With the two article which follow, we commence a series on the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Is Christianity a mindless belief? Is it the abandonment of reasoning, equivalent to intellectual suicide? Or are their facts which, while never replacing or superseding Scripture in their value, do nevertheless support the believer's faith?
The articles here illustrate the two means of evidence which the believer has. In the article by our brother Jim Allen, the arguments from design and purpose are discussed. David Curran shows us that personal experience is a great evidence of the existence of a living and personal God.
"The heavens declare the glory God and the firmament sheweth His handywork" Psalm 19:1.
Down the ages thinking men have been forced to ask the question of the poet:
Gaze on the arch above;
The glittering vault admire.
Who taught those orbs to move?
Who lit their ceaseless fire?
Who guides the moon to run
In silence through the skies?
Who bids the dawning sun
In strength and beauty rise?
Today learned men with their minds deliberately closed to the evidence unmistakable in the wonders of creation, a truth foreseen in Scripture (2 Pet 3:5), ascribe these mighty works to "chance" or "nature" or "evolution". The far flung galaxies from which light takes millions of years to reach earth are, in their faulty reasoning, but the debris from a "Big Bang" when a particle exploded. Where the matter came from and what caused the explosion are as unanswerable as the question raised when, in some devastating electrical storm, lightning flash caused a fortuitous combination of atoms in a primeval soup on this favored planet, to produce what men condescendingly call "life". It is claimed that this life developed through sheer amazing chance, controlled by something called "natural selection", until a shambling ape gave way to homo erectus and men began to claw their way over millions of years through the paleolithic (old age), through the Neolithic age (new stone), to homo sapiens, modern man. The Scriptures describe such 'believers" and their boasted "knowledge": "professing themselves to be wise they became fools" (Rom 1:22).
It is something not generally recognized that some of the keenest intellects of the greatest scholars and scientists have rejected such nonsense, not on emotional grounds, but on scientific grounds. They have admitted that the order and design in the universe leave not a doubt that behind creation there is a living and a personal God and many of them have come to know this One as the Savior-God in Christ. It is this God who, in a display of matchless power, brought into existence the time-space-matter-energy cosmos in which we live. That this was a unique act of power in six literal days may only be known from Scripture. But there has never been any proven scientific evidence to cast real doubt on the matter. That this occurred thousands of years ago and not the millions demanded by evolutionary theory is again a deduction from Scripture against which there is no indisputable scientific evidence. No believer in Scripture need fear to set forth the truth of the Creator - God Who brought the cosmos into existence for a purpose (Col 1:15-17).
The evidence of design in the universe (the teleological argument) has led honest minds to see behind the "design" the hand of the Designer, as William Pauley illustrated so aptly in his analogy of the watch found in the park. He argued cogently in his book, "Natural Theology or evidence or the Existence and Attributes of Deity" (1802), that the very existence of the watch demanded a watchmaker". Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) the astronomer who studied under Copernicus recognized this argument when, as he formulated his "Laws of Planetary Motion", he was compelled to cry out, "Oh God! I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee". Sir James Jean (1877-1946), Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University and astrophysicist at the Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, in a tribute to the exactness of the movements of the heavenly bodies said, "God must be a pure mathematician." Charles Darwin faced this very argument and confessed himself "bewildered" in a letter dated 22nd May 1860 over the matter of the delicate design of the eye and the utter impossibility of it to have developed by chance without a designer. He writes, "with respect to the theological view of the question, this is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically. But I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I would wish to do, the evidence of design. Not believing this, I see no necessity that the eye was designed. On the other hand, I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe, and especially the nature of man, and conclude that everything is the result of brute force" (Evolution - The Great Debate, Blackmore and Page). The Scriptures leave no room for bewilderment - it is "oppositions of science falsely so called" (l Tim 6:20) that introduces the bewilderment. This can be seen in the writings, particularly the book, "The Blind Watchmaker" (1986) by Richard Dawkins, one of the greatest present day exponents of evolution. Rejecting the teleological argument, he presents the case of chance working through minuscule variations over millions of years to produce man. Flimsy speculations, false deductions and faulty analogies in this book show the weakness of rational thought when divorced from the facts of science. There are few facts in this book. Facts are uncomfortably uncompromising when it comes to the false theories of men.
Michael Faraday (1791-1867), the "father of electricity", one of the greatest scientists of any age, on his death bed wrote as his final testimony: "My worldly faculties are slipping away day by day Happy it is for all of us that the true good does not lie in them. As they ebb, may they leave us as little children, trusting in the Father of Mercies and accepting His unspeakable gift. I bow before Him who is Lord of all."
The "Biographical Dictionary of Scientists" (London 1984) provides the following statement on the achievements of James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79): "Maxwell is generally considered to be the greatest theoretical physicist of the 1800's, as his forbear Faraday was the greatest experimental physicist." His synthesis of knowledge in the electromagnetic nature of light and the kinetic theory of gases laid the ground work for Einstein and Hawkins in subsequent years. Referring to his death in 1879, the prestigious journal "Nature" commented, "His simple Christian faith gave him a peace too deep to be ruffled by bodily pain or external circumstances." He exposed "evolution" as "pseudo science" and loved to lampoon it in satirical verse. These men of giant intellect were satisfied to give Scripture its place as the Word of God worthy of complete trust as revealing the Living God who had become personal in their lives.
When all the false arguments for evolution are exposed by the absence of any factual scientific support, its error is seen. The very existence of beauty and truth, even in a world spoiled by sin, demands an absolute standard found only in the living God. This ontological argument, viewing man with his will and conscience, recognizes that there is an absolute purpose and an absolute morality that reflects sovereignty and morality found only in the Holy God of Scripture. None of the "isms" of the ancient world - dualism, polytheism nor pantheism - could fill this need. Neither plain atheism nor embroidered evolutionism can meet this need today A creator God who "spake and it was done" brought the world into being and placed man over that creation. Sin has brought ruin, but this same God has revealed Himself in His Son in time as the One who is "The way, the truth and the life". While due to the very nature of science, it is not able to prove this, yet there is not one fact of true science at variance with this Scriptural revelation of a Living and Personal God. The record of history and the highest reason of man bows before the truth of Scripture. Evolutionary theories come under the stricture of 1 Timothy 6:20, "oppositions of science falsely so called."