Taking a Closer Look at Nature

Your Rent a Friend is listening to a lecture on DNA. No, really.

His mood is optimistic.

I believe this is a true story: There was once a group of philosophers having dinner together, one of which was a Christian. The others asked him, “If someone were to ask you for proof that God exists, what would you say?”

He considered it for a moment, and then said, “I would take him into my garden, and I should show him the flowers, and trees, and insects, and the fish in my pond.” And then he went back to eating.

“That’s it?” his friends asked. “That’s all you would say? What if he looked around at your garden and said he still did not believe that there was a God?”

“I would tell him,” he replied, “to look closer.”


So get on your boots and grab some bug repellent, because today we’re venturing out into NATURE to take a look around! If you see a bear, STAY IN THE CAR.

I’ve already shown you in the Kalam Cosmological argument that the entire universe can be used as proof for the existence of God. Now I’m going to bring the search a little closer to home, to a little planet I like to call, “earth.” Although, it would still be called “earth” even if I didn’t like to call it that. This argument is not as philosophically air tight as my previous arguments. This one should simply make sense. We hold these truths to be self evident. Well, I do anyway, and I invite you to do the same.

There are two things you need to be on the look out for today- first, REALLY BIG things. Second, really small things. The first ones will be easier to find. Let’s start there:

Psalm 19: 1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.

The heavens are a nice big place to start, since you don’t need to travel far to see them. When we look up into the vast, endless black and see the BILLIONS of stars, I think we all have the same first thought: “If I had a dollar for each one of those…!” But soon we get to thinking about the vastness of space, and it makes us feel really small. Let me give you some idea of how small.

First, look at the room you are in (This would work even if the room you were in was a Super Walmart). If this room was the entire earth, you would not be able to see your house from here. It’s too small. Now imagine the room is the entire solar system. You would not be able to see the earth. It’s too small. Now imagine the room is the whole galaxy. You probably would never find the solar system. It’s too small. Do you see where I’m going with this? Odds are you think you need to lose weight, when in fact you are already immeasurably tiny! Go ahead and have that donut! The universe will never know the difference!

The great bigness of creation gives us a glimpse of how we should see God- he’s really Big and we are, inversely, really small. And you don’t need a galaxy to experience this. Lock eyes with a lion, or stand near an elephant or a waterfall. Or lock eyes with a lion on an elephant under a waterfall, if you can make that happen. Watch big waves crash on your favorite beach. Try and climb a mountain, or just try and drive around some. All of these common, natural things will do the trick. Their majestic bigness touches our soul with the reminder of our smallness. No one ever stands before the Grand Canyon and says, “This is HUGE! Which reminds me, I’m totally awesome!” No one watches lighting crash around a tornado and says, “This just goes to show how important I am.” Important or not, you wind up in the basement praying that God saves you from an unscheduled trip to Oz.

And we LOVE to feel awed by nature! Everyone loves to stand before great majestic mountains and feel small. We love to watch waves crash on an endless ocean. This is why we vacation in California and not in Iowa. No one says, “I have two weeks off, and I’m going to spend them somewhere FLAT! Give me featureless plains with NOTHING blocking my view of that horizon! Endless miles of corn, and one tree. THAT is my idea of paradise!” I’m fairly certain that the title of the movie “Field of Dreams” was sarcasm.

When you consider the wonders of nature, it’s no strange thing that many cultures have been nature worshipers. Nature was designed to show the glory of God. Some people have simply mistaken the self-portrait for the artist.  The apostle Paul says this in Romans chapter 1, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” It’s not a good mistake to make, but when you think about it, it kinda makes sense. There is something in nature which makes us all feel the need to worship. It’s just wiser to worship the Creator than his creation. For one thing, unlike the Creator who loves you, the creation isn’t listening. Besides that, much of it will just kill and/or eat you. So, it makes a lousy god.

The study of the really tiny is a branch of science which is still working to peer deeper into the depths of the universe. Back in the day (June 20th, 1896) people knew that all life was made of cells, but they didn’t know what a cell was.  Under the microscope they saw a light blob with a dark blob inside it. They thought it was like a tiny chunk of Jell-o with a single piece of fruit floating in it. Nothing could be further from the truth! Each cell is in fact an amazing set of machinery which rivals the most advanced factory! Imagine a completely automated car factory which can not only produce cars, but can replicate itself into two identitcal and functional factories in only a few hours. THAT is what each of your one trillion of cells are like. If that doesn’t impress you, I don’t know what will.

For a really good explanation of how complex some of this stuff is, check out “Darwin’s Black Box” by Michael Behe. Among others things, Behe shows how the machinery driving a bacteria is like an outboard motor, only more efficient and powerful. Although, if you have a twenty foot fishing boat, you will want more than bacteria pushing it. You won’t catch a lot of fish that way. You’ll probably catch some horrible disease instead.

The amazing complexity of life on the scale of the tiny is made of machines which rival anything mankind has yet produced, and this includes the internet, the Wii, the i-pod touch, and Hotpockets. As Paul and the Psalms point out, nature speaks for itself.

Though, you don’t need to get that small to find amazement. Study any of your local animals! An ant can lift 50 times its own weight, (though I don’t know why it would want to). A spider’s web is stronger than steel, which you can testify to if you’ve tried to do some spring cleaning. Bunnies can sleep with their eyes open. Try that sometime. It’s not as easy as it sounds. The wonders of creation are endless! For details, see your local library, zoo, or pet store.

In the future, I will devote some time to explaining how Darwinian Evolution fails to explain life as we know it. It’s a LOT to sum up.  For right now let me paraphrase everyone’s favorite Atheist poster child, Richard Dawkins from his book, “The God Delusion”“One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself.” In summary- the universe and especially life contains amazing design and information. Dawkins will then spend a great deal of time and effort making weak and insufficient arguments to try and deny what he has just admitted was the most natural explanation. Design and information don’t come from any natural process or chemical laws. Music comes from a musician. Art comes from an artist. Design comes from a designer, and information can only come from a mind. So why can’t Dawkins see the obvious? Why does he choose a LESS obvious conclusion? Because there are some ideas that are SO absurd that it takes a PhD to believe them.

The best resources on the science of Creation and the scientific evidence against evolution come from Answers in Genesis, founded by Ken Ham. A huge collection of online articles and videos  from Answers in Genesis can be found at http://www.answersingenesis.org/

As a brilliant philosopher, Peter Kreeft, once said, “There is the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, therefore there must be a God. Either you get that or you don’t.” Nature is the same. I recommend a trip to the zoo, or your favorite national park. If you look around, I promise you’ll see the fingerprints of God. If you don’t, do yourself a favor- look closer (but keep a safe distance from spiders, bears, and raccoons).

rentafriend2000@hotmail.com

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About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

6 Responses to Taking a Closer Look at Nature

  1. rentafriend2000 says:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/media/video/am/v4-n4/cells
    The above is a great video is you’re a science nerd. It’s the workings of a tiny part of your immune system, one cell at a time. It is presented by Dr. Purdom, using some REALLY sweet video graphics.

  2. agnophilo says:

    Nothing in the universe points to the god of the bible specifically any more than lightning pointed to zeus or thor specifically. And if nothing can exist without a creator then god needs a creator too. If he doesn’t, then things can exist without a creator and there need not be a god. If nothing can be complex without being designed by an intelligent and conscious mind then either god’s mind is not complex or it was designed by an even greater intelligence, which was designed by an even greater intelligence and so on into infinity. If god’s mind was not designed then complex things do not necessarily need to be designed.

    • Hey, thanks for writing in again! My you are a whirlwind of thought, so let me break down the key points:
      You contrast Jesus (aka the God of the Bible) with Zeus and Thor and say nothing in the universe points one way or the other, but the very nature of the universe DOES point to Jesus and not to Zeus. Jesus is a God of law and order, and the Zeus/Thor collectives were more often at war with each other than at peace. (Didn’t you see Avengers? Or Thor?) They were gods of chaos, whereas Jesus is a God of moral, civil, legal, and ceremonial law. This is why the early scientists of the Christian west knew they would find physical laws in His creation, whereas the Greeks and Romans generally did not believe they would. That we find not only law and order, but AMAZINGLY FINE TUNED law and order says Somebody has been monkeying with the physics, and that somebody has the character of Jesus.

      The rest of this paragraph makes a very simple mistake- I have not claimed that nothing can exist without being created, I have said the PHYSICAL universe cannot be past eternal, nor can it create itself. If something BEGINS to exist, it must have had cause. (See https://rentafriend2000.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/kalam-and-the-horrendous-space-kablooie/)

      God did not BEGIN to exist. On the contrary, he created time, as it is one of the elements of the universe he created. It is the same as saying, the author existed before he wrote “Once upon a time.” The argument cannot be turned on God because He did not come into being. He’s the author.

      As for your argument against the design of complexity, I don’t need to convince you that some forms of complexity need an intelligent source. You already know that. As for the complexity of God or his mind, these are the same mistakes made by Richard Dawkins in ‘The God Delusion.’ William Lane Craig I think argues well that there is no reason to ascribe complexity to God in the same sense. (See that Here: http://youtu.be/wcHp_LWGgGw) God is, as far as we can describe him in our terms, a disembodied mind. He does not have a huge range of interlocking parts (As all life does) nor does he collect knowledge a piece at a time as we do. Yes, He is unlimited, but that does not mean he must be complicated in the sense that the universe, the laws of physics, and every living cell is complex. I would say if YOUR mind was not designed by an intelligent designer, then nothing needs to be, but I would also say your mind is the product of intelligent design, not blind, accidental, purposeless chance. Your mind is not a mud puddle, it is a brilliant work of art and engineering. It’s ok to admit that.
      Sincerely,
      Your Rent A Friend

      • agnophilo says:

        “Hey, thanks for writing in again! My you are a whirlwind of thought, so let me break down the key points:
        You contrast Jesus (aka the God of the Bible) with Zeus and Thor and say nothing in the universe points one way or the other, but the very nature of the universe DOES point to Jesus and not to Zeus. Jesus is a God of law and order, and the Zeus/Thor collectives were more often at war with each other than at peace. (Didn’t you see Avengers? Or Thor?) They were gods of chaos, whereas Jesus is a God of moral, civil, legal, and ceremonial law. This is why the early scientists of the Christian west knew they would find physical laws in His creation, whereas the Greeks and Romans generally did not believe they would.”

        This is a form of circular reasoning, but it is hard to explain why. Basically christians called the properties of nature laws because they, being christian and living in dictatorships, assumed that god (who they were told to imagine as a king sitting on a throne for political and cultural reasons) had “decreed” them. This idea was later replaced when they started finding out that the “laws” of physics could often be “broken”, and they realized that even if there was a god who had set up the universe a certain way, the “laws” we perceive were only our flawed perceptions of the universe’s properties and were only universally true in principle, which is why they are often called principles of physics today rather than laws of physics. The concept of a literal “law” of physics is an anachronism based on theological assumptions. So basically when you invoke it as evidence that the christian god is the one real god you are essentially saying that because christians interpreted the universe a certain way because of their christian theology and political philosophy this therefore justifies their theology, which of course is circular reasoning.

        “That we find not only law and order, but AMAZINGLY FINE TUNED law and order”

        Yes the universe is so fine-tuned for human life that we can only exist in about one septillionth of one septillionth of one septillionth of the universe without dying instantly. The sun is so fine-tuned for us that it gives us cancer and burns us whenever we go outside. The earth is obviously built for us, it’s about 90% ocean, frozen wastes or desert which don’t support human life. And our bodies are so fine-tuned that about a quarter of humans will get a hernias, impacted wisdom teeth or appendicitis, all of which were often lethal before modern medicine – not to mention all of the other maladies that befall us. Oh yeah, fine-tuned.

        “says Somebody has been monkeying with the physics, and that somebody has the character of Jesus.”

        Jesus was a carpenter, not a physicist. I’ve heard of people reading into scripture, but never have I heard someone extrapolate from the sayings of jesus how strong he would make gravity or magnetic forces etc. Isn’t it possible you might be using your imagination just a wee bit in this assessment?

        “The rest of this paragraph makes a very simple mistake- I have not claimed that nothing can exist without being created, I have said the PHYSICAL universe cannot be past eternal, nor can it create itself. If something BEGINS to exist, it must have had cause. (See https://rentafriend2000.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/kalam-and-the-horrendous-space-kablooie/) God did not BEGIN to exist. On the contrary, he created time, as it is one of the elements of the universe he created. It is the same as saying, the author existed before he wrote “Once upon a time.” The argument cannot be turned on God because He did not come into being. He’s the author.”

        Yeah this is the typical response, to arbitrarily exempt god from the very logic used to necessitate his existence. As I said, you are using a paradigm where logic is only valid in one direction.

        “As for your argument against the design of complexity, I don’t need to convince you that some forms of complexity need an intelligent source. You already know that.”

        We know cars and buildings and ipods are the result of a conscious, deliberative intelligence (many actually) because we actually are the ones that made them. We didn’t reach that conclusion by logic, we reached it by experience.

        “As for the complexity of God or his mind, these are the same mistakes made by Richard Dawkins in ‘The God Delusion.’ William Lane Craig I think argues well that there is no reason to ascribe complexity to God in the same sense. (See that Here: http://youtu.be/wcHp_LWGgGw) God is, as far as we can describe him in our terms, a disembodied mind. He does not have a huge range of interlocking parts (As all life does) nor does he collect knowledge a piece at a time as we do. Yes, He is unlimited, but that does not mean he must be complicated in the sense that the universe, the laws of physics, and every living cell is complex.”

        So my mind is more complicated than god’s mind? How does that make any sense? Any conscious mind that can think and know things must have some mechanism. WLC doesn’t even come close to justifying his assertion, he is just reshaping god like clay to suit the debate.

        “I would say if YOUR mind was not designed by an intelligent designer, then nothing needs to be,”

        That is nice of you to say, but I’m pretty sure my mind was the result of a few billion years of natural selection.

        “but I would also say your mind is the product of intelligent design, not blind, accidental, purposeless chance.”

        Don’t knock blind, accidental, purposeless chance. It can do some amazing things. Where do you think new diseases come from? A cumulative process of descent with modification, a kind of omni-directional process of trial and error that re-designs everything alive in perpetuity. Bear in mind I am not opposed to calling this process intelligent or a process of design – but it is not a conscious, deliberate intelligence.

        “Your mind is not a mud puddle, it is a brilliant work of art and engineering. It’s ok to admit that.
        Sincerely,
        Your Rent A Friend”

        Then why do I get belligerent when I don’t eat every few hours? I get low blood sugar which shuts down the decision-making and impulse control part of my brain, so I snap at people for stupid nonsense things I normally wouldn’t even be upset about. This is because my body over-metabolizes glucos which is the only fuel my brain can use. It is not, in other words, very well fine-tuned.

      • Thanks again for writing in. Let me address a few key points (and as always, forgive my short answers as I have little time and you have much to say):
        1. It’s not circular reasoning. Christians are not the only persons who refer to Physical LAWS, and your faux history of Jewish and Christian origins are based on all kinds of errors, probably because it’s based on evolutionary reasoning instead of actual history. I recommend this lecture on the historical accounts which shed some light on it: http://youtu.be/gFgohPpu0rE
        2. Also, I am not using circular reasoning. I am pointing out that the ordered universe is what Christians and Jews expected based on their faith in the Biblical God, which is why Christians invented all of the sciences. The ordered universe is MOST compatible with Christianity over all other faiths, including atheism. This is not circular reasoning, merely relating similar ideas. Here’s a lecture on the Christians of modern science which makes similar points: http://youtu.be/NrpFT58M0kc
        3. You address the perils and the broken nature of the world as if that proves AGAINST design. By your own admission, we on Earth are in a VERY privileged place in the universe, and the solar system. Design is a far better explanation than mere chance.
        4. A broken design no more proves arrival by chance or against the design hypothesis than brokenness of a machine proves there was no engineer who designed the machine. Christians know there is sickness and death, but we can account for it. See Genesis chapter 3. What can atheism account for? Why do we, as animals, fear and hate death when it is all living things have known for billions of years? We react against sickness and death in a way that only makes sense because we know IT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY. But of course, that means there is a way it was SUPPOSED to be, because it was created to be perfect. When you see a rusted car or an airplane whose engine fails, you don’t scoff at the design hypothesis and say, “See! It was created by blind chance!” You say, “Something has gone wrong.” Life is the same.
        5. Jesus was a carpenter, but he was also the creator God (see John1). Thus, as the creator of all space, time, matter and energy, he was the MASTER physicist and still is. It’s not that big a stretch.
        6. You are still misunderstanding the Kalaam argument. Exempting God from the argument is inherent in His nature. It’s not a cop-out. It’s one of the things that separates Jesus from the pagan gods or the god of Mormonism. Jesus is ETERNAL- he did not BEGIN to exist, thus he needs no cause. You still are clinging to a universe which made itself- a far more improbable notion than a God who does not need to be made.
        7. That we did not experience the creation of the ATP synthase (http://youtu.be/XOcl_-qHt7Y ), or the writing of the DNA language does not mean we cannot figure out they are the products of an intelligent will, just as CSI figures out the difference between death by natural causes and murder. How will SETI know an alien message from other radio waves? It’s a very similar question. We can know something was caused by an intelligent will without seeing the creator in action.
        8. I never said your mind is more complex than God’s, merely that it requires multiple associated physical parts working together. If you decide that physical complexity is the only judgment of complexity, then I suppose on that basis you ARE More complex than God. God is not a physical thing, so the appeal to complexity doesn’t apply to him. This is not redefining God, this is classic Christian theism. This is what God says of himself in the Bible.
        9. “Don’t knock blind, accidental, purposeless chance. It can do some amazing things. Where do you think new diseases come from?” Forgive me for saying so, but do you REALLY want to appeal to the amazingness of diseases? That seems kinda morbid. Also, for bacteria and viruses, they cause disease because they are functioning in ways they were not designed for. When doing their job, bacteria are not only useful to us, but VITAL. If all bacteria were to die, the rest of life on earth would soon follow. When doing their job, viruses keep populations of bacteria supplied with genetic variation so they are harder to wipe out, which is for the benefit of the whole biosphere. A disease is a design which has gone wrong. http://youtu.be/Z4wJsD6ETks?t=3m49s
        10. You may want to argue that your brain is the result of blind, purposeless chance, and that your body is not fine tuned, but that only goes to show that you are not REALLY thinking of yourself accurately. You are a billion chemical factories using vast amounts of information, stored in a system more complicated than any designed by man, creating and operating the smallest, most efficient machines (http://youtu.be/tmQzwsnqevA )for the creation of energy, the transportation of chemicals, the elimination of waste products, and the self repair and self replication of the entire factory. Like I said above, we all show signs of the damage done by sin, as my car shows signs of rust and a fender bender. That doesn’t mean the car had no designer, or that it has no value.
        11. Every part of you was fearfully and wonderfully made, but you were born into a world marred by sin. This is why God came into his world, to be born a man, so that he could live a sinless life and ultimately give his life as the final sacrifice which will pay for our sins and make us right with him again. Jesus died for the sins WE commit, which mar his glorious creation, and he rose from the dead to show the power he has over death, and to give a glimpse of the restoration he will bring to all creation in the end. If you belong to him, someday you will be beyond the reach of death, instead of forever in it’s bloody teeth. God loves you enough to pay your debt. Don’t continue arguing against him. It’s a free gift. All you have to do is open your hands and receive it.

  3. Pingback: Proof of God 6: Proving God with Science (AKA: Indiana CSI: Tomb Raider) | Rent-A-Friend 2000's Biblical Thinking and Good Times!

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