Evil and Suffering in this World…Revised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then the question is why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            This is a basic and universal concept that everyone understands.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Self-Governing Through Individual Virtue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God-Sovereignty Exemplified on the Cross…Revised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Broad Array of Moral Concepts…Revised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            This is a classic example of a half-truth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            Only one God can be God.

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

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

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

Constrained Optimization…Revised

            Our modern Age of Information tells us that the only thing capable of the engineering concept of the constrained optimization of a sequential series of decisional yes/no choices aimed specifically at reaching targeted end-point outcomes in the future, using foresight…is intelligent agency.

            As argued here, this is not fact-based evidence that supports the loosely termed “behavioral adaptation” used by Jerry B. Coyne to enlist the defense strategy of the native Asian honeybee into the doctrinal camp of Darwinian macroevolution.

            The concept of Asian honeybees immobilizing and taking-out the lone scout wasp mirrors the capture of an enemy spy in human warfare over the long course of human history.

            How would and could this intelligence-based military defense tactic of catching and taking-out a spy on reconnaissance for the enemy army, be functionally operative within the instinctual program of an insect like the Asian honeybee?

             The more plausible analysis of this remarkable reality in nature is that the balanced predator/prey relationship between the giant Asian hornet and their native honeybee counterpart cannot be explained through an incrementally escalating arms-race of competing features over time, using small-step improvements. 

            The trial-and-error approach of materialism produces an oscillating, back-and-forth battleground of colossal failure for one side or the other until they both reach the equally balanced, competing features we observe today between these two native, Asian insect combatants.

            To posit the purely materialistic explanation of gradual development for this mature predator/prey relationship in the insect world, requires the genetic make-up of these two insects to have a nearly self-conscious, lessons-learnable quality of ever-improving informational plateaus, subtly importing the intelligent decision-making choices of thoughtful agency into the otherwise mindless mutation/selection methodology of Darwinian evolution.

            The forward looking, intelligent foresight inherent in yes/no choice-making locking-in function in evermore complex plateaus to reach an optimum end-point of equilibrium between the giant Asian hornet and Asian honeybees, is not allowed in a mindless, purely materialistic universe of accidental trial-and-error.

            For a system of gradual development in the natural living world to be materialistic it must be mindless and undirected.

            For the Asian honeybees to reach defensive parity against the attacking giant Asian hornets, this involves a series of physically structural changes leading to improved function, over and over in reaction to structural changes and improved function in the giant Asian hornet.

            It is implausible to have two independent genetic tracks putting-out seemingly coordinated structural changes in the form of beneficial escalating traits, each acted upon in synchronized natural selection in the wild.

Yet without this feature of thoughtfully discerning choice-making stealthily smuggled-in, natural selection could not coordinate the forward-moving trajectories of newly added genetic information that displaces previously less advantageous iterations, that could reach the functionally balanced strategies of this predator/prey relationship for the giant Asian hornet and the Asian honeybee.    

            We do not have to uncritically swallow the idea that the European honeybees imported into the foreign environment of Japan will over time (thousands of years?) through the accidental method of trial-and-error likewise discover this singular, successful defensive strategy on their own in isolation, all the while suffering heavy losses in route to finding the very specific information that 115-117º F combined with CO² will defeat this otherwise unstoppable predator.

            This complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated information is intelligently designed upfront into the DNA and the gene regulatory networks of the native Asian honeybees, but is clearly absent in the European honeybees, evidenced when they are imported across the continent to Japan.

            This highlights an original intent found in the molecular biochemical information that must reside within the living cells of the Asian honeybee, being unnaturally overridden through the independent intervention of the agency of unknowing human beekeepers in Japan and Europe importing foreign, European honeybees into Asia.

            In this case of importing European honeybees into Asia, the playing-field of environment is not a factor.  The challenge for the European honeybees is not adaptation to a changed external environment, but adaptation to a lethally superior predator.

            The key question then in biology is how and when does the critical survival strategy get introduced at the genetic level, to produce in the living honeybees this distinctive lifestyle habit supported by their architectural body-plans, that can actualize into viable function a military defense strategy from abstract information to a winning outcome in the real world?

            Will the mutation/selection mechanism of Darwinian evolution in small-step, incremental gradualism be up to the job, or is it self-evident that upfront, instantaneous function and fit is the more plausible explanation?

            I would argue from the evidence that the input of this genetic information to produce function and fit occurs at the inception of the Asian honeybee.

I would argue that the materialistic program of an unbroken continuity of a small-step, incrementally progressive series of back-and-forth improvements in the arsenals of the Asian honeybees and the giant Asian hornet…is plausibly unworkable.

The Giant Asian Hornet…Revised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            The answer is that we do not know.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Science and God are Not n Conflict, revised Part 4

The Physical Universe Requires a Timeless Creator

            Darwin’s fundamental condition that nature makes no sudden leaps locks his theory into the materialistic dynamic of change over time, which no longer works when applied to the complexity we find in the living world.

            But a timeless, Spirit-Being God can input the new information or turn-on a gene regulatory network switch to release 5, 10, or 20 new and different cell-types together to produce new architectural body-plans in time t=0.

            This can be represented by a “width-less”[1] vertical line on the two-dimensional x/y-graph of change (vertical axis) over time (horizontal axis) over the course of geological history.

            Common descent in biology can be true without utilizing Darwin’s model of small, incrementally progressive steps fueled by random and accidental serendipity.

            Common descent can simply have another and better explanation, being a divinely timeless God inputting massive infusions of information in the form of new and different cell-types in clustered groups at various points in time…represented by “width-less” vertical lines on the two-dimensional x/y-graph, these lines having zero-time durations.

            For a brilliant refutation of Darwinian evolution see Gunter Bechly Explains What The Fossil Evidence Really Says, hosted by Discovery Science, published November 23, 2021 on You Tube.

Moravec’s Paradox

            Moravec’s Paradox (footnoted below) makes the insightful observation that because modern machines can perform complex calculations like finding the square-root of 3,492 in a spit-second, we naturally make the incorrect assumption that machines can also perform “simple” functions that a one-year-old child can do.

            A one-year-old child giggles and laughs when I play “peek-a-boo” by taking my hand away momentarily from covering my face and saying “peek-a-boo!”, then putting my hand back to cover my smiling face.

            A young child instantly grasps the nature of this game.

            But this is many times more complex in the individual instructions that must be broken-down for a machine to duplicate this same child’s game…to even begin to approach a smiling face and cheerful voice that could elicit laughter from a child.

            Ask this one-year-old to tell you the square-root of 3,492 to an accuracy of three decimal places, and they will look at you with a blank stare.

            The one-year-old sitting on the floor building a small tower using square wooden blocks is an activity that seemingly is so simple that a child can do it. 

            Yet for a machine this child’s play is many times more complex, requiring the computer code language instructions that must be programmed into the machine involving the concepts of the recognition, grasping, positioning, balancing, and not knocking over the other blocks as the tower is built.

            A human-like machine using artificial intelligence would have to be able to create the physical expressions for a child to correctly recognize that “peek-a-boo” is a humorous game. 

            How is it that we are programmed from birth with the innate capacity for analytical thinking to be able to quickly perceive the humor in a game, and to be able to stack wood blocks one upon another to build a small tower to see how high we can go before the whole thing falls over, yet as adults we need machines to perform complex mathematical operations?

            Is the yes/no decision-making of deliberate, intentional design apparent in this human capacity?

Does Matter and Energy Alone Define the Whole of Reality?

            When a person today objects that they cannot believe the Bible, because they live in the modern Age of Science, they are voicing a storyline narrative that is based upon a 20th-century philosophy that is obsolete and no longer currently credible.

            Here I am borrowing heavily from a podcast[2] I listened to on You Tube entitled: Science and Faith in a Secular Society with J. P. Moreland, hosted by Think Biblically, through Biola University, downloaded by me on 3/24/2020.

            It turns out that scientism is a concept that is self-refuting. 

            Examples of concepts that are self-refuting might be: “No statement is longer than three words,” or “I can’t utter a word of English,” or “There are no truths,” each of which makes itselffalse, is self-refuting.

            To quote Dr. Moreland from this podcast: “The statement: ‘The only way that you can know truth is through the hard sciences,’ is not something that itself could be known to be true through the hard sciences.”

            In this sense, scientism makes itself false, is self-refuting by its own definition.

            It also turns out that scientism, as a worldview adopted uncritically and for the most part unknowingly by many people in our modern world, is as false a narrative as can be. 

            Upon closer inspection it is actually an enemy ofscience, undermining the very field of science it purports to defend.

            It is widely understood that scientific discovery is dependent upon several general assumptions, essential to conducting science, that do not meet the high-definition test that scientism itself cannot reach.

            These fundamental assumptions are: that the natural world is orderly and intelligible, that the laws of mathematics and logic are true, that truth has a correspondence to reality, and that human beings are endowed with the mental capacity to be able to understand things external to ourselves…paraphrased by me from this podcast.

            Without first accepting each and every one of these fundamental assumptions as being true, assumptions themselves lacking formal proofs, the empirical enterprise of human scientific investigation of the natural world cannot proceed forward, does not exist.

            This is part of the gaping hole of inconsistency in the modern narrative of naturalistic materialism that makes the untrue and unscientific suggestion to modern mankind, to rely solely upon the hard sciences as the only sure standard by which to identify truth. 

            The fact is that all of science is built upon the foundation of philosophical assumptions we accept “by faith” to be true, without hard scientific, backup proofs of their truth-value.

            One of Dr. Moreland’s main themes of this podcast is that scientism is one of the most corrosive and destructive ideologies in our modern social culture. 

            Scientism erroneously contributes to the post-modernrelativism regarding truth, which attempts to reduce all of the things we know to be true, down to the narrowly limited database of only those things that can be demonstrated as true through hard science alone.

            This then downgrades everything else asserted to be true to the relative opinions of my truth or your truth, neither one being able to rise to the standard of repetitive laboratory testing for truth as defined by scientism, including all philosophical assumptions.

            Because the fundamental, underlying assumptions that form the basis for all scientific research are philosophical in nature, and therefore cannot meet the standard of verification through the hard sciences, the narrow worldview philosophy of scientism ironically undermines by definition the very foundational assumptions of science itself.

            This narrowly crafted approach to categorizing genuineknowledgewould also reduce the obvious existence of well-defined, discretionary choice-making down into the inconsequential category of scientifically unsupportable data not amenable to being quantified or tested physically in a laboratory.

            Scientism is therefore a logically incoherent philosophical program that dissolves itself by being self-refuting, and by undermining the very edifice of the science it purports to defend.

            The irony here is that the complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information in the natural living and non-living world point towards the need for intelligent agency.

            The skeletal explanatory frameworks that define the distinctive essences of these systems of information are similar in character to the four basic assumptions underlying science listed above…being abstract, intangible, philosophical realities needed to conduct science.

            A reasonable argument could be made that if scientific materialism insists upon excluding intelligent agency based upon the abstract nature of some of the implications of its findings, then much of science should also be abandoned because the scientific method itself relies upon informational assumptions that are abstract and intangible, assumptions that are conceptually philosophical in nature.

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


[1] See on the Internet Moravec’s Paradox – Why are machines so smart, yet so dumb? On Up and Atom published July 8, 2019, and The Essence of Calculus, sections one and two, describing change over time and the concept of limits, in 3Blue 1 Brown.

[2] https://www.biola.edu/blogs/think-biblically/2018/science-and-faith-in-a-secular-society

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