For more than 40 years I have been contemplating this issue of ontology: the conformity of nonphysical realities with that of physical matter. Of special interest has been the reconciliation of our metaphysical cognizance and our corporal existence. Of course, I did not know these big words 40 years ago and would have stated it differently, but the concepts were there. Back then it was: How do the nonmaterial and the material interact? And how do the mind and the body work together?
Both realities (the metaphysical and the material) are undeniable, yet neither is easily understood. Because one is tangible and the other intangible, they are generally treated separately and seldom treated as a unit. But this dichotomy is illogical; at the very least it is inconsistent with reality, for the two are inseparable, at least in this life.
From the very beginning of my muse (when my thoughts were still in their infant stage) until this present day, the resultant inferences of this union have profoundly affected me, not in a mere philosophical sense alone, but in an immediate practical sense, having considerable influence on many issues and decisions in my life and even, to some degree, shaping my personality.
That our physical universe exists is denied by no one; but of equal reality are the multifaceted metaphysical aspects of our daily existence. Beyond animation and consciousness, we think complex thoughts, communicate, create, find humor, make music, make inferences, and (perhaps except for the sociopath) experience emotion and direct our lives by a basic universal set of morals—intuitively knowing right from wrong, that we should not kill, lie, or steal; and when we do so, our conscience is highly offended. These metaphysical realities are as much a part of our makeup as is our physical world.
But where and how do these worlds, the physical and metaphysical, meet? Any discipline focused on one to the exclusion of the other is incomplete and ultimately dishonest with its data. Nevertheless, these exclusions exist with extreme views held by proponents on both sides. On the one hand are those who advocate a purely material universe in which everything follows predicable laws of physics. In this closed system with its finite number of forces, theoretically everything in the known universe could be predicted and analyzed. Therefore, even the notion of metaphysical realities (which necessarily lie outside the basic laws of physics) is not subject to consideration, thereby effectively excluding such concepts as spirituality, supernatural intervention, and even life after death. On the other hand are various pseudospiritual orders that dismiss the significance of the material world, so much so that some even hold the physical body in contempt.
Both extremes are mistaken, each adhering to a worldview that necessarily obstructs its vision of reality. With this as the premise, it is the objective of this paper to reconcile these two worlds: the material and the metaphysical.
An Apology for the Reconciliation of Physical Matter and Metaphysical Cognizance
The amazing universe
The wonders of the universe are untold. To this day science is mystified by the underlying forces and natural phenomenon that are so basic to our existence: gravity, electromagnetism, nuclear forces, and even light. Although certain observed laws of classical Newtonian physics are able to accurately predict various characteristics of each, physicists still do not fully understand any of them.
As quantum physicists attempt to answer fundamental questions at the subatomic level where Newtonian physics fails, they have discovered new realties, which have brought them to terms with concepts that challenge specific features of classical thought. For example, if atoms were governed by the classic laws of electromagnetism, the positively charged protons would repel each other, even as the negatively charged orbiting electrons would be drawn toward and collide with the protons. Instead, the protons hold their place in the nucleus, and the electrons stay in their distant orbital paths. Thus, one of the most startling discoveries of quantum mechanics was that, at the subatomic level of energy, the rules have changed (Ford 2005, p. 1).
This enigma sparked the initial studies in quantum mechanics as scientists sought diligently to explain the atom. The spectra of light emitted from different atomic species were of special interest to the physicists. Indeed, the nature of light has always been a primary concern for physicists. In spite of the rigorous debate being waged since the 1600s, as to whether it is a particle or wave, the issue is still not settled to everyone’s satisfaction. However, because recent studies show that light simultaneously maintains certain properties of both waves and particles while simultaneously failing to display other certain properties of both, some quantum physicists have concluded that light is intrinsically neither a wave nor a particle. For these reasons, quantum field theory currently holds to a wave-particle duality definition of light, in which photons (considered the smallest particles in classical physics) are now thought of “only at their instant of creation or destruction, and to consider light to be a probability wave in between these times;” except for the geometrical limit where light continues to act like a particle with an assigned trajectory (Carlson 2000, p. 8).
Is that confusing enough? Trust me, it is confusing to the scientists as well; and I have presented a mere, extremely simplified, amateurish version. But this is significant, because Newtonian physics believed the universe consisted solely of solid, particle-based matter, where everything is the sum total of its parts—a closed system with a finite number of forces that theoretically could be totaled—and that by understanding the basic laws that govern these particle-based interactions, everything in the known universe could be predicted and analyzed. However, and to the surprise of many, studies in quantum mechanics revealed the atom to be something more complex than mere solid particles (Cottingham and Greenwood 2007, p. 1) and neither, as we shall see, is it the closed system of classical thought.
The subatomic world
Atoms, of course, are unimaginably small, with some having diameters something in the order of 1¥10-10 meters (Ebert 2007). A few illustrations may help put this into perspective. An atom is approximately a million times smaller than the diameter of a human hair (Ebert 2007). It would take a million atoms, edge to edge, to equal the thickness of a page of paper, or 100 million atoms side by side to stretch 1 centimeter (Oklahoma State Chemistry Department 2007). With every breath you take “you inhale a million billion billion” atoms of oxygen (Close, 2004, p. 1).
Atoms consist of a nucleus, orbiting electrons, and mostly empty space. The very tiny nucleus is comprised of positively charged protons and neutral neutrons. But the phrase “very tiny” does not adequately depict the size of the nucleus, which is smaller than its perspective atom in varying degrees from a factor of 23,000 for uranium to a factor of 145,000 for hydrogen. And electrons are even smaller—almost 2,000 times smaller than a single proton (Ford 2005, p. 2).
To put this in perspective, look at the period (or dot) at the end of this sentence. If you are reading from a paper page versus a digital display, the period contains about 100 billion carbon atoms. To see one of these atoms with the naked eye, we would have to magnify the dot to a diameter of 100 meters (a little larger than a football field) (Close, 2004, p. 2). Then to see the nucleus of one of these carbon atoms, the dot would have to be enlarged to about 10,000 kilometers, which is roughly the size of the earth from pole to pole (Close, 2004, pp. 2–4). In yet another perspective, if the nucleus were the size of a baseball, the atomic diameter, which is established by the orbiting electrons, would be about 4 kilometers. That is nearly 2 ½ miles across; and the electrons would each be smaller than a period (.) (Oklahoma State Chemistry Department 2007). Between the nucleus and the electrons is empty space.
But things get even smaller. While classical Newtonian physics considered these subatomic features to be particle-based mass, with the nucleus accounting for virtually all of the atomic mass, quantum physicists theorize that particle-based mass, even in the nucleus, is all but nonexistent. Some believe the very tiny nucleus consists almost exclusively of strong interaction energies and the gluon field—a massless mediator of the strong interaction between certain “fundamental particles” called quarks, which they surmise account for slightly less than 1% of its fundamental particle mass. In our aforementioned analogy, that is 1% of the baseball. Also electrons are no longer considered a particle-based mass; they are either structureless point particles (Cottingham and Greenwood 2007) or nonpartial based clouds of negative electromagnetic energy.
For many, even the concept of the discrete 1% zero-dimensional fundamental nucleonic particle is now brought into question, replaced by the idea of wave-packets of uncertain boundary, with mysterious properties known only as probabilities interacting with other particles. For those quantum physicists who promote superstring theory in their diligent effort to harmonize general relativity with quantum mechanics (Becker, Becker, and Schwarz 2007, p. 1), the notion of discrete zero-dimensional particles is completely discarded in favor of very tiny one-dimensional, supersymmetric strings of energy; each having unique resonant vibrations—like that of a guitar string—characterized by the particular fundamental force in question. In this view, “specific particles correspond to specific oscillation modes (or quantum states) of the string” (Becker, Becker, and Schwarz 2007, p. 2).
Superstring theory not only does away with the traditional idea of particle-based mass, but also opens the door to, and even requires, multiple dimensions beyond those with which we are accustomed. While we are familiar with the three spatial dimensions of length, width, and height, and with the generally considered fourth dimension, time; superstring theory mandates additional spatial dimensions that are too small for our direct observation.
It is also interesting to note that physicists believe these strings of energy are either closed (forming a loop) or open (forming a line interval). I cannot help but think of the binary numeric system as used in electronic circuitry and computer programming. I can imagine a subatomic world in which various vibrating stings of electromagnetic energy, some circular like a “0,” some linear like a “1,” interlocked in various multidimensional mathematical computations to form complex structures in multidimensional binary code.
If the speculations of superstring theory are correct, there is no such thing as particle-based atomic mass. If the concepts of general quantum physics are correct, the atom is less than 1% particle-based mass. And even if we hold to the original and now discredited notion of subatomic particle-based mass, the atom is still mostly empty space. The nature of the subatomic structure compels us to address the fundamental question of matter; for the only things we can identify with certainty are infinitesimal charges of electricity and a vast amount of empty space. We know these tiny electric charges create electromagnetic force fields that cause atoms, as well as the various molecular chemical compounds they form, to be present as solid matter (Close, 2004, p. 3); but in the end we are still dealing with the infinitesimal charges of electromagnetic energy and empty space. This is the core of what we perceive as our physical reality.
Zero-point energy field
Another subject of special concern to our topic is the zero-point energy field. Newtonian physics postulates that if we were to cool the sea of virtual particles underlying every point in the universe to absolute zero, it would retain no energy. However, once again many physicists were amazed to find that an enormous amount of energy resides in this zero-point energy field; consequently, its intricate nature has become a principle feature of quantum physics. Quantum physicists believe the zero-point energy field inextricably and inexplicably connects everything in the universe, so that some have dubbed it the “Mind of God.” Not that physicists are being converted to Christianity (or to any world religion) by the droves; but they have reached a dilemma in their unified field theory in which subatomic systems mysteriously defy the known laws of physics so that events some might consider miraculous (that is, in defiance of the laws of classical physics) are not only accounted for but expected. For example, quantum physicists postulate that even as the expansion of the universe accelerates, “zero-point energy is assumed to be constant: no matter how much the universe expands it does not become diluted, but instead more zero-point energy is assumed to be created out of nothing.” Furthermore, they believe “the zero-point exerts a negative pressure which, counter-intuitively, leads to an expansion of space-time” (Haisch 2007, p. 4). To the consternation of many, this is not the closed system of Newtonian physics.
Nonlocality: as evidenced by the observer effect, entanglement, and quantum teleportation
The issue of “locality versus nonlocality” is of special interest to our topic. Recent studies have provided quantum physicists with what they believe is empirical evidence against local realism. Local realism speaks of the intuitive notion that particles within a specific subatomic structure are not influenced by systems that are not present within that local structure, and that these particles have a physical reality of definitive values that are not influenced by an observer (Ben-Dov 1994). Simply stated, this speaks of a closed system. However, many studies have demonstrated that predictions of quantum mechanics at the subatomic level are not intuitive; that is, they are not subject to the expectations of local realism (Gršblacher et al. 2007; Kwiat et al. 2001; Pan et al. 2000). To the contrary, effects at the quantum level exhibit characteristics of nonlocality, making it not possible to treat spatially separated systems as independent. This “open system” implication of nonlocality was Einstein’s primary objection to quantum mechanics, because the notion of nonlocality makes possible what he ridiculed as “spooky action at a distance” (Overbye 2006).
However, it has been shown that at the subatomic level the very act of observing will cause the phenomenon being observed to change—thus the term observer effect. For example, before an electron could be observed, a photon would necessarily have to interact with it, which then changes the path of the electron. And physicists believe that even less direct means of measurement whereby direct observation is absent will still, theoretically, modify the electron’s position. Even at the level of macroscopic life the physics necessary to observe or measure a particular phenomenon causes change. For instance, to measure the temperature of a particular solution we place a thermometer into the solution, which then interacts with the solution thereby absorbing some of the energy and consequently changing the temperature of the solution. Therefore, it is concluded that one cannot observe a system without entering into that system and thereby causing change to that system.
Of equal importance to the issue of nonlocality is the phenomenon of entanglement. The noted philosophizing physicist and professor of physics at Vienna University, Dr. Anton Zeilinger, explained that at the quantum level once two or more particles connect by colliding like billiard balls, they are immediately linked or entangled, and the information each particle contained is “smeared over both particles,” so that no matter how far apart they are, by measuring the previously uncertain momentum of one the second will instantaneously gain a clearly defined momentum. This information, he contends, “is the basic building block of our world.” It is “at the basis of everything we call ‘nature’ . . . because we can’t talk about anything without de facto speaking about the information we have of these things” (Zeilinger 2006).
Amazingly, with this knowledge physicists have successfully realized Einstein’s concern of “spooky action at a distance” by using methods of entanglement to teleport particle properties up to 600 meters under the Danube River, and they believe, theoretically, the distance is limitless (Zeilinger 2006).
The significance of quantum physics
By now I suspect the reader is asking: Why all this discussion about physics? My objective is not to explain or even introduce classical or quantum physics. Indeed, if it were, I have failed miserably, for I have but scratched the surface of a topic about which admittedly I have limited knowledge. I will leave technical introductions and explanations to the physicists. My interest is geared more toward the practical than the technical—the implications for the driver of the car if you will, versus the painstaking analysis of the design engineer. So I have merely pointed out that the car has certain features; I have not addressed in detail, nor do I wish to address, the intricate mechanical engineering of these features.
It is not my intent to set one branch of physics against the other, or even necessarily to side with one or the other. That being said, my objective is two-fold. First, to show the atom, and thus the universe, consists of empty space and mysterious infinitesimal interactions of electromagnetic energy and information. Depending upon one’s scientific view of subatomic fundamental particles, the universe is exclusively (or almost exclusively) empty space and very tiny charges of electromagnetic energy and information. This necessarily causes us to contemplate our perception of the material universe.
The second purpose for addressing these issues is to point out that at the subatomic level of energy the universe is not the closed system that many have supposed. The zero-point energy field and nonlocality as evidenced by the observer effect, entanglement, and teleportation dismiss this notion. The significance is that, because electromagnetic energy at the level of the photon is entangled and exhibits the effects of nonlocality (so that it can be influenced by remote systems), phenomena are not only possible but expected.
These discoveries continue to amaze the physicists who seek to understand this subatomic world. It is so different from what we know as reality. Zeilinger has said, “It’s all pretty crazy.” And taking it yet a step further, he explained, “The spooky effect at a distance is a process outside time and space that even I can‘t really imagine. But I believe that quantum physics tells us something very profound about the world. And that is that the world is not the way it is independently of us. That the characteristics of the world are to a certain extent dependent on us” (Zeilinger 2006). For example, as we measure a particle, its previously uncertain location and velocity becomes a reality at that moment. In so doing, he observed, “We’ve had a major impact on reality” (Zeilinger 2006).
So then, from quantum physics we learn that our physical universe consists largely of empty space and infinitesimal charges of electromagnetic energy and information, and that subatomic systems are not only subject to influence from distant systems, they are to a certain extent conditioned by us. All of this becomes extremely important to our ultimate understanding of the union between the physical and the metaphysical.
The big question
The significance of these findings must not be overlooked. Despite the extremely complex nature of physics, with concepts and mathematical formulas that only a handful of people in the world can compute, the complexity seems somewhat pedantic in light of the larger question that looms before us. Because all mass, and thus the entire universe and all that is in it, is made from atoms and atoms consist mostly of empty space and infinitesimal interactions of electromagnetic energy and information, the question is necessarily evoked: What then is reality in the physical sense? And because an individual metaphysical entity is the singular force that defines the very state of being human, it stands that our metaphysical existence is a certainty, as illusive as it may be which necessarily evokes the question: What then is reality in the metaphysical sense? Furthermore, because the quantum world at the subatomic level can be affected by nonlocal systems, and because the corporal being is ultimately animated and governed by its individual metaphysical being, the ultimate question must be asked: How do these two extremely divergent worlds interact? What is their common reality?
What is the mystery of physical mass interacting with metaphysical cognizance? Indeed, what is the mystery of life itself? Even beyond the animated being, what of this metaphysical cognizance we generally refer to as soul or spirit? And what of ethics and morals, and all the other metaphysical issues that constitute our daily existence? Neither classic nor quantum physics provides answers to these questions; but while classic Newtonian physics necessarily neglects such concepts (for it holds to a closed particle-based system that must follow predicable laws), quantum physics not only invites such questions and concepts, but also seems to expect them. For as the University of Chicago professor of physics Dr. Bruce A. Schumm has acknowledged, “As we attempt to understand and codify the rules of existence at this level, we enter the realm of quantum mechanics, with its jarring metaphysical implications” (Schumm 2004, p. 2). So I ask—I am compelled to ask—What is reality? That is: What is the fundamental reality beyond our perceptions, for both the material and the metaphysical? The answer to this question will necessarily reconcile these two worlds.
Today we use the term “tween” to describe those important early adolescent years when hormones are beginning to change but the youngster has yet to attain the defining stature of teenager. It was during my tween years that I began asking certain defining questions that would ultimately change my life. Of course, there were the all important questions: Why do we exist; and what is the meaning of life? But I had other questions that few of my peers seemed to be asking. At least I knew of none. I recall my interest in biology and my awe of life at both the human and the microscopic level. But even then my interests lay more in the marvel of life itself than its simple biological anatomy; this reality was far more reaching, far more mysterious.
I also spent countless hours staring at the stars in utter amazement. It was not the constellations of ancient imagination that caused me to spend so many nights lying on the rooftop watching the majestic scene pass overhead; it was the consideration of what could lie beyond the heavens and the contemplation of what a truly finite being I was in the face of it all. I debated in my own mind if there could be an end to the universe, to the heavens. What would that end be: a solid wall, empty space? For even the wall or the space is something; and what then is beyond that? This naturally inferred the daunting concept of infinity and its parallel—eternity, something else, and perhaps even more difficult, to comprehend.
Of course, it was also about this time I was learning evolution in school—the big bang, the primordial ooze, Darwinism, survival-of-the-fittest, and so forth. But as I asked my questions (on the one hand gazing into the heavens and on the other contemplating the wonders of even the smallest life-forms; and even considering the unscrupulous dog-eat-dog concept of survival-of-the-fittest versus the very real innate sense of social ethics and personal morals), I knew neither the big bang nor the evolutionary model could be correct. Not only did they fail to adequately account for my personal existence as an intelligent ethical being, they also failed even to answer the most basic questions about the physical universe.
Indeed, evolution answered nothing. Neither did its mother, the big bang. They seemed little more than a comic book fairytale. I saw them as absurd, baseless, and fantastical hypotheses mired down by one conjecture upon another, while conveniently overlooking the most important questions. Even as a tween I realized this feeble attempt to account for the universe had four glaring gaps: the beginning, the end, the origin of life, and especially the existence of intellectual and moral beings. The following questions begged to be answered: What existed before the universe, before time and space, and from where did the exploding mass come? What is beyond the galaxies in the infinite reaches of space? What comes after it all ends? And what of life, especially intelligent and ethical life?
Somehow the primordial ooze and time, no matter how much time one can imagine, just did not account for even one of these questions. Even before I understood the model of evolution, I already knew it was illogical. Frankly, I was offended that my teachers expected me to believe it. And I was extremely disappointed in them for apparently believing it themselves. In time I learned that logic can never convince passion. Irrespective of one’s education, without a purposed conscious intervention, one’s passion transcends one’s logic and reason.
Case in point; although accepted by some of the greatest minds in the world, could there be anything more irrational than the notion that several billions of years ago, out of nothing, a theretofore nonexistent dense mass spontaneously emerged, which erupted in an enormously powerful fireball by its own theretofore nonexistent energy to spontaneously and immediately create from this chaos the defined fundamental forces of physics and the subatomic fundamental particles, which eventually organized themselves into a variety of atomic species, then into molecules, and then into a diverse assortment of inorganic matter that gravitationally assembled itself into this highly structured and precisely ordered universe.
Then, after several billions of years, from this inorganic matter a primitive biological life-form spontaneously emerged. Not only had this organic life-form spawned from nonliving inorganic, previously nonexistent matter that had sprung into existence from nonexistence by its own nonexistent energy, this newly formed primitive organism managed to survive on nutrients that, heretofore, were also nonexistent.
After another three billion years or so, this primitive organism mutated onto a more complex multicellular life-form, which over the next one billion years grew even more complex, spawning a variety of ever increasingly diverse and more complex species, some of which became animated, eventually splitting into two genders and achieving the capacity for selective reproduction. After countless changes, the most advanced life-form developed the ability for critical thinking—the ability to reason and make inference. In time, this advanced life-form realized its own metaphysical reality beyond its mere physical existence. And at last, the advanced critically thinking being assumed a common ethic based upon its universal metaphysical sense of morality singularly common to every family of its highly structured existence.
In the end, and of its own accord, the original state of a nonmaterial reality had come full circle. From the nonexistent, and therefore nonmaterial, reality before the erupting fireball, to the material reality of the universe, and then returning yet again to another nonmaterial, though existent, metaphysical reality in the highly advanced being. Now perhaps I am still naive, but somehow the very logic of this entire hypothesis seems nonexistent.
Regardless of the timeframe, the statistical probability of such events occurring is absolute zero at every critical step. How can one calculate variables that do not exist? How does one calculate the first obstacle, the probability of absolute nothing spontaneously generating a dense mass? One does not calculate zero variables; one imagines them. Likewise, the probability of lifeless matter spontaneously generating life, no matter the timeframe, is zero. There are simply too many conditional demands for even the lowest life-form to emerge. One of many such conditions is the sequencing of amino acids. As the physical chemist Dr. Jonathan Sarfati explains, “Life requires catalysts which are specific for a single type of molecule. This requires specific amino acid sequences, which have extremely low probabilities (~10-650 for all the enzymes required)” (Sarfati 2007). And that is but one of many requisite conditions of impossible contradicting scenarios that must be met to generate life from nonlife. Another such difficulty is that “the alkaline conditions needed to form sugars are incompatible with acid conditions required to form polypeptides with condensing agents.” So too is the detail that certain requisite building blocks are not formed; “ribose and cytosine are hard to form and are very unstable” (Sarfati 2007, pp. 1–3). The list continues, but the point is that the probability of life spontaneously generating from nonlife is essentially zero; for these and the many other conflicting conditions to be simultaneously reconciled by their own accord is beyond the realm of probability.
And for those proponents who recognize these difficulties and wish to avoid them by only invoking the evolution paradigm to explain man’s existence once matter and life are accounted for, their obstacles are no less difficult, in that even if a primitive life-form miraculously emerged, the probability for a sustainable life-form is zero. Again Dr. Sarfati explains, “Biochemicals would react with each other or with inorganic chemicals. Sugars (and other carbonyl . . . compounds) react destructively with amino acids (and other amino . . . compounds), but must be present for a cell to form.” Then too, “The atmosphere contained free oxygen, which would destroy organic compounds . . .”, but “if there was no oxygen there would be no ozone, so ultraviolet light would destroy biochemicals.” Indeed, “All energy sources that produce the biochemicals destroy them even faster” (Sarfati 2007, pp. 1–2). Once again the list continues, so that the sustainability and probability of this supposed primitive life-form is essentially zero, thereby making even the notion of upward development a moot issue.
Finally, and just as difficult, is the probability of a self-structured, purely physical life-form consisting of billions of beings that each possesses an identical, yet individual, metaphysical cognizance, intellect, and conscience which intuitively adheres to a universal moral code. The probability is zero, no matter how many gradual, upward, mutated changes the physical life-form assumes. Just as nonexistent matter spontaneously springing into existence by its own nonexistent energy is incalculable due to the absence of viable variables, the probability of even one of these physical beings spontaneously generating these complex nonmaterial metaphysical realities is nonexistent—absolute zero; and the probability of billions of them developing and sustaining the same metaphysical realities is beyond absolute zero.
The logical conclusion
I did not come from a religious home. There was a family Bible, an heirloom, somewhere in the house, but the notion of God, especially a personal God, was not a part of our daily lives. Nevertheless, even as a tween, my contemplations concerning life and the heavens lead me to conclude that a creator must exist. I did not know who; but by the drawing of God’s Spirit I knew logically and intuitively that it had to be so. The universe was created. Life was created. I was created. The logical order of cause and effect left no alternative. I reasoned the complex nature of life and the universe was such that the agent of cause had to possess great intelligence. Such an elaborate design, even to a fraction of this degree, would require a superb imagination and precise engineering. It was too intricate, too exact, too ordered to be the haphazard outcome of a great explosion, no matter how magnificent or ancient we envisioned it. Of course, this realization raised the question of who then created us; but it also inferred there were answers to those all-consuming questions of purpose: Why are we here? And what is the meaning of life?
A few years later I found those answers. I was introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which I accepted and follow to this day. It may sound prosaic, but it is the age-old story of a journey that millions upon millions have taken. I found that the scriptural account of the universe seamlessly answered these questions. The mechanics are not explained, but the concepts are there. Everything is accounted for right down to the purpose of life. Years later I discovered whole societies of credentialed scientists who also found the scriptural account flawless (American Scientific Affiliation; Answers in Genesis; Creation Research Society; Institute for Creation Research; Northwest Creation Network; The Society for the Advancement of Creation Science). It was only after reading their works that I learned of the horrendous and seemingly agenda-driven gaps in the fossil record as set forth by proponents of the evolution paradigm, of the erroneous chronological representation of the geological strata, of the inaccurate interpretations of radioactive dating methods, and of the neglect and even unwillingness to address certain paleontological and scientific findings that did not fit into the evolution scenario (Gish 1972, 1980; Morris 1974; Purdom 2007, pp. 1–4; Sarfati 2007, pp. 1–3; Whitcomb and Morris 1961). All of these issues are specifically designed to remove the attention from the truly critical issues—the self-generated spontaneous ex nihilo origin of matter; the spontaneous generation of organic life from inorganic nonlife; and the advent of man’s intelligent, passionate, and moral metaphysical reality from mere physical matter.
Not only had my questions been answered, but also a very real interpersonal, yet metaphysical, relationship ensued with my Creator—a relationship that is beyond mere explanation. It is not something I could or should expect the nonbeliever to understand. Indeed, this personal relationship with God simply is not something the nonbeliever can understand, anymore than an animal can appreciate a fine gem. As Jesus said, “. . . do not cast your pearls before the swine” (Matthew 7:6). This is not meant to denigrate the nonbeliever, but to illustrate the uselessness of presenting certain truths to those without the capacity to receive them. First, man must believe in God before a relationship with God is plausible.
An apropos statement by Fellow of the Royal Society L. Harrison Matthews seems to epitomize the unbeliever’s mindset and succinctly illustrate the lesson I learned long ago concerning logic versus passion. He confessed: “The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an approved theory—is it then a science or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation—both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither up to the present, has been capable of proof” (Matthews, 1971). Similarly, D. M. S. Watson, the famed professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at the University College of London from 1921 to 1951, a man who held the prestigious Chair of Evolution and was even awarded the Darwin Medal, conceded that “evolution itself is accepted by zoologists, not because it has been observed to occur or can be proven by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is incredible” (Watson 1929). I recall many years ago reading a similar statement by one of the famed Huxley’s (Julian, Aldous, or their grandfather Thomas). I paraphrase of course, but his confession read something like: “The concept of evolution is convenient but what else do I have? I refuse to believe in God.”
Apparently such fanatical egotists never change. Long ago the psalmist noted, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Neither do their foolish actions change. Even before the psalmist, the antediluvians exhibited this same egocentric foolishness by “professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, . . . who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:22–23).
Of course, as a tween I did not know these biblical passages, I had not read the statements of Matthews, Watson, or Huxley; but like them I did know that the notion of evolution was, at the very least, imprudent.
Those like Keith, Watson, and the Huxley dynasty, who are unwilling to submit to an intelligent Creator, opting rather to embrace such an unwarranted belief system, are the ultimate examples of utter blind faith. With absolutely no evidence other than one stubborn conjecture or hypothesis built upon another; and in the face of pure logic; and despite finding after finding that disproves even the possibility of such a paradigm, they still cling to the notion of evolution as if it were fact. It is a typical blind faith fueled by passion—in this case, a passionate hatred for even the concept of a Supreme Being, a personal Creator to whom they must answer. And this passion is generally evidenced by their vitriol and ad hominem abuse of those scientists who disagree with their illogical passionate hypothesis.
Actually, the reality is that there is no such thing as blind faith; it is a euphonium for wishful thinking, or even unrealistic thinking that is contrary to reality. The very concept of faith implies confirmation. By definition, faith is an evidence-based system that holds to a particular view because it is substantiated by data. We generally use three concepts to translate the original Greek word “pistis” (Moulton 1978) (trust, believe, and faith); but the definition is not left to our imaginations. “Pistis,” (Aland et al. 1963) we are told, “. . . is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
According to this biblical definition, science itself is a faith-based system, for it is a system often governed by “the evidence of things not seen.” Indeed, this is an essential modus operandi in science. Without ever having directly observed them, science believes in many concepts and systems at the subatomic, the super-galactic, and even the macroscopic natural level of life. Black holes, certain astronomical objects, the chemical composition of celestial bodies, the recent evidence that water once existed on the surface of Mars, and many other topics are unobserved beliefs that are held due to certain data sets that infer their reality (“the evidence of things not seen”). Even gravity and the earth’s magnetic poles fit the description. We cannot directly observe either, nor even thoroughly explain them; but we can see and measure their effects, and we believe they exist.
Because scientists have observed the effects they would expect to see if a particular concept, physical body, or system exists, they believe that particular concept, physical body, or system exists. By definition these are faith-based beliefs; the precise implementation of the biblical concept of faith (“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”).
Although modern scientists clearly come to certain conclusions based solely on “the evidence of things not seen,” I find it curious, if not amusing, that many refuse to address the faith-based aspect of their work, even as they pretentiously pride themselves on accepting only those things that can be reduplicated and proven in a laboratory setting. It is for this ostensible reason (the inability to reduplicate in a laboratory setting) that many scientists dismiss, or even blatantly deny, the possibility of metaphysical realities. Yet strangely they find no problem with their adamant, even passionate, adherence to the completely untestable (not to mention illogical) notion of evolution. This is beyond pretentious; it is nothing less than willful deceit.
Using the same sound logic a true scientist uses when trusting the inferences of his data set, those not offended by the inferences of this data set (the universe) have concluded that it is an amazingly imaginative and ordered structure. And given its intricate and precise nature, from the macro super-galactic level down to the subatomic quantum level, and then topping it off with the inexplicable mystery of life itself, an intelligent Creator is the only logical and plausible cause. Therefore an intelligent Creator exists. God exists. The precisely ordered universe and the astounding physical and metaphysical life it contains are the evidence. This is not only the conclusion of the simple observer, but also of hundreds of well-qualified scientists from numerous scientific disciplines (Answers in Genesis; Strobel 2004, pp. 31–32).
Logic versus passion?
How intelligent individuals can correctly deduce from a few flint arrowheads or awls, or stone hammers, or shards of pottery that intelligent life was resident, but cannot discern the requisite imagination and intricate precision of the universe as evidence of intelligence is dumbfounding. For them to conclude that it developed by its own accord is beyond puzzling, it is illogical—perhaps the result of ideology and passion rather than logic. Of course, their underlying foundation is the set of axioms upon which they have chosen to build their logic.
This passion was clearly exhibited by the famed Huxley brothers—Julian, the revered scientist, and Aldous, a well-known intellect and social commentator. When placed against the backdrop of his brother Julian’s comments that “Darwinism removed the whole idea of God as the creator of organisms from the sphere of rational discussion” (Huxley 1960, p. 8), Aldous’s confession as to why he proclaimed atheism and evolution with such enthusiasm is easily understood. For if there is no personal Creator to whom man must answer, there is no such thing as absolute morality. Thus, Aldous explained:
I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning: consequently, assuming it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find reasons for this assumption. . . . The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. . . . For myself, as no doubt for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economical system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom (Huxley 1966, p. 8).
Another example of passion versus logic is evidenced by the British biologist, Professor Richard Dawkins, whose ardent promotion of evolution has inspired the title “Darwin’s rottweiler”—a nickname no doubt spawned from his philosophical predecessor, the famed zealot Thomas Huxley, who was dubbed “Darwin’s bulldog.” Attempting to refute the notion of complex design, Dawkins concedes that if creationists are correct about the irreducible complexity of the universe, it wrecks Darwin’s theory; and he freely concedes that “Darwin himself said as much” (Dawkins 2006, p. 125).
Of course, he couches this in terms that shift the burden of proof to the opposition: “If genuinely irreducible complexity could be properly demonstrated, it would wreck Darwin‘s theory” (Dawkins 2006, p. 125). This is the classical error in logic called the “appeal to ignorance”—a fallacy that makes a claim and then challenges the opponent to disprove it. There currently exist a number of people who believe the Great Pyramids of Egypt were built by aliens to serve as navigational devices—an outlandish claim to be sure, but actually no more unwarranted than is Darwin’s evolution. One could argue their evidence and reasoning is as solid as that of Darwinism. What if a group of archaeologists were to take up this hypothesis and say: “Because some ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs seem to speak of bright lights and beings from the sky who taught technology; and because some of the giant stones, perfectly placed hundreds of feet high, weigh as much as 20 tons; we have concluded that the Great Pyramids of Egypt were constructed by aliens; and unless this can be proved incorrect we shall accept it as fact.” No one in their right mind would take them seriously. Yet this is exactly what Darwin’s proponents have done. From very sparse, selective, and controversial evidence at best, they have set forth the argument of a noncomplex universe in which simple life-forms slowly evolved into more advanced life-forms; and they expect it to be accepted as fact unless it can be proven wrong.
Logically, it is up to Darwinism to prove its case, which of course it has never done, without recourse to its unproven axioms. Indeed, the one million dollar prize still lies unclaimed, which is offered to anyone who can propose even “a highly plausible mechanism for the spontaneous rise of genetic instructions in nature sufficient to give rise to life.” The only stipulations are that “the explanation must be consistent with empirical biochemical, kinetic, and thermodynamic concepts . . . and be published in a well-respected peer-review science journal(s)” (Origin-of-Life Prize 2007).
But Dawkins’s concession to the inference of irreducible complexity is mere rhetoric; for he salvages Darwinism and himself by simply refusing to accept that genuinely irreducible complexity has been properly demonstrated. Of course, he conveniently ignores the hundreds of well-qualified scientists from numerous disciplines who accept such complexity and openly acknowledge their disagreement with the noncomplex evolution paradigm. Lee Strobel recently referenced some of these scientists in his book A Case for the Creator:
After spokespersons for the Public Broadcasting System’s seven part television series Evolution asserted that “all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution” as does “virtually every reputable scientist in the world,” these professors, laboratory researchers, and other scientists published a two-page advertisement in a national magazine under the banner: “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.” Their statement was direct and defiant. “We are skeptical of the claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life” (Strobel 2004, pp. 31–32). There were hundreds of them—biologists, chemists, zoologists, physicists, anthropologists, molecular and cell biologists, bioengineers, organic chemists, geologists, astrophysicists, and other scientists. Their doctorates came from such prestigious universities as Cambridge, Stanford, Cornell, Yale, Rutgers, Chicago, Princeton, Purdue, Duke, Michigan, Syracuse, Temple, and Berkeley.
They included professors from Yale Graduate School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tulane, Rice, Emory, George Mason, Lehigh, and the Universities of California, Washington, Ohio, Colorado, Nebraska, Mississippi, Iowa, Georgia, New Mexico, Utah, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere (Strobel 2004, p. 31).
Dawkins also ignores the conclusions of the hundreds of current scientists who not only adhere to creationism based upon their specific scientific disciplines, but embrace the concepts of a young earth and the six days of creation as recorded in Genesis (Answers in Genesis).
While the evidence of genuinely irreducible complexity may not be sufficient for an impassioned Darwinian zealot, or even the passive disciple, for those scientists willing to handle the data set with somewhat open minds it is more than sufficient, it is undeniable—so much so, they are willing to stake their careers and reputations on it. And in the ardent world of academic science, where the iconic ideals of the big bang and evolution dominate, this is no small matter.
Dawkins concludes his comments on irreducible complexity with a nonsensical comment that showcases not only his passion, but his illogical thought process. He reasoned, “In any case, even though genuinely irreducible complexity would wreck Darwin’s theory if it were ever found, who is to say that it wouldn’t wreck the intelligent design theory as well? Indeed, it already has wrecked the intelligent design theory for, . . . however little we know about God, the one thing we can be sure of is that he would have to be very complex and presumably irreducibly so!” (Dawkins 2006, p. 125).
While exposing the “balancing-the-fence” approach of those proponents of intelligent design who are not willing to take the next logical step—that of stating their belief in an intellectual, supreme, and personal Creator—the comment does nothing to support Dawkins’ position; for as he makes clear, even he realizes that an incredibly complex Creator is the obvious inference. Rather, this surprising remark simultaneously commits an error in logic and an error in debate. The logical error is a bizarre fallacy of induction from which he draws the conclusion based upon the unstated assumption that creationism is false. The argument intelligent design makes is that the design of this extremely complex and highly structured universe is such that it required extreme intelligence. Dawkins counters this by saying that if this is correct, and the universe is of such complexity, then intelligent design itself is wrong, for it would have taken an irreducibly complex intelligence, which is exactly the position of the creationists. As best as I can tell, his logic is as such:
Irreducible complexity is not Darwinism.
Irreducible complexity is intelligent design.
Intelligent design demands a complex Creator.
A complex Creator is creationism.
Therefore, intelligent design is false.
The logical conclusion is not that intelligent design is false, but that intelligent design infers creationism. If some proponents of intelligent design have not openly stated the obvious, their argument for intelligent design is not any less true. In the same comment Dawkins also commits an error in his debate, as he apparently makes a Freudian slip by conceding the very point he is attempting to argue against—irreducible complexity. Although he insists that irreducible complexity has not been demonstrated, he argues that if it were demonstrated it is so complex, that God “would have to be very complex and presumably irreducibly so!” Again his logic seems as such:
Irreducible complexity is not demonstrated.
If irreducible complexity is demonstrated, God would have to be irreducibly complex (presumably implying the extreme complex nature of creation).
I am still scratching my head. In his hypothesis, complexity goes from being nonexistent to extremely complex based merely on an observed demonstration, for nothing of the structure has changed, only the observer’s perception. It has occurred to me several times through the year that trying to defend such indefendible positions as the big bang and evolution is like being caught in a web of lies; every time the subject is broached, yet another inconsistency is exposed.
Instead of stubbornly dismissing their peers, who have logically arrived at intelligent design, perhaps science would be better served if the prejudiced, impassioned zealots, who stand for almost anything against the notion of a personal Creator, would revisit the issue of logic versus passion as it relates to their scientific research. Certainly their personal interests would be better served. For, seeing that the universe and the life it contains are such strong witnesses to the reality of a Creator, specifically addressing those who reject this evidence and the punishment they will receive, the Apostle Paul warned, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19–20).
Opening the door to new truths
Once we accept the reality that God created our immediate physical universe, encasing it in time and space by simply saying it was so, certain truths are immediately apparent. The inferences to be drawn from these few concepts are enormous for God, for man, and for the universe. God created the light and called it day, and the darkness He called night. He created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. And God created man, both male and female, in His own image: individual souls, persons with the ability to think, to experience emotion, to make inference, to enjoy humor, to will, and all the other metaphysical mysteries of personhood (Genesis 1).
That God created our physical universe implies that He is other than, and superior to, our immediate physical reality. Being the creator of, and thus other than, and outside of, our limited time-space continuum necessarily implies God’s infinite eternal being, while simultaneously implying the finite nature of His creation. We can no more fully comprehend God’s infinite eternal nature than we can comprehend the notions of eternity, or the expanse of space as it stretches past more than 100 billion galaxies into a vast infinity. Such concepts boggle the mind; but the idea of them not existing is completely illogical, for how would they end or how could they even have begun? Something would have to be on the other side of the end or beginning.
A substantial difference between the metaphysical concepts of infinity or eternity versus the metaphysical concept of God is that infinity and eternity are merely dimensional, whereas God is living, God is spirit, God is the ultimate personal intellect. By definition, infinity and eternity logically must exist, for the very nature of the physical universe demands it. Time demands eternity; space demands infinity. So too God logically must exist, for the very nature of the reality of life demands it; both physical and metaphysical life demand it. And the highly structured, precisely ordered material universe demands it. And finally, even the concepts of eternity and infinity demand a Creator, for ultimately they find their very state of being in God who transcends both and simply is.
Thus, to ask the question, “Where did God come from?” is like asking “Where did eternity come from?” or “Where did infinity come from?” This is the logical fallacy of begging the question; for it assumes eternity, infinity, or even God came from somewhere. God did not come from somewhere. God is.
That God created our physical universe also shows His omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience— attributes that transcend our limited and immediate four-dimensional physical reality. God’s omnipotence is exhibited by His ability to bring all things into existence. His omnipresence is necessary in that all creation exists merely within His consciousness. Literally, we exist in the mind of God. And His omniscience is understood in that while we are encased in time and space so that events appear linear in nature—He is eternal, not limited to time or space. The linear nature of time is our reality, or our limitation if you prefer, not His. To Him all of creation, including time, is but a punctiliar thought of which He knows all. What we perceive as a linear passage of time with the historical versus the future, and even the beginning from the eventual end of the universe, is but a punctiliar zero-dimensional event to Him, similar perhaps (in a limited way, for this analogy cannot be pushed too far) to an author’s book. The author knows the story intimately—the plot, the characters, the ending. To the author it is an event, but to the characters in the book, or to those reading the book for the first time, there is an apparent linear timeframe.
A Unification Theory for the Reconciliation of Physical Matter and Metaphysical Cognizance
If then all of creation, all beings, the entire universe, and the laws that they follow, exist simply because God, the ultimate reality, spoke it into existence, we then have within our grasp the necessary information to answer the questions of our reality and to reconcile the material with the metaphysical. Jesus testified that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). Although God is the only eternal Spirit, He is not the only spirit, for Scripture tells us He created other spirits. So then at the metaphysical level, for both the Creator and the created, spirit is reality.
As noted earlier, scientists have concluded that the subatomic level of energy consists mostly of empty space, with very tiny interaction of electromagnetic energy and information, all of which is mysteriously held together by an indefinite nuclear force. But Scripture identifies this mysterious binding force. It is the direct action of God Himself. Paul explained, “by Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). In the original language this term sunestēken (Aland et al. 1983, p. 684) means “to place together, to stand together, to hold together, to cohere. He is the principle of cohesion in the universe. . . . God Himself is the unifying band which encompasses everything and holds it together. This applies not only to the largest things of the universe, but also to the smallest things of the universe” (Rienecker and Rogers 1980, p. 768).
So then, God is not only the source of light, and energy, and the very existence of the universe (Genesis 1), He is also the mysterious agent of quantum nuclear forces that bind the subatomic world together. Therefore, and for lack of a better or even more appropriate description, our immediate physical reality is basically the multi-dimensional hologram of God’s intent, consisting of empty space, electromagnetic energy, and information. God simply said it was so, and it was so. Thus, even the reality of our physical universe ﬁnds its foundation in spirit—the Spirit of God. This hologram concept once again brings to mind the image of open and closed vibrating stings of subatomic electromagnetic energy and information interlocked in various multidimensional mathematical computations to form complex structures in binary code. This is unlike computer software or complex electric circuitry; here God is both the programmer and the source of power.
From here we might see how these two worlds (our material and our metaphysical) meet at the subatomic level where electromagnetic energy and information is mysteriously entangled with the reality of spirit. It is this nonlocal entanglement at the quantum level between the electromagnetic energy and information and the Spirit of God that gives life to the hologram. And it is a similar entanglement at this quantum level between the electromagnetic energy and information and the spirit of certain created beings that brings animated life to their bodies. With the boundaries set, comprising both the physical and the metaphysical laws of the universe, this hologram becomes the medium in which man interacts with his fellow man, with creation, and with his Creator.
For man there is yet another aspect to reality. Created in God’s image, man possesses all the mysterious properties of personhood. This dimension of reality is shared by no other beings but God and man. God breathed into his nostrils, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). From our temporal perspective, a certain entanglement exists between the spirit and soul so that it is difficult to differentiate the two; in my opinion there is nevertheless a distinction. While the individual’s spirit provides the life-giving energy, the individual’s soul is who he or she is. The unique nature of the human soul defines us as persons; it is this that makes us in the image of God.
That other lesser souls may exist cannot be ruled out. Certainly, other beings possess select aspects of what we generally consider personality. Many animals communicate; some show emotion; others exercise resourcefulness; some have limited reasoning capabilities; and angelic beings have the ability for self-determination. However, none but God and man possess all the complex attributes that define personhood: to feel emotion, to will, to create, to understand humor, to reason and make inference, to communicate, to love and hate, and all the other mysteries of personhood.
Our material reality is but a holographic concept to the eternal Creator who merely spoke it into existence. He is both the source of its energy and its continued existence, as His Spirit interacts with creation in an entangled nature via nonlocal realism at the subatomic level. Created in God’s image, man’s individual metaphysical cognizance is the result of his individual spirit and soul, which interact with his individual physical body in a similar, but less pervasive, entangled nature at the subatomic level. This entanglement also takes place for other animated beings with lesser degrees of consciousness.
Put succinctly, the unification theory for the reconciliation of corporal physical matter and metaphysical cognizance is as such: man’s individual metaphysical reality, comprised of his spirit and soul, interacts with his corporal being in an entangled nature via nonlocal realism at the subatomic level.
Further Implications For This Reality
That God created man in His image and placed him in this environment makes additional inferences. Being created in God’s image, man is necessarily endowed with certain, albeit limited, abilities to interact with and manipulate his environment. Both historical (biblical) accounts and the concepts of quantum physics make the manipulation of our immediate physical environment possible, at least to some degree.
In the mysterious world of quantum mechanics this manipulation comes at the subatomic level in the form of both the observer effect and the effects of nonlocality. At the level of daily life, it is evident from both historical (biblical) accounts and certain current events that man has an ability, at least to some degree, to change the physical environment via metaphysical means. By combining what we know about quantum physics and what we know about the human ability, such changes to the environment canbe easily explained.
There is an intimate relationship between God’s intent and creation; God spoke and it was so. Literally, the whole of creation is the thought of God—the holographic presentation of His intent. Because man is created in God’s image, it follows that man’s intent also possesses a certain potential, so that an intimate relationship also exists between man’s intent and creation. To a lesser degree of course, in that man is merely God’s likeness not His equal, man’s intent is able to influence his physical environment as his soul and spirit interface with the subatomic world at the level of energy.
Such potential on man’s part is not only logical, but is also discussed and demonstrated in Scripture. Although all power ultimately finds its source in God, it is clear that man by his very nature (aside from being righteous or unrighteous) has the potential to access this power to cause change in his environment. This generally untapped God-given ability explains many things. Of course, it explains biblical miracles. To this regard, many prophets performed numerous miracles, and Jesus and the disciples healed and fed the people. Jesus informed his disciples that with even the slightest degree of pistis (faith, belief, or trust) they could tell a mountain to go hence and it would go, or tell a tree to be plucked up and cast into the sea and it would obey. “Nothing,” he said, “is impossible” (Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:6). In this scenario man, with God working through him, causes change to his environment by an entangled union between his intent to cause change and his belief in God that it will take place.
This human potential also answers such events as the Egyptian magicians’ ability to duplicate Moses’ miracle of turning Aaron’s staff into a serpent. Of course, man’s ability is no match for God’s. This was aptly illustrated when Aaron’s serpent quickly consumed those of the magicians (Exodus 7:8–12). But that man, under demonic influence or by trickery, could even duplicate the miracle was quite impressive; that is, as far as giving insight into the human potential. Likewise, it could explain how shaman and other secular healers are able to perform their miracles. It could also explain how certain individuals are telekinetic, or able to levitate objects, or bend spoons, or even remotely view particular events— something for which even the U. S. government once devoted an entire department. And such abilities could even answer the mysteries of the great pyramids, Stonehenge, or the Coral Castle.
Although Christians have historically discounted such activities as demon power, this is not necessarily so. Certainly demon power can and does account for various supernatural events, such as poltergeists, medium activity, and fortunetelling; but it does not necessarily hold true that all supernatural activities (be they good or evil) result from the direct intervention of supernatural beings. Indeed, in that man is created in the image of God (while neither Satan, his minions, nor even holy angels are), it follows that man is endowed with certain abilities that neither angelic nor demonic beings possess. Thus we might conclude that demons and even Satan are more powerful when their spirits enter into and possess a human body, thereby gaining access to the unique powers that only God and man (albeit to a limited degree) possess. Witchcraft or sorcery would be an example of this bastardization of the human potential. Enlightened to this human ability, and influenced by and empowered with certain other demonic abilities, the sorcerer maliciously manipulates the environment. Such was the case with the Egyptian magicians, who accessed their powers via enchantments.
The oft-spoken-of antichrist will possess such powers. Scripture tells us that Jesus will soon return to earth; but before He returns, a world leader will emerge, making many promises and swaying the masses with his brilliance and supernatural prowess. He is the antichrist. Drawing upon Satan’s power, he will have great knowledge and abilities to perform signs and lying wonders. But he will be a deceiver, and will ultimately wreak havoc. While it is generally assumed that Satan grants all these powers to this antichrist, it might be more accurate to understand that an entanglement of dynamics is occurring in which Satan grants certain aspects, such as riches and the ability to foresee the future, and to perform lying wonders and the power to rule the world (for the world is currently in his control), while Satan merely awakens certain other human abilities within this man that he might use them for evil—abilities that Satan himself does not possess; such as manipulating the environment and generating spontaneous healing.
The question on everyone’s mind
Having considered both our physical and metaphysical reality, it would be remiss to ignore the all-consuming question as to the meaning of life. Our temporal physical universe is more than a mere playground for God’s entertainment, or even a stage for Him to direct the play of the ages. Here, man interacts with both the physical and the spiritual realms, exercising his freewill and his ability for self-determination. And most importantly, the universe with its physical laws, and limitations in time and space, is the medium in which God placed us with the specific intent of allowing us to participate in His ultimate act of love—His personal sacrifice for those whom He created after His own image.
Creating man in His own image necessitated that man be granted freewill. The very nature of freewill implies the possibility for disobedience and rebellion. Without this option there could never be true freewill. So then, by allowing man (and in another venue, certain angelic beings) to exercise freewill and self-determination, God, by definition, allowed the possibility for evil to materialize. This was the objective of the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. God gave man one straightforward and undemanding commandment: “Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for if you do you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The tree itself apparently had no natural or supernatural power over man by which it could cause his death; it was man’s simple, single act of disobedience that brought about the abysmal outcome.
By disobeying this simple commandment, Adam acquired firsthand experiential knowledge of sin. There was no retreat; no reversal of this rebellion—this knowledge of evil. He had sold himself and his seed into the bondage of sin. Man and certain rebellious angelic beings in the other venue are therefore the responsible agents of sin and the misery it breeds. Through it all God not only remains righteous, but also shows mercy to those whom He created in His own image.
In the end man’s failure highlights God’s great love for His creation. In His omniscience, which implies foreknowledge, we must realize that God knew the eventual outcome. He knew man would disobey, thereby severing communication with Himself. And He knew the great price He Himself would have to pay. He knew the only cure for this severed relationship would require a great personal sacrifice on His part.
With God and man’s fellowship severed, the age-long battle for man’s soul began. No effort on our part, no degree of goodness, no matter how pious and spiritual we may be, can bridge this great gulf. Sinful man cannot have, nor does he truly desire, honest fellowship with the righteous God. Nor can God fellowship with sin; and in Adam every man and woman is born into sin. Sin is part of our nature. Theologians call it total depravity, and every two-year-old is proof of it. Rebellion is in their nature; no one has to teach it to them.
Throughout the ages man has proven time and again that he cannot rectify this great divide between God and man. His effort to do so is the impetus for every world religion. But try as he might, man could not and cannot make himself righteous in the eyes of God. Then a truly amazing event took place. Out of love the Creator entered into His creation to experience it in an intimate way. Born of a human mother by a miraculous intervention on His own part, God became a man and dwelt among us. He subjected Himself to the laws and limitations of the physical universe, and to the moral and ethical trials man faces. Scripture tells us the angels watched in amazement at this, seemingly unable to comprehend how the omnipotent Creator veiled Himself and took on a form lower than themselves. It was a demonstration of love, such as even they had never witnessed.
Unlike his fellow man, Jesus remained righteous in the eyes of God. Having a human mother He was truly the son of man, and having God as His father He was truly the Son of God; thereby simultaneously possessing two natures—that of God and of man. As such, Jesus was free from the bondage of sin which has been passed down from Adam. Having this freedom from a sinful nature, he overcame temptation and became the only man to live a sin-free life, and thus the only man not exiled from God’s fellowship.
Nor was Jesus subject to the death penalty, which is the sentence for all sinners. Nevertheless, out of love for His fellow man, though not being Himself subject to death, Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice, a propitiation for man’s sin. In so doing He voluntarily took upon Himself the punishment for the sins of the world. And of even greater consequence, by becoming sin for us He was forsaken by, and separated from, the Father for a time—all this that we might be saved and restored to God’s fellowship. When He resurrected to life three days later, He had conquered sin and death, thereby opening the door for man to enter God’s presence and to restore the lost fellowship. It is for this reason that Jesus claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life. No man, He said, comes to the Father but through Him. All who try to access the Father but through Jesus are robbers, thieves attempting to possess that which is not theirs (John 10:1, 14:6).
Alas, man’s rebellion served yet another purpose. The selfless redemptive act on God’s part would never have been possible had man not rebelled, in which case we would have known nothing about certain attributes of God. We would know nothing of God’s justice, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and sacrificial love; even the idea of God being good would have no meaning.
Yet despite God’s gracious offer of redemption as a free gift granted merely for the asking, man’s sinful nature interferes. With a heart full of pride, man prefers to prove his own self-righteousness than to admit his failure and submit to his Creator. Thus, secular humanism and the world’s religions continue to thrive. For unlike the Judeo-Christian faith, this one thing they all have in common: every world religion and secular belief system believes man, in one way or another, has the capacity for self-improvement, self-superiority, self-salvation. Call it what you may, be it physical, spiritual, or both, the notion is that man has the capacity for self-redemption. It is for this reason that every world religion and secular belief system is so offended by the Judeo-Christian faith. Indeed, this is the only belief system in the history of man to understand that man’s only hope lies in the mercy of his Creator, and that (other than receiving God’s mercy) man can do nothing of his own volition to improve his standing with God.
What then is the answer to this question that nearly everyone asks at some point in life: What is meaning of life? It is simple. Man is to obey and glorify God his Creator (1 Corinthians 9:13). Scripture tells us it is man’s duty to fear God and to keep His commandments; and He has commanded all men everywhere to repent—to receive His mercy as a free gift, which He has made possible through the redemptive work of His Son, Jesus Christ. (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Acts 17:30). But this is a daunting, even offensive, concept for the proud of heart who envision this as nothing short of a dismal existence.
God is eternal. God is Spirit. Spirit is life. Spirit is the ultimate reality for both the metaphysical and the physical. The physical universe and all that is in it, including time, is the manifestation of the thought of God. He spoke, and it was so. Therefore, our physical universe is essentially a holographic image empowered by the Spirit of God. God exists aside from our temporal material paradigm, of which He is the light, the ultimate source of energy. Here there exists a certain entanglement between the quantum state and the Spirit of God. Even beyond His empowerment of the infinitesimal electromagnetic charges and the nuclear forces that bind all things together, this entanglement brings life in all its forms to the universe.
Similar to the entanglement that exists at the subatomic level, whereby the Spirit of God energizes the universe, the spirit of every conscious being brings animation to its physical existence. Man is such a being. Indeed, man is the foremost of these beings, created as a living soul in the image of God Himself with every attribute of personhood. Placed in this temporal physical paradigm, we, God’s greatest and most beloved creation, are being tested even as God demonstrates His unfailing love for us.
Our physical bodies are but temporal vessels in which our individual spirits and souls are currently residing. Because our ultimate reality is spirit in nature, both sin and righteousness are spiritual in nature. The physical manifestation of either is just that: the physical manifestation of the true reality—the reality of spirit and its intent. “For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7). For this reason Jesus explained that it is not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out (Matthew 15:11). And he warned that a man who looks on a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27–29). It is the intent of the heart at the root of one’s actions, be they good or evil. Therefore, it is also for this reason that true worship is done in spirit, not by pomp or rituals. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth (Matthew 5:27–29).
When this present, temporal reality—this holographic medium—comes to an end, time will be no more. The physical universe as we currently know it will be no more; yet we shall live. The spirit and soul of every man and woman will find itself suddenly in the reality of eternity, standing face to face with its Creator. A comparatively small number will be glad to be there; indeed, only those who submitted to His authority and received the forgiveness He provided through the sacrificial work of His Son. All others will find they are personally now required to pay the unspeakable penalty. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
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