Where Science and Faith Converge
  • Did Job Believe God Cannot See through Clouds?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Jan 22, 2021

    Question of the week: Job 22 says that God hides in the clouds and that God cannot see through the clouds. What does this mean? I find it hard to believe that God who created everything cannot see through clouds.

    My answer: There is no biblical contradiction or error here. The relevant text is Job 22:13–14. It states: “Yet you say, ‘What does God know? Does he judge through such darkness? Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see us as he goes about in the vaulted heavens.'”

    Here, Eliphaz is speaking, not God or Job. Eliphaz is accusing Job of believing a false statement: that God cannot see Job’s sins. Eliphaz is rebuking Job for believing that the clouds prevent God from seeing all the evil Job is committing. It becomes clear in the later chapters of the book of Job that Eliphaz’s accusations are not true. Job really does believe that God sees everything he does (see Job 23:10; 24:23; 28:23–24; 31:4). Job recognizes that he is a sinner and in need of redemption.1 Job is not guilty of the specific evils that Eliphaz insisted Job committed.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, “Job’s Discernment of God’s Redemptive Plan,” in Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 206–07, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/hidden-treasures-in-the-book-of-job.
  • How Long Have Humans Been on Earth?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Jan 15, 2021

    Question of the week: How long have humans been on Earth? How do you square that date with the biblical genealogies that imply roughly 4,000 years from Adam to Jesus of Nazareth?

    My answer: I answer this question in detail in Navigating Genesis.1 None of the genealogies in the Bible, including those in Genesis 5 and 11:10–26, are exhaustively complete. Each one has missing names. The names that are included are intended to make specific theological points. The theological points can be discerned by noting which names are omitted and which are included. In the Matthew 1:1–17 genealogy, for example, the names of kings who led wicked reigns and did not repent are omitted. Matthew 1 also names the wives of four of the named men, some of whom were not Jews by blood and some who had committed serious sins. Matthew here implies that the gospel offer of salvation is not just for male blood descendants of Jacob but for all who repent of their sin and turn to their Messiah. For three web articles by our guest scholars on the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies, go here and here and here.

    The best biblical date for Adam and Eve comes from Genesis 2. Genesis 2 states that four known rivers come together in the Garden of Eden. The only location where they do come together is in the southeastern part of the Persian Gulf. Presently, it is more than 200 feet below sea level. However, during much of the last ice age, this location was above sea level. This sea-level constraint implies that God created Adam and Eve between 15,000 and 130,000 years ago.

    The best scientific dates for the origin of the human race range from 300,000 years ago to 45,000 years ago. For an article on the statistical and systematic errors impacting scientific attempts to date the origin of humanity, go here.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, Navigating Genesis (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2014), 70–78, 96–100, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/navigating-genesis.
  • Is the Ex Nihilo Doctrine of Creation Unique to Christianity?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Jan 08, 2021

    Question of the week: What do you make of assertions by skeptics that there are several religions and mythologies that include in their doctrines an ex nihilo creation event and that Christianity is not unique?

    My answer: Creatio ex nihilo is Latin for “creation out of nothing.” It refers to the belief that space, time, matter, and energy are not eternal but were created by a supernatural act of God.

    It is the kind of ex nihilo creation event that sets the Bible apart from nonbiblical holy books. In the eastern religions and in ancient mid- and near-eastern, African, European, and American creation myths God, Gods, or creative forces create the universe within space and time that eternally exists. The Bible teaches that space and time did not exist until God created the universe.1

    Where the Bible also stands unique is in its description of God and in how God fashions the universe, Earth, and Earth’s life after the cosmic creation event. The Bible describes God as a triune Being: one essence and three persons. Only Christianity among the world’s religions asserts the doctrine of the Trinity. As I wrote in a blog several years ago,2 science only makes sense if God is triune. Furthermore, only the Bible among the world’s foundational religious books accurately and consistently predicts future scientific discoveries.

    Resources

    Endnotes
    1. I provide a review of the relevant biblical texts in The Creator and the Cosmos, 4th ed. (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2018), 25–26, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/the-creator-and-the-cosmos-fourth-edition.
    2. Hugh Ross, “How To Persuade a Skeptic Than God Must Be Triune,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog) July 13, 2016, https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2016/07/13/how-to-persuade-a-skeptic-that-god-must-be-triune.
  • What Was the Christmas Star?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Jan 01, 2021

    Question of the week: What was the Christmas star?

    My answer: The relevant Bible text is Matthew 2:1–12. The Greek word used in the text for star is asterAster can be translated as star, planet, comet, asteroid, or meteor. The text specifically refers to a single star, a single star that appeared to the Magi, disappeared from view, and then reappeared roughly a year and a half later. The roughly year and a half is discerned from the fact that Herod, in an attempt to kill Jesus, had all the boys two years of age and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity killed.

    The text also indicates that Herod had to question the Magi carefully to find out the nature of the star. That Herod was unfamiliar with the star and the fact that there is no record of the star in the annals of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, or Parthians indicates that the star was not a bright object. Thus, a bright comet, supernova, planet(s), and nearly all Christmas card depictions apparently are ruled out. Likewise, the reference to a single star rules out conjunctions of a planet with another planet, star, or the Moon.

    A dim comet or asteroid is highly unlikely since it is extremely improbable for such an object to reappear about a year and half later in the exact same location. The only remaining candidates are either a recurring nova or a cataclysmic variable star. When I first suggested a recurring nova as a possible explanation for the Christmas star some forty years ago, several of my astronomer friends were skeptical since astronomers had never observed a recurrence that was under 10 years. However, within the past three years astronomers have discovered two recurring novae with recurrence times under 1.5 years. You can read much more about the Christmas star and recurring novae in these two articles that I have written (The Christmas Star, and Astronomy Sheds New Light on the Christmas Star). 

  • Why Celebrate Christmas Since It Originated from Pagan Traditions?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Dec 25, 2020

    Question of the week: The Bible doesn’t mention anything about early believers celebrating any event other than baptism and communion. Therefore, shouldn’t Christians refrain from celebrating Christmas especially since it originated from pagan traditions? 

    My answer: While the Bible mentions nothing about early Christians celebrating Christmas or Easter, to me, it seems only natural that Christians would want to celebrate the incarnation (God becoming human and dwelling among us) and the resurrection. That the dates for Christmas and Easter approximately coincide with pagan celebrations of the winter solstice and the spring equinox I see as Christians co-opting the unrighteous for the righteous as a means of encouraging non-Christians to consider becoming Christians. This co-option is similar to Christian musicians transforming drinking songs into beautiful hymns with lyrics that teach sound biblical doctrine. Some of the most doctrinally accurate and uplifting hymns are Christmas carols.

    Having said all this, I believe we need to be on guard against reverse co-option. For example, it bothers me a great deal that today images of Santa, snowmen, elves, and reindeer far outnumber images of Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and angels on peoples’ lawns and in store displays. I also am bothered by how small a percentage of “Christmas music” actually celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ and what the coming means for human beings. One reason why Kathy and I wrote our book, Always Be Ready,1 was to counter reverse co-option by encouraging Christians to be more active in sharing their faith.

    Endnote

    Hugh Ross with Kathy Ross, Always Be Ready (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2018), https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/always-be-ready.

  • How Did Adam and Eve Keep Warm During an Ice Age When They Were Naked?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Dec 18, 2020

    Question of the week: How did Adam and Eve keep warm before the fall when they were still naked if God had created them during the last ice age?

    My answer: Good question. Genesis 2 implies that God created Adam and Eve sometime during an ice age, most likely the last ice age. The reason why is that Genesis 2 describes four known rivers, the Euphrates, Tigris, Pishon, and Gihon, coming together in the Garden of Eden. Today, only two of those four rivers are flowing, but during an ice age all four would be steadily flowing rivers. The only location where the four rivers come together presently is more than 200 feet below sea level in the southeastern part of the Persian Gulf. During an ice age, however, the sea level was 200–390 feet lower. The location where the four rivers come together would have been above sea level.

    The location of the Garden of Eden in the southeast part of what is now the Persian Gulf at an elevation more than 200 feet below the present sea level implies that it must have had a year-round warm climate in spite of the colder conditions farther north and at higher elevations. Adam and Eve would not need clothing to stay warm.

    For a much more comprehensive and detailed answer, see my book Navigating Genesis, pages 95–108.1

    Endnotes

    Hugh Ross, Navigating Genesis (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2014): 95–108, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/navigating-genesis.

  • How Do Christians' Relationships with God Differ from Adam's before He Sinned?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Dec 11, 2020

    Question of the week:Adam and Eve before they sinned against God had a continually intimate, loving relationship with God. In what ways and to what degrees are the relationships that Christians have today with God the same or different from the pre-sin relationship Adam and Eve had with God?

    My answer:One of the biggest differences is that Christians today still have sin in their lives while Adam and Eve at that time had none. The other big difference is that Adam and Eve lacked an eternally secure relationship with God whereas Christians today, thanks to the baptism in the Holy Spirit, possess such an eternally secure relationship. Where the relationships are the same is that both Christians today and Adam and Eve before they sinned have continual access to God.

  • Could Our Lives Be a Computer Simulation?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Dec 04, 2020

    Question of the week: How do we know that our lives are not some kind of sophisticated computer simulation? Could it be like the movie, The Matrix?

    My answer: This question is not unique to our high-tech world. For the past two millennia gnostics and religious cults with gnostic roots have claimed that our physical lives and physical experiences are illusions. For people who believe this, one way to persuade them otherwise that I definitely do not recommend, is to punch them in a sensitive spot hard enough that it leaves a bruise and then ask them if the resultant pain and bruise are mere illusions. A kinder response that I highly recommend is to present them with the evidence for human free will. If our free will is real, and not programmed or predictable, then we are not automatons in a computer simulation.

    What is this evidence? First, there are the abundant observations that human behavior is not predictable. If it was, then anyone could get very rich on the stock market and consistently predict political election outcomes. Second, there are the attempts by our most intelligent and skilled computer programmers to develop a truly artificially intelligent machine. A truly artificially intelligent machine would not only include self-learning and self-teaching software, it would manifest real free will real emotions, and a capability of forming personal relationships. Real progress is being achieved at improving the self-learning, self-corrective capabilities of computers. However, there has been no measurable progress on creating a machine with conscious free will. The fundamental reason why is that the conscious free will that every human being possesses is not physical. It does not have its origin in physics and chemistry. It is spiritual. It is our spiritual nature that makes humans different from all other life on Earth. It is our spiritual nature that proves that we are not part of a computer simulation.

    My favorite quote from the community of scientists working on artificial intelligence is, “We are ten years away from making an artificially intelligent robot and always will be.” Or, to paraphrase from The Matrix, the pursuit of true artificial intelligence is like taking the blue pill. We are always better off choosing the red pill.

  • Why Would God Send an Evil Spirit to King Saul?

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

    Question of the week: “I have a question about 1 Samuel 18:10, where ‘an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul.’ Why would God send an evil spirit? It doesn’t seem to me that humans need any help being evil. Can you shed some light on this for me?”

    My answer: It was through his rebellion against God that King Saul opened himself up to demonic influence and invasion. While all the demons are under God’s control, God allows demons to inflict humans who of their own free will have chosen a reprobate path. If one reads all of 1 Samuel 16–19, one notes that in allowing the evil spirit to do what it does, God uses the spirit’s actions and words to accomplish his ultimate good purposes.

  • Did Hitler Really Intend to Kill All Germans in His Defeat?

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

    Question of the week: I have heard you say that Hitler intended to kill the German people but was thwarted by his illness and the space-time dimensions. And you mention this on pages 174–175 of Why the Universe Is the Way It Is. I was wondering how you came up with that. Did you put it together in your own thinking or did you talk to someone or read something that put light on that part of history?

    My answer: Hitler is an example of someone who was so overcome by evil that he increasingly made decisions that were spiteful and counter to his own best interests and certainly of the best interests of the German populace. This trend was particularly evident in the last year of World War II.

    In the last few months of World War II Hitler knew that Parkinson’s disease would soon take his life and he finally realized that there was no hope for Germany winning the war. However, instead of taking any responsibility for the imminent loss of the war, Hitler blamed the German population. He concluded that they were unworthy of surviving the soon-approaching defeat.1

    Hitler demanded that all Germans fight to their deaths. He even sent young boys armed just with obsolete rifles into battle to face the advancing Russian armies. Hitler executed any German leader who disagreed with his objectives or dared to question any of his orders.

    Hitler and his propaganda machine also persuaded many Germans in 1945 that suicide was preferable to surrender to the allies. Between January and June 1945, over 10,000 Germans committed suicide, a conservative estimate according to this Wikipedia article. However, because of poor health and time and space constraints, Hitler was not able to execute as many German leaders as he wanted or to send as many civilians into pointless battle as he wanted. All this is documented in several biographical books written on Hitler’s life.2

    My uncles, who fought in the Canadian 1st army and were assigned the task of clearing all the English Channel and North Sea ports held by the German army, told me how much they were grieved to have to kill the German defenders of those ports, knowing that they had families and knowing that Hitler had commanded them to defend those ports to their deaths. Because of Hitler, many Germans died pointless deaths. However, due to Hitler’s advancing ill health, poor decisions, and his confinement to just one dimension of time and three dimensions of space, many more German and non-German lives were spared.

    Endnotes
    1. Volker Ullrich, Hitler: Downfall: 1939–1945, trans. Jefferson Chase (New York: Knopf, September 1, 2020).
    2. Ullrich, Hitler: Downfall: 1939–1945; Peter Longerich, Hitler: A Biography (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2019); Rochus Misch, Hitler’s Last Witness: The Memoirs of Hitler’s Bodyguard (Barnsley, UK: Frontline Books, 2017); John Toland, Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography (New York: Anchor, 1992).
  • Why Did God Kill Everyone In Sodom and Gomorrah?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Nov 13, 2020

    Question of the week: Why did God kill every man, woman, and child living in Sodom and Gomorrah?

    My answer: This question is not only frequently asked but also commonly used as a basis for atheists and agnostics to reject the existence of the God of the Bible. Such individuals presume that an all-loving God would never do such a thing.

    Societal Reprobation
    The full description given in Genesis of the behavior and morality of the people living in Sodom and Gomorrah makes it indisputably clear that Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of societal reprobation. Reprobation is a term used in the Bible to describe an individual who is irretrievably evil. It describes an individual whose every thought and action is evil all the time. Such individuals believe that what normal human beings consider as evil acts are good and what normal human beings consider as good acts are evil. Such human beings are continually intent on evil and they work tirelessly to morally corrupt others to persuade, and if possible force, others to join them in their evil thinking and behavior.

    Societal reprobation describes a town, city, set of cities, or a nation where every man, woman, and child is reprobate. Societal reprobation has always been rare. In fact, from the Days of Pentecost (described in Acts 2, 8, and 10) onward it has been nonexistent.

    Why Not Now?
    On the Days of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit permanently indwelt first the Jewish followers of Jesus Christ, then the Samaritan followers of Christ, and finally the gentile followers of Christ. That permanent indwelling made the followers of Jesus Christ “the salt of the earth.” Such spiritual salt acts as a preservative that prevents the outbreak of societal reprobation.

    The possibility of societal reprobation during Old Testament times and its impossibility since the Days of Pentecost explains why many skeptics conclude that the God of the Old Testament contradicts the God of the New Testament. Such skeptics err. God has not changed. It is people who have changed.

    Evidence of Societal Reprobation in Sodom and Gomorrah
    Three different Bible texts affirm that Sodom and Gomorrah indeed are examples of societal reprobation. One text, Genesis 19:1–9, describes a test performed by two of God’s righteous angels. These angels visited Sodom to determine if its inhabitants were as evil as described in reports they had heard. They decided to spend the night in the city square so as to observe the behavior of the Sodomites for themselves. Lot, the only man in the city who had not yet succumbed to reprobation, insisted that the angels not spend the night in the city square. Evidently, he knew how dangerous that would be for them. He implored them to stay under the protection of his house. Shortly thereafter, Lot’s house became surrounded by every man, young and old, from every part of the city of Sodom. The phrase, young and old, implies that the men surrounding Lot’s house included young boys and elderly men. The men demanded that Lot send his two guests outside so that they could all subject his two guests to sexual violation.

    There was no stopping the assembled mob. Desperate to protect his two guests, Lot even offered to send his two virgin daughters out to the mob to do with them as they wished if only they would leave his guests alone. The mob turned down the offer, moved forward to break down the door to Lot’s house, and threatened to do to Lot much worse than what they were intent on doing to his two guests.

    Lot’s offer testifies to the degree of reprobation in Sodom. The reprobation was so persuasive that even Lot, a righteous man, was in grave danger of succumbing to the spiritual cancer that surrounded him. 2 Peter 2:7–8 describes how the Sodomites distressed and tormented Lot.

    The second Bible text, Genesis 18:16–33 describes a conversation between God and Abraham where Abraham on behalf of his nephew Lot begs God to save Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction. Abraham first asks God that if fifty people in Sodom are found to be righteous would God not save all the inhabitants of Sodom on behalf of those fifty. God said he would. Abraham bargains God all the way down to just ten righteous in the city. Every time God says, “yes.” At that point, Abraham realizes that the only righteous people left in Sodom are Lot and his family. Knowing that God has promised to rescue Lot and his family before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham stops his begging. He now recognizes that all the inhabitants of the Sodomite plain are reprobate except for Lot and his family.

    The third Bible text affirming societal reprobation in Sodom and Gomorrah is Genesis 15:12–16. In this text God says to Abraham that while the Amorites living in the hills with him are evil, their evil “has not yet reached its full measure.” God explained to Abraham that it would take another four hundred years for the Amorites to degrade into societal reprobation. Only at that time would God act to remove the Amorites from the land of Canaan.

    Why Not Isolation? 
    A remaining question is why God does not simply isolate reprobate societies and let them die natural deaths. The answer is to protect the future generations of those societies and to protect the inhabitants of their neighboring societies.

    Once all the inhabitants of a city become completely reprobate there is no hope for the children born in that city. As Paul points out in Romans 1:32, reprobation is malignant. Children born in a city where all the inhabitants are reprobates will be surrounded by the malignant spiritual cancer of reprobation. For them, there is no escape. As with metastasized stage 4 cancer, they will be infected and completely overcome. To prevent that from happening, God surgically removes a reprobate society as soon as its reprobation becomes pervasive.

    Another reason God surgically intervenes is to prevent the spiritual cancer from spreading to communities adjoining the reprobate society. Societies do not and cannot operate in isolation. Cities must be maintained by trade with adjoining communities. If God had not acted in the manner that he did, the spiritual malignancy in Sodom and Gomorrah inevitably would have spread.

    God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was a profound act of mercy and love. As I explain in my book, Beyond the Cosmos, from the perspective of eternity it was even a profound act of mercy and love to the reprobates themselves since these reprobates would be judged according to all the evil they had committed on Earth (Revelation 20:12). God prevented them from piling up more evil.

    Endnotes

    Hugh Ross, Beyond the Cosmos, 3rd ed. (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2017), 177–84, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/beyond-the-cosmos-3rd-edition.

  • Does the Universe’s Immensity Imply a Huge Waste?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Nov 06, 2020

    Question of the week: How does the cosmos affirm that there is a God who loves us? Isn’t the universe absolutely vast? Wouldn’t the vastness of the universe imply an enormous amount of wasted matter and space?

    My Answer: In my book, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, I explain why, in the context of the laws of physics that God chose and designed to govern the universe and Earth (Jeremiah 33:25), the mass and size of the universe must be exquisitely fine-tuned for a single planet to exist on which physical life is possible.1 For example, if the universe were slightly less massive, the only elements that would exist would be hydrogen and helium. In such a universe the elements essential for life (for example, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, potassium) would be missing. If the universe were slightly more massive, the only elements that would exist would be iron and the elements heavier than iron. In such a universe the elements essential for life would be missing. For a brief article on the miracle of both carbon and oxygen existing in the universe, go here.2 Nothing in the universe is wasted. In my book Improbable Planet, I describe how every component in the universe, Earth, and Earth’s life and every event in the universe, Earth, and Earth’s life must be exactly the way it is in order for billions of humans to exist and be redeemed from evil.3 Such ubiquitous and exquisite design testifies of a God who loves us and has destined us for an eternal, rewarding relationship with him.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008): 27–56, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/why-the-universe-is-the-way-it-is.
    2. Hugh Ross, “Carbon, the Miracle Element,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), February 26, 2018, http://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/02/26/carbon-the-miracle-element
    3. Hugh Ross, Improbable Planet (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016), https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/improbable-planet.
  • Did Jesus Know Who He Was When He Was a Child?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Oct 30, 2020

    Question of the week: Did Jesus know who he was when he was a child growing up?

    My answer: Yes. He certainly knew who he was when he was twelve years of age. Luke 2:39–52 records the account of Jesus’s family celebrating the Passover when Jesus was twelve years old. While in Jerusalem, Jesus’s parents lost contact with him and spent three days searching all over Jerusalem for him. Eventually, they found Jesus in the temple posing questions to the chief rabbis. When Jesus’s parents asked why he had left their presence, he responded, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”

    There is a hint in the Bible that Jesus may have been aware of who he was much younger than twelve years of age. When Mary visited Elizabeth when she was pregnant with Jesus and Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist, Elizabeth exclaimed that the fetus within her womb jumped for joy at the near presence of Jesus. If John the Baptist knew who Jesus was while they still were both in the fetal state, it follows that Jesus also knew who he was even before he exited the womb of Mary.

  • Is the Existence of a Multiverse a Problem for Christianity?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Oct 23, 2020

    Question of the week: Would the existence of a possible multiverse count against the Christian faith?

    My answer: There are theistic and atheistic versions of the multiverse. The atheistic versions contain internal contradictions. In The Creator and the Cosmos, 4th edition (pages 148–153), I describe details on how nontheistic multiverse speculations actually give strong evidence for the Christian faith.1 The five primary evidences, briefly summarized here, are as follows:

    The timing of when the nontheistic speculations were proposed is not coincidental. They were proposed only when the fine-tuning design evidences for a transcendent Creator became overwhelming.

    Nontheistic multiverse speculations explain away too much. The arguments proposed to explain the fine-tuned designs without a Creator also explain the content of all science research papers without scientists or any other human agency.

    Evidence for fine-tuned designs appears on all size scales of observation accessible to human investigation. It stretches credulity to surmise that conditions within a size scale speculated to exist beyond the reach of possible human investigation somehow will nullify all the observed designs. Such speculations are not scientific in that there is no possibility of subjecting them to scientific tests. Ironically, such speculations concede the existence of a metaphysical realm.

    Evidence for fine-tuned designs appears on all time scales of observation. We humans are living at the one time in cosmic history where it is possible, thanks to the finite and constant velocity of light, to directly observe 100% of the past history of the universe. This capability yielded the space-time theorems which establish that a Causal Agent beyond space and time created and designed the universe.

    Nontheistic multiverse speculations fail their one testable property. If there really is no personal Being behind the fine-tuned designs of the universe, Earth, and Earth’s life—making possible the existence of humans and human civilization—then further scientific experiments and observations at some point should yield declining evidences for fine-tuned designs. Instead, the scientific enterprise consistently yields exponentially increasing evidence for such designs.2

    This question deserves a more detailed response. Again, I provide such a response in The Creator and the Cosmos.3 RTB astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink has devoted an entire book to answering this question: Who’s Afraid of the Multiverse?4 Connect with Jeff for a free chapter.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 4th edition (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2018): 148–153, https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/the-creator-and-the-cosmos-fourth-edition.
    2. I provide a demonstration of exponentially increasing evidence for fine-tuned designs to make humanity and human civilization possible in “RTB Design Compendium (2009),” TNRTB (November 16, 2010), https://reasons.org/explore/publications/tnrtb/read/tnrtb/2010/11/16/rtb-design-compendium-2009.
    3. Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 148–53.
    4. Jeffrey Zweerink, Who’s Afraid of the Multiverse? (Covina, CA: RTB Press, 2008), https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books/who-is-afraid-of-the-multiverse.
  • Why Is Atheism So Popular among Scientists?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Oct 16, 2020

    Question of the week: Why is atheism so popular in science today?

    My answer: Only a small percentage of research scientists identify themselves as atheists. Of those that do, the majority—when pressed to define what they mean by atheism—turn out to be deists or agnostics. In my book, More Than a Theory, I cite large surveys about the theological beliefs of research scientists that were conducted in 1916 and 1996. Both showed that about 40% believe in God and an afterlife. Evidently, advancing scientific discoveries and scientific understanding has brought about no change in the theological beliefs of scientists. However, one reason why laypeople think atheism is so popular among scientists is that the very few scientists who are true atheists tend to be very vocal and get a lot of media attention. For this reason, we at Reasons to Believe are doing what we can to equip and train scientists who are Christians to be more public about their faith and more active in bringing their scientist peers to faith in Christ.

    There is one significant correlation that applies not only to scientists but the general population. The percentage of the population that identifies themselves as atheists, agnostics, or nones (no religious affiliation) has been rising in direct proportion to the increasing percentage of the population that lives in large, highly urbanized cities. People who live in large, urbanized cities are much more cut off from wild birds and mammals than the rest of the population. As the book of Job explains, God designed birds and mammals to teach us humans several crucial spiritual lessons. People who are not adequately exposed to these animals will not experience these lessons. The lesson for us who are Christians is to reach out to our urbanized friends and associates and take them to wilderness areas where God’s book of nature can speak to them more directly and clearly.

  • What Are the Scientific Dates for the Starts and Ends of the Six Creation Days?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Oct 09, 2020

    Question of the week: What are the scientific dates for start and end times for each of the six days of creation in Genesis 1?

    My answer: These dates depend on how one interprets the events described in the six days of creation. Also, for some of the events described in the Genesis creation days only very rough scientific dates have been determined.

    I believe a reasonable interpretation of creation day 1 is the Spirit of God hovering above Earth’s primordial waters to create photosynthetic life some time after God had transformed Earth’s atmosphere from opaque to translucent. We have a reasonably accurate date for the origin of photosynthetic life. It is 3.825±0.006 billion years ago. The date for the transformation of Earth’s atmosphere from opaque to translucent depends on how one defines translucent. Depending on the definition it could range from 4.47 to 3.83 billion years ago.

    Creation day 2 is when God establishes a complex, stable, water cycle. How one interprets complex and stable will affect the date for this event. The start date would be some time after 3.8 billion years ago. The end date would be some time before 2.45 billion years ago.

    In a blog I wrote in 2018 I described a scientific breakthrough that established at the time of the Great Oxygenation Event the continental landmass coverage of Earth’s surface suddenly jumped from less than 2% to more than 26%.1 This breakthrough indicates that creation day 3 began 2.45–2.32 billion years ago. The earliest known date for vegetation covering the landmasses is 1.2 billion years ago.2 It is likely that vegetation existed on landmasses previous to 1.2 billion years. Exactly what the biblical text means by vegetation covering the landmass is unclear. Hence, the end of day 3 is not clearly defined.

    Creation day 4 is when God transforms Earth’s atmosphere from always translucent to being at least intermittently transparent so that when God creates animals on day 5 they will be able to see the positions of the Sun, Moon, and stars in the sky and use those positions to regulate their biological clocks. In another blog I wrote in 2018 I showed how a team of physicists determined that the second great oxygenation event transformed Earth’s atmosphere from a dense haze into a transparent sky.3 This event coincided with the Great Unconformity, a geological upheaval that occurred about 580 million years ago.

    Creation day 5 begins with God creating the first animals. The first known animals to appear are those that belong to the first Avalon explosion which dates to about 575 million years ago. The first and second Avalon explosions are followed by the more dramatic Cambrian explosion that began 543 million years ago. Creation day 5 also describes God creating birds and sea mammals. The first known sea mammals appear about 65 million years ago. However, it is possible that some sea mammals appeared several million years earlier.

    Creation day 6 describes God creating three subcategories of land mammals, those that are most critical for helping humans to launch civilization. It is not exactly clear which land mammals the biblical text refers to. Therefore, the date for the beginning of creation day 6 could range from 10–65 million years ago. Creation day 6 ends with God creating the first humans, Adam and Eve. The coming together of four known rivers in the Garden of Eden implies that God created Adam and Eve sometime during an ice age, most likely the last ice age, which dates 15,000–130,000 years ago. However, the biblical text does not eliminate the possibility of God creating Adam and Eve in the ice age previous to the last one. Thus, the end of creation day 6 occurred between 15,000–250,000 years ago.

    Endnotes
    1. Hugh Ross, “Rapid Landmass Emergence Affirms Creation Day 3,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), June 11, 2018, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/06/11/rapid-landmass-emergence-affirms-creation-day-3.
    2. Paul K. Strother et al., “Earth’s Earliest Non-Marine Eukaryotes,” Nature 473 (May 26, 2011): 505–09, doi:10.1038/nature09943.
    3. Hugh Ross, “Hazy Early Earth: More Affirmation of Creation Day 4,” Today’s New Reason to Believe (blog), June 18, 2018, https://reasons.org/explore/blogs/todays-new-reason-to-believe/read/todays-new-reason-to-believe/2018/06/18/hazy-early-earth-more-affirmation-of-creation-day-4.
  • Why Did God Make Animals to Be So Violent?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Oct 02, 2020

    Question of the week: “Dr. Ross, I have a question about animal violence after horrific stories in the news lately of alligators killing or harming humans. First, do you believe animal violence to be a result of the fall and something that will be removed if animals exist in heaven? And lastly, is there any reason that God couldn’t have just created animals to be nonviolent? I can’t imagine why animals couldn’t have been created to just eat vegetation or not need to eat and get their energy from the sun or something like that. Thank you for your thoughts.”

    My answer: Carnivores and parasites are essential for reducing death, disease, and loss of quality of life for the herbivores. That is, given the laws of physics God has chosen for the universe, herbivores (as many field studies affirm) are much worse off in environments where carnivores and parasites do not exist. In my article “Thank God for Whales,” I explain how the restoration of the sperm whale population in the oceans increased the population, average body size, and health of giant squid for whom their only predator was the sperm whale. For ecosystems in general, I document and explain the essential benefits of carnivores and parasites in my book More Than a Theory.

    Note, too, that carnivores kill their prey as quickly and efficiently as possible, which reduces the suffering experienced by their prey. Also, God designed the nonhuman predators so that they must be selective. They are not equipped to kill the robust and healthy members of their herbivore prey species. Out of necessity their prey are the sick, the injured, the aged, the unwary, and the young offspring of unwary parents. It is this selectivity that helps to enhance the health, robustness, and population of prey species.

    For hundreds of millions of years, our planet has been packed with an exquisite balance of herbivores, carnivores, parasites, and detritivores (animals that feed on decaying dead tissue). This abundant and delicate balance of diverse species has killed many animals and thus enriched Earth’s crust with quadrillions of tons of valuable biodeposits—limestone, marble, coal, oil, natural gas, gypsum, etc. Thanks to this treasure chest of biodeposits, we humans have launched and sustained a global, high-technology civilization. This civilization in turn has enabled a rapid fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20).

    In the new creation, there will be no carnivores, parasites, death, disease, suffering, or decay as evil will no longer be possible. The impossibility of evil permits God to design the new creation with different dimensions and different laws of physics. It is those differences that will eliminate the possibility of death and decay. In my book Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, I explain why the laws of physics and the space-time dimensions must be exactly the way they are for God to rapidly and efficiently eliminate evil and suffering while at the same time enhancing human free will capability to express and experience love. Therefore, we have many reasons to thank God for creating carnivores in the present creation and for designing the carnivores to minimize the death and suffering of herbivores and enhance their populations and health.

  • Why Did God Kill the Hebrews Who Worshipped the Golden Calf?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Sep 25, 2020

    Question of the week: Why did God kill all those people described in the golden calf story in Exodus 32?

    My answer: This is a very good question. Misunderstandings about this text have led many to conclude that the God of the Bible is a contradictory God and, therefore, cannot exist. Others conclude that he is not a loving God and, hence, want nothing to do with him.

    As with any text of this nature, it is critical to interpret it in the larger context and to understand some of the translation difficulties. The story in Exodus 32 must be understood in the context of God calling Abraham to leave his country and settle in Canaan and from there to be God’s messenger to the peoples of the world. Canaan is where three continents come together. The location of Canaan at the juncture of the world’s great trading routes guaranteed that the nations of the world would be exposed to Abraham’s descendants and the message God had granted to them. The message included not only the words God had taught them to speak but also their demeanor, their godly behavior, and their moral standards. Deuteronomy 4:5–8 explains, for example, that God gave the Jewish community righteous laws and statutes. And through the Jews’ obedience to these laws and statutes and the wisdom and understanding they gained through their obedience, the nations surrounding Israel would hear and receive God’s message to them.

    Another important context is that the people who left Egypt with Moses to settle in the land of Canaan were not all blood descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Exodus 12:38 indicates that many non-Jews decided to become Jews and join the blood descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the exodus from Egypt. They joined because of their great respect for the God of Moses and the morality of Moses and his followers.

    Yet another important context is that the people who worshipped before the golden calf had personally and recently witnessed some of the greatest miracles God had ever performed before human beings. Yet, in spite of these awesome numerous miracles that they had recently experienced, after just forty days of Moses’s absence from them, they doubted both the existence of God and Moses. After all they had seen, experienced, and heard, their lack of faith shouts volumes about their spiritual condition.

    Finally, the words “revelry,” “out of control,” and “intent on evil” that are typical of most English translations describing the behavior of the people who were worshipping the golden calf do not do justice to the original Hebrew text. The golden calf worshippers were engaging in nonstop sexual orgies that would make even the most godless peoples and nations around them blush in horror at what they were hearing. Medically, it is well known that people who have sexual encounters with dozens of male and female strangers over short time periods will have compromised immune systems. Such behavior may explain the plague mentioned in Exodus 32:35.

    God’s actions in bringing death to the worst offenders of the golden calf worship were critical in restoring the mission and physical health God had bestowed upon the peoples of the exodus to take his message of redemption to all the peoples of the world. As Paul explains in Romans 1:18–32, people firmly committed to reprobate behavior are beyond the possibility of redemption from their evil. Such people in Romans 1:32 are described as malignantly evil. They not only are wholly dedicated to evil, but they are also committed to spreading their evil to as many other people as possible.

    God’s actions in Exodus 32 are akin to a surgeon removing a malignant tumor. The tumor is killed in order to prevent the rest of the body from dying. Similarly, before Christians became the “salt of the earth,” and in becoming salt prevented societal reprobation, there were a few instances where God had to intervene to “surgically remove” a group of reprobates in order to prevent the reprobation from spreading throughout the entire community. Note in Exodus 32 how quickly God sent Moses and Joshua down from Mt. Sinai to put a stop to the “revelry.”

  • Which Animals Are Nephesh Animals?

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Sep 18, 2020

    Question of the week: What type of animals would not be nephesh species?

    My answer: Nephesh is a Hebrew word typically translated as “soulish animals.” Genesis 1 declares that God both makes and creates nephesh animals on creation day 5. The make verb (asa) implies that there is something about these animals (their physical bodies) that is not brand new. The create verb (bara) implies that there is something (the soulishness) about these animals that is brand new.

    Nephesh refers to animals God has endowed with mind, will, and emotions, and the capacity to emotionally bond with one another and with human beings. Nephesh animals form emotionally bonded family units where the parents engage in sacrificial behavior to care for their offspring. Humans can tame nephesh animals to serve and please people. They cannot do so with non-nephesh animals. All birds and mammals are part of the nephesh. A very few reptilian species—for example, crocodiles and alligators—are part of the nephesh. All other animals are not. As both Genesis and Job state, some nephesh creatures (for example, goats and sheep) are easy tame where other nephesh creatures (for example, hippopotami and crocodiles) are difficult to tame.

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    I took the first four photos of nephesh animals in the mountains of British Columbia. The fifth I took in Tasmania.

  • Reasons to Believe’s Position on Process Structuralism

    by Telerik.Sitefinity.DynamicTypes.Model.Authors.Author | Sep 11, 2020

    Question of the week: What is Reasons to Believe’s position on process structuralism?

    My answer: Process or biological structuralism is a school of biological evolutionary theory that holds that natural selection, mutations, and gene exchange inadequately explains the history of life. Biological structuralists argue that additional naturalistic processes are needed to complement natural selection, mutations, genetic drift, and gene exchange. Specifically, they assert that one or more natural physical forces shape and direct the development of the bodies of plants and animals. Typically, they claim that these physical forces play a more dominant role in shaping the history of life than do natural selection, mutations, genetic drift, and gene exchange. For example, Günter Wagner argued that physical forces constrain embryonic development. Stuart Kauffman and Michael Denton claimed that within the forces of physics lie as yet undiscovered self-organizing principles that impact biological development.

    blog__inline--reasons-to-believes-position-on-process-structuralism

    Figure: Proposed Naturalistic Process Evolution for Vertebrate Species
    Image credit: Petter Bockman, public domain

    Reasons to Believe’s position is that strictly natural processes (see figure) are inadequate to explain either the origin of life or the developmental history of life. While not denying the operation of natural processes, the RTB position is that multiple direct supernatural interventions by the God of the Bible are necessary to fully explain both the origin and history of life. RTB authors have written several books describing and documenting the extensive scientific evidence that establish the necessity for these supernatural interventions. While RTB sees and acknowledges evidence for natural selection, mutations, genetic drift, and gene exchange influencing the history of life, we have yet to see any credible scientific evidence for biological structuralism to play a significant role in life’s history. We also explain why the natural forces and self-organizing principles to which biological structuralists appeal would be impossible to remain hidden from the view of modern-day scientists. Relevant RTB resources include the following books: Origins of Life; Creating Life in the Lab; The Creator and the Cosmos, 4th ed.; Improbable Planet; More Than a Theory. Anyone can get free chapters of these books at reasons.org/ross and reasons.org/fuz. The books can be purchased at https://shop.reasons.org/category/format/books.

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