Is it Likely that Evolution Gave Us Working Proteins and Eyes?

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I remember having a conversation where my friend and I were discussing the origin of life. Where did we come from?

And he had no problem at all looking at the amazing complexity of the human eye (for example) and confidently asserting that this arrived as a result of random naturalistic processes. Evolution. After all, he suggested, all that is required to kick off Evolution is the sudden appearance of a single self replicating molecule on the surface of the planet. If you’ve got that – and you’re lucky – then eventually life happens. Right?

Now – I’ve known this guy for a long time. And I know that my friend is a smart guy. I think he’s smarter than me in many ways. And I also think something else. He has more FAITH than I have! Eyes have photoreceptors, lenses, an iris that lets the right amount of light thru…a cleaning system that kills off harmful bacteria. Eyes are fine tuned instruments. It takes alot of faith to believe they occurred as a result of random changes and natural selection.

My friend and I are both men of faith. He has faith in the natural processes that slowly but eventually formulate working eyeballs.

I on the other hand am a man of faith in a designer of eyeballs – God. I recognise the biological processes that underpin the physical beings that roam about on planet Earth. But I don’t look to these biological processes as an explanation for life itself. That would be like seeking to explain the existence of motor cars by appealing to the engine or the suspension. No – I look beyond our planet, our Universe and its constituent parts. I look to an agency outside as the designer of life. In other words I look to the designer of the car to explain why we have cars in the first place.

So I’m on a different page from my friend totally. That’s okay – we’re still friends.

But lets take my friend’s assertion and consider it for a moment. He said – all you need is a single self replicating (or reproducing) molecule to kick off the evolution of life…from simple molecules over vast periods of time…the staggering engineering evident in the human eye (for example) will arise thru evolutionary processes. How likely is this?

To examine his assertion – i’m going to describe a scenario to you.

 

 

 

Imagine you are sitting in a Costa or Starbucks Coffee shop – and you notice out the window someone kneeling by a bike rack across the street. You sense something’s not quite right. Well – you are right to be suspicious because this person is trying to nick one of the bikes on the rack! But to do so – he has to pick the lock that chains said bike to rack.

Picture in your head a bike lock with 3 dials that can each take the value between 0 and 10. How long do you think it would take for the thief to hit on the right combination, unchain the bike and escape? Well – he could be lucky and hit the right combination quickly. Or it could take him absolutely ages.

Now – imagine you decide to pick up your mobile phone and call the police and tell them that someone is stealing the bike. The thief doesn’t realise it – but the amount of time he has got to hit the right combination of dials has now been drastically reduced! Now how likely is it that he’s going to unchain the bike and cycle away? Yes – its possible (especially if he has a set of bolt cutters in his pocket!) – but its not very likely he will randomly hit the right combination. Is it?

 

 

 

I’m talking about bike locks – because they are a great analogy for Proteins. Proteins are one of the building blocks of biological life. Machines that make life work.

Haemoglobin is a Protein and its the mechanism that allows oxygen to be transported thru your blood stream to the organs of your body. Haemoglobin is made up of specific Amino Acids. And Amino Acids are composed of specific chemicals. Think of Haemoglobin as the biological equivalent of a bike lock. There are many combinations of these chemicals that won’t transport oxygen. But one combination that does the job perfectly. That’s Haemoglobin.

But Haemoglobin doesn’t have 3 dials. It has closer to 320 dials!

You know what I’m going to ask next, don’t you?

How long would it take to randomly select the right combination of dials for Haemoglobin to occur? Well – given the number of dials, there are just a staggering number of possible combinations. Probably more combinations than there are atoms in the Milky Way Galaxy! That’s a big number. And remember – there are a vast number of chemical combinations that don’t transfer oxygen thru your blood…and only a tiny number of combinations that will. Sounds a bit like our thief on an impossible mission to pick the bike lock, doesn’t it?

Remember our thief had the police on his tail – his time was running out? Well – the evolution of Haemoglobin had limited time too. If Science is correct when it calculates the age of the Universe to be 14 billion years then the plain fact is – there aren’t enough seconds from the Big Bang till now to go thru every possible combination of chemicals to find Haemoglobin (assuming it takes us a second to choose each one)

We’ve probably not had enough time since time began for Haemoglobin to occur thru random chance and natural selection. Yet that’s what evolutionary theory confidently asserts has happened. That’s what my friend believes.

Now consider this. Your body contains anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 different proteins working away, doing their jobs right now. But we’ve not had enough time for even one of them to occur by random mutation and natural selection.

 

 

My friend has faith that – as long as a self replicating molecule existed…in other words as long as you have a way to switch lock combinations…then life will happen. Have I gone some way to show how staggeringly unlikely that is? Just because I can change the position of a dial does not mean I’ll manage to hit the correct code in time on 10,000 bike locks!

Belief in evolution is putting one’s faith in something that seems completely unreasonable to me.

Belief in a designer on the other hand is perfectly reasonable. Why? Because it explains why we’ve got 100,000 different Proteins whirring and clicking away in our bodies. The molecules didn’t have to try to unpick the lock by going thru every combination. Instead, the designer knew the exact code for every Protein in our bodies and he dialed it in correctly with just one step.

I know for many people the thought of God is a tough one to accept. But based on this discussion alone – it seems the most likely explanation for the existence of my Proteins. Right? If its the most likely explanation for my Proteins, then its also the most likely explanation for the rest of the mind bending complexity at work in our bodies…like our eyes, for example.

Life couldn’t evolve from a self replicating molecule. Maybe the Bible has kinda been saying that all along…

“Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both.”

Proverbs 20:12 (NIV)

 

 

A Curiosity Snap

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This might surprise you.

Above the door to the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University is not a pithy quote from a forefather of Experimental Physics or Evolutionary Biology. No – the quote above the entrance to the Lab is from the Bible – Psalm 111 verse 2, to be exact.

“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.”

If you are thinking – “Yea – I bet that was a decision made over hundred years ago at a far more religious time” – then you might be partly right. When the Cavendish Laboratory opened in 1874 the prescription above the door was indeed Psalm 111:2, written in Latin.

“Magna opera Domini exquisite in omnes voluntates ejus”

But before you dismiss these  naive people of a more ignorant time…think again. When the Cavendish moved location in the early 1970s, the decision was made for the inscription to remain above the door. And everyone who enters this seat of learning in Cambridge walks beneath it to this day.

So what? Why should I care?

Because that quote hits the nail on the head. Consider this:

Last week, 50 million miles away from where you are reading right now, on the surface of the planet Mars the Curiosity Rover stopped and turned its robotic eye to the sky. And it snapped a startling photograph. Someone has kindly tagged us all in that photograph. You can see it above

On its lonely mission, as it explores the Martian landscape, Curiosity snaps a picture of us. Or more accurately – it snaps a picture of the distant Earth.

That is mind blowing. An army of scientists and engineers from many disciplines worked long and hard for years to get the Curiosity Rover safely onto the surface of Mars in 2012. My mate Mike is one of them. And you can hear him talk about it here.

Why did they all put the effort in? The long days…weekends…late nights? Why did they allow themselves the torture of launching their carefully crafted rover into space in the hope that it would land safely on Mars months later?

Because these people delight in our Universe. They are filled with insatiable curiosity about how our Universe works and what is out there. And because they delight in creation – studying it is no chore to them. It is what they were born to do!

“Great are the works of the Lord, they are pondered by all who delight in them.” Psalm 111:2, NIV

Curiosity’s photograph reminds us how wonderful our Universe is – and how talented the engineers are who got that little guy onto that alien landscape in the first place! But it also points back to the Cavendish Laboratory inscription. The Bible makes a good point.

We passionately explore our solar system because it is there. We visit alien planets with unmanned spacecraft because we can…and because planets exist to be explored. We are so fortunate that we are the ones living at a technologically advanced time where space travel is possible.

But more than that – we are such fortunate people to be alive. To exist. To have been placed in this mind bogglingly beautiful yet mysterious Universe. We are indeed blessed to have the opportunity to delight in and to intensely study creation.

But it’s not our Universe. We are only placed here. We are only passing thru it. We live for a few short years in which to discover who we are, exercise our brains and our talents and our personalities. We discover and we theorize. And we pat ourselves on the back for being pretty smart.

But the One who created it and holds it all together – wow. His works are truly great in every sense of the word. And with all our cleverness – we are merely scratching the surface of His wonderful works.

Let me end with three brief points.

First – may I suggest humility and respect as we pass thru His creation; both personally in our own lives, and cosmically as we explore our Solar System. After all – we are not here to stay. We are the visitors here.

Second – even though it’s not the cool thing to ask for – may I suggest humility and respect for Him. There are those in 21st century Science who regularly pour scorn on people of faith. And in doing so – they are also criticizing the brilliant minds who started their own Scientific disciplines all those centuries ago.

  • Forebears like Johannes Kepler, who in the 17th century perceived intelligent design in the mathematical precision of planetary motion and the laws governing it.
  • Forebears like James Clerk Maxwell who discovered electromagnetic theory – and who quoted the Bible at the entrance to his Cavendish Physics Laboratory in Cambridge.

Surely these men and many more besides deserve respect from the current thinkers of today?

Third and finally I call for humility and respect towards the One who has made our lives – and our space exploration possible. Who has given us a Universe to travel thru and to wonder at. Because, as Psalm 111 says in closing…

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Psalm 111:10, NIV

Miracles Point to Purpose in the Universe

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I remember once watching a car accident unfold on a busy roundabout.

This guy clipped the back of my mate as he was driving clockwise in his big Volvo, spinning it 180 degrees before it came to a stop. In the middle of rush hour traffic. In the middle of a busy roundabout. In fact – I was queuing in my car a few feet away …which is why I witnessed the whole thing. Amazingly – my mate didn’t hit any other cars as his Volvo spun on the roundabout! In fact – I watched as he got out of the car…rush hour zooming past him…and he stood there shouting, “It’s a miracle!” I guess he was meaning – I cannot believe there’s no damage to my car. It’s also surprising that no other drivers were involved…or indeed that my mate wasn’t run over on the roundabout!

When the unexpected – or the extremely unlikely happens – we might be tempted to exclaim – “It’s a miracle!” And what we mean is – I simply do not understand how that could have happened (or not happened!)   Now – in my mate’s case – I don’t think I witnessed a supernatural miracle that evening. I don’t believe some unseen hand was protecting him. It was probably just a lucky escape.

But I’ll tell you something else – I have got no problem believing that sometimes real miracles do happen.  And they happen for a purpose. I have a great example from my life that I will come to in a bit.

You know – if the natural Universe is all that there is, if the laws of science define the boundaries of existence…if we are just the products of the blind forces of nature…then I grant you. Miracles are absurd.

But if God created this Universe, and if he sustains our planet and he is interested in each and every human being that has ever lived on it…then the miraculous ceases to be absurd. If we consider that God may exist (and I believe in God because of evidence…not in the absence of evidence) then miracles aren’t just highly likely…they are absolutely necessary.

This will be a problem for many thinking people. Why? Because we suspect that a miracle claim is a throwback to an uninformed, ancient and ignorant culture. Right? Well – no, not necessarily. Mankind may well have been unscientific 2000 years ago – all the modern the scientific disciplines hadn’t really taken hold at that point (altho its amazing what people were doing and understanding about the Universe in ancient cultures!). Human cultures were pre-scientific, but that doesn’t make people stupid. And it doesn’t demand that miracles can’t be real either.

You see – all a miracle actually is…is God feeding an extra unexpected influence into the Universe from outside of space and time. When a miracle occurs – it doesn’t violate the scientific laws. All a miracle does is redirect the normal flow of events (that scientific laws so clearly articulate) in that instance. Afterwards, the universe carries on as normal.

Consider it this way. When an apple falls from a tree, Isaac Newton tells us about a natural law that causes the apple to hit the ground; the law of Gravity. Gravity is ALSO an awesome movie released in 2013 by Alfonso Cuaron…but I digress.  Anyway – as the apple leaves the tree – we know it will hit the ground. Unless, that is, someone puts their hand out and catches the apple. If that was to happen, there would be a completely different turn of events – all because in that second, the apple was caught. But remember – despite the good catch – the law of gravity still holds on planet earth. Future apples will still fall to the ground – unless they too are caught on the way down. Intervening in the apple’s journey does not break the law of gravity at all. In a similar way – miracle doesn’t violate scientific law.

Miracles are similar to the intervention of the apple catcher.  The difference is – the divine miracle worker exists outside of time and space…whiles the apple catcher doesn’t. Yet the principle is the same.

The occurrence of miracle doesn’t negate any law of nature – miracle circumvents natural law in an instance – for a good purpose. In the apple’s case, someone was hungry and wanted a snack. In the Bible’s case, God raised Jesus from the dead so that we could know for certain that there is a way to heaven and a future hope for everyone. But the laws of nature aren’t broken as a result of Jesus’ miraculous resurrection. The Universe carries on regardless.

Miracle is God’s intervention for his good and loving purpose. Or as the Bible puts it…

“Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!” 1 Peter 1:3, The Message

I promised you a miracle story from my own life. Well…here it comes.

It was early afternoon, 21st October, 1971. May Gray, my Mum, tucked 3 year old me and 18 month old Annie into the back of our new Mini for a shopping trip to Clarkston on the outskirts of Glasgow.  May climbed into the driver’s seat and turned the key in the ignition. Nothing happened. She tried again – click. She sat for quite some time trying again and again to get the engine to turn over – without success. In the end – and in sheer frustration – she unbuckled us from the back seat, and carried us into the house again. No doubt muttering about the stupid car and what she was going to say to my Dad when he got home.

At 2:50pm the row of shops that May was heading to with me on Clarkston High Street exploded in a fireball that took the lives of over 20 shop workers, shoppers and passing bus passengers. The horrific accident was the result of a buildup of gas due to a leak in the gas main.

Still at home – May listened in shock to the news on the radio. A dawning realization washed over her. We would have been in the middle of that explosion if we had left home when she intended to.

Amazing as this may seem – the story is not finished. Because after my father returned from work and listened to the shocking story, he made his way onto our driveway holding the car key. He opened the driver’s door, sat in the seat and turned the ignition. The car engine roared into life.

There are countless examples of this sort of thing – and even more amazing occurrences thru human history. Miracle is God’s intervention for his good and loving purpose.

It’s Bigger On The Inside

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“It’s bigger on the inside!”

This is generally the reaction when someone first steps into the famous blue Police Box; the outer shell of the best ship in the universe. When you enter, you are stepping into a humming time and space machine with an interior sitting in another dimension, and an engine powered by an exploding star time-locked in the act of becoming a black hole. No wonder the Doctor’s latest companion starts out on their journey with a shocked expression.

There is something that fires the imagination when we suddenly get a sense that things are not necessarily what they seem. Whether we encounter it in fiction, or we sense it during of one of our own personal and very ordinary days. The realization that – ‘It’s bigger on the inside’ – can spark curiosity and excitement in some, perhaps even fear or cynicism in others.

But what if?

What if there really is something we have been passing by and ignoring in our lives. We’ve not taken any notice of it because it’s so mundane. Yet all the while, it is actually bigger and more striking than we could ever imagine. But we’ve got to look inside to realize it.

The average British man on the street wouldn’t blink twice at a blue Police Box in the 1960s. That’s one reason why it was a genius move for the BBC to make the Doctor’s TARDIS look like one. We’ve lost the sense of it a bit now, but Doctor Who posed a provocative statement to the people who first encountered it. The TV show declared that the mundane can be the door to the extraordinary! You might think you know all there is to know. But even the most ordinary and unexciting thing can be a door to stuff you just would not believe!

Now – I reckon you’ve lost count of the number of hotel rooms you’ve slept in that had a Gideon’s Bible in the drawer by the bed. Many times – you probably didn’t even open the drawer in the first place! But it was there. You have probably walked or driven past countless churches in your life. And you didn’t give them a second thought. Well – what I am saying today is this. ..

God and church might seem mundane – even out dated and as irrelevant as a 1960’s Police Box standing on the corner of a 21st century street. But guess what – there is adventure waiting inside. Christianity is the door to a future that you could never anticipate or imagine. Yes, you expect your eyes to fall on to the cramped space, 4 bare walls as you swing those doors inward. But what you actually get – blows your mind.

What I am saying  is this. There is a God…

Who crafted our Universe so that we could enjoy it

Who stepped into time so that we could know him (that’s who I and countless other Christians believe that Jesus is)

Who hand crafted us to achieve great things in the years we are alive on this beautiful planet

 

In fact – here’s a little bit of what he says on the subject:

“I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:11, The Message

Perhaps we’re thinking today – God show up? Yea right! He’s had plenty of opportunity to make a difference in my life already – and I’ve seen nothing of it. God show up? Give it a rest.

Well – maybe he’s actually been closer than you’ve realized. In the days, months and years that have led us to this point, we’ve thought that we were the master of our own destiny. But maybe he’s been waiting in the wings for longer than we knew. Maybe even in the midst of the tragedies we have suffered, he has been there.

And maybe – he’s just waiting for us to enter thru his doors. He’s not going to force himself on us. But he longs to travel thru life together with us. Caring for us, our special friend…on a journey full of the unexpected. A journey that will give us real…and perhaps unexpected hope.

I think Jesus knows what he’s doing. And adventure with him is just a step away.

But even more than that – at the end of the journey when our time aboard as his companion is drawing to a close…as we face our life’s end…he will take care of us and bring us safely back home. He promises it. He’s committed himself to it.

Our future will be better because there was a day when we personally and honestly discovered that God and church…the mundane …was actually completely extraordinary.

Wait a minute – “It really IS bigger on the inside!”

RESPOND blogs: Why I Believe in the Supernatural

It has been said – Miracles are simply the stuff of fiction.

Belief in Miracles – or the Supernatural – can be traced back to an ancient, pre-Scientifically enlightened world. A world where Vikings looked at the sky and believed a wolf chased the horses that dragged the chariot that contained the Sun across the sky. Great imagination there, guys!

Thanks to the work of David Hume in the 1800’s, many people today think everything that happens MUST be the result of natural processes. Because the Supernatural does not exist.

Someone who claims a Miracle is frowned upon in our culture today.  Because the claim is understood simply to be the result of us not understanding the natural processes involved in the event.

In other words – people who believe in Miracles are simply ignorant.

But here’s a thought – it IS possible to embrace and be inspired by the wonder of Scientific discovery (cosmology included!) while still believing that God can do Miracles if he sees fit.

Now our culture may cock a condescending wink at me as I say that. But you’ve got to admit…there are some pretty amazing historical events that are difficult to explain by natural processes. Take the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, for example.

Now miracle cynics don’t claim to have all the answers. So they usually cover their bases by saying this. If a Miracle WAS to take place…then that event should have MUCH MORE evidence for its Supernatural cause than we would normally expect from any other mundane event. Show me that amount of evidence and you might convince me.

How does that work? Well – take the milk that appears on your doorstep every morning. It’s a recurring mundane happening. We don’t need much evidence to believe that the milkman delivered it! But say someone claimed to see their milk carton appear out of thin air on their doorstep one morning. That would be Miraculous, wouldn’t it? And very, very unlikely!

The point is – a Supernatural event is SO unlikely  that in order to be treated seriously…our culture expects vast amounts of evidence to back it up. For a start…who saw the milk appear with their own eyes? We need more than the one witness…who might have been drinking in the pub late the night before. We need a crowd of witnesses to verify the suddenly appearing milk!

So – let me question the prevailing wisdom in our culture today. Is it reasonable to demand extraordinary levels of evidence before we claim Miracle?  It sounds reasonable. But in actual fact – the people who use this argument against Miracle are extremely selective with how they use it.

Take Jesus’ Resurrection again.

Christians believe, based on the interlocking historical accounts in the New Testament, that God Miraculously raised Jesus from the dead. He was really dead on Good Friday – but he was physically raised from death as part of God’s plan and purpose the following Sunday. God stepped into the normal flow of natural processes that unfold in our Universe and he fed a very special event into our reality. Jesus…back from the dead.

And we might think to ourselves…well that’s not very likely…is it? So we expect masses of evidence to prove it beyond doubt.

Well, hang on. Just because something is unlikely…does not mean that the proof for that unlikely event requires in feasibly large amounts of evidence. Not at all. We don’t actually use that standard in our everyday lives. So it’s unfair to take that approach with Jesus’ Resurrection.

What do I mean? Well – take the UK National Lottery as an example.

It has been estimated that the odds of winning the National Lottery are 1 in 14 million.  In other words, take the entire population of Scotland, 3 times over. One of them has a winning Lottery ticket that…if you find it…wins you a million pounds. Now – you’ve got just one chance to select a person at random. What are the chances you will choose the Scot with the ticket? (not to mention your chances of prising it out of his hand) It’s very, very unlikely that it will happen! Yet this one unlikely event happens for someone most weeks in the UK. Someone wins the National Lottery and becomes extremely wealthy. It’s an unlikely event…but it is frankly a routine event! You can almost set your watch by it.

My point in this. We don’t demand extraordinary evidence to prove that a person has won the Lottery. If the Camelot Group announces this week’s winners on TV, their website, and on Twitter…then we just believe it! Why? Because we have extraordinary evidence? No! We have no evidence beyond Camelot’s say so. We believe it because we have good reason to TRUST the Camelot Group. We trust what they are telling us. Even though the National Lottery win is extremely unlikely for the winner.

We don’t doubt the TV when it announces the winner.

I don’t doubt the historical reports in the Bible when it tells me Jesus was supernaturally raised from the dead. I don’t need extraordinary evidence. I trust the Bible; and God for that matter.

But even though I don’t need it…God has already given extraordinary evidence for Jesus Resurrection. How about the multiple billions of people who have believed in Jesus down thru the centuries, and seen Him transform their lives?

That’s pretty compelling and consistent and repeatable evidence for a single unlikely event…don’t you think?

Respond blogs: An Empty Tomb

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It stands unique and alone across all of human history.

Many important people have come…and gone.

  • Some have started religious movements
  • Some have been business leaders or political touch stones
  • Others have been celebrities who dominate popular culture

Yet they all have something in common – one day they all died. The time came when a decaying corpse was all that was left of them.

And then there’s Jesus. What did he leave behind?

AN EMPTY TOMB.

Contemporary Roman and Jewish history recounts the events surrounding the empty tomb.

About this time there was a wise man whose name was Jesus and he was known to be good and do works of justice. Many people among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die, but those who would become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he appeared to them on the third day returned to life. Accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians so named after him have not disappeared to the present day.

Josephus, 1st Century Roman Historian

Neither the governments of Rome nor Israel counted Jesus as a friend. They conspired to get rid of him. But they could not honestly ignore the result of their attempt.

AN EMPTY TOMB.

Some have examined the evidence and put forward “common-sense” explanations:

“His tomb was empty because…he didn’t die on the cross. He walked out of the tomb alive.”

This would be miraculous in itself, given Jesus’ expert Roman executioners whose own lives were on the line if he survived his execution. Have you ever seen Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ”? There’s just no way he walked out of that tomb alive.

“His tomb was empty because…his disciples stole the body and disposed of it privately.”

Yet this does not fit the psychological profile of the defeated and rejected friends of Jesus…mourning his passing one day…and then suddenly becoming world changing action men the next. People who go to their graves spreading the exciting news that Jesus resurrection means hope for us all!

“His tomb was empty because the Jewish or Roman authorities stole the body and disposed of it privately.”

This is the oldest explanation – it’s mentioned in the New Testament account itself. Yet why would Jesus enemies inflame a growing legend about the troublesome Jesus? They wanted him disposed of…not proclaimed from the street corners. Any conspiracy around Jesus remains would have resulted in his corpse being produced to quell the growing excitement around his resurrection. And yet no historic account of such an event exists. Why? Because they had no body to produce.

“His tomb wasn’t empty. People just forgot where he was buried…they went to the wrong tomb.”

His friends knew very well where he was buried. There were Roman Guards posted at the tomb. And anyway – if the outpouring of grief at his death had confused his friends as to the whereabouts of his remains…the Jewish authorities would have had no such confusion. They would have hauled out his remains for all to see given the first opportunity. But they couldn’t. Because they had no body to produce.

No. Jesus’ tomb…the one loaned to him for a short while by Joseph of Arimathea…

  • Contained his corpse on the first Good Friday
  • Was empty by the first Easter  Sunday.
  • And his subsequent appearances, alive and well, during a brief window of time have been recorded for us in the pages of history.

Archaeologists have unearthed the unsettled reaction by the Roman Government at the time.

An edict from the Roman Emperor – warning that anyone found tampering with tombs in and around Jerusalem – would themselves be subject to the death penalty.

Unsettling as it was, Jesus wasn’t naturally raised from the dead. God raised Jesus Christ from the dead at that specific point in human history. There was purpose behind it. All the authorities could do in the face of such a seismic event was to pass a pointless law to prevent “bodies from ever getting stolen again”.

Too late.

The Resurrection had already occurred.

And our world would never be the same again.

Most Precious Thing in the Universe

Naturalism.

We live in a society that increasingly assumes Naturalism. It’s like the lenses thru which we view everything that happens.

Now – you might be asking – what is it? Well is not the same thing as Naturism (!).

Naturalism is the assumption that our universe can be completely known by studying the laws that operate within it; the matter that exists within it; the energy that is used within it.

Naturalism, and the Scientists who wear those glasses, say the universe is just an intricate machine. So too are people and animals and all life. We’re just biological machines. When things wear out…and when people wear out…the machine stops working. We’re gone – kaput – and that’s it.

“There is no reason to suppose that science cannot deal with every aspect of existence. Only the religious – among whom I include not only the prejudiced but the under informed – hope there is a dark corner of the physical universe…that science can never hope to illuminate.”

– Peter Atkins, Professor of Chemistry at Oxford University

It is smart – we are told – to hold a naturalistic view of our world. It is stupid to think anything different.

Well I’m not going along with this. I’m putting my hand up and asking questions.

Why must a smart, intelligent view of our universe demand naturalism? I challenge that assumption for many reasons. But let’s choose just one reason. Let’s choose scientific reasoning. The approach so many scientists say is wedded to a naturalistic world view.

The more we understand about life’s complexity – the less likely it is that we are a result of blind chance and natural forces.

Let me come right out and say it – Science points to a bigger thing than just Nature. Science points to a God who created it all.

At the very center of each piece of matter I am composed of, you don’t find a random jumble of chemicals. No – each cell that constructs my body is a busy, complex biological machine in its own right. So far so good for the Naturalist. But at the center of that hive of intricacy…in the nucleus of every cell…is the most precious thing in the universe.

DNA? Yes it’s there. But I’m not describing DNA as precious. I’m saying the INFORMATION that DNA conveys is precious.

INFORMATION doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of a CREATIVE MIND. Someone thought up life’s instruction manual before it could be written down and appear in our bodies.

Think of it like this – have you ever had to write an essay before? Ever sat in front of a blank laptop screen? You need to create…but it takes thought…it takes work. Eventually your essay is ready to hand in for marking. Two thousand words on the page that started in your mind. You crafted those words carefully – not just following spelling and grammar, but bringing together concepts you’ve learned, topics you have studied.

Information is ALWAYS the result of a creative mind at work. It’s found on the pages of your essay. Information is also written through your body, one cell at a time.

INFORMATION is also PRECIOUS. Ever had a long distance conversation with your family when someone’s said to you…”Miss you…love you.” How does that feel? It’s not the words that give us a lump in our throat and tears in the corner of our eyes. It’s your loved one’s thought that is precious. That’s information.

As our knowledge about the details of the universe grows…the evidence for a designer grows with it. And the naturalist exclaims – “How wonderful that life in the universe looks designed”.

Take the glasses off, look again.

It IS designed.

I think Science points to the existence of God.

Just before he died, Anthony Flew changed his mind. He lived eighty years, militantly convinced that there was no God. Yet – it was scientific discovery around Information at the heart of life that changed his mind. The blind forces of nature and random chance aren’t enough. Life had to be created by someone.

“…we still have to come to terms with the origin of the laws of nature [information]. And the only viable explanation here is the divine Mind.”

— Anthony Flew, How the Most Notorious Atheist Changed his Mind

Faith in God has its reasons. Biological Information…created in a mind…precious beyond words…it is a big one.

But it’s only the beginning…

Only the good reasons are mine…

Human beings.

We’re an inquisitive lot…don’t you think? I’m convinced that is why Facebook and Twitter are so popular…they give us so many opportunities to poke our noses in other people’s business. Er, I mean keep an eye on people. I’m not nosey if I follow you online…I’m just inquisitive. Honest.

I find that people are inquisitive about people of faith. Whether its faith in a political party…faith in a leader…faith in scientific progress…faith in themselves…or faith in God. It’s fascinating to speak to someone who seems to be able to live their lives with a sense of confidence in something…or someone…bigger than themselves. Respond to me. Answer me the why question? How does it work? Does it always work for you?

Wait a minute – on second thoughts…people who have faith ONLY in THEMSELVES really put me off. Pride has a certain…odor… doesn’t it?

Anyway – this blog is for the inquisitive among us…it’s all about reasons for faith.  I don’t mean faith in mankind. Or faith in a higher power. I’m going to be really specific.

This blog is all about reasons for faith in the God of the Bible. Reasons for being a Christian…why there are good reasons for it. And why those reasons make sense.

They are not all going to be MY own reasons for faith in God. Only the good ones are mine. The rubbishy ones…I’ll do my best to pin on someone else.

Why write about reasons for faith in God? It’s not that I think faith in national leaders is a bad thing. And Science? I love it. It pays my mortgage and has brought me more technology in my life than I can poke a stick at!!

But I’m not writing a blog about faith in those things. Why? Because faith in God is so much more rewarding, at the end of the day. And I want to reward you, faithful reader. I don’t intend to waste your time.