Cover Design and Artwork by Mario John Borgatti

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

There was a man who was blind from birth.  Jesus healed him.

     Afterward, the wise men and the powerful men came to this formerly blind man, to ask him questions.  I paraphrase:  Were you really blind from birth?  If so, did a physician attend you?  And if you were healed spiritually, and this is vitally important, did this man Jesus heal you on the Sabbath, in violation of our law that no work may be done on that day?

     Overwhelmed by the many questions with which this uneducated man was attacked, he became frustrated, and blurted out this simple answer:  I don’t know anything except this:  I was blind, but now I see.

     Having debated some of the topics in this book with educated men, scientists, and atheists, among others, I have often felt somewhat as this man may have felt.  However well intentioned the critics may be, I cannot always answer their piercing questions in a manner that they accept.  For, what is my wisdom compared to theirs?

     But there was a time when I traveled the road of atheistic belief, the road of materialist science, the world of their brand of logic and the tenets of their science.  And after many years of doing so, I found myself in a barren wilderness, devoid of any eternal meaning.  I was blind.

     Then one day, I had a spiritual encounter which I cannot adequately convey in words. 

     It was as if I were face down in a gutter, unable to lift myself up, and seeing no reason to do so in any case.  Then, as it were, I felt a hand on my shoulder, a hand both gentle and strong, both stern and yet caring.

      As it were, I looked up, and there was Jesus, beckoning to me in this manner.  He said, Bob, you tried it your way, and look where it got you.  Now (at long last), are you willing to try my way?

     It was not that I said “Yes,” but rather, without thinking about it, I answered, “What (other) choice do I have?”

     Then it was, in a way I cannot describe, that Jesus lifted me from the gutter in which I had mired myself.  He did so without condemnation.  And He set me no longer on my own path, but on His.

     Ever since that moment, I have tried to follow His path.  Whereas before I had been lost in a featureless wilderness, I was now upon a road that led somewhere worth going.  Whereas before I had wandered alone, now there were markers and signposts to guide me.

     I must hasten to add that this experience by no means made me a man of virtue, nor a man of wisdom.  On the contrary, I have continued to stumble and fall, to occasionally drift into dark alleys and to do things that I should not.

     But never again have I felt that I am lost.  Whatever darkness falls, I always have a light, a beacon to bring me back to the path.

     My hopes for this book are modest.  I do not expect to shake up the world of science, nor of theology.  On the contrary, I expect to be ridiculed and scorned.  There was a time when that would have been enough to deter me.

     But whenever I begin to feel tempted to shrink from this task, I always remember these words:  I was blind, but now I see.


     While scientists may ponder such mysteries as that of dark energy, they may overlook, or gloss over, the much more important question of what is consciousness.  While physics may identify the fundamental forces that govern an atom, it dismisses the notion of free will as an impossibility.  Yet, without free will, can there be any scientific study at all?
     In the purely physical universe, there is no color, but only photons.  There is no music, but only sound waves.  There is no love, but only hormones.  There is neither courage nor cowardice, neither noble motives nor great literature nor any meaning except that which we contrive in our own imaginations.
     But our experience as humans defies such a description of reality.  Our experience of reality is very different from the sterile numbers and formulas of science.  It is much richer than that.  We are not soulless, biological robots.  We cannot conduct our lives as if we were machines.  Color, love, music and moral values are at the very heart and soul of our experience.  That experience defines who we are, and why we go on with life.  Neither are we creatures of the forest, for which the only needs are food and reproduction.  We sense within ourselves a higher nature than that, and we seek to fulfill needs that are greater than mere survival day to day.  Such needs could never be fulfilled in a reality that is nothing more than an assortment of atoms.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Can Science Ignore God?

Modern science contends that the physical world can be explained without resort to God. But there is an ever increasing body of evidence that is challenging that assertion. Every new discovery poses more and more problems for those who would adhere to a purely physical explanation of nature. There are just too many coincidences that cannot be explained away, unless one considers them as evidence of divine, intelligent creation of nature.

It was not always so. For a time in history, it seemed that the growing body of scientific evidence was leading away from the idea that God created, and guides, the universe. For a time, as more and more evidence came to light, it seemed that God was being squeezed out of science. It seemed that everything could be adequately explained by natural forces that were indifferent, unguided, and random. And this trend away from God was occurring at precisely the time that today’s basic scientific attitudes were being formed. Thus, during these formative years of science, a prejudice against the hypothesis of intelligent design became deeply ingrained.

That era in science, the era of displacing religious teaching, occurred because many of the theological explanations for nature were based on inadequate readings of scripture. Most of scripture was not concerned so much with mathematics and physics. Rather, the emphasis was on the teaching that humankind needs God for spiritual guidance. Thus, when the scripture described six days of creation, it condensed natural history into a short summary, to lay the foundation for the important part. The main theme, that of man’s need to obey God, is paramount in Genesis. Physics and biology are important teachings of scripture, but they are subordinate to that main theme. The physics of origins are straightforward: “In the beginning, God created….”

Today, we find that scientists have done an admirable job in producing technologies that have greatly improved the material lives of mankind. But those achievements will mean nothing if man squanders all his knowledge in the task of destroying himself. Recognizing this fact, scientists themselves have formed organizations which have the purpose of directing their contributions toward efforts that will make responsible and humanitarian use of technology.

But when scientists attempt to devise codes of conduct, moral principles, and social laws--- laws that will benefit mankind--- when they attempt to do this without resort to God, they labor in vain. For such codes cannot possibly succeed if they are embedded in a philosophy that regards mankind as a random, accidental byproduct of nature, a mere tangle of neural synapses that has no preferred station in the grand scheme of nature. Such a philosophy has, inherently, the seeds of human self-destruction.

An effective moral code is as far beyond the limited capabilities of the human mind as are the numerous and profound scientific quandaries which baffle scientists in the physical realm. No laboratory experiment can with any certainty whatsoever explain why there is any nature at all to begin with, much less why we should love one another.

Moreover, science cannot reasonably continue to explain, in purely physical terms, what has come to be described as “the fine tuning of the universe.” In order for the universe to be able to sustain human life, an amazing and growing list of unlikely events must have happened to make that possible. Alter any one of them, even slightly, and the universe would be a lifeless wilderness. And the more we discover about nature, the more numerous we discover these coincidences to be. Creationists can now be completely confident in their prediction that this list of coincidences will only increase, as discoveries continue to be made.

At some point, even the most critical skeptic will finally have to admit, if he is honest, that the great preponderance of the physical evidence makes intelligent design the most reasonable conclusion that fits the facts.

The moral and scientific implications of that conclusion will prove to be unimaginably profound and consequential.
Thousands of years ago, there was a discussion among serious philosophers as to whether or not air exists.

Some said that if air exists, we should be able to see it. And since we cannot see it, then it must not exist.

But then someone pointed to trees swaying in the wind, and asked, what unseen force caused the trees to do that. Other people sensed the cooling breeze on their faces, and asked why they felt such a thing. Yet other people noticed their own breath, and discovered that without air, we must all die.

It became undeniably clear to all reasonable people, that air must indeed exist, even if we cannot see it. For we can see its pervasive effects. There are simply too many things that cannot be explained unless we accept the fact that air, this invisible substance, is real.

But what about proving God? Can we use the same method as we do when proving air? Can we, by scientific reason and logic, prove the existence of God?

Some people might answer that God would not be God if He were so small that we could encircle Him with our paltry human powers of logic.

But, just as was the case with air, in the time of the ancients, what we can prove about God is not that He does exist, but rather, that He must exist.

That kind of proof may not satisfy the scientist or the mathematician, but it does open for all of us a door, a doorway to a reasoning belief that life has a higher purpose than merely being born, making noises, and then dying into eternal oblivion.

A well reasoned belief in God lifts us above the dismal prospect that we are simply atoms and molecules fated to dissolve. It offers us a meaningful insight into who we really are. For we are not mere physical creatures after all. We are of both substance and spirit. And that reality carries profound consequences that do not apply to beings who are merely of the flesh.

For, as beings of spirit, we are both accountable for our actions, and forgivable in our errors. Our deeds have eternal consequence, but we do not walk alone with those deeds through the valley of death. We have a guide and a savior. Our reality is neither dismal. For if we sacrifice in the cause of good, our loss is not in vain, and if we suffer, there is a hidden purpose in our travails.

Faith, if properly placed, is a powerful tool for living life. Its rewards are enormous. Without faith, life is all too brief, and the prospect of death is all too bleak.


All physical phenomena, such as trees swaying in the breeze, are governed by natural law, even if we cannot lay our hands on that law. All the powers of our brains, including logic and conscious awareness, are rooted in abstractions. And even though we cannot see those abstractions themselves, we know that they represent a hidden reality. While the breath we draw into our lungs, to stay alive, is composed only of air for our body, there is also a spiritual reality, and it is the breath of life for our ineffable soul. It is just as real, and just as necessary, as physical air.

God is forever beyond our understanding, beyond our science, and beyond our reason. Yet paradoxically, when we deny that God exists, all our explanations of scientific fact lead inevitably to frustration (as we shall see). All our attempts to construct a just society become futile. And life itself becomes an all too brief season, a moment in the vastness of time, a moment of dreary, dismal fatalism, followed by permanent oblivion.

If we cannot prove that God does indeed exist, yet we can prove that He must exist, just as surely as air must exist.

For if we say that God does not exist, then we are forced to arrive at conclusions that are so absurd that we might as well believe that one equals four, or try to walk through a brick wall that we pretend is not there.

Are there really Ten Thousand Proofs of God? There are endless proofs. One of them is you, yourself. And that one is the most convincing of all.