THE EMMAUS WALK PRESENTS: "AN INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL SCIENCE"
By Duane L. Smith
An Apologetic (or Reasoned Defense) Essay of Opinion,
With Quiz (T/F)
Let me begin this apologetic (reasoned defense) essay by stating a few premises I hold. I think the bare facts remain the same for all observers through the conclusions drawn from these facts are vastly different, depending on ones philosophical or religious convictions. I am first and foremost a Christian Theist, and I must confess this drastically affects my world-view. Unger's Bible Dictionary states: "Theism...is equivalent to monotheism (belief in a Supreme God], and particularly in the sense of recognizing the one (true) God as DISTINCT from the world, the Personal Creator (as in possessing the characteristics and attributes of personality) and also GOVERNOR in all things."[emphases mine]
From observing the known universe, studying nature, and realizing the complexities of the human mind, I believe one can surmise that the living God is Transcendent, Sovereign, Omnipotent, and possesses Supreme Intellect, Wisdom, and Infinite Powers of Reason. It is my considered opinion that I hold to the validity of the Law of Cause and Effect in an OPEN SYSTEM (see "Evidence that Demands a Verdict," by Josh McDowell). God created the entire universe, and He continues to sustain it. He stands apart from it, He is infinitely greater than it, and he is distinct from the material universe. He has set in motion the very laws of nature that we are just now beginning to discover.
I believe in God as the FIRST CAUSE, with the entire cosmos as THE EFFECT.
In looking at the universe, Albert Einstein said he saw there "a superior reasoning power...revealed in the incomprehensible universe." As the scriptures state, "IN THE BEGINNING, GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH." (Genesis 1:1) "THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD, AND THE FIRMAMENT SHOWS HIS HANDIWORK." (Psalm 19:1, NKJV) "For thus says the HIGH AND LOFTY ONE WHO INHABITS ETERNITY, I DWELL IN THE HIGH AND HOLY PLACE, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to REVIVE the spirit of the humble, and to REVIVE the HEART of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15, NKJV) 'THE LORD IS HIGH ABOVE ALL NATIONS, HIS GLORY ABOVE HEAVENS, WHO IS LIKE THE LORD OUR GOD, WHO DWELLS ON HIGH, WHO HUMBLES HIMSELF TO BEHOLD THE THINGS THAT ARE IN THE HEAVENS AND IN THE EARTH?" (Psalm 113:4-6, NKJV) And also 1st Kings 8:27 proclaims: "But God will indeed dwell on the earth? BEHOLD HEAVEN AND THE HEAVEN OF HEAVENS CANNOT CONTAIN YOU..."
Miracles can be defined in the following ways. First of all, in the strictest sense of the word, because of the Lord God Almighty's omnipotence, infinitude, and immutability, He can choose to intervene in nature at any time, set aside its laws, or suspend these temporarily. Secondly, in a broader sense, a miracle could mean any extraordinary supernatural event of Divine intervention that speeds up, delays, or helps natural processes, and encourages confirmation of faith in an individual or otherwise blesses all participants involved, and is designed to bring glory, honor, and praise to God. (For more information, please refer to "Miracles" by C.S. Lewis).
It is not that God breaks His own laws, but rather the Transcendent, Sovereign Lord is infinitely greater, and He cannot be contained by anything created; i. e., the space/time continuum.
A couple of somewhat inadequate analogies can be drawn from the Law of Gravity. For example, a plane is able, for a time, to overcome the Laws of Gravity, because of the Laws of Aerodynamics and Motion working in tandem. And in the case of spacecraft, various spacecraft are able to escape the gravitational field of the Earth because of the tremendous force being exerted by the burning fuel which is expelled by the craft. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite re-action."
Let us explore a very vital and foundational starting point for our discussion of Biblical science: the existence of the True and the Almighty Living God.
Instrumental in this process is an examination of the Theist Rationalism of Stuart Hacket (with other philosophical insights added for clarification). As the Bible itself declares, "...without Faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must (necessarily) believe that God exists and He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him (out)."--Hebrews 11:6 (Amplified, with emphases mine).
A strong argument for the existence of God can be made with an extremely high degree of probability. The knowledge of God can be logically deduced (albeit imperfect and limited), and also be somewhat empirically experienced, as well as revelationally (see "What is Truth?", A Philosophical Approach to Apologetics, by Duane L. Smith).
Hacket presupposed that there must be a correlation between various categories of the mind and reality; any other concept in denial of this is "self-contradictory and reduces to skepticism." He reiterates this point later on in his debate by concluding that "the denial of the synthetic apriori...is either self-contradictory or meaningless." he thus reaffirms the law of non-contradiction.
Norman L. Geisler has this to say about theistic rationalism: "...there must be atleast some natural inclinations of the mind toward truth or toward the first principles of knowledge. If not, nothing could ever be known..."
He continues by emphasizing the rationalistic stress on the intelligibility and knowability of reality. "...reality is not paradoxical and unknowable," states Geisler. "There is a correspondence...between the mind and being."
This, therefore, lays the necessary framework for the rationalist's argument for the existence of God (please refer to "Christian Apologetics" by Norman L. Geisler).
In preparation for this revision, I totally immersed myself in Quantum Physics, Einstein's Theories of Relativity, various philosophies, and refamiliarized myself with conservative Systematic Theology. I engaged myself in this endeavor in order to increase my understanding and to attempt to do these topics justice. If I failed to properly convey these cncepts, please bear with me. After several hours of intense study, I felt as though my spirit was bogged down. Then, as almost an afterthought, I started to read a little bit of A.W. Tozer. How my soul was refreshed! He most definitely has the soul of a prophet!
The following is an excerpt of A.W. Tozer's "The Attributes of God," Volume I: "...God nows no limits, no bounds and no end. What God is, He is without boundaries. All that God is, He is without bounds of limits..." "The words 'boundless,' 'unlimited,' and 'infinite' describe God. "They do not describe anything but God. They do not describe space or time or matter or motion or energy; these words donot apply to creatures or sand or stars or anything that can be measured..." "...God is self-existent and absolute, everything else is contingent and relative." Amen.
It seems obvious to me that Naturalistic Science has for its primary presupposition the preeminence of the material universe part from God or anything supernatural. No matter how absurd the hypothesis, naturalism and scepticism are nothing new, for the Holy Scriptures teach that "...For since the fathers fell asleeep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."--2 Peter 3:4 (N.K.J.V.)
"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things (i.e., "the creation") rather than the Creator, who is forever praised. Amen."--Romans 1:25 (N.I.V.)
"Always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth."--2 Timothy 3:7, (N.I.V.)
"O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profance and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called."--1 Timothy 6:20 (K.J.V.)
Crucial to the scientific method is an open mind. Closed minds lead to closed hearts, which condition in turn invites spiritual pride. Individuals who are predisposed to this condition usually end up constructing for themselves a god of their own intellect and reason. In effect, they construct a god of their own likeness or image. Having considered the aforementioned postulates and scriptural exhortations, let us now turn to basic nuclear physics.
As you know, most atoms have more than one proton in their nucleii. Remember, unlike charges attract, while like charges repel. What, then, keeps two or more positively-charged protons from flying apart, thus causing everything to cease to exist?
Scientists like to describe a mysterious force as "cosmic glue," which is supposed to hold everything together. The ability to break this quantum strong force makes nuclear bombs and reactors possible. However, it is imperative that I point out that this force is predicated and contingent upon the power and grace of the Lord God Almighty. And it is by the Word of our Soverign and Transcendent Lord that everything is held together literally, and it is by His grace, on the other hand, that mankind is allowed to unleash the awesome power of the atom. This power is infinitesimal and practically insignificant when juxtaposed with the power of His glory yet to be revealed!
In Colossians 1:15-17, Paul writes: "He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the first-born over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and IN HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST." (N.K.J.V.) The Greek is very clear here, "consist" literally means "to hold together."
And Hebrews 1:2 and 3 tell us "...In these last days (He) has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds, who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and UPHOLDING ALL THINGS BY THE WORD OF HIS POWER..." (N.K.J.V.)
The key word here is "upholding" or "to uphold", which can be translated "bearing," according to the the Greek Interlinear New Testament. Also, according to VINE'S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY, the Greek word for "bearing" is "phoreo" (pronounced "for-eu": "eu" sounding like "you" or the "eu" in "feud"). "Phoreo" literally means "...denoting not a simple act of bearing, but a continuous or habitual condition." It also states that the word can be translated "to bear, carry, or uphold." When one considers this concept, it seems obvious to me that the Holy Scriptures support the idea of Christian Theism.
Some people say that God will one day allow man to finally and totally annihilate himself through global nuclear warfare. I think not, for what would happen if God suddenly withheld His grace and power that hold everything together? Everything would instantly vaporize. No, it will not happen that man will take charge in this way of creation. Almighty God does not have to wait for man to "play God." Scripture bears clear witness of this.
2 Peter 3:10-13: "But the Day of the Lord, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat, both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the Day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." (N.K.J.V.)
However, this does not preclude the possibility of a limited nuclear exchange, the release of "dirty bombs," or other weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps, God might permit the use of such weapons as a way of bringing judgment on various nations for their arrogance, ungodliness, and immorality. Evenso, let me make one thing very clear. Any nation engaging in such evil methods ultimately does not have God's blessing. That nation or nations will not be absolved or justified in the sight of Almighty God. In the end, they shall not prevail. See Romans 3:8, and Romans 12:14-17. And so we humbly plead for God's mercy and providential care!
Zechariah 14:12 could be descriptive of nuclear destruction or indicative of the presense of the glory of God Himself: "And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people...their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths."--(N.K.J.V.)
Hebrews 12:28 states: "...let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and goldly fear." Verse 29: "For our God is a consuming fire." 1 Timothy 6:15 and 16: "...He is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in inappproachable light, whm no man has een or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen."--(N.K.J.V.)
This brings us to the next important point in our discussion about scripturally sound science, an examination of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, with some its ramifications.
Charles C. Ryrie's definition may be helpful for you to comprehend the Second Law of Thermodynamics. "This Second Law of Thermodynamics states that (even) though energy in the cosmos remains constant (i.e., the conservation of energy), the amount available to do useful work is always decreasing, while the measure of unavailable enerby is increasing. Everything, then, is moving toward less orderliness or greater chaos." (Some emphases is added for clarification) See "Basic Theology," "A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth."
According to Stephen W. Hawkings, mathematically speaking, it makes no difference at all what direction linear time flows. A few of the main reasons we perceive time as a series of events proceeding forth in a procession of past, present, and future, and not the reverse, is primarily because once again the Law of Cause and Effect and also the Second Law of Thermodynamics are responsible, I believe.
And not only so, but it even seems our very thought processes and other biological functions are predicated and are contingent on our present-day cncept of linear time.
But what if the reverse were true? Imagine, if you will, what would happen if effects preceded their causes? Freeway driving would be next to impossible, for most of the vehicles ahead would appear to you the driver as moving straight toward you, driving backward at a high rate of speed! Or, perhaps, rivers would appear to flow uphill. Or even diners next to you in a restaurant would appear to be regurgitating their food!
In such a topsy-turvy world one could perhaps witness his own birth, or his own demise, or, worst of all, the cause of his own demise--the classic problem of the time paradox. Chaos would reign supreme.
Thank God, we don't have these kinds of problems in the real world, for our God is independent of space/time and is completely unaffected by space and time. He, the Sovereign Lord of the universe, is free to act as He wills, according to His own good nature.
That is why the Lord God Almighty ("Adoni El-shaddi" in Hebrew), who is the Eternal Self-Existent One, is described in the Bible as the One who was, and is, and is to come. He is absolutely eternal and, indeed, truly timeless.
See 1 Corinthians 14:33, Psalm 93:2, Isaiah 40:28, Psalm 41:13, Revelation 11:17, Revelation 16:5, and 2 Peter 3:8.
CONCLUSION: My opinion is that when God created the world it was in a perfect state of order, and that after the Fall entropy began to set in, and creation itself began to gradually move from a state of order and continues to move in an ever-increasing state of chaos. I also think that the Fall of Man probably had a ripple effect. It spread out and began to affect the whole of creation. I think that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a complete reversal of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and His Resurrection also has ripple effect. It began with His own body, and spread to us as believers, and will eventually spread throughout the entire universe.
Finally, the new heavens and the new earth will have an entirely new economy; that is, a whole new set of natural laws. The Second Law of Thermodynamics will not apply to them, something we cannot even begin to imagine. For more information about the Resurrection, which results in the believer's glorified state, please see 1 Corinthians 15:35-37. Note: All scriptures used are taken from the New King James Version (N.K.J.V.).
Please Go Next to Part Three, the True/False Questions for this Essay, by Using the Link Below. Afterwards, return for a link to a great series of articles in the "Defending the Faith" section in DECISION magazine, June 2001, for the articles, "Are You Ready to Give an Answer?", The Universe--More Than Just Coincidence?", "Too Many Hypocrites," The Gospels: Reliable Records of Jesus' Words," "The Fifth Gospel," and "Saving Faith." After going to Decision Magazine, click on Archive on the left sidebar of the page, then click on "Defending the Faith" in the center of the next page, which will then give you a list of the articles which are links to the articles listed here.
Article: (c) 2007, Estate of Duane L. Smith, All Rights Reserved
Format only: (c) 2007, Butterfly Productions, All Rights Reserved for Format