Evil and Suffering in this World…Revised

            One of the universally puzzling questions facing all of mankind from the dawn of human history, is why is there evil and suffering in this world.

            This question overlaps into science, philosophy, and religion because it intersects with the pursuit of human beings to discover purpose and meaning in the universe and in our lives.

            Evil and suffering are puzzling because they are totally at odds with the human inner drive to seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…being the major impediments that seemingly spoil this pursuit of happiness.

            Do away with evil and suffering, and we naturally think that an ideal paradise on earth is within reach.

            Why then would God allow evil and suffering to exist in this world, if He is able to prevent them?

            More broadly within the scope of a book on science and Christian faith, if modern science today is revealing an Intelligent Designing Agent this precise in crafting the natural world, then if God’s main response to the evil and suffering in this world is to merely compose life-scripts and orchestrate journeys of faith that do not altogether remove evil and suffering, then this seemingly partial solution needs explaining.

            If the response by the God of the Bible is to initiate research programs into the knowledge of good and evil as articulated in this book, now better understood through the lens of the modern scientific method, this still leaves the common complaint that if God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere, why then doesn’t He remove evil and suffering?

            The argument that the presence of evil and suffering renders God weak and incapable of providing an entirely safe and optimized environment for humans, presupposes that there is not a more important, underlying reason for God allowing evil and suffering to exist on the earth.  

            The straightforward approach in all avenues of inquiry in science, philosophy, and theology is to dig deeper for some answers.

The biblically honest answer starts by saying that of course the God of the Bible allows evil and suffering to exist in this world.

Then the question is why?

            This is a topic that deservedly comes up in every existence-of-God discussion, and should be addressed head-on at the beginning of this book.   

            One simplistic answer understood by everyone is the reason why parents teach their young children to look both ways before safely crossing the street.

            There is an existing reality of the dependent relationship between mature adults who possess the survival information about this world, and developing young children who do not.

            The reality of the facts possessed by the mature adults is that the residential streets abutting houses and schools have automobile traffic that poses a danger to uninformed young children.

            Looking both ways before safely crossing the street does not apply unless there are automobiles, buses, and trucks driving down the street.

            We could make streets, highways, and major freeways safe for children to play on tomorrow if today we eliminated all cars, trucks, and buses from existence, inaugurating walking as the sole means of travel.

            But we do not choose to do this because of the positive utility of cars, trucks, and buses for travel, and assume the risk that somewhere a young child will run out into the street chasing after a ball without first looking for cars, and get hit.

            Another simplistic answer is that my first bicycle had additional “training wheels” on each side of the rear tire to prevent me from falling over sideways, but I can still remember coasting down our gradually sloping driveway without knowing yet how to use the brakes to stop, with my father chasing after me to catch me before I ran into the garage door.

            The training wheels thankfully kept my bicycle upright, but someone in-the-know had to show me how the brakes worked.

            A simplistic, starting explanation universally known around the world in every family having young children, and every school having children of all ages, and even on college campuses, is that younger people need adults to supply the information to help them grow into adulthood.

            Age, experience, and knowledge give adults the basic position of authority to beneficially pass along to younger people the human do’s-and-do-not’s…being a role that no one else can perform…in a world that has at its extreme edges the potential danger for right and wrong outcomes, and for good and evil to take place.

            This is a basic and universal concept that everyone understands.

            But we can extend this basic and universal concept even farther by asking why as young children do we attend school?

            Learning to read and write, acquiring a full vocabulary, mastering basic arithmetic, studying history and geography, putting into practice the social skills required in a group, and developing the discernment that will be needed to select the right partner to marry for life and successfully raise a family…these are all things that define the essence of what it means to be human.

            Something in this remarkable process of human development into maturity should be a tell into the underlying purpose and meaning behind our universe and why we are here.

            Like the questioning of the existence of God because of the presence of evil and suffering in this world, mankind could also question the trial-and-error successes and failures that are inescapably a part of human life, and wish for an ideal existence that did not have broken hearts, broken marriages, alcoholism, and the regret of missed opportunities.

            But if one other thing is equally certain alongside death and taxes, it is that human beings are incapable of being anything other than what we are…intellectual and moral beings in pursuit of truth.

            This reality I would submit eliminates naturalistic materialism as a viable worldview, based upon the mere fact that the line of reasoning in this essay is too complex for matter and energy alone to bring into existence and clear focus.

            The brilliant Mind who created this universe also put into human beings this capacity for intellectual and moral reasoning, for a definite and deliberate purpose, and not through random chance, impersonal happenstance.

This is an excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

Self-Governing Through Individual Virtue

            In Numbers 11:14, Moses complains to God: “I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.”

            Nowhere in the Bible does God say that serving as King for “time without end” is too heavy.

            But Jesus Christ the sinless and blemish-free Son of God says and does all that the Second Person of the Trinity would say and do in a human body on earth…and He is crucified.

            Do we really think that God would want this same rebellion imported into heaven for all eternity?

            This complaint of Moses in Numbers 11:14 occurs at the start of the Exodus.

            When the time comes that Joshua is to lead the Israelites into the military campaign to conquer their Promised Land of Canaan, the people have been tempered by the 40-year wandering in the wilderness.

            The people are now able to exercise the self-government of voluntarily chosen virtue, so that Joshua does not have to “carry them” (Num. 11:12) as they order for battle.

            Joshua did not have to field complaints and murmurings from the people, determined themselves to do the right thing.

            There is something deeply right about giving God the benefit-of-the-doubt by releasing some aspects of self-rulership and placing some initial, beginning faith and trust in the God of the Bible…to give Him a trial period of testing to see if He is real and reliable.  

            There is something fundamentally wrong with staying stubbornly in the self-sovereignty of sitting atop the thrones of our lives as supposed junior gods, if for no other reason than that we do not have access to the final end-points of the broad array of moral concepts to perfectly inform our choices and decisions.

            The most brilliantly loving thing God could do for us is to set-up a program of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, wherein we could develop through first-hand life-events the discernment to be able to effectively govern ourselves through our voluntary choice to value and pursue virtue, being a kingdom of people God could and would gladly rule over for an eternity.

This is an excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

How Do You Get a Perfect Person All the Way to the Cross?…Revised

            Skeptics and critics of Christianity raise the question of why Jesus Christ is not more prominent in the secular histories of the first-century, outside of the New Testament gospels.

            One observation that can be made historically about the Roman Empire during this time-period is that it was relatively tolerant of the diverse religious beliefs of the geographies and peoples it controlled, as long as this tolerance did not encourage political unrest.

            The New Testament gospels record as early as the ministry of John the Baptist that some Roman soldiers came to listen to his teaching (Lk. 3:14), and presumably participated personally in being water baptized, without risk or harm in any way to their careers in the Roman army, in the same way that soldiers in Ephesus might attend temple services honoring the goddess Diana (Acts 19:27-28), without jeopardizing their military careers.

            The gospel of Matthew records early in the ministry of Jesus a Roman centurion asking Jesus to supernaturally heal a servant sick of the palsy (Mt. 8:5-13; Lk. 7:1-5).

            Early in the ministry of Peter, another Roman centurion named Cornelius in the city of Caesarea is described as being a devout man who was a Gentile “God-fearer” along with all of his house, who sent for Peter to come and preach to them about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10).

            It can be reasonably assumed that some Roman soldiers were assigned to all large gatherings of Jews in Jerusalem going out to hear Jesus teach outdoors, and would have witnessed first-hand and up-close the miracles of multiplying the few fish and loaves of bread to feed thousands of people gathered on a hillside (Mt. 14:15-21, 15: 32-39).

            So, what would it have taken to get a contingent of Roman senators to travel all the way from Rome to the distant and unimportant province of Israel to view the supposed supernatural activities of an obscure prophet in the city of Jerusalem?

            What magnitude of notoriety would produce such international acclaim as to capture the interest of the world-at-large in the first-century, within the broad cultural tolerance of religious beliefs allowed to be practiced in the Roman Empire, that would generate more than only the small notice and slight concern over events occurring in Jerusalem, for the governing body then in Rome? 

            Even Pontius Pilate the Roman governor of Judea saw no threat in the ministry of Jesus, and proclaims after his first interview of Jesus: “I find in him no fault at all.” (Jn. 18:38).

            The fundamental point here for why the life of Jesus Christ is not a biography splashed all over the secular histories of the day, is that the humanism of going our own way (Isa. 53:6) that is central to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…does not and never will mix with the concept of God displacing our ways with His higher ways in picking-up our crosses to follow God into journeys of faith.

            At the close of Paul’s ministry, as he awaits his trial in Rome, the local Jews who come to visit Paul say: “But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.” (Acts 28:22).

            This raises one of the most profound questions regarding the rise of Christianity in the first-century, of how do you get a perfect person all the way to the rejection of the cross of Calvary?

            How is it that the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews must be the person who is crucified for the sins of the world, and resurrected to be the brazen serpent for salvation fore-glimpsed by Moses in the Exodus in the desert (Num. 21:5-9; 2 Ki. 18:4).

            What this demonstrates for people today, is that the same Creator God in the Bible who utilizes prior fitness throughout the geological eras in natural history, to set-up prior conditions for living organisms to flourish, can also coordinate human moral reasoning capacity, the broad array of moral concepts, and the divine life-script for Jesus Christ the Son of God, and moderate all of these factors to get the Messiah to also be the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for mankind’s sins.

This actualizes into real-world experience the saying: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn. 8:32).

            For people to know the truth they need to first have the intellectual and moral reasoning capacity to recognize truth, next the broad array of moral concepts active and in-play within human relationships, and finally “the way, the truth, and the life” demonstrated in the life of Jesus Christ the Son of God incarnate, all coming together in the first-century.

This is an excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

God-Sovereignty Exemplified on the Cross…Revised

            One area therefore where we can clearly and unambiguously authenticate the divine nature of Jesus Christ is in His perfect compliance with the biblical concept of God-sovereignty, in His life-script and performance.

            On the cross, Jesus is demonstrating God-sovereignty actualized to absolute perfection in staying within His God-composed life-script calling to become the Savior of the world.

            On the cross, Jesus exemplifies purely consistent, non-rebellious, sinless unity-of-purpose within the Godhead of the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

            The divinely brilliant, creative originality of the cross is that Jesus is experiencing the most acute outward display of worldly failure, while at the same time achieving the greatest single accomplishment for mankind in all of history as the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for sin.

            God combines on the cross two contrasting elements: extreme worldly failure and brilliantly divine success, on the broadest possible range of human experience because the cross at Calvary involves the divine Son of God in a human body (Isa. 7:14, 9:6-7) the breadth of which no human literary writer could ever imagine or invent.

            Jesus Christ on the cross as the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for mankind’s sins in perfect demonstration of God-sovereignty, is such a brilliantly divisive yet subtle issue surgically separating truth from error, that many modern Jews even today use this perceived failure of Jesus to be the expected Moses, Joshua, or King David type Messiah ushering-in world peace…as still serving as the main reason for why they reject Jesus Christ as Messiah, disqualifying Him on these grounds alone.

            Many Jews in the first-century and today would say that their Messiah would never suffer the indignity of being crucified by the Romans, of being a curse “hanged on a tree.” (Dt. 21:23; Gal. 3:13).

            Yet redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ creates the singular brilliance of a joint-venture with God into the exploration of the knowledge of good and evil, utilizing the research vehicle of our fallen yet redeemed imperfect nature.

God-composed journey of faith life-scripts starting with Abraham anticipate by roughly 3,500 years the scientific method of basic field research inaugurated at the start of the Scientific Revolution.

            As we ourselves stand at the cross looking up at Jesus, we either see the Passover Lamb of God performing His God-composed life-script in perfect God-sovereignty, or we see the worst failure of a person that can be imagined in life, the utter humiliation of first being scourged, then afterwards ending their lives through the shame and defeat of Roman crucifixion.

            This is the most modern, up-to-date, sophisticated use of the broad array of moral concepts at the outer edge of their real-world, practical utility.

            As we look up at Jesus hanging on the cross, we either see a life-script that was perfectly written to match the unique capacity of the God/man Jesus Christ to take upon Himself the sins of the world as foreshadowed centuries before at the start of the Exodus[1],[2] (Ex. 12:21-28).

            Or we see a life-script that falls so far short of the positive ideals and aspirations of the American Dream ancient or modern, that our best option then is to choose to go our own way in a journeyof self, according to the tenets of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking, and reject Jesus Christ altogether.

            The insightfully piercing dichotomy between the perfect God-sovereignty of Jesus Christ, and the self-sovereignty of going our own way of the religious elites and political rulers in Jerusalem, at the cross is exposed by God alone as no human literary genius could of being as wide apart as the Grand Canyon.

God alone has the ability to highlight on that one day atop Calvary Hill, the huge contrast between self-sovereignty versus God-sovereignty…to perfection.

            This is a key element that separates-out for us amidst the sea of multiple competing narratives the singularly unique, divine quality of the biblical narrative in today’s modern world.

This is an excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.


[1] 20161030 The Oldest Yahweh Inscription 2 Kings Joel Kramer, published on Oct. 30, 2016, by Lighthouse Church-Twin Falls on YouTube…at Joel Kramer Archaeologist.

[2] Historical Evidence for the Exodus from Egypt (with Titus Kennedy), published on Jul. 19, 2022 on the YouTube channel Dr. Sean McDowell.

The Broad Array of Moral Concepts are In-Place and On-Time for Human Consideration…Revised

            In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul lists some of the positive fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

            Earlier in Galatians 5:19-21, Paul lists some of the negative “works of the flesh”: “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.”

            To these two lists of moral attributes and characteristics we could add the concepts of truth, honesty, dignity, loyalty, friendliness, honor, humility, dedication, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, humor, flexibility, empathy, forbearance, consideration, self-sacrifice, gratitude, persistence, commitment, discernment, rationality, logical thinking, being organized, being a peace-maker, fairness, generosity, passion…and a number of other distinct and precise words that describe finely differentiated moral characteristics.

            This list could be expanded further by adding their negative counterparts.

            Why is this important in a Christian book about science and faith?

            When anyone who is a born-again Christian, Bible college student, Christian theologian, atheist, skeptic, or curious truth-seeker begins an examination of the perfect and sinless life of Jesus Christ, they are acknowledging the existence of the very tools of the sophisticated and varied concepts available that precisely define moral characteristics, that make such an examination possible.

            Without this complete and exhaustive tool-kit of concepts by which to judge moral characteristics, a personal decision for or against accepting Christ as Savior would fall short of being meaningful, would not have all of the richly differentiated criteria to support a valid decision, one way or the other.

            The three complimentary categories: the existence of the broad array of moral concepts, our capacity for intellectual and moral reasoning, and the divinely composed life-script for Jesus Christ, must all be fully developed and fully functional in-time for the appearance of Jesus Christ into this world in the first-half of the first-century A.D.

            This discussion opens the door into a better and fuller understanding of the uniqueness of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, validating the life of Jesus to be at the top-most point of moral perfection.

This is an Excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

The Broad Array of Moral Concepts…Revised

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.”                                               (Jn. 1:14)

            If the Bible and Christians contend that Jesus Christ is the blemish-free, Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for mankind’s sins, that He was perfect and without sin during His life and ministry on earth, by what or by whose standard do we judge the existence of this alleged perfect moral character in any person?

            How would we determine that the life of Jesus was at the outer edge of moral perfection, at the peak and the pinnacle of absolute goodness and virtue?

            How would we know that no additional room or space remained at the highest top-most point of the vertical, graduated spectrum-line of virtue and morality for further improvement?

            What would explain the existence of the diverse categories of moral criteria defining virtue, of the numerous moral concepts broken down into individual words as abstract thoughts accessible to human contemplation, that would enable and support a valid determination of the moral credentials of Jesus Christ?

            And finally, where would our highly-advanced capacity to comprehend, to divide, separate-out, and parse these varied conceptual virtues and vices, consisting of finely differentiated realities that are true-to-life, come from? 

            Where would this uniquely human capacity originate from, seeing that it does not exist anywhere else in the animal world and therefore cannot plausibly be attributed to the common descent, materialistic explanation for its origin extending seamlessly from animal instinct to human intellect?

            In short, this current planet earth is the perfect environment to conduct individual research explorations into the knowledge of good and evil, using the lens of a fallen moral nature that is redeemed by Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary.

            The broad array of moral concepts functionally operative within human relationships is the intellectually thought-filled human counterpart to the biodiversity and ecological balance we find in the natural world that enables animal instinct to operate.

            The brilliant invention of redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ is the means by which believers can with impunity and without risk to our eternal salvation, enter into journeys of faith by picking-up our own cross to follow Jesus Christ into adventures of challenge beyond our imagination…designed to illuminate the subtleties of the knowledge of good and evil for our eternal benefit.

            The entirely counterintuitive insight coming from modern science that adds a new and unexpected understanding of the biblical interpretation of salvation by grace through faith in Christ, is that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was not just a way to provide forgiveness for sin and to restore our relationship with God, but also to open-up a living way into exploring the knowledge of good and evil through the research vehicle of an imperfect yet redeemed, fallen moral nature (Rom. 7:15-8:4; 2 Cor. 4:7).

            If we look at the detailed, biblical narrative stories of faith from Abraham through Paul, we see not only personal relationships created between people and God, and mission-plans often having enormous benefits to other people, but we also see life-scripts that are research programs into the knowledge of good and evil that are purpose-filled at the pinnacle of rational thought and reasoning.

            There is infinitely more to God’s plan of salvation than just reconciliation and addressing the guilt of our mistakes, as important as that is.

            Redemptive salvation by grace through faith points directly to Genesis 3:4-5.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

            This is a classic example of a half-truth.

            What fell apart in the Garden of Eden was not an honestly contested dispute over a set of facts about what beneficial outcomes eating a particular fruit would produce.

            This dispute was about the element of trust within a personal relationship.

            It is like a parent telling their young child to look both ways before crossing the street, without explaining in details the pros and cons.

            Personal relationships between people and God are why the life-stories in the Bible are based upon faith, worked-out through experiential lessons-learned.

            The temptation in the Garden of Eden contained nothing in dispute over empirical, fact-based evidence.

            Nothing was presented in the form of evidence to back up the assertion to reject God’s word in terms of truth or authority.

            Faith and trust are central to biblical Judaism and Christianity because the fundamental issue was based upon a personal relationship and not a question of empirical facts in dispute.

            A personal relationship between people and the living God is a theme that runs throughout the Bible, that is missing in all other religions and worldviews.

The optimum way that I can acquire a genuine knowledge of good and evil, is through a guided research program while inhabiting the four-wheel-drive vehicle of my fallen yet redeemed earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4:7), my imperfect moral nature being the perfect lens through which to understand the subtleties of the broad array of moral concepts.

            It took a perfect person Jesus Christ to take my deserved place on the cross to satisfy perfect justice, yet one profound outcome of this event provided divine impunity for me to enter into a research program into the knowledge of good and evil in which it is a certainty that I will make mistakes that become lessons-learned rather than condemning sins (Mt. 5:6).

            This is one reason why God did not show-up in the Garden of Eden to dispute the character assassination put forward by the spiritual apparition of Satan in the holographic form of a beautiful talking serpent, because it is difficult to debate issues this deeply profound with a liar.

            The galactic irony here is that it is modern science that illuminates this component of a research program into the knowledge of good and evil contained within redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ.

            Another profound take-away here is that science will disappear as we now know it, the universe being temporal (Mk. 13:31; 2 Pet. 3:10).

            But a genuine knowledge of good and evil acquired through the first-hand experience of living within a God-composed journey of faith life-script lasts an eternity.

            This establishes an eternal priority ranking upon what is important in life.

            I think it takes a grasp of what is involved in a modern science research program to see the comparative quality of God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts in which God displaces our ways and thoughts with His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9), like a PhD professor guiding a graduate student through their thesis research program (Jn. 16:13).

            The God of the Bible is writing research programs and offering research grants in the form of redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ, so that believers can obtain a genuine knowledge of good and evil through the first-hand field research of personal experience, our mistakes and shortcomings factored-in as part of the lessons-learned protocol.

            The brilliance of this is that it partly validates from an unexpected direction the claim by Jesus that He is the way, the truth, and the life to the exclusion of all other gods, religions, and philosophies. 

            Jesus said “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (Jn. 14:6).

            Only one God can be God.

            Only our Creator God can compose journeys of faith that match our unique talents and abilities, replacing our ways with His higher ways, to craft all-wheel-drive research vehicles having the lens of a fallen yet redeemed moral character through which to comprehend the subtle nuances of the knowledge of good and evil.

            Only the one real God is capable of crafting a program that identifies one of the fundamental purposes underlying the creation of the universe, inventing the concept of redemptive salvation by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which allows me to venture-out into a risk-filled journey of faith, with the real-world and rational understanding that I am certain to make many honest and unintentional mistakes (Mt.5:6).

This is an excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

Scientific Information is Easily Accessible Today…Revised

            In doing the research for this book, I sense that the general populace in countries like the United States are two or three decades behind where science today actually is.

            I sense that the general populace is still somewhere back in the 1990’s, accepting the assertion by Carl Sagan promoting the idea of the Principle of Mediocrity that the earth is an insignificant, pale blue dot lost in a vast universe, and the assertion by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould that science and God cannot overlap, but belong in entirely different, non-overlapping categories of reality.

            A person needs to invest only about two hours to get caught-up with where science is today, in some of the key critical areas that influence our worldview philosophy for life.

            This can easily be achieved for those people who have access to the Internet (via smart phone, computer, or other electronic device), and are willing to watch in succession, with coffee or tea breaks in-between, the presentations by Edward Murphy discussing the standard theory of the origin of the elements of the Periodic Table[1], then Gunter Bechly describing the discontinuities in the fossil record[2], and Stephen C. Meyer explaining the quantum mechanics at the Big Bang[3], to see that the evidences for random and undirected processes still being put-forward by the philosophy of scientific materialism, are no longer reasonably plausible.

            But for a real jolt forward by several decades to reach the current science in the field of molecular biochemistry (what it takes to create life), watch Scientists Are Clueless on the Origin of Life, Lecture @ Andrews University (Sept. 11, 2020) featuring Dr. James Tour on YouTube.

            When I watch on the Internet the 2014 presentation by Aoife McLysaght[4] in defense of modern Darwinian evolution, I run into the same brick-wall I encountered reading Jerry A. Coyne’s book.

            About five minutes into this excellent presentation, I sense that Dr. McLysaght is unwittingly making a cumulative case argument for intelligent agency rather than historical Darwinian evolution, so brilliantly marvelous is the scope and breadth of the natural world she is describing.

            To a modern, discriminating audience using critical-thinking, merely exchanging the phrase “intelligent designing agency” with the substitute word “evolution” is a semantics slight-of-hand card-trick that is apparently undetectable to scientific materialists.

            If intelligent agency is disallowed according to the philosophical worldview of naturalistic materialism, then the only word capable of expressing the secular version of agency is evolution.

            But merely saying something, does not make it so.

            The classic statement made in 1988 by Francis Crick to scientists that they must “constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved,”[5] in just a few short years has now become obsolete.

            Information about the natural world has exponentially exploded that quickly.

            Whenever phenomena in nature are described thoroughly using their full informational content discovered through science, the more and more obvious becomes the design element requiring agency, that transcends above and pushes out a purely materialistic explanation through evolution.

            How do you get multi-cellular green algae floating on top of the ancient oceans, having whatever small number of different cell-types biologists and paleontologists agree upon today, to make the leap from there to branch-off into becoming the next iteration of being a Precambrian jellyfish floating near the surface of the ancient oceans, considered by some scientists today to possess around 10 to 12 different cell-types[6] to support their architectural body-plans? 

            How do you get from there to the introduction of the new and different architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of the creatures of the Cambrian Explosion, exhibiting the dynamic movement of predator/prey relationships within more complex biodiversity and ecosystems, that appear suddenly in the geological record around 535-million years ago?

            These new and novel creatures are estimated to have between 30-40 different cell-types in support of their new and active body-plans and lifestyle habits, without any lead-up, intermediate precursors found in the Precambrian rock/sediment strata, or in imaginative fictional contemplation.

            Imposing a skeletal explanatory framework over the fossil record, of gradually continuous biological development chopped-up into introducing one new cell-type at a time, is unsupported by the fact-based evidence we see all around us today in the natural world of well-defined living organisms having discontinuous gaps between them, that even children can recognize.

            In a learning game with young children, we point to various animals in a book as they answer that this picture is of an elephant and that picture is of a dog, cat, or horse.  They recognize the well-defined differences between each animal type even before they stumble over correctly pronouncing the names hippopotamus or rhinoceros.

            As we look out at the natural living world today, we do not see a multitude of forms all blending together into continuous linkages, that would prevent young children from being able at first-glance to separate them into their unique names. 

            This was the case in 1859 as it is today.

            An argument can be made that it was the atheism within naturalistic materialism that falsely interpreted the data at that time-period, and not the empirical, fact-based evidence itself.

            To suggest instead an alternative skeletal explanatory framework over the geological data and the fossil record of functional end-point outcomes in biology that are achieved by the input of blocks of information in clustered groups, this requires the existence of an Intelligent Designing Agent as the architect and builder of the natural living and non-living world.

            Again, this is unacceptable to the worldview of scientific materialism.

            In the final analysis, if possession of the facts does not lead to near-perfect conclusions clearly apparent to nearly everyone, this introduces a gray area of discretionary judgment into the equation of the search for truth in science and in human living, which is inexplicable in a purely material universe.

            If the final takeaway after five-hundred years of the Scientific Revolution is that after most of the evidence regarding the natural world is in…has been acquired…that as smart as we humans think humans are, if we still need a smarter God to lead and guide us into genuine truth in all of the realms of existence (Jn. 16:13), this would truly be a colossal discovery.  

This is an excerpt from my book Pondering Our World: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.


[1] “The Origin of the Elements” by Jefferson Lab, Nov. 20, 2012 with Dr. Edward Murphy, University of Virginia, on You Tube.

[2] Fossil Discontinuities: Refutation of Darwinism & Confirmation of Intelligent Design—Gunter Bechly, published Oct. 11, 2018 on You Tube by FOCLOnline.

[3] Watch the Internet interview on You Tube: The Return of the God Hypothesis: Interview with Stephen Meyer.  Streamed live on May 13, 2020, Dr. Sean McDowell.

[4] Copy number variation and the secret of life—with Aoife McLysaght, produced by The Royal Institution, May 27, 2014, on You Tube.

[5] Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery (New York: Basic Books, 1998), 138.

[6] On the Origin of Phyla—Interviews with Dr. James Valentine, by Access Research Network, published on Oct. 22, 20`4, on You Tube.

The Giant Asian Hornet…Revised

            The 2009 book Why Evolution Is True by Dr. Jerry A. Coyne…an emeritus professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, is a well-written, interesting, and up-to-date expose in support of Darwinian macroevolution.

            But one of the head-scratching, colossal ironies of our modern times is that when I read this book, by around page 80 and thereafter, his descriptions of the wonders of nature have put forth so much brilliant detail that I begin to sense that he is unwittingly making a cumulative case argument[1]in favor of intelligent agency. 

            Yet as a career-long Darwinian evolutionist, intelligent design through agency acting in the natural world is the very thing he is trying to marshal the facts to disprove.[2]

            So coordinated and integrated are the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of living organisms, so well “thought-out” are their instinctual programs for fitness that as our modern understanding of them increases, then the more implausible becomes the purely naturalistic explanations for their conceptual origin and design.

            In other words, the more we learn factually about the natural world through science, the less plausible becomes the secular story of small-step, trial-and-error, developmental gradualism for the creation of the universe and all of its natural phenomena.

            In this new Age of Information, increasing knowledge is narrowing the worldview choices down to intelligent agency as the only plausible explanation for the origin of the complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated[3] systems of information we now recognize and study, operating everywhere in the natural living and non-living world.

            One example of the paradoxical dilemma for scientific materialists[4] in having to harmonize the marvels of the living world with purely naturalistic causations, absent designing agency, is found in Dr. Coyne’s book of the description of the havoc that is created when the giant Asian hornet (wasp) on its home turf attacks a colony of European honeybees imported by humans into Japan.[5]  

            The giant Asian hornet is the world’s largest wasp…about two inches long, having a three-inch wing-span that can fly 25 miles per hour and travel up to 60 miles a day, and is a predatory wasp especially common in Japan.

            When a lone hornet scout finds a honeybee colony, it marks the beehive with a drop of liquid pheromone scent which then guides a group of 20 to 30 attacking hornets which can decimate in a couple of hours honeybees numbering up to 30,000.

            The giant Asian hornet has large jaws that can bite the heads off the smaller honeybees at the rate of 40 per minute.

            But the native honeybees in Japan have an incredible defense tactic that defies naturalistic explanation.

            These native honeybees send-out an internal alarm within the beehive when they first detect the hornet intruder.  They then quickly form a group of around 100 honeybees at the entrance into the beehive, and when the lone scout first enters through the beehive opening to begin its investigation, these 100 honeybees form a tight cluster around the now immobilized giant Asian hornet. 

            In coordinated unison the honeybees in this cluster all flap their wings, before the giant Asian hornet can mark the beehive with the scented pheromone. 

            This raises the temperature to around 115º F within this cluster, but also produces carbon dioxide (CO²) that further raises the temperature up to as high as 122º F[6]…which is not lethal to the honeybees but kills the giant Asian hornet scout. 

            If the Asian honeybees can immobilize and kill the intruder scout before the beehive is marked with this pheromone, then the chance that the marauding group of attack wasps will stumble by accident upon the beehive is greatly reduced.

            The question can reasonably be asked if the Asian honeybees in and around the beehive out-number the attacking group of wasps 30,000 to 30, why do not small groups of 100 bees break-off and cluster around each wasp for 20 minutes to kill the entire attack-group of wasps using this successful strategy?

            The answer is that we do not know.

            The defense tactic of the Asian honeybees is limited to successfully neutralizing this scout early, before it can mark the beehive, but does not go further to expand this brilliant military defense tactic into a larger theater of warfare. 

            But the recently imported European honeybee colonies lack even this initial defense strategy to kill the roving scout, and are quickly and completely overwhelmed by the marauding band of attacking giant Asian hornets, guided by the pheromone placed at the opening of the beehive by the hornet scout as the result of a successful reconnaissance.

            Leaving aside a limited or an expanded application of this defense strategy, the basic underlying question arises of how the native Asian honeybees could acquire this novel, instinctual defense tactic of a brilliantly functional, coordinated approach of just the right high-temperature of 117-122º F and the accumulation of CO² gas that would kill this insect enemy, but not harm themselves in the process…in the first-place? 

            Using the materialistic mechanism of blind, mindless, accidental, and undirected trial-and-error, this would produce catastrophic honeybee failures along the small-step transitional route of gradual, successive rises in temperature.

            For argument’s sake, if we start with an ambient temperature inside the honeybee’s nest at 100º F, and go upward at 2º F increments over the 16-20 minutes needed to kill the giant Asian hornet scout, this results in 8 failed trials…catastrophic defeats…if the effort at some point of time stops short of the successful goal of 115-117º F (100º, 102º, 104º, 106º, 108º, 110º, 112º, 114º, 115º F).

            This defense mechanism of the Asian honeybee is an all or nothing affair.  Intermediate stages in transition will not work.  Partial function is dysfunction in terms of survival.

            The Asian honeybees do not immediately produce the required lethal temperature to cook the lone scout to death, but time is needed to build-up the temperature within this ball of honeybees flapping their wings to 115-117º F.

            At the trial-and-error test phases thousands or millions of years ago, the Asian honeybees upon reaching the pre-lethal, mid-point of 108º F in their group clustering, would somehow have to “know” through foresight to keep going until they reached the deadly temperature of 115º F. 

            The Asian honeybees would have to know at the very start that this particular defense tactic had a successful end-point outcome to aim for, otherwise they would be going down a fruitless path, amongst a multitude of other possible fruitless paths, to oblivion and extinction.

            Modern information theory tells us that if there are more chances that something can go in the wrong direction than in the right direction, then a positive end-point outcome is more difficult to arrive at.[7]

            My hypothetical example above is divided up into increments of 2º F, but using the measurement of time instead of temperature, 20 minutes x 60 seconds each minute = 1,200 seconds of total time to kill the giant Asian hornet.

            This equates to 1,200 possible wrong choices for the honeybees to quit, to give-up short of killing the lone scout intruder, compared to only one right choice to arrive at the positive outcome of the successful defense of the beehive colony…to persist for the full 20 minutes from start to finish to reach 115-117º F.

            The Asian honeybees could easily have quit after attempting this narrowly specified, defense tactic their first try after 20 seconds, seeing no immediate positive result, the successful outcome being at the end-point of a full 20 minutes of flapping their wings.

            How would honeybees acquire this sensible, life-saving foreknowledge of a positive outcome to aim for?

            Not by accident, and not by random and undirected trial-and-error.

            In this life and death struggle the Asian honeybees only get one opportunity at pursuing a particular strategy all the way to success.  Quitting early or choosing another strategy through trial-and-error ends in extinction. 


[1] Drawing upon facts from several areas to make a convincing argument.

[2] Jerry A. Coyne, Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible (New York: Penguin Books, 2015).

[3] A phrase coined by William A. Dembski in Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science & Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999).

[4] The philosophical worldview that physical matter and energy in the universe are the only realities.

[5] Jerry A. Coyne, Why Evolution Is True (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 111-113.

[6] Wikipedia.org, Asian giant hornet, updated May 20, 2021.

[7] Canceled Science: Scientific Discoveries Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See, with Eric Hedin, published by Discovery Science on You Tube, April 26, 2022.

Human Development and Evolution, revised Part 2

Human Writing as an Indicator

            The human invention of writing is a critical, date-stamp indicator of human intellectual progress that helps to pinpoint when humans acquired their full complement of 215 cell-types and 100 brain nerve-cell types.

            The invention of writing is dated to as recent a time as 3,200 B.C. in the wedge-shaped cuneiform lettering of Egyptian hieroglyphs.  The cuneiform alphabet in Syria is dated to around 2,000 B.C., and the invention of the 22-sign Phoenician alphabet is dated to around 1,000 B.C.

            The start of the writing of the first five books of the Old Testament called the Pentateuch, is dated by conservative scholars at around 1,450-1,410 B.C., at the time of the Exodus.[1]

            The Greeks adopt the Phoenician writing script around 800 B.C.   

            The invention of human writing is therefore placed at only 5,200 years ago.

            There is no evidence of sophisticated, written communication using an alphabet 15,000 years ago, 50,000 years ago, or 150,000 years ago in the very recent past as a milestone event in human intellectual development.

            The boundary-line between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens is generally placed at around 200,000 years ago, which inaugurates the start of what is considered by paleontologists to be modern man.

            It would follow then that the invention of writing, by some exceptionally gifted persons having forwardly progressing IQ’s above and out in-front of the general populace as is common today, would have occurred at least as far back as sometime around 200,000 B.C.

            To have a smooth transition of beneficial, variant physical traits moving incrementally forward in a positive direction from the start of Homo erectus at 1.8-million years ago to the start of Homo sapiens at 200,000 years ago, yet have human writing start around 3,200 B.C., is illogically nonsensical.

            For humans to invent writing in 3,200 B.C. and then be standing on the moon in 1969 A.D. is fact-based evidence that argues for the near instantaneous introduction of intellectual capacity.

            This is in stark contrast with Darwin’s notion that nature makes no sudden leaps, in the one and only area where the developments of advancing physical traits and lifestyle habits can be compared side-by-side in the common descent theory of human beings.

            When Charles Darwin wrote in his classic 1859 book The Origin of Species “nature makes no sudden leaps,” he locked himself into the paradigm of changein relation to time applied to biological development, which in my opinion is wrong because he was working within the limited constraints of the materialistic worldview.

            According to what seemed reasonable at the time in 1859, Darwin thought that by hypothesizing small-step changes put-out by living organisms as variant traits through random and undirected processes, that natural selection could arbitrate between the comparative values of these traits for survival and reproductive advantage, and favor the most beneficial. 

            In fairness to Darwin, it would be asking too much to expect that he could rise above the conventional thinking of change occurring over time, because the modern discoveries of complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information in the natural world of biology were little known in 1859.

            But today the concept of an instantaneous rate of change occurring in a “width-less” moment of time t=0 is entirely understandable when we ponder the Big Bang, the origin of life, the Cambrian Explosion, the immergence of human intelligence, and elementary calculus.

            The outdated skeletal explanatory framework based upon naturalistic materialism will pump-out a program of incremental, progressive, evolutionary development in biology.

            But there is an alternative skeletal explanatory framework that is more logical and fits the facts “on the ground” much better today.

            Here the concept of instantaneous rates of change enters into the choice of worldviews, this term being an oxymoron[2] within the limited context of a materialistic universe, but not at all inconsistent in a universe created by an intelligent agent existing outside of time.

            When I am driving in my car from a dead-stop at a traffic light that has turned green, to the next traffic light turned red one-half mile down the road, going from zero velocity to 30-mph to zero velocity again, over a 10-second duration…my velocity can be graphed on a two-dimensional x/y-plane as a standard bell-curve, and my acceleration and deceleration as a standard S-curve.

            I exist in the four dimensions of time and space, and it takes me 10 seconds in this example to go from one street intersection to the next street intersection, reaching a top-speed of 30-mph before slowing down to a dead-stop again.

            A photographic snapshot of me driving part-way along this short journey will not reveal how fast I am going.  To determine my velocity, I need the distance traveled divided by the time duration, which is not obtainable in an instant of frozen time having zero duration.

            In order for Darwin to make the extrapolation from microevolutionary change to macroevolutionary change, he needs the materialistic factors of measurable change over measurable time.

            But a timeless God can turn-on the gene regulatory network switches in existing living cells to release the 10 or 20 new and different cell-types to support the Cambrian Explosion of innovative, new architectural body-plans…in an instant of “time” having zero duration.

            The correct explanation for the immergence of the biblical Adam and Eve may then simply be the release of the on-switch of DNA information already contained within upright, bi-pedal primates (Gen. 2:7) to create the new amino acid folds, proteins, and new cell-types in number up to the minimum required 215 (and 100 brain nerve-cell types) to produce the functional architectural body-plan and lifestyle habits of modern humans at a certain point in time.

            This is an example of the relationship between distance (change) over time, expressed in this case as miles per hour driving a car…being distance divided by time…illustrating the huge practical difference between a purely agent-free, material universe contrasted with a material universe having a timeless God as its Creator.

            In this example, the God of the Bible driving in His car takes zero seconds to cover this same distance from one traffic light to the next. 

            In this analogy, the God of the Bible can drive across America from coast to coast in zero-time, because He is a timeless Spirit-Being outside of the four dimensions of time and space.

            “Instantaneous rates of change” is an oxymoron having no meaning in our reality, because “instantaneous” means no lateral movement of time on the horizontal x-axis depicting duration of elapsed-time (Figure 1).

            In the relationship of distance over time…of distance divided by time, zero elapsed time in the denominator is meaningless.

            Basic arithmetic tells us we cannot divide by zero.

            Humans invented calculus in mathematics to get around this problem.

            By choosing a materialistic worldview (a modern interpretation being inconceivable at the time), Darwin eliminated the possibility of “instantaneous rates of change” applied to biological progressive development, a possibility which provides a better explanation for the massive inputs of information as singularities at the Big Bang, the origin of life, the transition from single-cell to multi-cell organisms, the Cambrian Explosion, and the sudden appearance of the human capacity for intellectual and moral reasoning.

            The God of the Bible driving across America in zero-time would be shown on a two-dimensional x/y-plane graph as a vertical line parallel to the y-axis, starting at the bottom of the line on the West Coast to the top of the line on the East Coast for the distance traveled, but with line thickness zero (“width-less”) as measured along the horizontal x-axis depicting time.

            It makes little difference whether the elapsed time-period of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana is a split-second as time t approaches zero or is actually zero.  The change from water to wine would be so fast as to be imperceptible.

            The use of the concept of limits in calculus to determine the rate of change as time t approaches zero is used in many applications in science.

            In my opinion, this analysis presents a much more plausible explanation for the near instantaneous creation of the dimensions of time and space, the speed of light, the force of gravity, and the expansion rate of the universe at the Big Bang (see Figure 1 below).


[1] 2061030 The Oldest Yahweh Inscription 2 Kings Joel Kramer, published Oct. 30, 2016 by Lighthouse Church-Twin Falls on YouTube…at Joel Kramer Archaeologist.

[2] The paradox of the derivative/Chapter 2, Essence of Calculus in the 3Blue 1Brown series on You Tube, published April 29, 2017.

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