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Moments in the History of Thought" ...
July 1, 1997
In an edition adorned with 'The Dawn of a New Life Style' (one would have hoped there were more than enough already), and 'Pong Report', nothing for a song and dance, we come to the old favourite, a twilight song: is there life on Mars ?
One almost wonders whether it could be put: Will we put life on Mars on then find it? There are many ways to pollute inter-planetary space, and the face of planets. Export of earth's wonders could proceed either surreptitiously or openly. The possibility is not merely whimsical. Even Paul Davies remarked that what could leave Mars could arrive there from earth; and bacterial and other contamination is a very open possibility.
The 'news' is this: On July 4, most fittingly, the US rocket ship is expected to land on a 'rock-strewn flood plain near the Martian equator'.
Why ? Opening like flower petals (nice on Mars), the Pathfinder is to emit a 'little roving robot', 'Sojourner', with the object to explore the surface of Mars. Pictures back to earth in view, the Sojourner is conceived as a prelude to an earth expedition from NASA, with the ultimate goal? "to find out whether living organisms once existed - or still exist - on or under the frosty surface of Mars."
"Mars fascinates us," says a speaker to a scientific symposium here reported. Many efforts have not found life; scientists battle over whether things having a few resemblances to living products and to non-living ones are evidences of confused thought or of life, and cannot determine the issue by any scientific means. Nothing is precisely what has been established. It is a bleak effort. The usual plethora of presuppositions, suppositions, hopes and naive over-statement associated with the materialist dream abound. A nice balance of defenestration, decapitation of theories and simple facts about what the earth does anyway without any question of life: all this has long been around. Nobody finds anything; many seek something: it is like someone dissatisfied with his wife desperately surveying his office staff for the next wife source. Unfortunately the facts are not with him: his ways are known, and not appreciated.
It is indeed a wonderful thing (see SMR pp. 140-145), but shows no signs of evolution of kinds, merely individualisation within them, which is the nature of 'kinds' and the sort of reason why we use such terms (SMR pp. 149ff., 252Aff, 329ff., That Magnificent Rock Ch.1 etc.). As these pages also show, it contains a marvel of macro-additions in design, in levels like a palace (cf. SMR pp. 332G-H, 422Eff., Chs.4-5), so that we go from bicycle to space-craft, to use engineering analogy, with all the normal introductions of system, concept, connotation, symbolisation and orders being executed on the basis of equipment specific to such purposes.
As we have often shown, God did this and there is no other option (SMR Chs.1,10 , esp. pp. 316D-G, 329-332H etc., That Magnificent Rock Ch.5).
Why then look on Mars ? It is an obsession which could hardly be called magnificent. It helps to stir the furnaces of freedom of thought which loves to mock at God, to be wiser than the Creator and to imagine that God is dispensable, man indispensable, the Creator is optional, the creature is central, and that one can really disregard Him for all practical purposes. It always tends to remind me of clever children whose busy dad is not often seen, who work out ways of running the establishment in his 'absence' in an unholy terror 'reign' in which they eventually convince themselves that - although admittedly they certainly did not create dad's estates, somehow they happened, and since they happened to be ON them, they really are theirs and they might as well take over from that point!
Such a thought is in accord with the Bible (Mark 12) and the parables of Jesus all too well. You recall the vineyard which being made, was leased to vinedressers who did not feel inclined to render the fruits to the boss's servants who called to collect or to listen to his words (prophets in real life). Instead, when he sent his son, they killed him, saying, Now the inheritance will be ours!
It is not pretty. Neither is Mars, except perhaps as a distant object. Actually, Psalm 115:16 says this: "The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's; but the earth has He given to the children of men." One should have thought that quite clear. There is a division where the kids can be and where it is not so assigned. Theirs is the earth. Not bad! They are of course responsible for it!
Again, in Genesis 2:2-4, we find that we have been reading about "the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens". Again, one would have conceived this as quite clear. The heavens and the earth are not up for grabs, a Show Bag, a varied cookie tin. God made them; He did it once. Now they continue on the parameters set, except for those times (called miracles, as in the day of Joshua, the Red Sea, the healings of Christ and so on), when He chooses to intervene, as an engineer might in a prodigy of mechanics, at his will and discretion.
Further, we find this in Colossians 1: "For it pleased the Father than in Him [that is, Jesus Christ] should all fulness dwell; and having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."
This means that there is ONE PLAN, ONE WAY, the way of Christ crucified and bodily risen showing His authenticity and the power of God from whom He came. It is the means of reconciliation between God and man, and requires this - God was pleased "having made peace through the blood of the cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself". Death for what deserves it; guilt expunged by what covers it: Christ the coverer. "As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the children of God" (John 1:12).
Hence there is only one way within the universe above, below or laterally; relatively, absolutely, dissolutely or meritoriously. Nothing stands, only Christ, for God purposes "in the dispensation of the fulness of times" that "He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him" (Ephesians 1:10-11). WE who already know the Lord, "have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will, that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ."
No voluntary beings, rational beings, accountable beings are in view whose sin needs cover, except those whom God has created in the universe; and in His image being the method for man, this is the way for the case, whatever the external format. Christ became man to cover sin within the universe at the biological, image-bearing level.
What beyond that ? what of the sinless ? not on this earth (Romans 3:23). What about sinless beings elsewhere ? God did not make them on other universe components, having accounted for His creation statedly in Genesis. What of other life ? God again has declared what He has done. Why so much universe ? For this fascinating fact of God's magnitude in operations (not at all surprising - would you expect Einstein to teach kindergarten mathematics or Raphael to doodle only on pads!), see That Magnificent Rock, Ch.7, part F.
What man needs is not abortive missions to the heavens in order to feed his imagination on godlessness; but to receive the mission of Christ who CO-CREATED, one God, one trinity, and who visited the place where we are.
Let us however look at the 'life control' hopes on the earth for a moment. Acting as if to snatch the glory of life from God who made it , man scurries sedulously in ever-increasing knowledgeable ignorance, like a high-tempered youth, throwing speed tantrums in his father's stolen sports care. The illicit moves are as instructive as tragi-comic.
IN THE HISTORY
OF THOUGHT: around 1850-2000
What a to-do is this! For some 136 years there has been the inanity, the spiritual insanity of Darwinism. As if the beautiful designs in flowers and on the earth were for philosopher insects, or the amazing instincts and navigational gear in birds were for the benefit of those who did not have them, when they should have them, and arose through mistake; as if the whole diverse coded marvel of particular triumphs of wisdom and creativity happened on the scene! As if intelligence decided it would be advantageous to exist, and so set about it! As if symbolic logic one day took a holiday from the routine activities of matter, or nothing, and decided to invent itself, complete with orders and connotations, assembled and remembered nowhere, since there was nowhere to put it, and no one to do the putting, for that matter.
Has the whole world gone insane! Not at all: Romans 1 in its declining verses spells it out. BECAUSE man did not see fit to acknowledge and worship God as he should, GOD GAVE HIM UP to foolish delusions. "Professing to be wise, they became fools." That is the way of it (Romans 1:21). This design called man has this surpassing wonder: he can make himself foolish to the point it is an exact parallel to his realisable brilliance. It is like any complex equipment: the worse you handle it and the better it is, the worse is the penalty for abuse of it! An atomic bomb might not appreciate one who would mess with it (cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Chs. 1, 10).
Morals too decided to invent themselves. One fine day, some bright spark had the idea of social intimidation, social indoctrination, social hypnosis, and began to act as if what he wanted was more than that: it had a divine beauty, a holy wonder, an obligation beyond mere use of power.
People felt this was quite a thing and although men can resist the worst terrors of Russian communistic torture cells, these people were like putty, and began to believe this thing - this product of statecraft. It became GOOD, and not merely REQUIRED. How anyone can thrust this category of incredible stupidity onto earlier members of our race without the sort of arrogance which evolutionism breeds, is inconceivable! But then we do have evolutionism, so that we do have this sort of contra-evidential, illogical idea. (Cf. Romans 1:25: "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, blessed for ever"; and Hebrews 11:1-4. Yet Jesus Christ, the expression of God, became man that He should lead us to the invisible God whose new creation is based in pardon through His blood: John 1-5.)
Something too invented itself. Nothing one day thought it would be good to forget its inhibitions about nothing being around, and resolved without delay to invent potential, and to make itself. Although it was nothing, not being there, it was the recipient of this great idea: although indeed, there was nothing to think it with...Scenario upon scenario is merely mirthful, rollicking fun.
Or this: one day matter, which happened by chance to be run by strict laws, decided to invent a few more and gradually, like some poor scholar, improved itself to the point it began to create other sorts of things for which it had neither capacity nor code! Wonderful. And this is science ? (Cf. Rest in Reality and in Redemption, in Biblical Blessings.)
How then is it that IN EVERY CASE a SUFFICIENT CAUSE for the postulated innovations is LACKING. Do we say: Because there is no such thing as magnetism, that is how we have a magnetic field. In other areas, do we ADMIT that we do NOT FIND what it takes to produce whatever it is we are trying to explain in our observations of natural things, and then happily, merrily go ahead and say:
"Well now, since there is absolutely nothing sufficient to do all this, my hypothesis, my own theory for my Ph.D. is this: BECAUSE we have nothing to account for it, THAT must be the reason!"
"But," says the supervisor, "my dear young student, you must be precisely out of your mind! YOU HAVE TO FIND what it takes, then suggest HOW it works to produce what is to come, and then TEST what you propose, and so VERIFY it. This business you have is the exact opposite of scientific method, and of common sense; as of all logic." To which you reply:
"Yes, but that is what they all do! and THEY ALSO EXPLAIN WHAT IS NOT HAPPENING WITH WHAT IS NOT THERE!"
"Not at all," says the scientific method oriented supervisor, "hundreds of Ph.D.s do NOT so act, and many denounce this fairy-tale-itis which makes a sort of intellectual romance. Leave romance till later when you marry; as for now, let's stick to the fact. Science is not a game but a discipline.
1) Where is the process observable which you wish to explain. When you find it, let me know.
2) Secondly, where is the procedure you wish to exemplify, exhibit, manifest by experiment to explain the thing you have not yet found happening.
3) Thirdly, where is the laboratory exhibition of this procedure which you use in explanation ?
" When you find the first, that will be a fine time to consider the second; after that, the third will be relevant. In the meantime, let's do some science. If you are getting Austudy, that is what you are paid for! If this were English literature or especially work for children, it could pass for fantasy; and perhaps your real talents lie there. If the case is otherwise, please show from your work, your scientific capabilities, so that I can assess them."
Small wonder Professors Goldschmidt, Løvtrup, Agassiz, Cuvier, Nilsson, Director W.R. Thompson and many more are appalled at the pure folly of the theory of gradualistic evolution, while others like Stephen Jay Gould invent new theories of sudden surges, the better to account for the facts; and Professor Hoyle of Cambridge calls gradualistic theory "literally incomprehensible" mathematically, while he talks of "The Intelligent Universe".
Little marvel there is such a stew, a befuddled series of controversies and changes, a billowing of clouds of uncertainties and confrontations - as from Michael Denton who acknowledges Darwinism an incredible intrusion of unreality, evolutionism to be a theory in crisis. In fact, the whole area of theoretical biology in its interface with irrational forms of philosophy is becoming a mere heap, factless, fictionful - like the religions of illusion : of which it really a member.
The requirements of reason for each element in the tower of life is that the bricks required the builder in order to order them, and in the first place to make them, and then to assign them, like that great brickwork just made in England with simple bricks, a steam engine - from millions of most brilliantly placed bricks, though perhaps to become an English parallel to Great Pyramids! Each level of understanding, architectural, mathematical (and the designer had every brick placed in his theories to be assignable for the labourers, of whom one expressed himself thrilled by the privilege of participating in such an advent of skill and thought) is in need of an origin, a sufficient cause, and an interface by which the cause produces its consequences. (Cf. Jeremiah 2:27.*)
If you look at pp. 329ff.
in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, to which reference was made
earlier, you will see a list, drawn up like a building, of some of the
more obvious features built into man, such as creativity and formal logic,
power to will and to err... and all that is required is to notice that
NEVER is such made now; and that ONCE it was all made by sufficient cause.
name: GOD! Genesis has it.
Here the sheer blindness of deriving the skyscraper of man from the flat-earth with no engineer is derided justly (cf. SMR pp. 329-332H), is indeed mocked for all time.
These are the prophet Jeremiah's words -
"Saying to a tree, 'You are my father,' and to a stone, 'You gave birth to me' ... For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble, They will say, 'Arise and save us,' "
match well those of earlier Isaiah in 29:14-16, where we find this:
"Therefore, behold, I am proceeding to do a marvellous work among this people, a marvellous work and a wonder: For the wisdom, of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.
"Woe to those who seek deeply to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark. They say, 'Who sees us ? and who knows us ?' Surely you have things turned around!
Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay, for shall the thing made say of him who made it, 'He did not make me'?
Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, 'He has no understanding' ?"
Each to his taste, the twentieth century blues of angst, anxiety, desperation and violence - a couple of world wars for a foretaste - have landed 'scholarship' in this area, where even its own unbelieving devotees have to raise their hands in horror at the sheer inanity of what is taught. What is NOT new is the direction of things, the taste of it was just the same in ancient Israel whose presence with us to this day is a wonder indeed, another wonder, also predicted.
The highmindedness of the Gentile nations is specifically a matter of warning by Paul (Romans 11) in his picture of the olive tree where Gentiles were grafted in, while temporarily the Jewish people as a whole become unbelievers. Do not be highminded, he warns the peoples of the world, lest you also be torn out. The time of the Jewish return to their Saviour is coming, says Paul in this chapter. In terms of the whole blossoming picture, it is near (Matthew 24).
God did not forget to speak
1) TO the creation, man, to whom He had given
2) the fascinating power to USE language,
3) WITH language of His own.
which was originated BY symbolic language in its cells and structure, a biological book,
Such a performance has in all history, whether in biology, the intellect, the spirit, the book, the man, Jesus Christ: NEVER been duplicated, nor is duplication within the scope of man's spirit or capacity. The devil is always trying to duplicate the powers and performances of God without the ability or the understanding, and his failures cost the earth. Meanwhile, let us review this wonder of God.
both wrote there TO man what was to be, through His prophets, and sent
His own Son, Jesus Christ, AS man, to show in each case, the power and
the presence of God, for which there is no parallel evidenced in all history
(SMR Chs.6-9). Without
God, man's mere reactions would be meaningless for truth, and so none could
come from him (SMR Ch.3). By
Christ, and Christ alone, it all makes sense and needs repentance with
faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, God's only
answer to man's mazes and crazes.