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Why is there something rather than nothing?

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What is the starting point? What is the ultimate reality? There are three major views:

- Theism = God

- Naturalism = Evolution

- Pantheism = There is nothing

Whatever it is, it is above man and cannot be observed. It has to be taken by faith.

A. Pantheism

Pantheism teaches that nothing is real. It’s all an illusion. The ultimate reality is a spiritual force. It’s very difficult to explain something that doesn’t make any sense (I guess that would mean I’m not enlightened), so I opted for a long quote which explains it better than I can:

The oldest and simplest form is Pantheism, which asserts that God is, and unfolds himself in, everything there is. In other words all that there is God. God is not a Creator from outside, but the sum total of all the reality of which we are a part. That being the case, the ‘way of salvation’ for man is to become one, or feel one, with nature. He must avoid artificiality, ignore man-made rules of right and wrong, and be as true to nature as he can.

At the other extreme from Absolute Pantheism the Hindu philosophers placed a view which might be called Illusionism, but we will stick to the terminology of Vedanta philosophy and call it Absolute Monism or Non-Dualism. It is fully argued by the philosopher Shankara (7th or 8th century AD) though this type of thinking goes back a thousand years before that. Shankara held that the only reality is God, and all this world is imagination (Maya). Indian philosophy professors delight in confusing their students by asking them to prove that they are not dreaming. Since dreams appear so real, it is logically impossible to prove that our own existence is not a dream. The way of salvation in Absolute Monism is to realize the dream nature of all we think we know and get through to perceiving God or the Absolute, which is identical with one’s deepest self. This way is called the way of knowledge, and Yoga meditation is prescribed to attain this realization and unity.

In its strict form Shankara’s philosophy is logically unanswerable, but practically unreal. Man cannot live his daily life happily in the assumption that nothing of what he does or reads or sees, or the friends around him, is real. … Modern man wants to live his life existentially in a real world with his own responsible decisions. The nearest present-day equivalent is Christian Science, whose disciples may not doubt their own existence but are expected to doubt the existence of their pain and disease.

At least 2,000 years before Darwin the Sankhya-Yoga philosophers of India set out their view of the universe in evolutionary terms. They visualized the evolution of our present cosmos as a rope opening out its strands to all the variety of nature and life as we know it. Since they were Monists the rope had to be eternal, and it kept opening out in the process of creation, and then retwisting its strands in the process of dissolution. Thus we are part of an eternal pulsating universe. Just now the universe seems to be in its expanding and creative stage, but it will eventually start folding up again, and so on ad infinitum.18

So, for the pantheist, the answer to the question, “Where does everything come from?” the answer is, “It doesn’t.” It doesn’t exist.

Remember our discussion about tests of reason, experience, practice? Does this fail any of those tests?

This guy says that pantheism is logically unanswerable, but here’s a logic question: Why would the pantheist need to come up with a theory for the evolution of the universe when it doesn’t really exist.

Does it match your Experience?

How does it fail the Practice test? Can you live with the idea that everything is “one”? We’ll get into this in more detail when we discuss good and evil, but for the pantheist, if everything is one, then you can’t have opposites like good and evil. So, what do you do if something evil happens to you? Deny it?

Remember that the New Age Movement is really just Hinduism/Pantheism repackaged in western terminology. Also, remember our quote from Shirley MacLaine? That’s a good example of becoming enlightened and realizing that she was god and the entire universe was just a product of her imagination.

B. Naturalism

Everything evolved… from goo to the zoo to you.

1. It’s Not Science

I think the best way to approach the argument is to emphasize the limitation of science. Science is based on empiricism – what you can observe and measure. If you can’t repeat it, measure it, falsify it, it’s not science. It’s speculation. It’s philosophy. It’s religion.

So, when scientists make statements about the reason for the extinction of the dinosaurs, they are guessing. When they make claims about the origin of the universe, they are guessing. They can’t repeat it, they can’t observe it, etc.

The Naturalist’s assumption is that there is no God. Matter is all there is. For example, in Physics Today, someone wrote, “The first criterion is that any scientific theory must be naturalistic.”19 In other words, if your belief is that God created everything, that’s not “scientific.” But somehow assuming that a supernatural being did not create everything is scientific. Do you see how they’ve stacked the deck and set the rules so that a Christian scientist can’t play in the game because he breaks the first rule. But their first rule is an assumption. It’s not scientific. It is philosophical, it is religious, and taken on faith. But because for years we’ve been beat over the head with the idea that there is a religion-versus-science dichotomy, people believe that if a scientist says it, it must be a scientific fact.

We could say the first rule of science is that God created everything, and created an orderly universe and then use science to figure out how God made it all work. And the more we learn, the more we can marvel at His ingenuity, His greatness, etc. Our first rule would be just as scientific as theirs. In fact, that was the assumption of most scientists for the first 300 years after the Renaissance.

When Darwin came up with evolution as a hypothesis to answer the big question without any need for God, those that wanted to do away with God welcomed his theory with open arms, and they assumed it was true even without proof. They assumed the proof would follow. They wanted it to be true.

Richard Dawkins, author of The Blind Watchmaker, said “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”20

Here are a couple of quotes from scientists/evolutionists that show that evolution really is a religion and not science.

Richard Lewontin, an American evolutionary biologist says,

"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."21

Michael Ruse, professor of history and philosophy and author of The Darwinian Revolution (1979), Darwinism Defended (1982), and Taking Darwin Seriously (1986), acknowledges that evolution is religious:

Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion--a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit in this one complaint. . . the literalists [i.e., creationists] are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.22

So, at least some well known scientists are being honest about the fact that their views on origins are not scientific.

The test of reason is probably the most important one to apply here, especially since “reason” or science is what naturalism holds out as most important.

So, what are some logical problems with evolution?

2. No supporting evidence23

In Oct 2005 there were some articles on evolution in the religion section of the Dallas Morning News, Jacob Weinberg said:

But the acceptance of evolution diminishes religious belief in aggregate for a simple reason: It provides a better answer to the question of how we got here than religion does. Not a different answer, a better answer: more plausible, more logical and supported by an enormous body of evidence. Post-Darwinian evolutionary theory, which can explain the emergence of the first bacteria, doesn't even leave much room for a deist God whose minimal role might have been to flick the first switch.24

How do you deal with statements like this? You must remember that we live in a postmodern society where it doesn’t matter if what you say is true. In fact on Friday (2/9/2007) on the Michael Medved show, Michael was interviewing Dr. Frank Luntz discussing his new book Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear. Their topic was focused on politics, but it applies to our subject as well. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true, it’s just how you say it. And Jacob Weinberg said what he said above with great authority and conviction. Most people read that and assume it must be true since it’s said with such conviction and in print in a major newspaper.

But the truth is that evolution is not supported by an enormous body of evidence. In 1980 at the Macroevolution conference held in Chicago, the paleontologists told the biologists that there was zero support for evolution in the fossil record. Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard called this the “trade secret of paleontology.”25 So, the fossil record doesn’t support evolution — they never found the missing links. So scientists came up with punctuated equilibrium as new model. Since they couldn’t find any transitional forms, the conclusion was that the changes happened all at once. But again, they have no explanation of how that would happen.

Let’s look at some of the evidence that has been used over the past 100 years:

Finches — during the dry season, the finches’ beaks grew longer to enable them to dig deeper into the seeds to get at the food. This was heralded as proof of evolution. What’s not usually reported in biology textbooks is that the change in beak was only thickness of fingernail, and the beaks changed back when it started raining again. When it was all over, they were still finches.

Moths — It’s probably true that the light colored moths got eaten by birds and so the dark ones had dark offspring. When the pollution went away, the light colored ones came back. But when it was all over, they were still moths. Both of these are illustrations of micro-evolution – which no one denies. But there are no examples of macro-evolution, so they keep using these examples.

Haeckel’s Embryo chart — One of the early theories was that the embryo goes through the steps of evolution as it develops. In 1876 a German scientist named Haeckel drew a chart that showed how a fish, salamander, tortoise, chick, hog, calf, rabbit and man all looked the same in the early stages of development. His drawing showed how they all had gills and other similarities. A couple years later it was discovered that he made it all up. But even though it was known to be a fraud, it was still used in high school and college biology textbooks for the next hundred years.

And in 1990 Carl Sagan wrote an article for Parade magazine justifying abortion based on this false information that a human fetus was not human until the very last stages of development. I seriously doubt that Sagan was unaware of the Haeckel Hoax and that the whole theory of “Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny,” (literally: Development is a replay of Ancestry) had been discarded long ago.26

All the examples we’ve grown up with in high school text books are either of micro-evolution or have been proven to be fakes, but they continue to use them. Why? Because they don’t have anything else. Because they really aren’t concerned with the truth. They have their agenda and will do anything to promote it.

If they don’t have any proof, and they still believe it, then one needs to recognize that their belief in evolution is really just faith. And it takes just as much faith, and one could argue that it takes more faith, to believe in evolution with all of its problems than to believe in the supernatural.

3. Cause Effect

Scientists have discovered that the universe/galaxy hasn’t always just been there. It is expanding – like the ripples in a pond when you throw a rock in it. This means it started at one point. What caused it to start?

When you press a scientist about where Z came from, they say it was from Y. When you ask where Y came from it was X. Where did X come from? From W. Eventually you get back to a point where there was nothing. And you can’t have something come from nothing.

Charles Hodge said,

A cause is something. It has real existence. It is not merely a name for a certain relation. It is a real entity, a substance. This is plain because a non entity cannot act. If that which does not exist can be a cause, then nothing can produce something, which is a contradiction.27

Now, if there is a God who is eternal, above space and time, and was the first cause – who created everything out of nothing. Then that would explain it.

4. Intelligent Design

As science advances technologically and is able to see smaller and smaller cells, it discovers that even the smallest cells are extremely complex. This doesn’t fit with the theory that things evolve from simple to complex because they haven’t found anything that is simple. Even when you get down to single cell organism you find that they have a flagellum for moving about that is more complex than the motor on my bass boat. They have DNA that contains millions of pieces of information. Darwin had no idea how complex a single cell was. If he had, he would never have come up with the theory of evolution.

Intelligent Design is a phrase coined by creationists to argue against evolution. It states that since even the supposedly simple organisms are still complex, or that since organs like the eyeball have to have all their pieces working together before you have sight, these things indicate that they were designed by some intelligent being. It is an argument from empirical observation and logic that says design means there has to be a designer. If you had a million tornadoes blow through a million forests, you wouldn’t end up with a house.

There are numerous examples from nature that can’t be explained by evolution. Take the bombardier beetle. It produces two chemicals inside its body in separate chambers. For defense it shoots those two chemicals out at the same time. When those chemicals are combined upon exit, they react with each other and create an explosion. One must wonder how something like that could evolve. If the beetle ever mixed the two before the two chambers were formed in its body, it would explode. And how would it know to evolve two separate chambers for the production of some “future” chemicals it would manufacture? It would seem that some being with a great imagination created the beetle like that from the beginning.

There were a series of articles in the Dallas Morning News (Oct 2005) about intelligent design. One of the evolution supporters made the statement that Intelligent Design as a system fails to answer the questions of origins and had no scientific validity. That is kind of a silly accusation. This guy was either very confused or more likely is just trying to misdirect people. Intelligent Design is not a system with the answer, it is really the question which points us to the only logical conclusion. It is a scientific inference based on empirical evidence – complex molecular structures in a single celled organism are best explained as the product of an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process like natural selection. Of course the scientist is going to say ID has no answers since it points us to God as the answer.

5. Uniqueness of Man

We’ll take a whole class to discuss this, but in short, man’s conscience, intelligence, and love separate him from the animals. In every culture there is a belief in some higher being. Naturalism can’t explain the that. It can’t explain the inner world because it can’t see it, can’t measure it, etc.

6. Conclusion

I find it interesting that the scientific assumption is that there is no supernatural creator because there is no supernatural. But at the same time, if you look at our society it seems that there is an infatuation with the supernatural. If you look at the TV lineup – there are shows like Heroes, Supernatural, The Dresden Files, Charmed, etc. I believe most of the shows are about demons and not about God which is probably significant. But it’s sort of amazing to me that everyone goes with the non-supernatural explanation for the origin of the universe, but is obsessed with supernatural phenomenon.

The logical answer leads us to the existence of a Supernatural being who created everything. That is why there have been several books released lately by scientists who were taught the “system,” bought into the system, but once they started studying biology, astronomy, etc. they realized that the system didn’t explain things. Some of those books are Reason in Balance, Darwin on Trial, Darwin’s Black Box, The Evolution of a Creationist.

Brian Jones says in a review article on Darwin’s Black Box:

As a recent creationist committed to presuppositional apologetics, I can recommend Darwin’s Black Box as a potentially powerful agent for disequilibrium. That is, if one is convinced that Darwinian evolution is a proven fact, Behe’s work can be used to show the fallacious nature of a materialistic worldview. What one cannot do is prove the existence of God using Behe. This book fits into a presuppositional approach in that it may be able to move the debate from Darwinism to the philosophical worldview behind it, namely a chance universe. If the believer is able to show the unbelieving Darwinist that his worldview cannot account for reality in the realm of science (or logic, morality, human freedom, or human dignity) but that the Christian-theistic worldview can account for such reality, then the believer can silence objections of unbelief and demonstrate biblically to the unbeliever the truth of the gospel and his need to repent.28

C. The Bible Says:

Gen 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Rev 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, since you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created!

Col 1:16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him - all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers - all things were created through him and for him.

Ps 33:8-9 8 Let the whole earth fear the Lord! Let all who live in the world stand in awe of him! 9 For he spoke, and it came into existence, he issued the decree, and it stood firm.

Acts 17:24-34 Paul’s discussion with the Greek philosophers…

John 1:1-3, 14-15 – Jesus was in the beginning with God. He is fully God. He created all things.

D. Conclusion

Why does evolution continue to be promoted when it has been disproven? Why do high school and college textbooks still use finches, moths, embryo chart to teach evolution when scientists have known for years that they are fakes?

Answer: Because the only alternative is to recognize that God created everything. And if there is a God, then man is accountable to Him. Rom 1:18f

Once people have made the philosophical commitment that there is no God, they can be persuaded by relatively minor evidence to believe in evolution.

18 Religion: Origins and Ideas. Robert Brow. http://www.brow.on.ca/Books/Religion/Religion9.html

19 Total Truth, p. 169.

20 Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p. 6.

21 Richard Lewontin, Professor. "The New York Review", January 9, 1997, p. 31 (Emphasis in original.)

22 Michael Ruse, "Saving Darwinism from the Darwinians," National Post (May 13, 2000), B3. Taken from http://www.americanvision.org/articlearchive/religion_of_evolution.asp

23 This section is a summary of Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth pp 158ff.

24 Jacob Weinberg, Dallas Morning News, Oct 2005.

25 Pearcey, Total Truth, p. 166.

26 Excellent explanation of Haeckel hoax at http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2049

27 Lewis Sperry Chafer, Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 95, p. 269).

28 Brian Jones. “A Review Article: Darwin’s Black Box.” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal Volume 5 p. 134.

Related Topics: Creation