SCIENCE AROSE OUT OF BELIEF IN THE GOD OF THE BIBLE

This post is extracted from a great article – Christian theology and the rise of Newtonian science—imposed law and the divine will by Dominic Statham in Journal of Creation 32(2):103–109, August 2018

“At the heart of scientific enquiry is the faith that the world is orderly and behaves consistently from one day to the next.1 One might ask, however, how this belief arose. According to Peter Harrison, formerly Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, it was, in a large part, “the theologically informed assumption that there are laws of nature, promulgated by God and able to be discovered by human minds (emphasis added)”.2 Eminent Philosopher of Science Alfred North Whitehead would agree. He wrote: “My explanation is that the faith in the possibility of science, generated antecedently to the development of modern scientific theory, is an unconscious derivative from medieval theology.”3

Platonic thinking was antithetical to science because it detracted from the view that the world could be understood by learning from observations. In contrast, biblical thinking pointed to this as the only way of discovering reality. The Bible teaches that God is omnipotent and was in no way constrained to create according to any prescribed pattern.

The rejection of Greek thinking by the founders of modern science is exemplified in Roger Cotes’ preface to the second edition of Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy):

“Without all doubt this World … could arise from nothing but the perfectly free will of God directing and presiding over all. From this fountain it is that those laws, which we call the laws of Nature, have flowed; in which there appear many traces indeed of the most wise contrivance, but not the least shadow of necessity. These therefore we must not seek from uncertain conjectures; but learn them from observations and experiments.”

Newton himself, in the very first sentence of his preface, wrote of how modern thinkers, having discarded “[soulish] substantial forms and occult qualities have endeavoured to subject the phenomena of nature to the laws of mathematics”. A committed biblical creationist, he also rejected the Greek view that God would have been constrained in His acts of creation in any way. He wrote of God:

“ … we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion … and a God without dominion, providence, and final causes [i.e. design], is nothing else but Fate [i.e. necessity] and Nature.”20

Newton also wrote:

“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. … This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God or Universal Ruler.”27

Plato taught that the cosmos created by the Demiurge was a living organism, that the world had a divine soul, and the stars and planets were gods. In a similar vein, Aristotle taught that stones fall to the ground because they have a yearning for the centre of the universe (which he believed to be the centre of the earth). Such thinking was an obstruction to science because it attributed causes of motion to motives and inner compulsions, rather than to impersonal, external forces.21

In contrast, the Bible clearly distinguishes between the Creator and the creature (i.e. that which was created). God is spirit (John 4:24) and is a being separate from the world.

The lawgiver

The God of the Bible is the lawgiver in both the moral and physical realms. He gave the 10 commandments to Moses (Exodus 20:3–17) and wrote the requirements of the law on the hearts of men so that they “by nature do what the law requires” (Romans 2:14–15). He is the one who gathered the waters together (Genesis 1:9) and “assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command” (Proverbs 8:29). He “made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder” (Job 28:26). He created the sun to govern the day and night (Genesis 1:16), “commanded the morning … and caused the dawn to know its place” (Job 38:12). He created the stars to mark the seasons (Genesis 1:14), knows “the ordinances of the heavens”, and established “their rule on the earth” (Job 38:33). He continually “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).

Picture of the father of mathematics Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

rene-descartes

He stated that “the rules of nature are identical with the rules of mechanics” and, in his Le Monde (The World), he asserted “that God is immutable, and that acting always in the same manner, He produces always the same effect”. These laws, he said, are not immanent but ‘imposed’ on nature by God.39 

The courses of the planets, the oceanic tides and the universe in general are regular and predictable because they are determined by the God of the Bible who is faithful and sure. Descartes’ contention that the natural world is governed by an unchanging God, and hence behaves consistently from one day to the next, was an essential step in scientific progress.

The belief that there are laws imposed upon a world by an orderly, faithful, and immutable God caused philosophers to see the universe as a designed mechanism, rather than an eternally existing organism. This, in turn, led to the belief that the workings of God’s creation could be investigated, understood, and described mathematically. All this hung on the Christian doctrine of creation, as articulated so clearly in the Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.”

INCREDIBLE DESIGN OF THE HUMAN GENOME

Marine Biologist Rob Carter explains the four-dimensional genome and what this means for design.

The latest evidence on the four dimensional genome, which includes dynamic programming, makes intelligent design the only possible explanation for its existence. Evolution by random chance is nonsense. Listen to the excitement in Rob’s voice as he explains the amazing complexity of the four dimensional genome. The level of design is “mind blowing”. It can only make you think how amazing is our God. He is worthy of our praise and adoration.

Why does  academia, the establishment, reject intelligent design and all that entails? There is only one possible answer: they cannot countenance God, their creator and all that entails.

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LIFE: OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE FOR DESIGN

Stuart Burgess is a Design Engineer. In this short video he presents the case for our planet being the result of intelligent design. Evolution is a failed theory to explain the complex systems that make up this universe. There is no mechanism to go from GOO to YOU. Natural selection can only choose from what is already created. It does not create any new structures. Mutations are loss of information not adding new information. Moreover, DNA that controls all the functions of cells is complex information and complex information has only one source intelligence.

HOW BIOLOGY CONFIRMS LIFE BY DESIGN

I have abbreviated the review by Joel Tray, Creation Ministries International, of the book Undeniable: How biology confirms our intuition that life is designed by Douglas Axe. For the full review go to http://www.creation.com.

undeniable

The book is written for the non scientist. For this reason, much space has been devoted to the use of elaborate analogies in order to simplify complex technical details. Interwoven between these analogies are personal stories and an overall narrative approach to the book. At times, this causes the book to come across as slow, repetitive and unnecessarily drawn out.

By comparison Jonathan Sarfati’s By Design (2008) is far more concise and easy to understand.—both books discussing design—the feel is that one chapter of Undeniable would have the same amount of scientific content as two or three pages in Sarfati’s book. Apart from the excessive wordiness, the science contained in Undeniable is sound, though it falters when it comes to its philosophy of science. However, this book will prove to be a challenge for those who hold to naturalistic evolution.

Unfortunately, as it is with most ID books, Undeniable comes across as somewhat naive from an epistemological  viewpoint. Axe correctly draws a distinction between creationists and the ID movement. At times throughout the book, Axe even appears to hold to contradicting philosophical positions. For example, he rejects scientism on the basis that our intuition tells us that design requires a designer (p. 49) yet at the same time rejects the inference to God by creationists since “Intelligent Design takes a minimalist view”, and there is a jump from intelligent designer to God (p. 50) that goes beyond science.

But if one cannot infer beyond science, then how is one not stuck with scientism? Either we infer beyond science, or we are stuck in scientism (which Axe also rejects). A naturalistic intelligent designer is still a designer within naturalism. But if the designer is not naturalistic, then one must infer beyond the boundaries of mere science. Worse, towards the end of the book, Axe himself does what he says creationists ought not to do, by saying that the designer only makes sense if it is God.

DECONSTRUCTING DARWINISM: A THEORY GONE BAD, A WORLD GONE MAD

The author of the book Charles Darwin : Victorian myth-maker, A.N.Wilson was former professor of medieval literature at Oxford University and a highly acclaimed biographer.

Wilson was a Darwin believer when he started research for his book. His conclusions were unexpected, both to others and most surprisingly, to him. What may have begun the firestorm against his book was Wilson’s prelude, in which he said,

Darwin was wrong. That was the unlooked for conclusion to which I was inexorably led while writing this book

Charles Darwin : Victorian Mythmaker - A N Wilson

He added that this conclusion “certainly was not my intention when I began detailed reading for this book”. But the result of his historic research was “to part company from the mainstream of scientific opinion which still claims to believe, the central contentions of Darwin’s famous book, On the Origin of the Species.

Wilson’s conclusion was based on the fact that “there is no consensus among scientists about the theory of evolution”, even the central parts of the theory. He added that until he began his research he had assumed “scientific opinion accepted the truth of Darwin’s central theories, and that objections to it were motivated not by scientific doubts but…. most likely religious ones”

He then illustrates this contention by quoting the leading evolutionary scientists, including Harvard’s E.O. Wilson and Oxford’s Richard Dawkins. One familiar with the field will recognise most of the heated evolution controversies which Wilson accurately relates.

A major problem Darwin had which is still true of Darwinism today was coming up with evidence for his view that nature changes little by little. If this was true , all life would be ” in a state of infinitely slow evolution into something else”, and as Darwin taught, taxonomy classification would only be temporary – a condition the fossil record simply does not support. This problem is why some leading evolutionists argued for punctuated equilibrium, in which life forms, in geological terms , change rapidly while at other times they are in a state of stasis.

Wilson documents that the discovery of the laws of genetics were “lethal to Darwinism”. The reason it was a lethal nail in the coffin for Darwin was the problem that Mendelism created for Darwin’s gradualism. We now know that because nearly all mutations are near neutral or lethal, and variation is not unlimited as Darwin proposed his theory is without foundation.

Wilson also documents that Darwinism has become a religion. Evolution is the doorway to atheism. It was spoken of as a faith, and those that rejected the view that the origin of humans was purely natural, including the co-founder of the theory, Alfred Russel Wallace and St George Mivart were excommunicated from the tribe, the loyal circle of Darwin supporters.

Regardless, there is no doubt that it is Darwin, more than any other man, that persuaded much of the academic world that “special creation” was wrong and ‘evolution’ was right. Furthermore, “Darwinism as is shown by the current state of the debate, is resistant to argument because it is resistant to fact”.

IS GENESIS HISTORY?

IS GENESIS HISTORY is an important resource for Christians. You need to get this series for you library to show to at least to your family and friends.

The complexity of the DNA is mind boggling, it’s amazing and if we are honest we must conclude that God (The Ultimate Designer) is necessary for the incredible complexity we see in just DNA. Listen to marine biologist Rob Carter explain how DNA works in four dimensions. You will repent as I did for taking God’s creation for granted. Can this all happen by chance? NO it can’t!

DNA PROOF OF CREATION

Paul Nelson and Del Tackett explore the complexity of languages and compare it to DNA

Proof indeed of the complex design in this universe that cannot be explained by any naturalistic method. Watch this four minute video and be astounded at the level of complexity in DNA as compared to complex computer software programmes.

DESIGN IS ALWAYS TOP DOWN IT DOES NOT EVOLVE

Taken from the new bible study for “Is Genesis History?” The full bible study is available here: http://bit.ly/ighbiblestudy

Dr. Stuart Burgess completed an engineering apprenticeship with Stothert and Pitt Cranes in Bath while completing a degree in mechanical engineering. After completing his PhD in the area of machine design he worked for the European Space Agency for five years mainly working on the ENVISAT earth observation satellite which is the largest earth observation civilian satellite in the world. He designed the solar array deployment mechanism including inventing a new type of gearbox – the double action worm gear set. He spent three years at Cambridge University as an Assistant Director of Research and Bye-Fellow of Selywn College. He led the design of the chain drive on the bicycles used by Team GB in the Rio Olympics where the cycling team won 6 gold medals and broke two world records. He has been at Bristol University since 1997 mainly working in the area of design optimisation of mechanical systems and bio-mechanical systems. I hope this in depth background on Stuart convinces you he has something worthwhile to say on a topic which determines where you will spend eternity.

WHY AN ATHEIST CHANGED HIS MIND

“To continue in atheism, I would need to believe:

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nothing produces everything,

non-life produces life,

randomness produces fine-tuning,

chaos produces information,

unconsciousness produces consciousness, 

non-reason produces reason,”

I had to add: goo produces you by way of the zoo 

Lee Strobel wrote. “I simply didn’t have that much faith.

While not everyone agrees with Strobel’s assessment, “The Case for Christ” author saw a slew of people who were moved by his framing of faith and belief.

 

 

CHRISTIANITY STANDS OR FALLS ON THE HISTORICAL ACCURACY OF GENESIS

How did Christ and His Apostles view the Old Testament?

According to Jesus, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) and “not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18). When referring to the Old Testament, He would often assert, “It is written”, making clear that He considered Scripture to be the final authority in all matters of faith and life. Along with the Pharisees He regarded the Old Testament as truly God’s Word. When quoting Genesis 2:24, for example, He affirmed that it was God speaking (Matthew 19:45) even though the passage itself does not specifically state this.6

Looking for Answers pic

In his second letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Commenting on this verse, and the New Testament in general, Frederick C. Grant, Professor of Biblical Theology at Union Theological Seminary wrote, “Everywhere it is taken for granted that what is written in scripture is the work of divine inspiration, and therefore trustworthy, infallible, and inerrant.”7

From this it might be understood that Professor Grant held to a similarly high view of Scripture. Not at all! In fact, he believed much of the Bible to be based on myths. Despite this, and along with many other liberal theologians, he recognised the Apostles’ unswerving commitment to the Old Testament as the Word of God and as unquestionably trustworthy in everything it teaches.

It is not difficult to see why scholars understand this to be true.8,9 In the Apostle Paul’s thinking, the Jews had been “entrusted with the oracles [the very words] of God” (Romans 3:2). When referring to the Old Testament he had no hesitation in affirming, “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers …” (Acts 28:25). Similarly, when quoting from the Psalms, the Apostle Peter stated that, while the words came from the mouth of David, it was the Holy Spirit speaking (Acts 4:2425). Moreover, he affirmed that “no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20–21).

Both Jesus and His Apostles undoubtedly regarded Genesis as history. Jesus, for example, affirmed the creation of Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4), the murder of Abel (Luke 11:5051), the Noahic Flood (Matthew 24:37–39) and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 10:15). Moreover, for Him, these were not simply interesting stories; rather they provided the basis for understanding important spiritual truths. Similarly, the Apostle Paul built his teaching on events recorded in the Old Testament, such as the doctrine of Original Sin (Romans 5) and the role of men and women in the church (1 Timothy 2:12–14). The writer to the Hebrews referred to the accounts of Abel, Enoch and Noah as real events that happened to real people (Hebrews 11). Significantly, this letter was written to encourage Christians who were facing serious persecution; but what use are mythical characters to those potentially facing death? The idea that anyone would think that such people might be helped by reminding them of stories suitable only for Sunday School children is absurd. The writers of the New Testament undoubtedly accepted the first book of the Bible as historical and Huxley was right: if Genesis is wrong, Christianity was built upon no more than “legendary quicksands”.

Where does your church, your denomination stand on the inerrancy of scripture? Ask your pastor to get one of the excellent PhD speakers from Creation Ministries to come speak at your church on the evidence for the Genesis account of Creation. His response may surprise you.