The Thief on the Cross 4

            Is the cross of Jesus Christ petty?

            Richard Dawkins during the 2009 Oxford debate with John Lennox expresses his opinion that a hypothetical creator/physicist god of the universe merits too high a quality of grandeur to stoop to the low-level of dying on a cross for sins in the pre-modern first-century.

            But this is partly based upon his projection of his own value-judgment of the high-quality of the scientific enterprise, and of the well-deserved status and acclaim that professional scientists enjoy in our modern culture.

            Richard Dawkins says during this debate that equating a creator god of this universe with Jesus Christ on the cross, is in his words petty and small.

            I think here the “shoe might be on the other foot.”

            Postulating a creator god of the universe deserving credit for the awe and grandeur of the natural world, subtly creates an unbridgeable gulf between this marginally acceptable concept of a science-savvy god to someone like Richard Dawkins, with the other alternative of a purely materialistic Mother Nature occupying this elevated role of esteemed creator.

            According to the atheism of Darwinian evolution, Mother Nature must be an impersonal, different to outcomes, blind, and mindless purveyor and arbitrator of random and undirected events that by definition merit no appeal to grandeur and awe in the slightest.

            Chance serendipity cannot rise to the level of meriting acclaim within this context, being an impersonal entity.

            In this debate, the atheist in Richard Dawkins unthinkingly places Mother Nature up into the high category of his just barely acceptable divinely creative physicist, when in fact a blind and indifferent Mother Nature acting through random and undirected processes deserves no such elevated exaltation. 

            For the scientific materialist, granting awe and grandeur to an impersonal Mother Nature acting through random and undirected processes is in some sense a philosophical contradiction.

            Because this book is about science and biblical-quality faith, at this point I would like to make the argument that the cross of Jesus Christ is not petty or small in its deliberate intention to open-up for us an experiential research program to understand truth and error, right and wrong, and detailed fact versus empty assertion.

            This was provided for us at great personal cost to the God of the Bible.

            The awe and grandeur of the cross of Jesus Christ is exhibited in the brief but colorful story of the thief on the cross recorded in Luke 23:39-43.

            The two thieves crucified on each side of Jesus were partners in crime, caught and condemned to death (Ps. 22:16; Isa. 53: 9, 12).

            One of the two thieves in this story can size-up and recognize a fellow thief, and he discerns throughout the early hours of his time being crucified next to this other man Jesus of Nazareth that He is not a criminal, but instead there is something very special about Him.

            This one thief on the cross hears what the detractors of Jesus are saying about Him (Lk. 23:35-37) and he can probably read the words on the plaque nailed to the cross above the head of Jesus that Pilate had written about Him (Lk. 23:38; Jn. 19:19-22).

            One brilliant takeaway from this account of the thief on the cross, is that when a person meets Jesus Christ and recognizes Him as being the King that He actually is, that this changes a person and their individual destiny forever.

            When his partner in crime joins into the mocking of Jesus along with the religious leaders and the soldiers standing around the three men being crucified, this one thief rebukes his friend and then utters words coming out of his mouth that probably surprised himself as to their origin and bold decisiveness at that particular moment:

“Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” (Lk. 23:42).

            Jesus immediately recognizes salvation-quality faith and responds:

“Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Lk. 23:43).

            Pilate could have gone in the direction of faith, like this thief of the cross boldly confessing his recognition of the true character of Jesus, but instead surrendered to the political pressure of the crowd (Jn. 18:33-38).

            What adds awe and grandeur to the cross of Jesus Christ is that not only are there zero-in-number other candidates in human history or in human literary fiction that claim perfection of character, but it is literally impossible to get a perfect person all the way to the lowest form of ignominy, of Roman execution on the cross on Calvary Hill (Isa. 53), for anyone other than God.

            Jesus Christ is the blemish-free, Passover Lamb of God fore-glimpsed in Genesis 22:7-13 and Exodus 12:21-23, yet Jesus on the cross in the middle of these two thieves has taken-on the shame of sin that belongs to us, even though He had no sin Himself.

            Jesus Christ the Creator of the universe willingly takes-on the shame of being considered a common criminal dying alongside these two thieves on their crosses, because this is the only way that a perfect person could also be the blemish-free, Passover Lamb of God substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.

            Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6) yet we find Jesus being crucified in the middle of two thieves (Isa. 53:4-7, 12).

            Mark Twain in his classic book The Prince and the Pauper, describes the benefits to be acquired by the young prince going-out into the real-world incognito, that will enable him to someday rule his people with enlightened justice and a compassionate perspective based upon this first-hand interaction as a commoner-in-disguise with the common people living within his future kingdom.

            But the distinction here of Jesus Christ taking upon Himself the shame of being “numbered among the transgressors” as He is being crucified in the middle of two thieves, is that this incredible downshift in status is not directly for His benefit.

            This sacrifice is instead for the benefit of us being able to go out into the world through our imperfect yet redeemed “earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7) to learn the genuine truth about good and evil, like this young prince in Mark Twain’s story, of getting outside the palace walls in the disguise of a commoner to discover the real-world.

            Jesus Christ on the cross sets us free from the bondage to sin, but He does not set us free from our imperfect moral natures (Jn. 8:36; Gal. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:16; Col. 3:1-3).

            When believers someday in the future are in heaven, Jesus will sit on His throne in all His glory.  But Jesus will also get outside of the Holy City to walk amongst His people like He did when He walked the earth, and speak with them through the same quality of a resurrected body like we will inhabit.

            Jesus can talk to this one thief alongside Him as both another common human being the thief can relate to, but also as “Lord.”

            This is the awe-inspiring, science-savvy physicist god of Richard Dawkins exhibiting the character traits of divine love and humility to a perfection unheard of in all of human history…standing alone atop all of literary fiction and non-fiction.

            The contrast between the two thieves illuminates a reality in this world, of belief and unbelief, that cannot exist in a purely material universe.

            This then begins to give us some factual evidence upon which to differentiate truth from error in the moral realm of personal relationships, which is not subjective but objective.

            Equally important, Jesus through this sacrifice on the cross enables the redemptive salvation that was in-play throughout the Old Testament, to come into clearer focus as the gospel message goes-out to the Greco-Roman world of the Gentiles in the first-century.

            Jesus Christ the Son of God on the cross between two thieves could have been legalistically dismissive and aloof, answering the one thief by saying something like: “too bad, you made your bed, now sleep in it.”

            But Jesus is humbly taking-on the persona of a criminal numbered amongst criminals, because He is taking our lowly place on the cross that we deserve as wayward rebels and criminals (Isa. 53).

            Another enormous takeaway from this account of the thief on the cross and his encounter with Jesus Christ being crucified next to him, is that God can work with faith and trust in Him.

            A perfect God being brilliant pure light and absolute goodness, and possessing divinely timeless foresight, can work with the bare minimum of people exercising faith and trust in Him.

            Redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ sets-up the program of investigative research through the four-wheel drive vehicle of a fallen yet redeemed imperfect character…inhabiting an “earthen vessel” (2 Cor. 4:7). 

            This gives believers the precise lens we need to be able to comprehend the subtle nuances of the broad array of moral concepts contained within the knowledge of good and evil, like the precise focusing knobs we turn to find clarity using a microscope or a telescope.

            The concept that the Creator God of the universe is the only person capable of inventing and implementing a research program where I can journey-out into a risk-filled adventure of faith in which it is guaranteed that I will make mistakes, and that the deliberate intention is that I can learn by these honest mistakes without jeopardizing my eternal salvation…is anything but petty and small.

            The concept that redemptive salvation is based around the Creator God of the universe being the only person capable of a morally perfect life to qualify as the Passover Lamb of God substitution to take our place on the cross of execution, out of a perfectly unselfish motivation that opens-up for us a genuine exploration into the knowledge of good and evil…is sublimely brilliant. 

            This is an idea that far exceeds the awe and grandeur that scientific materialists ascribe to the physical world we study through science, because the physical world and the cross of Christ both ascend to the peak and the pinnacle of awe and grandeur, because they were both imaginatively created within the mind of God.

            Scientific materialists study the natural world through the well-deserved acclaim of being investigative scholars.

            But this creates the artificial gap between experts and non-experts, which results in the projection by Richard Dawkins of a hypothetical divine physicist as creator of the universe, deserving the same high-status in character like himself.

            But this story of the thief on the cross exhibits a broad range of character for the God of the Bible that portrays in action the amazing ability to combine absolute goodness with a level of divine humility that can share equally the shame of the cross alongside two thieves, while at the same time inaugurating the most love-filled research programs into the knowledge of good and evil.

            This program of redemptive salvation closely mirrors the deliberate intention underlying the orderly and intelligible openness of the natural world for human scientific investigation.

            I would posit here that this concept of Jesus Christ living a perfect life as recorded in the four New Testament gospels, and confirmed afterwards by His broad and exhaustive impact upon mankind ever since, that He could make it all the way to Calvary for our sakes is as deeply profound as any mystery we investigate in the natural world through science.

            The origin and experiential functionality of this concept is incomprehensible within the open marketplace of ideas in a purely material universe devoid of purpose and meaning.

            Like the need for detailed evidentiary facts to explain the origin of DNA in living cells in the 2009 Oxford debate between John Lennox and Richard Dawkins, the explanation underlying the cross of Jesus Christ must dig deeper than the generalized assertion that the creator of the universe cannot be so petty and small as to humble Himself as the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin, in a pre-modern, first-century Israel.

            Finally, in every essay in this book I am making the case that the God of the Bible meets all of the qualification standards of being Designer, Creator, and Ruler of heaven and earth.

            Peter mistakenly thought according to the general tenets of manhood and character that he should stand beside Jesus at His night trial, and argue all night for His innocence if need be.

            But it was not the intention of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to make the compelling case to acquit Jesus of all charges that night.

            Jesus was supposed to be the substitutionary sacrifice on the cross so that we could have the opportunity through a new and living way to go out into human life and discover through first-hand experience the subtle nuances of good and evil.

            The brilliance of the program of redemptive salvation is that this allows believers to learn by their mistakes and failures through a methodology very similar to that of scientific investigations, of aiming for good character but often falling short.

            Redemptive salvation provides the impunity needed within the risk of failure as we embark upon God-composed journey of faith life-scripts designed to actualize some portion of God’s virtue into our lives…a quality and desirability of virtue that was incomprehensible to me before I met Jesus Christ.

            This is anything but small and petty.

            The cross of Jesus Christ is deeper than quantum mechanics, the fine-tuning of the constants of physics, the information content in DNA, the origin of life on earth, and the capacity of human beings for intellectual and moral reasoning. 

            In one sense Richard Dawkins was right.

            The cross of Jesus Christ was small and petty, because it had to be small and petty to achieve its goal.

            An adventure of faith in pursuit of the knowledge of good and evil is open to me today, because the Creator of the universe Jesus Christ was willing to be small and petty according to the standards of this world, for a short period of time on earth (Isa. 9:6-7, 53:1-12, 61:1-3), for my sake.  For this I will be eternally grateful.

            If scientific investigation of the natural living and non-living world culminates in the conclusion that the universe has a Creator God as the intelligent agent behind it all, then the next remaining question to resolve is what defines good and evil.

            What character traits demonstrate a good king, good president, good CEO of a business enterprise, and a good father of a family unit?

            Is a good leader an autocratic tyrant like Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Pinochet, or Putin?

            Or is a good leader demonstrated by the God of the Bible who can embrace the lowest humility of the cross at Calvary with the divine love and determined resolution to open-up the way of redemptive salvation by grace through faith, for believers to venture-out into the research program into the knowledge of good and evil that we can experience through the joint-venture of a journey of faith with God? 

            All of this has enormous implications for how the upcoming years play-out for mankind.

The Thief on the Cross 3

            Why is truth important?

            If this universe is purely matter and energy only, then what is even the point of discerning truth from error?  What does it matter in the long-run if there is no purpose or meaning in the universe?

            Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

            If purpose and meaning do exist in the universe, then is matter and energy capable of producing a search for truth?  And why would it do so?

            From the theistic viewpoint, the very existence of an Oxford debate between John Lennox and Richard Dawkins on this particular topic implies subtly that God has buried scientific materialism, because the question of which worldview has buried the other worldview should be illogically incapable of arising out of a purely material universe.

            Scientific materialism dissolves itself by its mere existence as a debatable issue, because by definition this question is too complex for a purely material universe devoid of purpose and meaning.

            But the really dangerous thing today is that scientific materialism is capable of burying science itself, by undermining its credibility.

            From the time of 1859 with the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, to shortly after DNA was discovered in 1953 by Francis Crick and James Watson, and Fred Hoyle began to study the fine-tuning of carbon resonance inside super-hot stars to create oxygen and carbon…until roughly then science was a safe haven for the atheistic worldview of naturalistic materialism.

            But where does it get us if scientific materialists discover a purely naturalistic, self-assembling mechanism inside living cells that explains the vast diversity of life?

            Where does it lead if it can be proven by modern science that there exists an all-encompassing theory of everything, that supports a purely material universe without the need for an intelligent designing agent?

            The worldview of naturalistic materialism by definition leads to total annihilation, no other outcome being possible.

            In a purely material universe, the race towards truth in science is a race towards recognizing and codifying oblivion.

            But what if the vote-count from modern science in terms of evidentiary facts tells us that intelligent agency won the election, and a materialistic Mother Nature lost?

            As humans we do not choose to place our faith and trust in the God of the Bible because we want the universe to have purpose and meaning, because we want our lives to likewise have purpose and meaning.

            This would be wishful thinking squared or cubed, based upon nothing factual.

            But if the organized complexity we see everywhere in the natural world tells us intelligent agency won the election, then the next step is to see if we can recognize and differentiate truth beyond the physical universe, within human experience.

            This admittedly is not easy coming from a secular perspective.

            The strange reality in 2022 at the time of the completion of this book, is that discerning and differentiating between genuine truth and fabricated conspiracy theories occupies the central place in both politics and science.

            If we are saying the presidential election in 2020 in America was stolen because we want a different outcome, if after qualified election officials say that this election was one of the most accurate in U.S. history, if we still insist upon our preferred outcome then we have abandoned the validity of evidentiary facts.

            If most of the evidence from modern science today and general appearances in the natural world point towards the existence of intelligently organized complexity, if we still insist on our preferred worldview of atheistic materialism, then we are rejecting the basic tenet of scientific investigation to follow the facts impartially wherever they lead in the larger search for truth.

            Scientific materialists who loudly proclaim their allegiance to the empirical quality of factual evidence on the one hand, yet on the other hand dismiss the design evidence in the natural world that nearly everyone else sees, to argue this design away as a mere illusory artifact of the wishful thinking of our need to imagine a designer god, calls into question the impartiality of humans to adjudicate anything complex towards a near-perfect conclusion.  

The Thief on the Cross 2

            Is the concept of truth supported by factual evidence, now under attack?

            From the enhanced perspective of the current political and cultural reality in 2022, the basic questions of truth, facts, a free-press, accountability, free-and-fair elections, and the reliability of the human faculty to differentiate right from wrong, now illuminates more clearly the basic issues being argued in this 2009 Oxford debate.

            A discussion of the nature of truth in politics and in science should not be swept-under-the-rug at this critical time in human history, as a concession to the otherwise commendable goal of maintaining congeniality.

            One of the takeaways from this 2009 Oxford debate is that when one person is arguing using generalizations, and the opponent is attempting to steer the discussion towards hard facts, that this hopelessly devolves into the classic case of comparing apples with oranges.

            When the losing presidential candidate following an election, asserts that his victory was stolen through the fraudulent counting of ballots, this is an assertion that can empirically be checked through the legal process of first challenging the vote-count, and then going back to perform a re-count.

            But what is incredibly important here, during and after this re-count of the votes in the battleground states that could change the outcome of the election, the detailed mechanics of how the ballots are issued, collected, tallied, and verified should be communicated to the populace to eliminate the continuation of conspiracy theory generalities put forward by the losing candidate.

            If after a re-count of the ballots this shows that there was no widespread fraud during the election process, but the losing candidate is freely allowed to continue to assert that the election was stolen and falsely proclaims himself the winner, then a strange paradox is created in the contest of ideas between general assertions at one level and hard empirical evidence at another level.

            This apples-to-oranges contest within the political arena and within the origin-of-life dilemma can only be resolved by first agreeing upon what is the standard for determining truth…factually unsupported assertions or detailed empirical evidence.

            But at a much deeper and fundamental level the question can be asked of how and why this type of contested issue could and should be a part of the human experience in the first-place…in politics, biology, or anywhere else.

            The old saying that sunlight is the best disinfectant, in this parallel political analogy of confirming or disconfirming the accuracy of the vote-count in a political election, can only be resolved by both a re-count of the ballots and a thoroughly detailed explanation to the general populace of how this process accurately works.

            Like the need to appeal to both the empirical evidentiary facts and a detailed explanation to the general public of the mechanics of the election process, to dispel the assertions of voter fraud by the losing candidate, the defense by Richard Dawkins that science does not need God in the area of biology because evolution already explains everything, in my opinion has devolved down into a data-free conspiracy theory.

            When the layman on the street gets exposed to even an inkling of the detailed mechanics of DNA and the molecular machinery inside a living cell at the level of biochemistry, the immediate inference is to the recognition of design at work.

            Over the last 160-plus years of intensive research into the truth or falsehood of the theory of Darwinian macroevolution, the complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information that describe the biology of life inside living cells can now be tested at the level of evidentiary facts rather than generalized assertions.

            The organized complexity operating inside living cells does not support the generalized assertion that Darwinian evolution explains everything in biology.

            At this critical time in human history, when liberal democracy is being challenged by the false claims of a stolen election, “fake-news,” the downplaying of a pandemic that has at this time taken the lives of 850,000 Americans, and the politicizing of vaccinations, the fundamental question arises as to whether claims regarding truth must be backed-up by factual evidence.

            Because the narrative can be spun at the level of generalized assertions, and because humans possess the capacity for intellectual and moral discernment to differentiate the truth or falsity of truth-claims, the question of how we arrive at genuine truth is now front-and-center in our modern age.

The Thief on the Cross 1

            The Bible is based upon historical people and events.  The cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is defended on the basis of an appeal to the reliability of factual evidence.

            If truth in the world devolves into the relativism of conspiracy theories and outright lies, if truth is perceived as a malleable reality that can be shaped into whatever narrative we choose to believe despite whatever the factual evidence says, then the Christian’s appeal to an independent, historical standard of universal truth in sharing the gospel message…disappears.

            In the 2009 debate at Oxford between John Lennox and Richard Dawkins on the topic of Has Science Buried God[1], part-way into the discussion Richard Dawkins appeals to the all-purpose generalization that the Darwinian model of genetic mutations and natural selection explains the origin of the complexity of DNA and the molecular machinery inside living cells.

            Richard Dawkins at this point in the debate regarding the question of how DNA came into being, asserts in the most general terms that Darwinian evolution has already answered this question.

            The problem here is that Darwinian evolution has not answered this question at all.

            Simply stating that it has in the form of an assertion, does not make it so.

            The jump from zero bits of information before the existence of life, to the roughly 3.0 to 3.5 billion bits of information needed to support the architectural body-plan of the first living single-cell bacteria that can both survive and reproduce itself, cannot be explained through small, gradually incremental steps no matter how long science ponders this origin-of-life dilemma.

            From the vantage point of 2022 now looking back in hindsight, the accumulation of factual evidence regarding the phenomena in the natural world has turned the centuries-long science and God debate 180-degrees around.

            The difficulty in arguing for or against Darwinian evolution in 2022, is that mechanics is easily confused with agency.

            On the surface, mechanics appears to be interchangeable with agency.

            For scientific materialists like Richard Dawkins, mechanics is agency.

            There is complex, organized molecular biochemical mechanics in action inside living cells, observed and studied by modern science.

            But for scientific materialists, genetic mutation producing variant physical traits chosen by natural selection for enhanced survival and reproduction, is a naturalistic process of agency that is integral within the mechanics itself, combining mechanics and agency together as one…without the need for any independent source of guiding intelligence.

            We know from logic that the mechanics comprising an airplane cannot be assembled to achieve function while the airplane is in flight.

            The airplane must be filled-up with gasoline or jet-fuel, all of its parts lubricated, and a thorough pre-flight check made before the airplane takes-off and becomes airborne.

            The gradual development of an airplane to become air-worthy does not overlap into a final assembly phase of necessary parts while in flight.

            The logical inconsistency in biology utilizing Darwinian evolution is the question of at what point in development over time is the living organism airborne and in flight.

            Is “flight” achieved gradually lifting-off the ground while microscopic molecular machines and the blueprint information in DNA are crafting different cells-types to create an elephant or a giraffe?  Is embryonic development analogous to the jetliner being assembled pre-flight, piece-by-piece on the assembly-line inside a hangar?

            Or is “flight” defined for living organisms at the moment they are fully assembled to successfully function in the outside world, prepared ahead of time to blend immediately into the fast-lane of predator/prey relationships in their particular biodiverse environment and ecological niche?

            For human beings created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), the process of producing a flight-worthy airplane first occurs on the conceptual drawing-board within the imagination of the aeronautical engineer.

            I can speak from personal experience that a new house is never built on-the-fly, making it up as we go.

            The general assertion that Darwinian evolution can account for the origin of DNA and the molecular machinery inside living cells, and that this can then coordinate to produce the ten-million varied living species on earth, is in essence cutting-out the conceptual thought-process of the aeronautical engineer, and replacing it with the mechanical process of the airplane assembly taking place in the hangar…self-assembly mechanics and agency being one and the same thing.   

            The idea that DNA is needed to produce proteins, and proteins are needed to produce DNA, without the guidance of intelligent agency, is a simultaneous chicken-and-egg, who is the lead dancer in a two-person dance, that would be as nonsensical as assembling an airplane in flight.

            The idea that Darwinian evolution can gradually produce incremental function spread-out over the entire process pre-birth and post-birth is not supported by a logical interpretation of the evidentiary facts, requiring too many sequentially coordinated assemblies.

            But the idea that function is acquired immediately in a moment of time somewhere along the process of development is not allowed in naturalistic materialism, being a single-point of realizing the future defining outcome of the thing being assembled far in advance of that defining outcome being realized…in essence injecting foresight into gradual development having a definite outcome “in mind” before the thing reaches a final outcome.

            The quality of personal oversight that creates a flight-worthy airplane that gradually approaches function part-by-part, occurs step-by-step in the manufacturing assembly-line hangar.

            But real flight is only actualized after the completed and fuel-up airplane is rolled-out onto the runway for take-off.

            The assembly of an airplane is never completed in flight.

            This reality appears to identify clearly differentiated lines between conception, assembly, and actualized flight for an airplane.

            The dilemma for scientific materialism is that it has to identify where and when their version of impersonal agency can be pinpointed in the sequential mechanics of the embryonic development of living organisms that approximate foresight, of when each organism begins to home-in on its uniquely defined and completed essence to be capable of taking-off and becoming “airborne” as an elephant, lion, salmon, or human being.  

            The materialistic process must be chopped-up into small enough individual activities to incorporate some measure of chance-produced self-assembly, but this methodology also chops-up foresight that can get an assembly of body-parts to coalesce into functional body-plans capable of survival and reproduction.

            If I am seeing this rightly, the scientific materialist is saying here that Mother Nature through the mechanics of the process itself is the identifiable agent, that impersonal mechanics, agency, and function are all synonymous.

            This is nonsensical.

            I think this is what Richard Dawkins is inferring in this 2009 debate when he says that Darwinian evolution explains DNA and the molecular machinery inside the living cell…the mechanism of evolution itself being the designing agent.

            A scientific materialist cannot go beyond mechanics to include the foresight of well-aimed trajectories towards preconceived outcomes, because this invokes the need for an extremely intelligent designer in the complex theater of biological life.

            As said previously in another essay, some scientists for decades have been telling us that God is dead, and that science alone is the only reliable path to discover genuine truth.

            But today the strange and counterintuitive realization is surfacing that the mere possession of a mass of raw data alone does not automatically or naturally lead to a true verdict.

            Facts can be manipulated and interpreted into various competing spins containing half-truths that are difficult to conclusively adjudicate.

            If some scientists today are falsely spinning the narrative to fit within a materialistic worldview, then the reliably objective nature of the scientific enterprise has been corrupted to the point of calling into question the capacity of science to discover real truth.

            If scientific materialists are telling us one thing, but the facts-on-the-ground are telling us something else, then we have reached a new fork-in-the-road that I believe was not anticipated at the start of the Scientific Revolution.

            I do not think that scientific materialists in the mid-twentieth century thought that the database of complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information in the natural living and non-living world could reach the point where the empirical, fact-based character of the scientific enterprise would compellingly point towards the absolute need for intelligent agency as the best explanation for the origin and structure of our universe.

            If the huge advances through scientific research have reached the conclusion that human nature on its own has the proclivity towards the divisions, factions, and schisms of competing ideologies despite a full plate of the facts…I believe this would be an unexpected realization.


[1] Has Science Buried God debate at Oxford 2009 between John Lennox and Richard Dawkins, hosted by the Fixed Point Foundation, on You Tube.

A Genuine, Biblical-Quality Journey of Faith is Hard

            One of the most difficult and challenging things in all of human experience is to place our faith in the God of the Bible to help us through a crisis.

            The biblical narrative stories of faith have life-scripts that are filled with life-and-death challenges that are the direct opposite of the pursuit of a life-of-ease.

            In God-composed journey of faith life-scripts in the Bible, there seems to be an equilibrium between the progress achieved in an adventure of faith and the spiritual opposition that pushes back, and/or the challenges inherent in simply choosing to do the right thing when this is hard.

            Abraham and Sarah producing Ishmael, Abraham about to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah, Joseph enduring the difficult training program in leadership in Egypt, Moses and the Israelites trapped at the shore of the Red Sea as the Egyptian chariot army approaches to destroy them, Joshua discouraged by the height and strength of the walled cities in Canaan like Jericho, Ruth’s leap of faith in following her mother-in-law to the foreign land of Israel, Hannah’s dilemma in not being able to provide her husband with children, David’s difficult walking through the valley of the shadow of death in preparation to become king…not o mention Elijah, Jeremiah, Esther and Mordecai, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, and Paul to name only a few from the Bible.

            But why does Jesus the perfect and sinless Son of God encounter resistance from the very time of His birth?

            One reason is that His life must be a model for ours, in order to be real.

            If the life-script for Jesus was a clear life-of-ease, then this reality would be an unattainable model for the vast majority of people.

            But equally applicable, Jesus incarnate in a human body has the same adversary Satan that we do (Lk. 4:1-13).

            I may be that resistance is the only way that strength is created…like lifting weights.

            One thought is that life in this broken world cannot ever remove the counterforce of challenge, because this current environment is the perfect “boot camp” for discovering the genuine knowledge of good and evil when pursued through the redemptive salvation of grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

            The parable of the rich fool (Lk. 12:16-21) describes the worldly unconventional approach of the biblical narrative stories of faith to pursue the higher ideal of a purposeful life that transcends above the mere pursuit of a life-of-ease.

            The only resistance-free environment is the spiritual kingdom of God in heaven, that awaits believers in the upcoming eternity.

            Trying to obtain it here and now is a fruitless endeavor (Mk. 8:34-38).

            Rare metals like gold and silver are purified in the heat of a furnace.

            Jesus did not need purifying or perfecting as He is the blemish-free Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin.

            But He did have to model perfect faith and behavior in the face of opposition.

            Jesus had to exemplify in action the divine character of God as the Passover Lamb of God in order to qualify as the substitutionary atonement for our sins so that we could with impunity venture-out into an adventure of faith without our many mistakes counting against us.

            The brilliant program of redemptive salvation enables an adventure of faith following our God-composed journey of faith life-scripts amidst the resistance of the fiery furnace of spiritual opposition, but also the fundamental challenge of walking by faith and not be sight (2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:1).

            This reality is channeled and guided by God to produce lessons-learned that likewise qualify us through the blood shed by Jesus on the cross, and through His resurrection, to likewise be the children of God.

Jesus Has the Perfect Answer Every Time

            Are the religious leaders partially correct when they bring the woman caught in adultery before Jesus (Jn. 8:1-11)?

            Of course, they are…except that they aren’t.

            The main problem with the religious leaders opposing Jesus throughout the gospels is that in directing these “hard” questions at Jesus, they have the wrong motivation of trying to trip-up Jesus, to “catch Him in His words.”

            But that is not the issue here.

            The real lesson from the replies of Jesus to the questions posed by the religious leaders is that Jesus Christ as the living Word of God has different answers to the conventionally accepted viewpoints of these religious leaders in Jerusalem, different answers that by definition must be absolutely correct to fit each individual circumstance.

            The religious leaders certainly did not anticipate Jesus saying in John 8:7 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

            After each of these men left one-by-one as they were convicted by their conscience, Jesus stands up and says to the woman in John 8:11 “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

            People can debate the rightness of this judgment made by Jesus.

            In all moral issues there is a latitude of possible choices, there is a range of possible answers.

            But the point here is that the answer of Jesus in this particular set of circumstances is different from the anticipated answer the religious leaders expected to hear, regardless of their corrupted and malicious motivations.    

            This reality can be graphed on a simple spectrum-line of possible answers and responses that Jesus could have expressed when suddenly confronted with this “hard” question put to Him by these men, of what was the right thing to do with the woman caught in adultery.

            John 14:6 records Jesus as saying: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

            Jesus gives the right answer to every issue presented to Him because He is brilliant pure light, absolute goodness, and has divine foresight.

            In the New Testament gospels, people could have asked Jesus many more hard questions that He would have answered perfectly every time.

            But the religious leaders finally stopped asking Jesus questions they thought they could trap Him with, because their underlying motivation was corrupt and insincere (Mt. 22:46).

            Jesus is asked and He answers just enough hard questions to establish His credentials in claiming to be “the truth” as confirmed by the apostle John writing: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:14).

            Slightly different circumstances in each case would have elicited different responses by Jesus, but each answer would be perfect in terms of truth and justice tempered by perfectly divine, unselfish love.

            Were the religious leaders correct in saying that the Jews were supposed to honor the Sabbath and do no work on that holy day (Mt. 12:9-13)?

            Of course, they are…but not entirely.

            When they object to miracles of healing performed on the Sabbath day as work, Jesus responds by pointing-out that owners of livestock lead their horses, mules, sheep, and cattle to water on the Sabbath without violating the Sabbath (Lk. 13:15-16).

            If a sheep falls into a pit on the Sabbath, we pull it out without this being considered doing work (Mt. 12:11-12).

            Here again the specific answer given by Jesus to this issue is different from the conventionally accepted interpretation of the Law of Moses as asserted by the religious leaders, which can be depicted on a single line-graph spectrum of all of the possible answers Jesus could have expressed.

            Another classic example of Jesus having the one right answer occupying a single point on a horizontal graph-line continuum of possible options is giving in Mark 2:23-28 of the Pharisees criticizing the apostles of plucking ears of “grain” to eat on the Sabbath, as if this should be classified as prohibited work: “And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?” (Mk. 2:24).

            Jesus answers that David in need ate the priest’s “show bread,” and that the sabbath was made for man and not the other way around.

            Some slightly different set of circumstances would have elicited from Jesus a slightly different response, but still perfect.

            The religious leaders asked Jesus: Do we pay taxes to the Romans or not?        

Surely here the Pharisees have Jesus backed into a corner in a no-win situation, there being no satisfactory answer that will not offend either the Jews or the Romans.

The impressive answer that has garnered the respect of friend and foe alike for its brilliant insight for the past twenty centuries of: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mt. 22:21), could only come from the living Word of God instantly having the right answer every time.

Jesus did not cover every issue that would confront the early church down to our present day.

If Jesus had exhaustively covered every issue, then we could erroneously relapse into a paint-by-by-the-numbers self-performance of a detailed program by our own solitary efforts.

This would open the door for self-salvation by good works that precludes a personal relationship with God

Jesus did not address the question posed to Paul by the first-century churches of what to do when invited to a banquet when the “meat” being served has been blessed over by a pagan deity (1 Cor. 8:1-13).

Jesus did not address the problem recognized by Paul of believers suing other believers in secular courts of law (1 Cor. 6:1-8).

Jesus did not address the pivotal question of whether or not Gentile believers should be circumcised in order to be saved.

God did this by deliberate intention.

Redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ justifiably enables God to brilliantly flip our fallen natures into the precise research vehicles to capably explore the knowledge of good and evil with the impunity of knowing that our eternal salvation is not placed in jeopardy by our honest mistakes in guided lessons-learned (Rom. 7:15-8:4; 2 Cor. 4:7; Mt. 5:6; Jn. 8:36).

Because every person who has ever lived except for Jesus Christ occupies an imperfect moral nature, it follows then that every person called into a God-composed journey of faith life-script will be accomplishing their joint-venture mission through the lens of an imperfect yet redeemed “earthen vessel.”

This is not a new biblical doctrine but is an insight as orthodox as can be.

When I was born-again spiritually at the age of 18 many years ago now, God did not transform me instantly into a perfect moral person incapable from then-on for making any mistakes.

If perfect, how would I learn anything?

And how could I comprehend the subtle nuances of the moral concepts within the knowledge of good and evil, without being able to view this fallen and broken world through the microscopic and telescopic lens of an earthen vessel?

Jesus did not answer everything for us by deliberate intention, because we are supposed to discover first-hand the concepts of right and wrong through hearts and minds “hungering and thirsting after righteousness” (Mt. 5:6) coherently blended within an imperfect moral character…being the best and only way to conduct a credible investigation in the best traditions of empirical scientific research.

In the program of redemptive salvation, my sins are covered by the blood of Jesus past, present, and future so that I can with confidence enter into an authorized and sanctioned adventure of faith where it is guaranteed that I will stumble and fall many times as the path gets higher, narrower, and steeper.

Because the God of the Bible is brilliant pure light, absolute goodness, and possesses timeless foresight, this enables God to orchestrate and manage my unique adventure of faith within this 4th dimension of time from the vantage point of a timeless environment.

Finally, the perfection of the order, intelligibility, and organized complexity of the physical universe establishes the parallel capacity for God to be given the benefit-of-the-doubt to compose life-scripts for us that fully develop and perfect our individual destinies.

            This is the common though-line theme that runs throughout all of the positive biblical narrative stories of faith.

A few other notable questions and issues addressed perfectly by Jesus Christ might be the woman at the well (Jn 4:5-42), who is my neighbor? (Lk. 10:29), and why do you associate with “publicans and sinners?” (Mt. 9:10-13).

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).

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.  

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