Why Is the Question, “Who Designed the Designer?” Logical AND Absurd?

A common question when talking to children about God being the creator of all things is, “Who created God?” The question is logical enough, but absurd. Many atheists and agnostics, who often think like children, often ask the same question:

Amazingly, it’s the chief objection raised to religious belief by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion. It’s also a complaint you hear all the time in response to intelligent design. Regarding the “natural temptation…to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself,” Dawkins replies:

“The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.”

Keith Green And Reflections on Our Love for God

Every Evangelical or “born-again” Christian of the boomer generation knows of Keith Green, a fervent evangelist (some would say almost prophet) musician who died way too young. When I was in college in the late 70s and early 80s, Keith Green’s music was a large part of the soundtrack of my Christian life. On my way to my first job out of college on July 28, 1982, the day before my birthday, I heard on the radio that Keith Green had died in a plane crash. He was all of 28 years old.

I was thinking of him on Easter morning because I couldn’t get his Easter Song out of my mind, especially where he sings, “He is risen, hallelujah.”  So I decided to take a little nostalgia trip reading about him and listening to some old songs. I came across his bio at the website of the organization he and his wife, Melody, founded called Last Days Ministries. A quote from Keith there reminded me of the type of Christianity I was “born-again” into, and why I am so grateful I was introduced to Reformed Theology a couple years out of college. Here is the quote, and I’ll explain why:

Loving Him is to be our cause. He can take care of a lot of other causes without us, but He can’t make us love Him with all our heart. That’s the work we must do.  Anything else is an imitation.

Notable Quotation

I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, of the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they have shed; and that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify what has happened.

Theodore Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Did A Crucified Man Named Jesus of Nazareth Really Bodily Rise From the Grave 2000 Years Ago?

It is a glorious thing that on this day all around the world billions of Christians celebrate the bodily resurrection of their Savior. Those who don’t, think that those of us who do are deluded. Maybe we are, but the vast majority of those who reject the bodily resurrection of Christ have never given a single solitary minute to examining the evidence. Most of these don’t believe a man coming back from the dead is possible, so why bother with evidence. I’m sure there are others who don’t want to engage the evidence because they don’t want it to be true. If God did become a man, died for their sins, and was raised for their justification, then they are confronted with a choice. Rebels have a hard time giving up their rebellion.

For me, if this resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth really did happen, it is, by very far, the most important historical fact of human history. And orthodox Christians don’t believe Jesus’ resurrection is a “spiritual resurrection” in our hearts, a beautiful idea about new life and some such thing. No, we believe the man himself, a human being just like you and me, was killed by the Romans, was laid in a tomb, and three days later revealed himself as risen to his followers. We believe this because there is a significant amount of historical evidence that it in fact happened. Jesus himself knew we, and his followers at the time, needed evidence because, well, people don’t just rise from the dead!

God Gave Us His Law, and The Created Order, That We Might Flourish

We live in the age of The Sovereign Self. Phrases  heard throughout the culture like, “Just be true to yourself,” or “As long as it makes you happy” are common. Such ideas reflect the triumph of the subjective, which basically asserts that each individual can determine their own reality. This almost ubiquitous mentality could not have been put any better than by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in a decision from 1992:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.

Actually, this is more like a recipe for anarchy. What if I define my concept by taking away someone else’s liberty? On what basis could Justice Kennedy say that is not valid? After all he said It’s my “right” to define reality (“the universe”) as I wish. No, the Justice’s sentiments are sentimental nonsense. Realty will never bend itself to my wishes, no matter how hard I wish. And if we let our kids drink this dangerous cultural Kool-Aid, they will suffer for it because as I often say, reality doesn’t take any jokes.

No, Time, Truth is Not Dead

On this day in 1966, Time Magazine published it’s (in)famous cover story, “Is God Dead?”  It was about some radical theologians who decided to take the theos out of the ology. It has not exactly proved to be prophetic. In some parts of the world God is more popular than ever, even in countries that are officially atheist like China. Europe, on the other hand, instead of being the vanguard of the future, as predicted by secularists for decades, is dying on the spiritual vine. Not only are churches empty, but most Western Europeans are not even having enough children to replace their populations. Growing Muslim populations, by contrast, are filling the spiritual vacuum (which we know nature abhors) because they value the next generation and are passionate about their God.

No, God is indeed not dead, but here comes Time almost 51 years later again asking another question of negation: “Is Truth Dead?” I will give the magazine credit for logical consistency. If there is no God, there is no truth. As I often ask my kids, if all we are is lucky dirt, then what makes one thing true and not another, or what makes something right and not wrong? Nothing. In the moral realm, you cannot get ought from is. If all we are is lucky dirt who’s to say torturing babies for fun is wrong. And if God is dead truth is dead. Without God the only thing that can make one thing ultimately true or not is power.

Notable Quotation

[T]he most significant contribution of the natural philosopher of the Middle Ages was to make modern science even conceivable. They made science safe in a Christian context, showed how it could be useful and constructed a worldview where it made sense. Their central belief that nature was created by God and so worthy of their attention was one that Galileo wholeheartedly endorsed. Without that awareness, modern science would simply not have happened.

—James Hannam, The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution, p. 342.

The Human Circulatory System – There is a God!

I recently finished reading a book called The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution by James Hannam. The title appealed to me when I first heard of the book because of a fiction that has been promulgated since the mid-1800s of a war between religion and science. Nothing could be further from the truth. All the great strides of early science were made by Christians because they wanted to glorify their Creator by discovering how a universe created for us worked.

While some science was done by ancient Greeks, and Muslims and Chinese of the Middle Ages, it was in the Christian West where science as a continually expanding discipline was established. How ironic, then, that science has been used by secularists for the last 150 years as a battering ram against Christians. How even more ironic that we can thank Jesus of Nazareth for all the blessings of modern science and technology! Of course Christians know this, and do thank him for these blessings all the time, but just in an historical sense, without Jesus we’d still likely be stuck in some kind of “dark ages.”

The Phantasmagoria of the Atheist Immagination

Modern “New” Atheists (there is nothing “new” about them) are fond of painting Christians as wishful thinking Neanderthals who may as well believe in Unicorns and leprechauns. A Creator God, parted seas, resurrection, and various and sundry other miracles are no different, they confidently assert. I would say this is a prime example of the pot calling the kettle black, but I don’t want to insult kettles.

I came across a version of an atheist creation story at Evolution News that is typical of the illogical leaps atheists have to make to imagine a universe and life springing up without a Creator God. The guilty part in this case is famous atheist and “materialist philosopher” Daniel Dennett. These paragraphs come from a New Yorker profile on the man and his thought, and specifically how life evolved:

Four billion years ago, Earth was a lifeless place. Nothing struggled, thought, or wanted. Slowly, that changed. Seawater leached chemicals from rocks; near thermal vents, those chemicals jostled and combined. Some hit upon the trick of making copies of themselves that, in turn, made more copies. The replicating chains were caught in oily bubbles, which protected them and made replication easier; eventually, they began to venture out into the open sea. A new level of order had been achieved on Earth. Life had begun.

The tree of life grew, its branches stretching toward complexity. Organisms developed systems, subsystems, and sub-subsystems, layered in ever-deepening regression. They used these systems to anticipate their future and to change it. When they looked within, some found that they had selves—constellations of memories, ideas, and purposes that emerged from the systems inside. They experienced being alive and had thoughts about that experience. They developed language and used it to know themselves; they began to ask how they had been made.

The Historical Apathy of the Modern Evangelical: The Case of Baptism

Modern Evangelicalism is a hybrid of Christian traditions that came out of the Reformation. When I became a Christian in college I had no idea this was the case because I was taught that Christianity, the real kind, was just me and the Bible. My relationship with Jesus mediated through the Bible was the very definition of Christianity. Little did I know that the Christianity I was living in college had historical antecedents. Unfortunately, history wan’t real important to the Christians who introduced me to the Faith. Such historical apathy is indicative of far too much of Evangelicalism today, as it is of general American culture.

Modern Evangelicals have far more in common with 19th century revivalist Christianity than their Reformation forebearers. The Second Great Awakening transformed much of Protestant Christianity from a confessional (a la Lutherans and Presbyterians) and sacramental faith, to an experiential and conversionist faith. George Marsden’s Fundamentalism and American Culture is an essential read for anyone wanting to understand why conservative Protestant Christianity (i.e. Evangelicalism) is the way it is today. You’ll find out that modern Evangelicals are historical fundamentalists. In other words, our faith today is more informed by the revivalist Christianity of the 19th and early 20th centuries, than the Reformation of the 16th.