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Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Laws of Thermodynamics

Evolution and the Laws of Science: The Laws of Thermodynamics

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

“[T]he principles of thermodynamics have been in existence since the creation of the universe” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 2, emp. added). So states a prominent textbook used in schools of engineering across America. Indeed, these principles prove themselves to be absolutely critical in today’s science world. Much of the engineering technology available today is based on the foundational truths embodied in the Laws of Thermodynamics. As the writers of one engineering thermodynamics textbook stated: “Energy is a fundamental concept of thermodynamics and one of the most significant aspects of engineering analysis” (Moran and Shapiro, 2000, p. 35). Do these laws have application to the creation/evolution debate as creationists suggest? What do they actually say and mean?
The word “thermodynamics” originally was used in a publication by Lord Kelvin (formerly William Thomson), the man often called the Father of Thermodynamics because of his articulation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in 1849 (Cengel and Boles, p. 2). The term comes from two Greek words: therme, meaning “heat,” and dunamis, meaning “force” or “power” (American Heritage..., 2000, pp. 558,1795). Thermodynamics can be summarized essentially as the science of energy—including heat, work (defined as the energy required to move a force a certain distance), potential energy, internal energy, and kinetic energy. The basic principles and laws of thermodynamics are understood thoroughly today by the scientific community. Thus, the majority of the work with the principles of thermodynamics is done by engineers who simply utilize the already understood principles in their designs. A thorough understanding of the principles of thermodynamics which govern our Universe can help an engineer to learn effectively to control the impact of heat in his/her designs.


Though there are many important thermodynamic principles that govern the behavior of energy, perhaps the most critical principles of significance in the creation/evolution controversy are the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. What are these laws that, not only are vital to the work of an engineer, but central to this debate?

The First Law

The First Law of Thermodynamics was formulated originally by Robert Mayer (1814-1878). He stated: “I therefore hope that I may reckon on the reader’s assent when I lay down as an axiomatic truth that, just as in the case of matter, so also in the case of force [the term used at that time for energy—JM], only a transformation but never a creation takes place” (as quoted in King, 1962, p. 5). That is, given a certain amount of energy in a closed system, that energy will remain constant, though it will change form (see Figure 1). As evolutionist Willard Young says in defining the First Law, “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another” (1985, p. 8).
Figure 1
This principle, also known as the “conservation of energy principle” (Cengel and Boles, p. 2), can be demonstrated by the burning of a piece of wood. When the wood is burned, it is transformed into a different state. The original amount of energy present before the burning is still present. However, much of that energy was transformed into a different state, namely, heat. No energy disappeared from the Universe, and no energy was brought into the Universe through burning the wood. Concerning the First Law, Young further explains that
the principle of the conservation of energy is considered to be the single most important and fundamental ‘law of nature’ presently known to science, and is one of the most firmly established. Endless studies and experiments have confirmed its validity over and over again under a multitude of different conditions (p. 165, emp. added).
This principle is known to be a fact about nature—without exception. One thermodynamics textbook, Fundamentals of Thermodynamics, says:
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 (Borgnakke and Sonntag, 2009, p. 116, emp. added).
That is why the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms defines a scientific law as “a regularity which applies to all members of a broad class of phenomena” (2003, p. 1182, emp. added). Famous atheist, theoretical physicist, and cosmologist of Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, concurred:
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: Did God Create the Universe?” 2011, emp. added).

The Second Law

In the nineteenth century, Lord Kelvin and Rudolph Clausius (1822-1888) separately made findings that became known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics (Suplee, 2000, p. 156). The Second Law builds on the First, stating that though there is a constant amount of energy in a given system that is merely transforming into different states, that energy is becoming less usable. Extending our wood burning illustration above, after the wood is burned, the total amount of energy is still the same, but transformed into other energy states. Those energy states (e.g., ash and dissipated heat to the environment) are less retrievable and less accessible (see Figure 2).
Figure 2
Well-known atheist, physicist, cosmologist, and astrobiologist of Arizona State University, Paul Davies, explained it this way:
[T]he celebrated second law of thermodynamics…says, roughly speaking, that in any change the Universe becomes a slightly more disorderly place; the entropy goes up, the information content goes down. This natural tendency towards disintegration and chaos is evident all around us (1978, 80[1129]:506).
This process is irreversible. Lord Kelvin stated that energy is “irrecoverably lost to man and therefore ‘wasted,’ although not annihilated” (Thomson, 1882, p. 189, ital. in orig.). This principle is known as entropy. Simply put, entropy states that nature is tending towards disorder and chaos. Will the paint job on your house maintain its fresh appearance over time? Will your son’s room actually become cleaner on its own, or will it tend toward disorder? Even without your son’s assistance, dust and decay take their toll. Although work can slow the entropy, it cannot stop it. Renowned evolutionary science writer Isaac Asimov explained:
Another way of stating the Second Law then is “The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!” Viewed that way we can see the Second Law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself—and that is what the Second Law is all about (1970, p. 6).
Entropy is simply a fact of nature. Entropy can be minimized in this Universe, but it cannot be eradicated. That is where engineers come in. Engineers work to discover ways of minimizing energy loss and maximizing useful energy before it is forever lost. Thousands of engineering jobs are dedicated to addressing this fundamental fact of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Your energy bill is affected directly by it. If the Second Law was not fixed—unchanging—engineers could not develop the technology necessary to maximize usable energy, thereby lowering your energy costs.
Some engineers devote their entire careers to minimizing entropy in the generation of power from energy. All this effort is based on the principles established by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. These principles are established as fact in the scientific community. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines “law” as “a statement describing a relationship observed to be invariable between or among phenomena for all cases in which the specified conditions are met” (2000, p. 993, emp. added). Since laws are invariable, i.e., unchanging and constant, they have no exceptions. Otherwise, they would not be classified as laws. Tracy Walters, a mechanical engineer working in thermal engineering, observed:
It has been my experience that many people do not appreciate how uncompromising the Laws of Thermodynamics actually are. It is felt, perhaps, that the Laws are merely general tendencies or possibly only theoretical considerations. In reality, though, the Laws of Thermodynamics are hard as nails, and...the more one works with these Laws, the deeper respect one gains for them (1986, 9[2]:8, emp. added).
Evolutionist Jeremy Rifkin stated that “the Entropy Law will preside as the ruling paradigm over the next period of history. Albert Einstein said that it is the premier law of all science; Sir Arthur Eddington referred to it as the ‘supreme metaphysical law of the entire universe’” (1980, p. 6). Borgnakke and Sonntag, in Fundamentals of Thermodynamics, explain:
[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. 220, emp. added, parenthetical item in orig.).
Another thermal science textbook says, concerning the Second Law of Thermodynamics, “To date, no experiment has been conducted that contradicts the second law, and this should be taken as sufficient proof of its validity” (Cengel, Turner, and Cimbala, 2008, p. 266, emp. added).


When understood properly, the Laws of Thermodynamics apply directly to the creation/evolution controversy in precisely the same way they apply in the engineering world today (cf. Miller, 2007). In fact, these foundational truths, utilized daily by the engineering world, have eternally significant, spiritual implications in that they prove that God exists. How so?
If there is no God, the existence of the Universe must be explained without Him. The Big Bang theory claims that all matter in the Universe initially was condensed in a sphere smaller than the size of a period at the end of this sentence. That sphere exploded and helps to explain why the Universe, according to many cosmologists, appears to be expanding or inflating (see Thompson, et al., 2003, 23[5]:32-34,36-47). Even if the Big Bang were true (and it is not, cf. Thompson, et al.), this theory offers no explanation for the origin of that sphere. Evolutionist Alan Guth, a cosmologist and physics professor at M.I.T., admitted that “[i]nflation itself takes a very small universe and produces from it a very big universe. But inflation by itself does not explain where that very small universe came from” (as quoted in Heeren, 1995, p. 148). He further stated, “[A] proposal that the universe was created from empty space is no more fundamental than a proposal that the universe was spawned by a piece of rubber. It might be true, but one would still want to ask where the piece of rubber came from” (Guth, 1997, p. 273). So where could the “rubber” have come from?
The only logical possibilities for the origin of the matter and energy comprising the Universe are that they are responsible for their own existence (i.e., they popped into existence out of nothing—spontaneous generation or they always existed—eternality) or Someone is responsible for their existence (i.e., they were placed here by something outside of the Universe—Creation) (see Figure 3).
Figure 3
As the well-known philosopher and evolutionist from the 19th century, Herbert Spencer said, “Respecting the origin of the Universe three verbally intelligible suppositions may be made. We may assert that it is self-existent [i.e., eternal—JM]; or that it is self-created [i.e., spontaneously generated—JM]; or that it is created by an external agency” (1882, p. 30).

Possibility 1: Spontaneous Generation of the Universe

Consider the entire physical Universe as a system consisting of all mass, matter, and energy that exists in the Universe. If one believes in the Big Bang model, the system’s boundary would be outside of the blast radius of the Big Bang, or outside of the original cosmic dot that exploded. Without God (i.e., something outside of the bounds of the Universe—something supernatural), this Universe would have to be a closed system. Since our system encompasses the entire Universe, there is no more mass that can cross into our system from the outside, which necessitates our system being closed. If mass, matter, and energy could enter and/or exit the system, the system would be an open system[NOTE: The creationist contends that the Universe is an open system, since there is Someone outside of the natural Universe Who can cross the boundary and put matter and energy into the system. However, without God, the entire physical Universe as a system logically would have to be a closed system. Atheists must so believe in order to explain the Universe without God.].
Evolutionary physicist Victor Stenger, in his book, God: The Failed Hypothesis, said:
Conservation of energy [i.e., the First Law—JM] and other basic laws hold true in the most distant observed galaxy and in the cosmic microwave background, implying that these laws have been valid for over thirteen billion years. Surely any observation of their violation during the puny human life span would be reasonably termed a miracle…. In principle, the creation hypothesis could be confirmed by the direct observation or theoretical requirement that conservation of energy was violated 13.7 billion years ago at the start of the big bang (2007, pp. 115-116, emp. added).
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that in a closed system, the amount of energy present in that system is constant, though it transforms into other forms of energy. So, if the Universe as a whole initially contained no mass, matter, or energy, and then all of the mass, matter, and energy in the Universe spontaneously generated, the First Law would be violated. Without intervention from an outside force, the amount of mass, matter, and energy in the Universe would have remained constant (unchanged) at nothing. According to the scientific evidence, matter/energy could not have originally spontaneously generated. Thus, according to Stenger, the creation hypothesis is confirmed based on the scientific evidence. The initial creation of energy from nothing amounted to a miracle.
As was mentioned earlier, there are no exceptions to laws, or else they would not be laws. The First Law of Thermodynamics has no known exceptions. The Law is accepted as fact by all scientists in general and utilized by engineers in particular. Therefore, the Universe, composed of all mass, matter, and energy, could not have spontaneously generated (popped into existence on its own) without violating the exceptionless and highly respected First Law of Thermodynamics. The energy level of the Universe would not have been constant. Spontaneous generation would amount to the creation of energy from nothing (see Figure 4). The Universe could not have come into existence without the presence and intervention of a Force outside of the closed system of the entire physical Universe. The Universe therefore must be an open system that was created by a non-physical Force (i.e., a Force not composed of mass, matter, and energy) outside of the physical boundary of this Universe (above nature, or supernatural) with the capability of bringing it into existence out of nothing. That Force can be none other than a supernatural God. To develop a theory that requires the violation of that principle would be against the scientific evidence. It would be unscientific. The evidence from science indicates that matter could not and cannot spontaneously generate.
Figure 4
Unfortunately, though this truth is so glaringly obvious to many, there has been a recent surge of sentiment in the impossible notion that this Universe could have created itself—that something could come from nothing. British evolutionist Anthony Kenny (1980), physics professor from City University in New York, Edward Tryon (1984), and physicists Alan Guth from M.I.T. and Paul Steinhardt of Princeton (1984) are just a few who are open proponents of this notion. Stephen Hawking said, “Bodies such as stars or black holes cannot just appear out of nothing. But a whole universe can…. Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing” (2010, p. 180). However, the truth still stands. Until the First Law of Thermodynamics ceases to be a fundamental law explaining this Universe, the spontaneous generation of this Universe from nothing is impossible.
No wonder Victor Stenger, a proponent of the idea of spontaneous generation, said, “I must admit that there are yet no empirical or observational tests that can be used to test the idea of an accidental origin” (1987, 7[3]:30). According to Stenger, the idea is “speculative” (p. 30). No solid evidence. Just speculation. Famous evolutionary astronomer, Robert Jastrow, the founder and former director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, said:
But the creation of matter out of nothing would violate a cherished concept in science—the principle of the conservation of matter and energy—which states that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Matter can be converted into energy, and vice versa, but the total amount of all matter and energy in the Universe must remain unchanged forever. It is difficult to accept a theory that violates such a firmly established scientific fact (1977, p. 32).
Science studies what occurs in nature, not super-nature. In nature, matter and energy can be neither created or destroyed, but “must remain unchanged forever.” This is a “firmly established fact.” Nothing comes from nothing. If a molecule will not pop into existence from nothing, a sphere containing all of the matter and energy of the entire Universe will certainly not pop into existence.

Possibility 2: Eternal Existence of the Universe

Again, considering the entire Universe as a system necessitates that it be a closed system. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that though energy in a closed system is constant (First Law of Thermodynamics), that energy is transforming into less usable forms of energy (i.e., the Universe is “running down”). This process is irreversible. There is a finite amount of usable energy in the Universe (which explains the widespread interest in conserving energy). In the Big Bang model, that energy was originally in the cosmic egg that exploded, and now would be found within the blast radius of the original explosion. That usable energy is depleting according to the Second Law. Engineers strive to slow this inevitable depletion of energy, but it cannot be stopped.
If the Universe has always existed (i.e., it is eternal), but there is a finite amount of usable energy, then all usable energy already should be expended (see Figure 5). Yet, usable energy still exists. So, the Universe cannot have existed forever. It had to have a beginning. The eternality of matter would be the equivalent of a system with an energy input and 100% usable energy output (see Figure 6). It would be the equivalent of describing the Universe as a perpetual motion machine—a design that attempts to violate either the First or Second Law of Thermodynamics by, for instance, running forever without an energy input. No such machine has ever been designed, since such a machine would violate the laws of thermodynamics. Philip Yam, writing in Scientific American said, “Claims for perpetual-motion machines and other free-energy devices still persist, of course, even though they inevitably turn out to violate at least one law of thermodynamics” (1997, 277[6]:82).
Figure 5
Figure 6
No wonder evolutionists, themselves, have long conceded this truth. In his book, Until the Sun Dies, renowned evolutionary astronomer Robert Jastrow stated:
The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence of the Universe, either in the past or in the future (1977, p. 30, emp. added).
In his book, God and the Astronomers, Jastrow reiterated this truth:
And concurrently there was a great deal of discussion about the fact that the second law of thermodynamics, applied to the Cosmos, indicates the Universe is running down like a clock. If it is running down, there must have been a time when it was fully wound up…. Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion; all indicated that the Universe had a beginning (1978, pp. 48-49, 111).
Evolutionist Kitty Ferguson, award-winning science writer, agreed. She said, “It’s also common knowledge that the universe isn’t eternal but had a beginning” (1994, p. 89). Any person who develops a theory that claims that the Universe could be a perpetual motion machine, is guilty of contradicting the solid evidence from science. They are being unscientific, and their unscientific mindset has resulted in an unscientific theory.

Possibility 3: The Inevitable Implication

What does the scientific evidence actually say about the matter of origins? Forget speculation, conjecture, hypothesis, and theory—wishful, hopeful thinking that there might be some way to avoid a supernatural explanation and the restrictions that Being might have on our desires. What does the evidence say?
To repeat, logically, there are only three possible explanations for the existence of matter in the Universe. Either it spontaneously generated, it is eternal, or it was created by a non-physical Being outside of the boundaries of the Universe. Atheists use the theory of evolution in an attempt to explain the existence and state of the Universe today. In order for the theory of evolution to be true, thereby accounting for the existence of mankind, either all of the mass, matter, and energy of the Universe spontaneously generated (i.e., it popped into existence out of nothing), or it has always existed (i.e., it is eternal.). Without an outside force (a transcendent, omnipotent, eternal, superior Being), no other options for the existence of the Universe are available. However, as the Laws of Thermodynamics prove, the spontaneous generation and the eternality of matter are logically and scientifically impossible. One and only one possible option remains: the Universe was created by the Creator. The scientific evidence points to the existence of God. Bottom line: God designed the laws of thermodynamics. Creationists believe them. Engineers use them. Atheists cannot harmonize them with their beloved theory.


Evolutionists claim that science and the idea of God are irreconcilable. “Only one of them can be true,” they say, “and you cannot prove there is a God.” Not all theistic models for the origin of the Universe are in keeping with science. For instance, according to Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation account, the polytheistic Babylonians believed that matter is eternal (Pfeiffer, 1972, p. 226). This has been shown to be false. However, although not all Creation models are in harmony with the scientific evidence, one would expect the true Creation model to be in keeping with the evidence. The Laws of Thermodynamics, which science itself recognizes in its explanations of the phenomena in the Universe, were written by the Chief Engineer (cf. Miller, 2012). As expected, they prove to be in complete harmony with His existence, contrary to the claims of evolutionists. God, Himself, articulated these laws centuries ago in the Bible.
At the very beginning of the Bible, the First Law of Thermodynamics was expressed when Moses penned, “Thus the heavens and the Earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:1-2, emp. added). In Exodus 20:11, Moses wrote, “For in six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested (i.e., ceased) the seventh day.” Everything in the Universe was made in six days, and then the Lord stopped creating. Nothing else is coming into existence naturally. After the six days of Creation, the mass, matter, and energy creation process was terminated. As evolutionist Willard Young said regarding the First Law: “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another.” The thrust of the First Law of Thermodynamics was expressed in the Bible thousands of years ago, although it was not discovered and formally articulated by scientists until the 19thcentury.
Through the hand of the psalmist, God also stated centuries ago what scientists call the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “Of old You laid the foundation of the Earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end” (102:25-27, emp. added). The Universe is wearing out—decaying, like an old shirt: the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Once again, the Creation model is in perfect harmony with science. The evolutionary model fails its thermodynamics test.
The inspired writer wrote in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Paul declared in Acts 14:17, “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” The psalmist affirmed, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). Paul assured the Romans, “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” (1:20, emp. added). The scientific evidence points to God. There will be no excuse in the end for those who deny it.
In closing, we return to Lord Kelvin, the Father of Thermodynamics, for fitting final thoughts. In a short public speech in 1903, reported by The Times and followed up by an amending letter to the paper by Kelvin, Kelvin said:
I do not say that, with regard to the origin of life, science neither affirms nor denies Creative Power. Science positively affirms Creative Power…. It is not in dead matter that we live and move and have our being [Acts 17:28—JM], but in the creating and directive Power which science compels us to accept as an article of belief.... There is nothing between absolute scientific belief in a Creative Power, and the acceptance of the theory of a fortuitous concourse of atoms.... Forty years ago I asked Liebig, walking somewhere in the country if he believed that the grass and flowers that we saw around us grew by mere chemical forces. He answered, “No, no more than I could believe that a book of botany describing them grew by mere chemical forces”.... Do not be afraid of being free thinkers! If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all Religion. You will find science not antagonistic but helpful to Religion (as quoted in Thompson, 1910, pp. 1097-1100, emp. added).
According to the Father of Thermodynamics, evolutionists are failing to “think strongly enough.” No wonder the psalmist asserted: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (14:1).


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
Asimov, Isaac (1970), “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even,” Smithsonian Institute Journal, pp. 4-10, June.
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.
Cengel, Yunus A., Robert H. Turner, and John M. Cimbala (2008), Thermal-Fluid Sciences (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill).
“Curiosity: Did God Create the Universe?” (2011), Discovery Channel, August 7.
Davies, Paul (1978), “Chance or Choice: Is the Universe an Accident?” New Scientist, 80[1129]:506-508, November.
Ferguson, Kitty (1994), The Fire in the Equations: Science, Religion, and the Search for God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
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Copyright © 2013 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 22, 2017


Snails Kill Thousands

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

When we consider deadly animals, we normally think about venomous snakes, ferocious sharks, crocodiles, or bears. You might be surprised to learn that the animals or organisms most deadly to humans don’t match our mental picture of dangerous creatures. The creature that kills the most humans per year (between 750,000-1,000,000) is the lowly mosquito. Because of the various diseases it spreads, such as malaria, mosquitoes are the animal kingdom’s leading human killers. Another creature that has proven to be extremely deadly is the harmless looking freshwater snail. Freshwater snails are host to dangerous parasites known as cercariae that cause an infection in humans known as schistosomiasis. Millions of people each year ingest this parasite through contaminated water,1 and about 10,000 die every year.2 While contamination from water is the most common cause of the infection, another way the parasite can spread is when a person consumes raw or undercooked snail meat.
The fact that many snails carry parasites that are harmful to humans turns out to be another piece of evidence that shows the Bible is the inspired Word of God. When we look at the food regulations written by Moses in approximately 1450 B.C., we find that the Israelites had specific laws about what they could and could not eat. One of those regulations dealt with animals found in water. The Law permitted the Israelites to eat any animal that had both fins and scales, but any creature without both fins and scales was “an abomination” to the Israelites. They were told not to eat them or touch their dead bodies (Leviticus 11:9-12). Land-living snails were also prohibited (Leviticus 11:41-42). Some people contend that the food laws had nothing to do with health regulations and were merely ceremonial, religious rituals. We have documented at length that such is not the case and that the food regulations were specifically designed to help the Israelites avoid many of the diseases that plagued the nations around them.3
When Moses led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, there were approximately 603,000 males ages 20 years old and above (Numbers 1:46). By adding to that the number of women of the same ages, along with those who were younger, we arrive at an estimated two million Israelites exiting Egypt. Due to their disobedience, they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years. Many of the laws found in Exodus-Deuteronomy were sanitation, quarantine, hygiene, and disease regulation designed to keep the Israelites healthy and safe during their wilderness wandering and their future lives in Canaan. These regulations exhibited a scientific knowledge that was far beyond any nation’s ability at the time to have acquired through the natural course of human understanding. This characteristic is referred to as scientific foreknowledge and is an attribute of divine inspiration. In short, there is no possible way Moses could have known the science that lies behind the food, hygiene, and sanitation regulations in the books he penned.
Snails provide an excellent example of scientific foreknowledge. Both water-living snails and land-living snails are highly susceptible hosts to numerous parasites. In an article titled “Some Health Risks With Eating Giant African Land Snail,” entomologist Paul Skelley stated, “Most of the infections and deaths from snail-transmitted diseases apparently come from eating raw or undercooked snails or ingesting slime residue left on fresh fruits and vegetables.”4 Skelley went on to say, “In my opinion, eating wild snails should only be done in an ‘eat-snail-or-die’ survival situation” due to the high probability that most snails host dangerous parasites. The CDC put out a blog about snails and slugs carrying a parasite called the rat lungworm that can cause meningitis, blindness, and death in humans. The author said, “Humans become infected by ingesting raw or undercooked mollusks.”5
With two million Israelites moving around in the wilderness, it would have been extremely difficult to properly cook all the food they consumed. There were no meat thermometers that could be used to guarantee that snails, pork, or oysters were cooked to the necessary temperature to kill parasites. Since God provided manna every day for the Israelites to eat, they were not in any type of “eat-snail-or-die” situation. The consumption of meat and animals would have been for the purpose of providing variety to their diets and not at all necessary for survival. Therefore, the best approach to what should or should not be eaten would be to prohibit the consumption of any creatures that had a high probability of carrying parasites or diseases.
Moses could not have taken a microscope to meat samples to identify which animals carry tiny parasites or which animals (such as bats, see Leviticus 11:196) are remarkably prone to diseases such as rabies. We might expect that Moses could have guessed a few such instances correctly. But to have accurately listed numerous regulations that contain in them safety measures that were not understood by any nation until literally thousands of years after the books were written? That is superhuman. That is Divine! It is not surprising that Moses told the Israelites, “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to posses. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people’” (Deuteronomy 4:5-6).


1 Christopher Stephens, “10 Creepy Snails that Will Ruin Your Day,” Listversehttp://listverse.com/2015/01/30/10-exceptional-creepy-or-dangerous-snails/.
2 “What Kind of Health Risks Do Snails Pose?” https://www.curejoy.com/content/diseases-caused-by-snails/.
3 Kyle Butt (2007), Behold! The Word of God, Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Behold%20the%20Word%20of%20God.pdf,  pp. 103-130.
4 Trina Sargalski (2013), “Health Risks With Eating Giant African Snails,” http://wlrn.org/post/some-health-risks-eating-giant-african-land-snail.
5 Alex de Silva (2009), “Snails, Slugs, and Semi-Slugs: A Parasitic Disease in Paradise,” Center for Disease Control, https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2009/04/snails-slugs-and-semi-slugs-a-parasitic-disease-in-paradise/.
6  Butt, p. 124.

Copyright © 2016 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Modern Trends

The Influence of Modern Trends on the Church

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Influence is a powerful thing. Every person both influences and is influenced by others in varying degrees. Jesus stressed the importance of godly influence when he compared his disciples to “salt” (Matt. 5:13), and Paul warned of the power of bad influences when he noted that “evil companionships corrupt good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33 ASV).
The Greek word for “companionships” is homilia having to do with “association.” Here it denotes “bad company” (Arndt and Gingrich, 568). One gets to be like who he runs with.

The Influence of the Primitive Church

It is a remarkable historical reality that the church of Jesus Christ, as such was constituted in the initial centuries of its existence, was a body of tremendous influence. In point of fact, it revolutionized the antique world. The Lord hinted of this in his prophetic parable of the “leaven” (Matt. 13:33).
Historians have noted that as a consequence of the sway of Christianity, many evils of the ancient world were abolished, or at least curtailed (e.g., crucifixion, the brutal gladiatorial games, slavery, the abuse of women, infanticide, etc.). Even skeptics have acknowledged such.
British philosopher Bertrand Russell conceded that the influence of Christianity “remains the inspiration of much that is most hopeful in our somber world” (Russell, 137).
It is not without significance, however, that during this time-frame, when the church was exerting such a wonderful impact, it was being persecuted bitterly. Then, a strange thing happened.
In A.D. 313, Constantine issued his famous “Edict of Toleration,” which brought an end to Christian persecution, and which, unhappily, accelerated an era of spiritual decline. Christianity even became a “state religion,” and, ultimately, the church was “baptized” in an atmosphere that can only be described as a “this-world-ness.”
For an interesting survey of this period, see chapter IX “The Imperial Church” in Hurlbut’s The Story of the Christian Church. Great and devastating changes were wrought which finally resulted in an egregious, fully-organized apostasy, the residue of which abides to this day.

Our More Recent History

The concept of “restoring” pristine Christianity was revolutionary, both in Europe and in America. Courageous pioneers sought a return to the original pattern. The idea caught on, and the cause of the “ancient order” spread like a prairie fire across the frontier in the waning days of the nineteenth century.
In the late 1800’s, students of the old Nashville Bible School (later named after David Lipscomb) baptized some 5,000 souls in a five-year period. In the early portion of the last century, the Lord’s church was one of the fastest growing religious bodies in America.
A typical example of the influence of the church was seen in the Tabernacle Meetings conducted by N. B. Hardeman in the early 1920s. When the first meeting was held in March-April of 1922, the old Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee was “packed and jammed,” with 6,000 to 8,000 people — with an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 being turned away (Hardeman’s Tabernacle Sermons, 11). And there was no compromise of doctrine in Hardeman’s sermons! Those were glorious days for the kingdom of Christ.
But in the early decades of the previous century something else was happening. A movement known as “Modernism” was evolving. It reflected an inclination to reject the concept of propositional truth based on divine authority.
Men like Presbyterian clergyman Harry E. Fosdick (1878-1969) argued that the Bible had developed along evolutionary lines. And they rejected the supernatural elements of Scripture.
This ideology became pervasive in both Catholicism and mainline Protestantism. A major component of the restoration heritage (the Disciples of Christ) was also influenced by this heresy.
More recently Modernism has been succeeded by a philosophy known as “Postmodernism” This dogma, more dangerous even than modernism, is a mid-to late-20th-century theory which contends there is no such thing as real knowledge—at least in the objective sense.
One writer says that Postmodernism reflects a “rebellion against all aspects of the modern culture that had prevailed in the West since the late 19th century” (Dever, 30). Postmodernism has impacted the religious community at large in a devastating fashion, and the churches of Christ have been significantly influenced by this ideology as well.
For an excellent treatment of postmodernism as it relates to the church, see Phil Sanders’ Adrift: Postmodernism in the Church.

The Trendy Church

Over the past several decades there has developed a growing mentality that the church is an outmoded organism. We have lost touch with the “millennial” generation. It is, therefore, imperative (they say) that we update the church. We must make it more trendy.
This idea is rooted in a cultural phenomenon that may be figuratively described as “societal osmosis.” Environmental influences silently and slowly move from one realm to another. The trends of secular society to a significant degree have seeped into the religious fabric of our culture.
There is no better example of this than the current endorsement of homosexual unions in some of the historic Protestant sects. That which once was an abomination is fashionable now.
Further, the contaminated elements of “Christendom,” in differing proportions, ultimately trickle into the church. Not a few citizens of Christ’s kingdom are like the Israel of Samuel’s day. They lust to be like the nations [churches] round about (1 Sam. 8:5).
Consider briefly some of the major changes that have been observable in the church over the past several decades.

A New Call for Denominational Blending

Though a few radical “voices of concern” (e.g., Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett) were being raised a third of a century ago, scarcely anyone would have dreamed that high-powered people in some of our major schools would be calling now for an ecumenical blending with denominationalists in the swaddling days of the new millennium.
And yet, voices as “sectarian” as anything imaginable are now frequent and unrestrained within our midst. No longer is J. D. Tant’s quip, “Brethren, we are drifting,” apropos. We are rushing with a full head of steam towards a “Casey Jones” disaster.

Subjective Faith

We are progressively departing from a dependence upon the New Testament as the authoritative source of instruction in religion and ethics towards a subjective-style, get-in-touch-with-your-feelings philosophy.
Many congregations no longer have substantial Bible classes where the Word of God is explored deeply and taught powerfully, with solid application made to Christian living. Rather, we have “sharing” sessions wherein we “testify” of exciting events we’ve experienced in the work-place.
Even some of our Bible class literature (not a little of which has been transported from denominational publishing concerns) is filled with people-centered scenarios. “What would you do if you were in Johnny’s place?” — with only a thin biblical veneer.
At the same time, a “new hermeneutic” has evolved by which the authority of apostolic example is questioned, the concept of necessary inference is ridiculed, the matter of the silence of the Scriptures is deemed to be a pure fabrication.
Incredibly, the notion is advocated that the issue of authority is, in the final analysis, irrelevant anyway!

Feminism in the Church

The influence of society’s feminists is being felt in the church. As denominational groups ordain female “priests” and “clergy,” congregations of the Lord’s people from Connecticut to California are opting for an expanded role for women.
Church after church is announcing that Christian ladies will be progressively employed in leadership roles. The New Testament subordination of women is viewed as a cultural oddity of the first century — with little, if any, application for today.
Again, some of our institutions of higher education are leading the way in this digression.

Erosion of Marriage

When Hollywood blazed the trail in serial “marriage,” many wondered if small-town America could be far behind. It wasn’t. Now, the same pattern is seen running rampant in the church.
“Single again” groups are in vogue. Experts in “marriage enrichment” skills are in great demand, while the seminar directors generally are careful to throw a wide loop that avoids confrontation with the biblical law of divorce and remarriage.
Every sort of quirky notion imaginable, the design of which is to “sanctify” adulterous liaisons, has surfaced in recent years. While we must have sincere compassion for those who are victims of divorce, the compromise of biblical truth is not a solution for these heartaches.

Gimmick-based Evangelism

Just as the world of denominationalism has been gimmick-driven in recent years, so our people have not been far behind. We have explored every mechanism under the sun for attracting the public’s attention.
We have offered a variety of classes (somewhat analogous to a community college) and a host of public services within our neighborhoods in hopes of enticing the baby-boomers, Generation-X, and now Millennials. All the while, we largely have ignored the very thing responsible for our greatest success — the wonderful and simple proclamation of the gospel.
While some labor under the illusion that the modern world no longer wants the message of a dusty book twenty centuries old, actually, just the reverse is true. Many are starving for spiritual truth. Rich Bible teaching presented by instructors who are excited about the treasures of scripture is attracting the attention of a whole new generation of lost people.

“Contemporary” Worship

The denominational world has little interest in the teaching of the New Testament in terms of a divinely-authorized worship format. Will-worship (Col. 2:23) for the most part has been the order of the day.
With roots that reach deep into paganism, Catholicism has been steeped in pageantry for centuries. Early Protestantism attempted a remedy. Calvin, Wesley, Spurgeon, and other notable Protestant scholars, for example, expressed strong views against the use of instrumental music in Christian worship.
Ferguson has noted that the expression A cappella (which refers to purely vocal music) literally means “in the style of the church.” His exhaustive research led to this conclusion:
The classical form of church music is unaccompanied song. To abstain from the use of the instrument is not a peculiar aberration of ’a frontier American sect"; this was easily, until comparatively recent times, the majority tradition of Christian history (Ferguson, 83).
Less than fifty years removed from Ferguson’s comment, it is not at all uncommon to hear prominent brethren arguing that instrumental music is a non-issue that certainly ought not to be treated as a test of Christian fellowship.
“There should be room in the Christian fellowship for those who differ on ... whether instrumental music is used in worship” (Osburn, 90).
It is almost certain that conditions are developing among churches of Christ that eventually will accommodate large-scale innovations in congregational worship.
Even now, a number of sizable churches following the lead of denominational groups (Veith, 4-5) are staggering their services, providing a “traditional” worship format for the older generation (dare we say, “fogies”?). Then also a jazzed up service is arranged for those who are more contemporary.
Too, it is a sad commentary on our attitude toward the hours of sacred worship that our dress has degenerated to the exceedingly casual, not to mention sloppy. In a recent gospel meeting, a song leader was adorned in a tee-shirt and jeans. Sandals and shorts are observable not infrequently in some places. Neckties are becoming rarer at the Lord’s table.
What has happened to our sense of reverence for the solemnity of the occasion? What impression do we convey to visitors from the community? Contrast the decorum of the “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” as they proceed from door-to-door, impeccably dressed, with the bedraggled appearance of some Christians in the worship assemblies.


In his letter to the saints in Rome, Paul instructed the brethren to “be not fashioned according to the world” (Rom. 12:2). The present imperative form of the verb means, “stop being fashioned [conformed — KJV]!” The principle involved in this admonition is broad in its application. Barclay attempts to catch the spirit of it.
“Don’t try to match your life to all the fashions of this world; don’t be like the chameleon which takes its colour from its surroundings; don’t go with the world; don’t let the world decide what you are going to be like” (170).
Let us summon the courage to make the appropriate applications, yielding to truth and common sense, rather than to the fickle trends of an unspiritual society.
  • Arndt, William & F. W. Gingrich. 1967. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Chicago: University of Chicago.
  • Barclay, William. 1957. The Letter to the Romans. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1957.
  • Dever, William G. March/April 2000. “Save Us from Postmodern Malarkey,” Biblical Archaeology Review.
  • Ferguson, Everett. 1972. A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church. Abilene: Biblical Research Press.
  • Hardeman’s Tabernacle Sermons. 1922. Nashville: McQuiddy Printing.
  • Hurlbut, Jesse Lyman. 1954. The Story of the Christian Church. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co.
  • Osburn, Carroll D. 1993. The Peaceable Kingdom. Abilene: Restoration Perspectives.
  • Russell, Bertrand. 1950. Unpopular Essays. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Sanders, Phil. 2000. Adrift: Post modernism in the Church Nashville: Gospel Advocate.
  • Veith, Gene Edward. July 2000. “The Cute, the Cool, and the Catechized: Generational Segregation in the Church,” For the Life of the World. Journal of the Lutheran ChurchMissouri Synod.

Scripture References
Matthew 5:13; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Matthew 13:33; 1 Samuel 8:5; Colossians 2:23; Romans 12:2
Cite this article
Jackson, Wayne. "The Influence of Modern Trends on the Church." ChristianCourier.com. Access date: May 22, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1589-influence-of-modern-trends-on-the-church-the

Age of the Earth

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.
  • 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: May 22, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1593-man-from-the-beginning