Secular Fundamentalism Pillar-3: "Miracles Are Impossible"



Secular Fundamentalism Pillar-3: "Miracles Are Impossible"


Happy Easter! Every holiday season millions of Christians around the world will celebrate, the “miracle” of Christmas and the cornerstone of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. For the Christian Christmas represents the arrival of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who came into the world because God miraculously fertilized the ovum of the virgin Mary in order to bring forth his Son Jesus Christ—sinless!  Given that the sin-nature passes on to every generation of human beings through the seed of the man, God chose to intervene miraculously, therefore, bestowing upon Jesus two natures united; thus, making Him 100% God and 100% sinless man. Jesus, the God-man, became sin for us by dying on the Cross for our sins, satisfying God's justice while at the same time demonstrating His love for us.  Easter is the evidence of this fact and promise of eternal life when Jesus resurrected from the dead as promised in the bible.
 
Now it should be obvious that both of these events assume that two things are true: (1) God exists, and (2) miracles are possible. Consequently, both holiday celebrations are meaningless if God does not exist and miracles are impossible since the heart cannot really rejoice in what the head rejects. Now the secular "spiritual" person will grasp the Secular Fundamentalists false dichotomy between faith & reason and "believe by faith" in these events which means that they do not really believe it at all.  However, this should not be the case, and the biblical definition of faith does not support this "blind faith" approach to life. This post is going to demonstrate that there is good news in that both the head and the heart can rejoice together because recent scientific discoveries have provided enough evidence that God exists and therefore miracles are possible. This is FAITH & REASON working hand in hand so that you can really celebrate this year--enjoy!

Recent Scientific Evidence Supporting

The Teleological Argument

http://youtu.be/CAc9oNjXe0M
[Click the image above to watch this engineering marvel]

The teleological argument can be stated this way: 
(1) Every design needs a designer; 
(2) The universe and life have highly complex design; 
(3) Therefore there is a designer.   

The reality that the universe came into existence at a single point in time also provides us some information about the cause of the universe itself.  Since space, time, matter, and energy—the four dimensions of our universe—come forth at a single point in time, the cause of the universe must lie outside of the universe itself.  This is exactly what Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking sought to prove when they formulated their space-time theorem of general relativity.  Astronomer and physicist Hugh Ross points out that this theorem proved “that an Entity transcending matter, energy, space and time is the cause of the universe in which humanity lives.”[1]  Additionally, utilizing the principle of uniformity we can reason from the effect—the universe—that the cause must be an intelligent personal Being and not an impersonal force given that intelligence and design are part of the universe.

The topic of design fills many scientific books and has been formulated into what is known as ‘The Anthropic Principle.’  This principle of science states that the universe appears to have been designed for the sake of human life from the very beginning of the Big Bang.  Astronomer and physicist Hugh Ross points out that, “By the end of 2001, astronomers had identified more than 150 finely tuned characteristics.”[2]  Every one of these characteristics of the universe is necessary for human life to exist on earth.  For example, one of the fine tuned characteristics is tied to the very beginning of the universe itself showing that if the rate of expansion of the universe had been smaller than one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have immediately recollapse on itself.  Arguably, science has shown that the universe was created out of nothing by an intelligent being for the purpose of human life.  A purpose or a plan is yet another characteristic of a mind, in this case a divine Mind.

In the fields of microbiology and biochemistry, it has been determined that the living cell is highly complex and shows signs of intricate design. In Darwin’s day, the cell was considered quite simple, nothing more than a simple blob of protoplasm. With advances in microscopic technology that can look intently at the inner workings of the cell, scientists have discovered that the cell is incredibly complicated. As biochemistry professor Michael Behe states:

The result of these cumulative efforts to investigate the cell—to investigate life at the molecular level—is a loud, clear, piercing cry of ‘design!’ The result is so unambiguous and so significant that it must be ranked as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science.  The discovery rivals those of Newton and Einstein.[3]

If we assume intelligence with simple orders of information in everyday life, how much more so should we assume intelligence when we find volumes of information located within a single cell? For example, if you were walking in the woods with your friends and you saw “Jim loves Sharon” written on a tree, what would you immediately assume: Rain damage? A termite came and did it?  Naturally, you assume that an intelligent being must have made the inscription. Hence, for an evolutionist to claim that a single cell with all of its complexity came into existence by random processes would be like claiming that we got Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary by an explosion in a printing shop.  What is most intriguing is the fact that the December 2008 issue of Science magazine has a cover story celebrating the 2008 scientific breakthrough of the year “Reprogramming Cells”.  Now, does it not seem rational that if one can reprogram a cell, then there must have been an original program?  If the scientist used their mind to discover the program, are they not engaged in the task of trying to think the thoughts of the original Programmer after him?




Mind Over Matter?
 
Since the effect contains minds with the ability to discover laws, mathematical formulas, design, and intelligence, does this not obviously point back in time beyond matter itself to an immaterial Divine Mind in the cause?  Neurologist Michael Egnor lists six salient characteristics of the mind, generally accepted by materialist and non-materialist scientists and philosophers.[4] They are intentionality, qualia, persistence of self-identity, restricted access, incorrigibility, and free will.  These are all properties of the mind that make up what is known as the mind-body problem in philosophy.  With the new evidence that the all of the matter of the universe had a beginning, and it was further designed from the beginning to produce life, we already have established the amazing scientific fact that of mind influencing matter in a similar way that our minds influence us.  Each of these six salient properties of the human mind, which is evident in the effect are by definition implicit in the cause.  Since these properties are immaterial, could it be that this is evidence that there is an immaterial part of us as dualism contends?  Nobel laureate and the father of neurophysiology Charles Sherrington, the father of epilepsy surgery Wilder Penfield, and Sir John Eccles Nobel laureate and pioneer in the study of neuronal synapses are all dualists who believe that the evidence is clear—there is!




Miracles Are Supernatural Events That Are Discernible

Since overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that it is reasonable to believe that the universe was created ex nihilo by an intelligent cause, David Hume's famous argument against miracles simply does not stand.  Hume's argument against the possibility of miracles can be summarized as follows: (1) miracles by definition violate natural laws; (2) natural laws are unalterably uniform; (3) therefore, miracles cannot occur.[5]  Hume’s argument falls short because the ability to create something out of nothing is obviously the greatest miracle of all.  What’s more, if it is true that a theistic God exists then his argument violates the law of cause and effect because only those in this space-time continuum are bound by the laws of nature.  The law of cause and effect that flows out of the principle of causality which simply states that the effect can never be greater than the cause.  The universe had a cause, thus, the universe is an effect.  Consequently, the cause of the universe, God, has sovereignty over the laws of nature as its Lawgiver and governing authority.  Hence, the Lawgiver has the authority to intervene any way that He sees fit without violating natural laws, since He is the one who put those laws in place and governs them.  In Hume’s argument, he reverses the roles given that he has God, who is the cause, subject to the laws of nature, which is the effect.  More to the point, this use of the term ‘laws’ when speaking of nature is disingenuous given that these supposed laws simply state how nature operates not how nature must operate.

A recognized authority over the law intervening at times is something that we experience in everyday life, yet we never view this intervention as a violation of the law. For example, every Sunday I approach a stop sign while exiting McLean Bible Church onto Route 7.  As I approach the stop sign, I see a police officer waving his hand directing me to continue through the stop sign, without stopping, onto Route 7.  Is this a violation of the law?  Does this now mean that I can speed through every stop sign that I approach from now on?  I recognize that the answer to both of these questions is—no!  This was simply an intervention by a recognized person of authority who had the sovereignty to intervene at a specific point in time for a specific purpose.  The same principle holds true for God who is the recognized authority over creation.  He has the authority to intervene in His created world any time that He sees fit, and for whatever specific purpose He has for doing so.

Since the weight of the evidence points to a God who exists and has the ability to create the world out of nothing, then the greatest miracle has already occurred—creating something out of nothing.  A God who created something out of nothing can certainly create something—that is miraculous to us—out of something.[6] In addition, given the fact that God created the world, He has the authority to intervene without violating His laws that He placed in nature.  In short, because a God exists who can create something out of nothing miracles are not only possible but actual.

Conclusion

Seeing as we cannot apply the scientific method to the cause of the universe, which lies outside of the universe, we are left with an interpretation of the evidence in the effect to best explain the cause.  Therefore, both atheistic and theistic views of reality require faith and the debate has always been which view requires more of it. In light of the scientific evidence many astronomers, physicists, and philosophers are concluding that they no longer have enough faith to be an atheist.  Furthermore, in a theistic universe one should expect a God who acted in times past to miraculously bring about something out of nothing, to do something that is miraculous to us with the purpose of sending us a message.  Given that human life was part of the original design at the very beginning, and given the fact that we have minds that discover laws and order, we would be able to discern the miraculous when it occurred for it would have to temporarily suspend the natural order.  In doing so, the Divine mind would be once again influencing matter intentionally, with free-will, for a purpose and possibly with the expectation that we have the mind to discover this message.

So during this holiday season when someone gives you the ‘weird eye’ for believing in miracles, remind him or her of the facts above and boldly proclaim "I do not have enough faith to be an atheist!"  As a bonus, you might want to provide this quote by Agnostic Astronomer Robert Jastrow:

“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream.  He has scaled the mountains of ignorance: He is about to conquer the highest peak: As he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” (God and the Astronomers, p. 107).

May your heart receive God’s miraculous gift of Jesus Christ this Holiday Season.

God’s gift was wrapped on Christmas morning,

Offered on Good Friday and,

Is ready to be received today
  

Building men of virtue in a culture of vice,
 
Peter P. Lackey, Jr.
Founder, Man's Ultimate Challenge
"It is essential to a virtue to be about the difficult and the good" - Thomas Aquinas


Footnotes:
  
[1] Hugh Ross, “Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity,” Facts for Faith, Qtr.1, No. 8 (2002): 29 [emphasis in original].

[2] Ibid., 26.

[3] Michael Behe, Darwin’s black box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 232-33.

[4] Michael Egnor, “The Mind and Materialist Superstition,” http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/11/the_mind_and_materialist_super.html, (accessed November 26, 2008).

[5] Geisler, “Miracles, Arguments Against” in Apologetics, 458.

[6] Ibid.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Shame And The Cross

One of my most popular sermons. So many people confuse guilt and shame. So much so, that guilt gets the credit when it is shame that is the ...