Friday, October 10, 2008

In the Beginning

Christians are often scolded with the argument that it is Christianity which has declared war on secular science, specifically Biblicists who narrowly adhere to a literal 6-day Creation account; not science that has declared war on Christianity. Based on the tenor of the remarks that I’ve quoted, it would appear that argument is utterly false. For those who hold to a Biblical view of origins most of the scientific community has nothing but condescension and scorn.

Why is there such a sharp divide between modern science and Biblical Christianity? I believe the answer is contained in one sentence: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This may well be the most controversial sentence in the entire Bible! From the very first verse of sacred scripture emerge three key words that affirm the difference between Biblical Christianity and nearly all other belief systems, including naturalism.

Beginning

The Bible asserts that the world, man, history, indeed time itself has a beginning point. This is also the beginning point of the controversy between modern science and the Biblical view of origins, but it isn’t just “modern” thinkers who have taken an alternate view of the world’s genesis. Ancient philosophers and even more recent ones such as the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (Who is famous or infamous, depending on your viewpoint, for declaring that “God is dead.”) held to the myth of eternal recurrence. This idea argues that the universe has no starting point; instead, the universe and everything in it is eternal, and everything goes round and round without an end or beginning.

This drudging up of an ancient and mostly discarded theory has not taken root in modern science. The predominant cosmological model of the universe’s origin is the Big Bang theory. Listen to the following statement, made by a scientist upon the launching of the Hubble telescope in 1990: “Fifteen to eighteen billion years ago the universe exploded into being.” Like the first sentence of sacred scripture declares the Biblical view of origins, this sentence announces the naturalist’s view, and it, like Genesis 1:1, contains three key words: exploded, into, and being. Now, I am not a physicist or a cosmologist, but I don’t have to be to understand that is a nonsensical statement. You see, to say that “the universe experienced a massive explosion” is logical and rational; however, to suggest that the universe exploded into being is completely illogical and irrational. This learned and educated man was suggesting, indeed as all naturalists must, that the universe exploded from non-being into being. If the universe did not exist before the explosion, what was it that exploded?

What exploded? The model suggests that all energy and matter previous to the explosion had been condensed into one tiny little point of singularity. At some point, and for some reason, that infinitesimal point of singularity exploded, and the results of that explosion are still reverberating throughout outer space.

Now this raises a whole host of questions. From where did all of this matter and energy originate? Why did it all condense into that infinitesimal point of singularity? What started it all? Newton’s first law of motion states that an object at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by an external force, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.

There has to be an outside force for anything to change, move, or come into existence. What is the force that scientists ascribe as the cause for the Big Bang and therefore the cause for all existence? The answer is chance. Chance becomes the great innovator and initiator of the universe. What are the chances that anything can happen by chance? The answer is: not a chance! Chance is a perfectly good term if used when speaking about mathematical probabilities. If I flip a coin, the chances of it coming up heads are 50-50, but chance cannot determine the outcome of the flip. There are many variables that cause the coin to come up either heads or tails, but chance is not one of them. Chance has no influence on the result. Chance cannot do anything because chance is nothing. For something to act it must first be. Chance has no being; it is no thing. To say that the universe was created by chance is to say the universe was created by nothing.

What modern scientists describe as the causal force behind the creation of the universe is the same thing that my boys cite when they try to wiggle their way out of trouble.

“Boys, what was that loud crash?”

“It was nothing, Dad!”

For both scientists and my boys the argument doesn’t stand to reason.

Chance gets a big assist from time in the evolutionistic view of beginning. In his book Not a Chance RC Sproul quotes Nobel laureate George Wald as saying,
Time is the hero of the plot. What we regard as impossible on the basis of human experience is meaningless here. Given so much time, the impossible becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracle.
Which is funny, because if you speak of Jesus doing miracles you become the object of derisive laughter, but substitute Jesus’ name with time and you may be a Nobel prize winner in physiology.

What is time? How much does it weigh? What are its dimensions? Like chance, time is not a thing, but the accepted and virtually unquestioned scientific claim of the universe’s origin is space + time + chance = everything. This amounts to nothing + nothing + nothing = everything.

Theologian RC Sproul recounts receiving a letter from a scientist who had read his book Not a Chance, and the scientist complained about Sproul’s critique of nothing. He informed Sproul that, “Science has now been able to isolate and identify five distinct types of nothing.” Sproul said he wanted to ask the scientist, “What is it about type 1 of nothing that is different from type 2 in the taxonomy of nothingness? What is it that number 2 has that number 1 lacks?” The answer would have to be…nothing! It would have been one thing to say, “We have five different definitions of nothingness, but to soberly suggest that there are five kinds of nothing illustrates the great lengths to which modern science will go in order to manufacture an alternative to Creation.

Science has relentlessly appealed to chance to save the phenomenon without looking to the Creator God, and what they have really done is create their own religion. The name of which is naturalism. This is the view that every law and every force operating in the universe is natural rather than moral, spiritual, or supernatural.

Therefore it is assumed that naturalism is not a religion; that naturalism essentially represents scientific objectivity. It does not. Naturalists like to portray their system as a philosophy diametrically opposed to all faith-based world-views. Thus, they pretend that it is scientifically and intellectually superior to all other worldviews because of its supposed non-religious character, but religion accurately describes naturalism. The entire philosophy is built upon a faith-based presupposition: from nothing comes everything. This requires faith, and, unlike Biblical Christianity, it is a blind, giant leap of faith. Science deals with what can be observed and reproduced by experimentation. The origin of life can be neither observed nor reproduced in any laboratory. By definition, then, true science can give us no knowledge whatsoever about where we came from or how we got here.

Naturalism is a religion with evolution as its foundational doctrine, and naturalists will routinely employ worshipful language when describing the creation. Carolyn Porco is a CIT trained planetary scientist who has worked on the unmanned Voyager and Cassini missions to explore the outer reaches of our solar system. Here is what she said at the 2006 seminar “Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival”:
We should let the success of the religious formula guide us. Let's teach our children from a very young age about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty. It is already so much more glorious and awesome -- and even comforting -- than anything offered by any scripture or God concept I know.
And let’s not forget the opening mantra to the late Carl Sagan’s TV series Cosmos: “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.” Not only is that religious language, but it is Biblical language; only it substitutes God with the cosmos. Professing to be wise they’ve become fools, and worship the creation rather than the immortal glory of the Creator God.
Proverbs 16:33 – The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof [is] of the LORD.
Chance doesn’t come into play with a sovereign God. Every decision is from the Lord.
Nehemiah 9:6 – Thou, [even] thou, [art] LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all [things] that [are] therein, the seas, and all that [is] therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

6 comments:

Teresita said...

You said: This learned and educated man was suggesting, indeed as all naturalists must, that the universe exploded from non-being into being. If the universe did not exist before the explosion, what was it that exploded?

Currently, cosmologists are attempting to verify quantum loop gravity, which sets an upper bound on the density of the universe during a "Big Crunch", which in turn leads to the concept of a "Big Bounce", which is what we refer to as the "Big Bang". That means there is a possibility that the universe itself is eternal, a brute fact of reality, as equally without need for a cause or explanation as an eternal god.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Teresita,

You wrote, "a possibility that universal is eternal," and then you wrote, "a brute fact of reality." How could a possibility be a brute fact? You are still talking about a theory either way, aren't you? You're saying that they are experimenting about "the possibility," so that when they are done, it is still nothing more than a theory. The biggest bounce might be the one between something concluded as possible and something that is a brute fact of reality.

Teresita, I noticed in your blogger bio that you said that you learned to "lie." First, why do you believe that keeping this secret was lying? Second, why do you think it is important to be "married?" Isn't that just a religious distinction? If we got here by accident, why should this distinction matter to you? Third, did you know that there is no scientific basis for lesbianism? You certainly didn't inherit the trait, because that would be a scientific contradiction. You arrived here through heterosexual existence.

Fourth, are you open minded? If so, did you know there is irrefutable scientific evidence for the God of the Bible? Would you be willing to consider it?

Fresh Dirt said...

Kent, you speak of irrefutalbe scientific evidence for the God of the Bible... that's an impossibility. Science, the study of the material world, can not use its scientific method to explore God. The scientific method is based on observations through the human senses: seeing, touching, smelling, tasting, and hearing. If Teresita is a scientist, she is going to tear such an idea to pieces because you are speaking about categorically different fields of thought. As Travis has put in his more recent post, why do Christians seek to corroborate science and the Bible (a question I would pose to Travis as well)? Currently, our sciences do not have a universal theory for everything. Also,there are multiple, upon multiple, theories of evolution. In addition, there are all kinds of cosmological theories and hypotheses.

Regarding lesbianism, you can't make the claim because scientists are at odds about the scientific basis for sexual orientation. At best, you can say that science is inconclusive about it. You are trying to piece together what to you sounds logical: if you arrived by heterosexual coupling then you must have inherited that same trait. You have equated mechanism of procreation with gene characteristics-- a flawed comparison.

Evangelicals like to toss out genetic proclivties as real possibilities. I'm not sure why you do this. Your theology of the fall and original sin could incorporate such proclivities with ease... sin is inherent in our genes, etc. You will explain natural disasters, pain, disease, etc. as products of the fall but often won't do so for human issues. Perhaps you think it pushes against individual responsibility; you should re-examine... believe me your theology can handle it. Give your own theology a chance.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Fresh Dirt,

It doesn't sound very scientific for you to say that it is an impossibility for there to irrefutable evidence of Scripture. That's just to start.

You make a grave error to separate science from the Bible and to give up that ground. God certainly doesn't intend it.

I'm not going to come right out and say it for you Fresh Dirt, because I want to start with a question. Is mathematical probability scientific?

I'm going t help you out by giving you a link:

http://www-biba.inrialpes.fr/Jaynes/prob.html

There are a lot of articles on the science of mathematical probability. Do you believe it is science?

No science has proven that homosexuality is biological or genetic. None. However, science has shown that it isn't. We know that homosexuals are NOT born that way.

I provide a bunch of links from scientists here.
http://kentbrandenburg.blogspot.com/2008/10/thy-myth-of-born-homosexuals.html

What we do know is that this is a political issue and we get a lot of propaganda type techniques to spin homosexuality into something organic.

Give my theology a chance? Chance and theology are mutually exclusive. Scripture prohibits homosexuality. God made Eve, not Steve.

Travis said...

Just to be clear, I'm not seeking "to corroborate science and the Bible." Wasn't sure if that was being suggested. My point is to show the lunacy of Big Bang cosmology, or any view that is not the literal interpretation of Genesis 1. As Justin said "there are multiple, upon multiple, theories of evolution [and] all kinds of cosmological theories and hypotheses" But the Big Bang is the most widely accepted and taught.

Secondarily, my point was to prove that all truth is God's truth, and that while the scriptures are not a technical manual, all verifiable scientific facts will agree with scripture. Therefore, when Christians try to assimilate modern scientific theory with the scripture they only succeed in confusion and/or addition and subtraction from the text. A thing one ought not to do according to this.

Concerning lesbianism, no one is born a homosexual. It matters not what scientists may or may not conclude on this matter. We know from scripture that people are not born homosexual. This does not mean that science and scripture are at odds. It means that not all scientists are honest. Many scientists are convinced the Big Bang - or some variation of it - is true. It isn't.

We can and do know from scripture that people are not born homosexual. Some men and women may lust after people of the same gender, but they are not forced by nature to be a homosexual.

Fresh Dirt said...

Kent, you are right it isn't very scientific for me to say such a statement. First, I'm not a scientist (nor are you!). Second, I do not intend to ever sound scientific-- I believe that was the error I was pointing out to you about your post. Once again, that is the great modernistic error.

Next, I haven't separated Scripture from science; however, I would separate interpretations of scripture from interpretations of scientific data-- in fact, you do the same. Of course we do this. However, you've substituted your words about scripture for the scripture itself.

Finally, its childish to respond to my statement about giving your theology a chance with a statement about theology and chance being mutually exclusive-- COME ON!

Seriously, have a bit more faith in your own theology. Growing up in your belief tradition, it drives me crazy when you all don't use your own theology to its fullest extent.

I was simply pointing out some errors in your thoughts Kent... and indeed I was correct in pointing them out. It was meant to be constructive and to help you refine your statements and response to Teresita.

Mathematical probability as scientific? Sure, maybe... I don't really know. Math sometimes works and sometimes it doesn't. Many theories are put together from math that actually don't work in the real world. Then of course, many do. Our economic situation should be sufficient evidence for that. There is no math without a mathmatician. As Travis as amply pointed out, not all scientists are honest. Nor are mathmaticians. Since math and science cannot be performed without these people... they are not objective.

Anyways, who really cares? I don't need science to prove God or not prove God. We have faith in God. We trust God. Not because of science but because he loved us, died for us, and is calling to us.

To sum up your theology... humans are fallen, and we live in fallen world. Creation is even cursed because of Adam's fall. Humans are born as sinners. Creation is in chaos because of sin. Thus, in your all's theology, it would be a theological possibility for people to be born with particular sinful tendencies or proclivities. This is easy to see in small children... some are more prone to be liars than others, some are more prone to not sharing, etc. We point out the good differences in our children, why not the evil differences? You could open up whole new realms for atonement and sactification to your people if you explored this just a bit. Redemption goes so much further than you are allowing it. As I said, your theology can handle it! But alas, rather than allow for your theology to take its fullest form, your defensive.