John Lennox in his second interview in Labastide, France on Socrates in the City…says something about the limits of the laws of physics that has enormous implications when applied to all types of written laws.
Lennox says that the laws of physics will never move a billiard ball in a million years, but a person with a cue-stick can.
The laws of motion can describe a billiard ball striking another billiard ball and where they will each go in terms of physics. But first someone has to supply the movement of the billiard ball before physics can describe what happens.
A second example given by Lennox is that the laws of mathematics cannot create money.
Dr. Lennox credits C.S Lewis with the original thinking on this.
“One plus one” will never actually put two dollars in our pocket. We have to get the first dollar, then the second dollar…and only after this does mathematics describe the correct calculation of my having two dollars in my pocket.
These examples by Dr. Lennox are given within the context of the discussion of the origin of the universe at the time of the Big Bang, refuting the statement by the famous physicist Stephen Hawking in his book The Grand Design (with Leonard Mlodinow, 2010) that “because there is a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself.”
The point here is that laws do not create anything…they do not produce anything.
The laws of physics are abstract. They cannot move a billiard ball, put two dollars in my pocket, or create the universe.
A correct understanding of this distinction when applied to human systems of government reveals the insightful truth that laws by themselves do not produce good behavior and virtuous living.
Laws that abolish human slavery will not eradicate racial prejudice.
There are no laws that can be enacted that will universally produce kindness and thoughtfulness.
No law could be so well-written that its wording could guarantee that every high school and college student would legitimately achieve A-grades in all math classes up to and through calculus.
No legislated law…no matter how well crafted…has the power to do that.
Extending this concept even more broadly, this is why the Law of Moses cannot produce righteousness.
The Ten Commandments written on the stone tablets by the finger of God Himself…cannot produce virtue and righteousness any more than the laws of physics can move a billiard ball.
God knows this better than anyone.
The question then becomes: Who moves the billiard ball…God or ourselves?
Is right human living based upon the self-realization of the performance of good-works codified in laws, which realistically judges all of us without exception falling short of absolute perfection?
Or is virtue and righteousness actualized into human life through God-composed journey of faith life-scripts after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith.
The existence of this radical dichotomy within the contemplation of the marketplace of ideas is inexplicable in a purely materialistic universe.
Here I sense that I am exploring concepts that are way beyond my depth…that exist at the very heart of reality.
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17)
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Rom. 3:20)
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2)
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1-2)
Here is where the concept of the limitations of the laws of physics described above by Dr. John Lennox, broadens into the separation between belief and unbelief when we look at the character trait of lying…of being untruthful.
The liar by nature will seldom admit they are wrong. The liar will attempt to “spin” the facts to explain their way out of some wrong-doing, shortcoming, or criminal activity.
For the Christian theist, Satan has never admitted defeat after Calvary and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This is what condemns unbelief.
The gospel message begins with repentance: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt. 4:17).
If our fallen, imperfect nature is in fact the necessary research vehicle to be able to truly explore the knowledge of good and evil…then unbelief is the ultimate folly.
Like the liar, unbelief actualizes into worldly conventional normalcy and thinking the inability to admit we are wrong.
Every sane person can admit and accept that we are not perfect.
But we find it difficult to make the small additional step of repenting towards God (having a turn-around in our minds and hearts) in this area of admitting we are not perfect…to the God of the Bible who is not condemning us for our imperfection.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7)
The God of the Bible is the very person who set-up redemptive salvation for the express purpose of taking this fallen nature for a ride into the research program of a first-hand, experiential exploration of the knowledge of good and evil…via the “safe-conduct” of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
What is so profound here once we see it is that the massive gulf between the two outcomes of a timeless existence in heaven or in hell…divides itself within human experience in the seemingly simplistic and subtle difference between belief and unbelief.
The liar within all of us will spin the facts about our moral imperfection and sweep this reality “under the rug” as being merely a part of worldly conventional normalcy.
But salvation does not come through the unachievable, perfect performance of good-works.
This fallen human nature instead has been brilliantly flipped…by God’s program of redemptive salvation by grace through faith…into the positive vehicle for exploring the knowledge of good and evil in the one and only way we could claim this knowledge for ourselves through empirical experience.
The internal lie of unbelief blocks this.
This is why on Judgement Day people will be weeping and “gnashing their teeth” (Mt. 25:30) over the profound regret that belief was so within reach and accessible.
Truth and lying divide into polarized opposites at Calvary.
The Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers, and scribes in first-century Jerusalem would/could not admit they were wrong.
The rejection and crucifixion was an attempt to “spin” the facts regarding the expected nature of the coming Messiah into the alternate reality that Jesus was a fraud and that they were righteous…because they followed the Law of Moses and were the “children” of Abraham (Mt. 3:7-9; Mk. 12:24; Lk. 11:37-44; Jn. 8:39-40).
The United States Constitution cannot “do” anything in terms of virtuous citizenship. Virtue cannot be legislated.
The laws of physics cannot create anything.
A billiard ball needs a person with a cue-stick to set it in motion.
The Law of Moses was never intended to produce righteousness.
When skeptics include biblical faith within their general criticism of world religions, they have no idea what they are talking about.
The redemptive salvation that enables believers to embark upon journeys of faith in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible…removes the risk of the threat that the absolute certainty of my imperfect performance could jeopardize my eternal salvation (Mt. 5:6).
The impunity of my sins past, present, and future being covered by the blood Jesus shed on the cross enables an exploration of the subtle nuances of the broad array of moral concepts…contained within the knowledge of good and evil…through the research vehicle of my imperfect nature.
In my opinion, this rivals the empirical quality of any scientific investigation into the phenomena of the natural world.
In my opinion, scientific materialists…rather than being staunch opponents of biblical faith…should logically be the first people in line to receive redemptive salvation…being by career choice investigative researchers.
If we blithely sweep under the rug our human imperfection as being merely the product of a materialistic Mother Nature according to Darwinian evolution, then we are lying to ourselves.
If we downgrade biblical faith into the relativism of man-invented religions that have no real standard for determining what genuine truth actually is, then we have created an alternate reality for the purpose of working around our universal imperfect natures.
God invented biblical-quality journeys of faith precisely because laws of any kind cannot produce actionable virtue.
Abstract concepts will not create a universe, move a billiard ball, or put two dollars in my pocket.
This is too profound for the worldview of naturalistic materialism…but not too profound for divine agency.
 John Lennox: Socrates in the City in Labastide, France, Part 2, Jan. 23, 2018 on You Tube.