In the past 150 years there has been an explosion of knowledge. With that knowledge we can see that science confirms God's existence and His involvement in Creation.
[Steven Britt] Observation is a primary driving force of science. To observe means to inspect something, to take note of it, to pay attention to the details. To study and try to understand how something works, how a system works. To extrapolate the rules that govern it. To make predictions about it going forward. Observation is a God-given ability that we have, we can sense patterns. We have the capacity for thought, but in order for any knowledge be built, there first has to be observation.
Now, God gave us these incredible bodies that are capable of sensing all kinds of things, but there are limitations to our capacity to observe. And part of the progression of science, especially in the last couple hundred years is the story of technologies that increase our capacity to observe new phenomena. We can only see so far with the naked eye. And so we built a telescope, we can see literal new worlds, millions and billions of light years away. We built microscopes. We can see new worlds at a level that’s all around us that makes up the world that we live in that we never knew about. Never knew about. These things represent new data. New data that we can think about, that we can make observations about, that we can build knowledge on.
If we believe in an all-knowing God, who created everything that we see around us. And we believe that He cannot lie and that He’s given us His Word to live our lives by, then that word must stand up to every observation that can be made. No matter whether we’re looking at the heavens or looking in minute detail, at things smaller than we can imagine. That’s a tall order for a text that’s thousands of years old, written by numerous authors who really didn’t know very much scientifically compared to today. Whereas for us, so many of these things have become part of the fabric of our culture that we don’t even question them or think about them. We just know them from the time we’re young.
Let’s take our Bibles and turn to 1 Timothy 6:20-21 1 Timothy 6:20-21 20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.
American King James Version×. 1 Timothy 6:20 1 Timothy 6:20O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
American King James Version×, the amazing truth is that this book written throughout the ages by numerous people who didn’t know very much about science does stand up to that test. It does. 1 Timothy 6:20 1 Timothy 6:20O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
American King James Version×. “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge — by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.” Where it says, “what’s falsely called knowledge,” I believe the original King James says there, “Science falsely so called.” The actual Greek word is gnōsis , the word for knowledge.
And in particular, Paul was probably more talking about the Gnostic movement and ideas associated with it, the idea that secret knowledge gives you an edge in salvation somehow. But it certainly does apply to the pursuit of all human knowledge, of all human knowledge. Recent centuries have seen an explosion of human thinking and knowledge. And I’d like to make a little distinction between those two. There’s a difference between all the thinking that we do and what’s actually knowledge, as opposed to what is falsely called knowledge.
So in today’s age, we see the world differently. We see it scientifically. From the time we enter elementary school, we are taught fundamental things about the universe. We are taught the Big Bang. We’re taught about D.N.A. that makes up who we are, and the characteristics that we have. We’re taught natural selection. We’re taught evolution. We’re taught, even now about a multiverse. I’d like to discuss some of these things in this message. And like I mentioned, they’re becoming part of the fabric of our culture. You know, as time goes on, our television shows become based off this stuff, our science fiction becomes reality in people’s minds, and people increasingly are holding on to and building on, and becoming entrenched in ideas that are contrary to the way of God, the knowledge of God, the understanding that we do have a Creator.
So I want to tell the story of science from the last 150 years or so as it relates to our belief in an Almighty Creator God. And I want to anchor that discussion in observation as the critical lifeblood of science, of true science, focusing also on what the Bible has to say. So we’re going to begin with one that maybe you all learned about in biology class, maybe many years ago for some of you, maybe going on right now for some of you, depending on your age. The idea is spontaneous generation. Does anybody remember hearing about spontaneous generation in school? It was this idea back in the 1860s, there was a series of experiments done by Mr. Louis Pasteur, a scientist, to investigate this idea of spontaneous generation. The idea is that life popped into existence from non-living things all the time. It was an everyday affair.
When you saw maggots appear and meet. Well, those maggots popped out of nowhere. They didn’t understand the life cycle of, you know, the flies come and buzz and they lay the eggs. And because you can’t see the eggs, they’re really small. Limits on observation, I mentioned that, right? If you don’t have the ability to see that there are little bitty eggs there. Well, where did these worms come from? They must have popped into existence. The appeal of a viewpoint like that. And the reason why so many people are entrenched into something that sounds outright nonsensical for us today is because it excludes the need for a Creator. And as we go through the story of science, we’ll see that come up again and again. That people are always looking for a way to exclude God, looking for a way to exclude God.
Now, today when I was taught about spontaneous generation and the triumph of science over spontaneous generation, it was presented as a tale of, you know, this time of ignorance before people understood how things worked. And in a way it was, it was. You know, but if we think about it through this lens of observation, and what can be seen and known, just like you couldn’t see the eggs that the fly laid that made the maggots, every observation that could be made without a microscope, support this idea that things just popped into being, at random, right? You see it happen. And from what you can see within the limits of human sight, for example, you have no idea that, “Oh, yeast grew in this container because it was contaminated with just a few little yeast cells.”
That’s exactly what Pasteur showed. He had a few carefully controlled experiments that demonstrated using yeast as an example of something that, you know, at a certain level can’t be seen, but when it grows big enough on something it can be seen. He used that to establish what’s known as the biogenetic principle. He debunked this idea that living things just pop into existence all the time, and showed that life can only come from pre-existing life. That’s known as the biogenetic principle. Life can only come from pre-existing life. It doesn’t just pop out of nonliving things.
Now, like I said, that’s presented as something that was believed in a time of ignorance. That life came from nonliving things. And yet, because people are always trying to hold on to a belief that excludes a Creator God, they make one exception for spontaneous generation. And yeah, it’s maybe a little more reasonable sounding than, you know, a worm popping out of thin air. But it’s the idea that life on earth arose from just a pool of nonliving chemicals that got together in just the right way. That’s the same idea.
As far as observation goes, observation, the lifeblood of science, no one has ever observed a living thing coming into being from nonliving things. It’s never been observed. Experiments have been done. And in some cases, those experiments have been hailed as a great success. The most famous are from the 1950s, the Miller experiments or the Miller-Urey experiments, hailed as a success, because they showed if you brought some of these, you know, early earth atmosphere composition materials together, that you could get amino acids to form under just the right conditions. Amino acids aren’t alive, they’re not. Well, this idea is so heavily rooted in the minds of those who want to promote a natural cause of life on this planet. That they will not let it go. And they will hail this as this great success when really they have proven nothing. They have demonstrated nothing. They have observed nothing in terms of life coming into being without being seeded by life before it.
So what does the Bible say on this issue? If we turn to Genesis 2, Genesis 2:7 Genesis 2:7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
American King James Version×. This is in the creation of man. And I’ll have to admit that when I read through this carefully and just noticed the order it goes in, I was a little surprised by just how closely it follows the biogenetic principle. Genesis 2:7 Genesis 2:7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
American King James Version×, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;” and it was only after that, after the breath of life had been imparted, the end of the verse, “man became a living being.” Look at that. God created man out of the dust of the ground, but the dust wasn’t a living thing. God is a living thing. And God had to share the breath of life with man, with this vessel that He had created, in order for man to have life. That’s incredible. That’s just incredible.
And, you know, in fact, this holds for the other creatures that we see as well. If you go to the story of the flood in Genesis 7, since we’re here, Genesis 7:21-22 Genesis 7:21-22 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man:
22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
American King James Version×, it talks about all living creatures in the same way. Genesis 7:21 Genesis 7:21And all flesh died that moved on the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man:
American King James Version×says that “All flesh died that moved on the earth: the birds, the cattle, beasts, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,” so even the little bugs, “and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.” So it’s identifying all of these creatures as having life coming from God as a source.
If we back up to verse 15, and, you know, lest we, kind of, read through this and say, “Well, it could just be saying that the man had the breath of spirit of life.” Well, back in verse 15, it talks about when they went on the ark. They went two by two of all flesh in which is the breath of life, unambiguously referred to the animals as well as man, having the breath of life. God operates by the Biogenetic Principles, it’s now been established. Imagine that, imagine that. We’ll see this again and again, throughout the message, that true science, things that are truly based on observation are verified and found in the Bible. So let’s continue by discussing evolution.
So Pasteur’s work on spontaneous generation was in the 1860s, around that same time. In fact, 1859 is when Charles Darwin published on the origin of species. It was that manuscript where he put forward the idea that creatures differentiate into different populations with differences by a process called natural selection. He further went on to say that all creatures came from earlier sets of creatures. And this idea of common ancestry, that the birds and reptiles were once one thing that split off over a long time of this natural selection. And if you go back further and further, his idea extended back to some first “simple” organism. And I’ll put “simple” in quotation marks. We’ll talk about that later as well.
Now, where did Darwin get these ideas? He was actually a pretty great thinker. He took a trip to the Galapagos Islands, which if you’ve never known where the Galapagos Islands were, I didn’t know either until I looked this up. They’re on either side of Ecuador and Latin America, so some on the Pacific side, some on the Gulf side. He took a trip to the Galapagos Islands, and he found, you know, these isolated bio environments. And he looked at the creatures there. And most notably, he looked at the finches. And he drew pictures of the finches on this island.
And as he went back and looked at these sketches he had made, he realized that on each island, the finches were pretty well adapted to that specific environment. An environment that all the finches on this island had longer beaks, while all the ones on this island had shorter, more stout, harder beaks because they had to crack the nuts that only grow on that island. Or they might have a pattern on this island that fit the local vegetation that was only found there. And he did this great thought experiment of, you know, well, they probably weren’t always birds just all over these islands. It probably started with a small flock of finches that came here first. That’s a pretty, pretty neat idea. He didn’t see that happen, but it probably happened that way.
And from that original flock of finches. All the diversity of finches that he saw came into being by adapting over time, by adapting over time. And that was the process that he called natural selection. That was something that he had partly observed, something he could certainly infer from what he had seen, maybe not observed the adaptation exactly to the extent that he claimed, with common ancestry. He certainly never saw any of those finches have little babies that were not finches, much less not even birds, but that’s what the idea of common ancestry of creatures teaches.
Whereas the Bible since we’re still in Genesis if we go back to Genesis 1. Genesis 1:11 Genesis 1:11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth: and it was so.
American King James Version×. “God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed and, the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth,’; and it was so.” And so it is that even plants reproduce according to its kind. And if you look down to, let’s see, in verse 21, “…the sea creatures came and lived and abounded and they reproduced according to their kind again, and every winged bird according to its kind.” And if you go down and you read about the cattle and the creeping things, guess what? They all reproduced according to their kind, according to their kind.
Microevolution since Darwin’s time, this idea that you can have natural selection to make small changes so that your birds maybe develop longer beaks or shorter, harder beaks, or whatever it may be, that’s observed science. That’s been established as observed science. And that fits with what the Bible says, that creatures reproduce according to their kinds. It’s absolutely biblical. But again, what hasn’t been observed and what is not biblical is this idea that creatures end up reproducing not according to their kind at some point, at some point. Darwin also believed that life originated in what he called “warm little ponds” a warm little pond was just the right mixture of ingredients. And, you know, mind you that he was coming up with this at exactly the same time that Pasteur was knocking down spontaneous generation. So probably put them in a bit of an awkward position. In fact, I think Pasteur’s work was just a few years before Darwin’s work. And so he didn’t publish his idea that you know, life arose naturally from nonliving things in, On the Origin of Species . He only revealed that in a private letter to another scientist of the day.
So focusing on observation, all right, all of Darwin’s ideas came from a very crude type of observation. It came from looking with the naked eye at a bunch of different living creatures, and then later at the sketches of those living creatures. And if you think about it, yeah, you know, it’s kind of fitting that his original observations started with those sketches of finches, that were a little different from each other, because the number one way that evolution is presented, to make it look like a convincing story is by a series of pictures. And, you know, the series of pictures I’m talking about. It starts with an ape on one side hunched over and hairy and on the other side an upright, primitive-looking man, you know, who’s lost most of his body hair and all this.
So there’s a reason we call these things missing links, right, missing links. So the fossil record finding something that looks like it might fit in there is one thing, but if we’re talking about observable science, we’ve never observed a change like that. In fact, I was thinking back to a book series I read as a kid called, Animorphs . I don’t know if any of you read the Animorphs , but the premise of the book series was that these kids could, you know, absorb the D.N.A. of animals and transform into them, so the picture, I’m getting there. The picture on every cover was, you know, a girl turning into a tiger or, you know, a boy turning into a hawk, or whatever it might be. And so you had a series of images, that’s okay, a little bit more of a stretch than the ape turning into man, but that’s essentially the kind of, thing we’re dealing with here. It’s an artist’s fantasy, right? Not anything that’s actually been seen, even that ape to man progression is not anything that’s been seen or observed. Is that the kind of, evidence that you can really base a scientific belief on? It’s not, it’s not.
Let’s shift gears a little bit and come a little bit further into the future. So, we’ve been stuck in the 1850s and 1860s, how about we come to the 1900s. And at the beginning of the 1900s, the prevailing idea about the universe was very different than what we understand today. They had a theory known as the static universe, the static universe. So today, you know, as children, even in children’s television programs, cartoons made for kids, we have the idea that the universe is expanding. They didn’t always think it was that way. Getting back in the mindset of observation, if you had even a telescope to look out into the stars, well, you see them shift places throughout the year because they understood the earth moved around the sun and all these things. But every year they ended up more or less in the same place, right?
There was no understanding that all the stars were moving in relation to one another because they couldn’t see it. They couldn’t see it. You can’t blame somebody for not knowing something that they can’t observe, right? But then, something really interesting happened when Albert Einstein came on the scene. So up to that point, secular thinkers had this idea of a universe that was infinite, right, infinite in every direction, but also infinite in time. That is, it existed eternally. And if it’s not entirely clear why that’s important for a secular thinker, in particular, it’s because they thought a universe with no beginning doesn’t need a Creator, right? If the universe had a beginning, which is, incidentally, what the Bible says, we’ll get there as well. If the universe had a beginning, then something would have had to have begin it.
So they preferred to believe that the universe did not have a beginning. Everything was fixed in place where it was, and yeah, the stars that we saw, probably had, you know, come into existence at some point, there were stars before then. The universe had just always been around making new stars and going on this way, the way that we looked out and saw it forever. That’s the way it had been. It didn’t require a start, a creation. 1917, so when Einstein published his theory of general relativity, that was a tough one. But specifically, when he applied the theory of general relativity to a model of the universe, he found something that he didn’t expect, something that defied every scientific understanding of the day, something that didn’t meet his expectations. It predicted an expanding universe.
And he wasn’t prepared for that. And so he added a good old fashioned fudge factor that’s now known as the cosmological constant. It has been argued about and talked about and studied for a long time since then, and it’s a good thing people did study it. So he added this fudge factor so that, you know, if you balance out the equation, he saw this as, well, the universe shouldn’t be expanding. If I just add this then I can, you know, force it to where it’s not moving, because we all know the universe is static obviously. Well, he was wrong about that. It turned out people were able to find observable evidence that he was wrong about it, which was a really exciting thing.
In 1930, Edwin Hubble looked out. And, you know, by that point, he had figured out the kind of, thing he would look for “If space is expanding, how do I observe that?” And it’s one of the greatest triumphs of the scientific method in modern history, this process where they came to understand and came to see and find evidence that, yes, the universe is expanding. Once Hubble saw that people realized, “Well, if it’s going out, it must have started in…” right? And that starting in became known as the Big Bang, the Big Bang. All this theoretical work was done on trying to understand that, you know, how could this Big Bang have happened in 1964 using radio telescopes? They discovered evidence, an afterglow that was predicted by theories of the Big Bang. They were able to observe something that pointed to these ideas being correct. It was really cool.
Now, in doing so, we basically came up to 1964 before humans had evidence of Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
American King James Version×, which I’m going to turn to, to read, so I don’t get it wrong, but you probably know it’s, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” So it took thousands of years of human history to catch up to, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” To understand that the universe hadn’t been around just forever doing whatever universes do, it had a beginning and it was created by God. Well, they didn’t quite catch on to that.
Natural question started to arise that people could think about for the first time in history. “Well, if this happened at some distant point in the past, how distant was it? When was the universe created?” And they found by studying the light from distant stars, so the universe seems to be almost 14 billion years old, about 13.8 billion. Which, I mean, when you’re talking about those kind of numbers, I’d just assume rounded to 14 billion, but that’s fine. Well, what about that scientific observation? Does that fit what the Bible says? We in the Church of God believe it does, we believe it does.
And, you know, opinions across the Christian world are split on this, but I believe we have a very good explanation if we keep reading, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” We believe that there is an indefinite period of time between verse 1 and verse 2. And there’s a good reason why we believe that we didn’t just make that up to fit what scientists found about the universe. In fact, we have an excellent section in our booklet, Creation Versus Evolution , that explains the history of this teaching. In fact, it’s been thought about and pondered for thousands of years.
I learned that when I looked at the booklet in preparation for this sermon. If I’m being honest with you I was pretty surprised to find that that interpretation has a long history of people wondering, because, you know, again, people didn’t know. They didn’t know the things we did scientifically. They didn’t have that assumption. They weren’t entrenched in the idea that, “Oh no, the earth can only be 6,000 years old.” Or, you know, “No, the earth has to be, you know, infinite,” and all these things. They just wanted to understand what the Bible says, and that’s what we want. So why is it that we think there’s a distinction between verse 1 and verse 2, between God creating the heavens and earth and then finding this creation of state of being without form and void, void?
Well, in fact, if we go to Isaiah 45:18 Isaiah 45:18For thus said the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
American King James Version×, we find a direct scriptural reference that says, God didn’t create the earth that way. And that’s a pretty compelling point. Isaiah 45:18 Isaiah 45:18For thus said the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
American King James Version×. Verse 18, it says, “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited:” When it says He “did not create it in vain,” it’s the same underlying Hebrew word where it says He “didn’t create it without form.” God didn’t create it that way. The Bible says that as plain as day. So how did it get that way? How did it get that way? He created it to be inhabited. There’s more evidence, more scriptural evidence that points us towards this understanding.
If we go back to Job, Job 38. I’m giving you all these references. I know it’s kind of flippy. That’s a little flippy in your Bibles, but I think it’s worthwhile to have them all down in one place. Job 38:4-7 Job 38:4-7 4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if you have understanding.
5 Who has laid the measures thereof, if you know? or who has stretched the line on it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
American King James Version×. Verse 4, this is now God speaking to Job after his long ordeal and seeking out God. God finally shows up, He says, “Well, where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” So here God’s presenting Himself as the one who laid the foundations of the earth. He knows how this happened. He’s the one who understands it. If we skip down to verse 7, we hear something that happened at that time. “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” All the sons of God shouted for joy. The morning stars, the sons of God is referring to the angels. And we know in particular that, well, there was definitely one angel, and then a third of all angels that went with him, who if they had already rebelled by that point, they wouldn’t be shouting for joy. They wouldn’t be shouting for joy. And yet what do we find? What do we find? We understand throughout the Bible it explains that Satan, Lucifer rebelled against God, took a third of the angels with him.
And in Luke 10:18 Luke 10:18And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
American King James Version×, this is the last puzzle piece I’ll give you, there are several more scriptures certainly that contribute to this teaching. And it’s very well founded. But this is, you know, the shortest version of this presentation I could get together. Luke 10:18 Luke 10:18And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
American King James Version×, Jesus Christ who existed eternally as the Word who was with God in the beginning from John 1:1 John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
American King James Version×, we know that. Luke 10:18 Luke 10:18And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
American King James Version×, Christ said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Wow! So if we’re really following the Scriptures, all the Scriptures chronologically, there was a creation, all the sons of God shouted for joy. It was created to be inhabited at some point. Satan rebels, he falls like lightning from heaven. And then Genesis 1:2 Genesis 1:2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.
American King James Version×, “The earth was without form and void.” That’s what we believe happened. That’s what we believe the Bible teaches. And like I said, it’s not a Johnny come lately explanation, you know, people saw the universe was old. So we had to find a way to make the Bible fit that. Now it’s been there all along, people have understood it and believed it all along. I think that’s pretty amazing.
I want to call your attention to some more scientific statements made in the Bible, that long predate any of the understanding that we have today. Isaiah 42:5 Isaiah 42:5Thus said God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; he that gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
American King James Version×. Isaiah 42:5 Isaiah 42:5Thus said God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; he that gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
American King James Version×. So this was a really interesting scripture because it puts several things in order. It doesn’t just describe things accurately in terms of how we understand the universe and life to have formed, but it does it in order. So listen to how amazing this is. Isaiah 42:5 Isaiah 42:5Thus said God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; he that gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
American King James Version×. “Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out,” He didn’t just fix them in place, He stretched them out. We now understand that the universe is expanding. And this was written thousands of years before anybody started to investigate an idea like that, that He stretched them out.
He “spread forth the earth and that which comes from it.” So you’ve got the heavens and then the earth came later. Scientists now agree with that and understand that too. They think that the universe was created about 14 billion years ago, earth, four and a half billion years ago. We keep reading after “the earth, that which comes from it, He gives breath to the people on it,” so life came after the earth was formed. Scientists now look back and they believe life formed on earth about three and a half billion years ago, about a billion years after the earth. At least that’s as far back as they can look and observe currently, and even the biogenetic principle is preserved in this passage, right? It says, “He gives breath to the people on it.” God sharing His life with them. Life only coming from life.
Now, we talked about the constraints of observation, and the role that played. If we come back around and talk about biology and life on this planet just a little bit. There were a lot of things that Darwin didn’t understand because he didn’t have the tools to observe them. He didn’t have the tools to observe them. And now we’ve come to a point where there’s a lot more evidence from fields like genetics and biochemistry. Like I said, you know, when we were little kids, we learned that you know, we’re made out of D.N.A. that composes all the things about whether we’ll have long slender fingers or short, stubby fingers or, you know, whatever metric you like to have. Darwin didn’t know that he just knew that the finches were different and that each generation could look a little different than the ones before it.
So we’ve had all this evidence come through, through genetics and biochemistry that I’d like to talk about a little bit because it’s had to fight against the conflict between science and religion, where people want desperately to hold on to a view that excludes God. And they desperately want to interpret every little finding in a way that excludes God. And it’s led to a lot of good evidence being ignored. It’s led also to, like, some things we already talked about, some things that aren’t really evidence being blown up and made a bigger deal than they actually are.
After D.N.A. was discovered, and they started to realize exactly the scale of which this stuff happened. You know, the human genome has about 3 billion base pairs. You know, if you’ve seen the rungs of the D.N.A. ladder, that double helix that we all, you know, learned about when we were little kids, every rung of that ladder, there are 3 billion rungs on that ladder. That’s the most fundamental level of D.N.A. Each of those is called a base pair. There’s rungs on the ladder. And those 3 billion things have to be copied several times in the course of reproduction for humans. And so, you end up having a few errors. In fact, it’s a remarkably low error rate. About 1 in 10 billion is the error rate for D.N.A. replication between parents and children.
Now, once scientists had this tool in their hand, these random mutations as they’re called occurring with D.N.A. They thought, “Whoa, well, that’s where the changes come from. That’s how the next set of finches got those slightly different beaks. And that’s how, you know, once upon a time they went from being, kind of, slug things to being, kind of, reptile things, to being, kind of, bird things.” They thought that this random mutation must be the answer. Must be the answer for the diversity of life, the way new creatures are formed. They married those ideas pretty quick and pretty early on because it fit their bias. It fit what they wanted to believe that everything could come from simpler organisms without the hand of God. And they did this without regard to practical reality of how unlikely those mutations are.
So we talked about evolution, and how at the time it was based on these sketches, and even still, it’s mostly based on this idea. You can see pictures, you know, an artist’s depiction of an ape turning into a man. Well, evolution, if true, doesn’t have to stand up to a crude visual comparison. It has to stand up at the genetic level, at the biochemical level, has to stand up to everything that we learn about those things. And it turns out that there’s really no such thing as simple life. That as you look deeper and closer things get more complicated, and more complex as far as life is concerned, not simpler, not simpler.
And it turns out that the biochemical components of life, the things that are unseen by the naked eye, that make yourselves work and do things that we weren’t even aware of until 50 years ago. Those things are incredibly complex and not possible to explain by gradual evolutionary process. It’s like they’re all these ready-made molecular machines. They assemble themselves. They heal themselves. They perform useful tasks. They’re far more complicated than anything man has created, far more complicated. Despite all the planning and design and knowledge that we pour into everything we do.
There’s a book by a man named Michael Behe, called, Darwin’s Black Box , where he discusses and put forth this idea of irreducible complexity, irreducible complexity. The idea, it can be applied to almost anything. It’s the idea that if a system is irreducibly complex if you actually think about what those words mean. It means if you take away any one part the whole system fails, the whole system fails. Something that works like that can’t develop gradually. And it’s, kind of, the underlying thought behind things like well, you know, a watch is never going to randomly assemble itself from watch parts. Even if you have the parts already machined exactly like they’re supposed to be, and jumble them up in a bag, they’re never going to end up as a watch, never going to end up that way.
It has to come together all at once. It can’t develop gradually. If you think about this in terms of a manufacturing process. Manufacturing processes if they were based off of a gradual evolutionary idea, to create a machine that’s irreducibly complex as, you know, most machines we have around us are, you will never get anywhere. The crucial thing is that you have to be functional enough for survival, right? If an organism is not functional, it doesn’t survive, it doesn’t pass on its genes. So even if your watch has everything going except, you know, the hand doesn’t tick, well, that watch doesn’t make the hypothetical situation here where it’s able to pass on its watch genes, because it doesn’t work. Only a working watch passes on its genes. Only a working cell can pass on its genes. That’s the understanding that’s been built of these biochemical systems.
So if these things have to be developed all at once, and the main engine of change is random mutation, and there are a few other processes that they propose as well. They’re very technical and not as easy to understand and weren’t discovered till later. But through all those processes, the facts remain that if you’re going to build this thing altogether at once, the probabilities are astronomically high. It’s never going to happen because you don’t have to have just one change. You have to have all these different changes. And it turns out that even the simplest biological systems that are irreducibly complex are complicated.
They’ll have dozens of genes. So I talked about the D.N.A. ladder, 3 billion base pairs in the human genome. Out of those, we have something like 20,000 genes. A gene encodes a single protein that does a single thing in your body. And a gene can be made up of hundreds or thousands, sometimes millions of base pairs. So we’re talking about a random mutation process that has to change one of these things at a time. It doesn’t add up. It doesn’t add up. You don’t get an organism that can survive that way.
In fact, if we talk about what’s been observed, we’ve observed irreducibly complex systems come into being, but only one way has that ever been observed. It’s been observed by the deliberate design and careful planning and engineering by intelligent beings, human beings. So the cars we build, the air conditioner that we’re very thankful for, those things were designed and they are irreducibly complex. If you think about how many different ways your car can break down, there’s a lot more ways your body can break down actually, it’s pretty remarkable the feat of engineering that God made. We’ve never seen anything self-assemble that was irreducibly complex. But we’ve seen them be designed.
In fact, if you do Google searches right now for, “Can life come from nonliving things,” and investigate this yourself, the attempts now, you know, I already mentioned how the Miller experiments didn’t demonstrate a single living thing coming to being. “Well, that was the 1950s, what have we done today?” Well, now, if we create these synthetic cells with synthetic D.N.A. that someone’s put together in a lab, well, wait a second, even if you get life from that, which they haven’t quite done yet. If you get life from that, all you’ve shown is that by some very careful and deliberate planning and a lot of effort and intelligentsia, you’ve now produced a living thing, great, great. That sounds more like evidence for creation if you ask me.
There’s a good reason why just logistically the complexity of life we see could not have risen by natural causes, and that’s time, time. You know, it was some 50 or 60 years after Darwin’s, Origin of Species , that it became understood that the universe might have a beginning, right? Before that, they thought that time just went on forever into the past. That, you know, life… of course life had time to come into being and go through these gradual processes because this had been going on forever. Well, no, it hasn’t. No, it hasn’t. Fourteen billion years of the universe, the geological record showing four and a half billion for the earth. It’s not long enough for these things to come together, and for these things to form. So we have a problem of origins that’s shared both by biology and by physics, that remain unsolved by today’s explanations.
I have a couple of quotes. Well, we’ll talk about the problem of origins for physics now a little bit. I have a couple of quotes from Stephen Hawking, who passed away earlier this year, considered one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. In 2010, his book, The Grand Design , he wrote this, he said, “Because there is such a law as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God…” So he said, “Because there’s a law such as gravity, the universe will just create itself…” Well, he hasn’t really answered anything. The great question in physics is why is there something rather than nothing. Why? Why should there be? Why is there? Well, he says, “if you start with nothing but gravity, it all works itself out.” Well, okay, all you’ve done is move the goalposts. Where did the gravity come from?
I’d like to share a quote from the same man, few decades earlier, in, A Brief History of Time , his 1988 work. He said, “The laws of science, as we know them at present, contain many fundamental numbers, like the size of the electric charge of the electron, and the ratio of masses of the proton, and the electron… And the remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.” Is he schizophrenic or? I mean, how do you explain the discrepancy where this man, you know, many years earlier, had come to agree with most cosmologists, and physicists, and people in that field that we live in a very, very special universe, one that is hospitable to life when it has all these, what he called, “fundamental numbers.” That if they were even just a little different, things wouldn’t have worked out the way that people understand them to have worked out.
You know, this way that gravity allowed the universe to create itself as he would propose. Well, if the rate of expansion of the universe had been just the teeniest, and I mean, it’s hard to express to you how teeny the difference would be that would completely throw it out of whack because it’s that small. It’s 1 in 10 to the 60th of a difference. I don’t know how to make a number like that comprehensible. Yeah, let’s suffice it to say if the rate of expansion of the universe was any different, it would have either gone too fast or too slow. What’s the problem with that? What’s the big deal? If it expands too fast, matter gets spread out too thin. It can’t converge and turn into stars. Stars are where elements come together. They’re like planet making engines basically. If you don’t have stars, you don’t have planets, you don’t have life. The universe had expanded too slow, well, everything would have collapsed. The matter would have been too densely packed together, collapses into black holes, and the whole thing shrinks back down again into that singularity that the Big Bang started with, no life, no life.
So how can one man, a man of science, hold these two contradictory ideas in his head? How does disbelief in God persist? For those who want to persist in disbelief of God, they always find a way, they always find a way. And essentially what they’ve done is gone back to the idea of a static universe, if you can believe it, that’s what the multiverse is. Now, I remember the first time I heard about the multiverse as a kid, I think I was in somewhere in high school, 9th or 10th grade. And I thought it was such an exciting idea.
In fact, it’s funny the way these things work themselves into your culture. If you have an interesting idea like this you want to tell people about it. So I was going around telling people, “Yeah there’s millions of universes, there’s millions of universes. There’s a universe where I’m not talking to you right now, I’m at home playing video games instead, what a wonderful day I’m having.” You know, “there’s a universe where you didn’t make the basketball team, and another one where you’re an N.B.A. star,” and all these universes. Plenty universes where there’s no life at all. And the only reason that we have life is because we live in one of those many possible universes. This is the idea of the multiverse. And I want to make it very clear that it’s not a scientific idea. We go back to observation. That’s the number one criticism of the multiverse is that it’s not observable. In fact, people have developed a system of belief, a philosophical daydream, that they can embed their scientific understanding within the framework of so that they can dismiss God. It’s not observable science. It’s an attractive idea, an attractive idea.
So how does this solve the problem of probabilities and the time it would take to produce life? Well, easy. There’s an infinite number of chances because it’s happening everywhere all at once. Again, it’s not science, it’s not science. Furthermore, and it still falls short on an incredibly important point. It doesn’t explain, well, why is there a multiverse instead of not a multiverse? Why is there something rather than nothing? You see, if you actually follow the logic it doesn’t satisfy anything, it doesn’t satisfy anything. It just adds more something’s that have to be from nothing.
Turn with me to Colossians 2:4-8 Colossians 2:4-8 4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, rejoicing and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him:
7 Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
American King James Version×. Colossians 2:4 Colossians 2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
American King James Version×. The apostle Paul says, “I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. Although I’m absent in the flesh, yet I’m with you in the spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” We have to be very careful that we’re not deceived with persuasive words, or as it may be in the case of evolution a persuasive series of images that tells a convincing story. I looked at different translations for this phrase, “persuasive words,” and it’s really interesting just the different ways that it’s put. The E.S.V. calls it, “plausible arguments,” the N.I.V. says, “fine sounding words,” the N.L.T. says, “well crafted words,” and the N.E.T. Bible says, “arguments that sound reasonable.” When it comes to scientific claims that someone’s going to then base theological or anti-theological belief on, they need more than persuasive words, right? Observation has to be the backbone of sound science. And for us believing in the Bible that’s at odds with, what is knowledge falsely so called. We have to make sure that we’re rooted in what’s actually been observed.
We skip down to verse 8, says, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Philosophy and empty deceit. That’s what so much of the scientific theories at odds with the Bible are. They’re philosophy like the multiverse, or they’re empty deceit. The N.I.V. says, “hollow and deceptive philosophy.” The N.L.T. said, “empty philosophy and high sounding nonsense,” which I especially like the translation of, high sounding nonsense. Because that’s how these things strike us. They strike us as making sense.
And that represents in a certain way, one of Satan’s attacks that he makes against us. You know, we grow up being taught these things, some of which is true, and some which is not true, some of which is sound and observable. And some of which is pure fantasy thought up by someone who doesn’t want to believe in God. And at some point in our lives, we have to separate out for ourselves what’s true and what’s not out of what we’ve been taught. Sometimes even when we feel like we’ve worked that out those thoughts come back and haunt us. You know, sometimes a thought pops into my head, “Hey, you know, well, what if there’s not a God? What if this was all, you know, just random chance?” Things pop into your head all the time that aren’t from God, not even from what I consider to be myself or you consider to be yourself. Attacks from Satan, temptations to think a way that is thought by many and taught by many.
So I came up with four categorizations here about the different ways that these things strike us. So people come up with convincing stories that aren’t grounded in reality. That’s like that progression of images, convincing stories. Then there’s these philosophical ideas like we talked about the multiverse or even this idea now if you’ve heard about it, that we live in a hologram. The whole universe is really just a hologram. And I don’t know what those people’s agenda is, but that’s, kind of, a strange one. There’s pure speculation that’s presented a scientific fact.
You know, there are some biochemists and molecular biologists who have put forth theories of how irreducibly complex systems might conceivably have come into existence, given enough time and just the right conditions. Speculation, they’ve never seen it happen. They’ve never seen a single irreducibly complex system come into being through an evolutionary path, it hasn’t been seen. They speculate about how they think it might have worked, and they can’t reproduce that or demonstrate it, even once they’ve thought of how it might have happened. That hasn’t been done.
Underlying all these things are world views that have anti-God assumptions built in. And when they have that bias built in, they’re able to ignore the things that do point to a Creator God. Things like the probabilities involved with the universe that we live in, the probabilities of evolution involved that just make it outlandish, unbelievable.
Come with me to Romans 1:18-21 Romans 1:18-21 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it to them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
American King James Version×, where Paul has more to say about this type of knowledge of the world. Romans 1:18 Romans 1:18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
American King James Version×says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” So how is it that a person can look at the world we live in and see clear evidence that, “Yeah, this looks like it was made just for us. And this universe looks like it was made just for us. And this life looks exceedingly complex.” They can see all these things. It’s manifest to them, but they deny it. They deny it.
The ideas of macroevolution, of life coming from nonliving things, they’re not true. And they’re not even good science. They’re not observable. They fail to solve the problem of timescales involved to carry those things out. And even with their full package of the multiverse and the whole deal, they don’t even approach this question of why there’s something rather than nothing. Paul goes on in verse 28 of the same chapter. Says, “even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.”
This is how we end up with social epidemics like abortion, where people don’t respect the value of human life because they believe that everything came from chemicals. So what really matters? If you dig deep on that question from that perspective, it’s pretty bleak. Not a whole lot does. But what Paul also writes about, is that we’re not without evidence in this fight. The creation itself stands as evidence. And I think I pointed some of these out as we went through, but there are obvious marks of design and we can take those things as evidence in our arsenal. The idea that life is irreducibly complex at this molecular level, you know, and we’ve only ever seen things like that come into being by human hands or by intelligent design. These “fundamental numbers of the universe,” as Stephen Hawking put it. The fact that this universe is just right, chalking those things up to mere chance. It’s foolishness at its core. It’s foolishness. These things were established by a master craftsman.
In fact, let’s turn over to Proverbs 8, and we read about the master craftsman. He established the created order by wisdom, not by chance, not randomly, but by wisdom. Proverbs 8:22-31 Proverbs 8:22-31 22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass on the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
American King James Version×. Proverbs 8:22 Proverbs 8:22The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
American King James Version×, it said, “The Lord possessed me” that is he possessed wisdom, “at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth.” We think back to our teaching about the age of the universe and how we understand it with the Bible, you know, God knew what He was doing. He didn’t create just a big, sloppy mess and then clean it up. He established it by wisdom, established it by wisdom.
Skipping down verse 25, “Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth;” God had wisdom in the beginning, “while as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primal dust of the earth. When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above, and He strengthened the fountains of the deep,” Skipping down to verse 30, “I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world,” Again, a world full of life, the way God created it, not one in chaos. God is the master craftsman that we read about here.
Well, I’ve talked a lot about this idea of something from nothing. It’s time to talk about exactly how God answers the question that the scientific or atheistic agenda based on false science has not been able to answer. You know, if you think about other gods and other creation stories that, you know, people came up with as they went astray over the ages. False gods typically have a beginning. They hatch out of a cosmic egg. You know, they were in the head of another god and it got split open and they popped out. You know, all… it’s true, I think Athena was that way from Zeus. Psalms 90:2 Psalms 90:2Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
American King James Version×, these gods typically lack a beginning and they lack any kind of virtue. They get drunk. They create the world by accident. They do all these things. They don’t act by the wisdom and virtue found and taught by the God of the Bible.
But in Psalms 90:2 Psalms 90:2Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
American King James Version×, it says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world,” even going back further, “from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” And that’s so critically important that from everlasting, God not having a beginning. So when we thought about the static universe that scientists believed in, how did that solve their problem? Something without a beginning doesn’t need a Creator. That was good enough for them. It’s been good enough for philosophers all along.
In fact, it’s good enough for them now. That’s what they look at with the multiverse. They say it didn’t have a beginning, it doesn’t need a Creator. We were told that our God is like that, our God had no beginning. Therefore, our God needs no creator. He is the eternal source of all things that are created and that exist. He exists in a way that is fundamentally different than how we understand existence, is a way that I’d like to put it. In other words, He answers the great question of how something can come from nothing, just by simply being, that’s what He does. He simply is.
And as for life, I won’t turn there, but if you want to write down John 5:26 John 5:26For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself;
American King James Version×, Christ said in John 5:26 John 5:26For as the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself;
American King James Version×that “the Father has life in Himself,” just as He was as He existed, from everlasting, He also had life in Himself from everlasting, not a life that began or needed a beginning, a life without beginning. And it’s His life essence that transcends physical life, that allows Him to be the source and sustainer of it all. You know, understanding that biogenetic principle. God not needing a source is the source and only from that source came life.
Now, what are the odds that an ancient book just accidentally satisfied all of these great philosophical conundrums and got all these scientific details right just by chance, and handled it so definitely and effectively? Those odds aren’t high. So does the Bible fit sound scientific observation and reason? It absolutely does. Those things that can be observed, that are biblical, the beginning of creation, the age of the universe, the biogenetic principle that life comes from life, creatures reproducing according to their kind, the complexity of the creatures that we see. And contrasting those, we have all kinds of bad science that’s not observed and it also happens to not be biblical. Things like an eternal multiverse, macroevolution, and life beginning at random.
The God of the Bible designed all that we see and observe. It doesn’t matter whether we look out with the naked eye, doesn’t matter if we look with the greatest telescope we can build or the most detailed microscope we can build, we are all as Paul put it in Romans, “without excuse, having seen those invisible qualities of God through those things that are visible.” The only way that a person reasonably might deny God is if they obstinately choose to. But we don’t have to be that way. If we exercise our God-given powers of observation, and rational thought, we can verify the truth of God’s existence. We can verify the truth of God’s power, God’s wisdom, and God’s master craftsmanship made manifest in the universe all around us.