A Purely Materialistic Universe Does Not Fit Reality

            The original idea of a purely materialistic universe based upon processes that are mindless, indifferent, and undirected should have been dismissed out-of-hand as being nonsensically inconsistent with reality.

            A reality founded upon trial-and-error, random, and unguided processes would not and could not be the basis for the challenges, confrontations, divisions, and revolutions that are an obvious part of the human experience.

            People do not have to look for trouble.

            Trouble finds us.

            The obvious question fundamental to our worldview about reality is would a blind and indifferent Mother Nature, lacking purpose and upfront intention according to the materialistic mode, produce and environment that has continual chaos and challenge in human relations?

            The reality of human history must have a rational connection with blind and mindless causation, if the purely materialistic worldview is to hold water…is to stack-up consistent with the evidence.

            A world devoid of purpose and meaning would not and could not be saturated with purpose.

            The spinning of the narrative of reality in human experience to be part of the survival of the fittest to fuel and energize small-step, incremental development is an incorrect half-truth. 

            It is a bad interpretation of the evidence.  It I a false skeletal explanatory framework upon which to hang the individual facts.

            The Bible starts (Gen. 3:1-6) with a malicious actor entering into the peaceful harmony of the Garden of Eden, introducing rebellion in its most profound form as autonomous individualism apart from God.

            This initial event is exponentially too deep for a mindless, indifferent, and purposeless Mother Nature to be the explanation for its origin.

            Yet there it is entering into the open marketplace of ideas at the dawn of contemplative analysis.

            Soon thereafter Cain murders Abel because Cain wants to practice “religion” his own way.

            The land of Egypt rewards the good service of Joseph leading them through a great famine, by having a future Pharaoh enslave the Hebrews living in the land for fear they will eventually outnumber the native Egyptians…an ancient version of the immigration debate in America today and the recurring theme of nationalism throughout human history that has been the rationale for countless wars and conquest.

            It takes the divine intervention of God to deliver the Israelites from Egypt through Moses.  The Jews must then militarily conquer their Promised Land by force and through the miraculous help of God.[1]

            This is already way beyond a blind, mindless, and purposeless Mother Nature, and this is only the events occurring in the first books of the Hebrew Bible, the Protestant Old Testament.

            This sudden leap into the depths of the subtleties of the broad array of moral concepts contained within the knowledge of good and evil is as abrupt an entrance as the instantaneous creation of the universe at the Big Bang.

            It is as sudden as the leap from zero DNA to 3-billion bits of genetic DNA coded language at the origin of single-cell bacterial life on earth.

            The introduction in human recorded history of the concepts of good and evil, and right and wrong, is a sudden leap like the Cambrian Explosion of new complex life-forms, having no transitional intermediate precursors.

            This reality of disruptive challenges and the universally experienced upheaval of confrontations through invading armies of “foreigners” bent upon geographical and political conquest, makes sense within the world of animal instinct, the biodiversity of predator/prey relationships, and balanced ecosystems.

            But this makes no sense when extended into the human capacity for intellectual and moral reasoning.

            Parsing and dividing good conduct from evil conduct, and the fundamental judgments of right versus wrong behaviors in human relations…has no correspondence to a blind, mindless, indifferent, material-only based universe.

            When purpose and meaning are added to the equation, then the calculus eliminates naturalistic materialism as a viable worldview.


[1] See on You Tube: How Archaeology Supports the Bible: A conversation with Joel Kramer, streamed live on Jan. 21, 2021 on Dr. Sean McDowell, and 20161030 The Oldest Yahweh Inscription 2 Kings Joel Kramer published on Oct. 30, 2016 by Lighthouse Church-Twin Falls, at Joel Kramer Archaeologist.

Science and God: The Survival of Fittest

            If we are to arrive at the truth regarding this natural world and our place in it, if we are to discover evidences that point toward ultimate purpose and meaning in life, then we will have to approach the current fact-based data produced through the modern scientific enterprise today…with an open mind. 

            But getting free of past biases and prejudices is difficult.

            There are things in our worldviews that we take totally for granted, that we cannot even see as issues that we need to dig a little deeper into.

            One such issue within the Darwinian story is the survival of the fittest.

            Survival of the fittest is one of the important components in the argument for the mindless and undirected processes of macroevolution through mutation/selection…that Darwin postulated to produce the vast diversity of life on earth

            But the concept of the survival of the fittest as articulated by evolutionists has been criticized as being merely only a tautology…of being a circular argument devoid of telling us anything useful.   

            The survival of the fittest concept within the Darwinian story says that the fittest is defined as those organisms that produce the most offspring…those organisms producing the most offspring being the fittest.  This is a circular re-statement telling us nothing except X = X…a tautology.[1] 

            The larger question is why did Charles Darwin enlist and integrate this obvious phenomenon of the survival of the fittest in the living world into his theory for macroevolution?

            And why has countless philosophical materialists after Darwin adopted survival of the fittest as an argument in favor of macroevolution, when this concept is saturated with the directional trajectories of purpose aimed at definitive outcomes…in a materialistic universe supposedly devoid of purpose and meaning?

            Darwin enlists this concept of the survival of the fittest into his theory for the origin of the vast biodiversity of life on earth, without first questioning how and where this incredibly innovative idea would originate from. 

            Darwin placed it in the column of random and undirected cause/effect explanations…seemingly without giving it much thought.

            If Darwinian macroevolution uncritically adopts into its theory the notion of the survival of the fittest, which is universally apparent in the natural world…then how and why would a blind Mother Nature be the originator of this very strange reality?

            In my opinion, this has to be one of the worst cases of taking things for granted, in the history of human thought. 

            This has to be one of the worst examples of critically unexamined evidences…in the marketplace of ideas.

            In a random and undirected reality created by a blind and indifferent Mother Nature, produced solely through materialistic causations…how would the balanced predator/prey relationships in the natural living world arise by accident? 

            By a process of accidental happenstance, how would these relationships become so coherently integrated into an exceedingly complex biodiversity and an independent system of equally complex ecological niches?

            How and why would some creatures eat plants, and other creatures eat each other…in a natural living world so coordinated that it shouts-out for intelligent design and not self-assembly through accidental chance?    

            After the publication in 1859 of The Origin of Species, the new Darwinists did not “bat an eye” over the idea that the survival of the fittest…the fight for survival…could be a reality originating solely from a naturalistic explanation instead of coming from intelligent agency.

            But the clear question should hit us in the face…as to how matter-and-energy alone could invent such a reality?

            Darwin enlisted this reality of the survival of the fittest as the motivating fuel behind the mutation/selection process to produce the vast diversity of life…but the fight for survival is overflowing with directional purpose…purpose supposedly being left-out of pure science.

            The function of fighting for survival is nothing if not purpose-driven.

            If we are looking for a blind, mindless, unguided, indifferent to outcomes, trial-and-error, and purpose-free program to fuel the naturalistic mechanism in support of the theory of macroevolution…the very last thing we should choose is the purpose-saturated concept of the survival of the fittest. 

            The argument here is that Darwin actually goes against the Francis Bacon imperative of leaving purpose out of the scientific method, in adopting the survival of the fittest as one of the central planks in his theory of macroevolution.  The idea that survival pressures would naturally push organisms towards ever improving function is an idea saturated with directional purpose.

Methodological materialism

            In 1859, the obvious go-to default choice would be to side with a program that fits within a naturalistic worldview, in conformity to the direction that all other scientific discoveries appeared to be heading through the research format of methodological materialism. 

            This is a lengthy term that merely describes the generally accepted methodology of science focusing upon matter-and-energy explanations of phenomena in the natural world. 

            The irony here is that science cannot divorce raw data from purpose.  Methodological materialism cannot operate within a purpose-free zone.  

            Science requires skeletal explanatory frameworks to connect the dots of specific data, to formulate hypotheses that have meaning.

            The concept of the survival of the fittest appears to be a critical piece of data that has been mistakenly placed within the wrong hypothesis of naturalistic materialism, when it should rightly be placed within the skeletal explanatory framework of theistic creative agency.

            Darwin could not possibly peer into the future to see that modern science would eventually discover complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information everywhere in biological life.

            One of the contentions of this book is that the intelligently designed mechanisms in living cells incorporate the on/off switches of gene regulatory networks that correctly explain the gradually increasing number of different cell types. 

            This then produces new architectural body-plans within a program of common descent over time.

            The intelligently planned release of genetic information contained within living cells, more plausibly replaces the component of the survival of the fittest married to mutation/selection as the prime motivating force behind the vast diversity of life.

            The concept of the survival of the fittest needs to be looked at a little more deeply, as something that does not fit smoothly within a naturalistic program, but rather is plausibly explainable only through the creative intelligence of a mind.

From the book Pondering Our Creation: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.


[1] Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, 3rd Edition (Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 2010), 39-43.

Science and God: The Search for Truth

            There is a practical reality that is popularly acknowledged within our modern culture that knowledge has become so vast that no one person can become a true expert in more than one or two fields.

            Specialization is a practical limitation realistically confronting every college student in choosing a major course of study.  The medical student at some point must decide upon a particular field of medicine to specialize in.  The gifted athlete in high school can excel in three or four sports, but if they eventually want to become a professional athlete as a career, they must choose a specific sport to focus on.

            There are a host of other go/no-go decisions in modern life today that were not as extensive a few centuries ago, when options were narrower in scope and fewer in number.

            But the stereotypical “Renaissance Man” exemplified by Leonardo DiVinci who could reach the top in several fields of knowledge…as now being beyond reach in our modern times…in my opinion is a proverbial half-truth.

            If exaggerated, this concept can create a polarized, black-and-white dichotomy between expert and layman…between the haves and have-nots in terms of higher education.

            If carried too far, this concept can create an artificial level of authority surrounding a group of facts that is exclusive.  This exclusivity around expertise is in actuality a fiction.

            If I am going to have open heart surgery, I certainly want a world-class heart surgeon performing the operation.

            But this does not preclude me from gaining some intermediate level of “expertise” through research on the Internet, discussions with my family doctor and with the heart surgeon, and discussions with friends and family members familiar with the subject through their own medical experiences.

            The information needed to make an informed decision as to which surgeon to choose based upon their specific medical approach to heart surgery and their reputation, resides at the popular level accessible to non-expert laymen.

            The vast quantity and breadth of knowledge acquired in so many varied fields today can foster the appearance of an unbridgeable “Renaissance Man” gap creating the expert and layman in terms of specialization.

            But the steady march forward of progress has also produced the Internet that makes access to information so broadly available as to close this gap of polarized extremes to within reasonable proportions.

            In several places in this book, I described the universal imperative that even the most technical concepts in science must be reduced to skeletal explanatory frameworks connecting the dots of evidentiary data…in order to provide hypothetically meaningful storylines.

            Raw facts are not enough.  Even the most technically complex facts in science when grouped within a research program, tell a story.

            Every scientist applying for a research grant of funds must arrange the hypothetical facts to be investigated into a preliminary storyline that has persuasive appeal and meaning…to the panel of people approving or rejecting the application for the research grant.

            This is an inescapable reality of the human psyche that connects the insatiable curiosity of our minds with both the orderliness and intelligibility of the phenomena in the natural world…always applying the solvent of organized meaning to unravel complexity.

            This renders existing facts amenable first to discovery, then to story-telling.  Our intellectual and moral capacity through human nature arranges these facts into meaningful descriptions of reality.

            World-class scientists must “dumb-down” their findings to the point of being communicable through the language of words and numbers in order to be understandable to other fellow scientists and to the general public.

            This incredibly reduces all of human scientific investigation into skeletal explanatory frameworks.

            This is what we find on the Internet in the form of 10-minute presentations, 60-minute speeches to various audiences, 90-minute panel discussions with follow-up questions from the audience, and 90-minute debates between world-class experts.

            This modern development of the Internet makes accessible to the general public the reduction of book-length topics condensed down to the key bullet points that can be covered in a short-length lecture.

            This highlights a fallacy that is immensely profound in the human search for truth.

            This fallacy is that there is an unbridgeable gap between expert and layman based upon the idea that information can be too technical and too vast for anyone other than specialized elites.

            A fundamental concept in the Bible is that God…the ultimate expert…is capable of composing life-scripts for people that will download some portion of His divine nature and knowledge actualized through guided experience.

            These guided life-scripts are exhibited in the biblical narrative stories of faith…the penultimate examples of skeletal explanatory frameworks that reduce divine expertise into experiential lessons-learned accessible to non-divine human beings.

            This concept has a fascinating correspondence to the orderliness and intelligibility of the phenomena in the natural world, logically inferring that the technical complexity therein is also reducible to being understandable to humans through the storyline frameworks of language.

            The language of words and numbers inherent in thoughts removes the barrier between expert and layman…even when it comes to God the Creator of the organized complexity we discover in the physical universe.   

            Skeletal explanatory frameworks are accessible to layman non-experts, simply by virtue of their technical complexity being translated into the story-telling language of understandable words and numbers. 

            This is what we find today on the Internet.

After-the-fact hindsight helps

            Explanatory storylines also become popularly accessible through the benefit of hindsight over time that makes revolutionary, cutting-edge scientific discoveries in the past understandable today, that were unheard of five or ten years prior to their historical discovery.

            For example, I cannot capably give a one-hour lecture to college physics students on Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity first proposed in 1916, but after reading a book or two on the subject or watching a 30-minute podcast on You Tube, I know more about the general concept of the relativity of time-travel than someone in 1910, for example. 

            Although I am not an astrophysicist, I know more about the Big Bang discovered by Edwin Hubble in 1929, than someone living in 1920.

            Although I am not a geneticist or microbiologist, I know more about the general outlines of DNA and the molecular machinery inside living cells, discovered by Francis Crick and James Watson in 1953, than someone living in 1945.

            Although I am not a PhD professor of biological evolution at a university, I know more about the pros and cons of macroevolution than a person living in 1850.

            In this book I am making generalized observations and conclusions that fall within the purview of skeletal explanatory frameworks…that given some degree of research at the popular level can reasonably inform our choice of worldview ideologies for living.

Discernment and critical-thinking are needed in the modern marketplace of ideas

            In today’s world, the essential human attributes are the exercise of discernment and critical-thinking, and not the accumulation of more data that widens the artificial perception of the gap between expert and layman.

            In my opinion, we have enough evidence to make an informed decision regarding the purpose and meaning of life.

            This gets down to the essence of pondering our creation, a question that cannot be relegated to the authority of human scientists to decide for us.

            One of the key points here is that both science and God-composed journey of faith life-scripts in the Bible are about discernment.

            Using an analogy given in an upcoming essay, a defense attorney and a prosecutor can argue both sides of the same identical facts in a criminal case.

            The search for the single point of truth starts with a continuum line having several options that can be “spun” into the different scenarios of guilt or innocence.  At the completion of the courtroom trial the case is then given to the jury to decide.

            This is an essence of reality.  Truth can be downgraded…corrupted…into falsehoods.

            Scientific materialists through their worldview ideology chop-off a large segment of the continuum line of options before the “both sides” of the argument can even begin.

            The galactic-scale irony in our modern times is that the empiricism of the fact-based evidence that scientists pursue, is the very thing that the God of the Bible deliberately intended by making the natural world orderly and intelligible.

            But the God of the Bible also gifted humans with the intellectual and moral capacity to correspond to this intelligibility.

            This is a reality that should go a long way towards highlighting the existence of purpose in human life.

            The realistic combination of mass/energy and agency provides the fullest spectrum for exploration in search of the various points of truth…in science and in the broad array of moral concepts.

            Truth is discerned through experience…in scientific investigation and in a God-composed journey of faith life-script.

            As a Christian, I can have both. 

            In fact, I must have both in operation to actualize an acceptable level of “sanity” in supervising multiple-unit housing construction jobsites…my chosen career…in the effort to minimize the daily routine of “putting-out fires” in the never-ending reactive mode of problem-solving.

            Debugging housing construction is all about pinpointing the one correct point on the continuum line of possible options.  It is about discovering through the lessons-learned of experience and observation the one, true, optimum design and construction for a particular activity, eliminating other possibilities that result in problems and mistakes.

            Whether it is doing the basic field research to discover and document mistakes in housing construction, or learning by the mistakes I make as a redeemed yet imperfect person inhabiting an “earthen vessel” as described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:7…both journeys require humility.

            The overall journey requires the initial recognition and acknowledgment of the humility of knowing I am imperfect in both of these realms of discovery…the technical and the moral.

From the book Pondering Our Creation: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.

The Big Take-Away from Modern Science

            The fundamental question is why would God create the natural world to be this open to human scientific investigation…being first orderly but second intelligible to humans alone amongst all other living organisms?

            Material things can be collected, broken-up into smaller pieces, measured, weighed, analyzed under a microscope, and quantified into groups and categories.

            Elements of personal relationships such as truth, friendship, love, integrity, honesty, faith, and trust cannot be numerically analyzed and quantified into empirical categories.

            It is puzzling to Christians that some scientists cannot see design in nature…but it shouldn’t be.

            Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6)…but His ministry on earth can be so badly misunderstood and misinterpreted that He is rejected to the radical extent of ending-up on a Roman cross of execution.

            On a graduated scale of 1 to 100…the number 1 being worst and number 100 being the best…the ignominy of the cross and the glory of the resurrection spans the entire spectrum of possible decision-points regarding the life of Jesus Christ.

            If anything in science, philosophy, and theology calls for the deepest thought into the fundamental purpose of our world and our lives…this needs to be at or near the top of the list.

            If some religious elites in Jerusalem can devalue the life of Jesus as to be so worthless as to be disposable through crucifixion, yet God the Father thinks so highly of Jesus Christ the Son of God to qualify Him as the suitable Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for sin…this then illuminates the incredible range of possible points on the continuum line that can differentiate between absolute truth at number 100 and absolute falsity at number 1.

            Enumerable points of relative misinformation fall part-way between 1 and 100 on this graduated spectrum-line.

            If people can delve this deep into the workings of the phenomena in the natural living and non-living world through science…and still come away as skeptical unbelievers in the existence of God…what does this say about the difficulty inherent in identifying genuine truth when concepts like truth are spread-out over a range of possible option-points on spectrum-lines?

            What does this say about the data in scientific hypotheses that are in essence skeletal explanatory networks that start-out having numerous options for answers…awaiting the light obtained through scientific investigation?

            It should come as no surprise that Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation begins about the same time as the modern Scientific Revolution…producing the unintended consequences of divisions, factions, and schisms in Christendom[1] that are in clear contradiction to New Testament teaching (Jn. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10-13)…but are a wealth of possible avenues to explore in search of genuine truth.

            The sophisticated issue in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-5) is not about having or not having the knowledge of good and evil…but at its root is about both the trustworthiness and the accuracy of God’s word that was called into question by Satan in the holographic spiritual form of a talking serpent.

            All of these things…theism or atheism in science, the doctrinal differences between the various denominations and factions within Christianity, the ideal virtues of self-government exemplified in the Preamble to the United States Constitution, and the enumerable cultural issues debated in modern societies…must be played-out to their fullest in every area of human life.

            The “new atheists” of recent times like to elevate science over faith…but faith in the biblical context is exponentially more important than anything science discovers…because faith/trust within personal relationships in the context of eternity is exponentially more important than the facts of science that currently can be interpreted to lead to the competing worldviews of naturalistic materialism or theistic intelligent agency.

            The life-script and ministry of Jesus spans the breadth of interpretation of ignominious rejection by men to the glorious acceptance of God the Father…encompassing all possible points along the spectrum-line…revealing our vulnerability as non-divine beings in attempting to discover absolute truth.

            This illuminates one of the fundamental purposes underlying the existence of this universe.

            If we as humans do not know everything, and God does…the only thing separating us from enlightened well-being is our stubborn insistence upon going our own way in autonomous rebellion.

            This is the primary issue under consideration and “at trial” in every aspect of human life, and that ironically raises faith/trust above science in relative importance for modern mankind.

From the book Pondering Our Creation: Christian Essays on Science and Faith.


[1] A Conversation about Martin Luther with Eric Metaxas and Pastor Chuck Swindoll, published Oct. 31, 2017 on You Tube.

Truth, Lies, and Faith

            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.[1]  

            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.


[1] John Lennox: Socrates in the City in Labastide, France, Part 2, Jan. 23, 2018 on You Tube.

One Purpose of Redemptive Salvation

            In redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ, God the Father sees believers through the rose-colored glasses of optimistic and supportive love, because He is the one who envisioned and instigated the concept of the 4-wheel drive vehicle of this fallen, imperfect yet redeemed human nature.

“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).

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jer. 29:11).

            We are saved by grace through faith and not by our own self-performed good works…to have the invaluable opportunity to discover the knowledge of good and evil through the “safe-conduct” of a God-sanctioned and authorized journey of faith research program.

            We learn by making mistakes, and if we are hungering and thirsting after righteousness (Mt. 5:6) and waling in the Spirit (Rom. 8:2), God is able to flip our mistakes into guided lesson-plans through His deliberate, positive intentions.

            A fallen yet redeemed nature enables believers to venture out into the rough and tumble, likewise fallen world and using the microscopic and telescopic lens of our imperfect moral nature…inhabiting earthen vessels…be able to comprehend the subtle nuances of the broad array of moral concepts within the knowledge of good and evil…while also having the critical element of the humility of recognizing that the security of our eternal salvation lies in the cross and resurrection of Jesus, and is not dependent upon our perfect moral performance.

            Only God could set all of this up to function within the reality of this broken world.

            Through the divine concept of redemptive salvation by grace through faith, God is able to flip our imperfect fallen nature into the very vehicle we would need to successfully explore the ups and downs within the knowledge of good and evil…exhibiting on God’s part the highest excellence of leadership in wisely pushing power downward for people to learn and grow through first-hand experience, guided within God-composed journey of faith life-scripts as patterned for us through the biblical narrative stories of faith from Enoch through Paul.

            Each of the positive characters in the Bible walked with God through their callings and mission-plans, while still inhabiting imperfect moral natures.

            When I became a Christian at age 18, God forgave my sins past, present, and future…so that I could with confidence enter into a risk-filled adventure of faith, knowing in advance that the many mistakes I would make along the way would not jeopardize the security of my eternal salvation…because this research program designed by God through redemptive salvation has the very intention that I can learn and benefit from my mistakes.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Eph. 1:7).

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.” (Heb. 13:20-21).

Human Beings Progress through Trial-and-Error

            When we watch the men’s final in the 100-meter running event in the Olympics, for example, we know that the runners were not selected at random from the general population and put forward in race gear to sprint for the gold medal.  The ten runners in the men’s Olympics 100-meter race finals are all world-class, elite runners who have each trained for years to be able to run this distance in under 10 seconds.

            The several years of individual training are done behind-the-scenes in advance preparation leading up to the race, and for each runner hopefully ends with the goal of a once-in-a-lifetime, gold-medal performance during this very short but marquee track and field event.

            A documentary film-maker may record the up-and-down training regime of the progression of the would-be sprinter to reach world-class speed, and put this into a short film as part of the color commentary for the televised summer Olympics, but generally we are not privy to the dedication, perseverance, and dogged determination of the elite athlete’s incremental upward progression over time from being merely fast at the collegiate level to becoming world-class fast…to be one of a very select few to make-it into the men’s final in the 100-meter race in the Olympics.

            On the African savanna plains, when we watch the high-speed, life-and-death chase between the cheetah and the Thompson’s gazelle, we know that there has been no behind-the-scenes training preparation leading-up to this exhibition of literally world-class running speed, other than the normal growth to adulthood.  We know that there is no behind-the-scenes training for each of these magnificent animals because the natural living world is open to observation and investigation.  The exquisite running speeds of the cheetah and the Thompson’s gazelle are a product of their instinctual lifestyle habits that match perfectly their unique architectural body-plans…that come fully functional and ready for use right “out of the box” with no tools or assembly instructions required.

            One aspect that makes the defining essence of human beings uniquely discontinuous with the rest of the natural living world is that mankind progresses through the trial-and-error process of lessons-learned by making mistakes.

            Over the course of the modern Scientific Revolution, the two Industrial Revolutions, the American political experiment that people could be self-governing through a representative democracy based upon individual virtue, and the fine-tuning of market systems of economy and trade, we should have known that mankind would eventually reach a point in time when some of the fundamental questions of reality would be within reach of solid answers.

            We have always been headed in the right direction through mistakes and blunders combined with an innate inner drive to discover the purposes behind the workings of the natural world, and to find the reality of our existence…which is entirely different from the automatic program of inherited instinctual lifestyle habits that come fully functional in the examples of the cheetah and the Thompson’s gazelle.

            The idea that a mindless and indifferent-to-outcomes Mother Nature working through matter-and-energy alone could produce this discontinuous dichotomy between the out-of-the-box functionality of instinctual lifestyle habits in the natural living world, in stark contrast to the cognitive reasoning capacity of human beings to progress through trial-and-error mistakes as their uniquely defining essence, should at this modern times be rejected as a “just-so” bed-time story because of its over-simplicity.   

            If we have learned anything over the course of human history, it is that our natural world, the interaction between human beings, and the nature of truth are not simplistic.

            Drilling down deeper into this concept that we progress through the process of lessons-learned by making mistakes, what makes Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet a tragedy is not that the principle characters are stupid, but rather that they make errors in judgement and reasoning that coalesce over the course of their short-lived romance into a catastrophic outcome.

            In the backyard garden scene where Juliet on the balcony declares her love for Romeo hiding unbeknownst below until he reveals himself and climbs up a tree to join her, embrace, kiss, and declare his love for her…at that point the right course of action is easy to see.

            Juliet should have said that she would speak to her father privately the next day and tell him that she was in love with Romeo the son of his enemy, and that their union would be the perfect solution to “bury their strife” between the two families.  Romeo should say that he would likewise talk to his father in private, and tell him that he was in love with Juliet the daughter of his enemy, that she loved him, and that their union in marriage would remove the enmity between the families and be heartily welcomed by the Prince of the city of Verona.

            If these two options failed, then Plan B would have Romeo requesting a private meeting with the Prince to explain the benefits of throwing his considerable support and influence behind a marriage between Romeo and Juliet, leading to the bad option of Romeo seeking the guidance of the friar who comes-up with his hair-brain scheme that eventually leads to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

            William Shakespeare can create this brilliantly tragic storyline because he is working with the reality of a human environment that is deliberately designed to be a research program of discovery through the trial-and-error process of lessons-learned by making mistakes.  The tragedy in Romeo and Juliet is that the progression of poor judgments and decisions within the context of their family’s relationships snow-balls downhill through a series of “hideous misadventures” to a deadly finale.

            This should tell us something vitally important about the reality of our existence, about the redemptive salvation feature of the Christian gospel message, about the uniquely biblical originality of God displacing our ways with His higher ways through God-composed journey of faith life-scripts, and about the 2 Corinthians 4:7 concept that we inhabit the “earthen vessels” of imperfect moral natures as the perfect 4-wheel drive research vehicles in order to traverse the rough terrain of this equally broken and fallen world…in discovery of the knowledge of good and evil with the God-sanctioned and approved intention for us to learn by our mistakes…all the while redeemed by grace through faith in Christ.

            The structure and organized complexity of the biblical narrative stories of faith, of God inserting His higher ways and thoughts into our life-scripts to be able to add His timeless foresight and brilliant pure light into this research program for us aided by the microscopic and telescopic lens of a fallen imperfect nature…to have the capacity to understand the subtle nuances of the broad array of moral concepts integral within the knowledge of good and evil…overturns the serendipitous tragedy of Romeo and Juliet stumbling through the dark of this same human environment without this participation of God within a God-composed journey of faith life-script that always achieves the optimum outcome of individual destiny.

            Modern science has discovered complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information everywhere we look in the natural world.  The micro-molecular machinery inside living cells coordinates an unimaginably diverse ensemble of parts to assemble proteins into different cell types that make living creatures from elephants to humans…to highlight just one example.

            Redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ to enable research programs into the knowledge of good and evil…through the safe-conduct of the impunity of not having our many mistakes jeopardize the security of our eternal salvation (Mt. 5:6; Rom. 7:15-8:4)…by the deliberate intention of the Creator God of this universe…is so originally brilliant that it could not possibly derive from this same trial-and-error process of lessons-learned by making mistakes…and is thus a self-existent, fundamental concept that could not have arisen through human invented mythology…could not be the product of human literary imaginative fiction.

            Shakespeare takes us a far as he can in Romeo and Juliet.  God takes us much farther into the depths of reality in the biblical narrative stories of faith.  

Only God Can Procure the Validation of Our Self-Worth

            Once a family is broken by divorce, it is thereafter difficult to individually validate the children with a healthy sense of self-worth, because the family is infused with the opposite sense of the failure of separation.

            The family unit has failed.

            This describes the injurious aspect of the separation that occurred within the family of God at the fall in the Garden of Eden.

            A separation occurred.

            God foresaw this coming (Rev. 13:8), but was not the reason for this split.

            Redemptive salvation by grace through faith starting with repentance (Eph. 2:8-9) inaugurates the means by which we are connected back with God…the family reunites.

            The concept that our imperfect natures act as research vehicles into the discovery and comprehension of the knowledge of good and evil (2 Cor. 4:7; Rom. 7:15-8:4; Mt. 5:6; Jn. 8:36) is designed to get at the root cause of the split that originally occurred in the Garden of Eden.

            God is so brilliant that He can take our imperfect fallen natures and flip this into a positive, because He alone understands that a perfect person living in a perfect world would not be able to learn first-hand about the knowledge of good and evil…through the empirical task-master of lessons-learned through making mistakes.

            This is why redemptive salvation is by grace through faith and not self-performed good-works…because we need the vantage point of the lens of a fallen nature to be able to understand the subtle nuances of the broad array of moral concepts within the knowledge of good and evil, but also the humility of occupying “earthen vessels” so that over-inflated self-opinion…self-righteousness…does not block our ability to share the gospel message to other people as lost and broken as we were.

            God…the “head of the household” working with believers who will give Him the benefit-of-the-doubt (Heb. 11:1, 6) re-instigates the healthy validation of His children through God-composed journey of faith life-scripts patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith…functional and operational for every Spirit-born Christian today.

One Size Does Not Fit All in the Complexity of Life

            One size does not fit all in the instinctual lifestyle habits in the natural living world. 

            There are no 3-step or 5-step plans that functionally apply to the lifestyle habits of lions, cheetahs, and leopards in the same cat family…much less to elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, giraffes, and wildebeest on the African savanna plains.

            Cheetahs instinctively know not to chase zebras, which they can easily run after and catch, because zebras are too large in size for a single cheetah to wrestle to the ground.  Lions do not bother to hunt Thompson’s gazelles because lions cannot run fast enough to catch them.  Lions instinctively know that their larger sized body-plans and strength rather than running speed…are not suited to chasing after the swift-footed Thompson’s gazelle. 

            When we consider the ten-million living species on the earth, the diversity of the biological and ecological systems are so complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated that a one size fits all approach to survival is instead brilliantly divided into unique architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits that reveal a creative imagination for innovative thinking that is truly mind-boggling.

            We also see this same high quality of creative imagination for innovative thinking in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

            Because the complexity of the biological and ecological systems in the natural living world support the diversity of life-forms we see on our planet earth, this has a similar parallel to the reality of the events and circumstances of this current fallen world that is likewise too complex for simplistic, one size fits all solutions.

            The life-script for Abraham is different from the life-script for Joseph in Egypt, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, David, Elijah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Joseph and Mary, Peter, James, Paul, and of course for Jesus Christ the Son of God.

            Joseph cannot live Abraham’s life.  David’s calling is not to deliver the Israelites from Egypt and to part the Red Sea.  No one else can perform the unique role of John the Baptist.  Only one person…Mary…can be the mother of Jesus Christ.  Only the blemish-free and morally perfect Jesus Christ can be the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for sin, walking within a singularly unique life-script divinely composed before the foundation of the earth (Rev. 13:8).   

            There are two important lessons we can draw from this comparison of the diversity we see in the natural living world and the diversity we see in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

            First, the redemptive salvation in the Bible comes by grace through faith and not through a program of self-performed good works…the faith of Abraham actualized in his life-script four hundred years before the introduction of the Law of Moses (Gal. 3:17-18).

            By having a diversity of life-scripts for journeys of faith, not only does the God of the Bible match our unique talents and abilities to very specific callings and mission-plans, but uniquely diverse life-scripts for believers excludes our tendency to co-op a simplistic 3-point or 5-point plan and apply it to our lives using the humanistic self-reliance of self-sovereignty.

            Salvation by grace through faith enables the diversity of uniquely composed journey of faith life-scripts that engender a personal relationship with God (Jer. 31:31-34) that is not attainable through the individual autonomy of self-sovereignty sitting atop the thrones of our lives.

            Second, salvation by grace through faith sets-up the unimaginably counterintuitive reality whereby we can enter into a research program into the discovery of the knowledge of good and evil…inhabiting the 4-wheel drive vehicle of a fallen moral nature (2 Cor. 4:7)…redeemed and sanctified through the cross and resurrection of Christ to be able to traverse over the rough terrain of this equally fallen world.

            The brilliance of this scheme of salvation is the recognition that an understanding of the broad array of moral concepts contained within the knowledge of good and evil can only be achieved through the microscopic and telescopic lens of a fallen yet redeemed nature, possessing the humility of repentance in order to be open and teachable, but also coming at the massive complexity of the knowledge of good and evil while occupying the “earthen vessel” of a fallen nature to be able to comprehend the subtle nuances of the issues involved.

            Human life in reality is every bit as complex as the biological and ecological systems in the natural living world, and therefore required a diversity of life-scripts for human beings in the same way that lions need their own unique instinctual approach to survival and reproduction that is entirely different from the instinctual lifestyle approach for their related cousins the cheetah and leopard, and even more diverse from that of elephants, hippopotamus, and giraffes.

            The modern recognition of the correlation between the two innovative realities of the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of the ten-million species in the living world, with the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith, and experienced by Christians today…lifts these two realities above a causal explanation coming from the atheistic worldview of naturalistic materialism.

            The complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated God-composed journey of faith life-scripts that precisely match the talents and abilities of individually diverse people…is a concept that could not be the product of human literary invented mythology.

            The vast diversity we see in both the natural living world and the events and circumstances of human life, reveals a universe of reality that is at the opposite end of the spectrum-line from one size fits all.

            In my opinion, this reality requires a mature explanation for its origin that far exceeds the hopelessly simplistic explanation that matter/energy alone can produce the organized complexity we see in the natural world and in human life.

            Only intelligent agency could produce the broad diversity of the architectural body-plans and instinctual lifestyle habits in the natural living world, and only an intelligent agent God could compose life-scripts for human beings that enable them to investigate first-hand the nuances of the knowledge of good and evil…made possible by the redemptive salvation of grace by faith that enables me to enter into the risk of an adventure of faith following the leading of Jesus Christ…without jeopardizing my salvation through my own imperfect performance along the way.

            One size does not fit all in the natural living world, and one size does not fit all in the biblical narrative stories of faith from Enoch through Paul.  This argues for the same creative God active in both these spheres of reality.

One Purpose of Redemptive Salvation

            God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, not because He did not want them to have the knowledge of good and evil…but profoundly at the deepest level of brilliant foresight and perfect divine love…God knew that eating a piece of fruit from a special tree could not possibly impart the depth of a genuine knowledge of good and evil.

            A timeless and eternal God in Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, meaning that God anticipated the fall of man and the need for redemptive salvation by grace through faith…rather than self-salvation through a program of reformation by self-performance of good works…far ahead of time.

            Eating the fruit only gave Adam and Eve the recognition and awareness that they were naked. 

            It did not add virtue to their characters.

            The temptation in the Garden of Eden by Satan in the beguiling spiritualized apparition of a beautiful talking serpent was in the form of two subtly destructive lies that are at the low, corrupt bottom of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light.

            The first subtle lie was that eating this fruit would make Adam and Eve “as gods knowing good and evil,” which is a classic half-truth lacking the fine-print details. 

            Knowing we are morally imperfect (naked) by itself is only one leg of the three-legged stool required as a minimum to be “as gods”…missing the other two legs of divinely timeless foresight and perfect moral goodness.

            The second subtle lie was that this temptation contained the character assassination of God, questioning the motivation, reliability, and trustworthiness of God’s word.

            We do not understand redemptive salvation rightly.

            Yes, the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ eternally redeem believers from our sins by grace through faith.

            This is as orthodox as can be…central to the Christian gospel message.

            But there is an even higher underlying principle that we talk around the edges of but do not fully understand, the power of which is not only overwhelming in revealing the brilliance of the God of the Bible…but also may answer the single fundamental question of this life and why we are here.

            Every Spirit-born Christian understands the basics that Jesus took upon Himself our sins so that the Father can view us through Christ…in our still fallen yet redeemed nature…so that we can experience a relationship with God purchased for us through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

            This is the simplicity of the Christian gospel message that can and does launch the new life of faith free from the bondage to sin.

            But in my opinion there are two important connecting dots that have been missing until now.

            The first dot is the recognition that the people of faith in the Bible and modern Christians today…pursue our callings through the vehicle of a fallen nature…the “earthen vessel” described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:7).

            This is the God redeemed and sanctioned 4-wheel drive vehicle that transports us over the rough terrain of this life in the one-and-only research program that opens up our understanding of the knowledge of good and evil…enabled by grace through faith and not self-performed good works.

            The second missing dot until now is the recent discovery in the past few decades by modern science of complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information everywhere we look in the natural world.

            This second dot points towards an intelligent designer God having unimaginably precise architectural and engineering acumen…which then carries over into the biblical narrative stories of faith revealing a composer of life-scripts having equally purposeful direction and creatively brilliant insight.

            These two dots further connect our understanding of the temptation in the Garden of Eden…with the cross and the resurrection…a through-line constructed of pure love and brilliant light, entirely for our benefit in a narrow way that could never have been the product of human literary mythological fiction.

            The difficulties of life are not comeuppance for our rebellion and fall in the Garden of Eden, universally applied to the human race.

            The challenges in this life, the things that continue to knock us down and have the appearance of fighting against our obtaining the “good life of ease” (Gen. 16:2, 43:14; Est. 4:16; Mt. 16:22) are not payback for our shortcomings.

            This is truly and simply the only way we could through empirical first-hand experience obtain a workable knowledge of good and evil…to be able to comprehend the subtle nuances of the broad array of moral concepts using the microscopic and telescopic lens of the humility of an “earthen vessel” to venture out into a research program in this likewise fallen and broken world.

            How is Paul going to be able from Damascus onward to research the real truth that becomes his New Testament letters to the early churches…without being buffeted along the road of a research program that by the divine intention of God has many pitfalls, obstacles, and pot-holes along the way?

            The divine love and brilliant pure light of God uniquely manages to combine the redemptive salvation of grace by faith with God-composed journey of faith life-scripts after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith…so that we can not only experience a personal relationship with God…but also so that we can in the most counterintuitive and divinely created way pursue a real understanding of good and evil that was inaccessible through the rebellious route of going our own way by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

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