Mechanism versus Agency 2

What this new recognition of the role of complex and coordinated information means…as a product of modern scientific investigation…is to debunk the centuries-old contention by atheists and skeptical unbelievers that the miraculous components in the biblical narrative stories of faith…disqualify the credibility of these stories…based alone on the philosophical pronouncements of some atheistic scientists and critics of the Bible.

If our laws of science merely explain what normally occurs…of what we observe as repetitive phenomenon in nature…and an independent agent God is the source of the orderliness and intelligibility in this ongoing pattern of recurring phenomenon…then the centuries-old objection by skeptical critics about miracles in the Bible…turns out not to be an empirical fact of scientific investigation itself…but merely a philosophical conclusion based on an inference that natural phenomenon will continue along this same path of orderliness that we now observe.

The idea of a biblical miracle…such as the parting of the Red Sea…defined as this independent agent God inserting more of the same divine creative input via unique and non-repeating events…this objection then by skeptics to the Bible can no longer be categorized as a scientific objection…but merely a philosophical objection.

What is interesting in this new Age of Information…is that the centuries-old skeptical objection to miracles in the Bible as being unscientific…is a misunderstanding in the most profound way.

Miracles in the Bible are only unscientific in the sense that they fall outside of what we normally observe to occur in a repetitive pattern over time.

The extrapolation of what we normally observe…into a rigid axiom that says that absolutely nothing else…without exception including miracles…can occur within the closed system of what we observe over some extended interim of time…that falls outside of what we have historically observed and recorded so far…is a philosophical conclusion…is merely a hypothetical inference…and not science…because the reach of scientific investigation…by definition the study of mechanism…does not encompass this issue of agency that produces creative information.

The construction of a Steinway concert grand piano that entails the technical know-how information of mechanism…does not stretch to the creative intellectual information that can compose a musical composition like Chopin’s Black Key Etude…Etude number 5 in Opus 10.

The insertion of information into the creation of the natural world and of subsequent biblical miracles…belongs in the categories of both agency and mechanism.

The occurrence of unique and non-repeating events defined as miracles…fall outside of the resolution of scientific investigation to study…and thus also fall outside of our above-mentioned example of our physics and chemistry understanding of how ink always bonds to paper…and our understanding of how the printing press machinery always works to print the headlines…in the New York Times analogy.

The fixity of the laws of science…that these laws apply in every case without exception…is a human philosophical construction we impose over a repetitive pattern of facts we observe and study in the natural world.

When an independent agent God is introduced into the equation…who conceived of and ingeniously created these realities of orderliness and intelligibility…this human imposed fixity evaporates.

When the fixity of the laws of science are used philosophically to invoke a closed-system in nature that excludes miracles, undermines the credibility of the biblical narrative stories of faith, and argues for either a non-existent God or a non-participating God…it turns out these arguments are not only circular and self-refuting…but they miss the point.

In the analogy to the newspaper headlines…the only realities that are fixed…belong in the category of information relating to mechanism…ink bonding to paper and the continued operation of the printing press machinery.

The category of information that is not fixed and repetitive…that is variable…is the creative information produced through agency that forms the daily headlines on the front page of the newspapers around the world.

The argument that the biblical God does not exist because miracles are impossible in a closed-system of natural laws according to modern science…assumes that the system is closed to begin with.

The skeptical critic must first prove that the system is closed…that the natural world cannot have a new insertion of divinely creative input…which turns out to be a mere philosophical objection…rather than an empirical fact of science…because human scientific research can never say with absolute certainty that a biblical-quality miracle did not occur…like Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

The general statement from scientism that “science is the only reliable source for truth”…internally self-destructs because this statement itself is unprovable through the means of scientific investigation…thus falling short of its own exclusivistic high standard for identifying and defining truth.

The remarkable event of the last few recent decades is that the knowledge-base of science has expanded beyond the point where it will no longer fit within the philosophy of naturalistic materialism…as a working theoretical hypotheses…because information has now been added to matter and energy…as the third fundamental component in the universe…thereby requiring an explanation for its origin.

The reasonable and rational conclusion from modern science…based on the sheer quantity and functional integration of all of the material pieces and parts that would be required at the Big Bang creation of the universe…along with the insertion of the accompanying laws of physics, chemistry, mathematics…and the invention of the fourth dimension of time…now completely and totally refutes any objection coming from the philosophy of naturalism that our natural world is a “closed system”…that God is barred by His own physical laws that He invented…from entering in to perform miracles like the ten plagues in Egypt or the manna provided the Israelites in their exodus to the Promised Land.

The perfectly reasonable idea…that the same Intelligent Designer who invented the laws of physics, chemistry, and mathematics at the time of the Big Bang…as well as inventing the incredible dual axioms of orderliness and intelligibility that are fundamental in our scientific understanding of the natural world…axioms that enable us to discover and to understand these natural laws…that this Intelligent Designer who first introduced these laws into the natural created world…is also therefore free and capable again within modern times to temporarily suspend or alter them according to His goals and plans…whenever and however He wants…in the history of life on earth.

It is the existence of these dual realties of orderliness and intelligibility of the laws of nature…also created by God at the Big Bang beginning of the universe…that allows human beings to differentiate the everyday ordinary stability of phenomenon in our natural world…from miraculous one-time events that fall outside of these parameters of orderliness and intelligibility (Mt. 9:8).

Christians therefore contend that commonplace stability in the natural world…and the miraculous…are both wrapped-up within the capacities of God.

From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity.

Author: Barton Jahn

I worked in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have seven Christian books self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on more books on building construction.

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