Truth, and the right ideas and right thinking that are based on the truth, are essential for a successful and meaningful life and for a good and healthy society. Without truth, life for individuals and for societies degenerates into chaos, nihilism, meaninglessness, hedonism, perversion, followed by collapse and then by eternal loss.
Truth is knowable – not all truth, but enough truth to enable a human being to lead a meaningful and successful life that will result in eternal life. Understanding essential realities is possible. I will outline for you the way I think, and why I think the way I think I pray that my thoughts, and the way I arrived at them, will provide a good and coherent philosophy for thinking and living for us all. First, we must start with God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. God is. There is one God. The wise man places God at the very center of his thinking. God is the foundation of his wisdom. It is the fool, the man who may be smart, who may have a Ph. D., but can’t apply his knowledge properly, who has said in his heart, “there is no God.” If you don’t start with God as the foundation of your thinking, your intellectual and moral edifice won’t be constructed properly. You won’t think right, and you won’t live right. One wise man observed that the most important thing about any man is not how successful he is, or his social status, or how many friends he has, or his family or career, or wealth, but what deep in his heart, he thinks about God. Belief in God is entirely reasonable. It is based on very good evidences, logic, good arguments and reasons . Let me give you three arguments:
The Argument From Morality, Conscience, and Belief in God Human beings are inherently moral. I don’t mean that human beings are inherently good, and generally make the right moral choices, but rather that human beings intuitively have an idea of what is good or right that seems to be independent of us. Even when we don’t do what is right, we know what is right. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from? Only from the values learned from the societies in which we live? Also, there is a universal belief in God or gods in every society among mankind. Even after seventy years of atheistic communism belief in God in the former Soviet Union couldn’t be stamped out.
Where does this intuitive knowledge of God and morality come from? Where does man’s conscience come from? Isn’t it logical to think that there is a Supreme Being who is moral, who created this moral order, and gave us conscience and an intuitive awareness of Himself? Rabbi Paul asserts: When the Gentiles who do not have the Torah, do instinctively the things of the Torah, these, not having the Torah, are a Torah to themselves, in that they show the work of the Torah written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternatively accusing them or else defending them (Romans 2:14-15).
The Argument From Existence and Personality The universe exists. It is not personal: it has no mind, will, or emotion. Either the universe always existed, or it had a beginning. The discoveries of modern science are indicating that the universe isn’t eternal, but in fact had a beginning. Either we believe that an impersonal, non-intelligent universe always existed, or that it created itself out of nothing (which is logically inconsistent, since by definition it’s impossible for anything to create itself out of nothing, since nothing can’t produce something), or a personal God created the universe. Since there is mind, will, emotion and personality in the universe, in the form of human beings, it make much more sense to agree with Moses that in the beginning the personal Creator God created the Heavens and the Earth.
The Argument From Intelligent Design Creation declares that there is compelling evidence that God exists: King David observed 3,000 years ago: The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge (Psalm 19:1-2). 1,000 years later Rabbi Paul added: That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20). There is no excuse for ignorance about God because there is sufficient evidence all around us. Just as we infer an intelligent designer for any product in which we discern evidence of purposeful adaption to some end, so too the universe is full of purposeful design, order and regularity. There are “laws of nature” that operate by precise mathematical formulas, which tells us that there is an intelligent Designer.
If you were walking on a path through a forest and saw a beautiful watch on the path that was in working order and keeping accurate time, would you assume that it came together over millions of years by chance processes? Since the watch gives evidence of intelligent design, you would correctly assume that a watchmaker purposely made it. If a visitor from outside the universe visited Earth, he would likewise correctly assume that there was a Creator. Since the universe is more complex than anything made by man, the obvious and necessary conclusion is that it must have a Powerful Designer and Creator who is far greater than man.
Kerby Anderson, the President of Probe Ministries, informs us in a recent letter: There are “new advances in the area of intelligent design. Astronomers are discovering that we have a ‘just right’ universe. The discoveries remind me of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. One chair was too big, one was too small, and one was ‘just right.’ Scientists have begun to uncover evidence that the universe is ‘just right.’ They have found 29 fine-tuned parameters to the universe which are ‘just right.’ These would include such things as the constants in equations for gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces, and even the ratio of proton to electron mass. If any of these parameters were just a little off, the universe as we know it wouldn’t exist!
They have also discovered another 51 fine-tuned parameters for our galaxy, solar system, and planet. These would include: the distance from the sun, the size, temperature, and type of the sun, the Earth’s size, axial tilt, rotation speed and moon. They have even discovered the importance of planets like Jupiter and Saturn in our solar system. Of course, the probability of all these parameters coming together by chance is astronomical. Scientists calculating these probabilities are coming to the stark conclusion that the presence of any life in the universe is a highly improbable event.
Scientists are also making similar discoveries in the area of biology. Much of this has been documented in a book by Michael Behe entitled Darwin’s Black Box. Michael Behe (who is a biochemistry professor at Lehigh University) introduced the concept of ‘irreducible complexity.’
“In simple terms, this idea applies to any system of interacting parts in which the removal of any one part destroys the function of the entire system. An irreducibly complex system, then, requires each and every component to be in place before it will function.
“As a simple example of irreducible complexity, Behe presents the humble mousetrap. It contains 5 interdependent parts which allow it to catch mice: the wooden platform, the spring, the hammer (the bar which crushes the mouse against the wooden base), the holding bar, and a catch. Each of these components is absolutely essential for the function of the mousetrap. For instance, if you remove the catch, you cannot set the trap and it will never catch mice, no matter how long they may dance over the contraption. Remove the spring, and the hammer will flop uselessly back and forth-certainly not much of a threat to the little rodents. Of course, removal of the holding bar will ensure that the trap never catches anything because there will again be no way to arm the system.
“Now, note what this implies: an irreducibly complex system cannot come about in a gradual manner. One cannot begin with a wooden platform and catch a few mice, then add a spring, catching a few more mice than before, etc. No, all the components must be in place before it functions at all. A step-by-step approach to constructing such a system will result in a useless system until all the components have been added. The system requires all the components to be added at the same time, in the right configuration, before it works at all.
“How does irreducible complexity apply to biology? Behe notes that early this century, before biologists really understood the cell, they had a very simplistic model of its inner workings. Without the electron microscopes and other advanced techniques that now allow scientists to peer into the inner workings of the cell, it was assumed that the cells was a fairly simple blob of protoplasm. The living cell was a “black box” – something that could be observed to perform various functions while its inner workings were unknown and mysterious. Therefore, it was easy, and justifiable, to assume that the cell was a simple collection of molecules. But not anymore. Technological advances have provided detailed information about the inner workings of the cell. Michael Denton, in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, states “Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, weighing less than 10^-12 grams, each is in effect a veritable microminiaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world.” In a word, the cell is complicated. Very complicated.
“In fact, Michael Behe asserts that the complicated biological structures in a cell exhibit the exact same irreducible complexity that we saw in the mousetrap example. In other words, they are all-or-nothing: either everything is there and it works, or something is missing and it doesn’t work. As we saw before, such a system cannot be constructed in a gradual manner – it simply won’t work until all the components are present, and Darwinism has no mechanism for adding all the components at once. Remember, Darwin’s mechanism is one of gradual mutations leading to improved fitness and survival. A less-than-complete system of this nature simply will not function, and it certainly won’t help the organism to survive. Indeed, having a half-formed and hence non-functional system would actually hinder survival and would be selected against.” From Irreducible Complexity: The Challenge to the Darwinian Evolutionary Explanations of many iochemical Structures (http://acs.ucsd.edu/~idea/irredcomplex.htm) In an article titled, “Shapes, Numbers, Patterns, and the Divine Proportion in God’s Creation (Institute For Creation Research, Impact No. 354 December 2002) Fred Willson, informs us that in God’s creation, “there exists a ‘Divine Proportion’ that is exhibited in a multitude of shapes, numbers, and patterns whose relationship can only be the result of the omnipotent, good, and all-wise God of Scripture. This Divine Proportion – existing in the smallest to the largest parts, in living and also in non-living things – reveals the awesome handiwork of God and His interest in beauty, function, and order.
Mr. Wilson begins with shapes, then discusses how a numbering pattern and a ratio (the Divine Proportion) are an inherent part of these shapes and patterns and are ubiquitous throughout creation. He begins with a shape with which we are all familiar. It is the spiral commonly seen in shells. By taking a careful look at that spiral (the chambered nautilus is probably the clearest example) you will observe that as it gets larger, it retains its identical form. Since the body of the organism grows in the path of a spiral that is equiangular and logarithmic, its form never changes. The beauty of this form is commonly called the “golden spiral.”
This spiral is visible in things as diverse as: hurricanes, spiral seeds, the cochlea of the human ear, ram’s horn, sea-horse tail, growing fern leaves, DNA molecule, waves breaking on the beach, tornados, galaxies, the tail of a comet as it winds around the sun, whirlpools, seed patterns of sunflowers, daisies, dandelions, and in the construction of the ears of most mammals.
This spiral follows a precise mathematical pattern. We will first look at this spiral in sunflowers. By looking carefully at a sunflower you will observe two sets of spirals (rows of seeds or florets) spiraling in opposite directions.
When these spiral rows are counted in each direction, you will discover that in the overwhelming majority of the cases that their numbers, depending upon the size of the flower, will be of the following ratio: if small, 34 and 55; if medium 55 and 89; if large 89 and 144.
These numbers are part of the Fibonacci numbering sequence, a pattern discovered around A.D. 1200 by Leonardo Pisa (historically known as Fibonacci). Each succeeding number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. The sequence of these numbers is 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, ad infinitum. This numbering pattern reveals itself in various ways throughout all of nature.
When the smaller number of this pattern is divided into the larger number adjacent to it, the ratio will always be approximately 1.618; if the larger one adjacent to it divides the smaller number, the ratio will be very close to 0.618. This ratio is only true for this set of numbers. This ratio has been called historically the Divine Proportion or Golden Ratio. This ratio has served mankind in three ways: it provides beauty, function, and reveals how marvelous God is.
Why did Phideas, the Greek sculptor, and many others in ancient Greece and Egypt use this ratio in designing their works of art? Because this ratio has been found to be remarkably pleasing to the human eye, it produces what is called a Golden Rectangle. If the short side of the rectangle is 1, the long side will be 1.618. This rectangular shape was used in the designing of the Parthenon in Greece and as the basic shape for many of their numerous pictures, vases, doorways, windows, statues, etc. It appears in the Great Pyramid of Egypt. The United Nations building is a golden rectangle. Many of the things you use are (approximately) patterned after the golden rectangle – credit cards, playing cards, postcards, light switch plates, writing pads, 3-by-5 and 5-by-8 cards, etc.
Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh, Vermeer, John Singer Sargent, Monet, Whistler, Renoir, and others employed the golden proportion in their works. They would “take a blank easel and divide it into areas based on the golden proportions to determine the placement of horizons, trees, and so on.” Why the golden proportion? Art forms can be either of static or dynamic symmetry. In static symmetry the lines have definite measurements whereas in dynamic symmetry it is the proportioning of the areas that is given emphasis. It implies “growth, power, movement. It gives animation and life to an artist’s work . . . rather than the effect of stillness and quiet” of static symmetry. This is the appeal of the golden proportion.
Another area of great interest is the occurrence of Fibonacci numbers in the spiral arrangement of leaves around a plant’s stem (called phyllotaxis). This spiral pattern is observed by viewing the stem from directly above, and noting the arc of the stem form one leaf base to the next, and the fraction of the stem circumference which is inscribed. In each case the numbers are Fibonacci numbers. Examples: In an elm the arc is 1/2 the circumference; in beech and hazel, 1/3; apricot, oak, 2/5; in pear and poplar, 3/8; in almond and pussy willow, 5/13; and in some pines either 5/21 or 13/34.
Why did God arrange them this way? This pattern assures that each leaf will receive its maximum exposure to sunlight and air without shading or crowding other leaves.
Not only do we discover this pattern in leaf arrangements, but it is also found in the arrangement of flower petals. Examples: a lily has 3 petals, yellow violet 5, delphinium 8, mayweed 13, aster 21, pyrethrum 34, helenium 55, and michaelmas daisy 89. With such a great variety of spiral ratios in leaf and petal arrangement, no one has any reason to get bored with God’s creation.
When we realize that the information to produce these spirals and numbers in living things is stored in the DNA, should we then be surprised to find that the DNA molecule is 21 angstroms in width and the length of one full turn in its spiral is 34 angstroms, both Fibonacci numbers? The DNA molecule is literally one long stack of golden rectangles.
In the area of very large phenomena when the time period of each planet’s revolution around the sun is compared in round numbers to the one adjacent to it, their fractions are Fibonacci numbers! Beginning with Neptune and moving inward toward the sun, the ratios are 1/2, 1/3, 2/5, 3/8, 5/13, 8/21, 13/34. These are the same as the spiral arrangement of leaves on plants!
These shapes, numbers, spirals, and the divine proportion are ubiquitous in their presence throughout all of creation. They are found in living and nonliving phenomena. Their symmetry, beauty, and mathematical preciseness are evident in every a