Seekers and scoffers
Published: 11 November 2012 (GMT+10)
Today’s correspondence illustrates some of the reasons why CMI exists: to help seekers understand the truth of the Bible, and to stand as a public challenge to scoffers. Dr Don Batten and Dr David Catchpoole respond.
Desi P. from the United States writes in response to article: Who created God?:
I’m a 13 year old girl curious about “God”. Though I’ve always wondered, “Who created God? And if he wasn’t created by himself, then how did he create the world?” last year in my history class (ancient history) we learned about Egyptian Gods and other gods around the world, but some of their stories do make sense. So I wondered, were we really created by a god? Could we have slowly been brought together piece by piece by random particles and a change in the atmosphere brought those particles together and created us?????? Another one of my curiosities is how can the bible be true? I have read many different bibles and some of them say things that r completely opposite than others.
Please, will someone help me get a better understanding?
Dr Don Batten responds:
Thanks for getting in contact. And good on you for thinking about these things!
As my article argued, something had to be eternal (that is, with no beginning). It cannot be the universe or anything else made of matter/energy because all matter/energy ‘decays’ over time and therefore must have had a beginning. The eternal ‘first cause’ must therefore be non-material (super-natural) or spiritual. All the characteristics required for such a first cause match the Creator revealed in the Bible, so it is reasonable to believe in the One revealed there.
The other gods you hear about are usually just ‘superman’-style beings with serious flaws; many are even mortal. These are a pale shadow of the reality, although often rightly reflecting that there must be a supernatural dimension. Some cultures preserved the knowledge of God from the beginning (Genesis 1–11) better than others. Few, if any, were atheistic, for good reason (the principle of causation, that anything that has a beginning needs a sufficient cause). For a response to the idea that the Bible borrowed ideas from other religions, which does not ‘stack up’, see Pagan copycat thesis refuted.
You are right to question the idea that life just ‘made itself’. Other than believing that the universe ‘made itself’, this would have to be the most unreasonable proposal of all. As you learn more about the complexities of life, you will see more and more how life must have been created by a super-intelligent Creator who is far superior to us in intelligence. Daily, new scientific discoveries are confirming that life was created; more knowledge only strengthens the case for a Creator. For a little window of understanding on some of this, see: Fantastic voyage.
The Bible? There is actually only one Bible, written in Hebrew, a little Aramaic, and Greek. There is little doubt as to what the original writings were; there is nothing in doubt that changes the Bible’s teaching. Today there are many translations and paraphrases (i.e. loose translations), especially in English, but there is not much difference between ones that are genuine attempts to convey the original meaning (e.g. New King James Version, New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version, New International Version, etc.). It is important to avoid deliberately mistranslated versions such as the New World Translation, which was produced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses to try to downplay the Bible’s teaching that Jesus is God revealed in human form (God the Son). See Holy books.
In all this the purpose of the Bible and the evidence in the world around us is to lead us to faith in God, not just knowing about God. We are not just to have an intellectual belief but a personal commitment to Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Such a trust goes beyond the evidence, but it is consistent with the evidence. The Bible promises that if we seek Him sincerely, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). See Good News.
I hope this helps.
‘K L’, presumably from Australia, wrote to us under the fake email address “email@example.com” in response to Time to think.
Food for thought David If your children or yourself is dangerously ill, do you pray to your lord, or do you go and seek medical help? Do you get flu shots that are the working results of science? That very same science that has proven time and time again that evolution is real? If a God sent us disease or punished us for our sins with disease why would he “bless” us with the scientific knowledge to cure most of these diseases? Science has also proven many of Jesus’ miracles to be a ‘right place at the right time’ moment for an example, turning the water into wine. When they poured the water into the wooden barrels which originally held the wine, the wine which had soaked into the wood mixed with the water which produced a weak yet still delicious beverage. You mentioned the ‘ape-men’ and various fossils however did your lord create and extinct this species when the only contribution they have left for us to see is their link between ape and man? If we are all the result of Adam and Eve then wouldn’t our skin be the same as theirs? From Darwin’s proven theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ in layman’s terms, our very features that define as are a result of adaption to our climates, not because any spiritual being chose us all to be different. If science and evolution of man did not exist, then how would did you travel on that plane and meet ‘Edwin’? Did a mystical bless us with the knowledge or did man work it out using the scientific laws of gravity and aerodynamics? Most of the food, transport, all medication and clothes that you wear are a result of science so how can you mock that very same science by saying Genesis was correct? Bon appétit.
Dr David Catchpoole responds:
Dear ‘K L’,
Yes, The Lion King is a great movie. One of my daughters prefers it to all others in that ‘animated film’/Disney Pixar/Dreamworks-genre, describing it as “an absolute classic”. The movie’s plot has a nice parallel with our own real-life Mufasa-Scar conflict, too. (What sane person wouldn’t want to choose good over evil, truth over deceit?)
But as far as I’m aware my daughter hasn’t turned her appreciation for The Lion King into a personalized email address behind which she can anonymously send Christian ministries distracting rhetorical questions that she really doesn’t want to hear an answer to.
Just in case that one day you really are looking for answers to the kinds of ‘objections’ to belief in Christ that your comment incorporates, you’ll find that the search box on our website will be of enormous help to you. E.g. it would help you locate articles such as these:
- Sound bites vs sound science
- ‘It’s not science’
- Does science need evolution?
- Swine flu—Is it evidence of evolution?
But you’ll have to want to be genuinely seeking answers, and be bearing in mind Jesus’ reassuring statement that whosoever seeks Him will indeed find Him (Luke 11:9). And I pray that you, too, will find the food that Jesus spoke to His disciples about (John 4:31–34).
Now that’s the sort of food about which I could sincerely say to you the same words you offered to me: “Bon appétit!”
David Catchpoole, CMI-Australia
To KL: Guess who put 'your' glorified science laws in place? Hmmm, guess where do they came from? From minerals?
"Food for thought David If your children or yourself is dangerously ill, do you pray to your lord, or do you go and seek medical help? Do you get flu shots that are the working results of science?"
This is a false dichotomy. Us Christians both seek medical help (if available) AND pray for healing.
"That very same science that has proven time and time again that evolution is real?"
Equivocation fallacy; medicine falls into observable, repeatable science. Evolution (if it were true) would fall into historical science. They are NOT the same. How many times have we said this, and yet people refuse to hear? Sheesh!
I'm replying to the comment by K L from Australia aka firstname.lastname@example.org. What this individual said about the wedding at Cana from John 2:10-11 is highly inaccurate. He/she claimed that the miracle of water to wine that Jesus performed was just another case of 'right time ,right place'. In other words, it was a non-supernatural event. This individual said that what actually occurred was the water which was added to the empty barrels, mixed with wine that had soaked into the wood resulting in a weak, but tasty drink. For one thing, the Bible here says nothing about the containers being made from wood. They were made from clay, which is a very poor material when it comes to absorption. Also, the containers Christ had the water put into weren't even the ones used for the wine in the first place; verse 6 says so. And, even if the containers had been made from wood, what the head waiter says in verse 10, completely debunks this theory. How could a drink made from heavily diluted wine be tasty on it's own? What the head waiter said shows that the newly converted wine from water, was actually better than what had been served earlier. This was a supernatural event.
Concerning what "kl from Australia" aka "mufasa@scarproductions" said about the Wedding at Cana and the Water to Wine miracle just being a 'right time at the right place' type of thing. This individual said that what happened was, when the water was added to the empty barrels that the wine had been in, the water mixed with some wine that had previously soaked into the barrels, providing a weak but tasty drink. For one thing, there is no mention of wooden barrels being used. John 2:1-11 says that the wine was in clay pots, hardly the type of material that absorbs. Also, even if it were wooden barrels, this theory is still lacking any merit according to the Bible. Obviously, this person didn't bother to read any of the account. In John 2:10, after tasting the wine which shortly before was plain water, the headwaiter praises the bridegroom for actually bringing out the good wine then instead of bringing it out earlier which is what most people would've done. This verse debunks the theory that the water mixing with wine from the barrels created a weak drink. If this were true, then the head waiter would not have been so surprised about the new wine being so good, if it were actually wooden barrels being used, that is.
I suspect the person with the Lion King allusions has been prompted by your article on Meerkats, which also played a prominent part in Lion King. Creation.com in his mind is representing by association the Meerkat, while he is representing through name and email address the dominant King in the human jungle. I am reminded of how a Lion of the tribe Judah acted, how the King of Kings acted, and I would have to then place the approach by the author of that email, K L, to status Hyena.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
It's so nice to hear from a young, curious mind who genuinely wants some answers. I really wish there were more people like that and less people who blindly believe whatever their teachers or parents say about these issues.
As for that second fellow though, I can only say what has been said before many times: No matter what the individual beliefs are of any human, operational science will continue to function as per normal. What needs to be made clear is what the difference is between Operational Science and Historical/Forensic Science. Operational Science is repeatable (e.g. drop an apple and it will fall, do it again, same thing) Historical Science analyses evidence to make probable assumptions about the past (e.g. we can't repeat the Roman Empire, but we can investigate the remains). The only way to turn that 'probable' into 'certain' is to have a documented, eyewitness testimony.
Evolution, while being branded a Historical Science has virtually no substantial physical evidence (and what evidence there is sketchier than an artist's handbook) and literally no testimony evidence.
(Re the scoffer) I wonder how many people realize that the whole “circle of life” song is actually a hymn of praise to death? It like the movie and evolution teaches that without death, there would be no life, the old must make way for the new generation, and that death is a NECESSARY part of life. The number of people who go through life not realizing what they worship is astounding, until one realizes that to reject Christ will always end in death and the worship of death. I must also say your example of an explanation of how Christ turned water into wine is like most attempts, and falls far short. I suggest you read it again and think about it logically, the people describe it as being of superior quality, where as if it had come from the remnants soaked into the container, it would have been of far inferior quality. The word used is best wine, meaning stronger and more fuller. If you describe a mystic as someone who believes in God, then yes Gravity and all modern science is founded on discoveries and principals of experimentation of such persons. Your arguments are weak and with a bit of actual research self-defeating and easily shown to be false.
The first email = excellent questions. A delight to read. The second email = mocking and condescending. Your response = patience and truthful. I will take your answer as the truth. I have no desire to be a mocker and hater of God. Thanks for the wisdom you are sharing.
Wouldn't a better response to Desi been along the following lines:
Thank you for your question "who made God". This is a very intelligent question because the majority of people in the world believe in Him but, amazingly, He is different to them all. Indeed some people think He does not exist.
What I suggest you do is study the many religions that exist in the world and atheism as well (disbelief in God). Listen to what many people say. Examine what it is they say and try to think why they say it and then make your own judgement.
I (Don Batten) think I am right but I do not wish to force you to think the same. I hope eventually that you will agree with me but, at your age, it is much better to study and make up your own mind."
I gave my response in the context of someone who is already looking at all the options and asked a Christian organisation for a Christian response on the Christian option.
Jesus said, "Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?" (Matthew 7:9). He also said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except by me" (John 14:6) and that only He has the "words of eternal life". To deliberately send anyone on a wild goose chase, with likely hazardous consequences for their welfare, here and eternally, would be extremely remiss of me and indicate that I don't really believe what Jesus said is true. I take it that, although you are a Church of England adherent (and who accepts evolution), that you don't believe Jesus' words? If you did, you would not have suggested this 'better' response.
As for forcing my beliefs on someone, how is putting the case for something forcing your beliefs on someone? I have zero control over what Desi does with what I wrote or what else she investigates (and nor would I want such control).
Regarding the questioner's comment that the water was poured into wooden barrels:
No, the water was drawn out of stone jars and given immediately to the master of the feast. No wooden barrels were even involved in the story.
Here is John 2:6-11 from the ESV translation:
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
That's another thing that I have always wondered. Why ask questions of things you are not trying to hear an answer for? I was debating with an atheist a few days ago, and I asked her why was she asking so many questions- was it because she wanted to know the answer? She responded: "I want to trap you into a corner so you can realize your faith is wrong".
Wouldn't that make you closed minded by thinking that there is no answer to the questions you have? I mean by the way, I answered all of her questions, even the small easy ones that could have been answered if she put any effort into thinking about the question. Anyway, nice job- I also find it funny when atheists say "You have to answer my question! The Bible says to 'always be ready for an answer'"... Well exactly, the Bible says "Be ready" for an answer, not that you were obligated to give one every time a frothing at the mouth atheist scoffs at your beliefs. :) Keep up the good work.
“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” Proverbs 26:4-5
David a most appropriate response to ‘KL’. God bless you.
The assumption that since operational and experimental science is true, history science, therefore, must be true too is not true, especially when history science does not depend on operational and experimental science.
For example, history science almost always says that fossils are millions of years old. But they do not say how their dating methods were calibrated. They also say that animals of animal fossils were dead before they were fossilised but they will not provide evidences for this assumption even though they found nine pairs of mating turtle fossils in Germany. These mating turtles, before they had a chance to separate, were fossilised while they were alive.
Science is a product of the community, rather sub community, of homo sapiens. This product is as good or as bad as the community depending upon what values and morals they follow in their self-talk (ie thinking).
If I tell my child that crossing a road without following road rules will result in being hit by a vehicle. If my child does not head my warnings and cross a road and end up being hit by a car, it does not mean that I sent the car to punish my child. In this fallen world, disease, sufferings, heart aches and deaths are consequences of the homo sapiens deeds. But only in Jesus we can find the mental peace in our self talk despite disease, sufferings, heart aches and deaths in this fallen world.