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IMPORTANT BIBLE TOPICS

Photograph Jackson David from Unsplash

Is God Dead?

This famous ‘Time’ magazine headline in April 1966 captured the spirit of the times, and its scepticism still prevails. God does not feature in the lives of most people today. But times have changed.

On Christmas Eve 2014 the Wall Street Journal printed an editorial headed "Science increasingly makes the case for God". It provoked an extraordinary response. The full implications of the discoveries of the previous century were up for debate. The strident atheism that had reigned for so long was being publicly challenged. Since the turn of the century an important series of publications have challenged the prevailing view, among them "Return of the God Hypothesis"’ by Stephen Meyer (2021) and most recently "Is Atheism dead" by Eric Metaxas, (2021). They expand on some of the arguments for the existence of God, all of them springing from scientific and historical developments over the previous century or more. The claim that "science" has dispensed with the need for a creator does not stand up to investigation. There are strong arguments that science increasingly reveals and demands an intelligent, almighty designer and originator:

1 The "Big Bang" Theory

Most scientists today seem to agree that the universe and all space/time began in a massive explosive event which demands a cause and is quite inexplicable in terms of our accepted ‘laws’ of physics. This is a massive change of view since the beginning of the 1900s, when the universe was generally regarded as eternal, and therefore not demanding explanation. Many scientists opposed the new theory in the 1920s because it seemed to smack far too much of the single creative event described in Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning, God created ..." Even though his own theories predicted it, Albert Einstein himself resisted the idea for many years, dismissing it as "inspired by the Christian dogma of creation, and totally unjustified from the physical point of view!. He later admitted this was one of his biggest mistakes.

Albert Einstein with Edwin Hubble at the Mt Wilson Observatory in 1931
Photograph Caltech archive

Some of the evidence was Hubble's work in the 1920s which showed that the universe was expanding, and if tracked backwards in time must have had a beginning. So today we have the interesting situation that a theory initially rejected and derided because it smacked too much of biblical creationism, is now generally accepted through the simple weight of scientific evidence! It also illustrates how even great scientists are prejudiced by their own personal beliefs and philosophies.

2 Evolution under Fire

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, now updated, lies at the root of current popular materialism and atheism. There is a widespread belief that the only people who oppose evolution are religious folk who choose to cling on to the Genesis account of creation, in the face of all evidence to the contrary. This has never been true; there have always been serious scientific objections to the theory, and over the last fifty years or so these have been explored in detail. In 1981 A.E.Wilder-Smith, eminent scientist and scholar, published a now famous book "The Natural Sciences know nothing of Evolution", which proved inspirational for a new younger generation of scientists. In this century a series of books by highly qualified scientific writers have explored the inadequacies of Darwin’s theory. In 2014 the eminent magazine "Nature" published an article "Does evolution theory demand a rethink? Yes, urgently". In November 2016 the debate reached one of the foremost scientific forums in the world, the Royal Society in London. The theme of its conference was "New Trends in Evolutionary biology". Most of the participants were reluctant to abandon the "status quo", but a vocal minority saw the need for a new or "extended" version of Darwinism to deal with the serious problems of the current theory. The public at large, with the connivance of the mass media, remain almost totally ignorant of the debate going on. But in an important breakthrough in 2022 an online article appeared in the British newspaper The Guardian: "Do we need a new theory of Evolution?" Nobody would accuse the Guardian of having religious or creationist sympathies, but the article exposed the discontent amongst contemporary biologists. Some openly queried whether any resolution was possible – perhaps we should be content to remain ignorant, rather than constantly searching for the elusive "theory of everything". Many biologists now believe that the basic mechanism suggested by Darwin, of random variation acted on by natural selection, is quite incapable of accounting for all the creativity, diversity and complexity of the natural world.

3 The 'Fine-tuning' of the Universe

This is the discovery that all the basic parameters of the universe appear to have been very finely adjusted to make life and the universe itself possible. Examples include the strength of the force of gravity, and the strength of the various atomic forces which hold matter together. Estimates vary widely but it seems as if at the very least some thirty of these so-called ‘constants’ have been "tweaked" within very fine tolerances to make life possible, and this could never have happened by chance (see Light Vol 27.3 The Goldilocks Planet). "A common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and there are no blind forces worth speaking about in Nature." (astronomer Fred Hoyle). The attempt to explain this without a designer/creator is the "multiverse" theory, which suggests that ours is just one in an infinite number of different universes, where we just happen to be the one that got all the conditions right. It may be fashionable, but there is no scientific evidence for this theory whatsoever, so it remains a piece of speculative atheist philosophy dressed up as science.

4 The Origin of Life (abiogenesis)

The discovery of DNA in the 1950s showed us that life was not just about chemistry but depended on information, and all attempts since to ascribe the coding, programming and extraordinary complexity of life to chance processes have failed, and will continue to fail. Recognising this, some scientists have suggested that life originated elsewhere and could have been "seeded" on earth by alien visitors. But the aliens too remain elusive, despite the astronomical sums of money being spent on the search for life elsewhere in the universe. The origin of any life at all, alien or otherwise, remains a complete mystery if an intelligent Creator is excluded.

5 Archaeological discoveries in the Middle East

Archaeology as a recognised science came late on the scene, when scepticism of the biblical record had already been established by the critics of the nineteenth century with very little evidence. Since then a continuous series of discoveries have confirmed the authenticity and accuracy of the Bible's account. The sceptical "minimalist" school of archaeology has attempted to discount the evidence, but has been confounded by many of the latest discoveries – the existence of the ancient kingdom of Israel and its most famous king David around 1,000 BC are now established. Many people, places and events recorded in the Old and New Testaments have now been confirmed by evidence outside the Bible record (see the series of articles in earlier editions of Light in the series "The Bible stands the Test of Time"). The collections of the great museums across the world make that evidence available to the public.

The Hittites feature prominently in the Bible account, but were unknown outside its pages – so they were dismissed as mythical until the mid 1800s. Here is the great Lion Gate of Hattussah, the Hittite capital, dating back to around 1400 BC.
Bernard Gagnon/wikimedia

It is no longer possible to simply dismiss the Bible as a collection of traditions and folklore not worthy of serious attention. The widespread rejection of the Bible is not based on evidence but just expresses the anti-religious secular culture of our day. For those who want to explore this subject in detail, see egyptologist A K Kitchen’s comprehensive work "On the Reliability of the Old Testament" 2006.

6 The tide of modern history

Certain aspects of our recent history have been clearly predicted and are heading towards a predetermined conclusion. Many people today will find this suggestion either ludicrous or offensive or quite possibly both. Yet that is the clear implication of the last 100 years or more. In 1947–56 the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered, in what has been described as the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times. Included in those documents were parts of most of the Old Testament, including almost complete scrolls of the prophet Isaiah. They have been reliably dated to around 200 BC. They include multiple predictions about the future of the Jewish people, how they would be nearly destroyed and exiled from their land, but would eventually be regathered, and their neglected land revitalised and restored. Those predictions are clear and unmistakable, so much so that numerous Bible students from Sir Isaac Newton onwards confidently expected the restoration of the Jewish people to their land at some time in the future (see for example Isaiah 11, Jeremiah 33, Ezekiel 37). Amazingly, one year after the scrolls were discovered (1948), and well over 2,000 years after they were written, the State of Israel was declared in Jerusalem by its first president, David Ben Gurion. The first signs of that revival had come at the end of the 1800s, with the work of Theodore Herzl, the first 'aliyah' (return of Jews to Palestine) in 1882, and the first Zionist conference in 1897. Two World Wars and the flight of the Jews from Europe created irresistible pressure for the founding of the new State. The subsequent history of Israel is a matter of common knowledge. Much is lacking and has still to change before the prophets' vision is fully realised, but the challenge is there. Is all this to be dismissed as coincidence, or is the hand of the Creator at work, moving the nations, moving His plan towards its goal?

Dead Sea
Scroll Jar.
Trustees of
British Museum

7 Atheism in the raw

The last 100 years have also demonstrated what happens when atheism is embraced by those with limitless power over their fellow human beings. In this past century, which is supposed to represent the triumph of science and rationality over age-old superstition, an estimated 150 million people have lost their lives to the unrestrained evil of a succession of atheist regimes. Some of the figures are well known: 6 million Jews and some 9 million others, victims of Hitler's "National Socialism"; 12-20 million victims of the Soviets' "scientific atheism", the devastation of Mao's "cultural revolution" in China, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and more. "What Hitler did not believe and what Stalin did not believe, and what Mao did not believe… was that God was watching what they were doing" (David Berlinski – "The Devil's delusion; Atheism and its scientific pretensions" 2008). And yet there are some who would blame religion for all the world’s evils, in spite of this appalling recent evidence to the contrary.

There is nothing new, clever or "scientific" about atheism. One thousand years before Christ, king David's enemies challenged his faith: "Where is your God?" (Psalm 40:3). David had no such doubts, and his response was robust: "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God" ( Psalm 14.1). Today men and women of faith have nothing to fear from the godless materialism which seems to have taken hold like a pandemic over the western world. The last century has shown us wonderful things, and today science continues its great exploration of God's handiwork. This is how Eric Metaxas (see page 9) concludes his book: "...God ... has revealed things to us that we did not know before, that we could not have known before, that we couldn't even have imagined. And based on these new things… we can say something deeply and heartbreakingly beautiful and true: God is not dead. He is alive. Rejoice."

Mao Banner
Picture metmuseum.org
Roy Toms
Norfolk UK
Source Light on a New World reprint from Volume 34.2

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