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 121.
Steady State Theory “Imagine the relief of these scientists when astronomers Hermann Bondi, Thomas Gold, and Fred Hoyle advanced what became known as the 'steady state' universe. Their theory was that the universe was infinite in age.” 59 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 121.
Steady State Theory Bondi, Gold and Hoyle suggested that as stars and energy burn out over time, the universe somehow continues to create matter and energy to replace them, even at a sufficient rate to keep up with the expansion of space, thus maintaining the same density of matter and balance throughout space. As a result, it is possible that the universe has always existed and had no beginning. In 1959, two-thirds of astronomers and physicists were still adherents of this theory. 60
Steady State Theory Religion is often accused of avoiding certain truths, but by embracing Steady State Theory, scientists appeared to be hiding their heads in the sand. "Physicist Stephen Hawking explains why a large number of scientists were attracted to the steady state theory of the origin of the universe: 'There were therefore a number of attempts to avoid the conclusion that there had been a big bang... Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention.'" 61 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 160.
Steady State Theory " The same point is made by Steven Weinberg. Some cosmologists [who study the nature or origin of the universe] endorse theories because they ‘nicely avoid the problem of Genesis.’" 62 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 160.
Steady State Theory “Biologist Barry Palevitz makes the same point. 'The supernatural,' he writes, 'is automatically off-limits as an explanation of the natural world.'" So Steady State Theory provided a way to avoid the conclusion that there was an original cause or creator. 63 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 160.
Penzias’ & Wilson’s Discovery "In the 1960s, however, the steady state theory suffered a devastating blow when two radio engineers working at Bell Labs, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, discovered some mysterious radiation coming from space. This radiation was not coming from a particular direction; rather, it was coming equally from all directions, In fact, it appeared to be coming from the universe itself. “ 64 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 123.
Penzias’ & Wilson’s Discovery “Penzias and Wilson soon learned that scientists had been predicting that, if the universe began in a single explosion around fifteen billion years ago, then some of the radiation from that fiery blast would still be around.” 65 Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 123.
Penzias’ & Wilson’s Discovery “This radiation was expected to have a temperature of around five degrees above absolute zero. Penzias and Wilson's radiation measured slightly less than this number, and they realized to their astonishment that they had encountered a ghostly whisper from the original moment of creation." With this discovery, the steady state theory of the universe quickly fell into disfavor, and the big bang hypothesis prevailed. 66 Dinesh D’Souza, since What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 123.
Scripture and Science 67 Astronomer and Cosmologist Robert Jastrow, who was director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University, stated: “Five independent lines of evidence – the motions of the galaxies, the discovery of the primordial fireball, the laws of thermodynamics, the abundance of helium in the Universe and the life story of the stars – point to one conclusion; all indicate that the Universe had a beginning.” Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 103.
Scripture and Science 68 Jastrow’s Conclusion: “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak. As he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 107.
Scripture and Science Genesis was written more than 3,000 years ago. Over time, science has slowly come to agree with the Genesis record. Major scientific events in the twentieth century revolutionized our thinking in regard to a Creator: 1.In the 1910s, Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. 2.In the 1920s, Edwin Hubble’s discovery of an expanding universe. 3.In the 1950s, the electron microscope revealed that the cells of living organisms are incredibly complex. 69 0
Scripture and Science 70 Genesis is not a science textbook. It is not a detailed account. It makes a few straightforward claims about the origin of the universe, some of which are now being corroborated by science.
Scripture and Science 71 "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." Psalm 19:1 (NIV) "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Psalm 14:1 (NIV) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1 (NIV) The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.’ Psalm 14:1 (NIV)
Scripture and Science 72 The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea and its motion. Yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form, doth witness that there is a Supreme Creator. Alma 16:54-55
Atheism to Deism 73 Antony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York, HarperCollins, 2007), 88. Antony Flew was the world’s most prominent atheist over the past 50 years. Mr. Flew said that, based on recent scientific evidence, he had become convinced that there was a God: “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source.”
Atheism to Deism 74 Antony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York, HarperCollins, 2007), 88. “When I first met the big-bang theory as an atheist, it seemed to me the theory made a big difference because it suggested that the universe had a beginning and that the first sentence in Genesis (“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”) was related to an event in the universe... If the universe had a beginning, it became entirely sensible, almost inevitable, to ask what produced this beginning. This radically altered the situation.”
Discussion 75 1.The possibility of an expanding universe irritated Einstein because it meant that there must have been an initial explosion of heat and light or, as Genesis would say, “In the _b___________. 2. The fact that Hubble actually observed galaxies hurtling away from us at a rapid rate proved that Einstein’s general theory of relativity was correct in that it predicted an _e_____ universe.
Conclusion 76 It is not the goal of this presentation to disprove evolutionary theory. We simply offer two rationales for the Genesis account: the design argument and the scientific argument for an expanding universe. For those who suggest that science refutes the claims of Christianity, this presentation provides another perspective that hopefully will stimulate thought about the possibility of a creator.
Christianity Jesus taught that a loving God created us and that he wants us to freely exercise our will. He invites us to come unto him. 77 Jesus invites us to come unto him.
80 Probability: The Monkey Theory
We have mentioned that evolutionary theory does not specifically address origins; it merely describes how various life forms developed over time. Regarding the probability that life would spontaneously arise by random chance, it is frequently asserted that, given enough time, a group of monkeys banging on a keyboard would eventually write a Shakespearean sonnet. The British National Council of Arts conducted an experiment in which a computer was placed in a cage with six monkeys. After one month of banging on the keyboard, they had produced 50 pages of typing. However, not one word appeared (The word “a” would require a space on each side). 81
The Monkey Theory What is the chance of getting a Shakespearean sonnet? Israeli scientist Gerald Schroeder states: “All the sonnets are the same length. They’re by definition fourteen lines long. I picked the one I knew the opening line for, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” I counted the number of letters; there are 488 letters in that sonnet. What’s the likelihood of hammering away and getting 488 letters in the exact sequence as in “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” Gerald Schroeder, “Has Science Discovered God?” as found in Antony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York, HarperCollins, 2007),
The Monkey Theory “What you end up with is 26 [the number of keys] multiplied by itself 488 times – or 26 to the 488 th power. Or, in other words, in base 10, 10 to the 690 th power [1 followed by 690 zeroes]... You will never get a sonnet by chance... Yet the world just thinks the monkeys can do it every time.” If monkeys creating a sonnet appears to be impossible, the spontaneous creation of the first life form, even an amoeba, would far exceed the complexity of a sonnet. It is important to remember that we are talking about origins, not evolutionary theory. Gerald Schroeder, “Has Science Discovered God?” as found in Antony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York, HarperCollins, 2007),
85 If God Exists, Why Does He Allow Evil and Suffering?
Evil and Suffering “Why does God allow evil and suffering?” This is a difficult and important question. The question assumes that there is a God and that there is such a thing as a moral law that differentiates between good and evil. How do we know what is right and what is wrong? An atheist might suggest: “It is entirely subjective; each individual establishes his morality for himself based on personal feelings or preferences.” A humorous anecdote about this says: In some cultures they love their neighbor, in others they eat them – which one would you prefer? It illustrates the fact that our views of morality cannot simply be a matter of individual preference. There must be a moral law that governs the universe. 86
Evil and Suffering So the questioner is correct in suggesting that there is a moral law that identifies good and evil. But if there is a law, we have to ask ourselves, “Who gave us that sense of morality?” There can be no moral law if there is no lawgiver. The question “Why does God allow evil?” suggests that there is a moral God and autonomous human beings. A loving God created us in his image. One of the attributes that God gave us was agency or free will. It would be immoral for God to compel us instead of allowing each person to freely choose. 87
Evil and Suffering Most suffering in the world is caused by people and the choices that they make. The book of Psalms states that “the heavens declare the glory of God.” The cumulative evidence for the existence of God is overwhelming, but a loving God gave us the freedom to follow him or reject him. Jesus Christ came to earth and became like us to endure suffering and to overcome it. He took upon himself the sins of all mankind. He suffered immeasurably for our benefit that we might have eternal life. 88
Evil and Suffering 89 Antony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York, HarperCollins, 2007), 156. Antony Flew, former atheist, states: “Certainly, the existence of evil and suffering must be faced. However, philosophically speaking, that is a separate issue from the question of God’s existence... Nature may have its imperfections, but this says nothing as to whether it had an ultimate Source. Thus, the existence of God does not depend on the existence of warranted or unwarranted evil.”
Evil and Suffering Conclusion: The existence of evil and suffering cannot reasonably be used to uphold the assertion that God does not exist. 90
92 Our Limited Understanding
Sensory Experience is Limited Is There Another Reality That We Are Unable to Perceive With Our Senses? "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV) 93
Sensory Experience is Limited There is a reality that we experience through our five senses. Some people believe that sensory experience is all that exists. If I eat an apple, I can see, touch, smell and taste it. But my perception of that apple is strictly limited by the sensory tools that I use to perceive it. 94
Sensory Experience is Limited Using another example, if you look at a straw standing in liquid, it appears to be bent at the surface because the light that your eyes see is refracted. The straw is actually straight. In this example, our sense of sight has created a perception that is not accurate. 95
Sensory Experience is Limited Another example would be the light we see emanating from space. People often have a perception that they are observing light from the stars in real time. However, it takes many years for that light to reach the earth. What we are observing is light that could have radiated from a star millions of years ago. A light-year is 186,000 miles per second or six trillion miles per year. It does not often occur to us, but the light that we presently observe from a galaxy in space might have left there three million light-years ago (the time it took to reach earth). 96
Sensory Experience is Limited Immanuel Kant, an Enlightenment philosopher, said that our senses are limited and might not be showing us a greater reality that exists outside the bounds of sensory experience. He called this greater reality the “noumenal realm.” Christianity would call this the “spiritual realm.” 97
Sensory Experience is Limited Kant thought that other realm was inaccessible and unknowable. Therefore, we are unable to know anything about God. Christianity tells us that revelation from God bridges that gap and opens a window to the spiritual. 98
Sensory Experience is Limited In critiquing traditional philosophy, Kant suggested that we actually have no way to positively conclude that our perception of physical reality is the same as actual reality. Christianity would agree with this. There is an “actual reality” that we are unable to perceive with our senses. 99
Sensory Experience is Limited Christianity goes beyond Kant’s view and actually claims there is a greater reality, a spiritual realm, that exists beyond the limits or ability of our five senses to perceive it. In this life, we "see through a glass darkly," but in the life hereafter, we will see that spiritual reality very clearly. 100
Science and Christianity 102
Science and Christianity Modern science is largely indebted to theories and methods that were developed by Christians who believed in the Genesis record such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Brahe, Descartes, Boyle, Newton, Leibniz, Gassendi, Pascal, Mersenne, Cuvier, Harvey, Dalton, Faraday, Herschel, Joule, Lyell, Lavoisier, Priestley, Kelvin, Ohm, Ampere, Steno, Pasteur, Maxwell, Planck and Mendel. 103
Science and Christianity Laws That Man Is Able To Discover Christianity believes in a God of reason, order and rationality. Faith in these attributes of God enabled Christian scientists to believe there were laws governing the universe which man was able to discover. 104
Science In Other Cultures Not Every Culture Embraces The Idea Of A Rationally- Designed Universe "Historian Joseph Needham explains that despite the wealth and sophistication of China in ancient and medieval times, science never developed there because 'there was no confidence that the code of nature's laws could ever be unveiled and read, because
Science In Other Cultures there was no assurance that a divine being, even more rational than ourselves, had ever formulated such a code capable of being read.'" 106 Joseph Needham, The Grand Titration: Science and Society in East and West (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1969), 327 as quoted in D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity, p. 96.
Science In Other Cultures “For Einstein, the existence of God was proven by the laws of nature; that is, the fact that there was order in the Universe and man could discover it. When Einstein came to New York in 1921 a rabbi sent him a telegram asking, ‘Do you believe in God?’ and Einstein replied, ‘I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists.’” 107 Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 21.
Science In Other Cultures Einstein stated: “Everyone who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.” 108 Max Jammer, Einstein and Religion (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 93.
Science and Christianity Christian belief is no longer welcome in the scientific community. 109
Naturalism and Materialism 1. Naturalism says that natural law is all that governs the universe. There are no miracles, and there is no supernatural power. Two dogmatic assumptions of modern science: 110
Naturalism and Materialism 2. Materialism says that the material existence we see around us is all there is. 111
Naturalism and Materialism Christianity says: God has put natural laws in place. But there are also miracles and a spiritual realm that we do not see. 112
Naturalism and Materialism It is impossible to prove that the immaterial or supernatural do not exist. 113
Near-Death Experiences Near-death experiences indicate there is a spiritual realm that is not subject to natural law. Atheists say that such experiences are imaginary and merely due to the operation of neurons in the neocortex of the brain that operate during a state of unconsciousness. 114
Near-Death Experiences But what if the brain's neocortex is disabled during a near- death experience? Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who once taught at Harvard medical school, experienced a rare form of meningitis and a resulting coma that lasted for a week. In his book, Proof of Heaven, he says: “My entire neocortex – the outer surface of the brain, the part that makes us human – was shut down. Inoperative. In essence, absent.” 115 Eben Alexander, M.D., Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012), 8-9.
Near-Death Experiences Despite the fact that his brain’s neocortex was disabled, Dr. Alexander claims that, while in a coma, he experienced a spiritual realm that is undetectable to our physical senses. Dr. Alexander is now convinced that this spiritual realm is just as real as the physical existence we live in and that there is life after death. 116 Eben Alexander, M.D., Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012), 8-9.
Discussion 1. Christians believe that a god of order and reason created natural laws that man is able to discover. Is this idea universally accepted by all cultures in the world? 2. N__________ says that “natural law is all that governs this existence; nothing is ever supernatural.” 3. M__________ says that “the material world, what we see around us, is all that exists.” 4. Is it possible to prove either of the principles mentioned in 2. or 3. above? 117
Second Law Of Thermodynamics 119
Second Law of Thermodynamics It is important to know something about thermodynamics, which is the study of energy. Energy can be in the form of heat, light, chemicals or electricity. The second law of thermodynamics suggests that energy in our universe follows a pattern called "entropy," in other words, gradually losing energy, dissipation, breaking down, corrosion, decay, falling apart or disorder. 120
Second Law of Thermodynamics For example, our bodies are not perpetual motion machines that will live forever. Eventually, the energy they possess will dissipate and we will pass on. Scripture says that our bodies will one day return to the dust from where they came. Our bodies are subject to the law of entropy. 121
Second Law of Thermodynamics Another example would be the sun. We know that the energy the sun contains is gradually diminishing and that it is subject to the law of entropy. However, this suggests that there must have been a beginning, or burst of energy, when the sun was originally "lit up.” 122
Second Law of Thermodynamics “At the end of a star’s life, when its reserves of nuclear fuel are exhausted, the star collapses under the force of its own weight. In the case of a small star, the collapse squeezes the entire mass into a volume the size of the earth. Such highly compressed stars, called white dwarfs, have a density of ten tons per cubic inch. Slowly the white dwarf radiates into space the last of its heat and fades into darkness.” 123 Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 83.
Second Law of Thermodynamics Energy in the universe follows this same gradual pattern of entropy. If this is so, how did the energy that we observe around us come to be in the first place? It suggests that there must have been an original cause. Christianity calls that original cause “God.” 124