The Constraints of a Worldview
by Dr. D. W. Ekstrand
The Bible portrays God as the Eternal Ultimate Reality through whom all things exist (cf. Gen 1:1; Ps 33:6; 90:2; Jn 1:1-3; Acts 17:22-28; Col 1:15-17; Rev 1:8). In His eternality, He is Omnipotent (i.e., all-powerful; God Almighty; cf. Gen 17:1; Jer 10:12; Rom 11:36; Eph 1:11; Heb 1:3)… Omnipresent (i.e., everywhere present; cf. 1 Kg 8:27; Job 11:7-8; Jer 23:23-24; Ps 139:7-8)… and Omniscient (i.e., all-knowing; cf. Ps 147:5; Rom 11:33; Heb 4: 13; 1 Jn 3:20). With that in mind, God is the Ultimate Reality who transcends all things — “for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (cf. Rom 11:36). Inherent in the concept that God is Ultimate Reality is that of the exclusivity of final truthfulness and completeness. The objective highest truth that we hold about Ultimate Reality, through whom all things exist, is that in its fullness it is still the Great Mystery of Heaven (cf. Is 40:13-14; Rom 11:33-34) — to think otherwise is to claim a level of brilliance and cognition regarding the eternality of God that transcends the created order. Obviously the question of God’s existence is the most important question of human philosophy and that of a worldview… in short, it gives definition to whether or not man is the supreme being in the universe, or whether there is a superior being to whom he must submit, honor, love and obey. God’s testimony to man is that He is the Eternal Existent One (cf. Is 40: 28; 43:10-13; 45:5-7; 46:9-10; 55:11; Heb 1:8; Rev 22:13) through whom all things exist (cf. Gen 1:1-31; Jn 1:1-3; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:10). Since God is the Creator of all things, He is eternal and distinct from His creation. Knowing that we as human beings are “created in God’s image” (cf. Gen 1:26-27), we are the most valued of all creatures and share many of His charac-teristics (we are moral, relational, thinking, creative creatures); our human worth is not based on possessions, achievements, physical attractiveness, or public acclaim… but on being made in God’s image. Knowing that we are a people whom God values beyond anything we can possibly imagine (cf. Ps 136; Jer 31:3; 33:11; Jn 3: 16; 1 Cor 13:8; Heb 13:5), provides us with an incontrovertible reason to love, honor and serve Him.
Your understanding of reality may be certain or vague, shallow or fairly deep; yet whatever it may be, it is this structure of thought that essentially controls your life more than anything else. It functions as a filter that constantly monitors all incoming sensory signals, and determines what is acceptable to the mind, and what is to be rejected as unreal, untrue, irrelevant or meaningless. Basically, adults function with a system of thought regarding reality that is relatively fixed… whereas young children are constantly refining their views of reality as their developing minds struggle with what they see on television, and what their parents and friends and the culture in which they live tells them. Human beings seem to have an inborn drive to test and discover reality and truth. It is also very difficult to change your view of reality once it is embedded in your soul, because it tends to be buried below the surface like the roots of a giant tree. Though one can expose him or herself to new possibilities, they must think through those possibilities in great detail, and invest a substantial amount of time and effort, or their view of reality simply will not change.
What is of critical importance, is that a person sit down with a pen and paper in hand and “carefully identify” those realities that truly govern their perspectives on life and how they live it; obviously, this involves some serious, deliberate thinking, and the need to push oneself to transparently assess the various ground-rules by which they live life. Once these have been identified, it is then important to “justify” why those perspectives and rules are so significant to them. The truth is, not many people have given careful thought to that “paradigm for living” that governs their life. By the way, this process isn’t one that only takes an hour or two to com-plete, because it involves a lot of contemplation and reflection… therefore, it can take a couple of weeks or a month to finish — each time people think through what they have written, new thoughts will surface in their thinking… it’s not uncommon for people to discover several issues that they had never considered before; so the process can be a very eye-opening experience for them as well. Many people will discover that being comfortable and reasonably happy in life, are the primary goals upon which much of their life is based. Essentially, this exercise will give clarity and understanding to what a person truly values in life, and why they value what they do. It is from just such a foundation of thought that a person, with Scripture in hand, can then move forward in life and further develop their worldview.
Unfortunately, many people of faith have “compartmentalized their lives;” for most of the week they live in the secular or materialistic (matter) compartment, and when they go to church or dwell on spiritual matters, they shift to the faith compartment. Believers often live spiritually impoverished lives because of this shifting back and forth. Materialism reduces the values of love and peace and joy to external circumstances, and excludes God and faith. Materialism is so inadequate that no philosopher or teacher actively advocates it as an effective system of thought by which to live one’s life. In short, materialism reduces human discourse to the lowest common denominator — it is such an incomplete system of thought that it easily leads to disillusionment and despair; nevertheless, this view of reality is deeply embedded in our Western-world culture. The pursuit of material pleasure can bring about an unhealthy emphasis on money, property, and “whatever feels good” — even to the point of alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual promiscuity and crime. Sadly, life in this material world for many people boils down to “get yours while you can.” Due to the fact this view of reality is so entrenched in our culture, people almost can’t escape succumbing to its domination as they go through their everyday work life. To exacerbate the problem even further, the materialistic view of reality underlies the whole world of public education, business, commerce, and mass media — it is everywhere, and to get along, you’ve got to go along. Obviously, our world today needs to develop and adopt an understanding of reality that gives preeminence to the truth, religious faith, love and godly living. In the following section, I share a number of “significant quotes” on the essence of Ultimate Reality.
Quotes on Ultimate Reality
- A. J. Toynbee — “Man is confronted by something spiritually greater than himself which, in contrast to human nature and to all other phenomena, is Absolute Reality. And this Absolute Reality of which man is aware is also an Absolute Good for which he is athirst.”
- Joseph S. Needham — “It may well be possible that it is in our periods of spiritual activity that we come as close as we ever can to reality, that unmovable something which lies, we are sure, behind the changing show of facts on which our minds feed.”
- C. D. Broad — “I think it more likely than not that in religious experience man comes into contact with some Reality which they do not come into contact with in any other way.”
- John Baillie — “Reality is what I ‘come up against,’ what takes me by surprise, the other-than-myself which pulls me up and obliges me to reckon with it and adjust myself to it, because it will not consent simply to adjust itself to me.”
- Charles E. Garman — “God or Spirit is the only independent reality, and any other being or event is but a dependent ‘phase’ or ‘state’ or ‘product’ of this activity.”
- A. E. Taylor — “Reality is in general, what truths have to take account of.”
- Christopher Fry — “There may always be another reality to make fiction of the truth we think we’ve arrived at.”
- Milton Steinberg — “Given the one concept, God, and the whole of reality bursts into lucidity, the rationality of the universe, its uniformity, the emergence of life, of conscious-ness, and conscience, all become intelligible.”
- Norman Pittenger — “God is the Reality undergirding and penetrating through the whole derived creation.”
The Essence of a Worldview
A worldview is a perspective of reality that is used to understand and live in this world; so it is a mental model of reality or framework of ideas (i.e., a comprehensive system of beliefs) about the world, ourselves, and life. All people have a worldview; that is they all act and live in certain ways because they are guided by particular worldviews. In the simplest terms, a worldview may be defined as how one sees life and the world at large. How a person makes sense of the world depends upon their perspective of reality. So a worldview forms a mental structure that organizes one’s basic or ultimate beliefs, and answers a wide range of questions: What are humans? Why are we the way we are? Why do we exist? Why do we face the challenges that we do? What is our purpose in life? What are our goals in life? What are values and priorities? Such questions explore how human beings derive meaning, purpose and significance. Philosopher Michael Palmer explains: “Through our worldview, we determine priorities, explain our relationship to God and fellow human beings, assess the meaning of events, and justify our actions.” A person’s worldview provides us with a general context for life, including a vision of what one considers authentically real. So more than just an interpretive lens, our worldview shapes, influences, and generally directs our entire life. Because people behave as they believe, their worldviews guide the development of the values that inform their decisions and actions. Essentially, a viable worldview will offer adequate answers to the following twelve questions:
1. Ultimate Reality What kind of God, if any, actually exists?
2. External Reality Is there anything beyond the cosmos?
3. Knowledge What can be known, and how can one know it?
4. Origin Where did I come from?
5. Identity Who am I?
6. Location Where am I?
7. Morals What moral constraints should govern my life?
8. Values What should I consider of great worth?
9. Predicament What is humanitys fundamental problem?
10. Resolution How can humanitys problem be solved?
11. Past/Present What is the meaning and direction of history?
12. Destiny Will I survive the death of my body, and if so, in what state?
Ultimately, a person’s worldview is affected by many factors: their inherited characteristics, background experiences, life situations, the values, attitudes, habits they have developed, and more. Such answers vary from one person to another… though some parts of our worldview may be shared by many in the culture in which we live, other parts will differ for us as individuals. Our culture’s concept of reality (i.e., its beliefs, values, and behaviors) stem directly from its worldview. Following are several definitions of what a “worldview” looks like in the minds of several authors:
- James Sire asserts that “a worldview is a set of presuppositions or assumptions which we hold about the basic makeup of our world.”
- Norman Geisler & William Watkins say, “a worldview is an interpretive framework through which one makes sense out of the data of life and the world.”
- Ronald Nash defines a worldview as “a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything we believe and by which we interpret & judge reality.”
- Phillips & Brown state that “a worldview is, first of all, an explanation and interpretation of the world, and second an application of this view to life.”
- Walsh & Middleton say that “a worldview provides a model of the world which guides its adherents in the world.”
A worldview acts somewhat like a set of eye glasses; that is, they are the lens through which we see and interpret the world in which we live. So a worldview provides us with perspective for making sense of the world; obviously, a wrong perspective can be dangerous and even life-threatening. People who struggle with worldview questions are often despairing and experience a great deal of disconcertion in their soul, and that sometimes even leads to suicide. Thus, it is important for people to give careful attention to the constructs of logic that form their worldview, because when it doesn’t mesh with what they are experiencing in life, it can be very troubling. Arthur Holmes believes the parameters for a worldview should include the following things:
1. It should be rational, and not ask us to believe contradictory things.
2. It should be supported by evidence, and be consistent with what we observe.
3. It should be able to explain why things are the way they are.
4. It should provide a satisfactory basis for living, and not leave us feeling compelled to borrow elements of another worldview in order to live in this world.
All worldviews have several common components: first, they accept the idea that we exist, and that we basically live in a rational cause and effect universe… second, all people have absolutes and seek an infinite reference point; be it God, the state, love, power, themselves, or others… third, two contradictory statements cannot both be right; this is known as the “law of non-contradiction” (if a person claims that he has a beautiful 1960 red Corvette in his garage, either that statement is true or it is not true); conversely, contrary worldviews cannot both mirror reality and be correct. Ignorance causes many people to declare that “all religions are the same” (a minimal knowledge of religion, however, proves that any such assertion is simply an irration-al deduction; the reality is, all religions claim exclusivity and deny the integrity of that kind of thinking)… fourth, all people exercise faith; that is, we all presuppose certain things to be true without absolute scientific proof — some common assumptions that people have are these — a personal God exists; man evolved from inorganic material; man is essentially good; ultimately, reality is material. Human beings frequently live life according to wrong assumptions.
Due to the fact the Western-world in large part has made “science” the final word when it comes to defining reality, many people in our world today actually worship at the altar of science, in spite of the fact that science only has the capacity to evaluate certain things on a physical level; it has no capacity whatsoever to function with a level of expertise in such fields as ultimate reality, the unseen world, values, theology, morality, ethics, aesthetics, relationships, love, hatred, contentment, emotions, passions, suffering, peace, etc. By definition, science is relegated to “that body of knowledge that is attained by verifiable means.” Therefore science does not include all forms of knowledge, but only those forms which can be acquired through the “scientific method.” Therefore, science is defined as a body of knowledge that is constructed through observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and logic for the purpose of explaining and predicting events or behaviors. Though some scientists like to wander into other realms that are outside the bounds of their particular scientific discipline; in doing so, they frequently do a dis-service to that field in which they are trespassing, as well as to the integrity of their own field of study. It would be like a biologist giving his opinion on physics (the two spheres of study are completely unrelated — what does a chicken have to do with interstellar space? or the heart of an animal with effects of rain on metallurgy? It’s like a football player giving his uneducated opinion on a Stradivarius violin. At some point the various disciplines of our world need to stay within the confines of their subjects, and not make fools of themselves by wandering into other realms, of which they are completely unqualified to make judgments; thus doing injustice to the greater world around them. The reality is, things frequently are not what they “seem.” I have written an Addendum to this study that focuses on the merits and limitations of science… due to the fact that it is such an important part of many people’s worldview, I felt the need to include it at the end of this study.
The Primary Worldviews
The most prominent worldviews of the past and the present are… Theism, Naturalism, Deism, Nihilism, Existentialism, and New Age Pantheism. Following are brief explanations of each of them as presented by James Sire in his book “The Universe Next Door,” as well as from my own book, “Christianity: The Pursuit of Divine Truth.” Deism was a prominent worldview during the 18th century, but is now nearly non-existent in our world. The Deist believes in God — that He created everything and then He just abandoned the universe; so He is no longer involved in it. Nihilism is a fairly recent world-view — it essentially sees no value to reality — to the Nihilist life is absurd. Existentialism has a prominent voice in our world today — like the Nihilist, the Existentialist sees life as absurd, but sees man as totally free to make himself in the face of this absurdity; that is, construct his own belief system and interpret reality accordingly. Polytheism believes in a multitude of distinct and separate deities — Polytheism characterizes Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism in the East, and also contemporary African tribal religions; it also existed in ancient Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria, as well as Greek and Roman societies. These deities are formed around a number of aspects of life — things like fer-tility, atmospheric forces, vegetation & animals, as well as love, agriculture, healing, and war. Islam erroneously interprets the Christian Trinity as a polytheistic doctrine, and ancient Israel at various points simultaneously gave devotion to other deities in addition to Yahweh.
Theism believes in an infinite God who created the universe out of nothing. The three theistic religions in our world are Christianity, Islam and Judaism — each of these religions believes in a Transcendent Reality, by which all things came into being… that reality is both material and spiritual; that the universe as we know it will one day cease to be; that humanity is the unique creation of God; that people were created in the image of God; that truth about God is known thru divine revelation; and that moral values are the objective expression of an absolute moral being… but only Christianity gives prominence to the fact that the God of creation is actually a “personal God;” not just a transcendent deity. With that in mind, I have chosen to focus on Christian Theism. Though man was originally created good in God’s image, he chose to sin, thus infecting all of humanity with a “sin disposition;” i.e., a sin nature. The resultant effect of the fall was physical and spiritual death… but God, because of His great love for mankind, entered into human history in the person of Jesus Christ, and through the cross bore the sins of all humanity that He might redeem them and make them His children once again. The eternal destination of all human beings is determined by “their response” to the cross of Christ and His overture to them — those who accept His provision of salvation enter into the light of God’s presence and inherit eternal life, and those who reject His provision remain in darkness and are forever separated from God. God has revealed the guidelines of right and wrong to every human being’s heart — this divine revelation is the key whereby we come to know God (though reason and experience are legitimate teachers, some things are only known by a revelation by God to the human heart; as Scripture attests, only those of “humble heart” respond to His revelation). Essentially, history is a meaningful sequence of events leading to the fulfillment of God’s purposes for man. Christian Theism was the dominant worldview in Western culture up until World War II… since then our culture has speedily transitioned to a number of worldviews known as Materialism, Naturalism, Secular Humanism & Postmodernism.
Materialism, Naturalism, Secular Humanism & Postmodernism have become the dominant worldviews of Western culture in a relatively short period of time. The foundation of these belief systems is that the material universe is all that exists, there is no such thing as a soul or a spirit, and everything can be explained on the basis of natural law; essentially, Materialism & Natural-ism argue that matter is self-functioning according to natural law, and that no god is necessary to its functioning — this is the theory that is supported by modern evolutionism — man is simply the chance product of a biological process of evolution, and is entirely material. The founda-tional principle of Secular Humanism, is that life and thought are pursued without reference to God or religion (they are excluded from their construct of thought). Essentially, truth is restricted to that which can be observed with the five senses, and morality is simply a matter of personal preference and that which is useful and beneficial to the whole of society. The basic tenets of these worldviews are these — first, God is irrelevant; such is in direct contrast to Christian Theism, which is based on supernaturalism… second, progress and evolutionary change are inevitable… third, man is autonomous and self-centered (he’s his own god)… fourth, education is the guide to life; intelligence and freedom guarantee full human potential… and fifth, science is the ultimate provider both for knowledge and morals. These five tenets have infiltrated our culture primarily through the following four sources — media, government, education, and the entertainment industry. After World War II, Postmodernism began to replace Naturalism, and with it came the conclusion that “absolute truth does not exist” — truth is relative to one’s culture, and values are part of social paradigms as well. Tolerance, the refusal to claim the answers to life, and freedom of expression are important values to the postmodern mind. Such thinking is already a major tenet that is endorsed and taught in our colleges and a significant number of public grade schools and high schools in our country — “What is true for you may not be true to me.” That’s how nebulous and indistinct ultimate reality is in our contemporary world.
New Age Pantheism or New Age Consciousness has also launched itself into Western culture. Though Pantheism has been prominent in Eastern cultures for thousands of years, it began its western invasion into our culture about 50 years ago. In Pantheism, it is possible to say that everything is a part of God, or that God is in everything and everyone (so in that sense, God is not a personal God); thus man is one with ultimate reality, and essentially is spiritual, eternal, and impersonal. Truth is an experience of unity with “the oneness” of the universe; thus, it is beyond rational description. Basically, unenlightened behavior is that which fails to understand the importance of this unity. The basic tenets of this worldview are these: first, all is one; there are no ultimate distinctions between humans, animals, or the rest of creation… second, since all is one, all is god; all life has a spark of divinity… third, that means all of us are god… fourth, humans discover their own divinity (that is, that they are an integral part of ultimate reality) by experiencing a change in consciousness… fifth, humans travel through indefinite cycles of birth, death, and reincarnation in order to work off what is called “bad karma;” the goal in life is to eventually undergo a personal transformation and one day experience perfect oneness with ultimate reality… and sixth, New Age disciples think in terms of gray, not black and white; thus they believe two conflicting statements can both be true.
An important consideration when reflecting upon these various worldviews is this — is the worldview you subscribe to “really true;” i.e., are you convinced that the one whereby you live is true? Or do you reject the idea of truth being an absolute, and that the way one lives his life is a matter of personal preference and the prerogative of the individual… thus your worldview gives you the freedom to “live life according to the dictates of your own mind”? If that indeed is what you believe, you are living your life according to the most common worldview here in America. I would encourage you to reconsider the foundation of thought that governs your life.
A worldview provides us with a model of the world that guides us in the world. Some of you may need to purge those things from your life that run contrary to the worldview of Christian Theism, because your thoughts need to be unified with daily life, as outlined in Scripture; thus some of you need to let the truths of God guide your thoughts more completely and more fully. The apostle Paul’s admonition to the believers in ancient Colossae is appropriate at this point. He states: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men and the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ…. for in Him you have been made complete…. He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven you of all your transgressions” (cf. Col 2:8-13). Obviously, when God is re-moved from the equation, Naturalism, Secular Humanism, and Postmodernism take over in the throne-room in one’s life — such are the worldviews that are being promulgated in our country today.
I felt it necessary to include these conclusive thoughts as well, because having a right world-view is not a panacea for all our ills or the perplexities of life. Though our professed worldview may fully correspond to the teaching of Scripture, that doesn’t mean the “interior battle in the soul” will not continue to be a difficult challenge for us in life. The reality is, sometimes as believers we may feel like “utter contradictions” because of the presence of indwelling sin (our flesh); that is, we may feel like our souls are filled with “contradictory ambiguities” — we claim one thing, but feel another; we believe in God, but at times actually act like the devil. Beloved, this is the baffling enigma of what it means to be spiritually alive, yet inhabit sinful flesh — the two natures within us are very dissimilar; in truth, they are diametric opposites (cf. Gal 6:17). Our “contrary nature” is a perplexing presence in our lives, and it is this reality with which we must contend. As the apostle Paul says, “we are to put to death the deeds of the body” (cf. Rom 8:13)… “we are to lay aside the old self… and put on the new self” (cf. Eph 4:22-24)… “we are to die to our-selves daily” (cf. 1 Cor 15:31), “and walk in newness of life” (cf. Rom 6:4). As the Lord Jesus Himself said, “we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him” (cf. Mt 16:24). With all that in mind, it is the foundation of our thoughts [our worldview and the centrality of Christ] that is to guide us through life: “fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith… that you may not grow weary and lose heart” (cf. Heb 12:3; also verses 5-13); obviously if we take our eyes off of Christ, we’re going to become discouraged & disheartened (we’re all made of the same stuff, so this applies to all of us). By the way, never once in Scripture is the Christian life said to be something that is naturally easy. The wonderful truth is, “God Himself is at work in us both to will and to do His good pleasure” (cf. Phil 2:13)… and “He will accomplish what concerns us” (cf. Ps 138:8; 1 Th 5:24)… “He is the one who will ultimately perfect us” (cf. Phil 1:6). If you are truly “born again,” you need never fear of making such a mess of things that God will abandon you and take your name out of the Book of Life; though that may be difficult for you to accept, any contrary view is a lie from Satan Himself. Once God “opened your heart to believe the truth” (Acts 16:14), He made you “a brand new creation” (cf. 2 Cor 5:17), and began a work in you that will never cease — ultimately His goal is to “conform you to the image of Christ, and glorify you” (cf. Rom 8:-29-30) — obviously, if that depended upon us it would never happen! The grammatical constructions in Scripture with regard to the believer’s salvation are “profoundly absolute” — how so, you ask? the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives simply won’t let us destroy our lives; remember, we are now His property! He bought us! (cf. 1 Cor 6:20), thus He will keep disciplining us until we capitulate and respond to His overtures. Though we are often unfaithful to God, He will never stop being faithful to us! (cf. 1 Tim 2:13). That’s how wonderful, steadfast, and everlasting the love of God is — “nothing can separate us from His love — not even sin!” (cf. Rom 8:35-39; 5:20; 6:1ff; 1 Tim 1:14; 1 Jn 2:1). With that in mind, reflect upon the closing words of Peter’s first epistle: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself (that word is emphatic!) perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you! To Him (that also is emphatic!) be dominion forever!” (cf. 1 Pet 5:13-14). Read all of the foregoing references above several times.
In the addendum that follows I have posted a number of quotes by some of the world’s most prominent scientists (these will help give definition to what genuine science really believes). In addition to that, I have given an explanation of the Scientific Method that science uses to affirm whether or not a particular body of knowledge should actually be accepted as true.
Due to the fact some of the claims of the “scientific world” are so contrary to what Scripture teaches, and troubling to the minds and hearts of many believers, I felt it necessary to address some of these issues by quoting some of the most respected scientists in our modern world. Let me begin by quoting the most esteemed scientist of the 20th century, Albert Einstein —
“The scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation…. His religious
feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law,
which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it,
all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings
is an utterly insignificant reflection.”
The renowned French scientist, Pierre P. Grasse, who wrote the book “Evolution of Living Organisms,” closed it by stating that biology is powerless to explain the origin of living things, that it may have to yield to metaphysics, or possibly to the concept of supernatural creation of some kind. He argued that the “explanatory doctrines of biological evolution do not stand up to an objective in-depth criticism; they proved to be either in conflict with reality, or else incapable of solving the major problem involved.” French scientist Louis Bounour, former president of the Biological Society of Strasbourg, and more recently director of research at the French National Center of Scientific Research, startled many of his scientific colleagues when he declared that “Evolution is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless.” That’s a pretty harsh indictment coming from two of the world’s most respected scientists. Renowned paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Steven M. Stanley states, “No human has ever seen a new species form in nature; [in fact], the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another. American geologist David B. Kitts says, “Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.” Evolutionary theorist Lynn Margulis responds, “I have seen no evidence whatsoever that these [evolutionary] changes can occur through the accumilation of gradual mutations.” Evolutionary geneticist and phylogeographist David S. Woodruff says, “Fossil species remain unchanged throughout most of their history and the [fossil] record fails to contain a single example of a significant transition.” Sir John Templeton writes in his book, “The Humble Approach: Scientists Discover God,” that “materialists overlook the spiritual realities because they get trapped in the purely physical.” Keep in mind, the foregoing statements from some of the world’s most prominent scientists.
In spite of these statements, we still see a deep-seated bitterness on behalf of many in the scientific community toward the idea of supernatural creation. The question automatically arises: Why do so many evolutionary scientists have such an animus against religion? Why do they argue so vehemently in defense of evolution? In 1981, the British Museum of Natural History in London opened a new exhibit on evolution to mark its one hundredth anniversary. One of the world’s leading scientific journals, Nature (an American publication) ran a critical editorial in response to the museum’s suggestion that evolution by natural selection was only one of a number of possible explanations. Two weeks later, twenty-two members of the museum’s distinguished staff of biologists wrote the following letter to the editor of the journal —
Sir, as working biologists at the British Museum of Natural History we were astonished to read your editorial…. How is it that a journal such as yours that is devoted to science and its practice can advocate that theory be presented as fact? This is the stuff of prejudice, not science, and as scientists our basic concern is to keep an open mind on the unknowable…. Are we to take it that evolution is a fact, proven to the limits of scientific rigor? If that is the inference then we must dis-agree most strongly. We have no absolute proof of the theory of evolution.
Stephen Hawking is one of the world’s most respected cosmologists. He holds the position at Cambridge University once held by Sir Isaac Newton, and has been hailed by Time magazine as “an equal of Einstein.” When addressing the subject of origins Hawking said, “I think there are clearly religious implications whenever you start to discuss the origins of the universe…. But I think most scientists prefer to stay away from the religious side of it…. The odds against a universe that has produced life like ours are immense.”
Albert Einstein, perhaps the greatest scientist of the twentieth century, developed the famous equation E=mc2, which states that energy resides in mass (objects), and that mass is a form of energy. A number of years later this theory was confirmed by experiment. Einstein’s work was astonishing to scientists all over the world, and his theory of energy became a foundation stone in the development of nuclear energy. He worked without providing footnotes, and was ignorant to a large extent of the work being done by other scientists, but with seeming effortless simplicity he worked out equations that he said brought humanity “closer to the secrets of the Old One [God].” When commenting on quantum mechanics, he responded to his friend, Max Born: “Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the ‘Old One.’ I, at any rate, am convinced that He [God] is not playing dice.” Einstein’s scientific inspiration was rooted in the fact that he believed the cosmos was the product of a supernatural Transcendent Reality.
The Integrity of Evolutionary Theory
Ardent evolutionist Dr. Colin Patterson, the senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History, just a few years ago admitted to his colleagues that evolution was simply “a faith,” and that for years he had been “duped into taking evolutionism as revealed truth in some way.” He went on to say that evolution not only conveys no knowledge, but that it somehow seems to convey “anti-knowledge;” that is, knowledge that is actually harmful to systematics (the science of classifying different forms of life) On November 5, 1981, Dr. Patterson addressed a group of fellow evolutionists at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and surprised them with the following announcement —
One of the reasons I started taking this anti-evolutionary view was… it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for 20 years and there was not one thing I knew about it. That’s quite a shock to learn that one can be so misled so long…. So for the last few weeks I’ve tried putting a simple question to various people and groups of people. Question is: Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing that is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology Seminar in the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence….
When Dr. Patterson responded to a written question asking why he failed to include illustrations of “transitional forms” in a book he wrote on evolution, he commented —
I fully agree with your comments on the lack of direct illustration of evolutionary transitions in my book. If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them. You suggest that an artist should be used to visualize such trans-formations, but where would he get the information from? I could not, honestly, provide it, and if I were to leave it to artistic license, would that not mislead the reader? You say that I should at least ‘show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived.’ I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument
Correspondingly, Patterson also made other surprising statements about transitional fossils. He said: “[Stephan Jay] Gould and the American Museum people are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils…. [Let me reiterate] — there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument…. It is easy to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another…. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way of putting them to the test.”
Noted Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, an outspoken evolutionist, writes: “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. He continues: We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study…. [And surprisingly], new species almost always appeared suddenly in the fossil record with no intermediate links to ancestors in older rocks of the same region.”
In addition, Dr. Niles Eldredge, an invertebrate paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History stated that “the smooth transition from one form of life to another, which is implied in the theory… is not borne out by the facts…. No one has yet found any evidence of such transitional creatures…. In the last decade, geologists have found rock layers of all divisions of the last 500 million years and no transitional forms were contained in them. It is not the fossil record which is incomplete,” states Eldredge, “[therefore] it must be the theory.”
The Australian microbiologist, Michael Denton, wrote Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, about the actual fossil evidence that has been discovered. Although he claims not to believe in creationism, he has the intellectual honesty to examine how well naturalism matches the real world as revealed in biology and paleontology. He concludes that there is a “remarkable lack of any direct evidence for major evolutionary transformations in the fossil record.” This is amazing, because the total number of known fossil species in existence now exceeds 250,000.
Dr. Dean Kenyon of San Francisco State University, coauthor of the book Biochemical Predestination, has repudiated his own theory that there must have been some “force” within matter itself that caused life to emerge under just the most perfect of circumstances — he has since accepted the idea of an Intelligent Designer as the answer to the origin of life. Even though a significant number of scientists here in America still embrace evolutionary theory (for some strange reason America is the center of evolutionary thought in the world; perhaps that demonstrates the hatred that exists by so many in our country toward religion and the idea that there is a God; it has even become a political issue in our country), we should remember that just a few centuries ago, the vast majority of scientists believed that the sun revolved around the earth… and until about 1970, that ulcers were caused by psychological stress and worry (it has since been proven that ulcers are a result of a bacterial infection, and have absolutely nothing to do with one’s mental disposition). With the foregoing in mind, it should be remember that reality is not determined by a democratic majority.
Evolutionists have been eager to believe in ape-men discoveries, because they want to conclusively show the world that there is a “genetic connection” between the animal kingdom and human beings. According to evolutionists, such a find would be the crowning proof that their thinking is right. These discoveries, however, are simply cases of fraud, mistaken identity, or pure fantasy. The following is an update on the evidence of seven “prime jewels” in the evolutionary crown —
- The Piltdown Man found in 1912 was proved to be a fake.
- The Nebraska Man’s tooth found in 1922 was shown to belong to a rare pig.
- The evidence for Peking Man has disappeared since 1941.
- The Java Man found in 1891 was determined to be either human or ape, but not both.
- The teeth & jawbones of Ramapithecus found in 1932 were discovered to be from an ape.
- The Neanderthal Man was found to be a hunched man who had a vitamin D deficiency.
The reality is, if life did originate through natural processes, the laws of thermodynamics and science would have been negated millions of times to account for the thousands upon thousands of transitional forms demanded by evolution, and the historical fossil records would give unequivocal evidence that this indeed occurred. If invertebrate gave rise to vertebrate… if fish gave rise to amphibian… if amphibian gave rise to reptile… and if reptile gave rise to bird and mammals, then the fossil record undoubtedly would reveal millions of these transitional types. But what the available data indicates, is a complete absence of any intermediate forms required by the theory, as testified to above. Incidentally, all of the individuals I have quoted above can be referenced in chapter three of a textbook I wrote titled — “Christianity: The Pursuit of Divine Truth;” you can access the book in its entirety on my website: www.TheTransformedSoul.com
The Integrity of Scientific Method
Remember, science does not include all forms of knowledge, only that body of knowledge which can be acquired through “scientific method.” Therefore (as stated previously), science is defined as a body of knowledge that is constructed via observation, hypothesis, experimentation & logic, for the purpose of explaining and predicting actions or behaviors. So scientific method consists of a body of techniques used to investigate phenomena and acquire new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. Again, scientific method is based on observable, empirical, measurable evidence, and is subject to the laws of reasoning. All this evidence is collectively called “scientific evidence.” Wikipedia defines the steps for the scientific method of acquiring knowledge as consisting of the following seven steps:
1. Define the question
2. Gather information and resources
3. Form hypothesis
4. Perform experiment and collect data
5. Analyze the data
6. Interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
7. Publish results (thus others can further develop the hypothesis in question)
Regrettably, some people believe that anything of real importance has been relegated by definition to the realm of the empirical… obviously, such assumptions are representative of a certain kind of built-in bias. Professor of medieval history at the University of California, Los Angeles, Lynn White, Jr., writing in the premier issue of “Science 80,” observed, “It should be no news that scientists – [even great ones] – are people too…. More damaging to the intellectual process is the tendency of everyone, including historians as well as scientists, to operate within a set of inherited and inadequately tested assumptions. When certain scientists, and those sympathetic with them, suggest that ‘science alone is the ultimate court of appeal,’ the charge can be leveled, and sustained, that they have built their world view on ‘inadequately tested assumptions.’ It is the height of intellectual bigotry to suggest that science and science alone – to the exclusion of all other areas of human thought and endeavor – somehow possesses the authority to answer every question that might be posed.” Renowned physicist Phllip Abelson, writing in Science Magazine (a very prominent magazine in the scientific community), addressed just such an attitude in an article on “Bigotry in Science” — “[The zeal of some scientists] has a fanatical, egocentric quality characterized by disdain and intolerance for anyone or any value not associated with a special area of intellectual activity.” Some people do not seem to realize that “science, as great as it is, is not without its own limitations.” Dr. Bert Thompson in an article online titled “The Limitations of Science & Its Method,” identifies five such limitations:
1. The scientific method is limited to what can be observed with the five senses. The Oxford Dictionary defines science as “a branch of study which is concerned with a connected body of demonstrated truths or observed facts.” It is only through use of the five sense that this observation takes place. George Simpson, the renowned evolutionist of Harvard, wrote: “It is inherent in any acceptable definition of science that statements that cannot be checked by observations are not really about anything; or at the veryleast they are not science.” Thus, as biochemist Duane Gish has noted, “For a theory to quality as a scientific theory, it must be supported by events, processes, or properties which can be observed.”
2. The scientific method is limited to the present. That should be a self-evident, axiomatic truth, since the present is the only place and time in which the five senses can operate. Therefore, chemist Enno Wolthius comments, “the past, and especially the beginning of things, lies beyond the grasp of this method; so science can only speculate about the origin and history of the world.” Scientists and scholars Henry Morris and John Whit-comb state it this way: “It is manifestly impossible to prove, by the scientific method, any hypothesis related to pre-human history.” Yetprominent evolutionists Paul Ehrlich and L. C. Birch address this matter with these words: “Though our theory of evolution is ‘outside empirical science,’ that does not mean thatitisnecessarilyfalse.”
3. The scientific method is limited to telling us “how” a process works, not “why.” The highlyacclaimedBible professoratHarding University,James D. Bales, remarked: “The scientific method is incapable of dealing with the realm of purpose… or why something happens [with reference to purpose].”
4. The scientific method is limited in that it is “amoral” (non-moral). The renowned Nobel laulreate, Jacques Monod, once stated that “science is ignorant of values;” there is nothing inherent in the scientific method that provides for the definition or study of morals… to make such a judgment is to make one without employing the scientific method.
5. The scientific method is limited in that it cannot deal with the “unique,” because the scientific method deals with those things that are timeless, universal, dependable, and repeatable — those things that do not fit in these categories are outside the realm of science. The German born scientist, Paul Weisz, who pioneered the use of natural and synthetic zeolites,inhistextbook,“Elements of Biology,”stated that “one-time events on earth are outside of science.” Likewise George Simpson said the important distinction between science and those other systematizations (the arts, philosophy, and theology) is that science self-testing and self-correcting; the testing and correcting are done by means of observations that can be repeated with essentially the same results by people operating by the same methods and using the same approach.
The main limitation of science in the world today is self-imposed — some scientists have arrogantly and foolishly decided that any reality that they cannot probe and measure does not exist. The soul, consciousness, God, and other such entities that are not amenable to material study, because they are not physical realities that can that one can evaluate in a laboratory, are therefore rejected as irrational and superstitious. By making the physical, material world the sum total of reality, such scientism limits itself to studying the tip of the cosmic iceberg, while proclaiming that the depths unseen do not exist and do not matter (incidentally, such thinking is rendered a “mindless deduction” by the vast majority of scientists in our world) — it is as if some scientists are simply color blind and deny the very existence of color; but that is how strong their animus is toward those who embrace a transcendent deity. With that thinking in mind, here are a dozen “categories of truth” that the scientific method can neither prove or disprove; realities that are completely outside the bounds of scientific evaluation.
1. Eternal Truththe essence of that which transcends space and time
2. Divine Truththe existence of an Ultimate Transcendent Reality (God)
3. Existential Truththe properties of existence in the temporal realm
4. Moral Truththat which is right and wrong
5. Aesthetic Truththat which is beautiful versus dreadful
6. Logical Truththe parameters of logical deduction
7. Historical Truththe essence of that which has already occurred
8. Experiential Truththat which is truly experienced
9. Inherent Truththe inherent value of that which exists
10. Spiritual Truththe eternal realities that find application in the present
11. Philosophical Truththe rationale of that which exists or doesn’t exist
12. Psychological Truththe properties of mental well-being vs. mental illness
Let me close this study with the words of the Irish theologian and Anglican priest, Dr. Alister McGrath, who earned two doctorates at Oxford University — one in molecular biophysics, and the other in theology. He described his spiritual and intellectual journey to the Christ faith as follows:
At Oxford — to my surprise — I discovered Christianity. It was the intellectually most exhilarating and spiritually stimulating thing I could ever hope to describe — better than chemistry, a wonderful subject that I had thought to be the love of my life and my future career. I went on to gain a doctorate for research in molecular biophysics from Oxford, and found that immensely exciting and satisfying. But I knew I had found something better — like the pearl of great price that Jesus talks about in the Gospel, which is so beautiful and precious that it overshadows every-thing. It was intellectually satisfying, imaginatively engaging, and aesthetically exciting.