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In The Beginning: The evidence (2/3)

In The Beginning: The Evidence

Summary: A large body of evidence is provided showing that the Biblical account of creation is reliable. Aside from the critical importance of its theological message, the Scriptural record is proved to contain significant historical and cosmological truths, providing strong evidence that there is a God, that He created the universe, and that He is personally involved in the lives of the human creation.

Outside The Bible

So far we have considered what the Bible says about God, but what if we didn’t have the Bible? What evidence would we have for the existence of a God who is creative, interpersonal, and a loving father?

Even without the Bible, we have the witness of the creation itself, the environment designed and created by God to provide for us, as evidence that there is a God, that He is creative, and that He cares for us as a loving father.

The Bible itself claims that the world in which we live is evidence of the existence of a creative God:

Psalm 19:
1 The heavens declare God’s glory; the sky displays his handiwork.
2 Day after day it speaks out; night after night it reveals his greatness.
3 There is no actual speech or word, nor is its voice literally heard.
4 Yet its voice echoes throughout the earth; it words carry to the distant horizon. In the sky he has pitched a tent for the sun.

The Bible also says that the character and qualities of God are revealed in His creation:

Romans 1:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness,
19 because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.

The Bible states explicitly that the loving care of God is visible from our experiences with the environment He has created for us. Jesus made the point that God sends rain to water the earth, which benefits all people, both good and evil:

Matthew 5:
44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

When speaking to pagan Greeks, the apostle Paul made exactly the same point, that although God did not reveal Himself personally to all men, yet He did provide them with a witness of His existence and His character.

That witness, said Paul, was the world in which we live. Its existence and the way it has been designed tells us of the existence of a creator.

Furthermore, the fact that the environment is designed for our benefit, shows that the creator cares for us:

Acts 14:
25 “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.
26 In past generations he allowed all the nations to go their own ways,
27 yet he did not leave himself without a witness by doing good, by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying you with food and your hearts with joy.”

The next question to ask is whether or not people saw in this evidence the existence of a creative God, and a God who cares for His human creation as a father. The answer to this is that they certainly did. In fact for thousands of years people have seen in the creation evidence of such a God. For example, the Jewish rabbinical writings show that they recognised the character of God revealed in His creation, referring specifically to the rain, as both Jesus and Paul had done:

‘…greater is the day of rain, than the resurrection of the dead; for the resurrection of the dead is for [or ‘benefits’] the just; but rain is both for [or ‘benefits’] the just, and for the wicked.’

Talmud Bababylon, Taanith, folio 7.1, compiled 5th century AD

‘R. Jose Bar Jacob went to visit R. Joden of Magdala; whilst he was there, rain descended, and he heard his voice, saying, thousands of thousands, and millions of millions are bound to praise thy name, O our king, for every drop thou causest to descend upon us, because thou renderest good to the wicked.’

Talmud Jerusalem, Beracot, folio 14.1, and Taanith, folio 64.2, compiled 5th century AD

When in Lystra, Paul used the witness of creation to prove to people that God exists, and that His character can be known from the creation:

Acts 14:
25 “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.
26 In past generations he allowed all the nations to go their own ways,
27 yet he did not leave himself without a witness by doing good, by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying you with food and your hearts with joy.”

Other nations recognised this also, and Paul makes use of this fact in his preaching. When in Athens, Paul points out that even though the Greeks did not know God properly, they were aware that He existed, that their lives were dependent on Him, and that He acted towards them as a father.

First he pointed out their ignorance of the true God:

Acts 17:
22 So Paul stood before the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all respects.
23 For as I went around and observed closely your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown god.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing it, this I proclaim to you.

Then he told them that the true God was very different to the other gods they worshipped:

Acts 17:
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands,
25 nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone.

Here Paul makes the argument that God has not left people without a witness to His existence, and that His presence and His character are both seen in the environment He has made for us. He also makes it clear that the God of the Bible is very different to the gods of the Greeks. Unlike the gods of the Greeks, the God of the Bible does not reside in one place, and nor does He require worship with objects made by human hands.

Next Paul told the Greeks that there was enough evidence for the one true God for them to know He existed:

Acts 17:
26 From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live,
27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Paul proved to the Greeks that their own philosophers and scientists had been able to discover important information about the true God, just from observing the creation:

Acts 17:
28 For in him we live and move about and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’

Quoting from Greek writers, Paul demonstrates that even though the Greeks did not have a correct understanding of who God was (a fact which Paul would remedy by preaching to them), they still recognised from the environment around them that there was a God, that people were dependent on Him for their lives, and that He acted towards them as a father.

First Paul quotes the Cretan writer Epimenides to prove that people recognised there was a God on whom they were dependent for their lives:

Acts 17:
28 For in him we live and move about and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’

But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,
For in thee we live and move and have our being.

Epimenides of Knossos, ‘Cretica’, 6th century BC

Then he quotes the Macedonian writer Aratus (a poet and astronomer), to prove that people recognised that there was a God who acted towards them as a father:

Acts 17:
28 For in him we live and move about and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’

Everywhere everyone is indebted to Zeus.
For we are indeed his offspring

Aratus of Sicyon, ‘Phaenomena’, lines 4-5, 4th-2nd century BC

Both of these writers were addressing Zeus, the king of the gods in Greek mythology. Neither of them had any knowledge of the God of the Bible, but from their environment they had at least recognised that there was a God, and they had recognised something accurate about the nature and character of that God.
Even with only this information, Paul says, it is clear that the worship of other gods is wrong, and the worship of images and idols is also wrong:

Acts 17:
29 So since we are God’s offspring, we should not think the deity is like gold or silver or stone, an image made by human skill and imagination.

Paul is saying that our observation of creation, and of our Creator, tells us something about who He is and how He should be worshipped:

· We are the children of one father, and therefore there is only one God (not many, as in the Greek mythology)

· Since we are the children of God, we bear His likeness, and so we should not think that God is like dead images or idols made from gold or silver

· Since God is our Father, He is a living being and not a dead statue, so we should worship Him, and not worship images or idols

· As the children of God, we should understand that we were made in the image of God, and not try to make God in the image of men (as the Greeks did)

These truths may seem simple to us, but they would have come as a confronting shock to the Greeks, who had made their gods in their own image, and worshipped the dead representations of them which they had made with their own hands.

The difference between the pagan gods and the God of the Bible has long been recognised, and one of the most important differences is the fact that the God of the Bible was not simply a glorified man, or a representation of typical human vices in divine form.

This sets the God of the Bible apart from the pagan gods, such as those of the Babylonians:

‘The gods of the Babylonians were not only understood to interact with each other and operate their affairs as humans do, but they also behaved like humans, or worse.

Finkelstein observes,

The Babylonian gods … although not themselves BOUND by moral or ethical principles, nevertheless appreciated them and expected man to live by them. The Babylonians, it would seem, fashioned their gods in their own image more faithfully than the Israelites did theirs. [50]

[50] 50 J. J. Finkelstein, “Bible and Babel,” Commentary 26 (1958) 440.’

John H. Walton, ‘The Mesopotamian Background of the Tower of Babel Account and Its Implications’, Bulletin for Biblical Research 5, pages 167-168, 1995

Paul’s argument for the existence of the Biblical God from the evidence of the universe was a powerful argument which convinced a number of the Greeks to whom he spoke (Acts 17:34).

We may think that such a response to the world in which we live is only found among ‘primitive’, or ‘pre-scientific’ people, and that no one these days, living in our ‘modern’ world with all its scientific knowledge, would see any existence for God in the arrangement of the universe.

If we think this, then we are wrong. Just as in the centuries before Paul wrote people such as the Greeks saw evidence of a God who was creative, interpersonal, and like a father, so many people today continue to draw the same conclusions from their observations of the universe.

Importantly, these people are not all simply Christians looking for another reason to believe. Many of them are not even Christians. Nor are they superstitious people who will easily believe in anything which looks like evidence for the supernatural.

A large number of them are in fact scientists, including high profile, award winning experts in the fields of mathematics, chemistry, biology, cosmology, and physics. Their assessment of the information which they have gathered as a result of their particular field of study supports what we have seen in the first three chapters of Genesis – that the universe is the product of a creative, interpersonal being, who cares for humans like a parent:

‘Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one…

Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument.’

Ed Harrison (cosmologist), ‘Masks of the Universe’, pages 252, 263, 1985

‘When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it’s very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion.

I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it.’

Tony Rothman (physicist), quoted by JL Casti, ‘Paradigms Lost’, pages 482-483, 1989

‘When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist.

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them.

I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.’

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics), ‘The Physics Of Immortality’, preface, 1994

‘In my view, the question of origin seems to be left unanswered if we explore from a scientific view alone.

Thus, I believe there is a need for some religious or metaphysical explanation. I believe in the concept of God and in His existence.’

Professor Charles Townes (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1964), ‘Making Waves’, 1995

‘The universe, as the cosmologist Fred Hoyle once remarked, looks like a “put-up job.”

Who but a Divine Designer could have twiddled with these 20 different “control knobs” until they were pointing at precisely the right values for the full array of life ultimately to appear? (“Design by wholesale is more grand than design by retail,” one 19th-century American clergyman presciently commented.) Another conundrum for atheists.’

Jim Holt, ‘Science Resurrects God’, The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 1997

First we shall consider the evidence for a God who is a creative being. This evidence is found in the fact that the universe in which we live shows signs of having been designed.

The famous rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun, was convinced that the ordered structure of the universe was evidence that it was the product of design, and that it had been created for a purpose:

‘One cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be design and purpose behind it all.

In the world around us, we can behold the obvious manifestations of an ordered, structured plan or design.

[…]

The better we understand the intricacies of the universe and all it harbors, the more reason we have found to marvel at the inherent design upon which it is based.’

Wernher von Braun (pioneer of rocket engineering), letter to the California State Board of Education, September 14, 1972

Sir Fred Hoyle, a leading cosmologist who won the highest award in the field, believed that it was simply ‘common sense’ to draw the conclusion that the universe was the work of an intelligent creative being. Although Hoyle was an atheist (he did not believe in the supernatural God of the Bible), he still recognized that the universe had been designed by what he called a ‘super-calculating intellect’:

‘Would you not say to yourself, ‘Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule.’ Of course you would…

[…]

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.

The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.’

Sir Fred Hoyle (Crafoord Prize for Cosmology, Royal Swedish Academy, 1991), ‘Evolution From Space’, 1984

Anthony Flew, a professor of philosophy, was for years a convinced atheist. Later in life, however, he became convinced by the evidence of design in the universe that some kind of higher power was responsible. While he remained largely agnostic, without a belief in a ‘revelatory’ God (a God who reveals Himself personally to people), he acknowledged that the evidence for such a God was now strong:

‘HABERMAS: Tony, you recently told me that you have come to believe in the existence of God. Would you comment on that?

FLEW: Well, I don’t believe in the God of any revelatory system, although I am open to that. But it seems to me that the case for an Aristotelian God who has the characteristics of power and also intelligence, is now much stronger than it ever was before.’

Anthony Flew (Professor of Philosophy), former atheist, interview with Gary R Habermas (Professor Philosophy and Theology), 1985

Importantly, in this interview Flew makes specific reference to the Genesis account of creation which we have considered. He observes rightly that evidence which supports the description found in Genesis, strengthens its claim to be a revelation from God:

‘On the positive side, for example, I am very much impressed with physicist Gerald Schroeder’s comments on Genesis 1.

That this biblical account might be scientifically accurate raises the possibility that it is revelation.’

Anthony Flew (Professor of Philosophy), former atheist, interview with Gary R Habermas (Professor Philosophy and Theology), 1985

Flew made it clear that his change of perspective was the result of him becoming increasingly impressed with the growing scientific evidence for the design of the universe by an intelligent being:

‘FLEW: I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. I’ve never been much impressed by the kalam cosmological argument, and I don’t think it has gotten any stronger recently.

However, I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.

HABERMAS: So you like arguments such as those that proceed from big bang cosmology and fine tuning arguments?

FLEW: Yes.

[…]

‘HABERMAS: So of the major theistic arguments, such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, and ontological, the only really impressive ones that you take to be decisive are the scientific forms of teleology?

FLEW: Absolutely.

[…]

It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.’

Anthony Flew (Professor of Philosophy), former atheist, interview with Gary R Habermas (Professor Philosophy and Theology), 1985

Allen Sandage, who received the highest prize for cosmology, became convinced by scientific evidence that the universe is the product of design:

‘The world is too complicated in all its parts and interconnections to be due to chance alone. I am convinced that the existence of life with all its order in each of its organisms is simply too well put together.’

Allen Sandage (Crafoord Prize for Cosmology, Royal Swedish Academy, 1991), quoted in ‘Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists’, Alan Lightman, 1992

The second aspect of the character of God which we observed from Genesis was that He is an interpersonal being, that He is involved personally with His creation.

This is suggested to us by the evidence that the universe was not only designed, but created with a purpose. If we are part of the purpose of God, we are involved personally with Him, He is interested in us.

Arno Penzias, who won the Nobel Prize for physics, concludes from the evidence of astronomy that the universe was indeed created purposefully, with a plan in mind:

‘Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.’

Arno Penzias (Nobel Prize in Physics), quoted by H Margenau, and RA Varghese, ed., ‘Cosmos, Bios, and Theos’, page 83, 1992

Paul Davies likewise sees the intricate complexity of the universe as evidence of careful planning and purpose:

‘The explosive vigour of the universe is thus matched with almost unbelievable accuracy to its gravitating power.

The big bang was not evidently, any old bang, but an explosion of exquisitely arranged magnitude.

Paul Davies, ‘Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature’, page 184, 1984

‘It is hard to resist that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in the numbers, has been rather carefully thought out.

The seemingly miraculous concurrence of numerical values that nature has assigned to her fundamental constants must remain the most compelling evidence for an element of cosmic design.’

Paul Davies, ‘God and the New Physics’, page 189, 1983

Davies makes the point that the universe was designed in such a way as to ensure our existence:

‘Had nature opted for a slightly different set of numbers, the world would be a very different place. Probably we would not be here to see it.

Recent discoveries about the primeval cosmos oblige us to accept that the expanding universe has been set up in its motion with a cooperation of astonishing precision.’

Paul Davies ‘The Accidental Universe’, 1982

Other scientists share this opinion:

It is relatively unusual that a physical scientist is truly an atheist. Why is this true? Some point to the anthropic constraints, the remarkable fine tuning of the universe. For example, Freeman Dyson, a Princeton faculty member, has said, “Nature has been kinder to us that we had any right to expect.”

Martin Rees, one of Hawking’s colleagues at Cambridge, notes the same facts. Rees recently stated “The possibility of life as we know it depends on the values of a few basic, physical constants and is in some respects remarkably sensitive to their numerical values. Nature does exhibit remarkable coincidences.” ‘

Henry F Schaefer III, ‘Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang, and God’, 2001

The conditions required for life are extremely specific, so much so that from what we observe these conditions are very rare even in our own universe. Yet the universe in which we find ourselves has not only been arranged in order to ensure the existence of life, it has been carefully designed to produce conscious life:

‘For in recent decades, physicists have noticed an astonishing thing about the fundamental laws of nature.

The 20 or so parameters they contain–numbers governing the strength of gravity, the ratio of the proton’s size to the neutron’s, and so on–appear to have been fine-tuned so that, against astronomically unfavorable odds, conscious organisms could emerge.

Make gravity the slightest bit weaker, and no galaxies suitable for life would have formed; make it the slightest bit stronger and the cosmos would have collapsed upon itself moments after the big bang.’

Jim Holt, ‘Science Resurrects God’, The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 1997

The fact that the universe has been designed and created with fine tuning specifically to ensure conscious life, suggests to us that the designer and creator is not only a conscious being but wishes to have the company of other conscious beings. The creator is therefore an interpersonal being, who is personally involved with the conscious creation.

This is supported by the very fact that we are able to discern the hand of the creator in the universe. Not only has He made it in such a way as to leave evidence that He was responsible, He has deliberately created us with all the abilities necessary to detect this evidence.

Indeed, He has designed us in such away that we are not only able to discern His presence from the simpler evidence interpreted by people such as the early Greeks, He has given us the capacity to observe, comprehend, and assess even the highly sophisticated evidence which is only accessible by means of our most advanced technology and research, in fields such as cosmology, biology, chemistry, and sub-atomic physics.

As our scientific knowledge of the universe has increased, it has not excluded the possibility of the existence of God. On the contrary, it has simply made us aware of even more evidence of His presence and involvement in our universe.

The fact the creator has made His presence visible in this way, and has given us the capacities necessary to discern this evidence at every level, is proof that He is an interpersonal being because it is proof that He is communicating with us. He is communicating through this evidence, at a massive range of levels which are readily available to all people, from the simplest to the most intellectually gifted, from the herdsman to the theoretical physicist.

We now consider the third aspect of God which we perceived in Genesis, that He cares for His children like a father.

The physical evidence for this is the way in which the universe has been arranged specifically to our advantage. The Christian astronomer George Greenstein observes:

‘As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency – or, rather, Agency – must be involved.

Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being?

Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?’

George Greenstein (astronomer), ‘The Symbiotic Universe’, page 27, 1988

Not only is the universe arranged in such a way as to ensure our existence, it is also designed to support and benefit our survival. The conditions necessary for life are so demanding that they are incredibly rare in the universe, so rare that they have not been detected elsewhere in the millions of kilometres of space which we have explored.

However, we not only live in a universe which was arranged in such a way as to ensure our existence, but a universe arranged in such a way as to benefit our survival, and to cause our lives to prosper. Our very solar system is of a kind so rare that we have yet to find another like it. The distance of the sun from the earth, the earth’s orbit of the sun, the placement of the moon, the tilt of the earth on its axis, and the speed of the earth’s rotation are not only essential to life on our planet, but for a certain quality of life.

Likewise, the earth’s magnetic field, atmosphere, and ecosystem are all essential to the development of human life and civilization. In a solar system containing eight waterless planets, two whole thirds of our planet is covered with water. We are enshrouded by a massively thick atmosphere which not only protects us from space debris such as meteorites, but forms part of a complex ecosystem which is essential for us to cultivate and produce crops, as well as to raise cattle.

Massive deposits of minerals and ores have enabled us to develop increasingly advanced levels of technology. It is clear that this planet was created in such a way as to ensure that we would not only survive, but that we would prosper dramatically, and develop a sophisticated civilization which was capable of discerning the evidence of Divine handiwork in the universe:

‘We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures…

[…]

If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.’

John O’Keefe (astronomer at NASA), quoted by F Heeren, ‘Show Me God’, page 200, 1995

The great care which God has exercised on our behalf is not limited merely to His creation of a universe and a planet which is so obviously to our advantage and benefit. There is evidence that He has also deliberately intervened on occasion precisely to ensure our survival, and to enhance our welfare.

One of the most dramatic examples on record is the extinction of the dinosaurs. Few people appear to realise that it was the extinction of the dinosaurs was essential to the welfare of our own species.

After years of debate as to what could possibly have caused such a catastrophic and yet extremely fortunate event, the answer was finally discovered:

‘After being the undisputed masters of our planet, all the dinosaurs worldwide suddenly became extinct.

[…]

After years of debate, the riddle of what caused the sudden and total destruction of the dinosaurs was finally solved in 1980 by Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez and his son Walter, who showed that a giant meteor from outer space had collided with the Earth to cause this worldwide catastrophe. This explanation for the mass extinctions — the impact of meteors or comets colliding with the Earth — has become known as the “impact theory.”

The scientific evidence in favor of the impact theory accumulated rapidly, and by 1987, Professor Alvarez could point to 15 different pieces of scientific data that supported the theory.’

Professor Nathan Aviezer, article ‘The Anthropic Principle’, Jewish Action, Spring, 1999

This model of the extinction of the dinosaurs is now widely held, and a great deal of geological evidence has been discovered to support it. The event may seem completely irrelevant to the welfare of our species, but it was in fact absolutely critical:

‘This intimate connection between human beings and the dinosaurs was emphasized by Professor Alvarez, who ends his article about the abrupt destruction of all the world’s dinosaurs due to the impact of a gigantic meteor, with the following stirring words:

“From our human point of view, that impact was one of the most important single events in the history of our planet. Had it not taken place, the largest mammals alive today might still resemble the rat-like creatures that were then scurrying around trying to avoid bring devoured by dinosaurs.”’

Professor Nathan Aviezer, article ‘The Anthropic Principle’, Jewish Action, Spring, 1999

What is also remarkable about this event is that it had to take place according to very precise specifications. The impact had to be forceful enough to extinguish the dinosaurs, but not so powerful as to destroy all mammals:

’But there is even more to the story. For human beings to exist today, it was not sufficient merely that such an impact with the meteor occurred. The impact had to have occurred with the right strength.

As Professor Alvarez explains: “If the impact had been weaker, no species would have become extinct; the mammals would be subordinate to the dinosaurs, and I [Alvarez] wouldn’t be writing this article. If the impact had been stronger, all life on this planet would have ceased, and again, I wouldn’t be writing this article. That tells me that the impact must have been of just the right strength [to ensure that] the mammals survived, while the dinosaurs didn’t.”’

Professor Nathan Aviezer, article ‘The Anthropic Principle’, Jewish Action, Spring, 1999

This extraordinary event was not only incredibly unlikely (such collisions are estimated to take place only every several hundred million years), but it represented an unexpected and unpredictable intervention in the normal process of natural selection.

By rights, the dinosaurs should have continued to rule the world. Mammals were the inferior species. The extinction of the dinosaurs was a fluke, an unexpected freak of nature:

‘The point of central importance to our discussion is that the collision between the meteor and the Earth was a matter of sheer luck. This has been repeatedly stressed by the leading paleontologists. For example, Professor David Raup, past president of the American Paleontological Society, has taken precisely this point as the central theme of his famous article (since expanded into a book with same title), “Extinctions: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?”

In his article, Raup emphasizes the role played by “luck” in mass extinctions: “The extinction of a given species or higher group is more bad luck than bad genes. Pure chance would favor some biologic groups over others.”’

Professor Nathan Aviezer, article ‘The Anthropic Principle’, Jewish Action, Spring, 1999

Most importantly, this demonstrates that the process of natural selection (which we know takes place), cannot be relied on as the mechanism by which certain animals flourish, and others become extinct. The intervention of unexpected and unpredictable events such as this collision introduce uncertainties into any model of biological history:

‘…We quote Professor David Jablonski of the University of Chicago, a world authority on the subject of mass extinctions: “When a mass extinction strikes, it is not the ‘most fit’ species that survive; it is the most fortunate. Species that had been barely hanging on… inherit the earth.”

These leading paleontologists are emphasizing that if a giant meteor suddenly falls from the sky and wipes out some species, while permitting other species to survive and ultimately to flourish, then the latter species were blessed with good luck — the occurrence of an extremely improbable and totally unexpected event.

The Darwinian principle of “the survival of the fittest” is irrelevant in such a process.’

Professor Nathan Aviezer, article ‘The Anthropic Principle’, Jewish Action, Spring, 1999

It is clear that God did not simply create the earth and leave it to the mercies of natural selection and unguided biological development (in such forms as evolution), but deliberately intervened in order to ensure that life on earth was cared for and nourished in accordance with His plan that humans, the creation made in the image of God, would ‘rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth’ (Genesis 1:26).

Part three.

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