2 Atheism In the 1880s, Friedrich Nietzsche declared "God is dead.” In the 1880s, Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, declared that "God is dead.”By this, he meant that most people no longer believed in God and that religion had ceased to provide the basis for morals in society. Obviously, this is a very different perspective from the one that Jesus taught. They can’t both (Jesus and Nietzsche) be right – one or the other is correct. In this presentation, we want to examine two scientific evidences that indicate there is an original cause or creator who put us in this time and place.Note: Atheism does not say “I think there is no God.” It does not say “I do not believe there is a God.” It is making an absolute statement of fact that “There is no God.” It affirms a negative. Any philosophy student would ask the question, “How can you affirm a negative in the absolute?” The only way to affirm that is if I have an unlimited knowledge of this universe. The atheistic position is self-defeating because it asserts that the atheist has infinite knowledge in order to assert that there is no one with infinite knowledge. Agnosticism, on the other hand, is very easy to defend. All you have to prove is that you do not know.
3 Two Competing Theories Two major influences on what we learned in school about the origin of life:Atheism2. ChristianityMuch of what we learned in school about science and the universe is influenced by these two competing theories:1. Atheism – which holds to a naturalistic and materialist approach:Naturalism – says natural law is all that exists (no miracles or supernatural events).Materialism – says our physical surroundings are the only reality (no immaterial or spiritual realm)2. The Genesis Record – which tells us that there was a divine creator who made everything.
4 Two Evidences for a Creator Two arguments for the existence of a creator:the argument for Design, andthe case for an Expanding Universe.This presentation will look at two arguments for the existence of a creator based on scientific evidence:The argument for Design.The case to be made for an Expanding Universe.So this entire presentation is divided into these two parts.Note: Normally, the audience for this material has not embraced scripture as a source for guidance in their lives. So this entire presentation is based on scientific evidence.
5 The Design ArgumentThough the Design Argument has had an influence on scientists and teachers, it has been excluded from public school curriculum for several decades. For that reason, it would be a good idea to explain it here.
6 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.
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.Note: It is important to emphasize why this is true. A watch is different because it contains a system of interacting components. When we see a system of interacting components, it is difficult to deny that there is a designer.
8 There is a legitimate argument that can be made for the existence of an original cause or creator just by observingthe order and complexity of the universewe see all around us.The Design ArgumentThere 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.In this picture, we show the planets orbiting the sun. This is a good illustration of the “order” we see in the universe.And example of “complexity” could be the human body. For example, the various components that make up DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) or just a cell in the human body. A cell includes enormous complexity, far beyond anything we had supposed prior to 1950.
9 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.Here, we are talking about origins. How did we, and the creation around us, come into existence? This slide pits two different theories against one another. William Paley’s theory suggests that when we see a system of interacting components, we are forced to admit there is a creator. Richard Dawkins’ theory says that is not true – systems of interacting components just arise spontaneously, by chance, without a designer.Paley’s argument asks us to exercise reason and to rationally analyze empirical evidence. Dawkins draws a strained conclusion that, given enough time, a watch or an airplane or the human body or the solar system would all just arise on their own, without the impetus of an original cause. If Dawkins is really just looking at the evidence and letting it take him wherever it may lead, why does he not simply appear agnostic and let his conclusion be that we do not know where such order and complexity come from?
10 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.".If a reasonable person really allows himself to explore the order and complexity of the universe, that person would at least have some doubt or trepidation in denying the existence of a creator and perhaps remain agnostic. Denying the existence of God with such certainty as Richard Dawkins (atheism) causes the average observer to think that Dawkins might have predetermined assumptions and then is looking for evidence to prove those assumptions.For example, it requires the average person to exercise a considerable degree of faith to suggest that, given enough time, the human body would just spontaneously appear by mere chance. Let’s discuss this issue of “origins” in the next few slides.
11 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.'"The object of this slide, or of this presentation, is not to disprove evolutionary theory. We merely wish to remind the listener that evolutionary theory is very limited in its scope and its claims. It is important to clarify that, when Darwin included the word “origins” in the title of his book, he was not attempting to explain the origin of the very first life form. He was attempting to explain a theory for how various species arose from that original life form.Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 148.
12 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.Darwin, though hostile to Christianity, never even attempted to use his theory to disprove the existence of God. Richard Dawkins uses evolutionary theory to draw a conclusion (i.e., there is no God), that Darwin, the originator of the theory, never believed.
13 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.For example, Origin of Species, did not attempt to explain how the planets in the solar system continue to orbit in a regular pattern or how the earth is tilted and rotates in a manner conducive to sustain life.As mentioned in the previous slide, Darwin addressed the origin of different species and not the first life form.Finally, and perhaps most importantly, how did we obtain a conscious awareness of what goes on around us, the ability to reason, or a sense of right and wrong?
14 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.”This is a mainstream scientist, who adheres to evolutionary thought, making a very straightforward statement about the origin of the very first life form.Andy Knoll, PBS Nova Interview, May 3, 2004.
15 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.”Behe’s mind is open to the idea of an old earth, yet he does not see how living organisms could have developed the intricate and orderly systems that comprise molecules and cells via Darwin’s theory of evolution.Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 5.
16 Order and Complexity in Cells 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.”Since the 1950s, we have developed a much more advanced understanding of the complexity and order in the cell structure of living organisms.Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 4-5.
17 Order and Complexity in Cells “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.”Look at all of the complicated functions that are performed by a cell (unobservable until the 1950s).Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 4-5.
18 Order and Complexity in Cells 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.”Paley wrote in Darwin wrote his theory in the 1880s. The intricacy and complexity of a cell was never fully understood until the 1950s. We now understand that a single cell is infinitely complex, far exceeding the complexity of a watch. The infinite combinations of components within a single strand of DNA are testament to the rationality and intelligence of God.Paul 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.
19 Order and Complexity in Cells 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.”The average person frequently does not notice or fully appreciate the intricacy and complexity of seemingly simple functions in the human body.Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 87.
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.Atheists frequently compare Genesis to a fairy tale or a story about Santa Claus, but they offer no competing theory to explain the origin of the universe. It is simply a given that the universe has always existed and that life arose spontaneously.
21 OriginsThough 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.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.Though atheists like Richard Dawkins would have us believe otherwise, evolutionary theory is limited.It does not explain the ultimate force that originally created the universe, the planets that move in their regular orbit, or where the very first life form came from.If evolutionary theory is unable to answer these questions, it cannot appropriately be used to replace the Genesis account as Dawkins attempts to do.
22 OriginsThough 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.So Darwin apparently did not believe in Christ, but he did believe there was a God.Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin , ed. Nora Barlow (London: Collins, 1958),
23 OriginsEven 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.Immanuel Kant, who definitely was not a Christian, made this point, and it is worth noting that our sensory experience is very limited.Much like Copernicus, Kant turned the world of philosophy upside down with his revolutionary insights. Most of what is taught in schools of philosophy today has its roots in the teachings of Kant.
24 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.‘”Newton was a great scientist and a devoted Christian believer. Atheists like Dawkins try to suggest that faith and scientific reason are mutually incompatible. However, Newton’s faith disproves that notion. See appendix for more examples of Christian scientists throughout history.Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL:Tyndale House Publishers, 2007),100 and Richard Westfall, "Isaac Newton," in Gary Ferngren, editor, Science and Religion (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002),155.
25 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."Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL:Tyndale House Publishers, 2007),100.
26 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.“Probability” is another aspect of this issue that we have not discussed. If something has a one in 1 million chance of occurring, most people would characterize such an event as being “impossible.” Anyone who calculates the mathematical probability of spontaneous creation always arrives at a number that varies in orders of magnitude. For example, a one in 100 million or one in a trillion chance of occurring. The idea of spontaneous creation simply ignores the statistics and resolutely asserts that the earth we live in happens to be that exception where life actually did form on its own without help from any outside force. Atheists ask us to ignore probability and simply accept their assertions on faith.Example: If we laid all of the component parts of a jet airliner on the ground. How long would it take for those parts to eventually come together and fly away as a fully-assembled airliner? A thousand years? A million? A billion years? Even though we first started with component parts as a given, it would probably never happen. There must have been a designer.
27 Origins The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.Psalm 19:1"The scriptures are laidbefore thee, yea, andall things denote thereis a God; yea, eventhe earth, and all thingsthat are upon the faceof it, yea and its motion.Yea, and also all theplanets which move intheir regular form,doth witness that thereis a Supreme Creator.”Alma 16:54-55Origins"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 16:54-55It is unlikely that any agnostic or atheist would be swayed by ancient writing that claims to be inspired. However, these two passages make some common- sense statements that should cause the average person to think about the possible existence of a creator.Note: Hopefully, some of the evidence we have presented so far would cause an atheist to at least consider a more open-minded or neutral stance.
28 OriginsEvery 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.
29 OriginsWilliam 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.
30 Discussion1. In William Paley’s example, a complex and orderly system of interacting components is the difference between a _s_______ and a _w________.Did Darwin’s evolutionary theory ever attempt to explain how the very first life form on earth was originally created?Electron microscopes in the 1950s allowed us to directly observe in elaborate detail how complex a _c_____ is.Stone, Watch.No, Darwin’s Origin of Species focused on the development of variations among different species. It did not attempt to explain how the very first life form came into existence or the original cause that might have initiated life. Darwin was an agnostic. Atheists, like Richard Dawkins, sometimes stretch the application of Darwin’s theory beyond its intended purpose.Cell.
31 So that is the argument for a creator based on design So that is the argument for a creator based on design. We have briefly discussed the order and complexity of creation at various levels:planets and galaxies (from the perspective of astronomy)the development of species (from the perspective of biology) andat a cellular level (from the perspective of biochemistry).Seeing the intricacy of various interacting systems at so many different levels, it seems difficult to imagine that all of this assembled itself by mere chance.NOTE TO PRESENTER: It is possible that you may wish to end Session 1 at this point. The fours aspects of the Genesis record are a necessary foundation that need to be understood before proceeding to the Expanding Universe. If you wish to, just end the session here and start with the Genesis Record at the second session. If not, proceed with the eight slides about Genesis.
32 Four Aspects of the Genesis Account Before we talk about the second piece of evidence for a creator, it’s important for me to explain four aspects of the creation narrative in Genesis so you can understand our perspective as Christian believers.
33 Genesis"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1Genesis is a revelation given to Moses.It is the first book in the Bible.It says: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.“ Genesis 1:1 (KJV)
34 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.Ancient cultures, like Greece and Rome, believed that the construct of “time” had always just existed and that there was no “beginning.”
35 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)..This is entirely different from the creation myths of other religions which say that God created the universe out of already preexisting material.
36 Genesis 3. God created the universe in six days The Hebrew word for “day” in Genesis can mean:a literal 24-hour day, ora much longer period of time.Some Christians believe in a young earth. It is entirely possible to draw a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and assume that "day" actually means a 24-hour day.Some Christians believe in theistic evolution, where God presided over a process of evolution that required a much longer period of time. It is also orthodox belief to view the Hebrew word for "day" as referring to a longer period of time.This is a subject that Christians debate all the time, and we are free to disagree.Origen, Irenaus and Augustine, for example, did not believe these were literal 24-hour days. However, we are free to disagree on this point.
37 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.God created man “in his own image,” and Genesis tells us he breathed an immaterial soul into man.Traditional Christianity has always taught that God himself is immaterial or spiritual (i.e., does not have a bodily form even though he is capable of appearing in bodily form).So being created "in God's image" has typically implied that man inherited certain communicable attributes of God (characteristics that God could bestow on us) such as a conscious awareness, the ability to reason and a sense of morality.Incommunicable attributes would be characteristics of God that we will never obtain such as his omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience (those aspects that distinguish him from mankind)
38 GenesisChristians believe that God created the universe as described in the Genesis account.For Christians, it is important to understand that God created the universe as described in the Genesis account.
39 Discussion1. By saying “In the beginning, God created . . .” the book of Genesis is making what claim about the idea of “time”?According to the Genesis narrative, did God use already-existing material to create the universe?Does accepting Genesis require that I must believe the universe was created in six 24-hour days?Genesis is saying that “time” itself had a beginning, or in other words, God created this time-space continuum that we are in.Genesis differs from the creation myths of other religions by saying that the universe was created out of nothing.It’s entirely within the bounds of orthodoxy to believe that “day,” in Genesis, refers to a literal 24-hour period or even billions of years.Examples of god-like attributes include a conscious awareness, the ability to reason, a sense of morality, the ability to love, linguistic expression.We began with Genesis as a starting point to clarify four things that Christians believe about the origin of the universe.
40 NOTE TO PRESENTER: This is the end of Session 1 in which we present the Design Argument for a creator and four aspects of the Genesis narrative. This would be a good place to stop if you feel that it is appropriate. The next session is a little longer.
41 The Expanding Universe NOTE TO PRESENTER:This is the start of Session 2 in which you will present the second scientific evidence for the existence of a creator. In the last session, we presented William Paley’s logical argument for a creator.In this session, we will discuss the evidence for an expanding universe. Why is this important? If we can establish that the universe is expanding because of a primordial explosion of heat and light, this would indicate that there was a beginning in which all of the matter in the universe was originally compressed into a very small space.The question then is, “What was the original cause that set this explosion of heat and light into motion in the first place?”
42 Two Evidences for a Creator An earlier slide in this presentation stated that we would present two arguments for the existence of a creator:the argument for Design, andthe case for an Expanding Universe.We now would like to present evidence for an expanding universe.Note: This is a repeat of the slide that appeared at the beginning of the last session.Again, we are presenting two arguments for the existence of a creator based on scientific evidence:The argument for Design.The case to be made for an Expanding Universe.So this entire presentation is divided into these two parts.Note: Normally, the audience for this material has not embraced scripture as a source for guidance in their lives. So this entire presentation is based on scientific evidence.It is suggested that you take two sessions to get through both of these sections: the first to cover The Design Argument and The Genesis Record, and the second session for the Expanding Universe.
43 Origin of the UniverseIn 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, andSteady State Theory in which the universe has perpetually existed without change going backward infinitely in time.The Big Bang hypothesis says that there was an explosion approximately 13 to 15 billion years ago in which all the matter in the universe was dispersed into separate galaxies, planets, etc.Steady State Theory says that the universe has always remained pretty much in equilibrium going back infinitely in time (so there was no beginning). Even though it was popular among scientists until at least 1960, since that time, SST has fallen into disfavor and only a minority of the scientific community embrace this theory.
44 So we are examining this claim in the book of Genesis. Genesis claims that God spoke and the universe leapt into existence by the power of his word..
45 Origin of the UniverseIn 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, andEdwin Hubble's discovery of an expanding universe.So we will be exploring the Big Bang theory and its implications for explaining how the universe originated.
46 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 . . .”Prior to this time, there was still a debate about whether our Milky Way galaxy was the extent of the universe. With the telescopes of that time, it was hard to tell if the luminous wisps we saw were clouds of gas in our own Milky Way galaxy or clusters of stars that were far beyond our galaxy.Slipher was the first astronomer to use the Doppler effect to conclude that these clusters of gas or stars were hurtling rapidly away from us at millions of miles per hour. He used what is called “red shift” to determine this.Doppler Effect: As an ambulance approaches, the siren has a higher pitch. As it moves away, it has a lower pitch. In the same way, light from an object that approaches us is bluer in appearance. If it is moving away from us, it appears redder. Slipher used this “red shift” to ascertain that, what turned out later to be galaxies, were moving rapidly away from us. This movement was an amazing discovery.Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 17, 21., 27.
47 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.”So without knowing about Slipher’s discovery, a Dutch astronomer took Einstein’s newly-minted theory of relativity and used it to conclude that the universe was exploding or spreading apart. All of this was just theory without observable evidence (they had probably not heard about Slipher’s observations). In fact, Slipher had mistakenly assumed that it was our Milky Way galaxy that was moving away from all other bodies in the universe, not an entire universe that was in the process of exploding.Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 18.
48 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.”If the universe really was in the process of blowing apart, there must have been a point in time when all matter was at one time concentrated into a very small space. Einstein became apprehensive that this was too strong an indication of a beginning, thus indicating the existence of God.Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992),
49 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.'"Here was the greatest scientist of the twentieth century attempting to create mathematical formulas that would disprove the idea that the universe had a beginning. Why? To avoid having others use his theory to advance theological ideas about the existence of God, Einstein had to fudge his equations.Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 119
50 Hubble’s DiscoveryIn 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.Edwin Hubble was a Renaissance man who appeared to be talented at everything he touched. He graduated from high school with a scholarship. He was once considered to be a possibility for a world champion in boxing. He taught high school for a short time. He obtained a law degree because his father wanted him to. Not enjoying the practice of law, he went back to school and obtained a degree from Oxford. He was privileged to use the most powerful telescope in the world to make what some considered to be the greatest discovery of the twentieth century. Through observation he proved what de Sitter, the Dutch astronomer, had merely theorized: that the universe was rapidly expanding. Einstein came to visit his observatory on Mt. Wilson because Hubble had made an amazing discovery that was based on the theory of relativity.
51 Hubble’s DiscoveryUsing 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.
52 Hubble’s DiscoveryEdwin 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.
53 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.”The implications of Hubble’s discovery were enormous. One aspect that particularly disturbed the scientific community was the fact that, when you reverse this process of explosion, and go back to the time of the original explosion, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that the universe had a beginning. If there was a beginning, what caused it? What forces created the original explosion? How did it happen in a way to allow life to form? For those who desired to remain agnostic or atheistic, some alternative theory would have to be formed.Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 244.
54 Hubble’s DiscoveryAstrophysicist 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.”Stephen Hawking also recognized the significance of Hubble’s work.Stephen Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell (New York: Bantam Books, 2001), 76.
55 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.It is important to understand how scientists viewed “origins” prior to Hubble’s discovery..
56 Hubble’s DiscoveryOver 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.”Centuries ago, Moses wrote that God created the universe by the power of his word without the benefit of pre-existing material to use. If present evidence indicates that all the matter in the universe was compressed into a small space, this certainly shifts the discussion of origins more in the direction of a “creation from nothing.”Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 244.
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 DiscoveryOther 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.It is rather amazing that the Genesis account is so unique in claiming a creation ex nihilo.
58 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.”Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 121.
59 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.”The theory of an unchanged universe that existed forever was very appealing to the scientific community.Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 121.
60 Steady State TheoryBondi, 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.So these three scientists recognized that Hubble’s idea of rapid expansion would have to be countered with an alternative. Undeterred by that thought, they claimed that the density of matter in the universe remained constant. In other words, planets and stars were replacing themselves as others disappeared. Thus, the universe remained in a steady state. Therefore, there was no beginning.
61 Steady State TheoryReligion 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.'"Hawing, no friend to Christianity or even religion of any kind, speculates on the motivations of his fellow scientists. He must have felt that there was evidence to the effect that scientists were trying to avoid a conclusion of “divine intervention.”Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 160.
62 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.’"Steven Weinberg, a scientist, agreed with Hawking.Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 160.
63 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.Palevitz , working off of assumptions, begins his scientific inquiry by saying, that if the evidence leads to a conclusion that God exists, it will automatically be off-limits.Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 160.
64 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. “So the theory that the universe had existed without change going back infinitely in time suffered a blow because there was radiation from the original Big Bang explosion still in our atmosphere.Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 123.
65 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.”Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 123.
66 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.Dinesh D’Souza, since What’s So Great About Christianity? (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007), 123.
67 Scripture and ScienceAstronomer 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.”1. “Motions of the galaxies” – Hubble said that galaxies are hurtling rapidly away from us. Hubble’s Law states that galaxies at the farthest distance are traveling the fastest (consistent with an explosion).2. “Primordial Fireball” – If we trace the origin of an expanding universe back in time, it means there was a primordial explosion of heat and light that originally created the universe, a Big Bang.3. “Laws of Thermodynamics” – There is an appendix at the end of this lesson that explains how the second law of thermodynamics points to a creator.4. “Abundance of Helium” – For the Big Bang to work, scientists calculate that in the first 30 minutes after the Big Bang explosion, helium would have to be rapidly produced. This primordial helium is clearly evident because the universe today is probably about 25% helium.5. “Life Story of Stars” – The atoms in clouds of hydrogen gas (approximately the other 75% of the universe) will sometimes become so dense that they have a gravitational pull that causes the atoms to collapse and burn at 20 million degrees, thus creating a star. This star releases vast amounts of nuclear energy which halts the further collapse of the ball of gas and creates other elements besides hydrogen. At the end of its life, when its nuclear reserves are spent, a star collapses under the force of its own weight. It then radiates the last of its heat and fades into darkness.Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 103.
68 Scripture and Science 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 recognized that scientific discoveries of the last century were somewhat congruent with the main points in the book of Genesis.Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 107.
69 Scripture and ScienceGenesis 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:In the 1910s, Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.In the 1920s, Edwin Hubble’s discovery of an expanding universe.In the 1950s, the electron microscope revealed that the cells of living organisms are incredibly complex.So Einstein and de Sitter helped us understand the idea of an expanding universe in theory.Hubble proved this to be true through observation.In the 1950s, the electron microscope opened up a whole new dimension of complexity and interacting relationships at the cellular level, which has nothing to do with an expanding universe but has to be explained. That is difficult to do without the concept of a designer.So now we see evidence for a beginning and thus a designer – evidence entirely unrelated to biology and not explainable by any theory of evolution or natural selection.This causes us to ask the question, “Where did the universe come from?” There was a beginning. How was everything created? Genesis was written by Moses over 3,000 years ago, and no competing theory has arisen that could better explain the origin of the universe.
70 Scripture and ScienceGenesis 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.
71 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Psalm 19:1Psalm 14:1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.Psalm 19:1"We can choose to ignore the evidence and never examine the complexity, order or rationality of the design. However, any person who wishes to see the evidence can reasonably conclude that there is a creator.
72 Scripture and ScienceThe 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
73 Atheism to DeismPrior to Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew was the world’s most prominent atheist for 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.”Mr. Flew caused his fellow atheists to become distraught. He never embraced Christianity, but the evidence, especially recent scientific discoveries, convinced him that there must be a God. This is a man who grew up at Oxford, who attended C.S. Lewis’ club meetings, who listened to both sides of the argument, who argued against the existence of God for 50 years, and then at the end, concluded that the evidence for the existence of God had become overwhelming.Antony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York, HarperCollins, 2007), 88.
74 Atheism to Deism“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.”Antony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York, HarperCollins, 2007), 88.
75 Discussion1. 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.beginningexpanding
76 ConclusionIt 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 ofa creator.
77 Christianity Jesus invites us to come unto him. 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.As you’re probably aware, Christians believe that:God created usHe gives us the ability to choose what we want to believe, and thatHe sent Jesus to teach us and to be an example for us to follow.This is a recurring theme in every presentation that we give. We have not yet presented any evidence for Christianity, but we hope to in our next presentation on the resurrection of Jesus.
78 This concludes our presentation. The Appendix presents two optional subjects that the presenter may or may not want to explore in greater detail:Our Limited Understanding is a brief commentary on the possibility that there may be a spiritual realm that we are not able to discern with our senses.The Second Law of Thermodynamics is an explanation of the principle of entropy or decreasing energy in the universe.
79 APPENDIXMost of these presentations contain an appendix. The purpose of this section is to provide further optional evidence that you may or may not decide is appropriate for the particular audience you are speaking to. It is up to the presenter to exercise that discretion.
81 The Monkey TheoryWe 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.Mathematical probability is an important aspect of this discussion. Using the illustration of a monkey banging on a typewriter creates an image in the mind of the listener that is a little more difficult to forget.
82 The Monkey TheoryThe 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).
83 The Monkey TheoryWhat 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),
84 The Monkey Theory“What you end up with is 26 [the number of keys] multiplied byitself 488 times – or 26 to the488th power. Or, in other words,in base 10, 10 to the 690th 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), 76-77
86 If God Exists, Why Does He Allow Evil and Suffering?
87 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. The question also suggests that there is a moral law that establishes what is evil. How do we know what is right and what is wrong?“Why does God allow evil and suffering?” This is a difficult and important question. The question assumes that there is a God and such a thing as a moral law that differentiates between evil and good. 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 says: In some cultures they love their neighbor, in others they eat them – do you have a personal preference as to which one you like better? It illustrates the fact that our views of morality cannot always be a matter of individual preference. There must be a moral law that governs the universe.So the questioner is correct in suggesting that there is a moral law. But if there is a law, we have to ask ourselves, “Who gave us that sense of morality?”
88 Evil and SufferingAn atheist might suggest: “It is entirely subjective; each individual establishes his morality for himself based on personal feelings or preferences.” A humorous anecdote about “preferences” 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. So, there must be a moral law that governs the universe.The question “Why does God allow evil and suffering?” suggests that there is a moral God and an autonomous human being. A loving God created us in his image. One of the attributes that God gave us was agency or free will – the ability to choose. It would be immoral for God to compel us instead of allowing each person to freely choose.For example, it is often suggested there is enough food in the world to feed everyone. However, brutal dictatorships throughout the world often let their own people starve. God must leave our agency intact. Hitler could not rise to power without people exercising their free will to place him in power.
89 Evil and SufferingSo the question 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.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 choose good or evil. So logically, we have to look at how the question of evil assumes that there is a moral law. There can be no such law without a lawgiver.
90 Evil and SufferingMost suffering in the world is caused by people and the choices that they make. 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 people. He suffered immeasurably for our benefit that we might have eternal life.
91 Evil and Suffering 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.”Antony Flew suggested that the existence of evil and suffering has no logical bearing on the existence of God.Antony Flew, There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind (New York, HarperCollins, 2007), 156.
93 Science and Christianity First, I’d like to talk about the relationship between the field of science and Christian religion.Science is largely indebted to theories and methods developed by Christians, but in recent years the science field has become openly hostile to any possibility of supernatural events or a God that might occasionally intervene to override natural law.
94 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.For these scientists, there was no conflict between their faith in God and the intellectual rigors of science. They worshipped a God of order and reason who was also simultaneously a God of the supernatural and miracles.
95 Science and Christianity Laws That Man Is Able To DiscoverChristianity 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.Because we believe in a rational God of order and reason, Christians assume that there are natural laws which God has put in place that man can discover. This is a primary reason that science has advanced so rapidly in the Western world.
96 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 . . .This idea that there are rational laws behind every aspect of our physical existence is a common thought in our culture, but the idea of a rationally-designed universe was not embraced by every culture in the world.
97 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.'"In China, for example, there was no similar belief that the universe was governed by natural law that was the result of some rational and orderly creator.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, 96.
98 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.’”Based on the fact that he saw order in the universe, Einstein professed a faith in God.Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 21.
99 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.”Max Jammer, Einstein and Religion (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 93.
100 Science and Christianity Christian belief is no longer welcome in the scientific community.Even though much of what we know about the scientific world originated from renowned Christian believers:In the past century, atheists and agnostics, in their public discourse, have successfully stigmatized Christians to the point that any openness to the supernatural or the existence of God appears to automatically disqualify a person to conduct scientific inquiry.
101 Naturalism and Materialism Two dogmatic assumptions of modern science:1. Naturalism says that natural law is all that governs the universe. There are no miracles, and there is no supernatural power.Today, atheism is so influential that you must believe the following two dogmatic assumptions before you are allowed to conduct any scientific inquiry:1."Naturalism" says that natural law is all that governs the universe. There are no miracles or supernatural forces. If someone believes in a supernatural event, they are mistaken. Everything can always be explained as a natural event.“Naturalism” is a bedrock assumption that must be embraced. However, it is an assumption, an article of faith.No one can prove beyond any doubt that there are, or are not, supernatural events. So why is science no longer open to either possibility?A belief in occasional miracles or the supernatural is not incompatible with science.Christian belief should not disqualify a person to be a scientist.
102 Naturalism and Materialism 2. Materialism says that the material existence we see around us is all there is.2. "Materialism" says that the material existence we see around us is all that there is. Even mankind’s conscious awareness and rational thought process are merely due to the operation of our material brains.“Materialism” is a preexisting assumption or article of faith among the scientific community. However, it is entirely possible to be a scientist and still believe that there is an immaterial reality beyond the physical surroundings that we are able to observe with our senses.
103 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.In contrast to both of the above principles, Christianity maintains that:God has put certain laws in place that govern this physical existence.But there are also exceptional events we refer to as “miracles” which occasionally contradict natural law.There is an immaterial or spiritual realm that is inaccessible to the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.
104 Naturalism and Materialism It is impossible to prove that the immaterial or supernatural do not exist.One problem with naturalism and materialism is that science has never been able to prove either of these assumptions because it is impossible to prove that the immaterial or supernatural do not exist. Scientific inquiry should be open to any possibility and should not have preeexisting assumptions.
105 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 continue to function during a state of unconsciousness.Another problem with naturalism and materialism is that many people have had near-death experiences indicating 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 because the neocortex continues to operate while someone is in a state of unconsciousness.
106 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.”Eben Alexander, M.D., Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012), 8-9.
107 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.Eben Alexander, M.D., Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012), 8-9.
108 DiscussionChristians 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?N__________ says that “natural law is all that governs this existence; nothing is ever supernatural.”M__________ says that “the material world, what we see around us, is all that exists.”Is it possible to prove either of the principles mentioned in 2. or 3. above?No, Christian belief in Western civilization had a significant influence on scientific assumptions about the universe. There are many cultures in the world that do not believe there were laws of nature created by a supreme being that are capable of being discovered by man.NaturalismMaterialismNo one has conclusively proven that there are, or are not, miracles or supernatural power, which is why science should be open to any possibility.
109 This concludes our presentation. The Appendix presents two optional subjects that the presenter may or may not want to explore in greater detail:Our Limited Understanding is a brief commentary on the possibility that there may be a spiritual realm that we are not able to discern with our senses.The Second Law of Thermodynamics is an explanation of the principle of entropy or decreasing energy in the universe.
111 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
112 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.
113 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.
114 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 might 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).
115 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.”Kant said that we can never know things as they really are, but only as they appear to us via our senses. On this one thing, Christians agree that our knowledge of the world is limited by our senses. (Why is this important? Because Kant is, in essence, the godfather of modern philosophy.)Kant’s Philosophy: We are bound by time and space. The only way to gain knowledge about the world around us is by empirical investigation. The only thing that can be trusted is what we observe by our senses. Therefore, metaphysics are actually useless in being able to tell us anything because we can never really have knowledge of non-empirical reality. So there is a characteristic of “unknowability” about God. We simply do not know. The philosophy of Immanuel Kant and David Hume are the primary intellectual forces today that deny any possibility of the supernatural or miracles.Christian Response: It is appropriate to begin any investigation by examining the empirical evidence as Kant suggests. Firstly, we should try to find a naturalistic explanation. However, when every empirical alternative has been exhausted and we still cannot find an explanation for something, perhaps we should be open to the possibility that there is a power beyond the scope of our senses, a reality that it is not possible to observe or record. Therefore, miracles and the supernatural should not simply be dismissed a priori (based on the Kantian view that such things are unknowable). When there is no natural explanation, our minds should remain open to the possibility of miracles and the supernatural.
116 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.
117 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.
118 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.
121 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.
122 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.
123 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.”The second law of thermodynamics (also called the Law of Entropy) is important because if all energy is in a process of dissipating, there must have been a point where that energy originated or was ignited. What caused that energy to be ignited in the first place? How was this energy created? For example, who initially “lit up” the sun? In like manner, if the energy in our bodies is dissipating, who originally placed that energy in the human body that gives it life to function effectively?
124 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.”Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 1992), 83.
125 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.”