“The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome.”

posted at 12:20 am on April 5, 2007 by Bryan

Dr. Francis Collins, interesting guy.

As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God’s language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God’s plan.

I did not always embrace these perspectives. As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked “What do you believe, doctor?”, I began searching for answers.

I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist’s assertion that “I know there is no God” emerged as the least defensible. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, “Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative.”

I can relate. Eight years at the Hubble Space Telescope project had a similar effect on me. I was never an atheist as Dr. Collins was, and I didn’t head up anything on the scale of the Human Genome Project, but examining the universe in detail through Hubble’s eye at first challenged, and then strengthened, my faith. For me, it was a supernova — Supernova 1987A, to be exact, and how its position 168,000 light-years from us makes it a TiVO writ large that we can use to figure out how large and old the universe is by yardsticking distances to it and other supernovas, eventually all the way out as far as we can see, and then rewinding back to the Big Bang. Genesis 1 turned out to be one of the most interesting and profound documents ever written, once you start to get the science of it all. The God of the Bible is the God of the genome is the God of the distant dying star. If you’re interested in the how and why of that, here’s an article I wrote a while back that attempts to explain some of it.

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The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

I will give thanks to You, for
I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

INC on April 5, 2007 at 1:11 AM

Two of my favorite INC. Always in my head and on my lips with thanksgiving. And Bryan, I am a Hubble geek and am addicted to staring at all of those pics along with those from the newer one Spitzer. It is certainly amazing how when God made man a “little lower than the angles” I am glad he gave him intellect with the ability to explore and photograph his glory and awesomeness!!!!!!

auspatriotman on April 5, 2007 at 2:42 PM

So if I like a functional society and a roaring economy then I can choose to act in a way that encourages that and say those are my “morals”. But since I don’t care, I choose to be a serial killer. My chosen “morality” is only based on how I feel about things.

jdpaz on April 5, 2007 at 2:39 PM

Listen, I’m not saying, nor have I ever said, that it is impossible for an atheist to justify anything he wants to himself and thus be utterly immoral.

All I did say, and I stand by that, is that it’s ludicrous to suggest that because you can justify immorality as an atheist, it logically follows that you must.

Misha I on April 5, 2007 at 2:46 PM

The atheist cannot justify anything as moral or immoral. Those terms are meaningless to them. There is no basis on which to judge unless there are transcendant laws (and a Lawgiver).

jdpaz on April 5, 2007 at 2:51 PM

I sometimes wonder if is possible that God created the world in 7 24-hour days, but created it “In Process”.

Just as he created Adam as a fully grown man, he likewise could have done the same for the rest of creation. For example, he could have created seeds, saplings and ancient trees at the same time. This would explain how you count count the rings of two trees he created on the same day and get a different “age”. The same would go for all of the other geological creations (rocks, strata, etc). This may also account for how something could appear to be millions of years old, but be only thousands.

It may not seem possible to create things “In Process” with all of the interdependencies in place, but God created the laws of the universe and is not bound by them. Nothing is too difficult for my God.

jman on April 5, 2007 at 3:05 PM

Misha I on April 5, 2007 at 2:20 PM

Another example would be an athiest could say that two wives or the cheating on a wife is ok because it is just a piece of paper. It is unreasonable to sign a contract without an expiration date. The religious would know that it is a covenant not just a piece of paper or a contract. And when one breaks that covenant, it has far greater impact than “just a piece of paper”. The athiest may be hungry and steal food to feed his family (and say his need is greater than the one who has the food), the religious would know to seek help at a church before thievery, they would not justify the thievery with the “socialistic” view of you have it, you must share it. The religious view would be I have it, I will share it. Hence the great monuments of our time…hospitals, schools, relief, food banks, etc. Making us the most giving nation on earth…and it ain’t the athiests who give.

right2bright on April 5, 2007 at 3:09 PM

ballz2wallz: I’ve seen that, I found it terribly unconvincing. I’d point out that Behe that mischaracterized Doolittle’s argument. Doolittle was not trying to give an example of an evolutionary intermediary, as Behe claimed. (Behe quoted Doolittle, but cut off the very next sentence, which made this clear.) What Doolittle did was to destroy Behe’s definition of IC. “By irreducibly complex I mean a single system which is composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.” The mice didn’t function well, nor did they function identically to wild-type mice, but they did function. Behe did not allow for degrees when he came up with IC. And if we were to use Behe’s own logic (“…in my opinion the fact that an expert cited a recent and contradictory journal article, … shows that there are indeed no detailed explanations for the evolution of blood clotting in the literature and that,… the irreducible complexity of the system is a significant problem for Darwinism.”), well, what does it mean when the expert in IC is debunked? There’s also the Dover opinion (pdf):

Second, with regard to the blood-clotting cascade, Dr. Miller demonstrated that the alleged irreducible complexity of the blood-clotting cascade has been disproven by peer-reviewed studies dating back to 1969, which show that dolphins’ and whales’ blood clots despite missing a part of the cascade, a study that was confirmed by molecular testing in 1998. (1:122-29 (Miller); P-854.17- 854.22). Additionally and more recently, scientists published studies showing that in puffer fish, blood clots despite the cascade missing not only one, but three parts. (1:128-29 (Miller)). Accordingly, scientists in peer-reviewed publications have refuted Professor Behe’s predication about the alleged irreducible complexity of the blood-clotting cascade. Moreover, cross-examination revealed that Professor Behe’s redefinition of the blood-clotting system was likely designed to avoid peer- reviewed scientific evidence that falsifies his argument, as it was not a scientifically warranted redefinition.

We could go back and forth over Behe, but I think I’ve offered enough for one thread.

jdpaz: “The current NAS definition of science does not allow that there be any consideration for the supernatural. Even if the supernatural does exist, scientists aren’t allowed consider it! Behe testified, rightly, that this is a deficient definition.”

It’s not deficient. That’s the whole point of science, to figure out how nature works. Supernatural beings, by definition, are not a part of the natural world. An omniscient being who can violate physical laws at will cannot be tested.

But I hope that’s a sign that you realize ID is a religious belief. I’m sorry that you think we should add religion to the teaching of science.

dorkafork on April 5, 2007 at 3:22 PM

jp-

Let me add to your list:

Logarithms – John Napier
You name it, he did it – Leonhard Euler

INC on April 5, 2007 at 2:16 PM

you know, I forgot one of the most important, paticularly to our prosperity…

Adam Smith

Frances Schaefer you quoted is philosophy all should read, his trilogy on it…

jp on April 5, 2007 at 3:23 PM

jman,

Excellent points to ponder about creation “In Process”. It would seem to make sense that if Adam and Eve were created as adults, the rest of creation would have an “age” as well.

Centurion68 on April 5, 2007 at 3:25 PM

DaF replied:

It’s not deficient. That’s the whole point of science, to figure out how nature works.

I agree in all areas of scientific study except those that touch on origins. In this area the special creationist and the naturalist both rely on faith when considering the boundary conditions of the universe.

Supernatural beings, by definition, are not a part of the natural world. An omniscient being who can violate physical laws at will cannot be tested.

Just because It could not be tested does not mean that It does not exist. The scientist should be at least allowed to take this into consideration especially when considering origins.

But I hope that’s a sign that you realize ID is a religious belief. I’m sorry that you think we should add religion to the teaching of science

If by “religion” you mean “faith-based presuppositions” then religion is already firmly entrenched in the teaching and practice of science.

jdpaz on April 5, 2007 at 4:02 PM

One thing that God did when He created the earth was that he made things discoverable if one does the work.
Have you wondered why the atmosphere is transparent? An opaque atmosphere would preclude our study of the heavens. The rest of the atmospheres in the solar system are opaque except for Mars’s very thin atmosphere.
Have you wondered why the moon fits the sun EXACTLY in size allowing for a total eclipse of the sun? Remember, that helium was first discovered in the solar spectrum and named after the Sun (Helios).
Have you wondered why the earth is tilted EXACTLY the right number of degrees to allow for seasons?
Have you wondered why the moon is EXACTLY the right distance from the earth to ensure the axis tilt remains constant?
Have you wondered why the earth is EXACTLY the right distance from the sun so it’s not too hot and not too cold for life?
Have you wondered why our solar system occupies a place in the Milky Way Galaxy safe from destructive intergalactic storms? We’re situated between arms of the pinwheel.

Again, the evolutionists thinks of these things and says, “hmm, what a coincidence.” The creationist praises God. The heavens declare the glory of God. Also from proverbs: It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out.

God has hidden the miracles of His creation but given us clues to discover them. It’s no wonder why Christians have done almost all of the scientific heavy lifting over the years because they understand God on a personal level. If you want to know about a painting, get to know the painter.

Mojave Mark on April 5, 2007 at 4:08 PM

Just because It could not be tested does not mean that It does not exist.

No, but what it does is make it a religious/philosophical question, not a scientific one. Science is all about figuring out how the natural world works, not how the supernatural world works.

dorkafork on April 5, 2007 at 4:15 PM

Have you wondered why the moon fits the sun EXACTLY in size allowing for a total eclipse of the sun?

No offense, but you’re misunderstanding how an eclipse works.

dorkafork on April 5, 2007 at 4:34 PM

dorkafork, you and I don’t disagree except where origins are involved.

If naturalists were more forthcoming with their assumptions about origins it would shed a lot of light on this issue. They assume that all matter and energy in our universe began to exist from an initial condition where they did not exist with no intelligent input—contrary to all known laws (Newton’s First Law, etc) of our universe (one might say “super-naturally”). One of the bedrock scientific tenets is that you cannot get something from nothing. The naturalist posits that indeed you can. Ironically, that belief is contradicted everywhere in the universe.

The special creationist assumes that all matter and energy in our universe began to exist from an initial condition where they did not exist (in that form) with intelligent input—in keeping with all known laws (Newton’s First Law, etc) of our universe—supernaturally. The effect must have a cause. The cause must be greater than the effect (laws of thermo).

jdpaz on April 5, 2007 at 4:42 PM

Mojave Mark on April 5, 2007 at 4:08 PM

And an atheist would say “but that is exactly WHY life spontaneously happened on Earth instead of, say, Beta Centauri.”

Not to play the Devil’s Advocate here, just to illustrate how it’s a “chicken and egg” sort of issue.

I, like you, see Divine Providence in all of those things, and it is part of the reason why I found my faith. I know that I can’t know for sure, but I’ve also studied enough mathematics and statistics to know that, whereas “impossible” is a word often abused in conversation, some things are just too damn improbable to make sense.

And that is why I chose to walk with G-d. He makes sense and, in a world of conflicting hypotheses and conjectures, the Bible is the one thing that fits with all that I see.

We’ll all find out who was right eventually. Until then, people can believe what they want, it’s no skin off of my nose, as long as they quit elevating their conjectures to the status of fact. Because that really ticks me off. I don’t like ignorance, and I never will.

Misha I on April 5, 2007 at 4:51 PM

One of the bedrock scientific tenets is that you cannot get something from nothing. The naturalist posits that indeed you can.

As far as I know, scientists describe the beginning of the universe as a singularity, which is not nothing. And the cause would not technically be “greater” than the effect due to the various laws of conservation. The total energy in the system would be the same.

dorkafork on April 5, 2007 at 5:29 PM

Where’d the singularity come from?

jdpaz on April 5, 2007 at 5:43 PM

did this immensely energetic “ball” of matter/energy just “happen”?

jdpaz on April 5, 2007 at 5:45 PM

Science is all about figuring out how the natural world works, not how the supernatural world works

Scientific investigation is just one of the methods used to discover the rationale behind physical processes and phenomena. That means figuring out not only the how, but the why. For example, we have a good understanding as to HOW mass alters the path of a light beam yet we still don’t understand WHY that happens.

Modern scientists are exploring the how. Philosophers are exploring the why. It will take both to develop a true understanding of the universe.

God may very well be part of the physical processes (after all, SOMETHING caused the big bang and set the physical laws that govern this universe) and it would be unscientific to discount that possibility until we have proven otherwise.

RedinBlueCounty on April 5, 2007 at 6:00 PM

God may very well be part of the physical processes (after all, SOMETHING caused the big bang and set the physical laws that govern this universe) and it would be unscientific to discount that possibility until we have proven otherwise.

RedinBlueCounty on April 5, 2007 at 6:00 PM

So you’re not necessarily a Christian, you just believe that there is some greater force that guides our entire lives?

Nonfactor on April 5, 2007 at 6:08 PM

Barrow and Tipler:

“At this singularity, space and time came into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation ex nihilo.”

jdpaz on April 5, 2007 at 6:09 PM

Where’d the singularity come from?

It might not have “come” from anywhere. With the relationship between space and time, when you’re looking at a singularity, the whole concept of time becomes… weird. Bottom line is anything before the Big Bang is philosophical/religious speculation, there’s no way for science to determine anything that happened before the Big Bang.

dorkafork on April 5, 2007 at 6:15 PM

Now we’re seeing things similarly, dorkafork.

Here’s a good run-down if you’re interested: http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/theism-origin.html#ref15

jdpaz on April 5, 2007 at 6:32 PM

I wonder what Albert Einstein would say on the subject?

PinkyBigglesworth on April 5, 2007 at 6:58 PM

So you’re not necessarily a Christian, you just believe that there is some greater force that guides our entire lives?

I AM a Christian and I believe that several forces affect us including spiritual forces. I believe in God and I believe in the soul. I also believe in the physical world which follows identifiable processes and phenomena. We guide our own lives spiritually as we have free will.

I see no dichotomy between being a Christian and understanding physics and science. I believe that we need to understand both the physical and the spiritual to truly understand reality. We are more than just a collection of atoms. The universe is more than just mass and energy.

RedinBlueCounty on April 5, 2007 at 7:05 PM

Barrow and Tipler:

“At this singularity, space and time came into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation ex nihilo.”

I could be wrong, I was going off my memory of Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time”. I’m pretty sure that was how he described it. (I’ve seen stories titled “Stephen Hawking Says Universe Came From Nothing”, but the stories themselves don’t say that.)

The point is we don’t know what happened before the Big Bang, because space and time didn’t exist. (Rather mind-bending.) And the laws of physics break down at the singularity. So I guess it’s pointless to talk about violations of the laws of thermodynamics when asking where the Big Bang “came” from. Especially since there was no “before” the singularity. (Hawking described this along the lines of “what is North of the North pole”, IIRC.)

dorkafork on April 5, 2007 at 7:21 PM

It might not have “come” from anywhere

I rememberlearning in school (lo these many years ago) that energy can nether be created or destroyed as per the first law of thermal dynamics. How can science account for the sudden creation of energy in the first instance of the Big Bang as that theory postulates that nothing existed prior to the big bang? No energy, no mass, no universe. Ether that theory is wrong or the universe and all within was actually created out of nothing. The universe suddenly appears out of nothing. Humm, sounds like an act of God to me!

RedinBlueCounty on April 5, 2007 at 7:32 PM

dorkafork

Second, with regard to the blood-clotting cascade, Dr. Miller demonstrated that the alleged irreducible complexity of the blood-clotting cascade has been disproven by peer-reviewed studies dating back to 1969, which show that dolphins’ and whales’ blood clots despite missing a part of the cascade, a study that was confirmed by molecular testing in 1998. (1:122-29 (Miller); P-854.17- 854.22). Additionally and more recently, scientists published studies showing that in puffer fish, blood clots despite the cascade missing not only one, but three parts.

That’s curious, about on the par of the fact that sea cucumbers can vomit out their insides and grow new ones, but not another creature on the planet can do that, including us. How many parts of the blood clotting cascade can a human being afford to lose?
Not a one, isn’t that right? How about a bear? A pigeon?

naliaka on April 5, 2007 at 7:33 PM

How many parts of the blood clotting cascade can a human being afford to lose?

I don’t know the particulars, and I don’t really care. Behe, the guy who came up with the blood clotting argument against evolution, claimed that it was irreducibly complex. He described IC as being not only a case where if you remove one part, the system stops functioning, but that in IC systems, you cannot get systems missing one part through Darwinian mechanisms. They can’t evolve. They all have to be put in place at once by an “Intelligent Designer”, or else the system simply does not function. He used the blood clotting cascade as an example. This example is wrong: the evidence is that animals exist that lack one of those “irreducibly complex” parts, and the system functions.

That’s one of the reasons why I don’t think Behe is worth reading.

dorkafork on April 5, 2007 at 8:26 PM

Without it, we wouldn’t have discovered any of the laws of physics. So, how come math works?

Kokonut on April 5, 2007 at 1:14 PM

Math doesn’t always work in all situations. Distances for instance. Math says you can divide any distance in half and always get a number. But try holding your thumb and fore finger two inches apart and divide that distance. Math says you can always get a number, but you fingers will eventually touch.

I have always thought that was interesting. I sure there are math geeks out there that can explain that logically. There must be a smallest number possible. I wonder what it is?

csdeven on April 5, 2007 at 8:39 PM

Some people insist that science will answer all of man’s questions but modern scientific investigation never includes the most important question; Why? Why did the universe appear? Why do gravity, mass, momentum, and the other physical forces and phenomenon exist and why do they interact they way they do? Why did the stars form? Why does Man exist? Why do I sleep and why do I dream?

For every question how, there is a question why. I don’t think that science alone will ever answer these questions. Science is is the process of answering the how, not the why.

RedinBlueCounty on April 5, 2007 at 9:04 PM

All science can do is find patterns and test them. The closest it comes to “how” is to reduce complex events into simpler ones. “Why” is totally out of the question. To expect science to answer questions of “why” is like going to the Bible to do engineering calculations. On the other hand, just because science can’t explain something doesn’t prove the existence of God. It just says we haven’t found a testable pattern.

pedestrian on April 5, 2007 at 9:29 PM

Those who want to hold on to Darwianian evolution and a non-theistic view of the world hate Dr. Michael Behe’s work. His book “Darwin’s Black Box” was more than brilliant, and it attracted much criticism for those wanting to hold on to the old faith in evolution, including ACLU types. Dr. Behe’s scientific responses to the criticisms he has received are devastating. So I suppose the next step for those who resist his arguments will be not to read him.

Phil Byler on April 5, 2007 at 9:38 PM

After reading through all the comments here….about all I can say is ‘ain’t we a bunch’…….

There is only one sure conclusion….1000 years from now both the theologians and the scientists will be shaking their heads in wonder. In this ‘new’ age one thing is for certain…..somebody is going read it at some time. Say cheese!

Limerick on April 6, 2007 at 1:28 AM

Just because science cannot presently explain something doesn’t mean the answer is “The God of The Bible.”

Nonfactor on April 6, 2007 at 2:15 AM

Just because science cannot presently explain something doesn’t mean the answer is “The God of The Bible.”

Nonfactor on April 6, 2007 at 2:15 AM

Just because some people don’t want to accept Intelligent Design, Creation Science, Irreducible Complexity, that an Intelligence,a design, an intention, and a purpose are behind creation, etc., doesn’t mean that the answer is “Evolution.”

William

William2006 on April 6, 2007 at 2:23 AM

There is mention of the “Big Bang” several times on this forum.

Was anyone here present to observe “The Big Bang?”

No?

Then it is an assumption that there was a “Big Bang.”

Using the intellect one can surmise, infer, or theorize, or even fantasize that there was a “Big Bang,” but the fact is, no one knows and there might have never been a “Big Bang.”

It is also an assumption that there is no intelligence involved with creation, but it is all merely a series of accidents, mutations, etc., without purpose, unguided, over a long period of time. Of course, it can also be said that the existence of an intelligence behind creation, or even a “God” – capital “G,” is an assumption.

William

William2006 on April 6, 2007 at 2:28 AM

William2006 on April 6, 2007 at 2:23 AM

You’re assuming evolution is independent of the concept of god. And it’s not about “accepting” an unprovable theory (god) it’s about using logic to reject it.

William2006 on April 6, 2007 at 2:28 AM

You’re misunderstanding what the Big Bang was. It’s not like scientists created the theory with nothing to back it up. Read any contemporary astrophysicist before you start making broad statements about what you think the Big Bang was.

It is also an assumption that there is no intelligence involved with creation

The assumption is that there is an intelligent designer, not that there isn’t one.

is all merely a series of accidents, mutations, etc., without purpose, unguided, over a long period of time

Simply because you find this hard to accept doesn’t mean that it is absurd. I find it strange that people who believe in a god find it so easy to accept that some architect designed all forms of life and set them on Earth, but find it so hard to see that life naturally evolves over time.

God is an answer to the unanswerable to ease the minds of the weary: Why are we here? Science can’t answer it, nature can’t answer it, nothing can answer it except for a concept of some larger force with an unknowable “plan.” Because the thought that there is no inherent purpose to human life is so hard to accept we humans invent a theory to tell us “we do have a purpose;” I’m not condemning wanting to know why people are alive, I’m condemning people who create an answer to the question that cannot be proven.

Nonfactor on April 6, 2007 at 4:20 AM

Supernatural beings, by definition, are not a part of the natural world. An omniscient being who can violate physical laws at will cannot be tested.
dorkafork on April 5, 2007 at 3:22 PM

Agreed: Science cannot prove the existence of God, but I’ve never understood how this logic leads to the conclusion that we must examine the natural world AS IF the supernatural doesn’t exist.

“I can’t measure it therefore it doesn’t exist” isn’t logical. “I can’t measure it therefore I must exclude it” has the same practical effect and as such is also not logical.

Further, the fact that we can’t see, test, or scientifically describe God only proves our inability to independently ascertain Him. It certainly doesn’t preclude Him from revealing Himself to us!

The Ritz on April 6, 2007 at 8:44 AM

Nonfactor, every scientific model yet devised to explain the universe requires that there be a personal creator. Since an eternal, infinite universe is logically and observationally untenable, the universe must necessarily have a beginning. The boundary conditions for its creation must exist prior to its creation. Whatever it was (the first cause) had to have certain properties: timeless, spaceless, immensely powerful, and capable of making a choice (for reasons explained here read the whole thing but do a find on “personal” for support of my point). We tend to call something with these attributes “god”. “Gods” without these attributes need not apply so it’s not just left wide open to, say, the gods of Olympus. Very few “gods” actually qualify for consideration and the Christian God fits the bill quite well. What would we consider as proof of a god’s claims? Documented foretelling of future events (the destruction of Tyre)? Raising someone from the dead (witnesses of which went to tortured deaths rather than deny the resurrection)?
There is ample evidence so that we are without excuse.

jdpaz on April 6, 2007 at 12:41 PM

all Christians, with a Christian worldview. They may not all have agreed on all of the tenets of the faith, but all believed in the Christian God as Creator. Were it not for their achievements in their respective sciences, the world would be a much darker place.

jp on April 5, 2007 at 12:43 PM

No argument from here. I was taking issue with the statement that all major branches of science were “discovered by Christians”. Archimedes, Ptolomy–oh forget it. Yes, nothing happened before Christ of any note.

honora on April 6, 2007 at 2:54 PM

Nonfactor, every scientific model yet devised to explain the universe requires that there be a personal creator.

No, every model requires an infinite; some people have envisioned this infinite to be a personal creator. Because we don’t truly know what it is any speculation is just that, speculation. The creator could be a timeless blob of matter that initiated the creation of the universe, or the universe could have always been here and it is simply expanding to become bigger, or the creator could be a man-like figure who personally created the Earth and had a son with an Earthling, but we don’t really know, and pretending to know the ultimate truth about what happened before the Big Bang can’t be based in fact.

the universe must necessarily have a beginning.

Again, there is a possibility that the universe is infinite, but I cannot tell you with any certainty (just as religious people cannot tell me with any certainty that Allah or the Christian God was always here) that that is the truth.

Whatever it was (the first cause) had to have certain properties: timeless, spaceless, immensely powerful, and capable of making a choice (for reasons explained here

Timeless? I agree, but I can’t be certain. Spaceless? I agree, but I can’t be certain. Immensely Powerful? I agree, but can’t be certain. Capable of making a choice? I disagree, but can’t be certain. But simply because I cannot be certain does not mean that the answer is any type of “god.”

The problem I have with the link you provided is that they determine that they can’t be certain how the universe was before the Big Bang and thus they assume that it must be “god,” and not just any god, the Christian God. God is only assumed because it’s an explanation we’re all familiar with, but there is absolutely no proof that the universe was created by god, even more so that this god is a conscious being that influences life on Earth.

the Christian God fits the bill quite well.

Simply because an idea devised attempts to answer many unanswerable questions doesn’t mean that it is true. If someone wrote down a being with all the qualities of the Christian God but instead made it a giant unicorn in the sky why would that not be any more far fetched?

There is ample evidence so that we are without excuse.

jdpaz on April 6, 2007 at 12:41 PM

Evidence written down in a book that tells you it’s true and that you want so much to believe in it you agree.

Nonfactor on April 6, 2007 at 3:16 PM

No, every model requires an infinite

Except, of course, for E=MC2 which requires a fixed limit on the speed of light.

RedinBlueCounty on April 6, 2007 at 3:23 PM

No, every model requires an infinite

Please provide documentation to back this up.

The creator could be a timeless blob of matter…Spaceless? I agree….

You agree that the state before sigularity is spaceless therefore you can’t believe the creator is a blob of matter. Matter takes up space.

there is a possibility that the universe is infinite

This isn’t a possibility. There would be no usable energy left in the universe per laws of entropy.

The problem I have with the link you provided….

What specific issue do you have with his reasoning?

…made it a giant unicorn in the sky….

It couldn’t possibly be a Giant Unicorn in the Sky (GUITS). A GUITS takes up space and is part of the universe—contradicting the boundary conditions.

Let’s remember how the pre-scientific Bible writers described the creator:
John 4:24 God [is] a Spirit — spaceless
Malachi 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not — changeless
Psalms 147:5 Great [is] our Lord, and of great power — immensely powerful
John 8:58 Before Abraham was, I am — timeless

Just so happens that these shepherds got all the boundary conditions right.

Oh, and the “ample evidence” I was talking about was the same evidence that the Apostle Paul was talking about—the universe.

jdpaz on April 6, 2007 at 4:23 PM

That last bit’s from Romans 1:19 & 20

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

jdpaz on April 6, 2007 at 4:28 PM

Please provide documentation to back this up.

I’m not going to search for documentation on every single theory and provide links that people won’t read in a thread that’s almost done for anyway, but name a theory on how the universe was created and I’ll show you how it requires an infinite.

You agree that the state before sigularity is spaceless therefore you can’t believe the creator is a blob of matter. Matter takes up space.

This is a non sequitor, and even though I may agree that existence before the big bang (although I’m not even sure if there was existence before the big bang) was spaceless, doesn’t mean that I am positive that it was spaceless. If I were positive about something like that it would be similar to believing in a god.

This isn’t a possibility. There would be no usable energy left in the universe per laws of entropy.

The universe works in mysterious ways. To hear religious people talk about “possibility” of something in the universe when they blindly accept the “possibility” that there is a being called “God” who talks to people on Earth, destroys Earthly cities, and has Earthly children gets me laughing.

What specific issue do you have with his reasoning?

I told you exactly the problem I had with what was said; if you would read beyond the section you quoted you would see what I had to say. They assume “god” with no proof because they can’t explain it any other way.

contradicting the boundary conditions

You’re acting as if these “conditions” are ultimate. You’re not even sure if these conditions are true. This unicorn was always here, it wasn’t created by anything or anyone, it’s all-knowing; sound familiar? You may think that something needs to be spaceless/timeless for it to exist before the big bang, but you can’t really be sure.

Let’s remember how the pre-scientific Bible writers described the creator:

You’re assuming all these descriptions to be true. You can’t prove that God exists by quoting The Bible; it’s circular.

Nonfactor on April 6, 2007 at 4:55 PM

Carl Baugh believes that God’s voice is made of microwaves

Drtuddle on April 6, 2007 at 5:26 PM

I just have to share this:

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=c5280214e0486b273a5f

Nonfactor on April 6, 2007 at 6:11 PM

name a theory

Vacuum Fluctuation Model

non sequitor

Actually it is not a non sequitur. You stated that you weren’t sure if P and not P could simultaneously be true. I was merely pointing out that P and not P indeed cannot be true.

They assume “god” with no proof

That’s not what he’s done. He deduces, logically and scientifically, what the properties of the First Cause must be. He then calls that thing “God”. If he called it Ed or GUITS would that make you more comfortable?

The universe works in mysterious ways.

The law of increasing entropy has no known exceptions. That’s why the patent office no longer accepts submissions for perpetual motion machines. You’re treading awfully close to supernatural explanations here—not that much different than me.

You may think that something needs to be spaceless/timeless for it to exist before the big bang, but you can’t really be sure.

Rigorous science and logic dictate that these conditions indeed be so…and I found it intriguing that the bible writers used the same descriptions for the First Cause. So it wasn’t circular reasoning at all. I can use the Bible as support for why I believe the Christian God is that First Cause.

jdpaz on April 6, 2007 at 6:21 PM

I just have to share this:

~snerk~ I hope he’s just kidding!

jdpaz on April 6, 2007 at 6:23 PM

I remember from my Meteorology classes in college – I had a professor who subscribed to the Goldilocks Theory – the Earth was at just the right distance (not too hot and not too cold) and rotation (not too fast and not too slow) and angle (not too much and not too little) from the sun that life could survive and thrive.

Whatever. Now his Goldilocks theory takes faith…

russn on April 6, 2007 at 9:24 PM

Vacuum Fluctuation Model

The virtual particles have to come from somewhere. The charge for these particles must have always existed–an infinite. Something can’t come from nothing, and if something is there before the beginning of the universe it must have always been there–an infinite. But keep in mind that we will never know for sure exactly what was in the universe before the Big Bang if there was anything in the universe before the Big Bang.

Actually it is not a non sequitur.

Agreed, I misspoke, buy my point still stands: existence before the Big Bang (if there was existence before the Big Bang) may or may not be spaceless/timeless.

That’s not what he’s done. He deduces, logically and scientifically, what the properties of the First Cause must be. He then calls that thing “God”.

And I’d be okay if he just did this, but he goes beyond calling it “God,” he goes on to say that this “God” is the Christian God who is capable of influencing all life on Earth, destroying Earthly cities, etc.

If he called it Ed or GUITS would that make you more comfortable?

They’re all equally absurd.

You’re treading awfully close to supernatural explanations here

I was joking when I said that (God works in mysterious ways) in hopes to show you how little sense answers like that make.

I can use the Bible as support for why I believe the Christian God is that First Cause.

jdpaz on April 6, 2007 at 6:21 PM

Yes you can, but using The Bible won’t prove that the Christian God is the “first cause.”

Nonfactor on April 6, 2007 at 10:32 PM

We may have beaten this one to death…
Just a few minor points before I call it quits:

1. It is impossible to traverse an infinite. Time cannot extend infinitely into the past. Imagine yourself infinitely far back in the past. Now traverse time, one day at a time. Can you see where, logically, you would never get to April 9th, 2007—how you’d always be infinitely far away from today? Time must have had a beginning…and the state before that must have been timeless (and therefore changeless).

2. You seem to discount any sort of intelligent being existing in this changeless “void”. If that’s the case then the conditions necessary for the universe to come into existence must have been present changelessly. These conditions would require the universe to spring into existence out of necessity an infinite time ago. From 1. we’ve determined that this is not logically possible.

3. Only a consciousness — a mind — making a choice could cause things to exist a finite time in the past.

I find these to be inescapable conclusions. I suppose reasonable people could disagree — but I’m hard-pressed to see where there’s any wiggle room.

I agree that I can’t prove that the Christian God is the first cause. But I do find it more than passingly interesting that pre-scientific shepherds and wheat farmers described a being with all the attributes that logic and science dictate the first cause must have. Sure it takes faith to make the connection — but not really that much faith. It’s worth pointing out that every position on origins takes varying amounts of faith.

jdpaz on April 9, 2007 at 12:50 PM

I wrote a paper a while ago about how “god” is the most logical idea currently because of the reason you mentioned: there had to be a first cause. Of course my meaning of the word “god” is a lot different than your meaning. I was implying a god of entropy, not a conscious being who decided Earth should exist. But I basically agree; there had to be a cause to make the universe come into being, I think the most logical idea is an entropic reaction where others think it was the God of The Bible or the Qur’an.

Only a consciousness — a mind — making a choice could cause things to exist a finite time in the past

There’s the statement that separates deists from different religious views from atheists. The deist would ask why you think that this “consciousness” needs to be the Christian God and not some other force. The atheist would ask why must there be a consciousness instead of a random sudden causation of existence. And the religious believer would accept that a consciousness formed the universe and that the specific consciousness is the one in their holy book.

The truth is, no matter how much we each want to be right about what was “before the Big Bang,” we will never know for sure what was before the Big Bang if there was anything. But that’s the relativist in me speaking and I get yelled about it a lot from each side of the debate.

Sure it takes faith to make the connection — but not really that much faith. It’s worth pointing out that every position on origins takes varying amounts of faith.

jdpaz on April 9, 2007 at 12:50 PM

It’s called the leap of faith for a reason. I think it is a huge leap of faith to accept that a consciousness formed the entire universe and then that that consciousness is the Christian/Muslim/whatever God.

Pretty good thread while it lasted.

Nonfactor on April 9, 2007 at 3:06 PM

The time dimension that God experiences, and refers to as days in Genesis, can’t be in the same sequential dimension that we see, otherwise there is no way that “a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

Although Adam’s sin did not occur until long after evolution began, in logical priority it is near the beginning because it was the means chosen by God to demonstrate his grace. So the order in which God created things is not the same order in which we first see them from within his creation.

pedestrian on April 5, 2007 at 12:40 AM

Boy that is jumping through some huge logical hoops to get to your conclusion.

Seems using reason, it is easier and more logical to believe that God created the universe in 7 days.

If God is infinitely powerful, He could.
If God is infinitely powerful, He would.
If He could and would, then He must.
If He must, then He did.

While the actually issue of the logical argument is creating the universe good and perfect, but the first priori actually points to the crutch of the issue. If God is infinitely powerful, he could create the universe in 7 days.

The issue is that science rejects the 6000 year assumption and instead decided to accept the assumption that the universe was created billions of years ago.

Both are assumptions based upon their worldview and philosphy of it. Then both sides take their position and try to fit the facts around it.

Tim Burton on April 9, 2007 at 4:33 PM

There’s the statement that separates deists from different religious views from atheists. The deist would ask why you think that this “consciousness” needs to be the Christian God and not some other force. The atheist would ask why must there be a consciousness instead of a random sudden causation of existence. And the religious believer would accept that a consciousness formed the universe and that the specific consciousness is the one in their holy book.

Because the universe is bound by rationality. Reason allows for meaning.

An attribute of God must be rationality, we know this from logical reasoning:

God cannot create a rock too big for him to lift, because it violates the Law of Non-Contradiction.

God cannot create a square-circle, because it violates the LoNC.

Since an attribute of God is rationality, it allows for meaning, therefore God would find meaning in his creation.

To find meaning in His creation, He would seek a relationship with it. Since the universe is non-reasoning, he would keep meaning in His relationship with that which is reasoning: Man.

It’s called the leap of faith for a reason. I think it is a huge leap of faith to accept that a consciousness formed the entire universe and then that that consciousness is the Christian/Muslim/whatever God.

Pretty good thread while it lasted.

Faith has nothing to do with defying rationality, it actually embraces rationality and accepts that which is logically possible though unseen.

An example is believing in truth (even scientific truth), means you have to accept the logical possiblity, even though “True” and “False” are unseeable.

Atoms can be measured in fast/slow, straight/curved, up/down, but truth can not be measured in a materialistic way (Evidence can be materialistic or non-materialistic, but not truth). Therefore Truth is immaterial yet rational.

I think it is a huge leap of faith to accept that a consciousness formed the entire universe and then that that consciousness is the Christian/Muslim/whatever God.

Then you must reject your own consciousness. Consciousness from Non-Consciousness is a logical contradiction.

Granted this doesn’t prove the Judeo-Christian God, but it does show that your argument is logically flawed.

Tim Burton on April 9, 2007 at 5:40 PM

Because the universe is bound by rationality. Reason allows for meaning.

Are these two separate statements or a because x, y statement? Either one it doesn’t make sense and doesn’t have to do with the topic at hand or even what of my statements you quoted.

An attribute of God must be rationality, we know this from logical reasoning:

God cannot create a rock too big for him to lift, because it violates the Law of Non-Contradiction.

God cannot create a square-circle, because it violates the LoNC.

You don’t see the problem with this? You’re assuming “God” exists, and furthermore you’re assuming rational parameters for an irrational being.

Since an attribute of God is rationality, it allows for meaning, therefore God would find meaning in his creation.

Now this is a non sequitor and I’m not misspeaking. And on top of that you’re still assuming “God” exists, and then assuming that this God has a power to create matter, and then you’re assuming that this God is bound by rational limits. Even still none of these assumptions mean that “God” would find meaning in his creation, it just means that this God would obtain the ability to see meaning in things he creates (assuming your first statements are true).

To find meaning in His creation, He would seek a relationship with it. Since the universe is non-reasoning, he would keep meaning in His relationship with that which is reasoning: Man.

You’re assuming (again) that to find meaning in something this being (who you assume to be rational) must form a relationship with it–why do you think this God must seek a relationship with something to find meaning in it? And I don’t understand your last sentence (Universe is non-reasoning? keep meaning in his relationship? leading to man? How and why would you assume any of this?)

Faith has nothing to do with defying rationality, it actually embraces rationality and accepts that which is logically possible though unseen.

Logically possible though unseen? If I believe in unicorns I have faith that they exist, if all evidence shows that they don’t exist believing in them is defying rationality. Sure, there is a possibility they might exist on another planet in another galaxy, but it is still defying rationality to believe that they exist. Same with any god.

An example is believing in truth (even scientific truth), means you have to accept the logical possiblity, even though “True” and “False” are unseeable.

Tim Burton on April 9, 2007 at 5:40 PM

This example has nothing to do with “defying rationality.” It has to do with believing something is true (1+1=2), however if you believed (or had faith that) 1+1=2 and there was no evidence supporting it you would be “defying rationality.”

Nonfactor on April 9, 2007 at 11:38 PM