As a former atheist, Bible-rejecter, and God-rejecter … I am now convinced of the truth of the Bible and the God of the Bible. If you have not read the first installment in this series Part 1 … please do so now by clicking here. Then, please come back and continue with this Second Installment … of why I am Fully Convinced.
In this installment, we are going to test the “truth claims” and the multiple premises of “atheism.” I put that word in quotes, as I will need to qualify what I mean by “atheism.” We will look at the general and/or common understanding of atheism as what most people understand…
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The following is borrowed from a comment redditor JoeCoder made to a question posed in the subreddit Creation when asked why evolution is so widely accepted…
According to the NCSE (an evolution advocacy group) 55% of scientists are atheists, 40% believe God guided evolution, and 5% are young earth creationists. The survey had no category for old earth creationists and they don’t break it down by field, so the results aren’t perfect.
I don’t like to profile large groups of people I’ve never met and I think the reasons for evolutionary theory’s widespred acceptance are complex and multifaceted. But I’d guess it involves some of the following:
The following is adopted from Come and Reason Ministries…
Can any scientist demonstrate something coming from nothing? I can show you a world filled with evidence of new things coming from something that already exists.
Can any scientist demonstrate life coming from non-living matter? I can show you a world teeming with life coming from living matter.
Can any scientist demonstrate complexity coming from chaos by random forces without any intelligent input? I can demonstrate a world filled with complex machines, computers, and technology, all of which is a result of intelligent design and input.
Can any scientist demonstrate random genetic mutation that has added genetic fitness? I can show you millions of genetic mutations that destroy fitness.
Can any scientist demonstrate selection that removes enough genetic damage to cause a species to become more genetically fit than the preceding generations? I can show you that despite selection the accumulation of genetic damage increases with each subsequent generation thereby degrading the species.
Further, which theory is in harmony with known laws of physics? The first law of thermodynamics, energy is conserved, rules out the first premise of evolution origins. Something cannot come from nothing if energy is conserved.
The second law of thermodynamics, things tend toward disorder unless energy is put into a system, simply states that left to its own things decay over time. This law rules out the premise that complexity comes from chaos without intelligent input. It also rules out the idea that genetic mutation results in increased fitness.
Both of these scientific laws of thermodynamics support the premises of creation origins but fail to support evolution origins.
So, which theory is actually built upon testable, reproducible evidence, in harmony with known laws, and which theory is demonstrated, by the evidence, to be inconsistent with testable evidence and laws? Then which theory is more scientific?
I find it fascinating that Creationism is actually founded upon scientific premises and beliefs, and supported by testable laws, whereas evolutionism origins is founded upon “blind faith,” premises that are disproved by objective testable science. Yet, scientists refuse to follow the evidence and instead persist in proclaiming evolutionary origins are actually scientific.
The following is adapted heavily from Timothy S. Lane’s article titled “Pursuing and Granting Forgiveness” which was originally published in The Journal of Biblical Counseling in Spring of 2005. It can be read in its entirety online here: http://www.gigr.org/uploads/Forgive.pdf
Forgiveness is such a crucial part of many people’s healing. Unforgiveness is one of those top three factors that brings on depression. But it is also a very difficult topic. There are many confusions about what it is and how it happens, and why we fight it. Timothy Lane’s article does an excellent job of detailing all of these hard to explain or understand topics. I’ve used it with many clients, and found great results. Below I will summarize each section and point made, and provide my insights as well.
WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?
Before we can know how to forgive, we have to accurately define. Lane separates out this definition into 7 sections:
When someone wrongs us, we have this feeling as if they owe us. Forgiveness involves releasing them from that obligation.
1 – I will not bring up this offense again. (Forgiveness is not authentic if we use the offense over and over to knock the offender down again)
2 – I will not gossip or malign you because of this offense. (No getting together with your girlfriends or buddies and knocking your spouse for it behind closed doors)
3 – I will not dwell on this offense. (No playing the video tape of the event over and over. No, I won’t ask you to destroy the tape, but it’s time to pop it out and put it on the shelf)
This is the concept where the real person that unforgiveness hurts is you – not them. You are sabatoging your own future. They are free, they’ve probably moved on. You are stuck, and it may be eating you alive. You may inevitably take that out on others or yourself.
Matthew 6:15 says “if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Yoda says “fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering” – all of which is the path to the dark side. Unforgiveness breeds bitterness, hate, fear, and suffering.
It is something we don’t just do once and be done with it. It is an event, in the sense that it is an action we take, but it is also a process in the fact that we have to continue to choose a lifestyle of forgiveness. It’s a daily choice. It is not a simple one-and-done.
This is one that really trips a lot of people up and prevents forgiveness. Many think they must forget that the offense ever happened. This is simply not true. This is a wrong interpretation of Jeremiah 31:34 that says that God will remember our sins no more. Lane says “but the omniscient God does not have amnesai when it comes to our sins. The word ‘remember’ in this passage does not mean ‘memory’, it means ‘covenant’”. God chooses to not dwell on our sins anymore.
Many do not wish to forgive because they think that will give the offender the permission to walk all over them. To get past this we need to understand that forgiveness is not for them, it is for you. Forgiveness opens the door for Godly confrontation in love. It opens the door for healthy communication and restoration.
After these seven concepts, I think we can summarize forgiveness into the following statement:
Forgiveness is treating another person not as though they deserve.
Or you can put it towards yourself… forgiveness is treating yourself not as though you think you deserve.
Now that we know what forgiveness is or is not, we can move onto how to do it.
Lane outlines five parts of how to practice forgiveness, and you will notice quickly that most of them have to do with looking inward first and making sure you are ready to forgive. Matthew 7:5 says “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Don’t ignore your own faults. Watch your behavior. Learn from mistakes.
This has to do with setting appropriate boundaries. Sometimes we don’t know exactly what to do or how to handle the situation, but God does! This is where we entrust the person’s well being to God because we can’t be involved in that lifestyle.
Here’s where we really examine ourself: our character, our integrity. This is where we remain open to reconciliation even in the worst of circumstances. I think about the many times I hear people talk about marital unfaithfulness as a ‘deal-breaker’. I understand that feeling, but I don’t think that concept resembles a high Biblical standard. Just because divorce is justified because of unfaithfulness, doesn’t mean it has to automatically be our default position.
This has to do with making forgiveness a lifestyle, not just a choice or action we do. Lane says “you cannot use the offender’s failure to ask for forgiveness as an excuse to hold onto your anger and hurt.” We have a responsibility to forgive first on a vertical axis – with God before we attempt horizontal forgiveness with the offender… and there’s no excuse for not forgiving them on the vertical axis.
And finally, after all that preparation – this is the step where we actually do it. This is the event of forgiveness. The process continues on afterwards. This may be us asking for forgiveness or letting someone know we forgive them. In my house when our kids have to ask for forgiveness it is a 4 step process:
1 – apologize.
2 – why was it wrong.
3 – what will you do differently in the future.
4 – ask for forgiveness.
Even after learning all of the above, many of us are still hestiant to forgiveness. Why is that?? Lane outlines three more bullet points on why we don’t forgive.
WHY DON’T WE FORGIVE
Ever thought this: well, I’ve done wrong but I’ve never killed anyone. Yeah, that’s this concept. It wasn’t a big deal what I did. But by who’s standard? God’s standard is perfection. In only took one sin for paradise to be lost in the Garden of Eden. What’s so wrong with eating a piece of fruit? Nothing in theory, but it was wrong because they were told not to. Anything that God tells us not to do, but we do anyways is sin – and automatically separates us from God – and we need forgiveness.
Sounding like humility, this is actually pride. What you are saying is:
1 – My sin is too big, there is no way God’s grace can top it.
2 – I don’t want to rely solely on God’s mercy.
3 – God may forgive me but I can’t forgive myself.
This last one sounds like humility but it’s full of pride. If God is the judge and deems you not guilty, then you sit in judgment of his judgment – what does that say about your faith?
Lane says “the white hot truth of the Gospel gets lost in that monotony, and it soon becomes simply a nice, warm experience of the past. We return to handling daily life and the provocations of others in ways similar to our pre-Christian days.”
This entire article is the roadmap to forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness is for you, for your sanity, for your future. It is God’s plan for your life. It is a lifestyle. It is choosing to treat someone not as though they deserve. God does it for us. The least we can do is do it for others. I know it is hard, but I promise it is worth it. I leave you with the song and story behind the song of Matthew West’s “Forgiveness”…
In 2006, a group of sailors traversing the south Pacific ocean came across an anomaly. What appeared to be a sand barge in the middle of the ocean.
They decided to investigate. They maneuvered their boat through the ‘sand barge’ leaving a trail in their wake.
As they moved away they noticed something strange – a plume of smoke rising out of the area.
It turned out they had just sailed over an active volcano! Within minutes, the witnessed a brand new island being formed rapidly before their eyes!
This amazing event gives evidence to a rarely talked about phenomenon: how geologic events can and do occur very rapidly! We get used to interpreting most geologic processes as gradual and uniform, taking millions of years to form and change. This is not always true.
We creationists believe that the flood of Noah’s time initiated plate tectonics (“the fountains of the great deep burst forth” Gen 7:11). We believe that was the onset of of most geologic activity such as earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc. In fact, we believe that ongoing geologic events are technically aftershocks from the flood. We believe the flood rearranged the continents, raised the mountain ranges, lowered valleys, and much more.
This amazing rapid island formation is evidence that although we observe most geologic events such as erosion happening very slowly over a long time, extreme catastrophic events can shape the face of the planet very rapidly. When we see this island formation happen, it makes it more understandable how a worldwide catastrophe such as the flood could quickly reshape our planet – and that judging that past by today’s normal slow processes would lead to incorrect conclusions (old-earth/evolution).
Is the photo above a man standing sideways (profile), or is the man standing forwards with half the picture cut off? Two different people will come to two different conclusions. Let’s keep that in mind…
The vast majority of scientists agree that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old, and evolution via natural selection and common ancestry is the means by which humanity came into being. Obviously, as a young-earth creationist, I do not agree with either of those staples of science. But what about all the evidence, Tim?? Let me explain my position…
I believe that the scientific method requires that all evidence must be interpreted before a conclusion is drawn. My issue is not with the evidence itself, it is with the interpretation stage. I believe that scientists interpret the evidence through a worldview filter. Their worldview filter includes their personal beliefs about how the world does or does not operate. For example, if I believe there is no supernatural influence in the world and everything continues on the way and the rate at which it always has, then I am going to interpret something like radiometric decay or geology much differently than someone who believes God has intervened in this world at various points in our early history.
Let’s look at a couple examples…
If God really created Adam on the literal sixth day of creation – how old do you think he might look on day 7? Was he a full grown man? 30… maybe 40? But the truth is he is only one day old. He was created fully mature and able to sustain himself. Now apply that concept to the rest of creation. If God really created the world in six days fully mature and self-sustaining – how might that affect the apparent age of the earth? And how might that affect our research if we left out that concept? Might we come to a much different conclusion? I think so. The point is evidence like radiometric dating the age of the earth doesn’t rule out a special creation because things still might appear older than they truly are and yet that would still be in line Biblicaly.
But isn’t that a deceptive God?? I hear this all the time. No, it’s not. Perhaps God never intended us to study the age of the earth while ignoring his revelation about how He did it! Not God’s deception, human ignorance.
As for geology, we have to look at what might have happened had Noah’s flood actually covered and destroyed the whole world as the Bible seems to imply. Take the layers at the Grand Canyon. Two schools of thought: either a little bit of water (the Colorado River) over a long period of time (millions of years) OR a lot of water (the flood) over a little period of time. The same evidence, different conclusions based on different interpretations that are dependent on our worldview assumptions.
But doesn’t science work to weed out the assumptions? Yes, but it gets harder and harder when science steps outside of direct observation and repeatability. Of course we can’t observe or repeat creation or the flood or anything from that time period. We only have left over evidence that requires human interpretation.
But what about multiple lines of evidence all agreeing on the same conclusion?? Isn’t that correlation the nail in the coffin? No, not if each one of those line of evidence were all interpreted under the same starting worldview assumption of uniformitarianism – the idea that present processes are the way things have always worked. If Genesis is true and the world was created rapidly, altered following original sin, and destroyed during the flood – uniformitarainism fails, and so does all conclusions that follow from that assumption.
Keep in mind that I am NOT saying that the laws of nature change all the time and thus science is impossible. I am being specific and citing three main events from Genesis in which things would have worked differently than the way we see them working today. Science that puts computers on our desks and phones in our pockets are based on modern, observations that are repeatable and verifiable. Science such as evolution and the age of the earth are much different and require much more debatable assumptions.
The conclusions of an old earth and evolution rely on the worldview assumptions of naturalism and specifically uniformitarianism being absolutly true and unchangeable. As a Christian, I believe God does and has intervened in our world. I also believe the Bible is a historical, reliable account of the creation of the world. And since that is true, it contains information that makes me seriously doubt uniformitarianism. I replace it with the assumption of catastrophism of history – that several high impace, rapid events occurred shaping our planet’s apparent history very quickly rather than gradually.
Yes, we both use starting assumptions to interpret the evidence. It’s not evolutionists have more evidence than creationists, it’s that we interpret the same evidence differently based on a different set of starting assumptions. So, the real question is – whose starting assumptions are more reliable? The majority of scientists believe their assumptions are correct because the constant rates have never been observed to be different. That actually is a pretty logical conclusion. But that doesn’t disqualify the creationist worldview. We believe we have additional information in the revealed word of God – therefore we see our starting assumptions as more reliable than fallible human intellect because it comes straight from God who was there, observed it, and doesn’t lie. And thus, the debate rages on!