Monday, March 8, 2021

The Origin of the Natural Order

 

You have to go outside the sequence of engines, into the world of men, to find the real originator of the rocket. Is it not equally reasonable to look outside nature for the real originator of the natural order?

Who Was Right? by C.S. Lewis (Chapter 9 from this collection)

Lewis describes a lecture in which he heard the standard story of human progress and development:

Evolution, development, the slow struggle upwards and onwards from crude and inchoate beginnings towards ever increasing perfection and elaboration — that appears to be the very formula of the whole universe.

The oak comes from the acorn; the most powerful engines of today come from the crude rocket; contemporary art as a high achievement when compared to the crude drawings in caves.  Man from fish from particles of organic matter from particles of inorganic matter.  All of the world and all of human development demonstrates that nature is based on this progress.

The lecture stuck with Lewis, to the point where it brought on a dream.  He was hearing the same voice, but the words were not quite the same:

“The acorn comes from a full-grown oak. The first crude engine, the rocket, comes, not from a still cruder engine, but from something much more perfect than itself and much more complex, the mind of a man, and a man of genius.”

The first prehistoric drawing came not from earlier drawings but from the brain of a human – a brain not inferior to our own, as, in fact, his brain created a drawing where no such thing even existed before.  The embryo from which we came did not come from something even more embryonic, but from two fully-developed human beings.  The dream-lecturer continued:

“Descent, downward movement, is the key word. The march of all things is from higher to lower. The rude and imperfect thing always springs from some-thing perfect and developed.”

The next day, Lewis had some time to consider this dream-lecturer – even considering that large civilizations grow from small civilizations, but these small civilizations are the result of a larger, dying civilization: the Germanic from the decay of Rome; the Greek from older Minoan with a pinch of Egypt and Phoenicia thrown in.

It was then that Lewis considered that the real-lecturer – while having a theory on the absolute beginnings – offered a theory that was a bit slurry: was there an egg that proceeded from no bird, or a bird that proceeded from no egg?  No, Lewis thought: the perfect produces the imperfect which produces, again, the perfect.  The egg leads to the bird and the bird leads to an egg:

if there ever was a life which sprang of its own accord out of a purely inorganic universe, or a civilization which raised itself by its own shoulder-straps out of pure savagery, then this event was totally unlike the beginnings of every subsequent life, and every subsequent civilization. 

An egg from no bird is nothing natural.  It must have had some beginning, just as the first crude rocket had its beginning not in an earlier engine, but in the mind of a man.  Hence, Lewis ends his essay with the quote which began my post:

You have to go outside the sequence of engines, into the world of men, to find the real originator of the rocket. Is it not equally reasonable to look outside nature for the real originator of the natural order?

Conclusion

There is nothing that explains how human beings not only survived an evolutionary process, but even came out on top – so to speak.  What defenses did pre-historic predecessors of humans have against the many larger, stronger, faster, more deadly creatures and calamities that filled his earth? 

Without a fully-developed human mind, no such survival was possible.  Yet, could evolution have instantaneously produced such a mind in humans such that he would not only survive but throve in a world filled with creatures much faster and stronger than he?

It may not be the right explanation, but there is certainly one explanation available to us:

Genesis 2: 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

It is a much more plausible explanation than random atoms smashing together randomly.

34 comments:

  1. "The question of complexity. On the principle that the more complex an event, the less likely it is to happen by chance, the likelihood that life came about by chance grows rapidly more remote If this is not true, tell me why it is not true."

    http://www.unz.com/freed/biology-department-at-lehigh-university-mans-the-ramparts/

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  2. The way I see it, whether God created us ex nihilo or through the processes of evolution through mammals and primates makes no difference to my faith. I can take Genesis as a metaphor. I am open to it being literal as well.

    It has been well proven by modern physicists that time and space are connected, part of the 4D background of existence. For God to have made existence, He must necessarily have been outside of it. Therefore, God is outside of time, and thus what appears random to us, may not be anything of the sort to Him.

    C.S. Lewis always has such an interesting opinion on things. I need to read more from him.

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    1. Augustine said pretty much the same thing. Too much has been lost by arguing about such things.

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    2. One minor mod to my statement - even if some evolutionary process was involved, God still created everything from nothing.

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    3. And that is why we keep digging - discovering truth is a process for us mortals who see through the glass darkly.
      Do we need to understand what we believe? Augustine says that our faith is “incomplete and unstable until it is replaced by knowledge.” He also said that we cannot understand unless we believe first, but it must be followed by knowledge which comes by sight.
      Taken from: https://crushlimbraw.blogspot.com/2016/03/christian-action-project-notes-and.html?m=0 - just one link in a series designed for diggers:)

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  3. Are you outside your thought?
    Can your thoughts truly leave you? (I know you can project anger onto others but where is the anger but in the mind of the grievance.
    The idea of separate things is a human mind. Truth is always relational being. Where two or more align in truth - There I Am - but the I Am is not IN you or I as we conceive or perceive but through our alignment in a truly shared moment
    I posted another here and it disapeared - so I put it on
    https://willingness-to-listen.blogspot.com/2021/03/original-for-natural-order.html

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  4. Replies
    1. Probably not enough CO2 in the air due to cars and cow-gas....

      :-)

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  5. Dad was LOD. Launch Operation Division. LOD was before NASA. Dad's Air Force Test Pilot days included rockets and co-workers such as Gus Grissom.

    Hired by NASA, dad worked Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle. Designing booster rockets, Saturn V's, alongside von Braun, and training of astronauts to use the control interface to fly their machines.

    Rather boring to have grown up with all this, every dad worked for NASA, in our neighborhood, including astronauts.

    Dad believed in God, the Bible. They were his proof, the math too perfect across the known Universe, for any other conclusion.

    I do like what dad said about electricity while growing up, "We don't know what electricity is, we know how to harness it." Remains a true statement today.

    Thought a real Rocket Man should be thrown in BM !

    BTW, dad never considered himself tops. He left that to the likes of Chris Kraft, Max Faget, Frank Boreman, Glynn Lunney, John Glynn etc...MEN who could do the engineering AND administration.

    Yes, dad believed God '...created everything from nothing.'

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  6. It is a reversal to insist that the universe occurs as a result of intelligence (unobservable) rather than that intelligence occurs as a result of the universe (observable).

    A common word game is the use of the word "random". Random is used by some to mean disorder. It can mean disorder but it can also refer to unseen order.

    The universe is filled with order - patterns are obvious and ubiquitous. "Laws of nature" are repeating patterns. To claim that such patterns require something like human intelligence to come about is utterly unsupported. "Patterns, therefore intelligence" is a simple non-sequitur.

    It is intellectually very presumtious to claim to know what can or cannot happen in this very complex and mysterious universe with or without intelligence causing it. A swiss watch requires intelligence. It does not follow that gravity requires intelligence. More likely, intelligence requires gravity.

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    1. John, it seems you missed the part where I wrote: "It may not be the right explanation, but there is certainly one explanation available to us."

      I guess that isn't un-presumptuous enough for you?

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    2. He asks for suspending presumption but he starts with his own, "It is a reversal to insist that the universe occurs as a result of intelligence (unobservable) rather than that intelligence occurs as a result of the universe (observable)."

      A lower level presumption precedes this stated one, that of materialism. Francis Schaeffer described it in the belief in a "closed system", meaning everything at all is within the system. While this article is proposing the idea that the universe is an "open system", meaning something outside the machinery and molecules exists. At the top level of that is God who created it outside of it as ATL states. At the 2nd level is human intelligence which exists within the system but as BM discusses in this article that it exists out of inanimate reality.

      The thing common to both levels is intelligence which man owns only because he was made in God's image.

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    3. Bionic, I was not attributing that presumption to you. It is an often-expressed view relevant to the question raised in your article.

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    4. RMB, it is not a presumption to note that all observable intelligence occurs within the context of the material world. "Material" does not mean "lacking intelligence". Much of the material called life displays intelligence.

      Proposing higher levels of intelligence than man's should be accompanied by at least a hint of evidence.

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    5. Divine revelation is evidence. It too exists within the material world, but humans don't exist outside of the material world so all our observations happen within it.

      But the record of miracles and fulfilled prophecy in the Bible is evidence that "hints" at intelligence outside the material world yet exists within it.

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    6. RMB, divine revelation is belief, not evidence for such a belief. The bible is a book, and cannot serve as evidence of its own veracity.

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  7. Mr. M: I may discuss evolution later, but for now, quoting you:

    "It may not be the right explanation, but there is certainly one explanation available to us:

    "Genesis 2: 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

    Inspired by The Holy Spirit, Moses wrote the historical narrative in the first chapters of Genesis, telling us how and when God created the universe - including man.

    This account was confirmed by Jesus (who is the Creator - Colossians 1:16), Paul, and Peter. I am perplexed by your use of the word "may." It's one thing to not understand a difficult passage of scripture (which this is not) or to not be sure of the meaning of a passage that possibly has more than one meaning (which this does not) but something else entirely to cast doubt on the veracity of God's word. What am I overlooking here?

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    1. Mr. Spock,

      Are you asking me what I believe, or how I understand / interpret that passage?

      My words were not to convince those already convinced (one side or the other); they were intended to leave open the door for those who aren't – those who already have doubts about God’s word. This entire post is one of raising questions (actually Lewis's questions) about the accepted evolution story of a materialist / mechanistic creation.

      Having raised the question - and if by doing so, one or two readers concluded "yeah, that story doesn't make sense" - I then propose a possible answer to those now considering alternatives.

      Instead, I could just re-copy the first three chapters of Genesis, and the verses that come later that re-affirm the narrative. I could then state that the only acceptable interpretation is the literal / historical one, and that if they don't believe it exactly this way, then they are damned to hell. Many people do that, and Christians have been losing ground ever since.

      Augustine had a pretty good idea on this topic. We don’t need to lose people on points that are secondary to salvation. More important that they believe the Resurrection than a particular interpretation of Genesis. The rapid spread of Christianity post-Resurrection, and the testimony of witnesses to the event are more convincing evidence for sceptics than the words that describe what no human being has seen.

      https://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2020/02/augustines-wisdom.html

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  8. Mr M: Are you asking me what I believe, or how I understand / interpret that passage?

    Well, I wasn't, but I wouldn't mind hearing that if you don't mind.

    Mr. M: I then propose a possible answer to those now considering alternatives.

    OK, cool. Not how I read it, and I'll assume I was in error.

    Mr. M: We don’t need to lose people on points that are secondary to salvation.

    Agreed. It's not a salvation issue.

    Mr. M: More important that they believe the Resurrection than a particular interpretation of Genesis.

    Agreed. Again, not a salvation issue - but it is an authority of scripture issue.

    Mr. M: I could then state that the only acceptable interpretation is the literal / historical one, and that if they don't believe it exactly this way, then they are damned to hell. Many people do that, and Christians have been losing ground ever since.

    I am not aware of anyone that teaches or believes that. Can you provide some examples of pastors, denominations or ministries that do?

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    1. I have been told this directly, by many: If you don't believe the six-day creation as history / science (as we understand that word today), you have put into question the entire Scripture, therefore you have blasphemed against God.

      The six-day creation remains a part of the formal confession of faith for Reformed Churches. A "confession of faith" must mean something toward salvation, must it not?

      I imagine if I look hard enough, I can find Reformed pastors suggesting that this is an issue that touches on salvation, damning non-believers in this to hell.

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    2. The Catholic Baptismal Confession is the core for me:

      I reject Satan, all his works, and all his empty promises.

      I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

      I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, Who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

      I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.

      My one caveat would be that 'Catholic' means 'universal' and not necessarily the Church in Rome, though I would certainly include that one.

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    3. All false religions and cults deny the Deity of Christ and/or salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. With their faith plus works salvation, that makes the RCC a cult. A very large one, but a cult nonetheless.

      They do get the Trinity right, and they believe in a literal Heaven and Hell, but that's about it. There are a few Christians in the Catholic church, but not many - the gospel is not preached there.

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    4. Spock, to the extent I understand Catholicism (at least the subset of Catholic teaching that I have paid attention to), they always start with Grace.

      I understand Ephesians 2:8-9 very well. I also understand James chapter 2.

      There may be some (or many) Catholics that believe their works get them to heaven...but this is not what I have learned from the Catholics that I have studied. Works are evidence of the faith that comes by grace.

      I have come to learn that many of the (honest) differences that have torn Christians apart are due to misunderstandings and generalizations based on various matters. Many other differences are based on points so esoteric and nuanced that most adherents to one camp or the other couldn't identify "their" confession among others in a multiple choice exam.

      God knows the heart - including the heart of those in the Catholic tradition. Don't put yourself in His place.

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    5. Mr. M: Spock, to the extent I understand Catholicism (at least the subset of Catholic teaching that I have paid attention to), they always start with Grace.

      They say that, but it's easy to show they mix faith and works. I'd be happy to provide examples if you’d like.

      Mr. M: Works are evidence of the faith that comes by grace.

      That's 100% true, but that’s not what Catholics typically believe.

      Mr. M: God knows the heart - including the heart of those in the Catholic tradition. Don't put yourself in His place.

      I wasn't doing that. I didn't name a specific Catholic that imo isn't a Christian. (But it wouldn’t be hard to start with the pope.) However, given all the warnings in scripture about false teachers and false doctrines, I find it hard to believe that anyone that is confused, shall we say, about what is or isn’t necessary for salvation, adds works, baptism, penance, indulgences, purgatory, unbiblical beliefs about Mary, the papacy, infant baptism, believing the Catholic church is the one true church and you can’t be saved outside of it, that tradition is equal to or supersedes scripture, confesses sins to a priest (or anyone, for that matter), that the sacraments are necessary for salvation, prays to Mary or any dead saint, or believes in transubstantiation (just to name a few) is a Christian. It is my opinion based on that, that therefore there are only a few Christians in the Roman Catholic Church. But they are Christians in spite of what the RCC teaches, not because of it. Kind of like the difference between someone that dies of Coronavirus and someone that dies with it.

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  9. In Genesis 1:31, after completing the creation of the world, including all plant, animal and human life, we read, "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good."

    Evolution tells us that it took God millions of years of suffering, disease, struggling, pain, bloodshed, war, ignorance, poverty, mutilation, anguish, rape, misery, torment, violence, and death to get us to the point where God said it was "very good."

    The Bible, otoh, tells us that God created the world, plants, animals, Adam and Eve, and THEN sin entered the world (Romans 5:12), and we have been under a curse ever since.

    Why would the omnipotent Creator of the universe use such a wasteful (and cruel) process of survival of the fittest (meaning that animals have been ripping each other up over millions of years) to bring about the higher forms of life? This view of theistic evolution goes against God's very nature, and, if I may use my namesake's favorite word, logic.

    Additionally, there is no evidence for molecules to man (or goo to you via the zoo) evolution.



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  10. "...there is no evidence for molecules to man...". Actually, there is no evidence of origins at all, not of life, the universe, existence itself. The evidence we have tells us it all originated so long ago that we do not get to investigate, merely speculate.

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    1. Au contraire (that's French for "you must be kidding")

      Real, observational science shows the age of the Earth is consistent with the (approximate) age in the Bible of 6,000 years. Here are just two articles from two websites that both have a ton of articles on the subject. Spend some time there.

      https://answersingenesis.org/evidence-for-creation/the-10-best-evidences-from-science-that-confirm-a-young-earth/

      https://creation.com/age-of-the-earth

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    2. John, I will grant that all possibilities lack evidence in proof of the claim - at least evidence as is narrowly defined by the modern understanding of the word "science."

      Yet the possibility of God breathing into man, of the entire Christian creation understanding, has one thing going for it that evolution - and, at least to the extent I am aware of other such theories of these origins - lacks: the Christian understanding remains possible.

      Evolution (without an original creator / mover / breather) is not.

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    3. Mister Spock, calling conclusions with which you agree "Real, observational science" is known as begging the question. I do not take homework assignments in debates. It would be better for you to actually advance an arguement.

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    4. Bionic, it is not right to suggest that your inability to understand something means that understanding is not possible.

      I could as easily say that I don't understand Christianity and therefore it is not possible for it to be understood - which, of course would be an equally invalid thing to say.

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    5. A further epistemological point, Bionic. Unicorns are possible. That has no relevance to the question of whether they are real. Truth is about reality, not possibilities.

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  11. How many possible explanations can there be to explain the origin of the universe? I can only produce three. If there are more, I should like to hear them.

    1. It was created from nothing by a force outside of, distinct, and separate from, the universe.
    2. It arose spontaneously from a pre-existing condition and evolved into its current form solely through random chance and accident.
    3. There has never been a beginning to the universe. It has always and forever existed.

    All three of these are belief systems and require faith that they are true. None of them can be proven nor disproven beyond a shadow of doubt. Theories of the origin of the universe are naturally religious. They cannot be anything else. How can they be anything else?

    If this is true, then we are basically arguing over which religion and belief system is the most coherent and consistent with what we perceive to be true. Regardless, we are brought to the position that we are struggling with the truth. What is true?

    In “Fiddler on the Roof”, Percik claimed that, “Everything is political.” I think he was on the right track, but headed in the wrong direction. Everything is religious, even politics.

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  12. There is a fourth position (my own) which in no way is religious:

    I do not know the origins of the universe, but I have a theory which is that you do not know either.

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    1. For goodness sake, John. Let it go already. You are talking to yourself with four comments in a row.

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