Truth, Science, Religion and the Bible: Part I
Introduction: The seven-part series: Truth, Science, Religion, and the Bible examines their linkage to show that science and the Bible are not at odds. Moreover neither is faith and reason. God is the God of His world and gives truth in various ways.
Periodically, I read the caption: What does science say these days? People are interested in what science says but too often they never define the term science and they unquestioningly trust the information they have read. Further almost any issue seems to be a fair target for science. The questions: what is science and how should the believer relate to it are valid questions and deserve solid answers.
First, we define the term science. Science is systematized knowledge derived from observation, study, and experimentation carried on in order to determine the nature or principles of what is being studied. Science then is associated with knowledge and it assumes that man is a rational, thinking being. This presupposition is vital to any discussion of science. Science purportedly addresses causation, but so often, it does not necessarily address correlation. The two are not synonymous. Science is a branch of knowledge dealing with a body of facts (some would say truths) that are obtained through study. Once ascertained these facts are systematically arranged and are purported to show the operation of general laws. The facts have been obtained through the so-called scientific method which involves observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of the observed phenomena. In summary, science can be defined as the systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation through the scientific method.
These definitions often work well for the so-called physical sciences such as chemistry, physics, and biology. Chemical reactions and the results are observable – visible. There is another division of the sciences which is called the social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, and psychology. These disciplines are called science apparently because they are actively involved in giving descriptions of behavior which they formulate into a label. These people are often unbelievers. The labels take on the air of scientific fact for the labeler, the one bearing the label, and those who assist in the care of people especially those who carry the label. In the area of counseling, so-called scientific facts define the person and his problem and direct a solution. Often, the labels are used to direct counselors of various types how to minister to fellow Christians, patients, and counselees.
When we read any report including those dubbed as scientific, we must remember that sinful people, both believers and unbelievers, theorize, perform experiments, make observations, interpret the finding, and proclaim conclusions. A person’s worldview influences the scientist’s collection and interpretation of the data. How should a Christian handle so-called scientific statements or facts? How does Truth, Science, Religion, and the Bible fit?
First, it is important to remember that God is the God of science. God established the heavens and the earth and set in motion how His creation runs. God is the Creator, Controller, and Sustainer of all of life. Second, God has ordained the discovery of so-called natural and physical laws and facts that help explain how He controls and runs His universe. He gifted mankind, both believers and unbelievers, for this task. Therefore, science is not the issue. Rather the scientist is! Further, all facts are to be interpreted by the scientist according to some standard.
Third, when these findings and their interpretation are divorced from their source, the Creator, Controller God, they are being used to dishonor and defame Him. In other words, the scientist sins against the third commandment. Fourth, all discoveries must be placed under the umbrella of biblical truth and its application. God is the God of His world, science, the scientist, and those who benefit from scientific discoveries. Fifth, it is vitally important to remember that every person is a theologian because he has beliefs about God and a relationship with Him whether denied or not. Moreover, he lives in God’s world as a dependent creature. He thinks because he was made as God’s image bearer. Sixth, since God is Creator, Controller, Sustainer, and Redeemer, and since man is a sinner, God, not man has the proper diagnosis and solution for mankind’s problem. Truth, Science, Religion, and the Bible are four pillars that must be trusted and tested. God’s word has already been tested and found true (and trustworthy (Psalm 18:30; 19: 7-10; 36:9; Proverbs 30:5-6)
1. What is your definition of science?
2. How have scientific facts been a blessing to you?
3. How do you distinguish science from the scientist?
Truth, Science, Religion, and the Bible: Part II
Science and Religion
Generally, discussions including this one: truth, science, religion, and the Bible, has give-and-take in varying degrees. The give-and-take is determined by a number of factors: the identity of the person; the subject matter; the different positions and perspectives based on a source of truth and a standard of each person; the capacity to think; the capacity to interpret and to draw conclusions using an interpretative lens or grid; and the capacity to choose and to implement conclusions via willful actions. The implementations can take varying forms such as a personal creed, a published report, and an exhortation for all persons everywhere to “get with the program.” Sometimes the discussion is more give than take. The goal may be to pass on information for reflection and further discussion or to convince the other person of the validity of a certain position. Often one or both parties hold to his position more convinced in the rightness of his position and the wrongness of the other position.
A person holds to his position on the basis of faith. God created man a faith-based being. Man has faith in something. The object of the faith may be within himself and or outside of himself. The individual decides the object of his faith and how to pursue functioning as a faithful disciple and adherent to what he believes to be true. This is true for both the believer and unbeliever. The object of the believer’s faith is the Triune God. However, the unbeliever denies almost everything written in these first two paragraphs. He is faith-based and the object of his faith is in science as he knows it not necessarily as it is, his own reasoning, and his conclusions. You are beginning to see the relation: truth, science, religion, and the Bible.
There are and will continue to be various answers to the origin of mankind and creation, man’s identity and purpose, problems and solutions, and mankind’s and creation’s destiny. Several factors direct and guide any discussion regarding life and mankind. These factors that are inherent in the discussant(s) include:
• the fact of being;
• rationality and knowing including the ability to learn and interpret;
• faith and faithfulness based on a standard and allegiance to that standard;
• a person’s tenacity in holding to his position;
• a person’s morality and ethics.
These terms may not be articulated as such but the concepts are givens in the world as we know it. Based on the presupposition that man is a rational, responsible, faith-based being, there is always a starting point which governs a person’s agenda as he pursues proving the validity of his position.
All argumentation is by its nature circular moving from and returning to the starting point. Everyone has a starting point and works from it, by it, and back to it. The picture I painted above fits the everyday life of every person. Every person is an interpreter and will draw conclusion as he interprets the events and the people of his day. Awakening in the morning, engaging in activities during the day, and completing the day involves thoughts, desires, and actions based on a standard for determining the “what ifs” and “whys” of daily life. Feelings, logic, personal experience, and faith drive a person to begin, to continue, and to end the day. Again the relation between truth, science, religion, and the Bible is germane.
From the above and practically speaking, it is obvious that human living includes choices based on a standard. Every person has a standard and the capacity to use it. Subsequently he makes conclusions based on his interpretation of the facts according to his standard. Everyone has a standard and uses it. Why? Man is a rational, thinking being who chooses and makes decisions.
A logical and personal question follows: What is your standard for making the above claims and how did you arrive at that standard? From one perspective personal reality is what the person experiences and what he understands or proclaims as real. In that answer I have given at least two standards (actually sources) of reality: experience and reason. Often these are mixed with feelings. However, any thinking being must add faith to the equation. He trusts the fact that he is a thinking being because experience tells him so. He has faith in his reasoning, his use of it, his experience, his interpretation of it, and those who have gone before him. Descartes went so far as to say, “I think therefore I am.” He used his capacity to think and to doubt to confirm his being – his aliveness. His being led him to conclude that God existed and was real. He moved from man to God but he knew God existed.
Others conclude God does not exist. How would a person arrive at that conclusion? The fact that the person even entertains the non-existence of God must not be ignored. In fact, no matter how a person tries and schemes, he can’t get away from God – in this life and surely in the next. Since God exists and is who He says He is it is futile and foolish to run from God. God is man’s environment (Psalm 139).
1. Every person has presuppositions (beliefs) from which he thinks, desires and acts. What are yours and why?
2. The fact that man is a thinking, reasoning being is non-disputable although some would say man is an animal and instinctual. How do you explain the fact that man is a thinking, reasoning being?
3. Thoughts, desires, and actions require a standard. What is yours and why?
Truth, Science, Religion, and the Bible: Part III
Science and Religion
Continuing our series: truth, science, religion, and the Bible, we move to science. Generally it is agreed or should be (here is another standard) that science can be defined. The word science comes from the Latin scientia, meaning knowledge. Science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge. Here is the rub. What is the system or methods for acquiring knowledge? Francis Bacon is generally considered the father of the scientific method. He stressed experimentation and induction from data rather than a philosophical deduction in the tradition of Aristotle. The scientific method had two major assumptions: causality and rational thinking. Causality refers to a cause that produces an effect. Something precedes an effect and can be explained by science or “common sense.” Rational thinking refers to man’s capacity to draw conclusions based on observations and his interpretation of them. The idea is that faith is excluded. Wow and whoa! That statement is a faith-based statement! How is it possible to exclude faith from man’s existence and being? I will answer in due time. We could have added to our four terms: truth, science, religion, and the Bible, a fifth term – faith. Faith is involved in all four terms.
Scientific fields are commonly divided into two major groups: natural sciences which studies natural phenomena and social sciences which studies human behavior and cultural groups or societies. The natural or hard sciences include fields such as chemistry, biology and physics. The realm of study is the natural, physical world and so-called natural laws. Natural phenomena are explained by discoverable laws via the hard sciences using the scientific method. Objective data is obtained from experimentation which is observed and conclusions are drawn as to whether a preceding hypothesis is “scientifically-sustainable.”
In distinction are the so-called soft or social sciences which include such disciplines as sociology, anthropology, and psychology. Human nature, including man’s behavior and motivation and cultural societies are the subject of these disciplines. The social sciences are characterized by personal observations and descriptions which are based on subjectivity. Notice at least one contrast between the hard and soft sciences. They are objectivity and subjectivity. Objectivity refers to that which is observable and consequently measurable. Subjectivity refers to a feeling aspect which is elusive and observer-dependent.
There is another way to discuss science which include origins or historical science and operational/experimental science. Both the subjects of creation and evolution fall into the category of origins and historical science. This category addresses the how of existence but not the why. The subject matter is the origin of things in the past that may help explain the “now” and even the future. However, the subject matter is by and large unique, unobservable, and unrepeatable. No one except God was there when the heavens and earth came into existence (a presupposition and in fact the only valid one!). In contrast, experimental/operational science is by and large based on experimentation and objectivity. In each of these categories of science, hypotheses are initiated based on some standard. Conclusions are then drawn based on faith in the process, the person’s understanding of it, his own thinking about the results, and faith in his description of the phenomenon observed.
Not only is science and its study faith-based but the doing of it is faith-based. Again we understand the linkage: truth, science, religion, and the Bible. Why are these things the way? It is because all scientists are faith-based. They have an identity. They start somewhere as they pursue an agenda based on who they say they are. They arrived at their own identity based on initial presuppositions and bring that thought process to the field of scientific endeavor.
What was Bacon’s starting point? Bacon was reported to have been a believer in God and especially in the God of the Bible. A critic, who may or may have known the personal history of Bacon, wrote that Bacon’s belief system was no different than a child believing in mythical creatures before he matures and knows better. The person concluded that the scientific method is simply applying common sense (however defined) which de facto leaves out God, superstitions, and emotions from any consideration. Interesting, provocative, and quite definitive from his perspective isn’t it?
The previous sentences contain a faith-based statement that assumes that rationality and personal rationality are kings because man is king. It assumes that man’s capacity to think just is even though he believes man rose from the inanimate and immaterial primordial slime (i.e. evolution) – nothing to molecules to man in all his complexity One can only wonder how this person reached his conclusions. He has based his whole life on the truth or falsehood of his presuppositions.
In the area of medicine and its practice, we see the same type of debate regarding science and religion. Truth, science, religion, and the Bible touches almost all endeavors at claiming truth, however defined. The call has been: evolution is science and creation is religion so don’t mix them in the office and with patients. Such it is in the field of medicine. The mantra is: medicine is science and bringing the Bible into it is religion. Therefore, don’t mix the two.
There are parallels in the area of creation and evolution and the area of medicine and its practice. God is the God of science and medicine. He may or may not be the God of the scientist and the physician. Even if He is, that fact does not guarantee that the scientist or the physician will practice biblically based faith-based science or biblically-based medicine. Both will practice faith-based science and medicine respectively. Most scientists and physicians don’t understand what it means to practice biblically-based science or medicine. Sadly, many deny that either of these exists.
Natural laws of nature and the body have been discovered both believers and unbelievers under the direction of a sovereign God. Rightly interpreted, these discoveries help explain God’s design of His world, His creation, and His creatures. Here again we meet truth, science, religion, and the Bible. Moreover, they give man an insight into the God of this world. When these discoveries are divorced from the God of heaven and earth, they are being used as God-denying discoveries. God does not bless His competition (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11).
The key question in our discussion is: who is the God of the scientist? It makes no difference which kind of scientist we are speaking – a medical doctor, a chemist, a biologist, or physicist. Science is a God-given reality in God’s world. It must be used as a tool to glorify Him. Not all disciplines do that by their nature. Some are man-centered such that God is excluded from the facts, their interpretation, the problem, and the solution. Truth, sci4ence, religion, and the Bible is always lurking. You can deny its reality but that does not change the facts.
The scientist brings faith-based presuppositions to experiments and to his conclusions. Too often, scientists and physicians deny their faith-based approach to life. When they do, they are actually affirming that all of life is faith-based.
Since this is God’s world, no area of life including the practice of science and medicine, no part of the universe, and no aspect of man is to be divorced from biblical truth. Faith that is in man and self and in so-called science is an empty, vain faith. Functionally, those who deny God’s involvement in His world are attempting to remove God from His creation and His creatures. Their study is and will be futile, God-dishonoring, and harmful for God’s people and the person engaging in this activity.
1. How do you define science? What are the implications of your definition?
2. What biblical truths do you apply to help explain problems with people (medicine) and creation?
3. What is your anthropology (the study of man)? What is its source? How do you apply it in the so-called scientific world?
The Placebo Effect, Part IV, part 1
I continue the series: Truth, Science, Science, Religion and the Bible. When we read any report including those dubbed as scientific, we must remember that sinful people, both believers and unbelievers, theorize, often perform experiments, make observations, interpret the finding, and proclaim conclusions. A person’s worldview influences the scientist’s collection and interpretation of the data. How should a Christian handle so-called scientific statements or facts? For this blog, I limited the answer to the question to one specific area: the placebo effect. I reviewed the article: Why I Take Fake Pills by Robert Anthony Siegel in Smithsonian, May 2017 (vol. 48, number 2, and page 21) in preparation for the blog. So-called surprising new research is purported to show that a placebo still “works” even when the person ingesting the pill knows it is a placebo – not real medicine. The information is intriguing but is it science or more theology or both? How should you respond to this information? Where does God fit into the picture? What does the finding teach you and me about God’s creation of man?
Let’s define placebo. It is a pharmacologically inert preparation or innocuous substance. Its origin and root is Middle English and Latin and means pleasing and satisfying. It is a substance or treatment with no known active therapeutic effect. The so-called placebo effect is a remarkable phenomenon in which a placebo – a fake treatment, an inactive substance like sugar, distilled water, or saline solution – can sometimes be thought to improve a patient’s condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful. Expectation plays a potent role in the placebo effect. The more a person believes he is going to benefit from a treatment – belief in its healing force or the power of belief – the more likely he will experience a benefit. Some people believe the placebo effect explains the popularity of so-called homeopathy.
The article being discussed made several assertions: the placebo effect is not a single (maybe not even simple) phenomenon but rather a group of inter-related mechanisms. The placebo effect is triggered not only by fake pharmaceuticals but by the symbols and rituals of healthcare itself. At that point I asked myself what that means. The author stated that caring medical people influence how a person responds to the care he receives (see below). I summarize the author’s presentation of the data in this way: thinking and wanting affects feelings and actions. By changing one’s desires and thoughts, a person changes how he feels. “Feels” is a key term. However, better feelings don’t necessarily equate with better health. The person may feel better (however defined) and thus may declare himself to be in better health but he is still faced with the questions: how does he define better and what changed in his body if anything.
The study also asserts that MRI imaging of the brain and other new technologies clarify the placebo effect. Placebos, like real pharmaceuticals, can trigger the release of neurochemicals such as endorphins and dopamine and they activate areas in the brain associated with analgesia, pleasure, and relief. The article also referenced genetic studies regarding an enzyme variant of Cathechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT). First, an enzyme is any one of several complex proteins that are produced by cells and act as catalysts or helpers in specific biochemical reactions. Second, COMT is said to metabolize (break it down) dopamine. Dopamine is said to produce “good feelings” that may be perceived as relief. Third, higher levels of the variant led to higher dopamine levels and a positive placebo effect. Fourth, higher levels and a positive effect were correlated. The author pointed out that COMT is only one genetic factor possibly among many that are likely important in the placebo effect. He also cited so-called “social” factors (see below) that are involved in the placebo effect. The author termed this “neuroscience.”
At the same time the author referenced a major contributor: “… placebo challenges our focus on pills.” “Placebo is a form of psychotherapy. It is a psychological mechanism that can be used to help people self-heal.” He added one more tidbit: worriers are people with higher dopamine levels and thus are more sensitive to the placebo effect.
All of this is interesting information but how is the Christian to respond? How do we bring truth, science, religion, and the Bible together? if you are an unbeliever you don’t care about the Bible or the God of the Bible. Those facts don’t negate the linkage: truth, science, religion, and the Bible. Do studies as reported in this article trump biblical truth? Do they knowingly or unknowingly, detract from it and the Creator? The authors who echo this type of science wittingly or unwittingly fail to give God credit and homage for His creational design.
1. What is the author’s presupposition or starting point?
2. What biblical principles may he touching on?
3. How does he relate his facts to biblical truth?
4. What is his standard for thinking, wanting, and acting?
The Placebo Effect: Part V, part 2
According to the author, Robert Anthony Siegel, what appear to be underlying factors in the placebo effect are the person’s thinking (knowledge of and trust in the pill and the person giving it) and desires (wanting, even demanding, it to work) in the context of relationships. The author cited an emphatic caregiver (someone who wants you to feel better and find relief) and a strong desire, even an expectation, on the part of the patient/seeker to feel better as key elements in the placebo effect. The author was struck by the “scientific evidence” for the activation of the brain associated with analgesia as the person took the pill. The author concurred with investigators that activation and the release of neurochemicals are linked and explain the report of relief. A cause and effect relationship was drawn between these findings.
The author rightly understood that the pill is nothing – it is not the key. Rather, the findings are an expression of the biblical truth that a person’s thoughts, wants/desires, and expectations influence actions and feelings. The author made no reference to God’s creational design. In fact, God is not in his picture. He has discovered facts that are true because they comport with the Bible’s view of man. But he has divorced them from biblical truth thus attempting to hijack the validity of God’s natural revelation.
Rightly understood, the pill per say does not activate the brain and the release of chemicals. It is inert. The person who took the pill activates his own brain to release dopamine release. The person’s thinking and wanting are set on achieving relief. As a result dopamine was released and good feelings followed. Apparently the feeling was produced by changed thinking and wanting that led to the release of certain chemicals such as dopamine. It is well-known that God has provided the body with its own analgesic system and pleasure system: endorphins, enkephalins, and dopamine to mention a few. .Some would say that the placebo effect and other examples of changed thinking is the result of the “power of positive thinking.”
So often and without acknowledging it, science bears testimony to the biblical truth that man is a whole person who thinks, who desires, who acts, and who feels. This truth is summed up by the jingle: you do what you do because you feel what you feel and you feel what you feel because you think and want what you want. If the person changes thoughts and desires, actions and feelings change. The four factors are linked. In Scripture the believer is under the influence of the Holy Spirit and is able to and does in varying degrees think God’s thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Philippians 4:8), to desire what God desires (Psalm 40:6-8; 51:6; Galatians 5:16-18), and to do what God deserves and commands (2 Corinthians 5:9; John 4:31-34; 1 John 5:3-4). Feelings follow.
The article by Robert Siegel does not mention the duration of brain activation and the level and the duration of neurochemical elevation required for analgesia. Studies leave unanswered what are normal and analgesic levels of the various neurochemicals in the body. These proteins are present in very small amounts and they have very short half-lives in the body. I think answers to these questions would be of interest with the caveat that we must rightly understand observable facts. Facts are everywhere and all facts are interpreted based on the person’s presuppositions, worldview, and standard. Since everyone observes and interprets facts, he must have a correct interpretive grid. Scripture is the only proper grid for the believer to use.
Hopefully this focus on the placebo effect stimulates you to marvel at God’s creative design of man. This explanation of the placebo effect is a witness to a fundamental truth of the Bible. A person’s thinking and wanting are prime influences of feelings and actions. The placebo effect evidences God’s creational design of man. Right thinking about God, self, others, and God’s providence changes how one feels and acts. Conversely, wrong thinking leads to bad feelings and often wrong actions or inactions. These truths are experienced in daily life from the toddler who wants mother to kiss the hurt finger and make it better (and it does!) to the adult who experiences relief (good feelings) after a big hug. We don’t need MRIs to explain what the Bible has already put forth!
1. How does information regarding the placebo effect help you understand God’s design for man?
2. What is your experience regarding wanting and thinking and feelings?
3. The Bible focuses on man’s obligation, privilege, and blessing to honor God by changed thoughts and desires without mentioning feelings. Give as many reasons as you can for Scripture design.
Mother Nature: Part VI, part 1
I continue the series: Truth, Science, Science, Religion and the Bible. I recently heard a discussion on the news regarding the Ebola virus and who is to blame for its presence in the United States. More recently it is the COVIB-19 virus. The conservative news person decried the fact that the Ebola virus outbreak was related to budget cuts. The Covid-19 virus is another story with all types of stories swirling around. In regard to the Ebola virus, the reporter enjoined his listeners to believe that the outbreak was due to Mother Nature. On another occasion and from another venue, another newscaster was quoted as saying: “Mother Nature has 80 percent control in putting out fires like this”
In the dictionary Mother Nature is said to refer to the natural world as if it were a woman. The word “nature” comes from the Latin word, “natura”, meaning birth or character. Today the term nature is often used as personified as a creative and caring force. The phrase Mother Nature is considered a controlling woman who is the source and guiding force of creation. Apparently, it is a force that affects human beings as well as inanimate creation. The phrase focuses on the alleged life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it, in the form of a mother. The phrase was popular in the Middle Ages but has its roots in Greek mythology and paganism. It is a religious term and denies the reality of Triune God who is Creator, Controller, and Sustainer of the universe.
Our newspersons would have us believe that some inanimate force (let the force be with you”) is responsible for the beginning, the end, and all that is between the beginning and the end. All that goes on in God’s universe has nothing to do with God. Such it is when simple biblical truths are ignored and rejected. It is so easy to be controlled by a naturalistic, phenomenality world-view and approach to life. It is sadly ironic because the person lives in God’s world as His responsible, dependent, rational, morally-responsible guest but rejects the gift of being in God’s world as His image.
Moreover, people, all kinds and everyone, are theologians because they have beliefs about God (He is or He isn’t!) and themselves – origin, identity, purpose, and destiny. They have a relationship with Him whether denied or not. They are in or out of proper relationship to Him. The key issues here are what kind of theologian or you?
Science, or more accurately scientism (a term that denotes the modern philosophy of science) is anti-supernatural and anti-miraculous at its core. It and its proponents view the Bible as their enemy and in need of a major overhaul. The Bible needs to be discarded or made to be scientifically-acceptable based on a scientifically, predetermined, naturalistic grid. However, scientists who decry the supernatural deny their own faith in their own reasoning. They refuse to acknowledge the creational design of God and the practical observation that everyone is faith-based. Their faith is in self and their God-given ability to reason (which they deny!). They come with anti-God presumptions which are their interpretative for everything they can sense – hear, see, taste, touch, and feel. Everyone has faith and is morally responsible because everyone is a theologian. They interpret facts based on these assumptions and beliefs about life and man. Everyone has faith because everyone is a theologian. Every person has some thoughts and beliefs about God and man: his origin, identity, purpose, and destiny. Further, very person is in or out of proper relationship to God. Hence, every person is a theologian. The issue is which kind?
When man begins with self and his logic he has inverted the Creator-creature distinction. The inversion of the Creator-creature distinction is an attempt to eviscerate the Bible – its uniqueness in terms of its authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency. The goal is to have the Word of God be of no use to mankind.
The supernatural does not fit their scheme. Miracles such as the creation of the universe, regeneration – the new birth, the Virgin Birth, the God-man Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God, and His resurrection will be rejected. As a result, God who creates AND who controls His world His way for His glory and the good of His people will be rejected. They reject truth about God and self and exchange the truth for a lie (Romans 1:18-23). They substitute the non-scientific concepts of evolution that masquerades as science but is actually an anti-Christian, anti-theistic worldview and philosophy. Science itself confirms that evolution is based on a person’s theological beliefs. Its foundation is not only unproven but it is not provable. No one was present in eternity past to witness the Triune God’s plan of salvation (John 6:37-43). No one was there when God spoke something into being from nothing (Genesis 1; Psalm 33).
Consider the simple fact that evolution is contrary to the first two laws of Thermodynamics. The First Law states that energy can be transformed in various ways but cannot be destroyed or created. The Second law states that in all energy transformations there is a tendency for some energy to be transformed into non-reversible heat energy so that available energy is reduced. The term entropy is used as a measure of the amount of energy depleted from a system. Devolution not evolution is the key characteristics of the universe and it in part explains why the creation groans (Romans 8:19-22).
The issue is faith in God or faith in self. Who or what brought this universe into existence and controls life and destiny of every living and non-living being? The options are God or such possibilities as things just are, chance, eternality of matter, the Force, or Mother Nature. It is blatantly obvious that evolution and its underpinnings such as Mother Nature and God’s truth as described not only in the Bible but in the laws of Thermodynamics are diametrically opposed. Evolution is pictured as giving rise to an increase of order, of organization, of size. Entropy posits just the opposite. The laws of Thermodynamics are an expression of the biblical truth that everywhere in the world there is decay and death (Psalm 102:25-26; Isaiah 51:6; Romans 8:19-22; 1 Peter 1:24).
The key is the scientist and less so science. And every person is not only a theologian but also a scientist. Every person has a belief about God, the word, self, and how things run or happen. When biblical truth is jettisoned from man’s thinking, life is complicated. The Bible calls that person a fool (Proverbs 3:5-8). God saved fools but not for them to remain in their foolishness. Fear God and trust in Him is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). The lie of Mother Nature had no place in God’s world.
1. What is your view of God, the world, its origin and its continued existence?
2. What is your view of science and scientists including doctors?
3. Have you succumbed to unbiblical thinking in re: to God, His world, and His control and if so how?
4. What is your source – standard – for determining your answers?
5. John 8:31-32 teaches simple facts about God: God is, we are, and we are dependent creatures.
a. How do you respond to them?
b. How does knowing the truth that God is Creator, Controller, and Sustainer encourage you and motivate you to praise and worship God in the fields of science and medicine?
Mother Nature: Part VII, part 2
I conclude the series: Truth, Science, Science, Religion and the Bible. If you have tracking with me (and I hope you have!), you should agree that the term Mother Nature is another God-denying euphemism. Its use is decidedly against the Third Commandment. Normally we think of that commandment in terms of “cuss” words. But the intent of all the Commandments is to honor God. Anything that attempts to steal from Him is dishonoring. The use of terms such as “Mother Nature” or the Force-be-with you” are terms that attempt to steal God’s glory. They deny the Creator-creature distinction and they attempt to bring God down to man’s level and to bring man up to God’s level.
Returning to our discussion of the difference between historical/origins “science” and experimental/operational science, we must remember that subjectivity and presuppositions rule origins science and objectivity rule experimental science. In fact, we are moving more toward true science in the experimental and operational sciences. Please remember that no one was present in eternity past to witness the Triune God’s plan of salvation. No one was there when God spoke something into being from nothing. The issue is faith in God or faith in self. Who or what brought this universe into existence and who or what controls life and destiny of every living and non-living being? The options are God or such possibilities as things just are, chance, eternality of matter, the Force, or Mother Nature.
Consider these simple biblical truths. Please don’t let their simplicity mislead. Simplicity is not to be equated with simpleton-ness. First, God is and He still is! God in His Being is eternal and infinite. He is not bound by time and space. God cannot be proven nor can He be unproven. Faith is the key – saving or un-saving faith. Either kind is an informed faith – either by the Bible, or by feelings, experience, and or logic unaided by biblical truth.
Second, God is the reason that His world and His creatures are. God has given man the capacity to discover facts as to how He runs His universe: laws of nature, laws of math and logic, laws of morality/ethics, and laws of medicine. The discovery of these laws and the laws themselves give insight into who God is and how He runs His world. We must go to the Bible to properly interpret these “scientific discoveries.” The knowledge and the “laws” are a blessing to mankind.
Third, the God who is and creates also rules, sustains, and controls. His control (includes power and authority) can be defined as His purposeful, personal, powerful governing and sustaining all of His creatures and their actions (Eph. 1:4.11-12; Rom. 8:28-29; Ps. 145:17). People don’t seem to like this kind of God. Why is that? Simply, man wants to be a law unto self. Unless man is regenerated (the radical and supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in salvation) and his heart continually renewed (progressive growth in Christ – Ps. 51:10), man will continue to compete with God. He will function as a self-pleaser and use his being and capacity to think in an anti-God manner.
Fourth, there are so many masqueraders who are God-wannabes. In their own ways, they are voices of misleading counsel and information vying for you and your heart. Be careful as you watch and listen to the weather and medical reports. Those reporting the weather and the news are theologians and poor ones. They attempt to exclude God and leave Him out of the picture. Unwittingly or wittingly, they live the lie and encourage their audience to do the same. Good and bad weather, pandemics, and epidemics as well as beautiful sunshiny days come from the sovereign hand of God. The believer must hold fast to this biblical truth.
1. What is your view of God, the world, its origin and its continued existence?
2. What is your source – standard – for determining your answers?
3. John 8:31-32 teaches simple facts about God: God is, we are, and we are dependent creatures. How do you respond to them?