What Science Cannot Do

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There is a strong difference between science and the humanities, including disciplines such as philosophy and theology.  Those who follow scientism (the belief that science alone is the highest human discipline) often seem to be very confused about how science cannot study, research, analyze, and then from that explain the who, what, when, where, and why of all of the physical world.

A great example, ironically from the atheist camp, illustrates this point.  In his book The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Bobby Henderson explains how global warming is a result of the decrease of the number of pirates on the planet.  He argues that because global temperatures have increased and the number of pirates have decreased over the same period of time, then they must have a causal relationship; viz. one made the other one happen.

Did you spot the major flaw in that argument?  How could it be even likely that fewer pirates have had that sort of impact?  Science can only show that global temperatures have gone up and the number of pirates have declined.  Science ends with the collection and presentation of data.  After that comes the need for chin-scratching, question-asking, and theory-creating.  Henderson comically leaps to the conclusion that these two pieces of data must be related, and therefore the solution is to recruit more people to become gold-hungry buccaneers in order to save the planet.

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Out of Nothing

Originally published on my blog at A Great Work.

Did you know that God has been proven not to exist?

It was on the eve of the nineteenth century that renowned scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace met with Napoleon to discuss his research. On review of Laplace’s work, Napoleon remarked that there was no mention of the Creator. Laplace famously replied, “I have no need of that hypothesis.”

Startled? You should be! That this would be taken in any way as an argument against the existence of God is asinine. We may as well argue that there is no need to talk about an artist in regard to a painting, because the brush is explanation enough.

In his book, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking says, “spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” His statement almost sounds like an explanation, much as Laplace’s comment. But it is clear that calling the existence of the universe “spontaneous” is no explanation at all. Rather it is the absence of all reason; ironic for such a brilliant scientist.

Likewise, a new book called A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins, argues that even the nothingness of space has weight and mass. They also describe a process by which particles spontaneously appear from literal nothingness. “Oo!” they say, “here is evidence that God did not create, but it randomly appeared.” Sorry, guys, but that is not a reasonable or logical conclusion to make; in fact it is no conclusion at all. It is simply a sophisticated way of saying, “Duh, we don’t know.”

No, what Laplace said, whether he meant to or not, is that he does not need to give a supernatural explanation to fill in the proverbial “gaps” of his research. He found a logical and natural process.

Logical and natural does not mean that God is not involved. Somehow somewhere someone decided that God only could do the supernatural, when in fact, the Bible teaches that God is intimately involved in all natural processes as well, essentially writing all the laws of the physical universe.

God does not only stand in the gaps. He is all in all. The gospel of John, Colossians, and Romans all teach that creation, all of it, was created for him, by him, through him, to give him all glory and honor.

Don’t Go. Don’t Love.

Many of you may not know about my son, Tinsley.  Now 9-months-old he has spent about a third of his life in the hospital and in the emergency department due to difficulties with breathing and swallowing.  These problems are further complicated by the fact that Tinsley has a genetic condition call achondroplasia which is the most common form of dwarfism and causes his nose, throat, and lungs to be smaller that than of average-sized people.

Through all the hospital visits, emergency room trips, and two surgeries we have posted regular updates on Facebook, Twitter, and my personal blog.  We have had a great outpouring of support in the form of prayers, meals, visits, and messages that have each provided so much security and hope for us.

Yet, as they say, therein squats the toad.

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In Review: Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll

Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together by Mark Driscoll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are literally hundreds of books out there on marriage.  I think it is likely because no one really has the silver bullet to kill marital strife or even the day-to-day doldrums that every married person experiences.  Then comes along Pastor Mark Driscoll and his wife Grace with their crack at it, appropriately titled Real Marriage.  I was eager to get my hands on this one in particular of Driscoll’s other books because this is a topic that he is both most noted and most criticized for.

The Driscolls tackle everything from the importance of being friends with your spouse to what kind of sex acts are permissible according to the Bible.  Most of the book is rather basic, although Mark has gotten much press for being willing to talk about things like oral and anal sex as well as birth control methods from the pulpit.  In an age where many from recent generations have not had an opportunity to talk about sex and marriage with Christian parents, it is good that someone is picking up the slack from a biblical perspective.

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Rob Bell’s Magnum Opus

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

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 How would you summarize Christianity in 2 words?  Could you maybe say, “Jesus saves”? Or maybe something more relevant like “Got Jesus?”  For Rob Bell, Christianity is this: Love Wins.  Rob has been using the phrase for years at his church and it has even shown up as bumper stickers at my church and printed on Starbucks cups.  The curiosity has been, at least for me, what he meant by that phrase.  Does it really capture the essence of our faith?

Several years ago a read a few books by Richard Bach.  Bach, most renowned for his book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, wrote a book called One.  In the preface he talked about Seagull and another book called Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah and commented that he wrote those other books in essence to have the guts to write the book he really wanted to write: One.  Having now read every book that Rob Bell has written and watched each of his tour videos, I have to say that this book is Rob’s One, his magnum opus if you will.  This is what he has tried to say all these years and what he finally got the nerve to put down on paper and send to his publisher.

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Review: Essential Edwards Collection

Essential Edwards Collection
Essential Edwards Collection by Owen Strachan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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In the spirit of the Dead Pastors allow me to offer up this review of the 5 book series called Essential Edwards.  In 18th century New England, Jonathan Edwards was a pastor and theologian who has been called one of the most brilliant theologians of American history.  Unfortunately for Edwards, or perhaps for us, he is best known for his sermon titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”  This work has painted Edwards as a callous and angry man, which is far from the truth.

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Naked Jesus?

Consider this passage from CH Spurgeon’s sermon titled “The Tomb of Jesus“:

We see the grave, but do you notice the grave-clothes, all wrapped and laid in their places, the napkin being folded up by itself? Wherefore are the grave-clothes wrapped up? The Jews said robbers had abstracted the body; but if so, surely they would have stolen the clothes; they would never have thought of wrapping them up and laying them down so carefully; they would be too much in haste to think of it. Why was it then? To manifest to us that Christ did not come out in a hurried manner. He slept till the last moment; then he awoke; he came not in haste. They shall not come out in haste, neither by flight, but at the appointed moment shall his people come to him. So at the precise hour, the decreed instant, Jesus Christ leisurely awoke, took off his cerements, left them all behind him, and came forth in his pure and naked innocence, perhaps to show us that as clothes were the offspring of sin—when sin was atoned for by Christ, he left all raiment behind him—for garments are the badges of guilt: if we had not been guilty we should never have needed them.

What a remarkable notion! That Christ, having paid the sin debt for the human race, would don such a glorious body that he would, in complete innocent of the dawn of creation, no longer bear clothing.  It is not an erotic idea, but a wholly holy thought that Christ would be the first fruits of the resurrection we look forward to and in his appearance he no longer had any shame or guilt to cover.  Christ’s resurrection takes us back to Eden as we follow him.  Eden illustrates God’s plan intent for the human race and in his glorification as the Second Adam, Christ himself returns to that time and displays graphically what sinlessness really means.

All glory to the Son who has become our propitiation!  All thanks be to Christ who took our shame and guilt and returned from the grave spotless and wholly innocent!  All praise to he who adopts us as his own and brings us into the same life and resurrection!