Reductionism defines life in a bottom-up manner. That is, it explains life in terms of physics and chemistry. Reductionism claims that an organism can only be explained if it is dissected into parts-or broken down into the properties that constitute it (molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, etc.) Ontological reductionism claims that nothing in the universe exists outside of physical objects. Everything can be can be explained in terms of physicochemical objects. As such each physical thing can therefore, be explained in terms of these properties.[i] Bottom-up reductionism is predicated upon the proposition that life started in the form of simpler processes which advanced in a process known as complexification. Carl Sagan, a famous scientist of the 20th century, perceived himself and other people in this manner: “I am a collection of water, calcium and organic molecules called Carl Sagan. You are a collection of almost identical molecules with a different collective label.”[ii] This is what he promulgated as an astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist.
Sagan’s mindset does nothing other than demean the intrinsic value of human life. His beliefs claim, implicitly, that the martyrdom, achievements, plight, and suffering experienced in this life all end at death. There is no life, no judgment, no reward beyond the grave – Nothing!!! Some reductionists argue that God is a mere concept that can be explained as a “mental state of active neurons desiring a father figure.” Needless to say this statement is not a scientific one. It is mere speculation that has never been empirically proven to be true. Personally, I require more faith to believe Sagan’s theory than to believe what the Bible says about the stature and dignity of human beings. On what do reductionists base the belief that life ends at death forever? None of them has come back from the dead to authenticate their claims. But we have One who was dead and is alive forevermore. His resurrection has been attested by His followers as well as secular historians. He alone can speak with authority regarding what lies beyond the grave. The Bible tells us that human beings will continue to exist in another dimension in God’s realm for eternity. Reductionism is not equipped to explain many experiences of human life at all. For example, how does it break down the experience of guilt or repentance or the expression of love between two human beings or even ethical behavior? Some of these concepts and experiences can only be understood from the vantage point of metaphysics where science and reductionism’s authority is vacuous.
After Carl Sagan’s death, his wife said “Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we know we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl.”[iii] But why would this be a tragedy for her if belief in life beyond the grave is just an illusion and her husband was nothing but a collection of calcium, atoms, molecules as they espoused? Wouldn’t his death be a mere disintegration of an animated piece of dust with organized DNA known as Carl Sagan returning to its creator, the universe? Wasn’t that the expected outcome unless, of course, deep down Mrs. Sagan felt a haunting whisper reminding her that her husband was more than matter? A tragedy is what happens when something of intrinsic value is lost not when a bunch of atoms and molecules disappear into nothingness. Human life is sacred. God composed a Moral Code that stipulates, in a language we all can understand, the sacredness of human life and all that defines it. “Thou shalt not kill” does not only forbid the taking of human life, it also affirms its greatness, dignity and goodness. The loss of a human life is a sobering and traumatic experience that changes us forever. Time and again when tragedy strikes, individuals, families and entire communities are gripped with bewilderment and sorrow. They reach out to each other and hold vigils and grieve together in an effort to find healing. Interfaith services are held in memory of the deceased. Not once has any of the speakers at these services ever turned to the crowd to tell them that what was lost were nothing but matter and chemical properties. This is time to turn to Jesus, the Author of life. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending of all creation, not science, not reductionism. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3, KJV).
[ii] Sagan, C. 1980, Cosmos (New York: Random House), pp. 127.
[iii] Druyan, A. (2003). Ann Druyan Talks About Science, Religion, Wonder, Awe . . . and Carl Sagan. Skeptical Inquirer Volume 27.6. Available from http://www.csicop.org/si/show/ann_druyan_talks_about_science_religion
Recently, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, John Boehner, described Ted Cruz, a presidential aspirant then as “Lucifer in the flesh.” Many people were appalled and outraged by the unsavory description and vehemently criticized the former speaker for such a severe censure of his colleague. Why the uproar? Lucifer was a powerful angel who degenerated into Satan and became associated with ultimate evil; a heartless source of all that pertains to wickedness and an enemy of all that is good. To label as someone Lucifer is to imply that they are synonymous with evil.
When Jesus told His “disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised (Matt 16: 21 ESV), one of His closest disciples, Peter, drew Him aside and rebuked Him and said “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall never happen to You!” (Matthew 16:22).
Peter had been Jesus’ disciple for slightly over 3 years now. He had left the fishing business he had built over the years to follow the itinerant Rabbi from Nazareth. He had recalibrated his dreams, goals and career, and had wrapped them around Jesus’ ministry. This was a radical ministry that was undergirded by unprecedented signs and wonders including the epic miracle in which Jesus had raised back to life a dead individual who had already started decomposing! Disease fled from Jesus and so did death. Congenital deformities such as blindness were corrected instantly. He had even walked on water and had multiplied a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish to feed thousands of people. Word had it that Jesus had even had a one-on-one encounter with Satan and had prevailed. He had also turned water into wine at a feast of one of His relatives. Jesus fascinated and attracted the general public, the outcasts, and the marginalized unlike the church leaders who had cloistered themselves into a cocoon of feigned piety. As the Scottish Theologian, James Stewart once remarked, Jesus “was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable that the children loved to play with him… No one was half so compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red hot scorching words about sin…. He was a servant of all, washing the disciples’ feet, yet masterfully He strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away from the mad rush and the fire they saw blazing in His eyes.” Peter was glad to be part of this revolutionary Rabbi’s ministry; the power of being close to power gave life meaning and purpose-even a new identity. An insignificant individual formerly immersed in the mundane activities and rigors of a village fisherman’s life had become a significant component of a thriving and apparently divinely-endorsed ministry.
And now Jesus was talking about His demise!!! What a crashing blow to Peter and his family that would be! Just how would he start picking up the shards of a shattered life and build his image again? How would he find his place again and be re-established in the community as a credible business man? He had invested so much in this ministry and now it was slipping through his fingers…. Hope was dissipating before his very eyes. What about his life??? He had sacrificed all the components of his life: energy, time, talents, and money for the ministry. What would happen to the little band of disciples that Jesus had recruited and trained? No, Jesus must not talk about voluntary death. It would be too costly for Peter and the other disciples.
Jesus did not only hear Peter’s rebuke, He recognized the words Peter used, too. He had heard them before, in the grueling wilderness temptation. They were once again threatening the very core of His ministry; the very purpose of His Incarnation. It was another Mephistophelean ploy aimed at severing the jugular vein of His earthly mission, and He needed to respond immediately and decisively with a stern rebuke to silence His foe forever not only for Peter’s sake but for the sake of the rest of the disciples and the rest of humanity. True, Peter had spoken out of concern, love, and reverence for his Master. But he had also spoken out of ignorance and presumption. Misdirected love and care can be disastrous. Peter did not understand the implication of his words. This was a re-enactment of Eden where Satan had succeeded through a medium to move Adam and Eve to disobey God, and plunge humanity into an earthly nightmare of sin, disease and death. Now he desired to separate the entire creation from God forever by derailing God’s plan to reconcile the world unto Himself through Christ’s sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:19). Jesus’ sacrifice was the catalyst event that would defang Satan forever and restore mankind to their rightful place with God. This is what was at stake. Everything hung in the balance and Jesus could not afford to pander to the Enemy’s suggestions. Not now, not ever.
…to be continued…
Most secular teaching claims that the universe came to be with a Big Bang; that there was a small infinitely hot and dense point billions of years ago which is called a singularity point. From this singularity, the teaching says, came all the matter and energy that evolved into all that exists today in our universe. Naturalists believe that the universe is infinite; that it has always existed. Different types of theories have continued to arise in an attempt to explain the origin of the universe including the steady-state theory espoused by Hermann Bondi, Thomas Gold, and Fred Hoyle, and many others that claim that the universe is infinite and that, in spite of entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, new energy and matter continue to, somehow, be generated, replacing that which is used up with the passage of time. These are all attempts to repudiate what the Bible says about the beginning of the universe. But the Bible unequivocally insists that the universe had a miraculous beginning at a point when there was no time, no space or matter; a time when there were no laws of physics as we know them since these laws could not exist without the universe: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…Then God said, “Let there be light…”” (Genesis 1:1,3).
In 1963-1965 when Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, two engineers employed by Bell Laboratories, looked through a giant telescope of a Satellite Transmission System known as Echo, they saw a film of radiation enveloping the whole universe; the entire universe seemed to be bathed in a soft glow of light. This light became known as the Cosmic Microwave Radiation Background (CMRB).
Prior to this discovery, skeptics had contended that if the universe indeed had a beginning at a certain point in time with the explosion of light, then the vestiges of that light should still be present, somehow. Well, what do you know? Penzias and Wilson discovered the remainder of that light-a telltale sign of creation, as the Bible boldly proclaims… “Let there be light…”
Listen to Penzias’ comment following this discovery: “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms and the Bible as a whole.”1
Although the CMRB is invisible to the naked eye, it continues to shine in the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum all around the universe.
1 D. D’Souza (2007). “What’s So Special about Christianity?” A. Penzias quoted in M. Browne, “Clues to the Universe’s Origin Expected,” New York Times, March 12, 1978, pp. 124.
According to Dr. Hugh Ross, an astronomer who is also a pastor, astronomy is a scientific field of study that allows astronomers to experience the past. For example, he says, when we look at the sun we are not seeing it as it currently is, but we see it as it was 8 minutes ago because data takes some time to reach the telescope due to the velocity of light. Ross also insists that with regards to the origin of the universe, Scripture corroborates science. The Bible unequivocally states that the universe can be traced way back to a singularity beginning. This means that the universe had an ultimate beginning and so did matter, energy, space and time. Science teaches that the universe has been constantly expanding from its singularity beginning according to the laws of physics. This is nothing new to believers because the Bible also speaks about the expansion of the universe in Job 9:8; Isaiah 40: 22; Psalm 104:2; Jeremiah 51:15 and Zechariah 12:1. The universe is not only expanding, it is also under the pervasive law of decay. The book of Hebrews also speaks about decay in the universe as well (Hebrews 8). Science contends that any universe that expands certainly has a beginning, which means that a Causal Agent existing outside space, time, matter and energy, is responsible for the beginning of the universe. This Causal Agent is known as God by Christians, the One who initiated a spectacular miracle of the creation of the universe and all that is in it, ex nihilo. Scientists can no longer dismiss the role of the supernatural in the creation of the universe. Atheist, Lawrence Krauss in his book, A Universe From Nothing, concurs that one “cannot rule out such a deistic view of nature.” Genesis 1 states that the universe had a beginning and that God is responsible for all entire reality in our universe. In verse 2 of Genesis 1, the Bible tells us that the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters and that the water covered the surface of the earth. At this time our world was formless and void and was not fit for life as we know it. Then God began to work and things began to unfold in a spectacular and astonishing manner for the next 6 days. In the Genesis narrative, the evening and the morning bracket the six days of creation. But after that, there is no evening and morning mentioned. For six days, God creates. But on the seventh day, He stops. In the fossil record, there is amazing evidence of aggressive speciation preceding the appearance of human beings without evolutionary history. As soon as mankind appears, speciation ceases. The Bible says God rested on the seventh day following the creation of mankind. Since then, He has been sustaining the natural process He set in motion at creation.
On day one, according to Genesis 1, God created the light which obviously changed the atmosphere of the earth, somewhat. The foundation for the appearance of organic life was being laid. On day 2 God separated the waters and put a firmament in the midst of the waters. In chapters 37, 38, 39 and 40 the book of Job, the Bible describes the amazing creative genius of our God. Job even describes the water cycle as we experience it here on earth. He talks about liquid precipitation in the form of rain, dew and mist. Then he talks about the frozen precipitation such as snow, frost and hail. Only planet earth experiences water in these six forms, necessary for life forms on earth. On day 3, God gathered the water and transformed the world into continents and oceans. Myriad forms of vegetation flourished for the first time on these land masses. On day 4, God created the heavenly lights-the sun, moon and stars. These lights were created to mark seasons, days, and years for the sustenance of life on earth. Because the atmosphere became saturated with light, the animals could migrate, and reproduce, and feed, and hibernate during the right seasons. God prepared the ecological environment to support life on our planet. On day 5, sea populations appeared spontaneously, again without evolutionary history. Then the birds were created and so were mammals and reptilian species. On day 6, land mammals and creeping things made their appearance. Then God created the crowning work of His entire creation when He created human beings. These special creatures brought something unique and extraordinary. They are were created in the image of God, and endowed with a unique capacity to serve and glorify God. A careful study of Job 37 to 39, Genesis 1 and Proverbs 8, brings us to the conclusion that Bible narrative scores with the book of nature. It describes creation in chronological order. God prepared the terrestrial environment for life on earth. He carefully arranged the ecological system, which He continues to sustain today. Psalm 147 says God knows the name of every single star, which means that He also remembers the names of one of the 50 billion trillion balls of gases, we call stars. This means He knows you and I as well since, although the heavens declare the glory of God, they were not made in the image of God. Only you and I bear that Imago Dei.
Find out just what it means to bear the Image of God from the book at this site: http://www.wmturls.com/pp
The stereotype that Christians are anti-science is becoming puzzlingly pervasive. Actually most luminous scientists over the years have been theists and Christians. Many early scientists of the 16th and 17th centuries believed in God. They saw no conflict between their belief in God and their scientific work. These include Nicholas Copernicus, Sir Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, to mention a few.
Modern day scientists who are Christians include Francis Collins, the physician-geneticist who was a leader of the Human Genome Project before becoming Director of the National Institutes of Health. We also have Kenneth R. Miller, cell biologist and molecular biologist who is also professor of Biology and Royce Family Professor for Teaching Excellence at Brown University; William D. Phillips, a Nobel Laureate in Physics who said this about believing in God: “ I believe in God. In fact, I believe in a personal God, who acts in and interacts with the creation. I believe that the observations about the orderliness of the physical universe, and the apparently exceptional fine-tuning of the conditions of the universe for the development of life suggest that an intelligent Creator is responsible…I believe in God because of a personal faith, a faith that is consistent with what I know about science.”
Max Planck, another Nobel Laureate in Physics remarked in his lecture that “Both religion and science need for their activities the belief in God, and moreover, God stands for the former in the beginning, and for the latter at the end of the whole thinking. For the former, God represents the basis, for the latter, the crown of any reasoning concerning the world-view.”
Charles Townes is another Nobel Laureate in Physics. When asked the question: “What do you think about the existence of God?” Professor Townes responded: I strongly believe in the existence of God, based on intuition, observations, logic and also scientific knowledge.”
Dr. John Lennox is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science, and Pastoral Advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford, and is an Adjunct Lecturer at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Furthermore, he is a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. Additionally, he teaches for the Oxford Strategic Leadership Program at the Executive Education Centre…. Professor Lennox is an avowed Christian apologist.
Yet another Nobel Laureate in Physics, Arthur Schawlow, said the following about believing in God: “I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”
The list of Christian scientists and scholars of stellar intellectual ability goes on and on…
Christians are not anti-science nor are they afraid of science. How can they when they are actively involved in scientific research and investigation, and are contributing significantly to knowledge as much as their non-Christian counterparts? Their view of science is that it reveals how God structured the universe and the laws that govern it. Science unveils the wonders of the universe and the glory of its Creator. As such, science is a mere tool for beholding the universe and the power of God, which leads us to a deeper worship of this awesome God. Novel scientific discoveries witness to the Creator God.
The problem, therefore, for Christians is not science. The problem is scientism, which is the excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge. It is the view that science is the most authoritative worldview, eclipsing any other worldview, and that those who disagree with some of its tenets are intellectually deficient. Christians are opposed to “the wrong-headed belief that modern science supplies the only reliable method of knowledge about the world, and its corollary that scientists should be the ones to dictate public policy and even our moral and religious beliefs simply because of their scientific expertise.”
If science reveals God’s handiwork, why would Christians fear it?
“…Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3: 14, 15, ESV).
 William D. Phillips, “A Letter to the Compiler T. Dimitrov. May 19, 2002. Accessed from http://www.atheistsexposed.tripod.com/nobelistsgod.htm
 Max Planck, “Religion and Naturwissenschaft, Leipzig. Johann Ambrosius Barth Verlag, 1958, pp. 27
 Charles H. Townes. 2002. A Letter to the Compiler T. Dimitrov. Accessed from http://www.atheistsexposed.tripod.com/nobelistsgod.htm
 Accessed from http://www.atheistsexposed.tripod.com/nobelistsgod.htm
5 John West in Christian Post Reporter by Napp Nazworth. 2014. Accessed from http://www.atheistsexposed.tripod.com/nobelistsgod.htm
It is common place these days to hear people say glibly that it does not really matter what a person believes. Just the other day, a colleague reiterated this sentiment to me, to my chagrin because what a person believes can make the difference between life and death, particularly if they take their beliefs them seriously. What if the person’s beliefs place other people’s lives in danger? The situation becomes even more volatile if such an individual occupies a leadership position and wields the scepter of a law-maker or physician or any key position in society. No one who has an understanding of how many lives were snuffed during the antebellum slavery in the United States or during Hitler’s Nazi Germany can say that beliefs do not matter. Hitler convinced his nation that their only hope of survival as the Aryan race was to keep themselves “genetically pure.” This is an idea he gleaned from a scholar who had also taken his beliefs seriously. His name was Charles Darwin. Darwin himself got his concept of racial prejudice from his theory of macroevolution. Hitler took Darwin’s teachings seriously. He found Darwin’s book titled, On The Origin of Species: The Preservation of Favored Races In The Struggle For Life, quite appealing and concluded that one such favored race was the Aryan race and that it was his responsibility to preserve it and develop it into a super race. He was also fascinated by Darwin’s idea of “the survival of the fittest” and decided that the German people were the fittest of all people and determined to protect them from being “defiled” by other races. This is how Hitler interpreted Darwin’s theory “If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”1 Hitler’s theories became the bedrock for the curricula developed for German schools.
Over half a century after Darwin, in the United States, George W. Hunter wrote a biology textbook whose contents were taught in some schools in Tennessee. Here is an excerpt from that book: “At the Present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopians or Negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”2
This is what happens when Genesis 1: 27 is ridiculed and demeaned as a fairy tale. Mankind does not only orphan himself, he also begins to worship himself. As long as macroevolution continues to take precedence over creation, the value of human life will inevitably spiral downwards on all fronts. This excerpt from the Modern Thinker’s Creed poem by Steve Turner aptly puts it:
“…If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky
and when you hear State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten! Troops on Rampage!
….Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshipping his maker.”3
1 Adolf Hitler (1939). Mein Kampf. London: Hurst and Blackett. pp. 162
2 George W. Hunter (1914). A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems. New York: American Book Co. pp. 196
3 Steve Turner (2009). Modern Thinker’s Creed, by Steve Turner. Accessed from http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2281092/posts
To know how valuable God has made you, check it out from the book at this site: http://www.wmturls.com/pp
We live in an era that is saturated with skepticism. Some non-Christians are asking Christians tough questions. This makes it an exciting time to have the opportunity to give an answer to everyone who asks us the reason for the hope that is within us. But Scripture cautions us to do it with meekness … (1 Peter 3:15). This means that we can engage in conversations with people who challenge or want to know more about what we believe with respect. Using evidence of fulfilled prophecy as well as the personal claims of the Lord Jesus; who He said He was, and the reliable accounts of the Gospels, we can show that Christianity is true. Similarly, by being familiar with elementary scientific theories and worldviews, and by observing nature we can engage in a productive discussion with scientists, and show them that natural and physical laws actually lead to God. But we must also remember that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate teacher, the Source of wisdom in these conversations.
What is ironic is that, it is becoming more and more apparent that God has used scientific laws to reveal and describe what He has already done in our universe. Science focuses on patterns and laws in the universe that demonstrate God’s careful design and creative genius and His desire to communicate with us through it. Religion deals with the spiritual needs and realities of mankind, and the Bible is the Christian’s guide in seeking redemptive truth. Science and religion, therefore, seem to be two sides of the same coin-pointing us to our Creator. Science has facilitated God’s communication with us, somewhat, by tapping into the laws which our God made to govern and sustain life in our universe, and making them known to mankind. Galileo Galilei once remarked in 1623 that “The laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics.” Of course, there are some outlandish and bizarre scientific theories such as Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which Christians reject out rightly as fallacious, to say the least. But, surprisingly enough scientists, like Christians, are also questioning the plausibility of Darwin’s theory because of the failure of science to comprehensively provide tenable explanations for the origin of the incredible complexity of life as we know it. Another theory of contention between Christians and scientists has been the Big Bang theory. But the tables have turned on this theory in favor of Christians. What is even more astonishing is what physicist Steven Ball says about the theory of the Big Bang in his article, A Christian Physicist Examines the Big Bang Theory. Ball asserts that this theory has “become one of the strongest testimonies to the validity of the biblical account of creation, since it clearly confirms that our universe had a beginning, as described in Genesis 1, in which the cause of it is outside of the physical realm we observe. It is remarkable that the observations have allowed us to trace the record of our universe back to this beginning point.” Further, it is argued that all matter, space and time were all created during this single spectacular event. As such, creation, God’s divine work, continues to be a mystery that eludes scientists. Here is an interesting observation by a scientist, Robert Jastrow, in his book, God and the Astronomers, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story [of creation] ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” Additionally, the discovery of the fact that our universe is bathed with a background of microwave radiation much similar to the kind of radiation in our domestic microwaves has further demonstrated that our universe had a beginning as stated in Scripture and the scientific community has no alternative but to accept what this evidence says about the beginning of our universe. It is true what they say, that truth has a way of defending itself.