Thomas Paine wrote in the Age of Reason, “The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles.” Really? Christian theology rests on “no principles”? This seems rather uninitiated with what we know about reality, not only from science but also logic.
One test of truth is whether it is logical. Complying with the laws of logic is a valid criteria in evaluating the truth of any claim. Another philosopher wrote, “Faith may go beyond reason, but never against it”. Christianity holds up to logic real well. The interesting thing about Christianity is that the longer one studies the truths of the Christian faith, the more logical they become. And the more integrated life gets. The Christian worldview just makes sense the longer one interprets life through that grid.
Of course, atheism and it’s scientific cohort Darwinism, claim logic to their worldviews. But as we’ll see, these have fatal errors. The Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, without the aid of the Hebrew Scriptures, reasoned that there must be a God, or at least a First Mover. They deduced with great foresight the existence of subatomic particles and that evolution cannot be true as to the origin of life, topics of our modern world. (Sometimes the wisdom of the ancients dwarf our minds of today). Real truth has to be logical and fit with larger pillars of thought that are anchored in reality. The following are some little known laws of reality that support the Christian worldview.
The Law of Blood and Righteousness. Everybody is concerned about righteousness, who is more righteous at any given moment. In every conflict, everybody claims the moral high ground. Why does that even enter the picture if life is mere biology and actions? Even a bitter person in a road rage incident, whose reaction is not warranted by the situation, is looking to make a claim of righteousness and give legal sanction to his vengeance: “Hey you cut me off. You were wrong first”. Where does the legal notion come from? Who is right and wrong in any given affair is always on everybody’s mind. Even from the advent of television, shows have captured this law of righteousness. From Westerns to Perry Mason, Mannix, Kojak, The Streets of San Francisco, Law and Order, L.A. Law. Everybody is concerned about guilt, sin transgression, righteousness and justice. Who is more right is on our minds and hearts everyday. Where does this come from?
It comes from God and the moral paradigm of His world into which we were placed. Everybody needs to fortify themselves with right thoughts, even artificially, to augment the natural guilt we carry around on a subconscious level in violating a divine standard. Otherwise we couldn’t survive. Guilt is a killer and is manifested in a thousand different neuroses. The problem is, most people concern themselves with horizontal righteousness on a people level to feel better about themselves, though it does little long term good.
How do we explain moral law if man is just a material overgrown blob of biology descended from some prebiotic soup? In a culture dominated by science that only believes what it can see materially in a test tube or a microscope, we question things like authority or morality. I mean, we can’t hold a clump of morality in our hand! So we question it. But it’s real. The law of sin and guilt testify to what Scripture said all along, the most accurate assessment of these realities. What a confused culture. It questions intangibles like authority and yet vindicates it with the establishment of law and order.
Anger is a response to transgression. The Law of Blood says punishment and death is required for transgression. That’s why we have fantasies of revenge when somebody sins against us. Though materialists deny the ideas and the existence of sin, they’re being contradictory when doing so. Go punch an atheist in the face and see what his reactions are. Everybody has a sense of justice. Where did it come from? Governments exist to keep order at it’s fundamental level. It’s not just a study of sociology or anthropology. It’s an endemic need of creation.
All cultures, even ancient primitive people groups, require blood for transgression. Righteousness and justice are part of who God is, and as image bearers, who we are. Righteousness, guilt, transgression are all concepts tightly held in the heart of man. The concept of justice is a reoccuring theme among the prophets of the Old Testament. And Scripture best captures the most accurate way of handling the anger of transgression. Not just those done to us, but our transgressions to others as well. The concept is called atonement for sin, and the means a “scapegoat”. This is described deep in the Old Testament in Leviticus 16:10.
We all have scapegoats to deal with the anger of transgression. Some go home after a tough day at work to kick the dog. Others vent the anger of transgression, aggressively or passive aggressively, on a spouse. Where does that come from? Where does the sense of transgression and retribution come from if there is no objective standard of justice and righteousness built in? To pursue justice and deny God is a philosophical contradiction. As one man said, “The skeptic presumes to judge God by a standard that does not exist apart from God.”
All people groups deal with the guilt of transgression and scapegoats in some way or another- the Maya and Aztecs with human sacrifice, Hitler with the Jews, Pol Pot in Vietnam, Stalin and his Gulags. These are aberrant ways of trying to handle the guilt of transgression in a cursed world without the thorough objectivity of Scripture. But they testify to the law of blood Scripture talks about from the beginning. God in His Word delivers the most temperate, thorough and balanced way of dealing with sin with the atonement and sacrifice of God’s son.
In the Old Testament, atonement was symbolized through the shedding of the blood of animals. In the New Testament, God’s son took the hit of sin for all time in his personal sacrifice. The Law of Blood, Guilt and Righteousness is a reality whether we choose the biblical prescription or not. It is most beautifully and fairly dealt with in the Christian worldview of Christ on the cross. Any other way of transferring the anger and guilt of our sin than onto Christ’s one time sacrifice will lead to a dangerous extreme. So how is Christianity irrelevant when it describes a law of reality we deal with everyday?
The Law of Design. All of reality reflects design. Even Plato reasoned that things or “forms” in the tangible world are types of some prototype from the immaterial world. Everything we observe has a designer: a car, a plane, a sidewalk, a picture. That’s also true for the natural world. To see the logic of design, lets contrast it with the bankruptcy of the only other option: chance. Atheistic scientists hold that the natural world was formed by random chance. They say chance is ‘the assumed impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings’. The problem is that chance is not a determining power. Chance is simply a descriptive term from statistics regarding probabilities; it has no causal powers of it’s own.
The Darwin Delusion
If things are random, why do they subsequently have a tendency towards order, and categories and take on the law of design? If all original matter was random, how does everything then stay in locked grooves? And where did natural law come from to keep things in locked grooves? As one biochemist states: “if biochemical systems are the product of evolution, then the same biochemical designs should not recur throughout nature.” But they do. And they do continually. We see no evidence of macro-evolutionary activity, beings morphing from one major category (such as phyla) to another. The classic atheistic response is to introduce the time factor: “given enough time, things can randomly evolve”. But again time and chance in themselves don’t address the causal power issue. Time doesn’t explain the origin of the fixed laws of science that keep beings within their boundaries. In an age that demands almost video like evidence before it believes anything, Darwinism is more speculative theory than empirical evidence. Darwinism is not only theory in explaining the origins of life, it is a poor theory. Even Darwin himself went on record as saying that if he had knowledge of what we know today, he would never have propounded his theory onto the world.
Biologists can’t even agree on a fundamental definition of life, much less empirically observe how it started. Is it organic or inorganic? A law of biology says that life cannot proceed from non-life. Yet all living beings are composed of inorganic molecules; so what is the mystery that makes them “alive“? Life itself doesn’t contain the answers to the mysteries of it’s own meaning. Philosopher Paul Helm said, “The exact sense in which objects are distinct from God and yet upheld by him is difficult to get clear. It should be stressed that this upholding, being metaphysical or ontological in character, is physically undetectable.”
The more logical answer is that everything takes on the law of design, including the natural world. Everything in our paradigm has a cause, including the raw materials in nature and creation. This is why the Greeks reasoned a First Mover.
Ultimately, Darwinism is an attempt to avoid moral accountability to a Creator. And since man was created with an innate ability to think with order, the world needs a substitute system on which to hang it’s thoughts. There appears to be some initial logic to Darwinism, but not when probed. Think: if things are getting better and better, and species are continually getting upgrades, why is there death? Why even have the concept? Furthermore, Darwinists always use pragmatism or the utilitarian argument to explain why certain animals have certain functions. But pragmatism is a de facto explanation in hindsight. What is the forward looking dynamic within a system that knew it needed certain apparatuses ahead of time? In other words, every system of a living being needs to be in working order to survive. From a utilitarian perspective, what’s the use of half an eye on it’s way to working through up to the whole thing? It wouldn’t survive. It has to be completely developed to function, or not at all.
Some scientists say that the experimentation (driven by chance) that is needed to create new species (or genus, families or phylum), comes from mutations. But science has well established that mutations weaken the genetic structure of beings, which eventually die off. Mutations may produce on a horizontral level, but don’t strengthen nor morph into upgraded creatures.
The Everyday Mystery of DNA
The classic observational difficulty for Darwinists to explain is the DNA code in the living cell. DNA is needed to create new cells, yet new cells seem to be created with the DNA. The problem is this creates a classic chicken or the egg scenario, and can only be solved if DNA is the product of design. The way DNA works is that it’s a message bearing medium, an information coding system. That is, it carries a message that tells a cell what kinds of proteins to make and when to make them. If DNA carries a message, then the message cannot be the product of the chemicals that make up the DNA; it would not be a message at all. In other words, the message cannot be an outgrowth of the medium- just as the words on this page doesn’t arise from the ink and paper. As Lewis writes, “meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them to two other words”. Why is it called DNA and not DAN or AND?
Motor Planet Madness
The “poster child” for intelligent design is the flagellum motor. Life at it’s most fundamental level mirrors what man has created. The motor was invented a little over 100 years ago and our mechanized world operates by the exact systems and components of the motor. The format of the motor is constructed according to how materials work under the present laws of the universe. Yet a few years ago molecular biologists discovered that what drives the cell to locomotion in the smallest and most complicated core unit of life is the flagellum motor. They have been in existence long before what man designed in the last hundred years! Yet when man invented the motor, he didn’t even have the natural blueprint that underwrites nature. The invention of the mechanical one preceded the discovery of the natural one, with great consistency of design. Coincidence? No way. The law of design is the only explanation. Just as the mechanical motor has a designer, so also the natural one. Or in Plato’s terms, the “forms” that we see come from an immaterial prototype.
Just like our motors, these biomachines in cells are composed of a bushing, propeller, drive shaft, rotor, stator and universal joint! And get this. They are far more advanced in construction and operation than our man made equivalents! “The one to one relationship between the parts of the man-made machine and the molecular components is startling,” says one biochemist. The cell’s machinery is vastly superior to anything that man can achieve, operating at nearly 100 percent efficiency, as opposed to 65% for an electric motor. Is this really the product of blind and undirected chemical processes? No. It’s more logical to admit the reality that all structures, whether man made or natural, take on the law of design.
If We’re From Chimps, Then We’re Chumps
Some reply, “what about Chimpanzees? We share a 93% (some studies say 96%) similarity in DNA with chimps; doesn’t that prove common ancestry?” That could just as well be an argument for common design. When materials work within our paradigm, designers tend to use them again. We see this in engineering in such things as buildings, bridges, automobiles, aircraft etc.
When Darwinists use this argument, what you don’t hear is that the “y” chromosomes in chimps share only about 60% similarity as “y” chromosomes in humans. Plus they have to get around what is known as “Haldane’e dilemma”, the founder of which was not necessarily sympathetic to the intelligent design movement. Even using long evolutionary time tables for speciation, Haldane’s dilemma states that it takes a staggering number of mutations in a relatively small number of generations for evolution to work. For the sake of argument, assuming man and apes had a common ancestor, then 40 million separate mutation events would have had to take place and become fixed in the population in only 300,000 generations. This is an average of 1.33 mutations locked into the genome every generation! This is absurd and something we have never observed in the fossil record or in species today.
Furthermore, the 4-7% dissimilarity of chimps and humans is huge, making us completely different, not only in terms of species but also class- a boundary that will never be crossed. It tennis, for example, a struck ball may be 99% out and sharing a high degree of similarity with the part of the court that is out of bounds. But that small 1% on the line makes all the difference. In other words, 1% in is 100% in and changes everything. The 4-7% difference in DNA between chimps and man makes all the difference. It may as well be said that the two creatures are 100% different! As Chesterton wrote, “to say something is like something else is just as much a statement of difference as similarity. To say ‘this dog is like that cat’ is to also to say that the dog is not a cat.”
If an atheistic scientist thinks it is possible to create new species with other “hominids”, why doesn’t he be the first to volunteer in the mutation experiment and mate with a chimp? Not only is there a spiritual boundary in terms of disgust, but it’s also physically impossible. Even some of the two most similar species on earth, the Indian and African elephant, don’t naturally mate in nature. After years of trying, they finally got two to mate in captivity. But the offspring died in spite of their best efforts to artificially intervene! All of reality takes on the law of design, “each after it’s own kind” as Genesis says. This is vindicated by the logic of scientific discovery, common sense and creation itself.
If not Creationism, then what’s the alternative? Nothingness as Paine wrote seems to be more characterized by the hollow substitute of random chance. If atheism is true, why is there something rather than nothing? Life itself does not contain the answers to it’s own meaning. As one Christian thinker said, “frankly what keeps me in the faith after all these years is simply a lack of other options.”
The Law of Reaping and Sowing. We hear all the time to work harder, stay later at the office, drive the ox train harder, and burn the midnight oil to get ahead. And though our culture easily gets things out of balance, there is some truth to working hard. But Scripture, not just the world, emphasizes hard work for the purposes of future benefit as well. And it is sourced in God, who may well have founded the idea. It’s called the law of reaping and sowing. “What a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7).
This is a law of reality that applies to anybody, whether Christian or not. The Bible is a realistic book, not just a religious text, and says work is a reality. Those who do the work get the reward. The early bird gets the worm, whether overtly Christian or not. God blesses courage in action. We are known and judged by our deeds, whether evil or good. It’s not necessarily those who sing praise songs to God that are rewarded; it’s those who actually trust and obey. I’ve seen Christians committed to prayer but not do the hard work of getting out résumés. The job goes to the other guy who did the work. Prayer may be work. But as C.S. Lewis rightly observed, “work is prayer”. Work is another form of getting something done in a cursed world. It’s not working for your salvation. But Christians work out their salvation in the myriad of areas and difficulties in life.
Work is a dynamic that governs our paradigm that has been a godly concept from the beginning. Skeptics can marginalize Christianity as irrelevant all they want, but check the record. It’s there, work is a godly concept sourced in God from the beginning that the world revolves around, not the other way around. The question is, was work a dynamic that existed before the Scriptures were written, and the writers of the ancient text just observing this law of reality and putting it under a Biblical umbrella? Or did God institute work from the beginning and the writers of Scripture, thoughtful and keenly aware of their surroundings, encapsulate the wisdom of the ages in it’s most concentrated form? God defines reality, and work exists because of Him.
The Law of Stature. This law is closely related to the Law of Reaping and Sowing, in which we saw that Scripture, and not the world, has a corner on the truth. The Law of Stature is slightly different and says that suffering precedes stature in anything. Those who pay the bigger price, tend to get the greater glory. The student who studies for two weeks for the final usually does better that the one who studies the night before. The athlete who wakes up every morning at 5 am to train will likely be more celebrated than 90% who don’t. It’s not always a direct linear cause and effect in every situation; but it is a general tendancy. God is a God of reality, not mere profession. This is a law that is seen all throughout Scripture. It’s not just that David called on the name of the Lord when he defeated Goliath-but he was well practiced and he went out in courage – belief backed by action.
The law of Stature is not at odds with Christ’s life and work. He suffered and paid a major price, according to this law, to reconcile our bad relationship with God and to join us with him in kingdom living. And now He is raised up at the right hand of the Father. This is the ultimate example of suffering preceding stature, which stemmed from God to begin with.
In the 1976 Olympics, Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto broke his knee in the team competition. The loss was devastating not only for the team’s hopes at a medal, but personally for Fujimoto. He worked hard for years for this one moment, and now gone. Everyone just knew he would withdraw. But to the delight of the crowd, he entered the rings competition the following day. He got off to a good start, his progression was seamless and his program was excellent. But the critical dismount lay ahead. Flying through the air, and the silence of the arena was deafening. Fujimoto never wavered. He stuck the landing with tremendous impact on his knee, staying upright and firm as the crowd erupted with thundering applause. Afterward, he was candid: “The pain shot through me like a knife. It brought tears to my eyes. But the pain is gone and now I have a gold medal.” This is the law of stature in action. That’s true of Christ as he sits at the right hand of the father. And it will be true for Christians who endure. The pain will be gone and we will have the gold medal of eternal life.
This law of reality was in Scripture all along and is vindicated through smaller examples that we see everyday, such as in sports or personal triumphs. God defines reality and it’s the world that hijacks these ideas, not visa versa. Isaiah 45:19 says, “I the Lord speak the truth, I declare what is right”.
The Law of Specificity. There is a law of reality that says specifics are crucial for skillful living. Taking a certain medication at certain times is the only way to be healed from an illness. The exact login information is required to access accounts on websites. There is one correct combination to unlock the padlock. One works because others do not. The complexities of the cell are so precise or we wouldn’t be here without their functions, sizes and placements. Nucleotides, peptides, polypeptides, DNA, RNA, and tertiary structures, are all highly specific according to the exact blueprint in the DNA. Good intentions are nice but don‘t get the job done. Precision is necessary.
Specifics are crucial for eternal life as well. Scripture is not at odds with specificity, but complies with this law. Christ says, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and any other way to heaven is not. There many be many ways to Christ, but there is only one way to God. People say all roads in life lead to the same place. Really? Have a friend and yourself leave from Atlanta on two different roads and see where you end up.
The Law of Singularity. Related to the Law of Specificity is the Law of Singularity which says that singularity dominates in any given domain. Relativism and pluralism say there says there is no superiority, just differences. But there is only one number one ranked tennis player in the world at any given time. A spark plug tends to fire only one way in a car. A man essentially and completely dies once. One philosophy of government dominates at any given time. Singularity is everywhere. Chesterton wrote, “There is one angle by which a man stands, many by which he falls.” Even Jesus observed this phenomenon when he referred to the heart of a man. Essentially, a man can’t have two competing affections in the heart at the same time. “No one can serve two masters; either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24).
The law of singularity is backed by the law of non-contradiction in philosophy which states that if something is true, then it’s opposite cannot be. If the resurrection is historical, then other religions show do not show the way to eternal life. One is distinct and stands above the rest in terms of love, truth and historical credibility. The law of singularity is all pervading and biblically based.
This may sound arrogant to an outsider, but the law of singularity is seen in every area of life. We may balk at it, but we all subordinate to a superior somewhere. Why shouldn’t singularity apply to religion as well? All religions may contain some elements of truth, but essentially they all can’t be right. The qualitative truths and proofs of Christianity dwarf all other religions. They are not just different flavors of ice cream.
The Law of Initiative. There are several cliché’s that try to capture this law. “Fortune favors the bold“ is one. Or, “It’s better to act than react”. Anybody who has played basketball knows that the guard dribbling the ball up the court has an advantage over the defender covering him. Why? Because the guard knows where he wants to go. It’s tough to anticipate and keep reacting to all the possible movements of the initiator. Defenders and counter-punchers can be very skilled, but over time the initiators have the advantage. That’s why Pete Sampras had the better record against Andre Agassi. He initiated with the serve and brought the big guns out over and again.
Counselors say to patients who are stuck and don’t know what to do, “do something, anything, even a small step. Then the path will clear up and things are realized.” When a college student doesn’t know what to write a paper on, just starting the writing process will cause things to unfold and take shape. Sometimes you have to step into the sea before it will part. It’s a lot easier to turn a moving car than a parked one. Like a crystal stream versus a stagnant pond, bodies of water are healthier to drink from when they’re moving. Employers look for people who are enthusiastic, self starters, take initiative and have passion. These all stem from the observation that “energy is divine”.
The law of movement characterizes God. The resounding theme throughout Scripture is that God is the initiator. He is the pursuer of man. Many think they seek after God or have “found God”, but really God was seeking and pursuing them, the Hound of heaven. With salvation God is the pursuer and initiator, this theme in all 66 books of the Bible. The law of initiative is extremely biblical and defines reality as God made it from the beginning.
The Law of Optimism. Doctors have said for years that the healthiest people are the most optimistic. This is true whether they are overtly Christian or not. Of course, many optimistic people would not declare the Most High as Lord. But when optimistic, they are borrowing from a power in heaven, even if for success only in this life. Some call it the power of positive thinking.
God is the eternal optimist. Unfamiliar with the Scriptures, many pundits accuse it by saying that the God of the Old Testament is angry, negative or judgmental. Nothing could be further from the truth. With such scandalous sin taking place for centuries, God kept the nation of Israel on a very long leash. He is slow to anger, and grace kept Him in restraint.
Even when He pronounced judgment, which is not at odds with grace, God would always deliver a promise of hope, restoration, and a glorious future. After centuries of warnings and words to the wise, God said judgment was imminent in Jeremiah’s day in 605 BC (a mere 20 years later the nation was razed by the Babylonians). But trouble is never the end of the story for believers. In Jeremiah 29:1, God tells the people, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen”. For the believer, things always get better in the end. If it’s not better, it’s not the end.
Optimism is along the lines of living by faith, even when circumstances are not favorable yet. Optimism sees clear skies when it is still stormy. Phony optimism denies all negativity which is not what were talking about here. True optimism sees all of reality, but sees the positive as weightier and transcendent. If God weren’t a God of grace we would all have been out of here a long time ago. God sees what we could be, not what we are. Optimistic people are the easiest and most delightful people to be around because this characterizes God himself. This is why God is so attractive to those who know Him.
The Law of Service. The world vindicates this law everyday and doesn’t even know it‘s source. Isaiah observed in 750 BC the following words that marry the concepts of humility and supremacy: “For this the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy says, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit, in order to revive the spirit of the lowly” (IS 57:15).
With God low is high. He defines higher reality even if it doesn’t always sound profound. Godliness, according to the Old Testament, is caring for orphans and widows. The world revolves around this principle and doesn’t even know it. Highly educated people solve basic matters of ethics and problems. Professors work on hunger problems for the malnourished. Lawyers work to stave off corruption on Wall Street. Engineers design complicated medical equipment for the helpless in society. Doctors do research to cure common diseases. Think tanks are tapped to solve economic and security issues. The highest of intellectual pursuits serve the most basic needs of average people.
Scripture has said all along the high serve the low, which is what Christ did. This has been Scriptural and a law of reality from the beginning. Some say that the Bible just observed this law of reality a long time ago and included it. But it’s also possible that this law of reality proceeds from the character of God and shapes our paradigm.
These realities were in Scripture all along and affirm the divine design, not separate from Scripture. The world operates according to these laws because that’s how God made it. Biblical authors didn’t just observe them. “All truth is God’s truth” even if the world does not acknowledge the God of Scripture as the source. It’s amazing how life fits together and becomes more integrated from a biblical worldview. Life becomes more logical, not less, the longer one is a believer and views life through that grid.
Thomas Paine missed it about the “nothing” argument of theology. Most of the things we have done and the words we hear have passed into nothing. The futility of all other pursuits gives great credence for Christianity. Only biblical truth is what lasts. Paine is long gone but biblical truth preceded him and has remained. It is logical and defines the laws of real reality, things we knew to be true all along but didn’t know were in Scripture. “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
Copyright 2012 by Scott Chandler. All Rights Reserved.