Core Ideas of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Posts tagged ‘evolution’

Bigger than the Bang!

One day this week, the Wall Street Journal reported the discovery of “the missing link.”  Somewhere in Africa, scientists had discovered an ancient deposit rich in bone fragments.  From all those fossils and shards, they were able to piece together a plausible skeleton with humanoid features and a tiny skull.  Was this really a primeval apeman or just an unlucky freak of nature?  Or was it simply misplaced bones accidentally glued together for a press conference display?   Speculation is fascinating but, frankly, we’ve heard it all before.

There’s a fundamental reason why most Americans and many scientists remain so skeptical of the current theories of our origins, but it’s not religious Fundamentalists. Even in a world where the Christian Faith did not exist, this particular question would still present nagging problems.  Thinking Americans want to know, “Where did the first Thing come from?”  As hard as Darwinists try to dismiss the question with condescending glances and semantics, it’s a problem that won’t die.

In his breakthrough book Cosmos, published in 1980, astronomer Carl Sagan opened with this sweeping statement: “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”  Many Christians criticized him at the time for espousing a secular religion.  They argued that it is a statement of faith to say that apart from the cosmos, nothing else ever will be.   But in fact, Dr. Sagan was stating a natural truth apparent even to atheists: it’s impossible for nothing to produce something. The laws of science insist that matter cannot be created or destroyed.  If there is no  substance or force outside the current universe, then any new thing that might ever turn up can only be a new form of something else already in existence.

Skeptics were delighted that a best-selling scientist had just publicly imagined a universe where God is not necessary.  Unfortunately, that celebrated first sentence only served to underscore the First Question.  If all the heavenly bodies of the universe are merely shrapnel from an exploding marble of densely packed matter, where did the marble come from?  I have no problem with the universe being forged in some Big Bang. (I believe that mega explosion was the voice of God calling out, “Let there be light!”) But if you don’t believe in a Creator, you’ve gotta tell me where those cosmic blasting caps came from.

The mythical missing link between apes and men only begs the question.  The indisputable puzzle piece that’s required here is the missing link between Nothing and Something.  Who created that?  Hitting a stone wall in their search for the original Non-Life Form  that gave birth to a Life Form, some well-known scientists were forced to conceive a theory called “panspermia.”  They hypothesized that the original seeds for life on Earth were planted here long ago by meteors or advanced creatures from other regions of space.  But even that fanciful notion is crushed by the weight of the First Question: Before you worry about how Life originated on that other planet deep in space, kindly explain where that First Thing came from.  How big was that original IED that was tripped to set the cosmos in place?  Who wired the Big Bang?

The Bible opens with Genesis 1:1 in territory where arrogant 21st Century biologists dare not tred. “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”  Even with all the media hype, sophistry, and condescension surrounding the First Question, God’s Word remains the only answer on the table.

Lift up the Cross!

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Not long ago, it was just a popular jingle for cruise ships.  Now it describes a growing madness sweeping the world: “See people rocking — Hear people chanting — Feeling hot! Hot! Hot!  Keep up this spirit — Come on let’s do it — Feeling hot!  Hot!  Hot!”

With the creature comforts of prosperity slipping farther and farther away, the champions of tolerance, values clarification, and fulltime preschool enrollment for infants have awakened to discover this brave new world is hot! Hot! Hot!  The Arab Spring did nothing to bring about democracy in the Middle East, but it has inspired riots across Great Britain and in other European capitals as well!  In London last week, the police force actually lost control of the streets for entire evenings as buildings burned, stores were looted, and mayhem was committed against innocent bystanders.  There was nothing political about this.  These were not homeless people demanding food or foreign terrorists throwing firebombs.  Rather, these rabid slackers were young, homegrown Europeans who have no sense of spirituality, conscience or even civilization.  They know nothing of character or a moral compass.  In school, they were taught how to have safe sex and march for equality.  Now they are willing to take whatever they want by force.

It’s gotten so bad that Prime Minister David Cameron dared to use the “M” word a couple of days ago.  In a major address, he demanded, “We must reverse this moral collapse!”  Two decades ago, the cultural elites warned us that morals are destructive and restricting.  “Values” are more flexible and less confining.  Too late we have apparently discovered that riots are destructive, and maybe morals are good for something!

It brings to mind the sneering laughter of evil Emperor Ming from an old Flash Gordon cartoon, “Pathetic Earthlings!  Who will save you now?”

Sadly, mentioning morality in a speech is not nearly the same thing as cultivating faith and moral character among citizens and nations.  I suspect most of the young thugs burning down those European cities have no idea what “moral” means anyhow.  Unlike self-esteem, it hasn’t been in fashion in a long, long time. A speech requires half an hour.  Cultivating faith and character requires years of diligent parenting and grounded instruction.

Europe has been running away from its Christian heritage for more than a century.  Two years ago my son served an internship in Wales where he discovered the churches are all full of old people.  The only youthful faces ever spotted in the pews belong to the isolated sons and daughters of clergymen who must attend a summer camp for PK’s each year to enjoy peer fellowship with other believers their age.  Share your testimony with a student there and his first question will likely be, “What is ‘faith?'”

If the USA is superior at all, it’s simply because we’re two decades behind!  Even so, we breathlessly race ahead over the stepping stones that have led Europe to decline and despair.  Morality is archaic.  Marriage is obsolete.  Gay is good.  Gender is meaningless.  Sex is a toy.  Drugs are good for everything.  Hard work is to be avoided.  The Christian Faith is superstition.  Rules are made to be broken by the truly enlightened.  Until recently, all this cultural revolution felt so right.

We’ll explore this further next time we’re together.  For now, allow me to wrap this up with a warning we should have heeded fifty years ago.  There were voices in the wilderness crying out, but they were just “superstitious old fools.”  Here’s the old axiom: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”  Proverbs 14:12 is the counsel Prime Minister Cameron is desperately searching to find.  It’s so close he could almost touch it.  I pray he doesn’t miss it.

Lift up the Cross!

Dr. Hawking’s Broken Computer

A celebrated physicist and author made headlines earlier this week when he relegated Heaven to the same realm of fiction as Neverland, Narnia and the planet Krypton. “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” Dr. Stephen Hawking told an interviewer. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers. That is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”   Although his books and articles have famously made reference to the design of the universe or “the mind of God,” those are simply Hawking’s metaphors for completely natural forces like evolution or spontaneous combustion.  He insists there can be no God.

I am under no illusion that my intelligence or comprehension of science could ever approach the intellectual wattage of Dr. Hawking’s brain, but even I can recognize circular reasoning when I hear it.  The  analogy of the human brain as a broken down computer begs the question.  Let’s ignore all human experience and concede that over several billion years, pieces of metal, plastic and silica randomly scattered all across the Earth could someone drift into the same general area, ingeniously assemble themselves, and become a highly evolved Macintosh Computer.  Even having positioned themselves correctly without the benefit of a designer or IT, the world’s first and only Mac would still amount to nothing more than a sleek but worthless machine.  Who would generate the electricity to power it?  Who would construct the outlet and plug it in?  And who would produce the software to actually enable it to operate and do work?

Granted, anything is possible if anything is possible.  But scientists insist we live in a universe with severe limits.  If a Coke bottle suddenly appears in a remote jungle somewhere in Zaire, only the most primitive cave man would suppose that it arose spontaneously from vines, quicksand and lizard blood.  Educated people reading about the discovery would instantly recognize the wayward soda bottle was designed by intelligent minds, produced in a factory, and dropped from a helicopter flying overhead. 

Dr. Hawking’s real fallacy is not his conclusion that a broken computer does not get shipped to Heaven.  You and I could agree.  Rather, his reasoning stumbles long before that  when he asks us to believe that zero + zero + zero = one trillion!  There has never been a computer that did not originate in a highly intelligent mind. Rocks happen when natural forces shatter boulders or wear away at mountains. The idea of flesh and blood laptops and smartphone self-generated over time through erosion, decay or  spontaneous combustion is just a fairy story for people afraid of God.

That’s so obvious it should not even require discussion.  Likewise, it’s apparent that arguing against Heaven is an example of the weakest logical position: a universal negative.  To say something might exist somewhere in the universe, you only need produce one nugget of evidence.  But to insist that something doesn’t exist in any condition in any place, you must prove it’s not found on the earth or our solar system; that it’s not found in the cosmos; that it’s not invisible to the eye; that it is actually subject to human measurement.  Arguing for the evolution of frogs from non-living matter is a pretty daunting task in itself.  Making the case that unconscious structures evolved over time into fully conscious, even self-conscious human beings, is an even greater stretch.  But dismissing Heaven altogether is a universal negative; impossible to prove and, therefore, silly to argue.

Romans 1:20-22 anticipates the blindness which afflicts some of our most brilliant minds in the realm of science today: “For since the creation of the world, His insisible 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 themselves to be wise, they became fools…”

Dr. Hawking feels so wise and self-assured that he can debate a universal negative.  The breathless voices of the media hail  him a visionary.  The Lord just calls him a fool.

Lift up the Cross!

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