He IS Risen ~ The Case for Christ

A SEASONED JOURNALIST CHASES DOWN THE BIGGEST STORY IN HISTORY – Is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God? Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates who are specialists in the areas of old manuscripts, textual criticism, and biblical studies. Strobel challenges them with questions like; How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event? Strobel s tough, point-blank questions make this bestselling book read like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it is not fiction. It is a riveting quest for the truth about history s most compelling figure. What will your verdict be in The Case for Christ?

Scientific and Anecdotal Evidence for the Beginning of the Universe

Please see “Theistic Implications of Big-Bang Cosmology” for more on this topic.

  • The editor of the prestigious weekly science periodical, Nature, John Maddox, wrote an editorial entitled, “Down with the Big Bang,” where he hoped for the downfall of the Big Bang model, because in it, he found it to be “philosophically unacceptable,” quote: “Apart from being philosophically unacceptable, the Big-Bang is an over-simple view of how the Universe began, and it is unlikely to survive the decade ahead.” ~ Maddox, J. 1989. Down with the Big Bang. Nature 340: 425.
  • Physicist Hubert Reeves remarked that the Big Bang “involves a certain metaphysical aspect which may be either appealing or revolting” ~ Reeves, H., Andouze, J., Fowler, W. A., and Schramm, D. N. 1973. On the Origin of the Light Elements. Astrophysical Journal 179: 912.
  • Cosmologist Christopher Isham: “Perhaps the best argument in favor of the thesis that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas, such as continuous creation [steady state] or an oscillating universe, being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his/her theory.” ~ Isham, C. 1988. “Creation of the Universe as a Quantum Process,” in Physics, Philosophy, and Theology, A Common Quest for Understanding, eds. R. J. Russell, W. R. Stoeger, and G. V. Coyne, Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory, p. 378.

(SOURCE — see the previous slide as well)

  • The biggest problem with the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe is philosophical–perhaps even theological–what was there before the bang? This problem alone was sufficient to give a great initial impetus to the Steady State theory; but with that theory now sadly in conflict with the observations, the best way round this initial difficulty is provided by a model in which the universe expands from a singularity, collapses back again, and repeats the cycle indefinitely” (John Gribbin, “Oscillating Universe Bounces Back,” Nature 259 [1976]: 15).

(SOURCE)

Lee Strobel does a great job in relaying the evidence that we live in a finite cosmos and not an infinite one in his discussion with Dr. William Lane Craig [I added J. Warner Wallace as well to this presentation]:

When Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and started applying it to the universe as a whole, he was shocked to discover it didn’t allow for a static universe. According to his equations, the universe should either be exploding or imploding. In order to make the universe static, he had to fudge his equations by putting in a facto that would hold the universe steady.

In the 1920’s, the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and the Belgium astronomer George Lemaitre were able to develop models based on Einstein’s theory. They predicted the universe was expanding. Of course, this meant that if you went backward in time, the universe would go back to a single origin before which it didn’t exist. Astronomer Fred Hoyle derisively called this the Big Bang — and the name stuck! [Later in his career, Fred Hoyle confirmed the expansion through work on the second most plentiful element in the universe, helium.]

Starting in the 1920’s, scientists began to find empirical evidence that supported these purely mathematical models.

LET US TAKE A QUICK BREAK from this excerpt to fill in some information from another excerpt, and then we will continue:

As mathematicians explored the theoretical evidence, astronomers began to make observations confirming the expansion of the universe. Vesto Slipher, an American astronomer working at the Lowell Observatory. in Flagstaff, Arizona, spent nearly ten years perfecting his understanding of spectrograph readings. His observations revealed something remarkable. If a distant object was moving toward Earth, its observable spectrograph colors shifted toward the blue end of the spectrum. If a distant object was moving away from Earth, its colors shifted toward the red end of the spectrum.

J. Warner Wallace -- Red Light Shift Big-Bang

Slipher identified several nebulae and observed a redshift in their spectrographic colors. If these nebulae were moving away from our galaxy (and one another), as Slipher observed, they must have once been tightly clustered together. In 1914, he offered these findings at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, proposing them as evidence the universe was expanding.

A graduate student named Edwin Hubble seas in attendance and realized the implica­tions of Slipher’s work. Hubble later began working at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles. Using the Hooker telescope, he eventually proved Slipher’s nebulae were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way composed of billions of stars. By 1929, Hubble published find­ings of his own, verifying Slipher’s observations and demonstrating the speed at which a star or galaxy moves away from us increases with its distance from Earth. This once again confirmed the expansion of the universe.

…CONTINUING…

For instance, in 1929, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the light coming to us from distant galaxies appears redder than it should be, and this is a universal feature of galaxies in all parts of the sky. Hubble explained this red shift as being due to the fact that the galaxies are moving away from us. He concluded that the universe is literally flying apart at enormous velocities. Hubble’s astronomical observations were the first empirical confirmation of the predictions by Friedman and Lemaitre.

Then in the 1940’s, George Gamow predicted that if the Big Bang really happened, then the background temperature of the universe should be just a few degrees above absolute zero. He said this would be a relic from a very early stage of the universe. Sure enough, in 1965, two scientists accidentally discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero. There’s no explanation for this apart from the fact that it is a vestige of a very early and a very dense state of the universe, which was predicted by the Big Bang model.

The third main piece of the evidence for the Big Bang is the origin of light elements. Heavy elements, like carbon and iron, are synthesized in the interior of stars and then exploded through supernova into space. But the very, very light elements, like deuterium and helium, cannot have been synthesized in the interior of the stars, because you would need an even more powerful furnace to create them. These elements must have been forged in the furnace of the Big Bang itself at temperatures that were billions of degrees. There’s no other explanation.

So predictions about the Big Bang have been consistently verified by the scientific data. Moreover, they have been corroborated by the failure of every attempt to falsify them by alternative models. Unquestionably, the Big Bang model has impressive scientific credentials… Up to this time, it was taken for granted that the universe as a whole was a static, eternally existing object…. At the time an agnostic, American astronomer Robert Jastrow was forced to concede that although details may differ, “the essential element in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy”…. Einstein admitted the idea of the expanding universe “irritates me” (presumably, said one prominent scientist, “because of its theological implications”)

  • Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Towards God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 105-106, 112;
  • J. Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2015), 32-33.

This should be put in bullet points for easy memorization:

  • Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915;
  • Around the same time evidence of an expanding universe was being presented to the American Astronomical Society by Vesto Slipher;
  • In the 1920s using Einstein’s theory, a Russian mathematician (Alexander Friedman) and the Belgium astronomer (George Lemaitre)  predicted the universe was expanding;
  • In 1929, Hubble discovered evidence confirming earlier work on the Red-Light shift showing that galaxies are moving away from us;
  • In the 1940’s, George Gamow predicted a particular temperature to the universe if the Big Bang happened;
  • In 1965, two scientists (Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson) discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero.

“In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.

I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

(“The Last Word,” by Thomas Nagel)

Here I will post a portion of a response to a local author on the issue that part of the above was likewise used:


(You can click top enlarge)

Here are just two (of the many examples I can provide) of an atheist and an agnostic commenting on the above evidence:

➤ “The essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy…. The Hubble Law is one of the great discoveries in science; it is one of the main supports of the scientific story of Genesis.”

~ Robert Jastrow: American astronomer and physicist. Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he is the director of the Mount Wilson Institute and Hale Solar Laboratory. He is also the author of Red Giants and White Dwarfs (1967) and God and the Astronomers (2nd ed., 2000).

➤ “Certainly there was something that set it all off. Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.”

~ Robert Wilson: is an American astronomer, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics, who with Arno Allan Penzias discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB)…. While working on a new type of antenna at Bell Labs in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, they found a source of noise in the atmosphere that they could not explain. After removing all potential sources of noise, including pigeon droppings on the antenna, the noise was finally identified as CMB, which served as important corroboration of the Big Bang theory.

The previous well accepted model was the Steady State theory… and this was accepted without a single piece of experimental verification; its appeal was purely metaphysical [footnote #21]:

  • As Jaki points out, Hoyle and his colleagues were inspired by “openly anti-theological, or rather anti-Christian motivations” (Stanley L. Jaki, Science and Creation [Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1974), p. 347. Martin Rees recalls his mentor Dennis Sciama’s dogged commitment to the Steady State Model: “For him, as for its inventors, it had a deep philosophical appeal–the universe existed, from everlasting to everlasting, in a uniquely self-consistent state. When conflicting evidence emerged, Sciama therefore sought a loophole (even an unlikely seeming one) rather as a defense lawyer clutches at any argument to rebut the prosecution case” (Martin Rees, Before the Beginning, with a Foreword by Stephen Hawking [Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1997], p. 41). The phrase “from everlasting to everlasting” is the Psalmist’s description of God (Ps. 90.2). Rees gives a good account of the discoveries leading to the demise of the Steady State Model.

Some more evidence to support the theistic position in the Big-Bang:

  • Stephen Joseph Willams, What Your Atheist Professor Doesn’t Know (But Should) — CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 23, 2013)

Dr. George Smoot, Particle Physicist, Nobel Prize winner, and team leader from the Lawrence-Berkeley Laboratory, regarding the 1992 observations from COBE (the NASA satellite Cosmic Background Explorer): “It’s like looking at God.”(8)

A somewhat more “sober” assessment of the findings was given by Frederick Burnham, a science-historian. He said, “These findings, now available, make the idea that God created the universe a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the last 100 years.”(9)

Dr. Stephen Hawking (Theoretical Physicist) described the big bang ripples observations as “the scientific discovery of the century, if not all time.”(10)

Dr. George Greenstein (Professor of Astronomy at Amherst.): “As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency – or, rather, Agency – must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”(11)

Sir Arthur Eddington (British Astrophysicist): “The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.”(12)

Dr. Arno Penzias (Nobel Prize winner in physics, co-discoverer of the microwave background radiation from the Big Bang): “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”(13)

Sir Roger Penrose (Physicist, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, and joint developer of the Hawking-Penrose Theorems): “I would say the universe has a purpose. It’s not there just somehow by chance.”(14)

Dr. Robert Jastrow (Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies): “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”(15)

Dr. Frank Tipler (Professor of Math and Physics at Tulane University): “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”(16) Tipler since has actually converted to Christianity, resulting in his latest book, The Physics Of Christianity.

Dr. Alexander Polyakov (String Theorist, Princeton): “We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it.”(17)

Dr. Edward Milne (British Astrophysicist, former Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Oxford): “As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God].”(18)

Dr. Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious…. I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”(19)

Dr. Wernher von Braun (German-American Pioneer Rocket Scientist) “I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”(20)

Dr. Frank Tipler (Professor of Math and Physics at Tulane University): “From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science.”(21)


Footnotes for these quotes


8) Thomas H. Maugh, II (April 24, 1992). “Relics of Big Bang, Seen for First Time”. Los Angeles Times: pp. Al, A30.

9) The Los Angeles Times, Saturday 2nd May 1992.

10) Smoot, George, Wrinkles in Time, 2007 edition , cover.

11) Greenstein, G. 1988. The Symbiotic Universe. New York: William Morrow, p.27.

12) Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 233.

13) Margenau, H and R.A. Varghese, ed. 1992. Cosmos, Bios, and Theos. La Salle, IL, Open Court, p. 83.

14) Penrose, R. 1992. A Brief History of Time (movie). Burbank, CA, Paramount Pictures, Inc.

15) Jastrow, R. 1978. God and the Astronomers. New York, W.W. Norton, p. 116.

16) Tipler, F.J. 1994. The Physics Of Immortality. New York, Doubleday, Preface.

17) Gannes, S. October 13, 1986. Fortune. p. 57

18) Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 166-167.

19) Margenau, H. and R. A. Varghese, eds. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens (Open Court Pub. Co., La Salle, IL, 1992).

20) McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer 10:258-276.

21) McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer 10:258-276.

So, far from atheism being supported by science, the theistic worldview has been exemplified above all other models of interpretation (perceptions) of reality. Mind you this isn’t “proof” how the naturalist wrongly interprets the empirical method (scientific positivism), but it is a probability that exceeds others. (I suggest taking time, about an hour, and listen to this presentation by William Lane Craig on the evidences for theism over other worldviews.) Here John makes one of his signature jumps from one topic to a completely different one. I sometimes feel — shot in the dark again — he does this with the idea that he is saying something “scientific” and that everyone should credit his knowledge in on this particular topic (which is not the case), and then he brings that “trust” into a completely different topic.


I hope this helps a little bit to those searching for answers. Also, note that many people attack Genesis for light being created BEFORE the sun and stars. Here is a great look at what was most likely (according to physicists) in this event. LIGHT is ENERGY:

YEC View of the beginning (Big-Bang)


Two Recent Discoveries Confirm Einstein


Two recent discoveries support for the beginning of the universe (the Big-Bang) and General Relativity. This adds an almost unassailable position of creation ex nihilo as well as more evidence against multiverses… which have no evidence.

GRAVITY WAVES:

BINARY PULSAR:

Binary Pulsar Affirms General Relativity and Cosmic Creation Event

The most rigorous and compelling proof that the universe was created by an Agent that transcends space and time comes from the theory of general relativity. The best confirmation that general relativity is a true theory comes from measurements on the binary pulsar B1913+16. Thanks to a new study, that best confirmation has now become even better.

Astronomers have been studying the binary pulsar PSR B1913+16 for nearly four decades. In a recent issue of the Astrophysical Journal, astronomers Joel Weisberg and Yuping Huang published their analysis of 9,257 pulse times-of-arrival measurements taken over 35 years on PSR B1913+16.1

PSR B1913+16 is a pair of neutron stars where one of the neutron stars is a pulsar. The two neutron stars orbit one other with a period of 7.75 hours and an orbital separation of just 3 light seconds (a little more than twice the separation of the moon from Earth or about 2/3 the diameter of the sun). The pulsar rotates on its axis about 17 times per second. Thus, it sends out a strong pulse of radiation every 59 milliseconds.

The theory of general relativity predicts that neutron stars orbiting close to one another will radiate gravitational waves. This radiation will cause the neutron stars to experience a decay in their orbit—that is, the neutron stars will orbit closer and closer to one another as gravitational energy is radiated away by the gravitational waves.

The easiest and most accurate way to measure the orbital decay is to determine changes in the timing of periastron of the orbit. Periastron refers to the position in the orbit at which two stars orbiting one another are closest to one another. The orientation of periastron in PSR B1913+16’s orbit has been observed to change by 4.2° per year. Figure 1 shows the observed change in the timing of periastron with date from 1975–2003 compared to what the theory of general relativity would predict.2

[….]

[….]

The most potent of the space-time theorems, the one proven by Arvind Borde, Alexander Vilenkin, and Alan Guth, states that all cosmological models are subject to an initial space-time singularity, regardless of assumptions about homogeneity, isotropy (or lack thereof), or energy conditions, including cosmological models that invoke an early hyper-inflation event.9 This beginning of space and time implies that an Agent operating from beyond space and time must have caused the universe to exist.

About a year after the publication of the theorem, Alexander Vilenkin wrote in a book, “With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”10 That problem is a causal Agent who transcends space and time. Such a causal Agent matches the description of the God of the Bible.

…read it all…


[1] Joel Weisberg and Yuping Huang, “Relativistic Measurements from Timing the Binary Pulsar PSR B1913+16,” Astrophysical Journal 829 (September 2016): id. 55, doi:10.3847/0004-637X/829/1/55.

[2] Joel Weisberg, David Nice, and Joseph Taylor, “Timing Measurements of the Relativistic Binary Pulsar PSR B1913+16,” Astrophysical Journal 722 (September 2010): 1030–34,doi:10.1088/0004-637X/722/2/1030.

[….]

[10] Alexander Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes (New York: Hill & Wang, 2007), 176.

Concepts: “Is Reality Merely a Perception?” (UPDATED)

(As usual you can enlarge the article by clicking on it.) I enjoyed this weeks Concepts by John Van Huizum. While he showed the usual lack of deep study and merely expresses opinion as such, he is right about one thing… reality is perception. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1996), the 9th District Appeals Court wrote:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.”

 I have a feeling that John would agree with the following statement:

“If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own reality…”

More on Johns Relativism (cultural relativism/subjectivism, relativism, pluralism) later.

In Christian apologetics, often times the person doing the perceiving is said to have a pair of colored glasses on:

The right eyeglasses can put the world into clearer focus, and the correct worldview can function in much the same way. When someone looks at the world from the perspective of the wrong worldview, the world won’t make much sense to him. Or what he thinks makes sense will, in fact, be wrong in important respects. Putting on the right conceptual scheme, that is, viewing the world through the correct worldview, can have important repercussions for the rest of the person’s understanding of events and ideas… Raising one’s self-consciousness [awareness] about worldviews is an essential part of intellectual maturity.

Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 17-18, 9.

After this mentioning of “perceptions,” or, really one’s worldview, John starts down his normal rabbit trail of ideas stuck together, his straw-men “set-ups,” and the like. For instance, perceptions are often changed… usually when an unprepared youth of faith goes off to college and finds a university teaming with…

evolutionary psychology (for instance, atheist defender Sam Harris makes the Darwinian psychological statement that “…there’s nothing more natural than rape. Human beings rape, chimpanzees rape, orangutans rape, rape clearly is part of an evolutionary strategy to get your genes into the next generation if you’re a male.”);

ϟ science (often put forward in the classroom as “scientism“);

and militant skepticism.

…they will typically reject their childhood faith, and not set foot into a church till their thirties/forties. It is said that men stop going to church at 18 when their mom stops dragging them, and start back up when their wife drags em’ back (why men hate church).

People first became aware of the problem after hearing the results of a Barna Research Group study that said that between 67% and 94% of Christian students (depending on denomination), within 18 months of graduating high school, are no longer at church. This report was given in 2002 and showed that the largest protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, was losing an average of 88% of their students while in college. (Why Apologetics)

Typically though, later in life the person in question will start reading some scholarly Christian works, or family harkens them to their childhood faith, someone close dies, life hits em’ hard, something happens that draws them back into their faith. Even within someone’s faith there are levels of trust in believing. Professor Stokes points out that such doubt is natural to a person,

Often, however, the cause of our doubt isn’t what you might think. It isn’t necessarily the strength of the arguments that rattles us, but the way they resonate with the unbeliever in each of us (what the Bible calls the “old self”). We hear Tokyo Rose’s voice and she seems to make pretty good sense sometimes. Yet more often than not, if we look closely at the atheist’s arguments, we find that there is little substance. Seeing this can change the argument’s frequency and therefore break its spell. Believers often worry that their doubts signify the rapid approach of full-blown unbelief. But as pastor and author Tim Keller puts it,

Faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.

All thoughtful believers—even those whose faith is mature—encounter doubt. Not a single person has had unadulterated faith. In any case, it certainly won’t do to ignore your doubts, and defusing them will only strengthen your faith. To be sure, doubts can be strong enough to become a trial in your life; but like all trials, they’re meant to refine faith, not stifle it.

Mitch Stokes, A Shot of Faith: To the Head (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012), xvii. (Emphasis added!)

So people are a bit more complicated than space could allow John to state, or that he cares to ponder. I will also agree with him that this conversation has been going on a very long time.* Cicero is a great example, he was born in 106 BC and died in 43 BC, and said the following in response to the skeptics of his day:

But if the structure of the world in all its parts is such that it could not have been better whether in point of utility or beauty, let us consider whether this is the result of chance, or whether on the contrary the parts of the world are in such a condition that they could not possibly have cohered together if they were not controlled by intelligence and by divine providence. If then the products of nature are better than those of art, and if art produces nothing without reason, nature too cannot be deemed to be without reason. When you see a statue or a painting, you recognize the exercise of art; when you observe from a distance the course of a ship, you do not hesitate to assume that its motion is guided by reason and by art; when you look at a sun-dial or a water-clock, you infer that it tells the time by art and not by chance; how then can it be consistent to suppose that the world, which includes both the works of art in question, the craftsmen who made them, and everything else besides, can be devoid of purpose and of reason? Suppose a traveller to carry into Scythia or Britain the orrery recently constructed by our friend Posidonius, which at each revolution reproduces the same motions of the sun, the moon and the five planets that take place in the heavens every twenty-four hours, would any single native doubt that this orrery was the work of a rational being? These thinkers however raise doubts about the world itself from which all things arise and have their being, and debate whether it is the product of chance or necessity of some sort, or of divine reason and intelligence;

Cicero, Nature of the Gods, Translated by H. Rackam, pp. 207-209

So yes, important topics and questions are new to every generation, but these queries have been asked for a very long time, and should continue to be. Believing that mankind will outgrow their “superstitious” faith is merely someone displaying their metaphysical naturalist presuppositions. Now on to another aspect of a statement by John. He said,

“Atheism has been aided by scientific discoveries and rigorous questioning.”

I think this is true if one looks at the situation wrongly. When people do not try on other pairs of glasses, become skeptical of their skepticism, do not use self-refuting propositions (similar to Vincent Bugliosi), or study to see which worldview offers a better explanation, they can become ideologues (religious or secular):

… a “coherent worldview must be able to satisfactorily answer four questions: that of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.” He says that while every major religion makes exclusive claims about truth, “the Christian faith is unique in its ability to answer all four of these questions.” These questions are the bedrock of any worldview… that holds any weight at least.

Ravi Zacharias, Deliver Us From Evil (Nashville, TN: Word Publishers, 1997), 219–220; taken from the first chapter of my book.

For example, apologist Lee Strobel talks to a philosopher about the evidence that culminated in many atheists rejecting (or wanting to reject) science because of its implications FOR God, or origins [Side note… Einstein introduced the Special Theory of Relativity in 1905, when applied to the universe as a whole in 1915, it became known as the General Theory of Relativity]:

When Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and started applying it to the universe as a whole, he was shocked to discover it didn’t allow for a static universe. According to his equations, the universe should either be exploding or imploding. In order to make the universe static, he had to fudge his equations by putting in a facto that would hold the universe steady.

In the 1920’s, the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and the Belgium astronomer George Lemaitre were able to develop models based on Einstein’s theory. They predicted the universe was expanding. Of course, this meant that if you went backward in time, the universe would go back to a single origin before which it didn’t exist. Astronomer Fred Hoyle derisively called this the Big Bang — and the name stuck!

Starting in the 1920’s, scientists began to find empirical evidence that supported these purely mathematical models. For instance, in 1929, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the light coming to us from distant galaxies appears redder than it should be, and this is a universal feature of galaxies in all parts of the sky. Hubble explained this red shift as being due to the fact that the galaxies are moving away from us. He concluded that the universe is literally flying apart at enormous velocities. Hubble’s astronomical observations were the first empirical confirmation of the predictions by Friedman and Lemaitre.

Then in the 1940’s, George Gamow predicted that if the Big Bang really happened, then the background temperature of the universe should be just a few degrees above absolute zero. He said this would be a relic from a very early stage of the universe. Sure enough, in 1965, two scientists accidentally discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero. There’s no explanation for this apart from the fact that it is a vestige of a very early and a very dense state of the universe, which was predicted by the Big Bang model.

The third main piece of the evidence for the Big Bang is the origin of light elements. Heavy elements, like carbon and iron, are synthesized in the interior of stars and then exploded through supernova into space. But the very, very light elements, like deuterium and helium, cannot have been synthesized in the interior of the stars, because you would need an even more powerful furnace to create them. These elements must have been forged in the furnace of the Big Bang itself at temperatures that were billions of degrees. There’s no other explanation.

So predictions about the Big Bang have been consistently verified by the scientific data. Moreover, they have been corroborated by the failure of every attempt to falsify them by alternative models. Unquestionably, the Big Bang model has impressive scientific credentials . . . . Up to this time, it was taken for granted that the universe as a whole was a static, eternally existing object . . . . At the time an agnostic, American astronomer Robert Jastrow was forced to concede that although details may differ, “the essential element in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy”…. Einstein admitted the idea of the expanding universe “irritates me” (presumably, said one prominent scientist, “because of its theological implications”).

Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Towards God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 105-106, 112.

Here are just two (of the many examples I can provide) of an atheist and an agnostic commenting on the above evidence:

“The essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy…. The Hubble Law is one of the great discoveries in science; it is one of the main supports of the scientific story of Genesis.” ~ Robert Jastrow: American astronomer and physicist. Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he is the director of the Mount Wilson Institute and Hale Solar Laboratory. He is also the author of Red Giants and White Dwarfs (1967) and God and the Astronomers (2nd ed., 2000).

“Certainly there was something that set it all off. Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.” ~ Robert Wilson: is an American astronomer, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics, who with Arno Allan Penzias discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB)…. While working on a new type of antenna at Bell Labs in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, they found a source of noise in the atmosphere that they could not explain. After removing all potential sources of noise, including pigeon droppings on the antenna, the noise was finally identified as CMB, which served as important corroboration of the Big Bang theory.

Dr. George Smoot, Particle Physicist, Nobel Prize winner, and team leader from the Lawrence-Berkeley Laboratory, regarding the 1992 observations from COBE (the NASA satellite Cosmic Background Explorer): “It’s like looking at God.”(8)

A somewhat more “sober” assessment of the findings was given by Frederick Burnham, a science-historian. He said, “These findings, now available, make the idea that God created the universe a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the last 100 years.”(9)

Dr. Stephen Hawking (Theoretical Physicist) described the big bang ripples observations as “the scientific discovery of the century, if not all time.”(10)

Dr. George Greenstein (Professor of Astronomy at Amherst.): “As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency – or, rather, Agency – must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”(11)

Sir Arthur Eddington (British Astrophysicist): “The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.”(12)

Dr. Arno Penzias (Nobel Prize winner in physics, co-discoverer of the microwave background radiation from the Big Bang): “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”(13)

Sir Roger Penrose (Physicist, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, and joint developer of the Hawking-Penrose Theorems): “I would say the universe has a purpose. It’s not there just somehow by chance.” (14)

Dr. Robert Jastrow (Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies): “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”(15)

Dr. Frank Tipler (Professor of Math and Physics at Tulane University): “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”(16). Tipler since has actually converted to Christianity, resulting in his latest book, The Physics Of Christianity.

Dr. Alexander Polyakov (String Theorist, Princeton): “We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it.”(17)

Dr. Edward Milne (British Astrophysicist, former Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Oxford): “As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God].”(18)

Dr. Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious…. I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”(19)

Dr. Wernher von Braun (German-American Pioneer Rocket Scientist) “I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”(20)

Dr. Frank Tipler (Professor of Math and Physics at Tulane University): “From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science.”(21)


Footnotes for this quote


8) Thomas H. Maugh, II (April 24, 1992). “Relics of Big Bang, Seen for First Time”. Los Angeles Times: pp. Al, A30.

9) The Los Angeles Times, Saturday 2nd May 1992.

10) Smoot, George, Wrinkles in Time, 2007 edition , cover.

11) Greenstein, G. 1988. The Symbiotic Universe. New York: William Morrow, p.27.

12) Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 233.

13) Margenau, H and R.A. Varghese, ed. 1992. Cosmos, Bios, and Theos. La Salle, IL, Open Court, p. 83.

14) Penrose, R. 1992. A Brief History of Time (movie). Burbank, CA, Paramount Pictures, Inc.

15) Jastrow, R. 1978. God and the Astronomers. New York, W.W. Norton, p. 116.

16) Tipler, F.J. 1994. The Physics Of Immortality. New York, Doubleday, Preface.

17) Gannes, S. October 13, 1986. Fortune. p. 57

18) Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 166-167.

19) Margenau, H. and R. A. Varghese, eds. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens (Open Court Pub. Co., La Salle, IL, 1992).

20) McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer 10:258-276.

21) McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer 10:258-276.

So, far from atheism being supported by science, the theistic worldview has been exemplified above all other models of interpretation (perceptions) of reality. Mind you this isn’t “proof” how the naturalist wrongly interprets the empirical method (scientific positivism), but it is a probability that exceeds others. (I suggest taking time, about an hour, and listen to this presentation by William Lane Craig on the evidences for theism over other worldviews.) Here John makes one of his signature jumps from one topic to a completely different one. I sometimes feel — shot in the dark again — he does this with the idea that he is saying something “scientific” and that everyone should credit his knowledge in on this particular topic (which is not the case), and then he brings that “trust” into a completely different topic.

Odd, to say the least. At any rate, freedom is something atheism does not account for, determinism is (enjoy the John Cleese video to the right). But that is a subject left for another day.

At this pivot point regarding freedom in one sentence to abortion in the following deserves some attention. Mr. Van Huizum seems to think that those who stand against abortion are doing so because God says. There are many atheists who are pro-life. How do they make their argument then? Science! Oooooh DRAT! Foiled by his own premise. If John had a grave to roll over in, he would. Here, for example, is model Kathy Ireland using the scientific laws to make her point:

Kathy Ireland, many years ago, was on Bill Mahers Politically Incorrectand the discussion that ensued shows the frailty of the liberal/relativistic position:

Bill Maher: Kathy, why do you oppose a women’s right to choose

Kathy Ireland: Bill, when my husband was going to medical school I underwent a transformation. Because I used to be in favor of abortion. But I noticed when I was reading through some of his medical teaching books, that according to a law in science known as the law of biogenesis, every living thing reproduces after it own kind. That means dog produce dogs, cats produce cats, humans produce humans. If we want to know what something is we simply ask what are its parents. If we know what the parents are, we know what the thing in question is. And I reasoned from that because human parents can only produce human offspring, unborn human fetuses could be nothing but human beings, because the law of biogenesis rules out every other alternative. And I concluded therefore that because human fetuses were part of our family, we should not harm them without justification.

Bill Maher: Well Kathy, that’s just your opinion!

In October 2002, Kathy Ireland made a compelling argument against abortion on the Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes political debate show. Alan Colmes described Ireland’s opinions as religious, but Ireland said that her views on abortion do not stem from faith. She asserted that even atheists could realize that abortion is wrong. Kathy told Alan that her belief is founded in science and technology, which she says, “has come a long way since Roe vs. Wade.”

Ireland also defended her values as being pro-women, stating, “We need to support these women who are in crisis pregnancy situations.” She claimed that because scientific evidence proves that abortion is murder, “I have no choice but to defend the most vulnerable among us.”

Here is one the best presentations detailing some of the above by Scott Klusendorf, a guy who’s specialty is the pro-life position in contradistinction to the pro-choice one. [Actually, since one position is “pro-life,” the other one is rightfully the “pro-death” position.] (Audio presentation to the right, 30-minutes.) So John Van Huizum’s statement that the pro-life position is merely based on “God says so” seems to be — either out of ignorance or bias — a straw-man argument of what the other side truly believes. Again, John seems to cheapen these important issues, not giving the other side its proper due.

Right when you think Mr. Huizum is staying on one topic, he switches again in his last paragraph by quoting a verse about taxes, as if this verse has something to do with a letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. I dissect this position quite a bit in my paper found here, but this quote from a seminary level text that touches on the idea (separating the religious realm from the secular) John expresses:

Such “exclude religion” arguments are wrong because marriage is not a religion! When voters define marriage, they are not establishing a religion. In the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the word “religion” refers to the church that people attend and support. “Religion” means being a Baptist or Catholic or Presbyterian or Jew. It does not mean being married. These arguments try to make the word “religion” in the Constitution mean something different from what it has always meant.

These arguments also make the logical mistake of failing to distinguish the reasons for a law from the content of the law. There were religious reasons behind many of our laws, but these laws do not “establish” a religion. All major religions have teachings against stealing, but laws against stealing do not “establish a religion.” All religions have laws against murder, but laws against murder do not “establish a religion.” The campaign to abolish slavery in the United States and England was led by many Christians, based on their religious convictions, but laws abolishing slavery do not “establish a religion.” The campaign to end racial discrimination and segregation was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor, who preached against racial injustice from the Bible. But laws against discrimination and segregation do not “establish a religion.”

If these “exclude religion” arguments succeed in court, they could soon be applied against evangelicals and Catholics who make “religious” arguments against abortion. Majority votes to protect unborn children could then be invalidated by saying these voters are “establishing a religion.” And, by such reasoning, all the votes of religious citizens for almost any issue could be found invalid by court decree! This would be the direct opposite of the kind of country the Founding Fathers established, and the direct opposite of what they meant by “free exercise” of religion in the First Amendment.

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 31.

So you see that — again — John’s understating of theology, culture, philosophy and science is one that is the culmination (I suspect) of a life lived rejecting the other side of the issue as mere opinion… or worse yet, as delusional, without really taking into consideration the best of the opposing views scholarly arguments. All this evidence being shown I suspect that john rejects faith, God, conservative ideals for psychological reasons more than evidential. I will begin to end this critique with a presentation by Dr. Paul C. Vitz, Professor of Psychology at New York University (emeritus?).

Now, I promised to end with more on a quote I used from the 9th District Court that I thought John would agree with. Let’s compare a portion from both statements:

1) “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life…”

2) “…the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own reality…”

Whether you’re an Atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Muslim, agnostic, [Democrat, Republican, Libertarian], it doesn’t matter. Your reality is just that… your reality, or opinion, or personal dogma. I want to now complete one of the quotes that I left somewhat edited, not only that, but I want to ask you if you still agree with it after you find out who wrote it.

Ready?

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”

Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.

______________________________________________________

*As the link points out, intelligent design is not a recent invention of creationists and their response to “lost” court case. Here is more:

Is intelligent design based on the Bible?

No. The idea that human beings can observe signs of intelligent design in nature reaches back to the foundations of both science and civilization. In the Greco-Roman tradition, Plato and Cicero both espoused early versions of intelligent design. In the history of science, most scientists until the latter part of the nineteenth century accepted some form of intelligent design, including Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, meanwhile, the idea that design can be discerned in nature can be found not only in the Bible but among Jewish philosophers such as Philo and in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. The scientific community largely rejected design in the early twentieth century after neo-Darwinism claimed to be able to explain the emergence of biological complexity through the unintelligent process of natural selection acting on random mutations. In recent decades, however, new research and discoveries in such fields as physics, cosmology, biochemistry, genetics, and paleontology have caused a growing number of scientists and science theorists to question neo-Darwinism and propose intelligent design as the best explanation for the existence of specified complexity throughout the natural world.

May God’s Gift We Celebrate This Weekend Energize Your Faith

Lee Strobel was the award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and is the best-selling author of The Case for Faith, The Case for Christ, and The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries by Lionsgate. With a journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a Master of Studies in Law degree from Yale, Lee wrote 3 Gold Medallion winners and the 2005 Book of the Year with Gary Poole. He and his wife live in Colorado. Visit Lee’s website at: www.leestrobel.com.

An Ironman Supplement ~ Thin Nothing (UPDATED)

I thought I would post a few items for the average man to engage someone lightly about Genesis. Here I want to focus on larger, easier to defend positions and will also throw in some minutia for the person who is curious about the issue as well. I will give a short reply and then get into details on a few of them as well. In conversations there should be an easy – minimalist – exchange that is easy to communicate.

Firstly, the most basic thing one can say about Genesis is that its authors intended it to come across as literal. James Barr, Oriel Professor of the interpretation of the Holy Scripture, Oxford University, England, in a letter to David C.C. Watson (23 April 1984), stated the following:

The following is an extract from a letter written in 1984 by Professor James Barr, who was at the time Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford. Professor Barr said,

“Probably, so far as l know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen. 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the ‘days’ of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

Thus, according to the Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, Tim is completely deceived in his wish to read Genesis figuratively. Let it be emphasized that according to professor Barr, virtually every professor at a world-class universities believes Gen. 1-11 are intended to convey the six 24 hour day creation and universality of Noah’s flood. (Planet Preterist)

Barr, despite not believing Genesis’ literal sense, does however, understand what the Hebrew so clearly taught. It was only the perceived need to harmonize the Bible with the alleged [evolutionary] age of the earth which led people to think anything different of the easy reading of Genesis—it was nothing to do with the text itself.

So the memory points can look like this:

• One of the leading Hebrew professors of our day;
• From Oxford University;
• Who did not believe in the literalness of Genesis;
• Teaches that the language and cultural times;
• Demand a literal reading of the text;
• Whether you agree with the outcome of that reading or not.

Simple enough. If one kinda’ remembers these points they can communicate the text’s meaning in a way that shows that insertion of long ages is a newer phenomena, not something warranted by the text itself. Here is an opening of a debate between a theistic evolutionist and a young earth creationist that makes clear the theological implications of anything but the Biblical position (the entire debate can be found here):

While theistic evolution is almost at complete odds with the Gospel message, we should understand that the union between man-and-God is the acceptance of Jesus, not these particulars.

There have been great men of God who have been theistic evolutionists… this does not mean we have to be. (See video to the right, and I wish to thank Darren for keeping the tendency to judge unrighteously in check).

Another important aspect of this whole thing is the idea that there are different genres in Scripture such as narratives, letters or epistles, parables, book of wisdom, hyperbole, poetry, and the like. In the technical book, Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, Vol. 2, a professor of language from our Masters College here in our valley, points out that the structure of Genesis demands a reading that is in the historical narrative genre. Here is the graph from that chapter:

Ver Use 2 Ver Use 3 Ver Use

(One may wish to read my “Hermeneutics” presentation I gave at church.) A great layman introduction to the technical information in the above mentioned book which is mostly science driven, except for the chapter written by professor Steven W. Boyd, is the book, Thousands not Billions: Challenging the Icon of Evolution, Questioning the Age of the Earth. Of course, if you engage on this level at Starbucks, you may get the next response of whether you agree with God choosing genocide in the Old Testament since you choose the literal nature of the Bible. While one should have responses to this in their quiver… this is not the topic at hand. I will give some resources at the end to help answer all this. However, one needn’t go too much beyond this dealing with the text. Faith is involved, and this faith gives us an objective knowledge of reality:

…fundamentally, the way we know Christianity to be true is by the self-authenticating witness of God’s Holy Spirit. Now what do I mean by that? I mean that the experience of the Holy Spirit is veridical and unmistakable (though not necessarily irresistible or indubitable) for him who has it; that such a person does not need supplementary arguments or evidence in order to know and to know with confidence that he is in fact experiencing the Spirit of God; that such experience does not function in this case as a premise in any argument from religious experience to God, but rather is the immediate experiencing of God himself; that in certain contexts the experience of the Holy Spirit will imply the apprehension of certain truths of the Christian religion, such as “God exists,” “I am condemned by God,” “I am reconciled to God,” “Christ lives in me,” and so forth; that such an experience Provides one not only with a subjective assurance of Christianity’s truth, but with objective knowledge of that truth; and that arguments and evidence incompatible with that truth are overwhelmed by the experience of the Holy Spirit for him who attends fully to it.

William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 3rd ed. [Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008], 43

It is this assurance [the witness of the Holy Spirit] we have that validates the Scriptures and what they mean to teach. (See also p. 178.)


Now, on to TIME — old versus young universe positions. I know people can get frustrated in conversation in regards to these ideas. My tactic I use is merely to try and get the skeptic to admit a principle in regards to the universe. That is, time dialation. Here are some great examples.

Nuclear clocks at sea level are the most accurate time to set time to. Why? Here is a great example to explain why.

During the 1970s it was realized that gravitational time dilation caused the second produced by each atomic clock to differ depending on its altitude. A uniform second was produced by correcting the output of each atomic clock to mean sea level (the rotating geoid), lengthening the second by about 1×10−10. This correction was applied at the beginning of 1977 and formalized in 1980. In relativistic terms, the SI second is defined as the proper time on the rotating geoid.

See page 515 in RA Nelsonet al.; McCarthy, D D; Malys, S; Levine, J; Guinot, B; Fliegel, H F; Beard, R L; Bartholomew, T R (2000). “The leap second: its history and possible future“. Metrologia 38: 509–529. Bibcode 2001Metro..38..509N. doi:10.1088/0026-1394/38/6/6. (Wiki)

This leads to an interesting “Twin Paradox“:

Consider a pair of brothers, identical twins. One gets a job as an astronaut and rockets into deep space. The other stays on Earth. When the traveling twin returns home, he discovers he’s younger than his brother. This is Einstein’s Twin Paradox, and although it sounds strange, it is absolutely true. ~ NASA

So time is relative just from earth to our orbit. Similarly, what about theoretical forces such as black-holes?

…Although your watch as seen by you would not change its ticking rate, just as in special relativity (if you know anything about that), someone else would see a different ticking rate on your watch than the usual, and you would see their watch to be ticking at a different than normal rate. For example, if you were to station yourself just outside a black hole, while you would find your own watch ticking at the normal rate, you would see the watch of a friend at great distance from the hole to be ticking at a much faster rate than yours. That friend would see his own watch ticking at a normal rate, but see your watch to be ticking at a much slower rate. Thus if you stayed just outside the black hole for a while, then went back to join your friend, you would find that the friend had aged more than you had during your separation. (Time Dilation; also, Virginia Tech Q&A)

You can see that gravitational forces (and velocity) affect age… not just our age but how our perception of age and an actual age throughout the universe may be a bit different than we suppose. The point is to get the objector to admit to this principle and then merely say, “listen, I am no physicist, but from these simple examples I can see that age in the universe may be more relative than either you or I can imagine. However, I would much rather talk about how the Judeo-Christian Scriptures is getting right in regards to a beginning of time.” That’s it. Some quick examples to get your objector to see that science is proving that the appearance of age may be drastically different than what you and he may know.

• Nuclear clocks at sea level are most accurate;
• Age differences between twins on earth and in orbit;
• Between friends, one on earth and one falling into a black hole;
• Point out that there may be more to age than what we know.

Also, while much of science is based on the absoluteness of the speed of light, scientists have long speculated that there are things in the universe that move faster than the prescribed light. There is finally a laboratory experiment proving such a feat and it has been published so other scientists can go over it with a fine-tooth comb to see if there are any mistakes in the study.

The team has published its work so other scientists can determine if the approach contains any mistakes.

If it does not, one of the pillars of modern science will come tumbling down.

Antonio Ereditato added “words of caution” to his Cern presentation because of the “potentially great impact on physics” of the result.

The speed of light is widely held to be the Universe’s ultimate speed limit, and much of modern physics – as laid out in part by Albert Einstein in his theory of special relativity – depends on the idea that nothing can exceed it.

Thousands of experiments have been undertaken to measure it ever more precisely, and no result has ever spotted a particle breaking the limit.

“We tried to find all possible explanations for this,” the report’s author Antonio Ereditato of the Opera collaboration told BBC News on Thursday evening.

“We wanted to find a mistake – trivial mistakes, more complicated mistakes, or nasty effects – and we didn’t. ….(BBC NEWS)

So even the “light years” you hear spoken of may also be relative – only time will tell.

Virgo Cluster and Time

“The Plum Line is Relative”

Here is an age of the Virgo cluster from a few years back:

But some stars have been observed in the M100 galaxy of the Virgo Cluster, about 100 million light years from the Earth.

Villard, Ray; Freedman, Wendy L. (1994-10-26). “Hubble Space Telescope Measures Precise Distance to the Most Remote Galaxy Yet”. Hubble Site. Retrieved 2007-08-05; see also: http://www.atlasoftheuniverse.com/virgo.html

Reasons why speed of light may not be the fastest game in town or was constant:

A 2008 quantum physics experiment also performed by Nicolas Gisin and his colleagues in Geneva, Switzerland has determined that in any hypothetical nonlocal hidden-variables theory the speed of the quantum non-local connection (what Einstein called spooky action at a distance) is at least 10,000 times the speed of light.

Salart; Baas; Branciard; Gisin; Zbinden (2008). “Testing spooky action at a distance”. Nature 454 (7206): 861–864.

[…..]

This turns ALL physics on its head, by the way!


Virgo images suggest smaller universe – observations of a galaxy in the Virgo cluster indicate that objects in the universe may be half as far away as previously thought.

For the first time, astronomers have distinguished individual stars in a galaxy in the Virgo cluster and measured their distance from Earth. Observations of the galaxy NGC 4571, made with a new high-resolution camera, support the notion that objects in the universe may lie about half as far away as previously thought. If so, the cosmos as a whole may be smaller than believed.

Robert D. McClure of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, British Columbia, and his colleagues conducted their study at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. They photographed NGC 4571, obtaining sharp enough resolution to distinguish bright individual stars from groups of fainter stars. By comparing the brightness of the luminous stars with that of Milky Way stars in the same class and at a known distance from Earth, they deduced that NGC 4571 lies 50 million light-years from Earth.

Because astronomers often use the distance to Virgo as a yardstick for assessing the distance of objects farther out in the universe, the new finding indicates that such objects may lie much closer to Earth, McClure says. Since an object’s distance serves as an indicator of its age, a smaller cosmos would seem to suggest that the universe is younger than the estimated 10 to 20 billion years. On the other hand, scientists have clearly established an age of 15 billion years for some ancient star groups in the Milky Way.

The high-resolution camera attached to the Mauna Kea telescope uses adaptive optics to correct for the image-distorting effects of Earth’s atmosphere (SN: 6/8/91, p.358), yielding an image about five times as sharp as those produced by most other ground-based telescopes, McClure says.


  • …A simple interpretation of the large value of the Hubble Constant, as calculated from HST observations, implies an age of about 12 billion years for a low-density universe, and 8 billion years for a high-density universe. However, either value highlights a long-standing dilemma…. ~ HubbleSite (NASA)

A recommended Resource: Distant Starlight – A Forum

But this brings a verse to mind, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). I think the Apostle was passing on something he may have encountered at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9). But to say the early thinkers (like the Apostles) did not know about God being outside of the time-space continuum is clearly shown to be false by the verse in 2 Peter. While the earth was once thought to be the center of the universe, and many skeptics deride the significant nature Christianity gives the earth and emphasize the insignificant place of the earth in our vast universe — recalling Carl Sagan’s “pale blue dot” quote. However, because of the building blocks of science and the best known shape of the universe, has caused a 4th dimension to be postulated. While we of course operate in three-dimensions, the fourth dimension is postulated as this (a great layman definition is to follow):

….The common view among cosmologists is that the universe is a four dimensional Riemannian manifold whose spatial part of the metric is increasing over time. This is interpreted as an expansion of the universe.

Imagine you are at a random spot on a spotted balloon, when someone inflates the balloon you’ll see the spots moving away from you, so it would seem you are at the center of the expansion. Furthermore, the further away the spots are the faster they move away from you. This is also true for the universe: the more distant a galaxy is, the faster it moves away from us.

Further imagine that you are a creature that only exists in two dimensions. That is, you have width and depth, but no height. So living on the surface of the balloon, you cannot see the shape of the balloon itself. If you went for a walk in a straight line, you would actually go around the balloon and end up where you started, despite not being aware that you were traveling in a circle.

The theory goes that the three dimensions of our universe that we can see are like the two dimensions of the surface of the balloon, which wraps around on itself in another dimension, so that if we traveled through space in a straight line, we would eventually return to our starting point. The fourth dimension is time and String theory holds the universe exists right up to ten dimensions.

One consequence of this idea is that the universe therefore has no edge (just like there is no edge to the surface of a balloon) and therefore no center. Thus for any location in space, it would appear that that location is at the center of the expansion of the universe….

If we were really at the center of the universe, this would support the idea that the Earth occupies a “special place” in the universe, which would support the biblical idea of creation, even though the Bible does not claim that the Earth is physically in the center of the universe. So many scientists find the idea that it only looks like we are at the center of the universe an attractive one.

(Conservapedia)

As you read this, you should keep in mind the previous discussion of gravity and velocity affecting time, especially the watch analogy. (A more technical explanation can be found here: “Our galaxy is the centre of the universe, ‘quantized’ redshifts show.”)

Here is Dr. Russell Humphrey’s talking about the public’s misconception of the Big-Bang:

In the big bang’s mathematical model of the beginning, space itself would expand outward with the ball of hot matter, and the matter would completely fill space at all times. There would never be a large empty part. In the most favored version of the big bang, if you traveled very fast in any given direction, you would arrive back at your starting point without ever encountering a large region of empty space. That makes it impossible to define a boundary around the matter, so the matter could have no center of mass. With no unique center for gravity to point to, there would be no black hole at the beginning.

Knowing their theory is very difficult to visualize, big bang experts don’t try hard to correct the public’s “island universe” misconception. But occasionally they do make brief comments, such as, “This [picture of the big bang] is wrong . . . there is no center and edge.” (ICR)

This creates the perfect setting for what scientists say is a truthism. Wherever you are you are at the center of the universe. Not only earth… but you. So if you were to travel 5-billion light years away from earth, you are still at the center of the universe. Why? Because of the shape the universe is in and the folding of the space-time-continuum in on itself. Here is a great layman picture of what we are talking about and how the universe most probably looks/acts:

This is significant, because you, me, and others are at the center of God’s plan and focus. We are of most importance to God’s love and passion and He is a jealous God. He wishes none to be lost, loving us more so than even His concern shown for the sparrow falling from a nest.

Three presentations by Dr. Humphreys can be found here, in them he talks about: helium diffusion, starlight & time, quantized red shift, center of the universe, and gravitational wells.

This expansion of the cosmos, which young-agers say happened MORE quickly than old-earth creationist (OEC), has a lot to do with measured time and why a physicist can say that the universe is 14-billion years old. Dr. Russell Humphrey’s explains this a bit more here (above). IN the above linked presentation Dr. Humphrey’s deals with some of the bad presumptions made by the Big-Bang theory, for instance, matter always existing. But if you take his theories and combine them with current knowledge, we come pretty close to some solid facts supporting the Biblical aspect to the Big-Bang. So not only are we at the center of the universe… but very possibly at the real center of the universe – or close to. Or, the initial creative moment of the universe, as Humphrey’s points out in the above [#2] presentation.

So you could bullet point this for memory purposes thus:

• The universe has no center as you would understand a “point” being;
• It is analogous to a balloon expanding as one fills it with air;
• It would be possible to leave earth traveling in a straight you could return to earth;
• This wrapping around of space is called “the fourth dimension;”
• It causes the center to be from the perspective of the person it involves.

Another neat aspect of where science has led us is to the understanding that the Hebraic Scriptures, unlike every other religious text/holy book out there, is that the Bible alone seems to predict what only now the evidence of what science is showing us. Lee Strobel does a great job in relaying the evidence that we live in a finite cosmos and not an infinite one in his discussion with Dr. William Lane Craig (updated with J. Warner Wallace):

When Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and started applying it to the universe as a whole, he was shocked to discover it didn’t allow for a static universe. According to his equations, the universe should either be exploding or imploding. In order to make the universe static, he had to fudge his equations by putting in a facto that would hold the universe steady.

In the 1920’s, the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and the Belgium astronomer George Lemaitre were able to develop models based on Einstein’s theory. They predicted the universe was expanding. Of course, this meant that if you went backward in time, the universe would go back to a single origin before which it didn’t exist. Astronomer Fred Hoyle derisively called this the Big Bang — and the name stuck! [Later in his career, Fred Hoyle confirmed the expansion through work on the second most plentiful element in the universe, helium.]

Starting in the 1920’s, scientists began to find empirical evidence that supported these purely mathematical models.

LET US TAKE A QUICK BREAK from this excerpt to fill in some information from another excerpt, and then we will continue:

As mathematicians explored the theoretical evidence, astronomers began to make observations confirming the expansion of the universe. Vesto Slipher, an American astronomer working at the Lowell Observatory. in Flagstaff, Arizona, spent nearly ten years perfecting his understanding of spectrograph readings. His observations revealed something remarkable. If a distant object was moving toward Earth, its observable spectrograph colors shifted toward the blue end of the spectrum. If a distant object was moving away from Earth, its colors shifted toward the red end of the spectrum.

J. Warner Wallace -- Red Light Shift Big-Bang

Slipher identified several nebulae and observed a redshift in their spectrographic colors. If these nebulae were moving away from our galaxy (and one another), as Slipher observed, they must have once been tightly clustered together. In 1914, he offered these findings at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, proposing them as evidence the universe was expanding.

A graduate student named Edwin Hubble seas in attendance and realized the implica­tions of Slipher’s work. Hubble later began working at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Los Angeles. Using the Hooker telescope, he eventually proved Slipher’s nebulae were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way composed of billions of stars. By 1929, Hubble published find­ings of his own, verifying Slipher’s observations and demonstrating the speed at which a star or galaxy moves away from us increases with its distance from Earth. This once again confirmed the expansion of the universe.

…CONTINUING…

For instance, in 1929, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the light coming to us from distant galaxies appears redder than it should be, and this is a universal feature of galaxies in all parts of the sky. Hubble explained this red shift as being due to the fact that the galaxies are moving away from us. He concluded that the universe is literally flying apart at enormous velocities. Hubble’s astronomical observations were the first empirical confirmation of the predictions by Friedman and Lemaitre.

Then in the 1940’s, George Gamow predicted that if the Big Bang really happened, then the background temperature of the universe should be just a few degrees above absolute zero. He said this would be a relic from a very early stage of the universe. Sure enough, in 1965, two scientists accidentally discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero. There’s no explanation for this apart from the fact that it is a vestige of a very early and a very dense state of the universe, which was predicted by the Big Bang model.

The third main piece of the evidence for the Big Bang is the origin of light elements. Heavy elements, like carbon and iron, are synthesized in the interior of stars and then exploded through supernova into space. But the very, very light elements, like deuterium and helium, cannot have been synthesized in the interior of the stars, because you would need an even more powerful furnace to create them. These elements must have been forged in the furnace of the Big Bang itself at temperatures that were billions of degrees. There’s no other explanation.

So predictions about the Big Bang have been consistently verified by the scientific data. Moreover, they have been corroborated by the failure of every attempt to falsify them by alternative models. Unquestionably, the Big Bang model has impressive scientific credentials… Up to this time, it was taken for granted that the universe as a whole was a static, eternally existing object…. At the time an agnostic, American astronomer Robert Jastrow was forced to concede that although details may differ, “the essential element in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy”…. Einstein admitted the idea of the expanding universe “irritates me” (presumably, said one prominent scientist, “because of its theological implications”)

  • Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Towards God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 105-106, 112;
  • J. Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2015), 32-33.

This should be put in bullet points for easy memorization:

  • Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915;
  • Around the same time evidence of an expanding universe was being presented to the American Astronomical Society by Vesto Slipher;
  • In the 1920s using Einstein’s theory, a Russian mathematician (Alexander Friedman) and the Belgium astronomer (George Lemaitre)  predicted the universe was expanding;
  • In 1929, Hubble discovered evidence confirming earlier work on the Red-Light shift showing that galaxies are moving away from us;
  • In the 1940’s, George Gamow predicted a particular temperature to the universe if the Big Bang happened;
  • In 1965, two scientists (Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson) discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero.

God is truly amazing! Now, the above explained “Big-Bang” as accepted by most evolutionary scientists assumes the eternal state of matter. The theists in the above example reject this, just an aside.

And here are, for the curious, a great presentation (which I broke up into each assumption for ease of consumption) dealing with dating methods and there problems for dating the earth in long ages:


What Is Radioactive Dating & Its Assumptions?

Evidence 1 Challenging Assumptions In Radioactive Decay Rate

Evidence 2 Challenging Assumptions In Radioactive Decay Rate

Evidence 3 Challenging Assumptions In Radioactive Decay Rate

Evidence 4 Challenging Assumptions In Radioactive Decay Rate

Evidence 5 Challenging Assumptions In Radioactive Decay Rate

The Case for Christmas ~ Lee Strobel

Lee Strobel – The Case for Christmas Audiobook ch. 1

Ex-Atheist turned Christian Lee Strobel (author of The Case for Christ, The Case for the Real Jesus, and the Case for a Creator) speaks on Christmas and defends the divinity and person of Jesus. Do we have reliable records about Jesus? Did Jesus clearly claim to be God? Did Jesus offer credible credentials to back up his claim?

An Easter Quote

All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character. All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances. Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.

Robert Hume, The World’s Living Religions (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959), 285-286.