God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

Movie Review- "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"

I know I'm a little behind on this, but I watched Expelled for the first time last night. I expected it to be something different from what all the hype was saying, and I was right.

The purpose of the film was not to convince the viewer that intelligent design (ID) is a valid scientific theory (as the hype would have you believe). It focused on convincing the viewer that there is discrimination against people who hold this view throughout the academy and the media. Ben Stein spent way too much time "crying" about discrimination, when he should have spent more time explaining why ID should not be discriminated against. I mean, flat-earthers are discriminated against in the scientific community too, but you don't hear anyone crying about that. The reason is because there is NO evidence that the earth is flat. If someone was to attempt to change the paradigm, they would need to convince scientists that there is evidence- not just cry about not being heard. No one cares that you aren't being heard, unless you can convince them that what is not being heard has credible evidence. Also, parading in person after person who says that there is evidence for ID is different from actually presenting the evidence for ID.

Ben Stein did take about five minutes to put forth one argument for design (the complexity of the cell), but it was not very convincing. Ben Stein was also successful at making naturalists look like morons. If Ben wants to be heard by the institution and not just the public, he needs to stop trying to make them look like idiots and instead have an intelligent conversation about the evidence. Ben Stein was too focused on a negative argument against evolution, rather than a positive argument for his position. If you tell someone that their plan sucks, they will most likely ask you if you have a better one. If you can't provide a better plan, they will stick with the one they had originally, no matter how flawed it is. This is the approach taken in this movie.

Ben Stein did go off on a tangent near the end of the movie. He decided to talk about the implications of naturalistic Evolution. This is probably the most useful part of the film. He was really playing on the audience's emotions here. It really doesn't matter if someone likes the implications of a worldview or not, what matters is if the worldview is true or not. Don't get me wrong, when I argue against naturalistic Evolution or atheism, I will bring up the implications. But I include facts in my argument, because if the facts are not there, the implications can be discarded immediately (no matter how emotional).

Should you watch Expelled? It depends, if you believe that there is no discrimination against ID proponents, then Yes. If you are looking for credible evidence for ID, No. If you're interested in "Evolution bashing", Yes. If you want an intelligent conversation with evidence, No. If you want to see the implications of Naturalistic Evolution or atheism, Yes. If you want the facts before you consider the implications, No.

Here are the resources I recommend for credible evidence:

Reasons to Believe
Reasonable Faith
Lee Strobel

Science News Flash
I Didn't Know That


Unlocking the Mystery of Life (Netflix Online Rental) (Clip on YouTube)

Journey Toward Creation (Netflix or Blockbuster Online Rentals)
Cosmic Fingerprints
Why Is the Big Bang Evidence That God Created the Universe
Can The Biblical Account of Creation be Reconciled with Scientific Evidence Today?

The Case For A Creator (Netflix or Blockbuster Online Rentals)


Darwin's Black Box- Dr. Michael Behe
The Edge of Evolution- Dr. Michael Behe
The Cell's Design- Dr. Fazale Rana
Origins of Life- Dr. Fazale Rana and Dr. Hugh Ross

The Creator and the Cosmos- Dr. Hugh Ross
Why The Universe Is The Way It Is- Dr. Hugh Ross
Lights In The Sky and Little Green Men- Dr. Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples, Mark Clark

Creation As Science- Dr. Hugh Ross
The Case For A Creator- Lee Strobel

Who's in Control? Part 2

In Part 1, I proposed a dilemma. Who's in control: Us or God? I showed that both beliefs have biblical support and that believing either way would undermine biblical inerrency. In Part 2, I will provide a possible answer that preserves biblical inerrency, God's sovereignty, and human free will.

I want to start by discussing God's omniscience a bit. The Bible clearly teaches that God knows all things (see Part 1 for references). He also knows our hearts (Ps 44:21; 139:1-4). I would like to propose that, based on this, God knows how every person will react freely to any and all circumstances that may be presented to them before He created them. This is referred to as "middle knowledge". (For more information about the doctrine of God's omniscience, including His middle knowledge, I will refer you to William Lane Craig's podcast Defenders. You will want the episodes on the Doctrine of God.)

How Did It All Begin? Part 2- Big Bang = Evolution?

If you have not already, please read my post "Nature vs. Scripture" before continuing.

In Part 1, I talked a little bit about how the Big Bang theory is a theory that is compatible with the Bible. In Part 2, I will tackle one of the Christian objections to the Big Bang:

Does accepting the Big Bang as fact mean that you concede any ground to evolution or naturalism? The major concern among Christians about the Big Bang is that it states that the universe is billions of years old; and these Christians believe that this is enough time for evolution to explain life naturalistically- doing away with God.

Big Bang cosmology states that the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old. In order for naturalistic evolution to take place and end up with life as complex as it is now, it would take into the trillions of trillions of years (this calculation was performed by a naturalist, not a theist. I'll post the reference as soon as I can find it again). 13.7 billion years is way too short of time for naturalistic evolution to explain the complexity of life. This is why many naturalists do not accept the Big Bang. Many naturalists prefer the steady state or cyclic universe model (both are infinite in time). If they can have an infinite or near infinite universe, then evolution has enough time to explain the complexity of life. The Big Bang actually restricts the amount of time evolution has to produce the life forms we see today (and even the first life forms in the fossil record). Therefore, the Big Bang does not require or even imply a belief in evolution to explain life. But let me take this one step further:

The origin of life problem. Evolution does not even attempt to explain how life started; it only attempts to explain how the different types of life emerged. It assumes life already exists. There have been many naturalistic theories to explain how life began. Earth has been abandoned as a source for the origin of life (primordial soup theory). Naturalistic origin-of-life researchers have shifted their focus to extraterrestrial sources (that's why the media freaks out every time there is the slightest discovery on Mars or Titan). Dr. Michael Behe and Dr. Fazale Rana have both argued in their books (Darwin's Black Box and The Cell's Design, respectively) for the extreme complexity of even the simplest life. Dr. Hugh Ross and Dr. Fazale Rana argue in their coauthored book (Origins of Life) for the impossibility for the origin of life on earth (or anywhere else, for that matter) due to its irreduciblely complex requirements. Hugh Ross also argues against the current theory of aliens bringing life to earth in his book Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men. If you want one book that quickly gives an overview of all this material, check out Creation as Science by Hugh Ross.

For further investigation, I recommend checking out the list of resources from Part 1 and this blog post by Billy Pratt from the Ankerberg Theological Reasearch Institute:

Does 4.5 Billion Year Old Earth Prove Evolution is True?

Since the Big Bang has now been separated in our minds from Evolution, in Part 3 I will tackle the other Christian objection to the Big Bang's claim of billions of years. Does the Bible strictly teach a creation that took place in only 6 24hr days?

How Did It All Begin? Part 1- Is The "Big Bang" Biblical?

If you have not already, please read my post "Nature vs. Scripture" before continuing.

First, let me start by explaining why this is question worth contemplating, then I will answer the question.

For many centuries the main idea about how the universe came into being was that it has always existed. "The universe is eternal. It has no beginning and no ending." The major theistic religions of the world (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam- in that order) have all stood alone among the many other worldviews as holding that the universe had a beginning in the finite past.

Albert Einstein rocked the boat quite a bit with his theory of special relativity. The math, he calculated, predicted that the universe did have a beginning. He did not believe this, so he introduced what he called the "cosmological constant". This allowed his equations to predict the eternal universe that was the reigning paradigm at the time. Later, Edwin Hubble confirmed Einstein's original equations by observing the expansion of the universe. Einstein was then forced to remove his "cosmological constant" from his equations.

Why did the expansion convince Einstein? Anything that is expanding gets larger with respect to time. If that time is reversed, the object that was expanding now contracts, all the way down to a singular point of beginning.

Fred Hoyle was an atheistic cosmologist that supported the idea of the universe being eternal, back in the 60's. On a radio show he described the model, proposed by Einstein's equations and observationally verified by Hubble, as a "big bang". It was used as a disparaging term, that caught on since then. Hubble despised this theory because he knew that if the universe was expanding, then something had to exist to initiate the expansion, thus the universe has a beginning. Hoyle did not like this idea because he also knew that this provided compelling evidence for the existence of a Beginner (God).

"Big Bang" theory:

...requires a beginning and, by implication, a Beginner.
...states that at the beginning of the universe, time itself began. Which implies that the Beginner must exist outside of time.
...states that the universe, literally, came from nothing.
...predicts the universe is expanding
...requires extremely fine-tuned values for numerous laws and relationships in the universe

The Bible states (not comprehensive):

God existed before the universe and created the universe. Genesis 1:1; John 1:1
God created the universe from the unseen. Hebrews 11:3
God stretches out the heavens. Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; Zechariah 12:1

What's really ironic about the title "Big Bang" is that this term conjures up the idea of a chaotic explosion. In the last couple decades astronomers have discovered that the expansion of the universe has been extremely fine tuned. They have also discovered that numerous other factors in the universe (including the physical laws themselves) have been extremely fine tuned. The levels of fine tuning that has been discovered have such a remote possibility of taking place naturalistically as to be mathematically indistinguishable from zero. The only other explanation is that a Super Intellect designed the universe in a precise way for some reason.

Considering this evidence, I believe that "Big Bang" cosmology is compatible with the Bible. Further more, the possibility that the Biblical authors stood alone, for centuries, in describing the universe exactly as modern scientists have found it to be is astronomically minute. This provides extra support for the idea that the Bible was inspired by, not only a divine entity, but the One who created the universe and knows everything about it.

Here's an episode of Dr. William Lane Craig's podcast Reasonable Faith that discusses the issue: The Big Bang

For further investigation, I recommend:

Journey Toward Creation (Netflix or Blockbuster Online Rentals)
Cosmic Fingerprints
Why Is the Big Bang Evidence That God Created the Universe
Can The Biblical Account of Creation be Reconciled with Scientific Evidence Today?

Online Videos:
Reasons to Believe Q&A Videos

Science News Flash
I Didn't Know That
Why The Universe Is The Way It Is
More Than a Theory

Reasons to Believe "The Bible and Science" Web Page
Big Bang for Beginners
Lee Strobel.com
Ankerberg Theological Research Institute

Creation as Science- Dr. Hugh Ross
Creator and The Cosmos- Dr. Hugh Ross
Case for a Creator- Lee Strobel
Why the Universe Is The Way It Is- Dr. Hugh Ross

In Part 2, I will begin to discuss the equation of "Big Bang" with "Evolution". Does acceptance of the "Big Bang" require or, at least, imply acceptance of Evolution?

Who's in Control? Part 1

Free Will vs Divine Predestination.

This is a debate that has been going on in the Church for centuries. Who's really in control, God or me? Let's start by looking at the two options:


Free Will- Man makes his own choices without the persuasion of an outside entity. Man is in complete control of his own destiny.

Divine Predestination- God is in complete control. Man's decisions are not really his own- they just appear to be.

Politics 101

This more of a pet-peeve that I'm sure many of you share about politicians. I have noticed, though, that this tactic is being used more and more in debates and standard conversation. Its really sad.

People ask questions because they don't know something. The politician "answers" the question by telling the questioner something they already know and believe to be true- nothing new regarding their question, though.

The reason this normally works on people is that the politician provided intelligent reasons for believing what the questioner already knows. People's attention (when asking a question) is attracted to any new information, regardless of the relevance. The more evidence that is provided to support the new information, the more likely they are to accept it as an answer, once again regardless of the relevance to the question. But the politician has not provided any new information regarding the original question.

This is why politicians can "give answers" but not really give answers. Politicians also have perfected this art of rhetoric by changing a few words slightly in their "answers" to make it sound like it is relevant.

People who have trained themselves to identify this manipulative rhetoric, if provided the chance, may challenge it; which places the politician in the uncomfortable position of actually answering the question. Many politicians use the same tactic in response to the challenge, because they know that these discerning people are in the minority, and of that minority, only a minority have the guts to challenge them.

If they can avoid the challenge, its not likely they will have to deal with it again, and not likely that the other "undiscerning" people even care. Many politicians allow themselves to use this tactic (even though, they know it is academically and morally dishonest) because they have convinced themselves that they have answered the question and the question needs no further investigation or attention.

The true power of this tactic comes to light when the question regards defending a position. The result: If the politician can avoid an actual answer, by "answering" the question using the tactics above, they can persuade people to their position without any valid reason for the persuasion. The ultimate goal is to persuade, which in this case, the politician is victorious. But it is an empty victory.

The true danger of this tactic comes to light when the question regards defending a position on ultimate truth. The result: If the politician can avoid an actual answer, by "answering" the question using the tactics above, they have only convinced themselves of the position (and maybe many others) but, the ultimate truth does not change, and their eternal fate is at stake. The ultimate goal again is to persuade, but only the things that have no control over the eternal (people) have been persuaded. Truth itself still remains steadfast. This is not just an empty victory for the politician, but ultimate defeat for himself and those he persuaded.

As Christians, it is our duty to debate honestly. May no one ever catch us using this tactic- and if someone does, may they call us on it, immediately.

Also, don't allow yourself to be a victim of this tactic. If you find yourself in this situation, call the person it "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15c).

Is "Blind Faith" Biblical?

I want to bring up a couple verses that many Christians use to promote "blind faith" as the key concept in accepting Christianity.

"But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'" (Luke 18:16-17)

"I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:15

If you read each of these verses, even quickly, you'll notice that Jesus makes no reference specifically to what it is about the children that the adults need to have to enter the kingdom of God.

(In reference to my page Why Apologetics) If the definition of pistis (translated "faith" in the New Testament) is actually a "belief based on facts" and not "a belief based on a 'feeling' or without facts", and if we insist on holding that Jesus was talking about a "blind faith" in these passages. we have a contradiction within the Bible to deal with.

Since this contradiction has been identified, we need to re-interpret the original words of Christ. I believe that we can't know with 100% certainty what attribute of children Jesus was talking about, but we can rule out "blind faith."

What I would offer, just from a surface reading, is that Christ was talking about children's enthusiasm for or 100% commitment to the things they are involved in or believe. Keep in mind that the behavior has nothing to do with the foundation of those beliefs.

As a Christian, there is nothing wrong with wanting a firm foundation for your beliefs. The same follows for non-Christians who are considering giving their lives to Christ. Let no one ever lead you to believe that "blind faith" is more "Christian" than asking the tough questions and further investigating. On the contrary, doing this allows us to move from theological "milk" to "solid food" (Heb 5:11-14)

Now, I want to clear up a couple possible objections to this that just popped into my head. I am NOT saying that facts are all that is needed to be a Christian. If that was the case, it would be the same as knowing of and about someone versus personally knowing that person. You can know of and about Jim Carrey, but that is not the same as personally knowing him.

I also am NOT saying that God demands ONLY a fact-based faith. If that were the case, then everyone would be excluded. No one can know everything exhaustively with 100% certainty. It is possible to know something truly without knowing it exhaustively*. Also not everything the Bible claims can be tested. But enough can be tested and verified to accept those things that can't be tested.

Many people have different needs when it comes to "what will it take for you to give your life to Christ?". Some people require lots of evidence before they will take that final "leap of faith" into God's arms, and others require very little. The end result is still the same. The means by which you got there make no difference at this point. God does not care the reasons for which you came to Him; He's just glad that you did.

God does not elevate one reason for coming to Him over another. Neither should His followers. As Christians we need to recognize that we will meet many challenges in our lives that will emotionally and intellectually test our trust in Christ. Some of these challenges will come from experiences. Having a faith with a solid foundation (not blind) that can be defended will help provide us with a deeper understanding of and commitment to Christ. We will also receive challenges from those we evangelize. Having a faith that is not blind, will help us to articulate our reasons for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15) and address arguments against the knowledge of Christ (2 Cor 10:5)

Check out these great articles on this topic:
The Problem of Blind Faith
Is Reason Really an Enemy of Faith?
The Nicene Council - The Blind Faith of Atheism

Dr. Fazale Rana from Reasons to Believe was directly challenged on this issue. Watch his response:

Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason offers this alternative to the word "faith" because of the secular world's insistence of adding "blind" to the front of it:

*(thanks to Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason for articulating this important distinction)

Suffering Sucks...or Does It?

Suffering is a topic that comes up quite often. This topic seems to come up for one of two reasons: someone is trying to undermine the belief in the all-powerful, all-loving God of the Bible; or someone is going through a horrible time in their life and are trying to figure out why God is allowing them to suffer so much physical or emotional pain. I'll touch on both of them here.

God made a promise to Israel, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Paul was confident that the promise from God now extends to the Body of Christ, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Nature vs. Scripture

Several years ago, I was having quite a difficult time reconciling my faith with the findings of modern science. The Bible seemed to say one thing, while scientists said the complete opposite (or at least something that wasn't reconcilable). Unfortunately, I was not aware that the problem was that I was trying to reconcile interpretations rather than the raw facts.

People in the Christian community led me to believe that the doctrine of Biblical Inerrency applied to the interpretations, rather than the raw statements of Scripture. Scientists persuaded me believe that their interpretations of the data could not be questioned, rather than the raw data.

Believing these inaccuracies led me to further to believe that my faith was based on emotion, and science was based on reality- the two could not be reconciled. I was in this state of confusion and conflict for quite a few years.

Recommended Books List

I have read every one of the books below, so I’m not giving you a third-party recommendation given to me. There are numerous ones that I plan to read in the future. As I read and like them, I will add them to the list. As I have time, I will also publish reviews of the books.

For more great book recommendations, please check out Apologetics315