Friday, October 24, 2014

Proof of God from the First Cause

Sometimes, less is best. This is a brief proof, among many, for the existence of God. It is sometimes called the Cosmological Argument:

1.     All things that have come into existence are caused to exist by other things.

2.     If there is no eternal uncaused Causer, then nothing can exist.

3.     Therefore, there must be an eternal uncaused Causer - God.

PREMISE #1: To deny this is absurd. To illustrate, if I tell you that my cup of coffee just appeared without any cause, you would think me crazy. This is because we never see uncaused things materialize out of nothing.

We reasonably assume that there are causes for any phenomena. That’s why we do science – to discover the causal relationships. Therefore, to deny that phenomena require causes is to reject science.

PREMISE #2: It follows that something or Someone must be uncaused and therefore eternal to explain the existence of everything else.

However, eternal can’t be a something – the universe or some part of it. Matter and space cannot exist apart from time, but time could not have been eternal. This would have required that an infinite number of years to have already passed for us to be here in the present – a logical impossibility. Big Bang cosmology also rules this out.

Besides, the law of entropy argues against an eternal universe, since by now, everything would have dissipated.

CONCLUSION: This leaves us face-to-face with a Being who transcends time, space, and materiality.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bioluminescence, Convergent Evolution, and Probability

Evolutionists acknowledge that common structures among the various life-forms do not always imply common ancestry.  Rather, they admit that many common traits/structures had evolved independently without common ancestry, often times from very different genes and in different ways. They term this “convergent evolution” – evolution reinventing similar structures but in independent and radically different ways. What is the probability of this happening?

Let’s take the case of bioluminescence, “reinvented” perhaps over 60 times in bugs, bacteria, fungi, and fish. Citing the findings of Oakley and Pankey, observes that convergent evolution is statistically impossible:

·       This convergent evolution is so astonishingly unlikely that we would never expect it to occur via the evolutionary mechanism of random mutation and natural selection. But because we know that evolution by this process is a fact, we must now admit that statistically impossible things regularly occur in evolution because…well we don’t really know why but it’s clear that evolution has received a special dispensation from the laws of probability. Not once does it occur to him to doubt the evolutionary mechanism.

If convergent evolution is statistically impossible, why does the evolution establishment continue to promote it as an established fact? Jonathan Wells suggests that the status-quo might continue “until Darwinism is no longer an implicit requirement for tenure.”

Contributions of Christianity: A Matter of Perspective?

Some regard suffering as a reason to disbelieve in God, while others have found a basis for belief within the same horrid conditions. Writer Paul Copan relates the experience of Canadian Broadcasting Corp journalist, Brian Stewart, and his “slow, reluctant conversion”:

  • “I’ve never reached a war zone, or famine group or crisis anywhere where some church organization was not there long before me… I’m often asked if I lost belief in God covering events like Ethiopia, then called ‘the worst hell on earth.’ Actually, like others before me, it was precisely in such hells that I rediscovered religion.” (Christian Research Journal, Vol 37/Number 04, 46-47)

Often, the same events that turn some away from a faith in Christ, turns others in the opposite direction. In the process, some have attempted to denigrate the contributions of Christianity. Research Fellow Philip J. Sampson writes about how the same phenomenon can be interpreted in opposite ways:

  • “Disappointed in not finding the field of licentiousness quite so open as formerly, they [the Western traders] will not give credit to a morality which they do not wish to practice or to a [Christian] religion which they undervalue, if not despise.” (6 Modern Myths about Christianity & Western Civilization, 111)

Consequently, this disappointment gave vent to charges that the missionaries were guilty of “cultural imperialism.” However, even Charles Darwin confessed that worthwhile fruit was born out of this form of “imperialism”:

  • “Human sacrifice…infanticide…bloody wars, where the conquerors spared neither women nor children—all these have been abolished…by the introduction of Christianity.” (110)

Our oppositional opinions are often the product of oppositional worldviews. While some have insisted that the missionaries collaborated with the colonial powers, even to the extent of establishing plantations, historian Ruth Tucker places these appearances into an entirely different context:

  • Missionaries in Africa were opposed to slavery from an early period, and they used a variety of means to oppose it, including buying slaves and establishing plantations for them to work on. (From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya,102)

  • The missionaries insisted on treating native people as human beings who are entitled to the protection of the law, and this rubbed salt into the wound. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that colonists and traders often opposed missions.” (103)

  • Traders and colonists resisted the evangelism of native people, seeing conversion as the first step to indigenous people gaining access to the resources of Western culture and hence to the power that colonists wished to keep for themselves…Native people who wished to break free of the settler’s stranglehold and worship God were immediately persecuted by the white traders. (103-104)

Many other historians credit the missionaries with opposition to the abuses of colonialism:

  • The missionaries [to New Guinea] from the start found themselves in bitter opposition to the white traders and exploiters… [who] placed men sick of the measles on various islands in order to destroy the population through disease. (Stephen Neill, History of Christian Missions, 355

Our new brand of militant atheists compete among themselves to indict Christianity’s impact on society, even to the point of charging “child abuse.” However, there have been many non-Christians who also have noted the contributions of the much-maligned Christianity. Copan cites the example of the late postmodern atheist Jacques Derrida:

  • “Today the cornerstone of international law is the sacred… the concept of crime against humanity is a Christian concept and I think there would be no such thing in the law today without the Christian heritage.” (46)

Copan also cites “one Chinese scholar representing one of China’s premier academic research organizations:

  • “In the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. This is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible… the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.” (46)

Copan calls atheist Jurgen Habermas “perhaps Europe’s most prominent philosopher.” However, even he admits:

  • “Christianity and nothing else is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source.”

Clearly, our differing perspectives are our eyeglasses, determining what we see. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s all relative. Instead, Jesus taught that we walk around with logs in our eyes, making it easy for us to wrongly criticize. Yes, there is a reality to see out there, but first we have to deal with our blindness – that oft-invisible log (Matthew 7:1-5).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Offensive “Us - Them” Distinction

The central message of the Gospel is that we are sinners who must be forgiven and “born again” from above. Those who are born again become “new creations,” have passed from death into life, and are no longer of this world (John 15-17). This means that we are different from others. We are God’s redeemed – the Body of Christ – and have become “one with Him in Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17).

Understandably, the Gospel is offensive. It claims that Christians are a distinct and special people, but this is the Gospel, and any attempt to modify this teaching undermines the Gospel. However, many who call themselves Postmodern or Progressive “Christians” have rejected this critical distinction.

For example, a manager of a “Christian” Evolutionist Facebook group wrote:

  • This group is unusual because we can all come together without having an us-them mentality. We're proud of that.

For Mystics, Emergents, Progressives, and “Christian” Evolutionists, this distinction is offensive. It separates people. It seems that, for them, removing such distinctions is to make a more peaceful world. However, for the Christian, peace is a matter of loving others despite the unavoidable distinctions. (Somehow, my wife and I are able to love each other despite our many differences!)

I responded:

  • What then do you make of the many verses that claim a sharp distinction between believers and those who aren't, for instance 2 Corinthians 6:14-16: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.”

What a set of politically incorrect verses! Of course, the world regards such beliefs as the height of arrogance and not the grace of God.

I did not receive a response – not from anyone. Perhaps, though, it might make them wonder whether they can consistently call themselves “Christian.” Of course, they hate me, as Jesus had promised (John 15:18-20). But I ask myself, “How can I best love them? Through pleasantries or prophetic warnings? Through enabling them to have a false sense of security or through exposing them to the painful, revealing light?

There is a radical distinction between the children of the light - those who come to the light - and the children of darkness, who detest the light and will avoid it at all costs, even by destroying the lamps of that light (John 16:1-3).

The Apostle Paul put it this way:

  • For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. (2 Cor. 2:15-16)

Consequently, for some, the light carries a nauseating stench of death. However, this evil response often disguises itself in the garments of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15).

One Progressive “Christian” Facebook group rejected my concern for our persecuted Christian brethren:

  • We are called to love all people, not just Christians!

This reminded me of the synagogue ruler who had criticized Jesus because He had healed on the Sabbath rather than on one of the six other days (Luke 13). Of course, he justified his criticism by an appeal to the Law of Moses, making his evil sound righteous.

Yes, we are called to love all, but sincere love must begin with our own household:

  • Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal. 6:10)

Why? This is the best way to love the world! How do we love our children? By starting with loving our wives! This is entirely consistent with Jesus’ prayer:

  • “My prayer is… that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)

Loving the brethren is our primary vocation! Sadly, the church is plagued with all kinds of problems. Nevertheless, the greatest gift we can give others is to show them the reality of Jesus. We are to do this by loving our brethren before anyone else! Our mandate is to maintain the unity of Christ’s Church (Eph. 4:1-5) not the non-existent “unity” of all humanity!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Tentative Proof for God Based upon Quantum Findings

I am a non-scientist. I cannot personally vouch for the “findings” of science. Therefore, this proof is very tentative and is based upon the consensus regarding the quantum world. It would go like this:

  1. The universe is not material. 
  1. It is mind-dependent, but the human mind cannot account for the universe.
  1. Therefore, there must be a greater mind – God!

PREMISE #1: Arjun Walia observes:

  • Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating, each one radiating its own unique energy signature… Again, what quantum mechanics reveals is that there is no true “physicality” in the universe, that atoms are made of focused vorticies of energy-miniature tornadoes that are constantly popping into and out of existence.  The revelation that the universe is not an assembly of physical parts, suggested by Newtonian physics, and instead comes from a holistic entanglement of immaterial energy waves stems from the work of Albert Einstein, Max Planck, and Werner Heisenberg, among others.

PREMISE #2: This also seems to be widely accepted among quantum physicists:

  • A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. (R. C. Henry, “The Mental Universe”; Nature 436:29, 2005) (14)
However, if the human mind is able to impact external reality, there clearly seems to be severe limitations in place. We do not seem to be able to impact gravity, the expansion of the universe, or the laws of physics. Certain realities of this universe seem to be universal and immutable and impervious to our thinking. Besides, the laws of physics pre-dated our own existence. Our thinking therefore cannot account for them.

PREMISE #3:  If the universe is not material, is mind-dependent, and if human thinking cannot account for the universe, then a greater, all-determining Mind must account for it.