In the Beginning, God. . .
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
We all know how the Bible starts, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". Just ten little words (well, 8 in Hebrew). Ten words followed by about 7000 years of contention. But let’s be honest. The controversy surrounding these words can be narrowed down to just one of them. Only one of these words gets the world’s collectively in a wad: God.
Which shouldn’t really surprise us, as God said that the people He created would basically come in two models: one that responds to His revelation by seeking God, and one that responds by turning his back on Him.
So he can tell all his buddies, proudly, that “I did it “my way.”
Suit yourself. God isn’t a dictator. He gladly gives every man and woman the choice, and every man and woman makes one. God is Love. So as long as you still draw breath, you can change your mind.
And many have. Both ways. The interesting thing is that, although you won’t hear it on CNN, increasing numbers of scientists (scientists who once considered God mythological), now believe otherwise. And (shocker), for many of them the reason for belief is a recognition that the more science reveals about the origins of our universe, the more it sounds like the book of Genesis.
Take Antony Flew, for example.
Antony Flew and Gary Habermas met in February 1985 in Dallas, Texas for a debate. Habermas was a Professor of Ministry at Liberty University. Flew, the son of Methodist minister, was a Professor of Philosophy and a vocal atheist who had concluded by the age of 15 that there was no God, and eventually Flew became the go-to guy for these "ignorant Christian vs eminent scientist" kind of debates. In fact, he became the world’s foremost atheist spokesperson.
Flew and Habermas debated often, on opposing sides, but, oddly enough, gradually became friends, and over the next twenty years kept in touch, with regular friendly debates of their own.
Those same twenty years, however, saw dramatic progress in the scientific understanding of our universe and its origins, and in January 2004, Flew confided in Habermas that he now believed that there had to be a Creator.
Two lines of evidence had brought him to this conclusion. First, the cosmological sciences had over those 20 years, increasingly demonstrated a fine-tuning of a multitude of parameters of the universe which, in Flews words, seemed to require “Intelligent Design”.
A fine tuning, in other words, that required an intelligent Creator to provide.
Secondly, 50 years of research had passed since the discovery that DNA, was the molecule that defined inheritance. More importantly, they had passed without any plausible mechanisms of evolution being defined.
(Darwin had begun his theory of evolution based on an theoretical existing organism with the capacity to reproduce.)
The lack, after 50 years, of any progress in figuring out how life could have actually started, in Flew’s words, also provided “an enormously powerful argument for design”. The latest work I have seen shows that the present physical universe gives too little time for these theories of abiogenesis to get the job done." He added: "The philosophical question that has not been answered in origin-of-life studies is this: How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and 'coded chemistry'? Here we are not dealing with biology, but an entirely different category of problem."
Retribution from fellow atheists, of course, was quick and brutal,
Atheist Raymond Bradley, emeritus professor of philosophy at Simon Fraser University and a member of the editorial board of The Open Society journal, wrote an open letter to Flew accusing him of swallowing scientific arguments that implied the existence of God whole without really analyzing their merit. Other prominent atheists, including Richard Dawkins, accused him of supposing a “God of the gaps."
Flew, once the foremost atheist in the world, now a pariah to his former colleagues. lamented,
“I have been denounced by my fellow unbelievers for stupidity, betrayal, senility and everything you can think of and none of and none of them have read a word that I have ever written.”
Flew died in 2010, and although he confessed a belief in a sentient individual that created the world, no one knows if he was safe in the arms of Jesus at the end.
But we do know, at least, that from Habermas he heard the good news.
'Tis the season. Let's make the most of it.
Who are the Flews in our lives?
About Wendy Wippel
Last week: A Sheep of a Different Color
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