A Delicate Balance for Unbelief 1

“And through his policy also he shall cause deceit to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many; and he also shall stand up against the Prince of princes, but he shall be broken without hand.”                                                                                            (Dan. 8:25)

If God wanted to provide incontrovertible proof to the world that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God and the promised Messiah to Israel, all Jesus had to do after He was raised from the dead was to walk down the middle of Main Street and right into the temple in Jerusalem…on Tuesday or Wednesday of the first week following His resurrection.

This is so obvious that we miss it.

This is like the theological controversy between the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the first-century…regarding the resurrection of the dead.

Jesus answers this question posed to Him as a theological challenge by the Sadducees (Mk. 12:18-27), by pointing out in the scriptures that at the burning bush God identified Himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Jesus then says that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, thus resolving this first-century controversy as to whether there is life after death.

Even though the Old Testament is not overly definitive on the subject of the afterlife, the answer to this specific question was right there all the time in plain sight…in one of the most well-known encounters in the Old Testament, in this exchange between God and Moses at the burning bush.

If the risen Jesus can suddenly appear in a room where the disciples are gathered (Lk. 24:36), and earlier the same day walk alongside two disciples heading for the nearby village of Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-32), it would not have been any more difficult for Jesus to walk into the temple in Jerusalem.

Then everyone, including the Pharisees and scribes, would believe in Him.

Why did Jesus only appear to Mary Magdalene at the tomb (Jn. 20:11-18)…to Peter (Lk. 24:34)…to James (1 Cor. 15:7)…to the eleven apostles (Jn. 20:19-23)…to five hundred people (1 Cor. 15:6)…and to Paul (1 Cor. 15:8)?

Why did God set-up the gospel-message preaching of the early church based upon the eyewitness testimony of the disciples, instead of the more obvious and beyond-a-doubt visual proof of Jesus walking openly through the streets of Jerusalem after His resurrection?

Why did God moderate and fine-tune the impact of the Son of God’s ministry on earth in such a way as to leave intact the ability of large numbers of people to remain in skeptical unbelief for centuries to come?

Why is this fine-tuning of the balance between belief and unbelief in the spiritual realm…at a level comparable to the precision of the fine-tuning of the strength of gravity or the cosmological constant in our natural world?

Why does the Christian witness today begin with our testimony that Jesus Christ lives…that He redeemed us into a new and living way…that the transformation in our lives demonstrates that God is real…and that our knowledge that we now possess eternal life sets us free from a past life in bondage to sin?

Why do we come home from a prayer meeting at the age of 18, like I did, after becoming a new Christian, into a house and a family that is antagonistic toward the Christian faith (Mt. 10:34-36)?

Why do we start-out having to earnestly resolve to live the Christian life in all of its purity so that those around us will see His Light within us and also believe?

Why is it so important for God to maintain this delicate balance between the ability to freely believe in God…and conversely the freedom to remain in skeptical unbelief…which makes evangelism and the conversion of others so difficult?

The answers to these questions are profoundly deep, yet profoundly simple.

The only thing that really matters, in the final analysis, in our verbally spoken and life-in-action witness about Jesus Christ, is the quality of our transformation into becoming new improved people in Christ.

All of the persuasive speech in existence will sound empty and flat if our faith in Jesus Christ produces no tangibly noticeable improvement in our outlook, our attitudes, our countenance, and in our actions.

The acid-test in the witness of any Christian’s testimony to the world is the positive change that has occurred in our lives (Jas. 2:18).

Once people see this positive change, it is then up to them to evaluate whether or not they will consider and be open to the possibility in their own lives of repenting of their sins before God, abandoning self-in-control through the cross, and following Jesus into a journey of faith creating genuine meaning and purpose for their existence.

Jesus Christ…as seen in the lives and in the verbal testimony of Christians…is what attracts most people to the Christian faith (Mt. 5:16).

This is why a universally accepted, factual acknowledgement of the existence of God…through something like the fictionalized, hypothetical example of the risen Jesus walking openly down the main streets of Jerusalem, is unacceptable.

There must be a broad separation between the two extremes of belief and unbelief, having a wide gray-area center of indecisive fence-sitting, for the intentional and committed discipleship of picking up our cross to follow Jesus… to have real value.

God could easily confirm His existence supernaturally anytime to the satisfaction of the most skeptical people on earth today.  God could remove unbelief in an instant.

But then our decision to follow Jesus Christ in response to His love would not be based upon a voluntary free-will choice.

We do not voluntarily choose to believe in the existence of the noonday sun.  We do not choose to believe in two plus two equals four.  These are obvious, involuntarily acknowledged facts that require no faith or choice whatsoever.

A resurrected Jesus walking into the temple in Jerusalem, or walking openly down its main city streets, would not result in a free-will choice to believe, trust, and follow Him in response to His loving invitation for an intimate friendship.

It would simply change the nature of faith in Jesus Christ into an incontrovertible fact, conferring no more virtue upon its adherents than upon the observation that the noonday sun exists.

One reason that God has maintained the delicate balance between belief and unbelief throughout the long course of human redemptive history…is that it adds meaning to the free-will choice of human beings to believe in God to the point of yielding their lives to His will and leading.

The virtue of following God through thick-and-thin, like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul, only has meaning in a world where people can freely push God away and live their lives in total self-sovereignty apart from God.

This delicate balance between belief and unbelief in the spiritual realm is just as vitally important, indeed maybe more so in the eternal scheme of things, than the delicate balance of the fine-tuning of the current laws of physics in the natural universe.

Alter even slightly the force of gravity in the cosmos, and the delicate balance of factors needed to support complex life collapses.

Alter even slightly this delicate spiritual balance of belief and unbelief, and the working out of the eternal issues of right and wrong in our relationship to God… lose all sense of free-will, purpose, and meaning.

The Perfect Timing of God 4

Unity Forged Through Common Challenge

The present-day Christian church has lost its way.  We are lost in factions, and divisions, and denominations, and disagreements.

In this regard we are “yet carnal” (1 Cor. 3:3).  The early church warned us against this.  Somewhere along the past twenty centuries we lost the unity of brotherly love we are supposed to exemplify, exhibit, and enjoy as patterned for us in the Trinity.

As a group, we are currently as lost as the Israelites were as slaves in Egypt, or as lost as Joseph was as a prisoner in Pharaoh’s dungeon, or as lost as David was as King Saul chased him all over the countryside, or as momentarily lost as any of the other positive characters in the Bible waiting to find their true selves within the life-scripts composed by God for them.

This is not the Christian church that we are supposed to be.

We need outside supernatural help once again from God…to step-up into the challenge of a God-composed tribulation script of events designed to forge us into becoming the body of believers we were intended to be.

Just like the Israelites needed the parting of the Red Sea to jump-start them along their way to fulfilling their God-intended true destiny as the nation of Israel, the modern-day Christian church needs the intensity of first-century persecution and tribulation to focus on what is really important and to discard the unessential differences that divide us.

The shared experience of the adversity of the great tribulation is probably the only viable means that God can use to help the Christian church find itself…to capture its destiny and define itself as the expression of the character of Jesus Christ, in the purity of unselfish sacrificial love for each other and for the world.

This is the heartfelt final prayer of Jesus recorded in John 17, that His church of believers would become as one in the unity and bond of love like He and the Father are one.

One of the reasons that the Christian church must face-off against the Antichrist during at least some of the tribulation is that this is the final opportunity for Christians to exhibit the Christ-like character trait of unselfish, sacrificial, un-offended love in opposition to nakedly exposed raw hatred.

Unlike the Israelites at the parting of the Red Sea, who were at the beginning of their character growth journey through the desert toward the Promised Land, the end-times Christian will be set-apart and remarkable by the advanced character trait of being able to powerfully love the unsaved and unbelieving last generation of people in the world, without any thought or care for their own personal safety, welfare, or social acceptance.

The genuine Christian in the last days will stand-out for their ability to not be offended by evil, persecution, and tribulation in the face of their calling to preach the gospel message of peace amidst the massive final deceptions of Lucifer through the Antichrist.

One of the remarkable and distinctive characteristics of the divine love of God is that it does not exclude people for any reason (Mt. 9:10-11), but instead reaches out with the transforming power of truth and genuine care to deliver people from their bondage to sin.

“Love the sinner but hate the sin” has been the working motto for genuine Christian service and outreach to a lost world for two thousand years.  This is one of the defining, authenticating attributes of the genuine Christian disciple that cannot be faked or counterfeited in the heat of persecution and tribulation (Acts 14:22; 1 Thes. 1:6-8).

Pure divine love rises above all forms of prejudice, unforgiving resentments, and hatreds, because the invulnerability of selflessness contains nothing of substance that evil can take ahold of…or latch on to.

Uncompromising love in the face of the fierce opposition of persecution will be one of the validating signs of the love of Jesus Christ exhibiting itself in the words, countenance, bearing, confidence, and Holy Spirit light of the end-times tribulation tested Christian, demonstrated horizontally towards people and vertically towards God.

If Jesus Christ can bring His church to the point of being able to demonstrate this high level of pure, unselfish love in contrast to the unjustified, deadly animosity shown toward Christians by Lucifer through the Antichrist, then what does this have to say about mankind’s recovery from its early defeat in the Garden of Eden?

This final head-to-head comparison of the expression of the overcoming divine love of Jesus Christ demonstrated in action through end-times Christian people, contrasted with the nakedly exposed malicious and unwarranted hatred of the Antichrist, puts all of the great past issues into perspective.

John 20:21 reads “…even as the Father has sent me, even so send I you.”  All of the narrative stories of positive faith in the Bible contain an extremely tight set of circumstances.  This is one of the features that authenticates and validates the proactive hand of God working within the lives of His saints.  The tight circumstances of a biblical journey of faith are purposed…by the intelligent design of God…to fall outside of the capacity of human creative invention.

The philosophy of deism says that God indeed created our natural world, but then backed off to a comfortable distance and has no active participation in our ongoing world.  The journeys of faith recorded in the Bible tell us just the opposite.

Through the totally unique and novel aspects of the narrowness of the cross experience (Mt. 7:13-14), God demonstrates that He is intimately active in the lives of people of faith in a way that is unimaginable within worldly conventional thinking.

God-composed journeys of faith reveal that they are singularly divine because the tightly structured series of events mirror the same finely-tuned precision that we discover in the force of gravity or the cosmological constant in our physical universe.

In light of the foregoing discussion of the incredibly tight circumstances surrounding the disposition of the Egyptians and the Israelites at the shoreline of the Red Sea, and the tight series of divinely orchestrated circumstances in Egypt that Moses and the Israelites experienced in their deliverance from bondage in Egypt…the question can reasonably be asked: “Is the timing of a pretribulation rapture tight or wide?”

Is a rapture of the Christian church, placed at the beginning of the tribulation, consistent with the biblical pattern of God nurturing and building faith through incredibly tight circumstances outside of human imagination and control?

Is a pretribulation rapture scenario an aberration…inconsistent with the biblical pattern of God’s precise interaction in our lives?

Does it reveal instead a wishfully optimistic scriptural interpretation of end-times biblical prophecy based upon human intellectual reasoning that misses altogether the spiritual insight that comes through an understanding of the narrowness of a journey of faith…via the cross?

I believe that Christians currently engaged in journeys of faith following Jesus Christ will see in the days ahead that events and circumstances in their lives will tighten like never before, as preparation for the upcoming challenges facing the end-times church.

I believe that mature Christian men and women…having a recent history of purchasing an active and living faith through the intensive training environment of tight and narrow life experiences following Jesus Christ…will be indispensable leaders and examples for at least some portion of time during the tribulation.

When the world starts to come apart, threatening the worldly conventional dreams and aspirations for normal life that are shortly coming to an end, the last remaining group of lost sheep will finally let go of the cares of this world…and respond to the gospel message of hope and salvation amidst even the most daunting of circumstances.

This message will be preached by courageous Joel 2:28-29 Christians who have the personal conviction of having “walked the walk” through their own God-led adventures of faith.

I believe that every major, positive character in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, and all of the people of faith during the church age… including Christians in faith-propelled ministries of one sort or another today… have at some time in a personal and honest moment with God asked: “Do you really and actually know what you are doing, God?”

I believe that part of the last “great tribulation” is designed to resoundingly answer that question in a final and unimaginably tight and precise “yes” that will secure our faith, trust, and admiration for God…for the rest of eternity.

The Perfect Timing of God 2

No Shadow of Turning in Perfect Love (James 1:17)

One of the developments that have resulted from the steady progress of modern Christian theology is a more insightful understanding and articulation of the concept of the Trinity (Mt. 3:16-17; Jn. 1:32-34).

This understanding of the relational friendship and love enjoyed between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for all eternity sheds light on the concept of unselfish and giving love, perfect in its expression within the fellowship of the Triune God.

A God who has been alone since eternity could not claim to have much credibility in the area of understanding perfect friendship and love.

But a singular God…who knows how to exercise perfect love in friendship and harmony within the complex nature of the three distinct Persons of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit…gives us a better understanding and comprehension of many of the core doctrines, teachings, and truths of the Bible.

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God” combined with “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”, makes more sense in the light of a model of unity, friendship, and love expressed within the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…since before time began.

A God whose program is based upon getting us back into a condition where He can unselfishly share with us the same quality of love He enjoys within the Trinity, adds that one helpful additional element to our understanding of the motivation behind God’s composition of our journeys of faith.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks the Father: “if thou be willing, remove this cup from me” but then surrenders His own personal preference in deference to the ancient course of action planned by Himself, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, working closely together as a team to provide salvation for mankind through the cross and the resurrection.

Jesus frames the classic sentiments of unselfish, sacrificial love by going on to say: “nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done” (Lk. 22:42).

This is one of the fundamental realities that is at the best and highest of the human experience.

In entering into a successful marriage, both husband and wife must lovingly and willingly surrender some of themselves to the wishes of their partner.  Part of the expression of love is this willingness to please the other person in the giving over of our own will and way, not just to maintain harmony, but because we genuinely care about the other person’s wishes and desires.

The same thing occurs in maintaining a healthy friendship.  We cannot enjoy a close friendship with another person if we insist upon having our way all the time.  In meeting other people “half-way” in the making of plans for the weekend, or in taking vacation trips together, or in simply deciding where to get together for lunch, the exercising of a humble spirit of compromise and unselfishness goes a long way toward building close and mutually respectful friendships that can last a lifetime.

Jesus Christ the Son of God surrenders a portion of His momentary preference…to explore the possibility of another option…to the eternally larger plan and scheme of salvation through the cross.

This is deference to the will of the Father…and love for His neighbor…human beings (as a result of His Incarnation into the human race)…in perfectly executed fulfillment of the commandments of the law and the prophets (Mt. 7:12).

In Gethsemane and at Calvary, Jesus loses some of His individuality…His personal request to the Father to “remove this cup of suffering.”

But in the highest and most sublime sense, in doing so, He gains back His individuality in defining Himself as the sacrificial atonement for sin, the Passover Lamb of God Savior for all eternity.  The self-sacrifice of the cross defines for all times the essence of truth, righteousness, and love.

The power, beauty, and rightness of the plan of salvation amazingly take precedence over the individual wishes of even the divine Son of God living in a human body.

This places Jesus Christ at the forefront as our leader in this regard.

When we give up something of ourselves, in a marriage relationship, in a friendship, within the structure of a healthy family life, and in a God-composed journey of faith following Jesus Christ according to His higher plans and not our own, we are experiencing one of the highest character traits leading to peace and goodwill for all eternity.

The Perfect Timing of God 1

“Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people of his own, zealous of good works.”                 (Tit. 2:14)

 

In the example of the parting of the Red Sea at the start of the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt, the perfect timing of God waits until all of the parties are together on the banks of the Red Sea before He begins to part the waters.

The Egyptian chariot army is stalled on one side of the pillar of fire, and on the other side the Israelites are watching the Red Sea open up through the supernatural hand of God.  The unarmed and defenseless Hebrew slaves are just beyond reach of the Egyptian army.

This sets in motion the infuriation of the proud Egyptians at this yet-again miraculous intervention of the Hebrew God on behalf of the heretofore lowly Israelites, and fuels the determination of the Egyptian army to continue their pursuit of the fleeing Israelites into the parted waters of the Red Sea…and to their eventual judgment of God and final doom.

It is the emotionally charged energy that is generated by having both the Israelites and the Egyptians together in close proximity at the shoreline of the Red Sea…that propels the actions and events that lead to the deliverance of the Israelites…and the destruction of the Egyptians.

All of the competing issues of character that make up the long period of exploitation, servitude, and inhospitality the Jews experienced while sojourning in the land of Egypt…are brought together into a final climax at the parting of the Red Sea.

The demonstration of God’s deliverance…the need for faith in God on the part of the Israelites…and the judgment of evil attitudes and actions…are all divided, separated, and exposed in this monumental collision of forces and purposes at the banks of the Red Sea.

It is the perfectly timed choreography of these events that allows God to craft and shape a final outcome that both reveals His character and establishes some important truths having eternal application.

If God had started the parting of the Red Sea a day earlier, with the exodus of the Israelites already in progress and nearing completion when the Egyptian chariot army arrived at the shoreline, much of the power and impact of God’s message would have been deflated.

The Egyptian army, watching the tail-end of the Israelites nearing the opposite shore…across a long dry-land passage through the sea…an escape that would have begun sometime the day before…would have been a discouraging and anticlimactic ending to the Egyptian’s final pursuit of the Israelites.

This would have resulted in the Egyptian chariot army simply giving up and possibly returning to Egypt.

In this scenario, the Israelites would have already perfected their escape, at least for the time being.

It is the closeness together in time and physical proximity of these two extremely dissimilar groups of people, the Egyptians and the Israelites, which allows God through the events of the parting of the Red Sea, to ignite this explosive mixture into the outcome that He anticipated, designed, and orchestrated.

This divinely crafted outcome of deliverance and salvation for the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was in complete frustration and consternation to the forces of spiritual opposition.

Instead of the destruction of the children of God, the Israelites are safely across to the opposite side of the Red Sea and heading toward Canaan, while the Egyptian army with all of their chariots and swords and continued plans of domination and exploitation…are drowned at the bottom of the sea.

This was a preview and a foreglimpse of God’s many imaginative and powerful tales of salvation to come, recorded in the Bible, that today we can by faith “cut and paste” forward into our own upcoming, immensely challenging end-times period.

The plagues in Egypt…and the parting of the Red Sea…at the beginning of the exodus of the Israelites heading toward their Promised Land, and the upcoming last seven-year tribulation period at the close of human redemptive history, are on a relatively equal magnitude level of truth-revelation.

If the perfectly timed choreography of events during the parting of the Red Sea was designed by God to contrast the difference between the power of loving salvation, and the utter destructive judgment of self-centered evil…surely there is a similar level of purpose of revelation contained within the last seven-year tribulation period for mankind.

Identifying some of these central purposes is critical to evaluating the truth-content of the various end-of-time scenarios being discussed today.

By Accident or Design?

A fundamental axiom of Darwinism…that the brilliance of functional organization and the originality of creativity we see in the biological world…is an accident without purpose or meaning…is in part motivated simply to be able to include the scientific field of biology within the strict, paradigm boundaries of naturalistic explanations…like the other fields of scientific investigation.

Because the living world appears to be many times more complicated than the non-living world…to the casual observer the living world therefore appears more obviously to be the product of design…to be the product of intelligent foresight, skilled guidance, engineering acumen, and artistic good sense.

To the casual observer…trying to fit the natural living world into the philosophical worldview of naturalistic materialism…is like trying to put a large square peg into a small round hole.

Darwinism fails to attract more than a small percentage of the general population because of the fundamental disconnect between the incredible marvels of the natural world that we observe with our own eyes…and the absurdly simplistic and counter-intuitive notion that this is all an accident…having no ultimate purpose or meaning beyond the present.

The extension…the extrapolation…from the commendable scientific study of natural phenomenon…that shouts-out for design…to atheism…is as nonsensical as the unsupported leap from micro to macro evolution.

Neither macroevolution…nor atheism…follows logically or “naturally” from the evidentiary facts of natural phenomenon.

What is missing from the modern scientific database is precisely how God created…how He manufactured our living and non-living world.

We do not have an Owner’s Manual to our planet, our solar system, or to the cosmos.

God has not provided us with a technical manual on how He designed and assembled the living and non-living world…no more than Mercedes Benz, Ferrari, or Lamborghini would tell us in precise details how they manufactured their cars.

Scientists who are atheists…who are naturalistic materialists…incorrectly assume that by admitting an intelligent designer God into the overall equation…that this somehow will limit the extent of the investigative reach of scientific research…by accepting an undefinable and indeterminable limit at some natural/supernatural demarcation line.

But the limits to our investigative reach using the methods of scientific research may have natural limits imposed by the nature of the phenomenon itself.

We have certainly…by general accounts…hit a snag in the origin-of-life research program…recognizing that the complexity of going from non-living matter to the “simplest” form of single-cell organisms such as primitive bacteria starting in the Precambrian Period at around 3.8 billion years ago…is a bridge too far to cross…without an explanation for the input of the massive quantity and quality of information that has to be arranged in a coordinated package…for life to begin.

Should God be accused of hoarding critical information…of setting reasonable limits and boundaries around the access to His means-and-methods of creation…to exercise His fiduciary responsibility to protect the proprietary copyright and patent rights to His inventive creations?

When the book of Genesis in the Bible records: “And God said…let there be…this or that”…bringing into existence something by His word alone…without further explanation or details…does the inquisitive nature of human scientific investigation require that God give to us the methodology of His creative techniques…in addition to the already expansive and extensive parameters He has provided for our investigation into the living and non-living world?

Even if we could understand the creation of the universe in terms of absolute mathematics, physics, and chemistry…do we really expect God to tell us the techniques and technology of creation…when we have already discovered, built, and used the atomic bomb that can wipe-out all human life on earth in a few moments of time?

Do we really want to know the secrets to creating life…in which mankind could then create a host of disastrous living monsters…or manufacture living semi-human soldiers that tyrants could use to control the world…like the clones created for battle in the Star Wars movies?

Are there justifiably rational limits to what God could responsibly hold back…in terms of absolute knowledge…that if revealed would clearly make the irrefutable case for His existence…but on the flip-side would expand our capacity to allow for greater evil to exist than is already possible?

One of the subtle arguments for design in the living and non-living world…that does not get as much recognition and discussion as it should…yet is presented several times in this book…is the incredible match between the orderliness and intelligibility of natural phenomenon…and our intellectual capacity to investigate, understand, and organize into distinct categories of knowledge…the complexities of the natural world…as covered in an earlier essay.

To the casual observer…this does not seem like something that would simply fall into place on its own.

The natural world…orderly and intelligible to humans alone…places the search for truth on the highest plane of intended purpose and premeditated forethought.

Mountain of Evidence is Theoretically Driven 2

An analogy to an Olympics track meet might be helpful.

In the Olympics track meet competition, one event…the historical length…mile-relay…has four runners per team each running one lap around the track…receiving the baton from the previous runner and passing the baton to the succeeding runner…to complete a continuous and unbroken four-lap circuit around the track.

But this relay baton is not passed off to the other distinct and unconnected events outside of the mile-relay.  The baton is not passed to the high-jumpers, pole-vaulters, high-hurdlers, 100-meter sprinters, or the competitors in the shot-put or javelin throw…thereby creating an unnatural, artificial, and unwanted connection between these disparate events.

These other events are discontinuous and unconnected to each other and to the mile-relay, even though they are all a common part of the Olympics track meet.

A network schedule of logic-lines connecting the start-times for each track and field event…simplified into printed program schedules for the spectators…would have to be created ahead of time to organize the track meet.

But these organizational lines connecting the start and the finish times between the individual events…head-to-tail…would never be confused with the fundamental differences between pole-vaulting, high-jumping, the long-jump, the triple-jump, and the 5,000-meter (the historical length 3-mile) run.

The essential characteristic of each distinct event creates a discontinuous gap between each event that is unbridgeable in terms of mixing and blending…other than their logical sequencing for start-times and spacing within the overall management of the track-meet competition.

The passing of the baton between all of the track and field events to create an artificial connection…a connection that does not logically exist…simply because at a general level all these events belong to the same track-meet…would be nonsensical.

To attempt to blend and mix all of these disparate track and field events together into a connected whole through small, incremental, transitional phases using the relay baton as the connecting link…would be a forced arrangement falling so far outside of the intentionally designed, fundamentally discontinuous gaps between each of the individual events of an athletic track meet…as to render the entire competition gradualistically intermixed…hopelessly indecipherable…and thus incomprehensible.

If all of the track meet events were blended together in infinitesimally small incremental steps…it would be difficult to determine when and where one event finished and another started.

Each track and field event also has a predetermined goal…an outcome…that entails a different “lifestyle habit” program of training and technique.

Even though running hurdles, the pure sprints, and the long-distance running events share similarities, they are vastly different in their “lifestyle habits” of length of distance, agility requirements, pure speed, endurance, time-span, and the physical characteristics of the competitors.  Specified function…running fast, leaping high, jumping far…are inseparably connected to the lifestyle habits unique to each athletic event.

Darwinian common descent must, by definition, have the relay batons at each branching node of the ever-expanding tree of life…passed safely from one species to the next without falling to the ground (becoming extinct).

But fitness in “lifestyle habits” in each track-meet event does not carry over into fitness in lifestyle habits in another event.  The Olympic gold medalist in the high-jump cannot pass along gold metal technical proficiency to the pole-vaulter simply by handing off a relay baton.

The relay baton in this instance would be a nonsensical addition…inapplicable to both high-jumper and pole-vaulter.

The gold metal “lifestyle habit” proficiencies in each event are too different and discontinuous to be connected by the unrelated, unhelpful element of a relay baton.

The tautological statement that the fittest organisms will produce the most offspring…the fittest organism being defined by circular reasoning as being the one that produces the most offspring…stays entirely within the boundary-lines of a single, track- meet event like high-jumping.

It describes the proficiency level attained through the microevolution of that single track meet event of high-jumping.

Macroevolution…hypothetically producing diversity (in our track-meet analogy) has absolutely nothing to do with the gold metal high-jumper passing the relay baton to the pole-vaulter.

How the high-jumper reaches gold metal proficiency…fitness in lifestyle habits…has no correlation to reaching an equivalent level of technical proficiency in the entirely different track meet event of pole-vaulting…although they each share the similar goal of going as vertically high as they can.

To functionally train for both the pole-vault and high-jump events…to obtain dual proficiencies…a program of transitional “crossover” conditioning and training techniques would be an obvious regime in preparation for competing in these two events…at the same track meet.

We should expect to see the same obvious crossover transition at both the bottom portion entering into each branching node in the tree-of-life …and coming out the top portion of each node…according to common descent.

Identifying fictional nodes in Darwin’s tree of life…in the physical characteristics side of the equation alone…using creative imagination, would not explain the diversity of lifestyle habits for the tens of millions of living species on earth.

This would only get us half-way there.

Simply identifying where and when during the track-meet the high-jumper passed the relay baton to the pole-vaulter…would not explain the vast differences in gold metal “lifestyle habit” techniques between these two events.

The architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits…observable in the “track meet” in-the-wild…are widely different for lions, leopards, and cheetahs.

Did lions, leopards, and cheetahs evolve from a common ancestor?  The philosophical leap to common ancestry…due to the similarities between these three “big cats” is irresistible.

Yet did it actually happen this way?  Do we know this for sure?

The body-plans, lifestyles, and performance dissimilarities between lions, leopards, and cheetahs are so different and discontinuous…that the mere introduction of a relay-race baton connecting them at a hypothetical ancestral node in the long-ago past…does not explain the brilliant creative imagination that defines the unique essence of each of these big cats.

These unique dissimilarities must be in-place at their original inception near the first branching event from lion to leopard to cheetah…close to the ancestral node…or conversely…we can chalk their brilliantly unique existence to blind, mindless, unguided, accidental trial-and-error…falling into place according to random-chance luck.

But then we must consistently apply this concept to all living organisms.  Do finches, ducks, and eagles share a common ancestor?

Again, the philosophical pull toward common ancestry is irresistible.

But where is the line drawn?  When we get to the large classification groupings…the discontinuous gaps between the phyla divisions are as wide apart as the Grand Canyon.

Darwinian macroevolution…based upon naturalistic materialism…would have us believe that all living things today came from a single ancient ancestor.

But this requires an unimaginable quantity and quality of creative brilliance in crafting the unique lifestyle habits that accompany every distinct architectural body-plan.

This requires us to imagine Mother Nature sitting at the designer’s drafting table with an overhead magnifying lamp, tee-squares and triangles, sharpened pencils and erasers…yet being blind and mindless…scribbling endlessly in a probabilistically hopeless random-chance search strategy…for the most complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information that comprise every living organism on earth…and the varied ecological systems to support them.

This is a part of the illogic of the tree-of-life of Darwinian common descent.  The empirical relay baton of explanatory mechanism must connect each discontinuity gap between-the-dots being birds, fish, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians, plants, trees, bacteria, and fungi…which are analogous to discontinuous track and field events like pole-vaulting, discus throwing, high-jumping, and the mile-relay.

These connections between hundreds of billions of distinct (and thus classifiable by human taxonomists) life-forms must account for both physical and lifestyle characteristics.

The discontinuous lifestyle habits of the multitudes of living creatures renders the hypothetical “relay baton” connection through common descent to be implausibly forced, stretched, and logically unbridgeable.

            Naturalistic materialism is the philosophy that superimposes an unnatural “relay baton” to connect all of the track meet events. 

Naturalism creates the evidence that supports naturalism.  This is circular.  Take away the common descent interpretational framework and we are back in time to the neutral facts of pre-1859…the “standard Olympics track meet” of typological and discontinuous life-forms…which did not point toward macroevolution at all, prior to Darwin’s book The Origin of Species.

Mountain of Evidence is Theoretically Driven 1

What is critical to understand is that the contention by Darwinists that macroevolution has a “mountain of supporting evidence”…thereby establishing the “fact of evolution”…proceeds not from the facts themselves but only materializes (no pun intended) after applying the philosophical framework of naturalistic materialism over the biological facts in nature. 

The common descent viewpoint when stretched to fit over all living things can produce a tentative, provisional mountain of evidence in support of macroevolution…but only if common descent is first assumed to be true.  Common descent will explain the fossil progression from the simple to the more complex over time, the homology (similarities) in design between creatures, and the biological distribution of similar creatures split apart by continents.

But intelligent design, based upon the empirical evidence of highly specified information and integrated complexity…explains this natural phenomenon better.  Intelligent design is a more persuasive and plausible interpretation of the evidence…than is common descent.

Without the hard empirical evidence for the methodology and mechanism of how macroevolution changes a fish into a land reptile into a bird over time…having wings, feathers, and a totally unique breathing capacity to enable sustained flight…the philosophical overlay of Darwinian naturalism does not produce “overwhelming, mutually supportive evidence.”

The Darwinian model produces nothing more than the hypothetically connected structure of common descent…supported by circumstantial arguments alone…whose artificially connected structure falls apart when the concept of the discontinuities between the varied body-plan architectures and lifestyle habits of hundreds of billions of life-forms on the planet…is introduced.

The theoretically unimaginable jump across the gap of running and leaping along the ground or in the branches of trees, then “evolving” into winged flight through small, incremental, progressive steps, without any detailed supporting explanation as to the massive anatomical and lifestyle-habit changes that would have to occur…is alleged by Darwinists to have happened simply because this is what is required to have happened…according to the philosophical paradigm of naturalism.

The theoretically unimaginable jump from the functioning respiratory system of the gills of fish extracting oxygen from water under the surface of oceans, lakes, and rivers, to the fully functioning system of lungs in amphibians, reptiles, and mammals breathing air above the water, must take place in a matter of seconds or immediate death follows.

This is an enormous gap of discontinuity.  Small incremental change here is unimaginable…is unbridgeable…in terms of function…in terms of survival and reproduction.

Yet for macroevolution to be valid, this bridge across discontinuity must be plausibly explainable within the unifying theory of common descent taken from Darwin’s hypothetical “tree of life”…connecting all living things.

Darwinists allege that this type of jump in development and diversity from living underwater to living above water…had to have occurred in small, incremental, progressive steps because it simply had to happen this way according to the paradigm narrative of naturalism.

This type of secularly skewed argumentation is then stretched to apply to the enumerable discontinuities large and small of the tens of millions of different species on the planet, mixing together the dissimilar ingredients of diversity and likeness into the theory of common descent…based in large part upon its appeal to scientists of being a unifying theory of biology, and at the same time offering a non-theistic explanation for the origin and diversity of life.

But from the start Darwinian macroevolution could not explain the Cambrian Explosion…the sudden appearance of a diversity of complex life-forms in an instant of geological time…which should also have had an accompanying and complimentary backstory of transitional intermediate life-forms appearing in the Precambrian rock strata.

Darwinists have also been unable to explain the sudden appearance during the geological era known as the Cretaceous…of the angiosperms…the flowering plants having their seeds enclosed in an ovary…without transitional precursors in the rock strata leading up to this time-period.

Over time, the many difficulties with the theory of macroevolution should have resolved themselves.

Instead, the idea of common descent has not bridged the enormous gaps of discontinuity in the living world between the major groups like amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, insects, or mammals, or the discontinuities in the subdivided lower levels of each of the major groups…like the large African mammals separated by the unbridgeable lifestyle gaps between elephants, giraffes, water buffalo, rhinoceros, zebras, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and Thompson’s gazelles.

One major factual problem for Darwinism is that there is no evidence for the actual existence of the transitional “nodes” at the apex junctures of Darwin’s branching “tree of life” between the major groups and their subdivisions, which must be there for common descent to occur.

These nodes do not exist now and they do not exist in the fossil record…unless artificially created through a fictional, philosophical overlay of common descent crafted through human imagination.

Darwinian evolution is a classic example of being a half-truth.  It explains microevolution which occurs within a species.  It explains variation over time within a species.  But the extrapolation from microevolution to macroevolution…the origination of new species using genetic variation and natural selection…is an over-reach…an extension of philosophy rather than an empirical product of science.

This is why Darwinian macroevolution is subtly persuasive but vacuous.  The “mountain of evidence” is artificially produced through circular reasoning…the philosophy must first be superimposed on the evidence to rescue the philosophy…rather than the evidence itself independently standing on its own to formulate the philosophy.

It is the theory of common descent that connects the dots into the forced linear arrangement of an ascending “tree of life”…the dots do not logically align themselves to connect that way on their own.  The connections between dots are by philosophy…not by explanatory, scientific fact-based evidence.