Where Science and Faith Converge
  • If There Is a God, Why So Many Beetles?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Apr 03, 2020

    Question of the week: If there is a God, why would he create so many different kinds of beetles?

    My answer: This is a famous and oft repeated question. Its origin usually is attributed to Charles Darwin who is claimed to have said, “From the fact that there are 500,000 species of beetles, the Creator, if he exists, must be inordinately fond of beetles.” The true origin of the question is the biologist John B. S. Haldane. In a speech Haldane gave to the British Interplanetary Society in 1951 and reported in volume 10 of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society Haldane said, “From the fact that there are 400,000 species of beetles on this planet, but only 8,000 species of mammals, the Creator, if he exists, has a special preference for beetles.”

    The not-so-subtle implication of Haldane’s statement is that a God who loves beetles more than he loves mammals appears to contradict the description of God presented in the Bible. When one considers the physics of beetles, however, Haldane’s statements proves precisely consistent with the description of God and his stated goals presented in the Bible.

    Psalm 104, the longest and most detailed creation psalm in the Bible, describes God packing Earth with as much life as physically possible and with as great a diversity of life as physically possible. We humans are the beneficiaries of this creation strategy. It is this strategy practiced by God over billions of years that has endowed us with over 76 quadrillion tons of biodeposits—limestone, marble, coal, oil, natural gas, etc. that we can use to launch and sustain global high-technology civilization and use that civilization to take the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to billions of human beings.

    Given God’s goal of packing Earth with as much life as possible and as diverse as possible, the physics of Earth and beetles mandates that God will create many more species of beetles than of mammals. The number of species on Earth has been steadily increasing since the origin of life some 3.8 billion years ago. God created humans on Earth when the number of species of life he had placed on Earth had reached the theoretical maximum permitted by the laws of physics God had chosen to govern the universe.

    The physics of the universe and the physical characteristics of Earth determine what the maximum number of species will be for animals of different size scales. For an 8,000-mile-diameter Earth, the greatest theoretically possible number of animal species peaks for animals with adult body sizes equal to about one centimeter. The average adult body size for beetles is about one centimeter. Therefore, given God’s goal to pack Earth with as much life as possible and as diverse as possible, it should come as no surprise that there are so many species of beetles.

    We should not be surprised either that at the time of the creation of humans there were only about 8,000 species of mammals. Given the diameter of Earth, the average body size of mammals, and the complex warm-blooded nature of mammals, Earth’s theoretical maximum carrying capacity for mammals is close to 8,000 distinct species.

  • What Is Love? Where Did It Come From?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Mar 27, 2020

    Questions of the week: What is love and where did it come from?

    My brief answer for both: God

    My expanded answer: Love has always existed because God has always existed. As John has explained in his first letter, “God is love” and “love comes from God.” God is love because God is triune and altogether righteous, holy, good, and truthful. Without the triune God of the Bible there is no love.

    An insurmountable problem for Islam, Judaism, and cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses is the absence of any answer for the origin of love. In these religions God is a single person. Love is not possible unless there are at least two persons to express and receive love. For strictly monotheistic religions, a nonloving entity supposedly creates beings with the capacity to give and receive love. The claim is that a lesser entity creates that which is greater—a clear violation of the principle of cause and effect.

    A common rebuttal from strict monotheists is the hypothesis that their single-person God had the capacity to experience love and created humans so that he could begin to give and receive love. In this scenario God is unfulfilled until he creates. He is compelled to create in order to experience love. For the trinitarian God, creation is not a need. It is an option.

    The problem for polytheistic religions is the lack of a single essence among the panoply of Gods. This lack of a single essence results in different character attributes, goals, plans, and purposes. The resultant lack of complete harmony inevitably diminishes and even destroys love. Contrastingly, Jesus told his disciples, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) and “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11).

    We experience love because God is love and love comes from God. However, the love we currently experience is not yet at the level that God intends. Once God permanently eradicates evil at the Great White Throne, we who are followers of Jesus Christ will become one as the Father and the Son are one (John 17:11). Our love for one another will become greatly multiplied as we more fully and intimately observe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit loving one another and as we more fully experience love from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and from one another.

  • Are People Living in Villages Where There Is No Christian Message Going to Hell?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Mar 20, 2020

    Question of the week: What about villagers in other countries who die of starvation and disease. Are they going to hell?

    My answer: I address this question in much detail in my book, Beyond the Cosmos. (Anyone can get a free chapter of the book at reasons.org/ross.) Quick answer: Everyone receives some spiritual light from God (John 1:3-13). God’s light is defined and explained in 1 John, chapters 1–4 as a combination of God’s life, love, and truth. If you receive that light, God will find a way to give you more of his light. You will proceed toward salvation. On the other hand, if you reject the light that God has given you, you will proceed toward condemnation. It does not matter what farm, village, or city you live in, how long a life you experience, or how much or how little you have suffered. Everyone receives some light from God.

    In many respects, villagers have an advantage over people who live in densely populated metropolitan cities. Villagers are in much more intimate contact with the natural realm that God created. Hence, they are more likely to see the righteousness, glory, and attributes of God revealed in nature (Psalm 19:1-4, Psalm 97:6, Romans 1:19-20).

  • Scientific Discoveries that Would Cause Me to Abandon Christianity

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Feb 15, 2020

    Question of the Week: Are there potential scientific discoveries that would ever cause you to abandon your Christian faith?

    My Answer: I get asked this question nearly every time I publicly debate atheist scientists. The atheist(s) posing this question anticipate(s) that my answer will be that no potential scientific discovery would ever cause me to abandon Christianity. They then would be correct to conclude that my faith is not based on physical evidence. A belief system that is not falsifiable is simply wishful thinking.

    There are several potential scientific discoveries that if proven beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt would, in my opinion, be catatrophic to the Christian faith. Here are four examples:

    1. proof that the universe had no beginning
    2. proof that humans compared to all other Earth life are not exceptional; proof that humans differ from all other animals only by degree and not fundamentally in kind
    3. proof that there are humans who have never expressed any sin or evil
    4. proof that Jesus of Nazareth did not rise to life from death

    Personally, I do not see how Christianity could survive as a rational truth claim if any one of these four potential scientific discoveries were proven true. Concerning the fourth example, the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:13-19 agrees.

    My being quick to admit potential scientific discoveries that would shatter my Christian faith strongly communicates to my audiences that my faith in Jesus Christ indeed is based on physical evidence. It also allows me to graciously turn the tables. Having volunteered without hesitation where potential scientific discoveries would force me to abandon my faith in Christ and in the Bible, I can ask the non-theists on the platform with me and in our audiences what potential scientific discoveries would persuade them to abandon their non-theistic worldview and adopt theism and, specifically, Christianity.

    Typically, when I ask non-theists to list a few potential scientific discoveries that would cause them to become theists, they claim that they cannot think of any, or they will say that there are no such possible discoveries. Such an admission establishes that they are non-theists not for rational reasons but for irrational reasons.

    I have found that the most common irrational reason is some past hurt(s) they experienced at the hand of someone who claimed to be a Christian. In that event, presenting additional rational reasons for my faith in Christ can be counterproductive. I have learned that I must stop and invite them to tell me their story, compassionately listen, and gently suggest ways that their past wounds can be healed.

    Frequently, when a non-theist struggles to come up with a potential scientific discovery that would be catastrophic to non-theism, they ask me if I can suggest one. The advantage of the four potential scientific discoveries I listed above that would refute Christianity and belief in the Bible is that the reverse of each refutes non-theism and establishes theism and Christianity in particular. Atheism and agnosticism are indefensible if we can show beyond any reasonable doubt that 1) the universe had a beginning, or 2) humans compared to all other Earth life are exceptional, or 3) all humans are sinners, or 4) Jesus of Nazareth really did rise from the dead.

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