Why Can’t Some Scientists See Design in Nature?

            Here lies one of the basic questions that must be addressed in a book subtitled Christian Essays on Science and Faith. 

            This questionis how is it that many professional scientists think that science and faith must be separated into different, incompatible categories of reality…science supposedly based solely on empirical facts and faith based upon unsupportable, subjective beliefs.

            Upon closer scrutiny, the fundamental differences of opinion are not about the empirical facts at all, but instead about the skeletal explanatory frameworks that attempt to connect-the-dots of data into meaningful storylines describing reality…storylines that by definition are themselves philosophical even though they contain the facts of hard “bench” science.

            An understanding of how purpose was removed from the skeletal explanatory frameworks of research into the workings of the natural world, early in the modern Scientific Revolution is given by Michael J. Behe from his 2019 book Darwin Devolves:

“How did science—the very discipline we use to understand the physical world—get to the bizarre point where some otherwise very smart people use it to deny the existence of mind?  Arguably it started innocently enough.  At the urging of the philosopher Francis Bacon, a contemporary of Shakespeare, four centuries ago science made a critical decision.  It would abandon the old idea of “final causes”—that is, the notion of the purpose of an object—which it had inherited from Aristotle.  Whether the true role of, say, a waterfall or a forest is to exhibit the glory of God, supply beauty to the world, or something else couldn’t be decided by an investigation of nature alone.  Henceforth science would leave all such questions to philosophy and theology, restricting itself to investigating just the mechanics of nature.  What a cow or mountain or star is “for” would trouble science no longer.”[1]    

            It is easy to see here, that by removing the purpose of an object…a waterfall, forest, cow, or mountain…in order to simplify the new scientific method going forward in the late 1500’s to the early 1600’s, that this also carries the danger to morph over time into the exceedingly damaging cultural mores of a similarly purpose-free human life.

            As the credibility and prestige of science has risen over the past two or three centuries, the purpose-free methodology of science has expanded beyond its original mandate to creep into our modern culture, removing the central question of what was I created for, of what is the purpose for me as an object in this world? 

            What is also easy to see here is that this departure from including the purpose of an object within its overall scientific investigation and subsequent explanation was not itself a scientific determination in terms of hard “bench” science.  It was a philosophical decision.  It was a pre-science issue in dispute dating back to the ancient Greek philosophers regarding the material or non-material nature of the universe, still unresolved to this day. 

            The obvious problem here is that in allowing scientific investigation to make a clean get-away from purpose, to simplify the research methods to focus on the empirical facts of matter-and-energy mechanisms that describe how phenomena work in the natural world, this does not permanently remove purpose altogether. 

            It merely sets aside the subjective aspects of purpose in pursuit of the empirical evidence of factual data.

            My contention here is that purpose cannot be surgically removed from scientific investigation.  The discovery of complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information invariably brings science back full-circle to the unmistakable evidence of objective purpose integral within natural phenomena.  This organized complexity of systems clearly delineates directional trajectories. 

            Purpose cannot be permanently divorced from science.

            The purpose of a cow’s utter is to produce milk.  The purpose of the eye is to provide visual sight.  The integrated relationships in the study of how ecosystems support biodiversity are entirely dependent upon recognizably linked purposes.

            One of the main themes of this book, discussed from a number of different angles, is that the scientific study of the matter-and-energy mechanisms of the natural world does not preclude the acknowledgement of the existence of an intelligent designing agent.  

            The explanation for the origin of the complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information we see and understand everywhere in the natural world are saturated with purpose, now clearly apparent four-hundred years after Francis Bacon.

            Simply acknowledging the intelligent agency behind the organized complexity of these systems of information in no way inhibits or displaces the ongoing scientific investigations of the matter-and-energy mechanisms in the material world.

            This acknowledgement takes place within skeletal explanatory frameworks, and not within the grouped set of scientific facts themselves.

            Theism or atheism takes place within skeletal explanatory frameworks that are philosophical…where worldviews are born.

            Philosophy is an inseparable part of science, but it is not science.

            The fundamental recognition here is that as ignorance travels towards truth, it is a journey and not a leap, casting off errors along the way…eliminating the range of possibilities that at the end of the journey narrows the remaining choices down to one or two true options.

            If we knew the right answer beforehand…the one truth…then we would not have any reason to begin a scientific research investigation into a particular mystery we do not yet understand in nature.

            Science is a journey starting out with a few or even many possible hypotheses to describe a particular phenomenon in nature that as a process of exploration is a range of open options.

            Science starts out as a line connecting possible points to investigate…that at the beginning of the journey is usually not confined to a single point.

            As ignorance travels towards truth, eliminating faulty hypotheses along the way, the length of the horizontal line connecting the dots that represent possible hypotheses in a particular research project…gets shorter and shorter as progress is made.  Investigation and analysis continues until it reaches the one single point of truth that correctly describes reality.

            This is the fundamental methodology of science.

            This process to identify the origin of reality in the workings of the natural world has now eliminated the option of naturalistic materialism as being too simplistic.

            The reality of the defense mechanism of the Asian honeybee against the giant Asian hornet, discussed in the previous essay, is too complex for naturalistic materialism as the explanation of its origin.

            This same argument is multiplied by 10-million when applied to the vast scope of the diversity of the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of the living species on earth.

            Again, the initial tentative hypotheses at the start of a science research program…traveling from ignorance to truth…enables a range of hypothetical “spins” that can be placed upon the factual evidence until the numerous skeletal explanatory frameworks whittle down to one or two options.

            Professional scientists and laymen who are Christian theists would ask the question at what point in the Bible do we justify limiting the supernatural…to exclude intelligent agency…in crafting these skeletal explanatory frameworks?

            If we start at the Big Bang introduction of physical mass/energy, abstract information, and the forward march of time out of nothing previously physical in literally the first split-seconds of time…this then creates a beginning skeletal explanatory framework that logically must include the element of some form of inarguably brilliant intelligent agency. 

            The overall enterprise of empirical scientific investigation (which must exclude the untestable and speculative multi-verse hypothesis) should begin with the recognition of the need for agency to get our universe up and running with the precision it exhibits.   

            Modern science has discovered several clear-cut candidates that can be categorized as singularities…sudden events seemingly without evidence of transitional precursors leading up to their occurrence…such as a beginning of the universe, the immergence of life on earth, the Cambrian Explosion, the immergence of human conscious thought, and the abrupt discontinuities in the fossil record.[2]

            When we look at the complex instinctual predator/prey relationships like that of the giant Asian hornet and Asian honeybees, repeated in literally millions of ingenious variations throughout the natural living world…we can reasonably ask the question where are the gradual, incrementally small steps of progressive transitional development that must be prolific in nature for the materialistic explanation to be valid? 

            Scientific materialists assert that they will solve the mystery of these singularities given more time for research.

            But the giant Asian hornet in mortal combat with the Asian honeybee, accentuated by the total mismatch between this hornet and the imported European honeybees, tells us today that these singularities will not be solved by more research. 

            These exquisite instinctual lifestyle habits are singularities precisely because there are no gradual, incrementally small steps of transitional intermediate progression…of major anatomical development…apparent anywhere in the living natural world.

            Everything in the living world appears to be functionally operative at their mature essences, except when human agency intervenes as in the case with the European honeybees imported into Japan.

            If instinctual lifestyle habits do not arise by gradually perfecting repetitive trial-and-error accidents, universally seen through the natural living world…then scientific materialism applied to biology does not hold up.   

            If the same quality of an inexplicable singularity of initial conditions arising at the Big Bang creation of the universe…requires the existence and action of an intelligent agent to introduce these initial conditions in their fully mature functionality, then this reality also logically applies to the instinctual lifestyle habits of the ten-million living species on earth.

            The ten-million varied species on earth currently display zero gradual transition in progression toward future outcomes. 

            It is then fair to say that the worldview of naturalistic materialism in the light of the empiricism of modern science…is illogically nonsensical.

            Scientific materialists cannot recognize agency in nature because they are operating in the erroneous hypothesis of a universe without purposeful design.  They cannot possibly broaden their worldview to accept as “supernatural” the creative artistic brilliance we take for granted all around us…from the rising of the sun, to the air we breathe, to the beauty and fragrance of springtime flowers…and ascribe this to purposeful intelligent agency.

            This is the dilemma that modern science has arrived at for some professional scientists…choosing either God or science…when the true reality is that it is both together.

            Scientific materialists want empirical proofs for the existence of God, but the complex, specified, and coherently integrated quality of the systems of information in the natural world, now better understood in this Age of Information…is evidentiary proof.

            What is incredibly misleading is to characterize the debate as a culture-war between science and faith, when it is really between theism and atheism. 

            The differences reside within the philosophically crafted skeletal explanatory frameworks that connect the empirical facts…amenable to being spread-out into numerous hypothetical “spins.”   

            Scientists place faith in their own mental capacity to discern and differentiate truth from error.  Scientists cannot do science without first placing faith in the orderliness and intelligibility of the natural world.

            The modern debate cannot be about faith…because science is saturated with faith in order to have any meaning.

            Faith involves philosophical assumptions about the reliability of factual truth that are not amenable to formal proofs through hard “bench” science.  This is discussed more fully in the scientism section in the upcoming essay Are Science and God in Conflict?

            The current reality is that scientific materialists find the supernatural in the Bible so philosophically abhorrent that they will go to any length to formulate secular hypotheses to explain the wonders of nature.  We see this in the vague and inadequate use of the term behavioral adaptation to describe the predator/prey relationship between the giant Asian hornet and the Asian honeybee.

            But the intelligent agent God who can create the universe, life, the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of ten-million varied species, and the advanced intellectual and moral reasoning capacity of human beings…can also part the Red Sea, walk on water, and raise Jesus Christ from being three days dead after Roman crucifixion.

            The complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information that permeate all of nature…preclude reasonable explanations of origin and causation using atheistic secular storylines.

            It can reasonably be said that modern science is now pointing towards the existence of an intelligent agent God.

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


[1] Michael J. Behe, Darwin Devolves (New York: Harper Collins, 2019), 258-259.

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

Common Descent through Directed Processes

            In this essay, I want to clarify and expand upon a concept that eliminates the small-step, incremental, progressive development of Darwinian macroevolution as a consideration in explaining the vast diversity of life on earth.

            The logic is as follows.

            We observe at present that living organisms all universally exhibit architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits that are at the mature, end-point essence of their capacity to survive and reproduce.

            And we know that living cells contain between 3.1 to 3.5-billion bits of coded information in the double-helix strand of DNA in the form of a chemical alphabet represented by the four letters A, C, T, and G…which are common to all 10-million living species on earth.

            And we observe through high-powered microscopes that varied arrangements of these chemical letters are used by the molecular machinery inside living cells to produce such different life-forms as elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, giraffes, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, water buffalo, zebras, Thompson’s gazelles, and wildebeest…to name a few of the large mammals of the African savanna plains.

            This reality in the natural living world is easily extended to the analogy of millions of books of different genres found in university and big-city libraries.

            Many of these books in English speaking countries share the common feature of having the same English language…and commonly use repetitive words such as “the, is, of, a, as, or, and and”…while being distinct and different as histories, biographies, murder mysteries, spy-thrillers, romance novels, college textbooks, and cookbooks.

            And like living organisms, these books are fully mature and completed works at the end-points of development.

            This line of reasoning is catastrophic for Darwinian macroevolution because it tells us that living organisms, books, human manufactured products, and the lasagna ordered in our favorite Italian restaurant all “arrive on the scene” in their finished form.

            The numbers of differing cell-types skip from around 10 in support of the architectural body-plans of the jellyfish in the Precambrian oceans…to the 30 to 40 different cell-types needed to support the new and novel architectural body-plans of the complex creatures of the Cambrian Explosion.[1]

            An unbroken, numerical sequence in this case from 10 different cell-types to 30 different cell-types would produce functionally incoherent creatures caught part-way from one well-defined essence of the architectural body-plan of a Precambrian jellyfish…in nonsensically incremental steps leading up to the well-defined essences of the body-plans of the Cambrian Wiwaxia, Hallucigenia, Opabinia, Marrella, or Anomolocaris for examples.

            The imperative to be able to immediately survive and to reproduce within the challenging environments of biodiversity and ecological niches…requires that the ensemble of DNA, developmental gene regulatory networks (DGRNs), and epigenetic factors…put-out every time well-orchestrated arrangements of cell-types at their end-point definitional essences.    

            Common descent is not erased in this scenario, no more than the element of the commonality of the English language is not erased by the sharing of letters and words in the varied genres of the books in a library.

            Functionally coherent new and novel life-forms require architectural body-plans and lifestyle-habits that are supported by the exact number and arrangement of different cell-types all placed at their specified xyz-coordinate points…being bones, muscles, tendons, organs, skin, blood, hair, etcetera…all governed by an overriding instinctual program of predator/prey relationships that differentiates lions from zebras, and cheetahs from Thompson’s gazelles.

            The bottom-line here is that this requires jumps forward in the number of different cell-types in support of architectural body-plans that are functional and ready to go “right out of the box…no instructions or tools required.”

            This eliminates from consideration the random and undirected processes of naturalistic materialism that logically require the “nature makes no sudden leaps” of historical Darwinian macroevolution…that must by necessity be built upon small-step, incremental, trial-and-error, progressive development.

            Elephants, lions, hawks, salmon fish, and humans share the same DNA chemical alphabet letters of A, C, T, and G…but clearly exhibit different architectural body-plans, lifestyle-habits, and predator/prey relationships.

            Again, this is similar to books that share the same English language but vary radically in their distinctive genres.

            Books have letters and words arranged differently to produce different outcomes, but books in libraries are functionally complete and are not in transition part-way towards another genre.

            Living organisms that make leaps forward in the number of their cell-types…skipping an intermediate number of cell-types to arrive suddenly on the scene fully capable of survival and reproduction…cannot plausibly explained through the random happenstance of trial-and-error experimentation.

            In Egypt in 3,000 B.C. a stone tablet must be inscribed using Egyptian hieroglyphics.

            Egyptians in 3,000 B.C. could not read modern English.

            Leo Tolstoy can write his classic novel War and Peace taking the first 50-100 pages to leisurely introduce his main characters…not having to compete with modern radio, television, and motion-picture movies.

            But Robert Ludlum amazingly grabs our attention and interest in the first two pages of The Bourne Identity…using the modern writing techniques of the fictional spy-thriller…because the imperative of literary survival in the jungle of modern-day fiction-writing requires this singular skill.

            Without hitting this nail on the head too many times, living organisms must have cell-types, architectural body-plans, and lifestyle-habits that immediately adapt to their geological time-period.

            In order to be able to survive and reproduce, living organisms must be able to interface with the contemporary biodiversity and ecosystems during their respective geological settings.

            The random happenstance of undirected processes will not get us there as a valid skeletal explanatory framework.

            This eliminates historical Darwinian macroevolution and “theistic evolution” as plausible options.

            The sequential linear trajectory of increasing cell-types that connects the single-cell bacteria of 3.8-billion years ago to the roughly 215 cell-types in human beings (not including brain cells that number around 100)…does not demonstrate in the fossil record or in the 10-million living species today the prolific number of transitional intermediate life-forms that would be the empirical evidence for a one-by-one linear expansion of differing cell-types.

            Developmental progression producing functional coherence in living organisms must incorporate jumps in the number of new cell-types to support innovative life-forms “arriving on the scene” in their end-point, completed definitional essence.  

            The point here is that the common descent element we observe in biology derives from the ever-increasing number of differing cell-types producing expanding complexity…but the creative arrangement of these cell-types to produce new architectural body-plans derives from intelligent agency.

            This is analogous to the author Agatha Christie creatively arranging the letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs in her books to produce a brilliant who-done-it murder mystery.

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


[1] On the Origin of Phyla—Interviews with Dr. James Valentine, by Access Research Network, published on Oct. 22, 2014, on You Tube.

Progressive Gradualism

            In formulating his theory of macroevolution, Darwin threw purpose, meaning, and intelligent agency overboard in order to embrace atheistic materialism within his proposed mechanism.  In my opinion, in so doing he made the huge miscalculation of relying upon gradualism as the ruling paradigm in nature…a reliance that cannot bear the weight of scientific fact-based evidence.

            In his 1996 book Climbing Mount Improbable, Richard Dawkins offers a theoretical mechanism by which innovative features like the eye could be reached through entirely naturalistic processes. 

            Mount Improbable has one face that is a sheer vertical cliff, metaphorically representing the difficulty of reaching an innovative feature in one giant step.  Such marvels in nature as eyesight, winged flight, and upright bi-pedal walking cannot come into existence in large steps of anatomical progressions called saltations…being single leaps up the face of this cliff  equivalent to miracles.

            But there is a gradual uphill slope going up the other side of the mountain, which can be traversed to the top of the mountain through small incremental steps.  Thisis one of the fundamental axioms of Darwinian evolution…that the only plausible explanation for how a purely naturalistic process could work is through the use of infinitesimally small, random, undirected, and beneficially progressive accumulated steps.

            This is all well and good.  Except this hypothetical explanation in the book did not mention that if true this concept would require a near infinity of Mount Improbable scenarios in various stages of completion. 

            In addition to the example of eyesight, any snap-shot in time slicing through the natural living world would show these enumerable developing features in mid-ascent all traversing up the gradual slope sides of millions of Mount Improbable scenarios in progress.  This would be an obvious and a prolific reality visually apparent to everyone…scientist and layman alike.

            The number of innovative “creations” using this naturalistic model does not improve upon the difficult-to-swallow large number of individual creations by divine fiat of the tens of millions of living species by an intelligent designing agent God. 

            The difficult concept of God creating each individual species is one of the things Darwinism was in 1859 and still is today trying to replace with a purely materialistic mechanism. 

            Both a theistic and an atheistic mechanism must account for the numerical reality of the vast biodiversity of life and the large volume of beneficial physical features this entails.

            The gradualism central to Mount Improbable does nothing to simplify this reality, but merely chops the overall ascent up the mountain into smaller, random, and undirected steps.      

            In a talk given by Philip E. Johnson entitled Grand Metaphysical Story of Science,[1] on the Internet…Dr. Johnson…a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and author of the book Darwin On Trial…gives an account from the Richard Dawkins book The Blind Watchmaker, which describes again a hypothetical way by which an ancient prototype squirrel climbing in a tree could over time and many iterations morph into a flying bat having wings.  This is paraphrased here by me from Johnson’s talk.

            The general idea is that by adding progressive genetic mutations of the variant trait of larger and larger flaps of skin between the fingers of the prototype squirrel…this enables slower, more aerodynamic, non-lethal accidental falls from the branches of tall trees. 

            This innovative invention for survival could then eventually combine with other coordinating features that would over long periods of time create the capacity for winged flight, the flying bat immerging at the top of Mount Improbable as a completed functional new creature.  All this occurs through the ruling paradigm of progressive gradualism by naturalistic processes.

            The massive evidentiary problem here again is that this same fictionally imaginative methodology for explaining the vast diversity of life cannot be merely confined to a single example of the theoretical sequence of events that might transform a tree-climbing squirrel or small rodent into a flying bat.          

            These same types of hypothetical arguments must be extended-out to apply gradualism in action to every living organism on earth.  This would catch and record in our current snap-shot of time an unmistakably large number of these organisms in various stages of progressive development.

            Not only does the obvious question arise here of why a squirrel would “want” to morph slowly into a bat through a series of incremental steps, but also is this the true reality of the phenomena we see in the natural world?  Clearly, it is not.

            The squirrels I observe in the neighborhood where I live can nimbly run along the top of one-inch wide sections of five-foot high property-line plastic fence panels…without falling off.  These squirrels nimbly climb part-way to the top of 40 to 60 foot high palm trees planted along the city street sidewalk… using the claws on their hands and feet that capably grip the sides of the palm trees as they expertly climb upward to a safe height as I approach on foot.

            Squirrels carelessly falling-out of tall trees to their injury and death is not observationally an optimum choice as an illustrative hypothetical example of the motivating force for macro-biological change through mutation/selection.

            Of equal importance in the talks by Phillip E. Johnson accessible on the Internet, one of which is footnoted above, is the brilliant insight that merely chopping-up a larger problem into smaller pieces does not improve the positive probabilistic case for random chance.

            Dr. Johnson asks: Is it easier by chance to win one single lottery of one-million dollars…or to win separate lotteries of one-thousand dollars…one-thousand times?  Obviously, the chances of winning one-thousand separate lotteries of smaller dollar amounts is considerably improbable compared to the chances of winning one single lottery of a large dollar amount.

            Chopping-up a complex feature like eyesight into smaller incremental steps, gradually traversing up the gently sloping side of the theoretical Mount Improbable explanation for achieving the innovative marvels of nature, does not make the initial problem of achieving finalized function easier…but instead much more difficult. 

            If we take the vast biodiversity of the ten-million different living species on earth and chop-up each organism into their varied defining characteristics of architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits, and then throw into the mix the incredibly rich and varied ecosystems on earth…that this could all be the mindless product of enumerable Mount Improbable scenarios…is illogically nonsensical.

            As will be repeated over and over again in this book, if the pure naturalism of Darwinian macroevolution was true we should see some portions of the living world still “in-progress” in the major development of new architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits.  This universal momentum towards future end-points of finalized function in terms of survivability and enhanced reproduction would observably showcase today an incomplete and ongoing process still exhibiting macro changes.

            Genetic information has limiting boundaries.  This is why we cannot breed dogs through artificial selection to be as large as elephants, and why multitudes upon multitudes of complex living organisms universally appear to have reached their developmental end-points…”like producing like” year after year.

            The main point here again is that if gradualism is to be used as the ruling paradigm in all of the natural world…including the “evolution” of earth, our solar system, and the galaxies in the universe…as some Darwinists do today in defending scientific materialism…then the brand of universal gradualism that supports materialism must be visually obvious and noticeably prolific as fact-based evidentiary reality, recognized and accepted by everyone.

            A near infinity of Mount Improbable scenarios would be obvious in nature long before Charles Darwin came along with his book The Origin of Species.

            As I began in the 1970’s and 1980’s to think about the arguments for and against evolution…the counterintuitive idea struck me that if the macro half of Darwin’s theory was in fact true, then the natural world at the present time should be like looking from a distance at a growing city.  Several new skyscraper buildings of various heights would be under construction, all topped with cranes rising upward to reach definitive end-points that show the dynamic energy of progress moving towards some future as-yet unreached destination in time. 

            Over the following decades, in the books I read for and against Darwinian evolution, I saw that the rationale that scientific materialists gave for the lack of our ability to detect evolution in action in the present time, was that the infinitesimally small incremental steps of mutation/selection occurred so slowly as to not be discernable over a human lifespan.

            This always seemed to me to be a clever deflection that did not have the clear bell-ring of truth…an “evolution-of-the-gaps” that did not “hold water”…a futile attempt to explain-away the evidence until some future better explanation could be found.

            If gradualism plus chance is the ruling paradigm in the natural world, then no matter how slowly it was moving forward at any snap-shot in time, invariably there would still be enumerable life-forms caught mid-course in their development. 

            We do not have to possess a PhD in science to flatly see that the natural world does not display works-in-progress in mid-course, transitional change according to the mechanism of gradual progressive development.  We do not see this reality functioning anywhere as the singularly controlling, explanatory paradigm.

            If all we see today in the living and non-living natural world are a few examples of gradualism, of gradualism not being the ruling paradigm explanation for the development of all of natural phenomena, then the biological theory of macroevolution based upon atheistic materialism falls apart as a workable hypothesis.


[1] Grand Metaphysical Story of Science—Phillip E. Johnson…published on April 21, 2012, by Izzy Invasion.

Devolution

            One recent scientific discovery now illuminates our understanding of genetic mutations, which can be chosen by natural selection in the wild or by the artificial selection of human breeding. 

            Some genetic mutations produce helpful “variant traits,” which can now be tracked in a broad range of living organisms, thanks to the hard work of the 10-year project to map the human DNA genome.

            What took years of painstaking effort mapping the 3.5-billion letters of DNA letter-by-letter, now can map the DNA sequence of a particular breed of dog, for example, in an afternoon as a result of faster computers and specialized software programs.

            Thanks to improved technology, we are now able to track-down helpful changes/mutations in the DNA, and match these mutations to their actualized traits, the physical characteristics they produce.

            This new research has revealed that Darwin’s theory of evolution is in actuality a process of devolution.[1] 

            This is discussed in an interview by Eric Metaxas of biochemist, professor, and author Dr. Michael Behe in Socrates in the City, in March 2019.

            It turns out that genetic mutations do not add new information to the DNA strand that if so, might support Darwin’s theory that the mutation/selection process is capable over long periods of time of producing complex, innovative new features. 

            Developments like the fully functional winged flight of birds, the visual sight of an owl, the running speed of the cheetah, the underwater sonar capacity of a dolphin, bipedal upright walking, human speech, and the human mind…require vast amounts of complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information.

            Molecular biochemistry is now telling us that devolution is instead a process that breaks individual genes in the existing DNA sequence of chemical letters…not adding new creative information, but subtracting information from the DNA code.

            The human breeding of a prototype wolf to produce the variant forms of a Golden Retriever, Great Dane, or Black Labrador dog over many generations, involves at the molecular level in the cell the breakage of particular genes that code for specific characteristics. 

            Scientists can now identify and track these broken genes from wolf to new breed of dog…resulting in a reduction rather than an addition of genetic information…creating “damaged” genes that will not go back in the reverse direction to recover this original lost information.

            This means, according to modern genetic biochemistry, that the entire program of Darwinian evolution is in reality a process of conservative devolution, and not radically progressive macroevolution as originally theorized…instead having strict boundary limits around the change-effects of beneficial genetic mutations, which we can now track through empirical scientific investigation.

            These revolutionary new discoveries in molecular biochemistry invalidate Darwin’s mechanism of an ever-expanding, tree-of-life common descent of all living things, when this mechanism is solely based upon macro changes through mindless and undirected processes.

            The original Darwinian process of mutation/selection theorized to produce major macroevolution is refuted at the molecular level of biochemistry today, now seen to only produce minor variations of characteristics traceable in the DNA genome coding.  This is a catastrophic development for atheism in science, because this removes the very heart-and-soul, the main puzzle-piece of the naturalistic worldview, that gained so much momentum following Darwin’s 1859 book The Origin of Species.

            This does not mean that there isn’t a matter-and-energy, material mechanism to explain the vast diversity of life from A to Z.  Design information in-built into living cells can produce the growing number of different cell types as an index of ever-increasing complexity over time…from single-cell bacteria to human beings. 

            What it does mean is that the Darwinian hypothesis of mutation/selection as the driving force behind the vast diversity of life is empirically no longer valid.

            This new discovery in molecular biology simply removes the chance happenstance of random and undirected materialism from consideration…in the grand traditions of the Scientific Revolution of eliminating false possibilities.

            This replaces a mindless and undirected, naturalistic process with an information-based mechanism that guides the development of life towards the vast biodiversity we observe today on earth…which I sense we are getting close to formally identifying.

            Modern biochemistry at the molecular level of DNA and developmental gene regulatory networks (DGRN’s) are telling us that Darwin’s hypothetical extrapolation from micro to macro evolution…using random and undirected chance as the fueling mechanism…is in fact unsupported by the latest scientific fact-based evidence.

            This then undermines the entire atheistic program of Darwinian naturalistic macroevolution, including the attempts to close the gaps of discontinuity at the phylum level of classification between fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and mammals in the fossil record.

            This pulls down the secular story of the materialistic origin and diversity of life…like a house of cards.

            But this does not at all threaten the further scientific investigation into the matter-and-energy material mechanisms that truly do generate the vast biodiversity we see in the natural world.

            This will be information-based material mechanisms, more plausibly attributable to intelligent agency instead of random happenstance.

            The point here is that Darwin’s hypothesis was and is partially true.  But his approach to embrace the agnosticism or atheism of scientific materialism was in my opinion a mistake. 

            The real truth about the engineered biodiversity of life may be scientifically discovered to be found in information-based mechanisms in living cells starting with the adequate DNA information content front-loaded 3.8-billion years ago.  This then generated the future potential for the expanding number of cell types…building organisms ever increasing in complexity over time.

            Managed by the on/off switches of developmental gene regulatory networks and epigenetic systems, this all could be created through an intelligent designing agent in the same way that an architect designs a new building. 

            An architect starts with conceptually abstract information that is translated into a physical building on the construction site. 

            In living organisms the conceptually abstract information translates into physical reality starting in the cell progressing through the developing embryo…immerging into a viable organism able to grow from infancy to maturity to survive and reproduce. 

            In my opinion, this concept of theistic material mechanisms makes a lot more sense than the atheism of a purely random and undirected materialistic approach.  To my thinking this has no practical bearing upon the quality and integrity of the scientific inquiry and the data produced.

            Quoting two passages from Dr. Behe’s book:

“The molecular parts of the cell are elegantly arranged to fulfill many subsidiary purposes that must blend together in service of the large overall purpose of forming life.  As we’ll see in this book, no unintelligent, undirected process—neither Darwin’s mechanism nor any other—can account for that.”

“It seems, then, that the magnificent Ursus maritimus (polar bear) has adjusted to its harsh environment mainly by degrading genes that its ancestors already possessed.  Despite its impressive abilities, rather than evolving, it has adapted predominantly by devolving.  What that portends for our conception of evolution is the principal topic of this book.”[2] 

            The devolution that occurs in living cells that produces the suite of broken and damaged genes that in turn produce the variation of physical traits that changes a black bear into a polar bear…does not explain how a “bear” comes into existence in the first place.

            The information content in living cells that produces the architectural body-plan and lifestyle habits of a bear is much larger and more sophisticated than the microevolutionary processes that put-out variant traits for natural selection to choose from to enhance survivability…to create the differences between a black bear and a polar bear.

            Devolution will never bridge the gulf between the first single-cell bacteria 3.8-billion years ago and a polar bear today.

            The brilliant observations that Darwin made in the middle 19th century has been overtaken by the forward progress of technology and knowledge.  This is something that has occurred in enumerable cases throughout the history of the modern Scientific Revolution…that is inherent within the scientific method.  

            This recent discovery of evolution actually being devolution, discovered in the field of molecular biochemistry, has enormous implications in the very near future regarding the number of viable options remaining within the sea of multiple competing worldviews for human life…within the search for purpose and meaning in the universe.


[1] Michael Behe: Darwin Devolves…Socrates in the City interview, on You Tube dated March 29, 2019

[2] Michael J. Behe, Darwin Devolves (New York: Harper Collins, 2019), 9, 17.

We Need Discernment

            In the field of medicine we do not want quacks and charlatans.  The issues of good health are too important.

            There is an established route to becoming a competent medical doctor, and we rightly require all aspiring physicians to adhere to this high standard.

            If we are attending college and majoring in history, we expect our professors to have masters, PhDs, and postdoctoral degrees in history.

            The one and only area in all of human experience where a standardized route to recognized achievement…falls outside of human orchestration and contrivance, is found in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

            This is as we would and should expect in a true interaction with the living God and Creator of the universe, when actualized into human life-scripts.

            The only common, repetitive, and standardized through-line in the biblical narrative stories of faith…is that if we will allow Him…the God of the Bible will wisely displace our ways with His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9) according to God’s eternal plans for our benefit.

            Abraham could not originate and orchestrate his unconventional route to becoming the “father of faith” in his wildest imagination.

            Joseph in Egypt, Moses, or Joshua could not self-compose their unique life-scripts and materialize events to reach their extraordinary outcomes.

            The acclaimed teacher Gamaliel speaking before the Sanhedrin Council differentiates the difficulty of discerning the true activities of God using conventional standards:

35 Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.

36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nothing.

37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.

38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing:

39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest perhaps ye be found even to fight against God.                                     (Acts 5:35-39)

            During Paul’s last trip to Jerusalem, as the chief captain of the Roman guards in the city went to quell the uproar over the Jews of Asia discovering Paul in the temple…the chief captain asks Paul: “Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days maddest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?” (Acts 22:38).

            Jesus asked the question in Mark 8:27-30:

27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets.

29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.

30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

            Discernment, critical-thinking, and right judgment are essential for today’s Christians (Mk. 12:35-37, 13:28-31).

            The uniqueness of the God of the Bible at the fundamental, worldview level is that He can and does prepare people for their mission-plans according to His own original routes…that are difficult to detect and rightly evaluate when we are “in the flesh” (Jn. 8:14-15).

            The same quality of recognized accolades, certifications, and diplomas that identify acquired expertise does not always work when applied to the biblical narrative stories of faith…these life-stories being the sanctioned and authorized examples of how God works.

            When Abraham first arrived in Canaan no one knew who he was or anything about his special calling.

            This is the starting baseline for understanding how clueless the world is regarding the higher ways and thoughts of God.

            The religious elites in Jerusalem during the ministry of Jesus exhibit just how clueless they are when they examine the blind man healed by Jesus recorded in John 9:1-38…”We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.” (Jn. 9:29).

            They did not understand the true character of Jesus Christ in the deepest sense of spiritual and moral discernment.           

            We need to be walking ourselves in a genuine journey of faith following Jesus Christ…in order to be able to recognize a genuine walk of faith in others…to be able to discern the Holy Spirit in action.

4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

5 Ye are all children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.                                                              (1 Thes. 5:4-6)

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” (Eph. 5:8).

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.

Ye Shall Be Free Indeed

            When Jesus “ate” with “publicans and sinners” (Mt. 9:10-13), He knew they would never become morally perfect people incapable of making mistakes.

            The “greatest” people in the Bible were never morally perfect people.

            “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Mt. 5:6).

            When Paul says in Romans 6:4 that Christ’s resurrection enables us to “walk in newness of life”…he does not mean moral perfection (Rom. 7:15-8:4).

            There isn’t anything anywhere in the Bible that infers or intimates that walking with God in this life will produce perfect performance on our part…in either good-works or unwavering faith.

            The blood Jesus shed on the cross covers my sins past, present, and future so that I can learn by my mistakes with impunity…without the jeopardy of threatening the eternal security of my salvation through my less-than perfect performance.

            This reality is initiated and sanctioned by the first, last, and only authority that counts…by God Himself.

            If God says that He wants me to acquire the knowledge of good and evil through the first-hand lessons-learned of experience in the rough-and-tumble life on earth, then the redemptive salvation that He has provided by grace through faith in Christ…issues the timeless safe-conduct to go out and with my best effort listen in the Spirit and follow the life-script He has revealed for me.

            That I can fall-on-my-face in failures and shortcomings is the only real and authentic way I am going to be able to win this knowledge of good and evil for myself.

            The biblical narrative stories of faith are the pinnacle of the highest level of good leadership in pushing power downward to create people who can discern the right and the good, and voluntarily choose the good for the right reasons.

            This creates people who are internally motivated, responding positively to the love, confidence, and supportive trust divinely extended to them…that validates their high worth and value in the sight of God.

“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).

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:36).

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.

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