Two Views, not One
As they floated down the Mississippi Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn look at the stars and wondered whether they was made or just happened. The options haven't changed much over time. Today we are faced with the same question: was the world, universe, life made, or did it just happen? Unfortunately, there are many in the debate who would like to limit the discussion to how the world happened. They call creationists "creatards" or simply dismiss them as religious. The fundamental question is whether God exists or not.
Religion is bad they say; look at all the wars, the intolerance, the bigotry. We would be better off without it. To this I say phooey. Phooey? You say, why such a weak response? Phooey, because the argument is so weak as to be completely without merit. It is a shell of an argument designed to avoid true discussion.
Science is unwilling to face the facts. Yes the facts. There are two options, not one. Either the world was made or it just happened. Both have equal merit. Both have reasons to be believed. Religion is too big of a topic to be dismissed. How can you lump all the worlds religions together, they cover too wide a spectrum. While many religions hold to certain tenants, many are diametrically apposed. Some accept the just happened view.
To dismiss religion as a whole is like dismissing statistics as a whole. We've all heard the statement, "Statistics lie and liars use statistics." I would say that arguing that religion is bad because bad people do bad things with it is on the same level. Religion, like statistics, is powerful and can be used for great good or great evil. When someone says that they don't trust statistics, I say that what they really saying is, "I don't understand statistics and so I am easily confused." In the same way saying that religion is bad is to state that they don't understand religion. A brief study of religion will show you that it is the both the best and worst of humanity. To lump the religious views of Satanism with those of Christianity is to be ignorant of the facts.
I hope that some day we can engage in an open dialogue about where we came from and that we do not dismiss each other, or resort to name calling.
Science: a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws as obtained and tested through scientific method
Myth: a story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.
Scientific Mythology: when science is used to create a story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold a part of a world view and explain natural phenomenon.
I enjoy science (I studied biochemistry as undergraduate, did graduate research in biochem and went to medical school, before working as an associate clinical professor of medicine). So, I get frustrated when pseudoscience, mythology, and/or out and out lies are presented as science. One of the most agregious examples of this problem is Evolution.
The scientific method requires that observation be made, hypotheses made, hypotheses tested, eventually theories made and laws discovered. Some parts of evolution fall within this relm (evolution as defined as change over time, and natural selection); mutation driven macroevolution does not.
Why doesn't mutation driven natural selection meet this requirement, because it is not testable. You cannot test history. You may show that certain aspects of plants or animals change and that those changes can be selected for, but that does not test how other changes occurred. It is like asking how the pyramids were built, you can figure out a way that they might have been built, but since that information is lost to history, we will never truely know.
There are two ways that the world and life could have come into being: either it was made or it just happened. Current scientific thought excludes the possibility of the former and attempts to explain the latter in scientific terms. The problem with this approach is that it creates a scientific mythology. As the ancient Greeks attempted to explain the fossil record with stories of gods and giants; we know explain it with tales of evolution. That would be ok if there was no other alternative, but what if there was?
Science is dismissive of the option of a creator, they posit that even if there was a creator, then it must have evolved somewhere else. This forstalls disagreement. If there is a god, then his presence would be part of science. Additionally it creates a category mistake; it assumes that god is subject to the same rules as his creation. Creation verses evolution is not a contest between science and religion, but between mythology and history. It is time that the debate be seen as it is.
I. What is a Miracle?
A miracle is an extraordinary event manifesting god's intervention in human affairs.
II. Can Science Explain the Miracles in the Bible?
A. If a miracle is a contradiction to known science then it would be hard for science to explain it, except to say that it could not explain it.
B. If a miracle is an intervention of God on the natural world then science could only speak to the probability of the event, not the causality.
C. Some argue that as science advances it will be able to explain more of the miracles in the Bible.
D. Norman Geisler refutes this stating, “Motors function in accordance with physical laws but physical laws do not do not produce motors; minds do. In like manner, the origin of a miracle is not the physical and chemical laws of the universe, even though the resulting event will operate in accordance with these natural laws.”
Geisler, Norman, Miracles and the Modern Mind, Baker Book House 1992.
III. What about fraud?
A. It is clear from any cursory evaluation of claimed miracles that fraud is a major concern.
B. This is not unique to the miraculous.
1. In some parts of the world 30% of the $100 bills are counterfeit, yet we have not given up on using them.
C. It is not a reason to abandon the study of miracles.
IV. A man born blind
A. John 9 tells the story of a man born blind being healed.
B. In the history of the world only one person who was born blind was healed after 18 months of age.
V. Is it reasonable to believe in Miracles?
A. It is very difficult to prove a negative statement. Therefore it is very difficult to prove that miracles do not happen.
B. Do you believe in God? If God exists in any meaningful way then He must be able to influence the world.
A. Prophecy is to declare the future at the direction of God.
B. The Bible sets a very high standard for prophecy.
C. Deuteronomy 18:22
D. Biblical prophecy is specific and verifiable.
E. Predicts unlikely events often far in the future.
VII. Babylon the Great
A. Isaiah 13:19-22 speaks about Babylon.
B. It states that it will fall, never be rebuilt, and no one will sleep there.
C. Babylon fell and it has never been rebuilt.
D. Alexander the Great wanted to rebuild Babylon, but died 3 days after giving the order to do so. (Not one brick was laid).
E. In the Battle of the Dardanelles (WWII) the British landed at Babylon and planned to sleep there, but march all night instead, because no one was willing to sleep there.
F. Saddam Hussein built an amusement park near Babylon, not on Babylon.
A. Over a 1,000 year period the Old Testament has nearly 300 prophecies about Jesus
B. These prophecies are both specific and improbable.
C. Many are simple impossible for a person to control.
IX. The Supernatural World
A. The Bible claims that there is a God, angles, a Devil, and Demons.
B. Trying to explain history without the influence of evil is very difficult.
C. The Christian is instructed to test spirits.
D. Galations 1:8-9
E. II Corinthians 11:13-15
F. Matthew 24:24
G. II Thessalonians 2:8-9
H. I John 4:1
I. Matthew 10:28
J. Ephesians 6:12