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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Big Fizzle

The Big Fizzle: Admissions from an Evolutionary Astrophysicist
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


No topic is more fundamental in the creation/evolution debate than the origin of the Universe. The theory advanced by evolutionists for several decades now, which supposedly best explains our existence from a purely naturalistic perspective, is known as the Big Bang. It has circulated via science textbooks all over the world. One of the leading publishers of science curriculum for many years has been Prentice Hall. In their 1992 General Science textbook, titled A Voyage of Discovery, they included the following section on “The Birth and Death of the Universe:”

How was the universe born and how will it end? Most astronomers believe that about 18 to 20 billion years ago all the matter in the universe was concentrated into one very dense, very hot region that may have been much smaller than a period on this page. For some unknown reason, this region exploded. This explosion is called the big bang. One result of the big bang was the formation of galaxies, all racing away from one another. This explains why the universe is still expanding (Hurd, et al., p. 61, emp. in orig.).

Since 1992 the “birth of the Universe” has been shaved substantially (from 18 to 20 billion years ago to 12 to 15 billion years ago—see Biggs, et al., 2003, p. 159), but the theory is more or less the same. Ask an evolutionist how the Universe came to be and you likely will hear that “it all started with a big bang.” (Good luck getting an evolutionist to explain from whence came the dense ball of matter that purportedly exploded and formed the Universe.)

Recent admissions from one astrophysicist in the popular scientific journal New Scientist are very significant in light of how saturated evolutionary science is with the Big Bang model. The cover of the March 3, 2007 issue of New Scientist reads: “What Put the Bang in the Big Bang” (emp. in orig.). The cover story was written by Dr. Peter Coles, who teaches astrophysics at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. One might assume by the heading on the cover that New Scientist would inform readers what actually caused the explosion of the “pinhead” size ball of matter (193[2593]:33), especially since the heading was not a question, but a declaration. Instead, Coles elected to by-pass any explanation of the actual cause of the Big Bang. He wrote: “Inflation puts the ‘bang’ in the big bang” (p. 36, emp. added). Inflation is the “ultra-fast expansion just after the big bang” through which the Universe allegedly went in less than a millisecond, supposedly causing “most of the growth” of the 14-billion-light-year observable Universe (see Coles, pp. 33,36). According to Coles, this expansion puts the “oomph” in the big bang. “[I]nflation is now well established as an essential component of cosmology” (p. 33, emp. added).

Notice, however, the many blatant admissions Dr. Coles made throughout his brief, five-page article that completely invalidate any theory relying upon inflation and the Big Bang:

There is little direct evidence that inflation actually took place. Observations of the cosmic microwave background...are consistent with the idea that inflation took place, but that doesn’t mean it actually happened. What’s more, we still don’t know what would have caused it if it did. So how confident can we be that inflation is really a part of the universe’s history? (p. 33, emp. added).

Alan Guth (the physicist who proposed the inflation theory in 1981—EL) cannot prove that this “inflation” actually happened nor can he suggest a compelling physical reason why it should have (p. 33).

Within just a few years inflation had become an indispensable part of cosmological theory.... The only problem was that there wasn’t a shred of evidence that inflation had actually happened (p. 35, emp. added).

Inflation is undoubtedly a beautiful idea, but the problems it solves are theoretical, not observational.... [T]he fact that the universe appears to be flat doesn’t prove that inflation happened (p. 35).

It is difficult to talk sensibly about scientific proof of phenomena that are so far removed from everyday experience. At what level can we prove anything in astronomy?... [D]o we really know for sure that the Universe is expanding?... I would hesitate to say that it was proven beyond all reasonable doubt. The same goes for inflation. It is a beautiful idea that fits snugly with standard cosmology and binds many parts of it together but that doesn’t necessarily make it true. Many theories are beautiful, but that is not sufficient to prove them right (p. 36, emp. added).

Cosmology is now a mature and respectable science. Yet there are still many gaps in our knowledge. We don’t know the form of the “dark matter” responsible for unexplained extra gravity. Nor do we have any real understanding of dark energy (p. 37, emp. added). [NOTE: Considering that “dark matter” and “dark energy” supposedly make up 96% of the observable Universe (Thompson, et al., 2003), admitting that astronomers do not have “any real understanding” of them speaks volumes about the speculations and assumptions upon which the Big Bang theory is based—EL.]

If that were not enough, Coles then concluded his article with the following words.

We don’t know for sure if inflation happened, and we are certainly a long way from being able to identify the inflation. In a way we are still as confused as ever about how the universe began. But perhaps now we are confused on a higher level and for better reasons (p. 37, emp. added).

Though man now knows more about the Universe than ever before, evolutionists are “as confused as ever about how the universe began,” albeit “confused on a higher level.” Such confusion should come as no surprise. After all, “[t]he fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Aside from the fact that an explosion of a period-size ball of matter causing an orderly Universe defies both logic and the law of cause and effect (see Thompson, 2004, pp. 19-138), Coles’ recent admissions testify loudly against the best explanation evolutionists have for the origin of the Universe. Instead of titling New Scientist’s issue “What Put the Bang in the Big Bang,” perhaps a better heading would have been “Confusion Taken to a Whole New Level.”

REFERENCES
Biggs, Alton, et al. (2003), Science (New York: McGraw-Hill).

Coles, Peter (2007), “Boomtime,” New Scientist, 193[2593]:33-37, March 3.

Hurd, Dean, George Mathias, and Susan Johnson, eds. (1992), General Science: A Voyage of Discovery (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall).

Thompson, Bert (2004), The Scientific Case for Creation (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).

Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part II],” Reason & Revelation, 23[6]:49-63, June, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/30.





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Copyright © 2007 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

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Thinking Like Scientists Think They Think

Thinking Like Scientists Think They Think
by Kyle Butt, M.A.


In the July 9, 2007 issue of Newsweek, science writer Sharon Begley penned a four-page section on “scientific” topics such as cloning, evolution, and the Big Bang. Near the end of the section, she wrote a brief article titled “How to Think Like a Scientist.” Begley quotes Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as saying that one of the real problems today is that “people don’t understand what is and isn’t science” (2007b, 150[2]:65). Begley then proceeds to define scientific thinking for the reader. Begley states: “Explanations of large classes of phenomena must make testable predictions and be falsifiable. That is, there must be a way to make an observation that could disprove the explanation” (150[2]:65). Begley continues by stating: “The requirement of falsifiability rules out supernatural explanations; you cannot disprove, for instance, the claim that God scattered fossils throughout rock strata.... God may have done that, but we’ll never know and there is no way to disprove it. In that way, faith is fundamentally different from science” (150[2]:65).

Begley contends, as do many other “science” writers, that belief in a supernatural creator falls outside the realm of science. Thus, science textbooks that deal with scientific explanations must exclude any mention of a supernatural creator. Begley is wrong in this regard. In a previous article, I have dealt with the false notion that what passes for modern science is testable (see Butt, 2005). More specifically, however, consider Begley’s discussion of the Big Bang as it relates to her claim of scientific falsifiability.

Near the beginning of her four-page section, Begley wrote a single-column post titled: “Glimpses of A Cosmic Creation” (2007a). In that article, she states: “It [the Big Bang—KB] occurred 13.7 billion years ago, an explosion that created all matter and energy.... The universe expanded from a very hot, condensed ‘singularity’—the likes of which can be found today in black holes” (150[2]:62). Begley makes it sound like you could hop on a space shuttle, stop off at the nearest “black hole” and find a “singularity” (whatever that is) that perfectly coincides with the beginning of our Universe. In truth, however, such is an absolutely false idea. Evolutionary scientists themselves admit that the Big Bang theory is fraught with “testability peril.” Recently, Eric Lyons wrote an article titled: “The Big Fizzle: Admissions from an Evolutionary Astrophysicist” (2007). In that article, he documented several quotes from Dr. Peter Coles, professor of astrophysics at the University of Nottingham. The gist of Dr. Coles’ sentiments are summed up in his statement: “Within just a few years inflation [the expansion of the Universe after the Big Bang—KB] had become an indispensable part of cosmological theory.... The only problem was that there wasn’t a shred of evidence that inflation had actually happened” (as quoted in Lyons, 2007, emp. added). Paul Davies, Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of Adelaide in Australia, wrote: “Most scientists regard the cosmic initial conditions as lying outside the scope of science altogether” (1992, p. 88, emp. added). Professor Lawrence M. Principe, from Johns Hopkins University, wrote concerning the inception of the Universe: “This seems to be something that science, at least as we know it, can’t address” (2006, p. 113).

Begley’s attempt to present the Big Bang as a scientific theory that is testable and falsifiable manifests an inexcusably dishonest approach to legitimate science. Real scientific thinking means following the evidence to any conclusion warranted by the data. The scientists of the past knew this—men such as Newton, Farraday, Von Braun, Pasteur, Carver, and a host of others. That is why their scientific minds were forced by the overwhelming evidence to conclude that a supernatural creator exists. Thinking like biased evolutionists, however, means throwing out such conclusions because, if they are considered, evolution crumbles under their weight.

REFERENCES
Begley, Sharon (2007a), “Glimpses of A Cosmic Creation,” Newsweek, 150[2]:62, July 9.

Begley, Sharon (2007b), “How to Think Like a Scientist,” Newsweek, 150[2]:65, July 9.

Butt, Kyle (2005), “Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Testability,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2778.

Davies, Paul (1992), The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World (New York: Orion).

Lyons, Eric (2007), “The Big Fizzle: Admissions from an Evolutionary Astrophysicist,” Reason & Revelation, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3393.

Principe, Lawrence M. (2006), Science and Religion (Chantilly, VA: Teaching Company).





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Copyright © 2010 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
We are happy to grant permission for items in the "Sensible Science" section to be reproduced in their entirety, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) the author’s name must remain attached to the materials; (4) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (5) alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, quotations, etc. must be reproduced exactly as they appear in the original); (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
U.S.A.
Phone (334) 272-8558
http://www.apologeticspress.org

Monday, December 20, 2010

"God bless America".

America’s Most Pressing Concern
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Many concerns occupy the minds of those who are disturbed by what is happening to the United States: bloated deficits, oppressive taxation, alleged global warming, rampant crime, and the influx of intruders who do not share the values and worldview of Americans. What are the central issues and topics that the average American pinpoints as of greatest concern? What issues stir widespread social and political fervor? For example, in the recent election, what concerns were most important to Americans as they cast their votes? By far, the top issue among all party groups was the economy. Healthcare was #2, followed by the size and power of federal government (“Economy Top Issue...,” 2010). But make no mistake: “The economy in general and the specific economic problem of unemployment or lack of jobs far outpace all other issues when Americans are asked to name the most important problem facing the country” (“Economy, Jobs...,” 2010, emp. added).

Beyond the economy, contemplate for a moment a few of the other issues that occupy the concern of many Americans:

War in Iraq/Afghanistan--Illegal immigration--Federal deficit

Education--Environmental issues--Energy availability

Terrorism--Foreign affairs--Social security and Medicare


Many other issues might be listed, but these are sufficient to make the point: Most Americans are more concerned about physical and financial matters than spiritual matters. When one contemplates the multitude of pressing concerns, it is easy to feel “scattered” and overwhelmed as to (1) what the real problem is and (2) the antidote.

While these matters certainly merit the attention and due concern of citizens, the fact of the matter is that the Founders of our Republic pinpointed a much more critical, logically prior issue. Consider the forthright remarks of three:

In a letter written to fellow Founder and signer of the federal Constitution, James McHenry, on November 4, 1800, Declaration signer Charles Carroll of Carrollton declared:

[W]hat motive can be stronger than the belief, founded on revelation, that a virtuous life will be rewarded by a happy immortality? Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure...are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments (as quoted in Steiner, 1907, p. 475, emp. added).
Consider carefully the admonitions of Founder Noah Webster regarding the indispensable nature of Christianity to the existence of our Republic:

[O]ur citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.... [T]he religion which has introduced civil liberty, is the religion of Christ and his apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledged in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.... [T]he Christian religion ought to be received, and maintained with firm and cordial support. It is the real source of all genuine republican principles.... The religion of Christ and his apostles, in its primitive simplicity and purity, unencumbered with the trappings of power and the pomp of ceremonies, is the surest basis of a republican government.... [T]hose who destroy the influence and authority of the Christian religion, sap the foundations of public order, of liberty, and of republican government.... (1832, pp. v,247,310-311, emp. added).
The United States commenced their existence under circumstances wholly novel and unexampled in the history of nations. They commenced with civilization, with learning, with science, with constitutions of free government, and with that best gift of God to man, the Christian religion (as quoted in Scudder, 1881, p. 242, emp. added).

In his 1780 inaugural address as the governor of his home state of Massachusetts, Declaration signer John Hancock reminded his fellow citizens of the importance of Christianity to the perpetuation of the nation:

Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement.... A due observation of the Lord’s Day is not only important to internal religion, but greatly conducive to the order and benefit of civil society.... Manners, by which not only the freedom, but the very existence of the republics, are greatly affected, depend much upon the public institutions of religion and the good education of youth (as quoted in Brown, 1898, p. 269, emp. added).
There you have it. The Founders repeatedly articulated the #1 concern—the paramount, ultimate, most pressing issue facing the nation. Without this singular, critically important quality—if America does not get this one matter correct—the economy will be the least of our worries. Stated succinctly, that all-consuming, quintessential, premiere concern is: We the citizens, and our leaders, must reinstate acknowledgement of God and His religion (i.e., Christianity), and turn to Him in humble, penitent obedience. According to the Founders themselves, the God of the Bible was solely responsible for the establishment and perpetuation of the Republic. And that national recognition is the only thing that will preserve and sustain us, as it has done for over two centuries. Even if we could snap our fingers and fix all our economic woes instantaneously, without God’s favor we remain in deadly danger. Indeed, rather than fearing terrorists or economic depression, the time has come to reinstate a healthy, sober fear of God (Proverbs 1:7,29-33; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Hebrews 10:31; 12:29—see Miller, 2003; Miller, 2009).

Unless America can get this one, critical issue sorted out; unless a sizable percentage of Americans will go back to God, Christ, and the Bible, and recognize their foremost need of receiving divine favor; unless citizens can restore moral and sexual sanity to their behavior based on Christian principles, the country is destined to destruction. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). May God bless America.

REFERENCES

Abram Brown (1898), John Hancock: His Book (Boston, MA: Lee & Shepard Publishers).

“Economy, Jobs Easily Top Problems in Americans’ Minds” (2010), Gallup, September 21, http://www.gallup.com/poll/143135/Economy-Jobs-Easily-Top-Problems-Americans-Minds.aspx.’

“Economy Top Issue for Voters; Size of Gov’t. May Be More Pivotal” (2010), Gallup, October 26, http://www.gallup.com/poll/144029/Economy-Top-Issue-Voters-Size-Gov-May-Pivotal.aspx.

Miller, Dave (2003), “Who Believes in Hell Anymore?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2258.

Miller, Dave (2009), “God’s Fierce Anger,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2242.

Scudder, Horace (1881), Noah Webster (Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.).

Steiner, Bernard (1907), The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, OH: Burrows Brothers).

Webster, Noah (1832), History of the United States (New Haven, CT: Durrie & Peck).



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Copyright © 2010 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
U.S.A.
Phone (334) 272-8558
http://www.apologeticspress.org

Guardian Angels

Guardian Angels
by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Though Scripture never uses the term “guardian angel,” millions of Bible believers through the centuries have professed their conviction in such a classification of angels. In the third century A.D., Origen wrote that “each one of us, even to the ‘least’ who are in the church of God” has “a good angel, an angel of the LORD, who guides, warns and governs” (p. 128). More than a century later, Jerome declared that “the worth of souls is so great that from birth each one has an angel assigned to him for his protection” (p. 209). Around that same time, Chrysostom, in his Homily on Colossians 1:15-18, remarked: “For each believer hath an Angel; since even from the beginning, every one of those that were approved had his Angel.... [T]here is a demon present also” (p. 273). In the centuries to follow, the Catholic Church popularized the concept of guardian angels even more. In 1615, for example, Pope Paul V officially added “Feast of the Guardian Angels” to the Roman calendar (“Feast...,” 2010). Later, “Guardian Angels” Catholic churches began to arise across America, from Rochester, New York to Chaska, Minnesota.

There is no doubt that millions of people around the world have been captivated by the thought of guardian angels. Though many people who identify themselves as Christians believe in the existence of this special class of angels, the only thing that ultimately matters about this subject or any other is, “What does God’s Word have to say on the matter?”


DEFINITION OF TERMS

Angel

The English word “angel” is translated from the Greek angelos and the Hebrew malawk, and literally means “messenger” (“Angel,” 1988). Sometimes in Scripture “angel” is used in reference to human messengers. For example, on one occasion the Old Testament prophet Haggai was called “the Lord’s malawk” (i.e., “messenger,” 1:13). On another occasion, when God spoke through the prophet Malachi, He prophesied of the coming of John the Baptizer, the forerunner of Christ, saying, “Behold, I send My messenger (Hebrew malawk), and he will prepare the way before Me” (3:1). Hundreds of years later, when the apostle Matthew recorded Jesus’ quotation of this scripture, he used the Greek term angelos (11:10). John the Baptizer was the angelos of God (i.e., not a heavenly being, but God’s human messenger).

Most of the time, however, the terms malawk and angelos refer to created (Psalm 148:2,5; Colossians 1:16), celestial beings who perform a variety of duties for the Creator of heaven and Earth. They are strong (Matthew 28:2), swift (Daniel 9:20-23), breathtaking (Daniel 8), ministering (Hebrews 1:14) messengers (Luke 1:26), who are concerned about the salvation of man (Luke 15:10). God’s faithful angels have done everything from ministering to the Son of God following His 40-day fast (Matthew 4:11) to contending with the devil (Jude 9), and they will play a major role at the end of time when Jesus returns to judge the world (Matthew 13:41; 25:31-32; 2 Thessalonians 1:7).

Guardian Angel

Since the term “guardian” has as its most basic meaning “one that guards” (see “Guardian,” 2010), there is a sense in which the Bible speaks very clearly on the subject: God has used angelic beings to “guard” a variety of people and places in the past. As early as Genesis chapter three, after the fall of man, God “placed cherubim [“winged angelic beings”—see “Cherubim,” 1986] at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (3:24, emp. added). Approximately 2,000 years later, two angels struck blind a group of Sodomites and guarded Lot and his household from harm (Genesis 19:9-11). When Nebuchadnezzar cast Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego into the fiery furnace, “God sent His angel and delivered His servants” (Daniel 3:28), thus guarding the three Hebrews from the furnace’s consuming flames. During the reign of Darius the Mede, God sent His angel to guard Daniel in a den of lions (Daniel 6:21-22). Centuries later, after the establishment of the church, God sent an angel to release Peter from prison, guarding and guiding him safely out of the prison (Acts 12:1-10). Without a doubt, Almighty God has used His marvelous angelic creation in the past to serve as a kind of guardian for His people.

Consider, however, the way in which the term “guardian angel” is most often used in the 21st century. Merriam-Webster defines “guardian angel” as “an angel believed to have special care of a particular individual” (2010, emp. added). According to Encyclopedia.com, a “guardian angel” is “a spirit that is believed to watch over and protect a person or place” (2010, emp. added). Popularly speaking, if a person googles the phrase “My guardian angel saved/helped,” he will discover thousands of articles or posts where people avow that their personal guardian angels have saved them from certain death, or helped them escape some serious calamity.

Although religionists have defined guardian angels in a variety of ways in the past (cf. Origen, Jerome, Chrysostom), since Catholics claim these angels “are a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture” (see “Feast...,” 2010), it is appropriate to consider how they define these angels. According to AmericanCatholic.org, a guardian angel is “an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being” (“Feast...,” emp. added). In the 47th volume of the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Pie-Raymond Regamey summarized Catholicism’s teachings on the matter, particularly regarding who has a guardian angel:

Whatever school of philosophy we may follow, an understanding of the work of the guardian angel...in its place in the whole order of creation, implies that every man has the benefit of his aid, not only the faithful, and has it from the first moment of independent life, from birth.... The worst sinners have this faithful and kindly friend (1960, 47:92-93).
GUARDING THE WICKED?

Although God certainly “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45), no passage of Scripture teaches that every person who has ever lived, whether good or evil, had/has a guardian angel assigned to him from birth. No Bible verse suggests that every man, even “the worst sinners” (Regamey, p. 93), “has an angel assigned to him for his protection” (Jerome, p. 209) and “the benefit of his aid” (Regamey, p. 92). Are we to think that Pharaoh and Herod had guardian angels when they butchered myriads of innocent children (Exodus 1:15-22; Matthew 2:16-18)? [The Bible says nothing about giving any wicked Pharaoh a guardian angel, but God did harden Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 9:12,34; 10:1,20,27; 11:10; 14:8; cf. Butt and Miller) and send “angels of destruction” against him and his fellow Egyptians (Psalm 78:49, emp. added). Likewise, Scripture is silent regarding Herod’s protective angel. However, “an angel of the LORD” did warn Joseph in a dream, saying, “Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him” (Matthew 2:13).] And what about the wicked Jezebel, who “massacred the prophets of the LORD” (1 Kings 18:4), or the multi-million-man-murderer Hitler? Are we to think that God provided each of them with a special angel to “benefit” and “aid” him/her? The very thought is absurd, not to mention foreign to Scripture.

Are we to believe that God allows the wicked to have guardian angels, but He does not hear (to respond to) their prayers? Throughout the Old and New Testaments, Bible writers repeatedly stressed that rebellious, sinful individuals should not expect to have God answer their prayers in a positive way. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16, emp. added), because “the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12, emp. added; cf. Psalm 34:16; Proverbs 15:29). The psalmist testified: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (66:18). The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2, emp. added). In light of the fact that God will not even hear (to respond to) the rebellious, how could one ever conclude that “the worst sinners” have a “faithful” guardian angel (Regamey, p. 93)?


MIRACLES AND GUARDIAN ANGELS

The Bible clearly teaches that God has worked all manner of miracles in the past, and has the potential to work them at any moment (e.g., at any second Jesus could miraculously “descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise”—1 Thessalonians 4:16). Wondrous miracles wrought by God and His messengers spatter the biblical text. God miraculously created the Universe and everything in it (Genesis 1). He sent ten plagues upon the Egyptians (Exodus 7-12), parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14), and caused water to come from a rock twice during Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (Exodus 17; Numbers 20). In the days of Elijah and Elisha, as well as in the first century, God occasionally raised the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24; 2 Kings 4:8-37; Acts 20:7-12). During the time of Christ, God worked all manner of miracles, displaying His infinite power—over nature, disease, demon, and death. God also used angels occasionally in the past to work a variety of wonders: from striking Lot’s attackers with blindness to setting Peter free from prison (Genesis 19:9-11; Acts 12:7,10). Thus, every Bible-believing Christian must acknowledge that God has worked an array of miracles in the past, and has the power and potential to work them at any time. However, simply because God has the ability to work miracles at any moment, and simply because He has used angels to work a variety of miracles in the past, does not mean that He has chosen to work miraculously in this present age.

The fact of the matter is, the kinds of verifiable miracles recorded in Scripture are not occurring in this day and age. Neither man nor angel has been miraculously restoring shriveled hands in the midst of their enemies (Luke 6:6-10) or supernaturally reattaching severed ears (Luke 22:51). God has chosen to use neither preacher nor “guardian angel” to miraculously cure congenital blindness (John 9:1-7). What’s more, no one today is being raised from the dead (John 11:43). Once again, this is not a “God-power” issue; it is a “God-purpose” issue. God has chosen to cease working miracles (i.e., He has chosen to stop working outside His laws of nature) during this time period because the purpose of miracles has been fulfilled.

Unlike magicians, who perform amusing tricks for entertainment purposes, Scripture teaches that miracles happened in Bible times for a very specific purpose: to confirm the Word. Before the New Testament was written, when the apostles and prophets were preaching the Gospel, Mark 16:20 indicates that God worked with them by “confirming the word through the accompanying of signs.” The message that the first-century apostles and prophets preached could be shown to be true by the various miracles that God worked through them (Hebrews 2:3-4). When a God-inspired speaker stepped forward to declare God’s Word, God confirmed His Word by having the speaker perform a miracle to show that he was from God (cf. Exodus 5-12; Acts 8:5-12). The miracle showed the hearers that God was behind the speaker’s remarks. Miracles authenticated the spoken word as being God’s Word (cf. John 3:2). Like the essential scaffolding on the sides of incomplete apartment buildings, miracles were once necessary to “complete” (confirm) the revelations of God. However, as with the scaffolding that is needless (and, in fact, is very out of place) on a finished apartment building, once God’s Word was completely revealed and confirmed (cf. 2 Peter 1:3), miracles became unnecessary. [For a thorough study of God’s cessation of miracles in modern times, see Dave Miller’s 2003 article titled, “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation.”]

Although many guardian-angel advocates insist that their alleged angels have performed various miraculous feats, neither earthly reality nor the heavenly Scriptures confirm their stories. The kinds of verifiable miracles Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets, and even various angels have worked (e.g., Genesis 19:11; Daniel 3:19-29), are not being duplicated today. Furthermore, the Scriptures insist that those things that were incomplete and partial (miraculous gifts) would be replaced by the total and complete (i.e., the fully revealed Word of God; 1 Corinthians 13:8-10; James 1:25; see Miller, 2003).


ANGELS AND THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD

To say that God has not chosen to work miraculously today is not equivalent to denying God’s activity on Earth. From Genesis through Revelation, the Bible clearly teaches God works providentially (through natural means) in the lives of His people. The LORD was with Joseph during his enslavement in Potiphar’s house (Genesis 39:2,3), his imprisonment (39:20,23), and his role as a powerful ruler in Egypt (45:5-9). Though it was Joseph’s brothers who had sold him into slavery and Pharaoh who had appointed him second in command of all of Egypt, Joseph understood that, ultimately, God was behind it all. By working providentially (within natural laws) in the life of Joseph, “God...made” him “lord of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:9, emp. added).

God’s providential care for His people did not stop with Joseph, Esther, or Elijah (1 Kings 18:41-46). God continues to care for (1 Peter 5:7), help (Hebrews 13:5-6; 1 Corinthians 10:13), and discipline His children (Hebrews 12:3-11). God answers the prayers of the humble-hearted, working providentially in the lives of His people (Matthew 6:25-33). As Paul proclaimed: “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Simply because God is not working miraculously through man or angel to give sight to the blind, raise the dead, etc., does not mean that God is inactive in the affairs of mankind (see Jackson, n.d.).

God is not passively sitting on the sidelines while the wicked “god of this age” (i.e., Satan; 2 Corinthians 4:4) and his rebellious angels work “in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7,9). If “the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), attempting to trick and deceive mankind (Ephesians 6:11; 1 Timothy 3:7), rest assured that God’s good angelic creation also plays an important role on Earth, even during this non-miraculous age. The New Testament does not specifically detail how God uses angels in His providential care of the world and His people, but one thing is certain: He does use them.

Not only are angels merely interested in the salvation of men (Luke 15:10) and involved in the spiritual realm transporting the souls of the dead into paradise (Luke 16:22), they also work in God’s overall providential care of His people as “ministering spirits.” In the context of exalting Christ above God’s angelic heavenly hosts, the writer of Hebrews rhetorically asked: “But to which of the angels has He ever said: ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (1:13-14, emp. added). Although far inferior to Christ, angels are special celestial beings whom God uses to “minister” (Greek diakonian) or “serve” (RSV, NIV) His people. What’s more, considering the present tense form of the participle “being sent forth,” God’s people have every reason to believe that God is continually sending out His angels “as human needs correspond to His divine will” (Jackson, 2000; Dods, 2002, 4:258). Even though no particulars are given in this passage, we can rightly conclude that God uses angels to positively affect the lives of His people. Angels are actively working as God’s ministering spirits. Still, there is no evidence in Scripture that each child of God, much less every heathen, has his or her own guardian angel, and especially not one who is performing miraculous feats on his or her behalf.


GUARDIAN ANGEL “PROOF TEXTS”

Psalm 34:7

In the midst of a beautiful passage of Scripture in which the psalmist repeatedly acknowledges and extols the LORD for His wondrous care, guidance, and protection, he testifies that “[t]he angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (34:7). Was the psalmist here referring to man’s guardian angel? Was he teaching the doctrine of guardian angels as modern religionists often define the term?

First of all, as is frequently the case in the Old Testament, the expression “the angel of the LORD ” in this passage likely refers to the preincarnate Christ (cf. Genesis 16:11-13; Judges 13:3-23; Exodus 23:20-21; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4; see Myers, 1978, pp. 59-79; see also Quertermous, 2002, pp. 200-220). It is God, not created angelic beings (Psalm 34:7), Whom the Bible states time and again that man is to “fear” and worship (Psalm 33:18; 67:7; 85:9; Ecclesiastes 12:13). Thus, if it is the case that the eternal Word (John 1:1-5) is meant in this passage, then Psalm 34:7 obviously is not referring to one or more “guardian angels” (as the term is popularly defined in the 21st century). Today, Jesus certainly dwells with His church (Matthew 18:20; 28:20) and strengthens those who fear Him (Philippians 4:13), but He is not what most people are referring to when they speak of their “guardian angel.”

Second, even if “the angel of the LORD” in this passage does not refer to the preincarnate Christ (which is difficult to imagine given that man is to “fear Him”), “guardian angel” advocates still cannot find proof of their doctrine here. This verse does not teach that each person on the planet has an angel assigned to him to deliver him from harm. Rather, one angel (“the angel of the LORD”) looks after a plurality of God’s faithful children (as is evident by the use of the plural pronouns “those” and “them”).

Psalm 91:9-13

In Psalm 91, the inspired poet says of the one who puts his trust in God,

Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot (9-13).
This passage, which Satan once misapplied when tempting Jesus (Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10-11), certainly is encouraging to the faithful child of God. It describes in general terms God’s protection of His people under the Old Law; but it does not say that each child of God (and certainly not every person who has ever lived) has his own “guardian angel.” The psalmist noted that God would give a plurality of angels the responsibility of keeping one that trusts in him. During the age of miracles, this certainly could have included God using His angels to work various supernatural feats (e.g., striking the enemies of righteousness with blindness in Genesis 19:11). Though the age of genuine biblical miracles has ended (see Miller, 2003), this scripture can still be comforting to the Christian in the same manner in which Hebrews 1:14 is: God sends forth His angels to minister to the saints, providentially taking care of His people.

One other important detail to remember when reading the psalms (including especially Psalm 91) is the inspired penmen’s use of figures of speech, particularly hyperbolism. As in Psalm 58:3, where the psalmist intentionally exaggerated the wickedness of mankind by referring to them as going “astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies,” in Psalm 91, the writer hyperbolically stresses God’s protection of His people. Not that God is incapable of keeping his people from harm, but as Travis Quertermous noted, to press the psalmist’s reference to treading upon snakes and lions literally “would be an obvious absurdity, not to mention forcing a contradiction with other Bible passages wherein God’s faithful saints suffered great persecution. It must be remembered that the Psalms are poetry and thus abound with figurative language. It is a terrible exegetical blunder to unduly literalize it” (2002, p. 261).

Acts 12:15

After God sent an angel miraculously to release and guide him from prison, Peter traveled to the house of Mary, John Mark’s mother, where “many were gathered together praying” (Acts 12:11). When he arrived at the door of the gate and knocked, a girl named Rhoda “recognized Peter’s voice,” and “because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate” (12:14). What was the group’s response? They said to Rhoda, “You are beside yourself!” When she insisted, they said, “It is his angel” (12:15, emp. added).

Does this passage prove, as some believe, that “humans have guardian angels” (“Angels...,” n.d.)? As “[i]nteresting as this passage is,” Peter Davids rightly concluded, “it simply witnesses to the beliefs of the Christians in that house. The author of Acts reports rather than endorses their views” (Kaiser, et al., 1996, p. 527, emp. added). As Lenksi remarked, Luke, the inspired writer of Acts, “does not state a Scriptural doctrine but only the superstitious ideas of those who were alarmed by Rhoda’s report” (Lenski, 1943, p. 692). Even the scholarly J.W. McGarvey, who endorsed to some extent the idea of “guardian angels” (1875, p. 157), admitted in his commentary on Acts that those meeting at Mary’s house “undoubtedly had allusion to the popular superstition of their day, that a man’s guardian angel sometimes assumed his form” (1872, p. 139). [NOTE: It is also possible, as the studious Guy. N. Woods remarked, that those in Mary’s house, “[c]ertain...that he [Peter—EL] did not escape death at the hands of the murderous Herod...simply understood that his spirit, separated from his body” and “had come to them” (1991, 106[9]:18).]

An angel of God most certainly worked a great miracle in Judea on this occasion. For the second time, Luke records that an angel set Peter free from prison (cf. Acts 5:19). No Bible-believing Christian would ever deny such wondrous acts that God worked through His angelic creation, nor should any child of God ever deny that He is working providentially through them today (Hebrews 1:14). But, nothing in Acts 12 indicates that God has given each person (or even each Christian) a “guardian angel” to protect him from harm. Furthermore, a lesson can be learned from this text regarding Who should receive the glory for the extraordinary works God’s angels perform. When Peter finally spoke to those gathered at Mary’s house, he “declared to them how the LORD had brought him out of the prison” (Acts 12:17, emp. added). Notice that nothing is said here about Peter giving a discourse about a “guardian angel.” And he certainly did not rename Jesus’ church “the church of the Guardian Angels,” or insist on starting a yearly feast in honor of guardian angels (cf. Roman Catholic’s “Feast of the Guardian Angels”). Luke simply records that Peter wanted his brethren to know what “the LORD” had done. Given that even God’s good angelic creation will not accept worship from mankind, but insist that they are fellow servants (Revelation 19:10; 22:9), it is wise for Christians simply to acknowledge God for His wonderful care in our lives, even if such help is being carried out by His faithful angelic servants.

Matthew 18:10

More than any other passage of Scripture, guardian-angel advocates point to Matthew 18:10 as their “proof” of guardian angels. On page 88 of his otherwise helpful book, A Study of Angels (1978), Edward P. Myers succinctly stated: “Children have guardian angels.” He then referenced only “Matthew 18:10” as the Bible passage that supposedly proves the doctrine. Though Peter Davids questioned the doctrine and popular definition of guardian angels, he noted: “Matthew [18:10—EL] makes the only clear reference to ‘guardian’ angels” (Kaiser, et al., 1996, p. 527). And, according to AmericanCatholic.org, “Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief [of guardian angels—EL]” (“Feast...,” 2010).

So what exactly did Jesus say in Matthew 18:10? In the midst of warning His disciples not to offend “little ones who believe in Me” (18:1-9), Jesus taught them to “[t]ake heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (18:10, emp. added). Since Jesus spoke of “their angels,” allegedly He was implying that children (or “believers”—18:6) have “guardian angels.”

Matthew 18:10 certainly indicates that there is a special relationship between God’s heavenly host and “these little ones.” And, “[i]n some sense...the angels do belong to the ‘little ones’ under discussion” (Quertermous, 2002, p. 263). One needs to keep in mind, however, that angels were by no means the main emphasis of Jesus’ lesson. In context,

Jesus was speaking to those who were filled with ambition and desire for prominence which leads to a total disregard for children of the poor and deprived of society. Thus Christ’s intent was to let those of ambitious bent know that the high lofty angels of glory are always concerned with the welfare of the young children, as well as the humble hearted poor of society (Turner, 1989, p. 76, emp. added).

Certainly, if the angels of God are concerned about the welfare of children and the humble-hearted, as well as those who are young in the faith (cf. 18:6—“little ones who believe”), Jesus’ apostles needed to be as well (and less concerned about “who...is greatest in the kingdom of heaven”—18:1). This is the lesson to be learned from Matthew 18:1-14, and not the popular doctrine that each person has an angel on Earth guiding and guarding him from harm.

But, even if one were to ignore the overall context of Matthew 18 in an attempt to force the popular “guardian-angel” slant on verse 10, still the plural possessive pronoun “their” angels scarcely supports the idea that God assigns one angel for each and every child or believer on Earth. As R.C.H. Lenski noted, God “often assigns individual angels for special duties” (1943 p. 692; cf. Hebrews 1:14), but that does not mean that each person has his or her own angel. Furthermore, “It should be observed that these angels are in heaven, not upon earth providing human protection” constantly (Chouinard, 1997, p. 326, emp. added). If they are in heaven, they are not continuously guarding “their people” on Earth, as angels are not omnipresent, and must go from place to place (e.g., Daniel 9:20-23).

Finally, although AmericanCatholic.org insists that “Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief [of guardian angels—EL],” even they were forced to admit: “The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it” (“Feast...,” 2010). Such an admission speaks volumes about the soundness of the guardian-angel doctrine.


CONCLUSION

Rather than be infatuated with whether or not each person on Earth (or each Christian) has his or her own guardian angel; rather than conjure up all sorts of reasons why we might like the idea of a guardian angel; rather than celebrate a “Feast of the Guardian Angels” or call ourselves “Guardian Angels Churches,” etc., Christians simply need to accept by faith what the Bible unequivocally does say about these spiritual servants of God (Revelation 19:10): they are interested in our activities and well-being (Luke 15:10; 1 Corinthians 11:10), and are continually working on our behalf “as human needs correspond to His divine will” (Jackson, 2000).

Discovering that the Bible writers were silent regarding whether each human or believer has his or her own special guardian angel should not be a disheartening revelation. For, as Travis Quertermous concluded, the Bible “promises not the protection of a single angel, but many of them” (2002, p. 261, emp. added; cf. 2 Kings 6:16-17). Should it not be “much more comforting to know that God sends many angels to look out for me rather than just one when such is in harmony with His will (cf. Heb. 1:14)” (Quertermous, p. 261)?

Finally, although there certainly is a time and place to acknowledge and discuss the wonderful works that the angels of God are performing (keeping in mind that few particulars are given in Scripture), more than anything, God’s people need to focus and meditate on God’s greatness, and not the wonderful ways of God’s angelic creation. They exist in the spiritual realm because God made them (Psalm 148:1-5). They minister to us because God sends them (Hebrews 1:14). They will have a part in the Second Coming because God will bring them (Matthew 13:40-43,49-51; 25:31-32). As thankful as we should be for what angels have done throughout history for God’s people, we should be driven to our knees in thanksgiving for Who God is and what He has done and continues to do for His people.


REFERENCES

“Angel” (1988), The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

“Angels in the Bible” (no date), http://www.maryourmother.net/Angels.html.

Butt, Kyle and Dave Miller (2003), “Who Hardened Pharaoh’s Heart?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2259.

“Cherubim” (1986), Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).

Chouinard, Larry (1997), Matthew (Joplin, MO: College Press).

Chrysostom, Homilies on Colossians, http://books.google.com/books?id=djswAAAAYAAJ& pg=PA273&lpg=PA273&dq=” each+believer+hath+an+Angel;+since+even+from”&source= bl&ots=kVE64upVV1&sig=ou5fktnwP5uSP9vWgyemHJkUuFY&hl= en&ei=bKnaTOTPG4Kr8AaB5PTaCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct= result&resnum=1&ved= 0CBcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=”each believer hath an Angel; since even from”&f=false.

Dods, Marcus (2002), The Expositor’s Greek New Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).

“Feast of the Guardian Angels” (2010), http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1156.

“Guardian” (2010), Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guardian.

“Guardian Angel” (2010), Encyclopedia.com, http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O999-guardianangel.html.

“Guardian Angel” (2010), Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guardian%20angel.

Jackson, Wayne (no date), “A Study of the Providence of God,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/rr/reprints/Study-of-Providence.pdf.

Jackson, Wayne (2000), “Do Angels Minister to Christians Today?” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/172-do-angels-minister-to-christians-today.

Jerome, Commentary on Matthew, http://books.google.com/books?id=j0UmWBivNJgC&pg= PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=jerome+commentary+on+matthew&source= bl&ots=0vzUuT2HyM&sig=C5MgMyDyiXrLf7mTg2M1D8Oc1TI&hl= en&ei=d0rITKGsFsKBlAetnun3Ag&sa=X&oi=book_ result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CC8Q6AEwBQ#v= snippet&q=angel&f=false.

Kaiser, Walter C. Jr., Peter H. Davids, F.F. Bruce, and Manfred T. Brauch (1996), Hard Sayings of the Bible (Downers Grove, IL InterVarsity Press).

Lenski, R.C.H. (1943), The Interpretation of St. Matthew Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).

McGarvey, J.W. (1872), A Commentary on Acts of Apostles (Lexington, KY: Transylvania Press).

McGarvey, J.W. (1875), Commentary on Matthew and Mark (Delight, AR: Gospel Light).

Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking and Holy Spirit Baptism—A Refutation,” Reason & Revelation, 23[3]:17-23, March, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2569.

Myers, Edward P. (1978), A Study of Angels (West Monroe, LA: Howard Book House).

Origen, Homilies on Numbers, http://books.google.com/books?id=P4pPyRXeWkUC&pg= PA94&dq=Origen+has+an+angel+by+his+side&hl= en&ei=0FXITN7oD4et8AaqkqiBBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum= 7&ved=0CE0Q6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=has%20an%20angel&f=false.

Quertermous, Travis (2002), The Hosts of Heaven: A Biblical Study of Angels (Henderson, TN: Hester Publications).

Regamey, Pie-Raymond (1960), What is an Angel? in Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism (New York: Hawthorn Books).

Turner, J.J. (1989), Systematic Theology (Montgomery, AL: Alabama Christian School of Religion).

Woods, Guy N. (1991), Firm Foundation, 106[9]:18-19, September.



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Friday, December 17, 2010

THE LAWS DON'T APPLY!

“The Laws of Thermodynamics Don’t Apply to the Universe!”
by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

Many in the atheistic community have realized various problems with their theories in light of what we know about the laws of thermodynamics. In order for atheism to be a plausible explanation for the origin of the Universe, matter must either be eternal or have the capability of creating itself (i.e., spontaneous generation). Yet the Second Law of Thermodynamics implies that the first option is impossible, and the First Law implies that the second option is impossible (see Miller, 2007 for a more in depth discussion of the laws of thermodynamics and their application to the origin of the Universe). Upon grudgingly coming to this conclusion, but being unwilling to yield to the obvious alternative (i.e., Someone outside of the Universe put matter here), some have tried to find loopholes in the laws that will allow for their flawed atheistic ideologies to survive.

A common assertion being raised today by some is that the laws of thermodynamics do not apply to the Universe as a whole, and therefore cannot be used to prove that God played a role in the origin of the Universe. More specifically, some question whether our Universe can be considered an “isolated system” (i.e., a system in which mass and energy are not allowed to cross the system boundary; Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 9). In their well-known thermodynamics textbook, Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics, Van Wylen and Sonntag note concerning the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “[W]e of course do not know if the universe can be considered as an isolated system” (1985, p. 233). Dr. Robert Alberty, author of Thermodynamics of Biochemical Reactions, is quoted as saying, “I do not agree that the universe is an isolated system in the thermodynamic sense” (as quoted in Holloway, 2010).

What if the Universe is not an isolated system? How would that fact impact the creation/evolution controversy? First of all, the creationist has always argued that the Universe is not an isolated system, or at least has not always been one. According to the creationist, in the beginning, God created the Universe’s system barrier, then crossed it and placed energy and matter within the system—thus making the Universe non-isolated. So, recognizing that the Universe is, in fact, not an isolated system would really mean that some evolutionists are starting to move in the right direction in their understanding of the Universe! Acquiescence of this truth by atheists in no way disproves the existence of God. In fact, quite the contrary is true. Admission that the Universe is not isolated does not help the case for atheism, but rather tacitly acknowledges a creator of sorts. [More on this point later.]

What this admission would do, however, is make some of the creationists’ arguments against atheism less applicable to the discussion about the existence of God—specifically some of the uses of the laws of thermodynamics and their application to the Universe as a whole. For instance, if the Universe is not an isolated system, it means that something or someone outside of the Universe can open the proverbial box that encloses the Universe and put matter and energy into it. Therefore, the Universe could be eternal, as long as something/someone is putting more usable energy into the box to compensate for the energy loss and counter entropy. Thus, the argument against the eternality of matter by way of the Second Law of Thermodynamics could potentially be null and void. Also, with a non-isolated system, it could be argued that the original, imaginary pre-Big Bang ball (which never actually existed—since the Big Bang is flawed [see May, et al., 2003) was not eternal in its existence. Further, it could be contended that it did not have to spontaneously generate in order to explain its existence. Rather, energy and matter could have been put here from a source outside of this Universe other than God.

From a purely scientific perspective, one of the problems with claiming that the Universe is not isolated is that such an assertion presupposes the existence of physical sources outside of this Universe (e.g., multiple universes outside of our own). And yet, how can such a claim be made scientifically, since there is no verifiable evidence to support such a contention? Stephen Hawking has advanced such an idea, but he, himself, recognizes the idea to be merely theoretical (Shukman, 2010). Speculation, conjecture, assertion—not evidence. As Gregory Benford wrote: “This ‘multiverse’ view represents the failure of our grand agenda and seems to me contrary to the prescribed simplicity of Occam’s Razor, solving our lack of understanding by multiplying unseen entities into infinity” (Benford, 2006, p. 226). Belief in the multiverse model is like proclaiming the existence of fairies just because you can imagine one. But such speculation is hardly scientific evidence—and that is the problem.

What does the scientific evidence actually convey today? We live in the only known Universe, and it had to come from somewhere. That is a fact. If the Big Bang occurred, and all matter and energy in the Universe—everything that exists—was initially in that little imaginary sphere the size of the period at the end of this sentence (or much smaller, depending on which “expert” cosmologist you ask), by implication, the evolutionist admits that the Universe is of a finite size. That is a fact. A finite Universe is an isolated system. Since the Universe as a whole is the only true isolated system, the laws of thermodynamics apply perfectly. That is why some reputable scientists examine the evidence, draw reasonable conclusions, and articulate statements in reputable textbooks like the following:

“Isolated system: It is the system which exchange [sic] neither matter nor energy with the surroundings. For such a system, the matter and energy remain constant. There is no such perfectly isolated system, but our universe can be considered as an isolated system since by definition it does not have any surroundings” (Senapati, 2006, p. 64, emp. added).
“A spontaneous process in an isolated system increases the system’s entropy. Because the universe—our entire surroundings—is in contact with no other system, we say that irreversible processes increase the entropy of the universe” (Fishbane, et.al., 1996, p. 551, italics in original).
The truth is, if one is unwilling to accept the existence of God, yet desires to accept the laws of science, one must conjure up other options for how the Universal box could have been legally opened and its contents altered. Envision several atheists sitting around a table speculating options, no matter how wild, in order to avoid conceding the existence of God, and you will have a clear picture of how many in the scientific community operate today. “Okay, people. How did we get here? Think!” “Other universes?” “Maybe.” “Nothing put us here?” “Not bad.” “Aliens?” “Why not?” “The God of the Bible?” “Shut your mouth. You are unscientific. Leave the room.” How can evolutionists like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking safely postulate the existence of alien creators without being laughed out of the spotlight, while creationists get expelled from the scientific community for recognizing the reasonable answer to the matter of origins (Stein and Miller, 2008; BBC News, 2010)?

Ironically, when the atheistic community asserts alleged creative agents outside the Universe, they tacitly acknowledge a creator of some sort. What is the difference between these concessions and the true Creator? Why not accept the God of the Bible? The answer is obvious. Their brand of designer comes packaged without the demands and expectations that come with belief in God. Very convenient—but sad and most certainly unscientific.

Note also that accepting the possibility of alternative creative causes leaves atheists with the same problem with which they started. They claim to use the laws of physics to arrive at the multiverse conclusion (Shukman, 2010). But if the laws of physics apply to their conclusion about multiple universes, why would the laws of physics not apply to those universes? If the laws of science apply to those hypothetical universes (and it would be reasonable to conclude that they would since, according to atheists, the universes interact), then the matter of origins has merely shifted to those other universes. How did they come into being? There are still only three options—they always existed (in violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics); they created themselves (in violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics); or they were created. The laws of thermodynamics still echo the truth from the remotest parts of the created order: “You cannot explain it all without God in the equation!”

The truth is, the scientific evidence leads unbiased truth-seekers to the conclusion that there simply must be a Creator. How do we know that the laws of thermodynamics are true on Earth? No one has ever been able to document an exception to them (except when divine miracles have occurred). They always hold true. Why does the same principle not hold when observing the rest of the Universe? As Borgnakke and Sonntag articulate in Fundamentals of Thermodynamics concerning the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics:

The basis of every law of nature is experimental evidence, and this is true also of the first law of thermodynamics. Many different experiments have been conducted on the first law, and every one thus far has verified it either directly or indirectly. The first law has never been disproved.... [W]e can say that the second law of thermodynamics (like every other law of nature) rests on experimental evidence. Every relevant experiment that has been conducted, either directly or indirectly, verifies the second law, and no experiment has ever been conducted that contradicts the second law. The basis of the second law is therefore experimental evidence (2009, p. 116-220, emp. added).
There has been no verifiable evidence that the laws of thermodynamics have been violated throughout the Universe. Sure, there has been speculation, conjecture, and theory that it “could” happen. Yet, through it all, the laws still stand unscathed. Granted, atheists may cloud the air when they blow forth their unreasonable, unproven, jargon-filled, imaginary fairy-dust theories, but when the fairy-dust settles, the laws of thermodynamics still declare the truth to all who will listen (Psalm 19:1). The scientific evidence shows that there is unmistakable order and design in the Universe. Design implies a Designer. The God of the Bible. Now that’s scientific.


REFERENCES

BBC News (2010), “Hawking Warns Over Alien Beings,” April 25, http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/8642558.stm.

Benford, Gregory (2006), What We Believe But Cannot Prove, ed. John Brockman (New York: Harper Perennial).

Borgnakke, Claus and Richard E. Sonntag (2009), Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (Asia: John Wiley and Sons), seventh edition.

Cengel, Yunus A. and Michael A. Boles (2002), Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill), fourth edition.

Fishbane, Paul M., Stephen Gasiorowicz, and Stephen T. Thornton (1996), Physics for Scientists and Engineers (New Jersey: Prentice Hall), second edition.

Holloway, Robert (2010), “Experts on Thermodynamics Refute Creationist Claims,” http://www.ntanet.net/Thermo-Internet.htm.

May, Branyon, et al. (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique,” Reason & Revelation, 23[5]:32-34,36-47, May, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2635.

Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27[4]:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.

Senapati, M.R. (2006), Advanced Engineering Chemistry (New Delhi: Laxmi Publications), second edition.

Shukman, David (2010), “Professor Stephen Hawking Says No God Created Universe,” BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11172158.

Stein, Ben and Kevin Miller (2008), Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (Premise Media).

Van Wylen, Gordon J. and Richard Sonntag (1985), Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics (New York: John Wiley and Sons), third edition.





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