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Monday, October 16, 2017

Truth Be Told (Session 6): The Fruits of Atheism--Video

A session from the "Truth Be Told" seminar--part I of AP's "Pillars of Faith" seminar series--conducted by Kyle Butt and Eric Lyons.
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Five Questions About Evolution that Charles Darwin Can’t Answer


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At no time in the history of the modern evolutionary movement (i.e., since the publication of Charles Darwin’s book, The Origin of Species, in 1859), has the world of evolutionary thought been in such a state of utter chaos.
Theories hoary with aged respect are now under assault by a new breed of scientists, who can no longer live with the absurdities and inconsistencies of evolutionary propaganda.
They are asking questions—questions that Charles Darwin can’t answer.
In fact, a cannibalism of sorts has developed among evolutionists who bite and devour one another over changing notions regarding the origin of life and the alleged development of the world of living creatures.
Some dramatic examples of this “evolution revolution” are worthy of consideration.

How Did Life Originate?

George C. Simpson of Harvard University declared: “Virtually all biochemists agree that life on earth arose spontaneously from nonliving matter” (1964, 771).
Some biochemists, while accepting a naturalistic origin of life, have great difficulties with this concept. A. I. Oparin, who is widely regarded as the “father” of the modern theory of chemical evolution, wrote:
“Even the simplest of these substances [proteins] represent extremely complex compounds, containing many thousands of atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen arranged in absolutely definite patterns, which are specific for each separate substance. To the student of protein structure the spontaneous formation of such an atomic arrangement in the protein molecule would seem as improbable as would the accidental origin of the text of Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’ from scattered letter type” (132-133).
Reading such a statement reminds one of the comment made by Princeton professor Edwin Conklin:
“The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the unabridged dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop” (92).
Almost twenty years later, Sir Fred Hoyle, the eminent astrophysicist of Great Britain, wrote:
“The chance that higher life forms have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein” (105).

Where Did Life Originate?

Most evolutionists would argue that life fortuitously originated in some ancient slime pool here on Earth more than three billion years ago.
However, Hoyle and his colleague, Chandra Wickramasinghe, have argued that man’s ultimate ancestors fell to Earth from space after having evolved from the warm, wet nucleus of a comet (see Gribbin, 14).
Such an idea disturbed popular science writer Isaac Asimov, who contended that “we have absolutely no evidence that any such phenomenon as life on other worlds exists” (36).
Sir Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, has suggested that life evolved on this planet and that certain DNA-bearing bacteria should be rocketed into outer space in order to generate life there (82ff).
Evolutionists are fond of saying that there is no controversy among them as to the fact of evolution—it is only the “how” about which they disagree.
Not so. They can’t even agree on the where life began!

How Rapidly Does Evolution Occur?

For decades evolutionists have argued that the process of change and development, from the simple to the complex, occurred slowly, over a lengthy period of time, by means of natural selection in concert with genetic mutations.
In the early 1940s, however, evolutionist Richard Goldschmidt of the University of California argued (because of the huge gaps in the fossil record) that existing organisms could not be explained on the basis of small, gradually accumulating mutations. He thus postulated “systemic” mutations, which produced what he called “hopeful monsters” (1940, 7; 1955, 485-486).
Goldschmidt speculated, for example, that the first bird hatched from a reptilian egg. Of course, no one has ever seen such a thing; it is strictly science fiction.
The “rapid evolution” postulated by Goldschmidt was largely rejected by his fellow scientists. Geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky of the Rockefeller University described the notion as being characterized by “imaginary phenomena” and he declared that no one “has ever observed the occurrence of a ‘systemic mutation’” (as quoted in Flanagan, 131), which certainly reveals that the concept is not scientific.
Within recent years, however, some evolutionists have tried to resurrect Goldschmidt’s hopeful monsters. The gaps in the fossil record continue to haunt the Darwinians.
Though the fossil record has been characterized as “unmanageably rich” (see George, 1), there are still vast, inexplicable fossil “links” missing in the evolutionary chain—links that should be there if the evolutionary scenario is true.
Accordingly, men like Harvard’s Stephen J. Gould have argued that “major structural transitions can occur rapidly without a smooth series of intermediate stages” (24, emphasis added).
On the other hand, evolutionist Robert Jastrow, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest science writers of our generation, has ridiculed such an idea, and acknowledged: “It is in the nature of biological evolution that it always proceeds slowly” (emphasis added). Further, he has remarked:
“For a greatly improved eye or brain to appear suddenly, a thousand such changes must occur at once in a single animal, all accidental, and yet in a favorable direction. That would be as unlikely as to toss a coin in the air and have it come up heads a thousand times in a row” (86).
Has evolution advanced quickly, or slowly? Take your pick. Neither Darwin nor his disciples can answer the question.

What Is the Mechanism of Evolution?

If there has been a dramatic proliferation of living organisms from the simple to the complex, there must be some mechanism by which this explosion has occurred.
One of the explanations offered to explain this diversification is that of genetic mutations—that is, the alteration of an organism’s genetic material, producing a change in its development. The importance of this concept has been stressed by evolutionists both in scientific and popular writings.
For example, in their biology textbook, Life: An Introduction to Biology, Simpson, Pittendrigh, and Tiffany stated: “All evolutionary change depends in the final analysis on mutations” (322).
In an article published in the Saturday Evening Post, professor William S. Beck of Harvard Medical School affirmed that random mutations are the “only source” of evolutionary change (92).
Although these quotations date to the 1950s, the sentiment they express remains true even today.
In recent years, however, evolutionists have expressed their doubts about the mechanism of evolution. Pierre-Paul Grassé, past president of the French Academy of Sciences, noted: “No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution” (88).
Gould lamented:
“A mutation doesn’t produce major new raw material. You don’t make a new species by mutating the species . . . That’s a common idea people have; that evolution is due to random mutations. A mutation is not the cause of evolutionary change” (as quoted in Sunderland, 106).
The second mechanism for alleged evolutionary change is the process of natural selection. This idea was the major thrust of Darwin’s 1859 book, The Origin of Species.
Evolutionists argue that:
  1. organisms within each species vary;
  2. these variations may be inherited;
  3. organisms produce more offspring than can possibly survive; and
  4. offspring whose variations best fit the environment are the ones that continue to survive and reproduce.
It is alleged that over millions of years this process resulted in the progression of ancient life forms to the complex world of modern creatures. The importance of this concept to the evolutionary scheme cannot be overstated.
In his popular book, The Meaning of Evolution, Simpson characterized natural selection as “the decisive, the orienting, process in continuing adaptation”—hence, the ultimate mechanism of evolutionary change (1961, 224).
Now, however, natural selection as a means of explaining evolution is under vicious attack—by evolutionists themselves!
In 1971, Norman Macbeth, a Harvard-trained lawyer, authored the book, Darwin Retried, in which he bluntly announced that “classical Darwinism is dead.” He declared that while many evolutionists still act confident in public, “the inner circles are full of doubt” (Foreword).
Macbeth included in his book a blistering chapter on natural selection, in which he argued that it is nothing more than a meaningless “tautology”—a game of words involving circular reasoning.
“My studies of natural selection had begun with no forebodings, but by this time, I was becoming puzzled and skeptical. A process that operates invisibly, with an intensity that cannot be observed and with no ability to explain specific problems, an impersonal process that is continually given personal qualities—this sets my teeth on edge” (Macbeth, 46).
And what of the indictment from Colin Patterson, senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History in London? In a radio interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation on March 4, 1982, Dr. Patterson confessed:
“No one has ever produced a species by mechanisms of natural selection. No one has ever gotten near it and most of the current argument in neo-Darwinism is about this question.”
In his book, The Bone Peddlers, William Fix also has “blown the whistle” on this line of argumentation.
“Thus like the other Darwinian concepts, the natural selection of favorable adaptations has not proven to have pervasive explanatory power either. It is not that supportive examples cannot be found, but that an equal or greater number of contradictory instances can also be cited. Scientists at the forefront of inquiry have put the knife to classical Darwinism. They have not gone public with this news but have kept it in their technical papers and inner counsels. Many second-rank evolutionists, on the other hand, continue to repeat that minor miracles . . . were accomplished by natural selection working in a step-by-step manner; but the steps are never shown. They do this largely because they feel compelled to say something - anything is better than admitting ignorance-and they don’t know what else to say” (Fix, 179-180).
In view of this well-known turmoil in inner evolutionary circles, why is it that evolutionists continue to speak of natural selection as if it were an uncontested and immutable law of nature?
They simply cannot provide any reasonable answer to the question: “How did evolution occur?”

Does the Fossil Record Prove Evolution?

In the fall of 1980, presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, campaigning in Texas, told an audience that he “had a great many questions about evolutionary theory.” He went on to suggest that evolution “is not believed in the scientific community to be as infallible as it once was believed.” Those comments, coming from such a public and prominent source, angered the evolutionary community.
On January 6, 1981, a spokesman for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) issued a response (via Dan Rather’s CBS Evening News program). Characterizing Reagan’s statement as “tremendously unfortunate,” the AAAS representative asserted that there are 100 million fossils identified and dated in the world’s museums, and that these fossils “constitute 100 million facts that prove evolution beyond any doubt whatever.”
The statement was ludicrous on the very face of it. A fossil per se proves nothing except that some creature died and left its imprint behind. His grandiose claim even aroused the indignation of some who were inclined to believe in evolution.
William Fix (no creationist by any means) expressed it this way:
“To say that 100 million fossils in the world’s museums constitute ‘100 million facts that prove evolution beyond any doubt whatever’ has about as much credibility as an election in one of those theoretical ‘democracies’ where 99 percent of the vote goes for the party leader and the other 1 percent are taken out and shot” (xv).
The plain truth is, paleontologists know very well that the fossil record represents one of the greatest obstacles in accepting the theory of evolution.
Mark Ridley, professor of zoology at Oxford University, has written that it is a “terrible mistake” to assert the “false idea” that “the fossil record provides an important part of the evidence that evolution took place.”
He suggested that evolution must be proven elsewhere, and went on to comment that: “no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favor of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation” (830-831).
Ronald West, professor of paleobiology at Kansas State University, has agreed:
“Contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory (there are several) which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so, we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory” (216).

Conclusion

Yes, there is warfare in the land. But it is not just a conflict between creationists and evolutionists. There is a revolution occurring among the Darwinians themselves, who cannot answer these five simple questions.
Let no one tell you that all is well. Do not be persuaded by the propaganda line that no “true scientist” questions the “fact” of evolution, because many are critical of numerous aspects of the “monkey-to-man” dogma.
The public needs to be aware of this, and of the fact that evolution is far from proven.
References
  • Asimov, Isaac. 1982. “Book Reviews,” Science Digest. 90.3:36.
  • Beck, William S. 1958. Saturday Evening Post. May 10.
  • Conklin, Edwin. 1963. Reader’s Digest. January.
  • Crick, Francis. 1981. “Seeding the Universe,” Science Digest. 89.10:82-84,115-118,119.
  • Fix, William. 1984. The Bone Peddlers. New York: Macmillan.
  • Flanagan, D. ed. 1957. Plant Life. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • George, T. N. 1960. Science Progress. January.
  • Goldschmidt, Richard. 1940. The Material Basis for Evolution. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Goldschmidt, Richard. 1955. Theoretical Genetics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
  • Gould, Stephen J. 1977. “The Return of Hopeful Monsters,” Natural History. June/July.
  • Grassé, PierrePaul. 1977. The Evolution of Living Organisms. New York: Academic Press.
  • Gribbin, John. 1981. “Of a Comet Born,” Science Digest. 89.3:14.
  • Hoyle, Fred. 1981. “Hoyle on Evolution,” Nature. Vol. 284, November 12.
  • Jastrow, Robert. 1981. “Evolution: Selection for Perfection,” Science Digest. 89 .11:85-87, 115.
  • Macbeth, Norman. 1978. Darwin Retried. Boston: Gambit, second edition.
  • Oparin, A. I. 1953. The Origin of Life. New York: Dover.
  • Patterson, Colin. 1982. “Cladistics,” Interview on British Broadcasting Corporation. March 4.
  • Ridley, Mark 1981. “Who Doubts Evolution?,” New Scientist. Vol. 90, June 25.
  • Simpson, George Gaylord. 1961. The Meaning of Evolution. New Haven: Yale University.
  • Simpson, George Gaylord. 1964. Science. February 21.
  • Simpson, George, et al. 1957. Life: An Introduction to Biology. New York: Harcourt, Bra.
  • Sunderland, Luther. 1984. Darwin’s Enigma. El Cajon, CA: Master Books.
  • West, Ronald. 1968. Compass. May.

Scripture References
1 Thessalonians 5
Cite this article
Jackson, Wayne. "Five Questions About Evolution that Charles Darwin Can't Answer." ChristianCourier.com. Access date: October 16, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1579-five-questions-about-evolution-that-charles-darwin-cant-answer

Man: From the Beginning


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The name of the game is intimidation. It is a tragic but true fact that many views are propagated in today’s world simply on the basis of intimidation. The vocal majority frequently bullies the muted minority into an acceptation of their ideas.
And this is precisely what has happened in the case of many professed friends of the Bible.
Evolutionists, by means of “scientific” propaganda, have coerced some religionists into abandoning all confidence in the biblical view of man’s origin.
Others, not willing to forsake the totality of their faith, have sought an alliance between evolutionary and creationist concepts. It’s called “theistic evolution.”

Compromise Over the Age of the Earth

One area of such compromise has been in connection with the geological and anthropological theories of earth and human history.
Evolutionists contend that the earth is approximately 4.543 billion years old. This estimate is not based upon scientific fact, but upon preconceived assumptions grounded in the dire need for vast eras of time with which to accommodate the evolutionary scheme.
So, evolutionists fiercely argue for a very ancient earth.

How Long Has Man Been on the Earth?

But what of man? Where does he fit into evolutionary chronology?
Well, in the words of George Simpson (1902-1984), the famous evolutionary expert from Harvard, man is something of a newcomer, a Johnny-come-lately in comparison to other life-forms and especially compared to the age of the earth.
However, even some Christian writers have capitulated to this notion. John Clayton, a lecturer who travels widely among the churches of Christ and the Christian Churches, and who, in his writings has endorsed the evolutionary geological time-scale, suggests that “man is a very recent newcomer to this planet.” In fact, he argues that man’s history is but a tiny fraction of earth’s history (Clayton).
Such assertions need to be carefully examined to see whether or not they are accurate in light of the inspired Scriptures.
The Bible is right regardless of what certain pseudo-scientists claim. Remember, yesterday’s “science” is frequently tomorrow’s superstition.

Comparing “Science” With the Bible

In recent years, anthropologists have said that “true man” appeared on earth about 3.6 million years ago. Let us look closely at this and see whether or not it has any implications for the Bible believer.
If the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and man has been on earth for 3.6 million years, simple mathematics reveals that man is but 1/1250th of the age of the earth.
If such is the case, he is but a speck on the panorama of geo-history!
Perhaps the following illustration will dramatize the force of this. Suppose we let one day represent the sum of earth’s alleged history.
This means that the supposed 4.5 billion years of earth history are represented by the 86,400 seconds of one day.
Since man’s age is assumed to be only 1/1250th of the earth’s, man, on this one-day scale, would be only slightly more than one minute and nine seconds old!
Look at it another way. If one drew a horizontal line one hundred feet long and at the right end, directly underneath, he drew another line only one inch long, he could vividly see the difference in the alleged respective ages between earth and man, according to the evolutionary dogma.
Accordingly, if the whole of earth’s history is viewed from man’s current vantage point, human existence commenced virtually at the END of history—not at the beginning.
The impact of this needs to be clearly noted. The evolutionary theory (and views related to it) does not allow that man originated at the beginning of creation history.
Anyone, therefore, who accepts the evolutionary chronology of geo-human history cannot possibly believe that man has existed from the beginning of the creation!
Yet, this is what the Bible affirms repeatedly!

Man: From the Beginning

The New Testament phrase “from the beginning” (ap' arches and ex arches) denotes “the first point in time, its occasion being determined from the context” (Silva, 160).
While it is true that the expression can involve some degree of relativity, such obviously must be fairly limited, otherwise, language is meaningless.
In other words, when something is said to be “from the beginning” of a certain period, there must be a reasonable proximity involved.
With this in view, note the following Bible passages.

Isaiah: From the Foundations of the Earth

First, an example is introduced from the Old Testament. When Isaiah was contrasting the greatness of Jehovah with the impotence of idols, he asked:
“Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?” (Isa. 40:21).
Note how the prophet parallels the expressions “from the beginning” and “from the foundations of the earth.” Man had known of God’s nature since that time!
Clearly, human existence extends back to the very beginning of earth history.

Adam and Eve

Concerning Adam and Eve, Jesus declared:
“But from the beginning of the creation, Male and female made he them” (Mk. 10:6).
The word “creation” is the Greek ktiseos and it denotes “the sum-total of what God has created” (Cremer, 113; 114; 381). Bloomfield observed that it refers to “the world or universe” (197-198).
Unquestionably, Christ places the first humans at the very dawn of creation.

Since the Creation

In Romans 1:20 Paul writes:
“For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse .... "
The phrase “since the creation of the world” directs attention back to the very beginning of the “sum total of the material universe” (cf. Trench, 215-216).
And note that Paul affirms that evidence for God’s existence has been “perceived” and “seen” since the creation so that man is without excuse for any unbelief!
This passage clearly does not allow for a vast gap of billions of years between the beginning of the creation and man’s ability to perceive upon the face of the earth.
And there is no reason for rejecting the clear testimony of the inspired apostle — unless one is under the spell of evolutionary chronology!
There are several other New Testament passages of a similar thrust:
  • Lk. 11:45-52
  • Mk. 13:19
  • Jn. 8:44
  • 2 Pet. 3:4
Were it not for the speculative assertions of modern evolutionary theorists, there would be absolutely no controversy as to the clear meaning of these historical statements of sacred literature.
But the truth is this — some have allowed the unsupported ideas of current scientism to be the criteria by which they interpret the Bible. Such is a great error indeed.

Three Important Conclusions

When a fair treatment of all the facts are considered, three important conclusions emerge.

Science does not know the age of the earth.

As Dr. Robert Kofahl has noted, “it is not possible to ‘prove’ that the earth is billions of years old” (109).
Even the evolutionary views regarding such are highly unstable. Between 1900 and 1960, the estimated age of the earth increased from 50 million to some 5 billion years!

True science does not demand an ancient earth.

Dr. Donald Chittick declares that
“the idea that the earth is very, very old is not in any way suggested by any studies in science. It arises as a result of rejecting Special Creation” (73).

There are many evidences of a relatively young earth.

Many scientific observations point to an earth inhabited by man from the very beginning (“Our Earth — Young or Old?”).
Let us, therefore, not compromise the biblical record of earth-human history simply for the sake of placating unreasonable, faithless, hopeless infidelity.
References
  • Bloomfield, S. T. 1855. The Greek Testament with English Notes. Vol. I. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans.
  • Brown, Colin, ed. 1980. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Vol. I. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
  • Chittick, Donald. 1970. A Symposium on Creation II. Patten, Donald, ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
  • Clayton, John. Does God Exist? Course 8. South Bend, IN: Does God Exist?
  • Cremer, Hermann. 1895. Biblico-Theological Lexicon of New Testment. Edinburgh: T & T Clark.
  • Kofahl, Robert. 1977. Handy Dandy Evolution Refuter. San Diego: Beta Books.
  • Trench, Robert C. 1894. Synonyms of the New Testament. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, & Co.

Scripture References
Isaiah 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 5; Isaiah 40:21; Mark 10:6; Romans 1:20; Luke 11:45-52; Mark 13:19; John 8:44; 2 Peter 3:4
Cite this article
Jackson, Wayne. "Man: From the Beginning." ChristianCourier.com. Access date: October 16, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1593-man-from-the-beginning

Friday, October 13, 2017

“How Come Earth Got All the Good Stuff?”

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Stuart Clark, of New Scientist magazine, recently asked the question, “How come Earth got all the good stuff?” Of all the planets in our solar system that allegedly formed naturalistically “from the same cloud of gas and dust that surrounded the sun more than 4.5 billion years ago,” why is “Earth...so suitable for life” (Clark, 2008, 199[2675]:29)? Stuart acknowledged:
We know that its distance from the sun provides the right amount of heat and light to make the planet habitable, but that alone is not enough. Without the unique mix of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur that makes up living things, and without liquid water on the planet’s surface, life as we know it could not have evolved. Chemically speaking, Earth is simply better set up for life than its neighbours. So how come we got all the good stuff? (p. 29).
How did Earth get to be just the right distance from the Sun so that it receives “the right amount of heat and light to make the planet habitable” (emp. added)? How did Earth get such a “unique mix” of all the elements that make up living things? How did Earth “acquire its life-giving water supply?” (p. 29). Did Earth become the “just-right” planet by happenstance?
Clark said that our best hope to find clues about Earth’s origin is from meteorites, since “they formed at the same time as the planets” (p. 29). However, he admitted: “[T]here are subtle differences that are proving tough to explain. For example, the mix of oxygen isotopes in chondritic meteorites does not match those found on Earth. So far no one knows why, but since oxygen is the most abundant element in the Earth’s crust...it is a mystery that cannot be ignored” (p. 29, emp. added). Regarding Earth’s “life-giving water supply,” Clarke suggested that “[t]he most popular explanation is that the water arrived later, in the form of icy comets from the outer solar system that rained down in the period known as the ‘Late Heavy Bombardment.’ As yet, though, there is no firm evidence to confirm this as the source of Earth’s water” (p. 30).
Though atheistic scientists have attempted to answer these and similar questions for many years, still no one has a legitimate naturalistic explanation for what New Scientist calls our planet’s “biggest mysteries” (p. 28). To conclude that Earth received just the right amount of “carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulphur” by time, chance, and non-intelligence is irrational. When does time, chance, and non-intelligence ever produce such wonderful effects? To conclude that the estimated 326 million cubic miles of water on Earth (“How Much Water...?,” 2008) are the result of “icy comets from the outer solar system” raining down on Earth millions of years ago is equally absurd.
The fact is, adequate non-intelligent, random, naturalistic causes for the “just-right” Earth do not exist. The only rational explanation for the precise design of Earth, the cosmos as a whole, and life on Earth is an intelligent supernatural Creator.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork (Psalm 19:1).
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:20-22).
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

REFERENCES

Clark, Stuart (2008), “How Come Earth Got All the Good Stuff?,” New Scientist, 199[2675]: 29-30, September 27.
“How Much Water is on Earth?” (2008), Livescience.com, [On-line], URL: http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/070621_llm_water.html.





Copyright © 2008 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

People All Over the World Associate Atheism with Immorality


Recently, Huffington Post writer Antonia Blumberg penned an article titled “Anti-Atheist Prejudice Is Entrenched Around the Globe, Even Among Atheists.”1 In the article, she commented on research that appeared in Nature magazine.2 The summary paragraph on the Nature Web site describing the research stated that “people in most—but not all—of these countries viewed extreme moral violations as representative of atheists. Notably, anti-atheist prejudice was even evident among atheist participants around the world.”3 The researchers wrote,
Combined, these results show that across the world, religious belief is intuitively viewed as a necessary safeguard against the temptations of grossly immoral conduct, and atheists are broadly perceived as potentially morally depraved and dangerous. Viewed differently, people perceive belief in a god as a sufficient moral buffer to inhibit immoral behaviour.4
Blumberg wrote, “The study echoes the findings of a report by Pew Research Center, published in 2014, which found that majorities in 22 countries say a person must believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.”5 In truth, Charles Darwin recognized this when he stated,  “A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones.”6
At Apologetics Press, we have written extensively on the fact that the philosophy of atheism absolutely cannot provide a foundation upon which to build a moral framework.7 It is true that atheists can behave in more moral ways than people who believe in God. But atheists cannot appeal to atheism to honestly explain or defend such moral behavior. Atheism cannot really even define the terms “moral” and “immoral.”
It is interesting that in Blumberg’s article she quoted Bart Campolo, an atheistic activist who stated, “We secularists, who pursue goodness simply because we recognize it as the surest way to flourish, need to get a whole lot better at compellingly articulating our own good news, and maybe even learn to make it sing.”8 Notice the sentiment behind Campolo’s statement. He sees morality as “the surest way to flourish.” But what happens when the morally right thing to do does not coincide with an individual “flourishing”? What happens when “doing right” means a costly sacrifice even to the point of death to help someone who might never respond in kind? You can see that even in the context of trying to make atheistic morality appear meaningful, Campolo only succeeds in showing that it is a “means to an end” way of life based on a foundation of self-preservation. Imagine what would happen if people made their moral decisions based only on what would help them “flourish.” Campolo’s articulation of atheistic morality helps us to see why the foundational tenets of atheism are distrusted around the world.

Endnotes

1 Antonia Blumberg (2017), “Anti-Atheist Prejudice is Entrenched Around the Globe, Even Among Atheists,” Huffington Post, https://www.yahoo.com/news/anti-atheist-prejudice-entrenched-around-203055330.html.
2 Will Gervais, et. al. (2017), “Global Evidence of Extreme Intuitive Moral Prejudice Against Atheists,” Nature, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0151?ncid=edlinkushpmg00000313.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Blumberg.
6 Charles Darwin (1958), The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, ed. Nora Barlow (New York: W.W. Norton), p. 94.
7 Kyle Butt (2008), “The Bitter Fruits of Atheism, Parts 1&2,” Reason & Revelation, 28[7&8]:50-64, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2515; Eric Lyons (2011), “The Moral Argument for the Existence of God,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4101&topic=95; Antony G.N. Flew and Thomas B. Warren (1977), Warren-Flew Debate (Ramer, TN: National Christian Press), pp. 15ff.
8 Blumberg.





Copyright © 2017 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Canaanite DNA and the Biblical Canon


[Editor’s Note: AP auxiliary writer Dr. Bryant holds two Masters degrees as well as a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in Old Testament from Amridge University. He has participated in archaeological excavations at Tell El-Borg in Egypt and holds professional memberships in the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Archaeological Institute of America, and the International Society of Christian Apologetics.]
A paper published on July 27, 2017 sparked a series of headlines questioning the accuracy of the Bible. A study demonstrated that comparing the DNA of modern Lebanese with ancient Canaanites revealed a striking similarity between the two.1 By comparing the genomes of five inhabitants of the city of Sidon (from roughly 3,700 years ago) with 99 persons living in modern Lebanon, researchers estimated that the genetic similarity between the two is about 93 percent. Based on these findings, it is argued by some that the Canaanites were not destroyed as the Bible alleges.
Headlines after the publication of the study ran with the story, with several of them stating flatly that DNA evidence had proven the Bible wrong. David Klinghoffer, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, noted that numerous headlines (many of them originating in the United Kingdom) seemed to take a deliberate swipe at the Bible.2 He listed a dozen headlines from various news outlets that directly challenged the truthfulness of the biblical account of the conquest.3
In an age where attention-grabbing headlines can determine the number of clicks an article gets—as well as the amount of potential revenue from advertisers—this allegation is no surprise. However, it does expose the stunning biblical illiteracy in society today. To be fair, it may have been that the authors of the news articles simply took the following statement from the study at face value:
[T]he Bible reports the destruction of the Canaanite cities and the annihilation of its people; if true, the Canaanites could not have directly contributed genetically to present-day populations. However, no archaeological evidence has so far been found to support widespread destruction of Canaanite cities between the Bronze and Iron Ages: cities on the Levant coast such as Sidon and Tyre show continuity of occupation until the present day.4
Although the removal of the Canaanite population was commanded (Deuteronomy 20:17), numerous passages indicate the incomplete nature of the conquest (e.g., Joshua 17:12-13; Judges 1:27-33). One of the clearest failures recorded in the book of Judges is that the tribe of Dan in particular (or a large segment of it) remained nomadic instead of taking the territory allotted to it (Judges 18:1). The text indicates that this tribe had particular difficulties, later losing some of the land they had taken previously (Joshua 19:47).
The northernmost border of Israel’s territory was found in the allotment given to the tribe of Asher, which included the cities of Tyre and Sidon (Joshua 24:24-31). The text states that the Israelites failed to take this territory, so that the people of the tribe of Asher “lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land, for they did not drive them out” (Judges 1:31; 3:3). Both Sidon and Tyre seem to have remained as independent city states. King Hiram of Tyre made treaties with both David and Solomon many years after the conquest (2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Kings 5:1; 9:13). Later prophets denounced the Phoenician cities of Tyre5 and Sidon,6 treating them as foreign political entities. The Bible never indicates that the Israelites conquered these cities or killed their populations.
The Homeric epics of the Iliad and Odyssey mention Sidon, known in the Bible as the home of Jezebel and her father Ethbaal (1 Kings 16:31). Jezebel’s royal seal—donated to Israel’s Department of Antiquities in the early 1960s—identifies her as the “daughter of the king.”7 The city of Sidon had a succession of kings and was powerful enough that the term “Sidonian” became virtually synonymous with the term “Phoenician.”8 There is no indication—either historical or biblical—that the Israelites ever conquered the city.
Tyre was a powerful and wealthy city also, enough so that it was able to establish colonies throughout the Mediterranean. It is no coincidence that Tyre experienced a golden age beginning precisely at the time when the Bible indicates that its king made important trade agreements with David and Solomon.9 Tyre had a long succession of kings who often ran afoul of more powerful nations. For instance, the famed Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III (747-727 B.C.) defeated a second Hiram of Tyre ruling in the eighth century.10 Later, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar plundered the city, which was subsequently razed by Alexander the Great in fulfillment of prophecy (Ezekiel 26).11 The biblical portrayal of Tyre—including its wealth, its continual problems with other nations, and eventually its destruction—agrees with the ancient evidence.
The Bible and ancient inscriptions both indicate that Israel never defeated Tyre or Sidon, a fact that seems to have eluded some critics. That the modern inhabitants of Lebanon should share such genetic similarity with their ancient ancestors should not be surprising. Phoenicia always remained independent of Israel despite any political or economic connections the two may have shared. Far from undermining the biblical text, the most recent findings concerning Canaanite DNA support the accuracy of Scripture.

Endnotes

1  See Marc Haber, et al (2017), “Continuity and Admixture in the Last Five Millennia of Levantine History from Ancient Canaanite and Present-Day Lebanese Genome Sequences,” American Journal of Human Genetics, 101, August, http://www.cell.com/ajhg/fulltext/S0002-9297(17)30276-8.
2  David Klinghoffer (2017), “For Culturally Illiterate Science Reporters, Canaanite DNA Yields Occasion to Slap Bible Around,” https://goo.gl/Pv3idN.
3  E.g., Shivali Best (2017), “Bronze Age DNA Disproves the Bible’s Claim that the Canaanites Were Wiped Out: Study Says Their Genes Live On in Modern-day Lebanese People,” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4733046/Canaanites-ancestors-modern-day-people-Lebanon.html; Chris Graham (2017), “Study Disproves the Bible’s Suggestion that the Ancient Canaanites Were Wiped Out,” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/07/28/study-disproves-bibles-claim-ancient-canaanites-wiped/; Ian Johnston (2017), “Bible Says Canaanites Were Wiped Out by Israelites But Scientists Just Found Their Descendants Living in Lebanon,” https://goo.gl/6xXTCs.
4  Haber, et al, p. 275.
5  E.g., Amos 1:9-10; Zechariah 9:3-4; Ezekiel 26:1-28:19.
6  Jeremiah 24:22; Ezekiel 28:20-24.
7  See Marjo C.A. Korpel (2008), “Fit for a Queen: Jezebel’s Royal Seal,” Biblical Archaeology Review, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/inscriptions/fit-for-a-queen-jezebels-royal-seal.
8  Philip C. Schmitz (1992), “Sidon” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday), 6:17.
9  H.J. Katzenstein (1992), “Tyre” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday), 6:687.
10 Edward Lipinski (2006), On the Skirts of Canaan in the Iron Age: Historical and Topographical Researches, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 153 (Leuven: Peters), p. 187.
11 See Kyle Butt (2006), “Tyre in Prophecy,” Reason & Revelation, 26[10]:73-79, October, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=1790.





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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

ARE WE GIVING ENOUGH

Reprinted from the January 2016 issue of Gospel Advocate Magazine, this article discusses whether it is natural to ask, whatever we have previously decided to give, “Are we giving enough?”


It is the right question for almost all of us. Honest hearts want to do what is right. When a person becomes a Christian or matures and gains a deeper understanding of Christian commitment or experiences a newfound prosperity, it is natural to ask the very practical question of how much I should give to support the work of the church and to other charities, public and private. When we consider that our Savior taught and exemplified that self-sacrifice for others and a loving regard for those most in need lies at the heart of doing our Father’s will and is essential to our salvation, it is natural for us to ask, whatever we have previously decided to give, “Are we giving enough?”

It is not a simple question of arithmetic, however much we might wish to make it so. Nearly 30 years ago, a wealthy young man with whom I was practicing law asked me whether “tithing” should be computed on a pre-tax or after-tax basis. By the world’s standards, he was an exceptionally fine and decent human being, raised in privilege but also taught by his parents and church that privilege carries with it duty. He wanted advice on what his duty was, how much he needed to give.
In comparison to most Americans, my young friend was being unusually generous. Studies have consistently shown that Americans, the vast majority of whom still regard themselves as in some sense Christians, give an average of about two percent of their income to charity. However, tithing is not the New Testament answer to how much we should give. Even in the Old Testament, the Mosaic law included multiple tithes for various purposes that would have had the combined effect of requiring far more than a simple 10 percent rule for giving (Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:20-21; Deuteronomy 12:17-18; 14:28-29). It also included other teachings about generosity, such as the command to property owners to be intentionally inefficient at harvest to let the poor glean after them in their fields (Leviticus 19:9-10; 23:22). This was beautifully exemplified by Boaz in his treatment of Ruth.
More fundamentally, God has always called on His people to show generosity beyond compliance with any mechanical rule. Just as James teaches in the New Testament that “religion that is pure and undefiled” is defined, in part, by charity (James 1:27 esv), so Isaiah in the Old Testament defines the true religious observance chosen by God: “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:7).
Thus God has not established for His servants a specific minimum standard of generosity. Instead, as illustrated in the parables of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and the minas (Luke 19:11-27), God has chosen to entrust us with the power to use His gifts in His service but left to us the responsibility of judging how we may best fulfill that trust.
To answer as wisely as possible whether we are giving enough, I would suggest asking ourselves three related questions that naturally involve a train of thoughtful consideration relevant to the overall question.

Are We Giving in Reasonable Proportion?

First, are we giving in reasonable proportion to our prosperity? Paul instructed that each of the Corinthians should, each first day of the week, “put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper” (1 Corinthians 16:7). In doing so, Paul is merely applying the common sense rule of a just God that “to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).
Many Americans have been so rich for so long they have forgotten they are rich. Especially since the financial crisis of 2008-2009, our media reflect a pervasive sense of grievance that we are not getting richer. A dose of reality might do us good. Just to cite one example, both the Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank have celebrated the recent increase in the middle class on those continents, but they define “middle class” as including those who make at least $2 per day. In Africa alone, more than half a billion people must survive on less.
We tend to regard a spacious and secure dwelling; warmth in winter and cooling in summer; a car; food that is sufficient, varied and pleasurable; clothing that allows us to fit in socially in a rich society; access to modern technology; and many other conveniences as though they were literally necessities required for us to live. Most of our fellow human beings, now as in the past, live without them.
This is not meant to make us feel guilty about God’s blessings. As Solomon said long ago, “wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them … this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). Material prosperity should not make us feel guilty, but it should make us feel grateful to God and generous to others. For those of us who have been given unusual prosperity, even by American standards, our gratitude should include not only that God has given us comfort and freedom from any rational anxiety concerning material needs but that he has entrusted us with such a powerful means of doing good, allowing us to be the instruments of His grace and partners in the gospel. When we consider how richly we have been blessed in light of the needs of others, are we giving enough?

Are We Putting Our Wealth to Use?

Second, are we putting our wealth to its wisest and best use? Worldly wisdom teaches the folly of wasting wealth. Consumers naturally seek the greatest value for the money they spend. Investors naturally seek the safest and highest return on the money they invest. Christians differ from the world in their judgment as to what is valuable, but they still would rationally wish to maximize the value achieved by every aspect of their lives, including wealth. As the parables of stewardship imply, this natural and sensible desire to put valuable resources to valuable use is made more urgent when we realize that all such resources belong to God and are intended to be valuable in His service.
The Bible warns us against using wealth in ways that simply do not make sense. Isaiah asks, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2). When Jesus warned us not to lay up treasures on earth, his reasoning included the inferior security of any such treasure (Matthew 6:19-21). Paul warned that the greedy have “pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:10).
In the words of William Law, the foolish use of wealth is like refusing to buy medicine for the poor so that we can buy poison for ourselves.
On the other hand, if we trust our Savior’s promise that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), it is apparent that generous giving can bring great value to the giver. Indeed, a central paradox of the Christian life is the pleasure for self that unselfishness brings: the more we focus on others, the more we find ourselves. Many older Christians and even many worldly people, looking back on their lives, would agree that the greatest happiness wealth ever brought them was a joyful satisfaction in helping others.
Perhaps this psychological truth derives, in part, from a physical truth. Money has greater value meeting needs than in supplying luxuries and finds its greatest value in meeting the most important needs of those who would otherwise be destroyed by ignorance and want. Money that would make no discernible difference in our lives if spent on some incremental luxury can make the difference between life and death, spiritually and physically, for those with no resources of their own.
Even beyond the joy that giving directly brings to the giver, Jesus teaches a more profound effect on lasting happiness. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21) is often taken as a warning, but it is also a promise. When we invest ourselves in the gospel and in other people, we change our own hearts, directing our affections in a way that leads home to the source of every good and perfect gift.
When we consider how much good for others and happiness for ourselves can be made possible by our giving, are we giving enough?

How Much Do We Love God?

Finally, what does our giving say about how much we love God? Paul encouraged the Corinthians to give for the relief of the churches in Palestine by telling them of the generosity of other churches, and explains that he does so “to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine” (2 Corinthians 8:8).
Every command of God tests whether we love Him, for if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15); but surely love does more than just obey. Paul described how the churches of Macedonia had surprised him by the wealth and character of their generosity: “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:3-4). He exhorted the Corinthians to follow this example and “excel in this act of grace also” (v. 7). At the end of the chapter, he exhorted again, “So give proof before the churches of your love” (v. 24).
Virtually all Christians say to themselves and not just to others that they love God, and they do so without conscious dishonesty. We understand that Christianity without love for God would be a meaningless contradiction. Every time we decide how much to give to the church and other charities, we affirm our decision to love God and reflect the character of the love we feel. Considering what every gift we give says about how much we love God, are we giving enough?
James Gardner is a member of the Henderson Church of Christ. He can be contacted at jgardner@fhu.edu.

Science vs. Evolution: What is Evolution and Why Does it Matter? (Session 1)--Video
Is evolution scientific? Do the laws of science support naturalism or contradict it? Do the commonly cited evidences for Darwinian evolution actually prove it to be true? If the evidence doesn't support atheistic evolution, why do so many believe in it? Join a credentialed scientist as he explores the answers to these questions in this eight-session series. [Visit our Web store to get a copy of the DVD that contains all eight sessions.]
   
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Monday, October 09, 2017

Did the Laws of Science Apply in the Beginning?

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

It is relatively easy for the rational man to disprove the idea that matter can spontaneously generate. Of course, even intuition does not back spontaneous generation. Recall Richard Dawkins’ commentary on the matter: “Of course it’s counterintuitive that you can get something from nothing. Of course common sense doesn’t allow you to get something from nothing” (Dawkins and Pell, 2012, emp. added). It matters not how long you sit in your chair and stare at an empty desk. A pencil will not eventually materialize on the desk before you. Things—no matter how simplistic—do not pop into existence from nothing.
The idea, that structured, law-abiding, physical matter (i.e., like that which we see all around us in the created order) could come into being from nothing, is even more far-fetched. Beyond intuition, this matter is laid to rest when we consider the implications of the First Law of Thermodynamics and the Law of Conservation of Matter (see Miller, 2013c). To paraphrase, the amount of energy and matter in a system will remain constant unless there is input from some outside source. In other words, it does not matter how long you stare at the desk; unless someone comes by your desk and puts an already existing pencil on it, or you put the pencil on it yourself, or the pencil falls on the desk from some other place, a pencil will not appear on the desk. This idea, applied to the origin of the Universe, indicates that the Universe has either always existed (an idea which violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics—see Miller, 2013c), or Someone put it here.
Naturalists do not take such news sitting down. Scientists like Stephen Hawking claim that in the beginning, at the alleged Big Bang, “the laws of science…would break down” (1988, p. 88). Theoretical physicist Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology in Egypt highlighted the Big Bang singularity as a devastating deficiency of the Big Bang Theory: “The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there” (as quoted in Zyga, 2015). So, in other words, according to naturalists, one cannot use the laws of physics to disprove the spontaneous origin of the cosmic egg, because those laws could not apply to the cosmic egg at the beginning.
To what are the naturalists referring when they claim that the laws of nature “break down” at the cosmic egg that gave birth to the Universe—that the laws did not apply then? One of the first concepts taught in a study of calculus is that of a “limit.” A “limit” is a way to solve what will be the end result of an equation if its variable(s) was allowed to move to its ultimate destination. For example, imagine a bottle full of water with a leak at its base. As the water leaks from the bottle, the water level, ℎ, gets smaller. A limit equation seeks to determine what the end result will be of such a scenario. The “limit” of “ℎ” in the bottle over time, ℎ(t), as the water leaks from the bottle, will be zero—the final height of the water when it has all drained from the bottle . Now imagine trying to find the limit of the same equation, but with the  ℎ(t) term in the denominator of the function . Over time, the height of the water in the bottle, ℎ(t), still moves to zero, which results in a situation where one must find the limit of an equation with a one divided by a zero. You do not have to know much about math to know that dividing one by zero is a problem. Such a scenario does not fit the rules. The usual laws do not work. We call it a “singularity,” and something similar happens when cosmologists attempt to work out the equations that explain what would occur at the beginning of the hypothetical Big Bang. This is why Stephen Hawking said, “The beginning of real time would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down” (n.d.).
In response, first notice that there is a reason that physicists consider the singularity a “problem.” Arguing that a singularity must have occurred at the beginning of the Big Bang admits that the laws of nature do not work in the way they are supposed to in the Big Bang model. The Big Bang requires the singularity, and yet the laws of nature do not work with singularities. So, by definition, the Big Bang event is not natural. It is supernatural—and therefore, the Big Bang naturalist must give up on being a naturalist, or remain in a self-contradictory position.
One physicist contacted me at Apologetics Press and went further in trying to get around the Universal origin problem. Paraphrasing, he said, “The laws of nature involve the interaction of matter and energy. The laws wouldn’t work in a situation where you don’t have matter and energy—like at the very beginning, before the cosmic egg appeared. So the laws wouldn’t be violated if matter and energy popped into existence from nothing, because there wouldn’t be any interaction for the laws to govern. So, no law would be able to stop matter/energy from popping into existence.” Is his statement true that the laws of physics only involve the interaction of matter and energy?
No. In thermodynamics, for example, we often work problems, specifically First Law of Thermodynamics problems, where you begin with a system with nothing in it, and then energy or matter moves into the system from outside of the system. So the problems involve a system bearing the interaction of nothing with energy/matter, and this is the precise scenario that poses a problem for the origin of the cosmic egg.
Still, the naturalistic scientist “usually assumes that the current laws of physics did not apply then” (Linde, 1994, emp. added). Granted—certain assumptions are often necessary in science. Granted—no one was around to make scientific observations about the origin of matter. But wait…that’s the point. No one was there to observe the beginning. So we have to be very careful in making assumptions. If we wish to be rational and not hold to a blind “faith,” we have to look at evidence available to us and only draw those conclusions that are warranted by that evidence. But naturalists throw out the current evidence, since it does not provide them with a naturalistic answer to the origin question that they seek, and proceed to engage in wild speculation. How is it scientific to throw aside solid science—making the assumption that there were no such things as laws of science in the beginning—with no evidence to support such a claim? This, naturalists do, even when all empirical evidence that has ever been observed by scientists leads to the conclusion that the laws of physics are, always have been, and always will be immutable (i.e., until they are destroyed along with the physical Universe on the Day of Judgment—2 Peter 3:7-10)—that they do not “break down.” Recall Stephen Hawking’s words regarding the laws of nature: “But what’s really important is that these physical laws, as well as being unchangeable, are universal. They apply not just to the flight of the ball, but to the motion of a planet and everything else in the Universe. Unlike laws made by humans, the laws of nature cannot ever be broken. That’s why they are so powerful…. [T]he laws of nature are fixed” (“Curiosity…,” 2011). In spite of such bold assertions, this same Hawking irrationally contradicted himself in claiming that in the Big Bang model, which he subscribes to, “the laws of science…break down” (1988, p. 88). If we behave rationally—drawing conclusions based on the evidence—a naturalist would have to conclude that the laws did not “break down” at the beginning. But if they did not break down, then naturalism has been falsified—and such a truth cannot be swallowed by naturalists.
Ironically, evolutionists take great pains to prove the immutability of certain scientific assertions, at least when it suits their agenda. For instance, creationists point out that the dating techniques utilized by evolutionary geologists are based on certain assumptions which are far from reasonable when all of the evidence is considered—like the assertion that physical constants used in dating methods have, in fact, remained constant throughout time. Mark Isaak of “The TalkOrigins Archive” attempts to respond to this criticism by describing certain constants which have purportedly remained constant for billions of years (Isaak, 2007). Creationists have no problem with the idea that certain constants could have remained essentially the same over long periods of time (though we do not believe that the Universe has existed for billions of years). However, scientific evidence indicates that not allphysical constants have remained unchanged forever—like constants that are used in evolutionary dating techniques (cf. Stober, 2010; Miller, 2013b; Butt, 2010b; Reucroft and Swain, 2009; Gardner, 2010). For instance, catastrophic phenomena, such as volcanoes (cf. Akahane, et al., 2004), can significantly accelerate the rate of processes generally thought to take millions of years. The conclusion: dating techniques that make unscientific assumptions are flawed (cf. Miller, 2013b). But scientific laws, by definition, are without exception.
Notice again that, on one hand, naturalists do not want to grant that the laws of science have always been constant, although all scientific evidence indicates that they have; but they do want to make erroneous claims about physical constants that have been shown to be in contradiction with the scientific evidence, since it suits their agenda. And further notice that the evolutionist’s dilemma is not improved upon even if we grant the possibility that the laws of science were inapplicable at the beginning. Would evolutionists have us to believe that in the beginning, not only matter, but the physical laws that govern that matter popped into existence with the matter as well (see Miller, 2012b)? How can there be a law without a law maker? How is such an assertion scientific? And how is such an assertion allowed to go unchallenged by many scientists? The bias of those in the evolutionary community against accepting the rational and scientific alternative to their faulty theories is profound.
After Stephen Hawking admits on his Web site that “the laws of physics would have broken down” at the singularity, in the next sentence he contradicts himself, saying, “Nevertheless, the way the universe began would have been determined by the laws of physics” (n.d.). The naturalist wishes to have his cake and eat it, too. One cannot sidestep the thrust of the First Law of Thermodynamics by trying to say the laws did not apply in the beginning, and then simultaneously claim that natural law—namely quantum law—would bring about the Universe, which is precisely what naturalists wish to do (see Miller, 2013a). If you acknowledge that the natural laws cannot work in your model, you must acknowledge that your model is a supernatural model—not a naturalistic model. If the evolutionist cannot use science and its laws to bring about the Universe, then he has, in reality, given up on naturalism and become a believer in supernaturalism. In other words, if the laws of nature did not apply in the beginning, by implication, only supernatural phenomena could have existed to bring about the Universe (see Miller, 2012a). The next step is only to decide which supernatural entity is the true Creator—God, with His supporting evidences; or magic, with its lack thereof. [NOTE: The fact that naturalists must believe in supernatural phenomena illustrates that naturalistic theories amount to religion. Consistency, therefore, would dictate that those schools that do not allow the Creation model to be taught in their science classes should eliminate naturalistic theories as well. However, this author believes that the correct solution would be to teach the evidence from science, wherever it leads. Truth is the goal. The scientific evidence detailed in this book points to a Creator. So it should be taught. Any theory which contradicts the evidence should be removed from scientific discussion. See Houts, 2007, for more on the idea that evolution is religion, not science.]
Although assumptions are often necessary in science, scientific assumptions must carry the quality of being reasonable in order for them to be permissible in scientific discussion (See Miller, 2013b for a discussion on scientific assumptions.). What scientific evidence could be cited to back such a grandiose claim that there was a time that the laws of nature did not hold? The only way the claim that the laws of science did not apply in the beginning can be made and considered to be reasonable is if the person has made another equally unscientific assumption upon which that claim is based. The person would have to assume that there was no One here at the beginning that organized matter in keeping with the Laws which that Being set in motion. The Creation model in no way contradicts the laws of physics. On the other hand, the atheistic evolutionary model contradicts the laws of physics in a myriad of ways. Yet, oddly, creationists are the ones who are branded as unscientific.

REFERENCES

Akahane, Hisatada, Takeshi Furuno, Hiroshi Miyajima, Toshiyuki Yoshikawa, and Shigeru Yamamoto (2004), “Rapid Wood Silicification in Hot Spring Water: An Explanation of Silicification of Wood During the Earth’s History,” Sedimentary Geology, 169[3-4]:219-228, July 15.
Butt, Kyle (2010b), “New Findings Show Flaws in Old-Earth Dating Methods,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=3770.
“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
Dawkins, Richard and George Pell (2012), “Religion and Atheism,” ABC Australia, http://www.abc.net.au/tv/quanda/txt/s3469101.htm, April 9.
Gardner, Elizabeth (2010), “Purdue-Stanford Team Finds Radioactive Decay Rates Vary With the Sun’s Rotation,” Purdue University News Service, http: //www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100830FischbachJenkinsDec.html.
Hawking, Stephen (1988), A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam).
Hawking, Stephen (n.d.), “The Beginning of Time,” Stephen Hawking: The Official Web Site, March 1, 2016.
Houts, Michael G. (2007), “Evolution is Religion—Not Science [Part I],” Reason & Revelation, 27[11]:81-87, November, http://www.apologeticspress.org/pub_rar/27_11/0711.pdf.
Isaak, Mark (2007), “Claim CE410,” The TalkOrigins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy, http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CE/CE410.html.
Linde, Andrei (1994), “The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe,” Scientific American, 271[5]:48, November.
Miller, Jeff (2012a), “The Atheistic Naturalist’s Self-Contradiction,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=4225.
Miller, Jeff (2012b), “The Laws of Science –by God,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=4545.
Miller, Jeff (2013a), “Can Quantum Mechanics Produce a Universe from Nothing?” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4584&topic=57.
Miller, Jeff (2013b), “Don’t Assume Too Much: Not All Assumptions in Science Are Bad,” Reason & Revelation, 33[6]:62-64,69-70, June, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1122&article=2153.
Miller, Jeff (2013c), “Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=2786.
Reucroft, Steve and J. Swain (2009), “Ultrasonic Cavitation of Water Speeds Up Thorium Decay,” CERN Courier, June 8, http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/39158.
Stober, David (2010), “The Strange Case of Solar Flares and Radioactive Elements,” http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/breaking/2010/08/23/the-strange-case-of-solar-flares-and-radioactive-elements/.
Zyga, Lisa (2015), “No Big Bang? Quantum Equation Predicts Universe Has No Beginning,” Phys.Org, February 9, http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html.
[Article Revised 2016]

Shower of Blessings

The following letters supposedly were taken from an actual incident between a London hotel and one of its guests. In truth, this was composed by comedian Shelly Berman. It is rather long, but it is very funny and if you haven't seen it before, you'll love it.

Dear Maid, 

Please do not leave any more of those little bars of soap in my bathroom since I have brought my own bath-sized Dial. Please remove the six unopened little bars from the shelf under the medicine chest and another three in the shower soap dish. They are in my way.
Thank you,
S. Berman

Dear Room 635, 

I am not your regular maid. She will be back tomorrow, Thursday, from her day off. I took the 3 hotel soaps out of the shower soap dish as you requested. The 6 bars on your shelf I took out of your way and put on top of your Kleenex dispenser in case you should change your mind. This leaves only the 3 bars I left today which my instructions from the management is to leave 3 soaps daily. I hope this is satisfactory.
Kathy, Relief Maid

Dear Maid - I hope you are my regular maid, 

Apparently Kathy did not tell you about my note to her concerning the little bars of soap. When I got back to my room this evening I found you had added 3 little Camays to the shelf under my medicine cabinet. I am going to be here in the hotel for two weeks and have brought my own bath-size Dial so I won't need those 6 little Camays which are on the shelf. They are in my way when shaving, brushing teeth, etc. Please remove them.
S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman, 

My day off was last Wed. so the relief maid left 3 hotel soaps which we are instructed by the management. I took the 6 soaps which were in your way on the shelf and put them in the soap dish where your Dial was. I put the Dial in the medicine cabinet for your convenience. I didn't remove the 3 complimentary soaps which are always placed inside the medicine cabinet for all new check-ins and which you did not object to when you checked in last Monday. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Your regular maid,
Dotty

Dear Mr. Berman, 

The assistant manager, Mr. Kensedder, informed me this morning that you called him last evening and said you were unhappy with your maid service. I have assigned a new girl to your room. I hope you will accept my apologies for any past inconvenience. If you have any future complaints, please contact me so I can give it my personal attention. Call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM. Thank you.
Elaine Carmen
Housekeeper

Dear Miss Carmen, 

It is impossible to contact you by phone since I leave the hotel for business at 7:45 AM and don't get back before 5:30 or 6PM. That's the reason I called Mr. Kensedder last night. You were already off duty. I only asked Mr. Kensedder if he could do anything about those little bars of soap. The new maid you assigned me must have thought I was a new check-in today, since she left another 3 bars of hotel soap in my medicine cabinet along with her regular delivery of 3 bars on the bath-room shelf. In just 5 days here I have accumulated 24 little bars of soap. Why are you doing this to me?
S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman, 

Your maid, Kathy, has been instructed to stop delivering soap to your room and remove the extra soaps. If I can be of further assistance, please call extension 1108 between 8AM and 5PM. Thank you,
Elaine Carmen,
Housekeeper

Dear Mr. Kensedder, 

My bath-size Dial is missing. Every bar of soap was taken from my room including my own bath-size Dial. I came in late last night and had to call the bellhop to bring me 4 little Cashmere Bouquets.
S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman, 

I have informed our housekeeper, Elaine Carmen, of your soap problem. I cannot understand why there was no soap in your room since our maids are instructed to leave 3 bars of soap each time they service a room. The situation will be rectified immediately. Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience.
Martin L. Kensedder
Assistant Manager

Dear Mrs. Carmen, 

Who....left 54 little bars of Camay in my room? I came in last night and found 54 little bars of soap. I don't want 54 little bars of Camay. I want my one.....bar of bath-size Dial. Do you realize I have 54 bars of soap in here? All I want is my bath-size Dial. Please give me back my bath-size Dial.
S. Berman

Dear Mr. Berman, 

You complained of too much soap in your room so I had them removed. Then you complained to Mr. Kensedder that all your soap was missing so I personally returned them. The 24 Camays which had been taken and the 3 Camays you are supposed to receive daily. I don't know anything about the 4 Cashmere Bouquets. Obviously your maid, Kathy, did not know I had returned your soaps so she also brought 24 Camays plus the 3 daily Camays. I don't know where you got the idea this hotel issues bath-size Dial. I was able to locate some bath-size Ivory which I left in your room.
Elaine Carmen
Housekeeper

Dear Mrs. Carmen, 

Just a short note to bring you up-to-date on my latest soap inventory. As of today I possess:
- On the shelf under medicine cabinet - 18 Camay in 4 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
- On the Kleenex dispenser - 11 Camay in 2 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 3.
- On the bedroom dresser - 1 stack of 3 Cashmere Bouquet.
- 1 stack of 4 hotel-size Ivory, and 8 Camay in 2 stacks of 4.
- Inside the medicine cabinet - 14 Camay in 3 stacks of 4 and 1 stack of 2.
- In the shower soap dish - 6 Camay, very moist.
- On the northeast corner of tub - 1 Cashmere Bouquet, slightly used.
- On the northwest corner of tub - 6 Camays in 2 stacks of 3.
Please ask Kathy when she services my room to make sure the stacks are neatly piled and dusted. Also, please advise her that stacks of more than 4 have a tendency to tip. May I suggest that my bedroom window sill is not in use and will make an excellent spot for future soap deliveries. One more item, I have purchased another bar of bath-sized Dial which I am keeping in the hotel vault in order to avoid further misunderstandings.
S. Berman

It dawned on me that God is like those maids! Every day he sends us blessing after blessing. Whether we ask for them or not, whether we deserve them or not ("he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good"), whether we acknowledge them or not, we are absolutely flooded with blessings from a good and gracious God.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things." (Psalm 103:1-5a)

To the God who keeps on giving and giving be all praise and honor and glory!

Have a great day!

Alan Smith