“This sentence created itself.” Does that sentence have any meaning? Is it correct? It is grammatically correct English. It has a subject, a verb, and a direct object. However, the sentence is utter nonsense. It has no intrinsic meaning. It has as much meaning as “A potato unhinges exuberantly on lava tree paintings.” The second sentence is nonsense because the words don’t really make any sense together. The first sentence is nonsense because by experience we know that sentences do not create themselves.
If one were to stretch a strand of human DNA out, it would be approximately 2 meters long. It would be comprised of approximately 3 billion base pairs of adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. About 1.5% of that DNA would code for 20,000-25,000 proteins that allow for all of the functions of human life. The ENCODE project found that over 80% of the rest of the DNA has regulatory function and is transcribed but does not directly code into proteins that are used. The proteins are coded by 3 letter sequences in the DNA. 20 amino acids are coded to assemble the proteins. These proteins have primary, secondary, tertiary, and even quaternary structure. Meaning that these proteins are folded and combined at several different levels into their functional formations. The DNA is replicated with an error rate of 1 error in 10 billion base pair transcriptions. This is the equivalent of copying about 3,200 KJV bibles and only mistyping 1 letter. Did I mention that each of the 37.2 trillion cells in the body have this DNA folded up inside it and functioning properly? It is one of the most complex sentences that one could imagine. Did this sentence create itself?
It takes a lot of faith to believe that this magnificently well-orchestrated chorus created itself. Having just had our first child, it is nothing short of a miracle that we brought a new person into this world. Think of all the possibilities for malfunction of this biochemistry and physics. But my daughter is more than just biochemistry and physics; she’s a new person. Reproduction may be the godliest thing that we can do. But our creation is different from His creation. It doesn’t take a biochemistry or physics degree to create a baby. The machinery of life is already in place. We create from that which is already given. The substance that we live in is already present and available to create a new human being. The Bible says that God created from nothingness. He said, “Light BE.” And from nothing came everything. The Bible says, “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:9) Isn’t life more than cells working together? Are we not more than just meat? (“They’re made out of meat” by Terry Bisson.) Isn’t the mind more than a brain? Where does the body end and the soul begin? I wish it were so simple.
Science must start with some basic faith statements. Yes, science starts with “faith.” Let us first define two terms: science and scientism. Science and Scientism are different. Science is the study of the natural world. Scientism is the “belief” that the natural world is all that there is. Scientism believes that nothing exists outside of the natural (i.e. the supernatural). Scientism starts with this faith statement. All science must function within faith. Faith and science are not enemies. To do science, we must believe that the universe is an ordered universe. For example, if we do an experiment and we know all of the variables, the substance of the universe will behave in an orderly way. If we repeat the experiment, we will obtain the same results. We can deduce certain principles about the universe from these experiments. We also must have the faith premise that the universe is worth studying. We believe that there is some benefit to understanding the universe around us. If the universe were not orderly and worth studying, how could we possibly even start to do science? However, would not an orderly God make an orderly universe? And on what basis can Scientism tell us that the universe is all there is? At the bottom, science has Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. (In a nutshell, you can know the position of a particle or the speed of a particle but not both.) We don’t understand gravity. We haven’t found the “God Particle” or ultimate substance that makes up all the substance. We cannot know it completely because of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. (Side note: “Atom” means “indivisible. “ We are now “dividing the indivisible” and haven’t found the bottom yet…) At the bottom, we have scientists telling us about “invisible” particles because they have faith that the machines that they created are reporting correctly readings from their experiments. Nobody has ever actually seen a proton or an electron, not to speak about quarks or Higg’s bosons. We believe that these exist on faith. But there is obviously evidence for that faith.
At the top, we have only the known “visible” universe or the observable universe. What is beyond? We do not know. Science has told us many things. We have traveled the world on wings of great airships. We have harnessed electricity. We communicate instantaneously around the world. And yet as much as science has told us, it cannot tell us what is beyond what we can see with a telescope. Isn’t it true also that the things that are most important to you can’t be measured scientifically? Things like love, beauty, and goodness? Science can tell you what “is” but it cannot tell you what you should do or what is good. It cannot tell you what is beautiful. It cannot tell you what true love is, just as it cannot tell you what is beyond the edge of the 28.5 gigaparsec (or 93 billion light-year) wide universe.
And the atheist asks, “But how can you believe in God without evidence? I need evidence to believe. How can you be so unreasonable in your beliefs?” And now, they’re hooked… Is not reason the tender balance between believing everything and doubting everything? If one were to doubt everything, we would call them insane. You could not even leave your bed with so much doubt. You would doubt that gravity would work. You would doubt that your food wasn’t poisoned. You would doubt that you would float when jumping into a pool. You could not live with so much doubt. On the other side, if you believed everything, you would be paralyzed as well. You would believe that almost all food is bad for you. (Even water can be deadly in high quantities…) You would believe everything was a conspiracy. You would believe all sorts of other things that would keep you from being able to function. Reason is the stability found between doubt and belief. Reason expects some things and doubts others. Reason keeps our ship upright.
Is not “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” just as good of a starting point as “the natural is all there is?” (Perhaps when God said, “Light BE,” there was quite a BANG!) Science makes theories of what we think happened historically. However, science cannot rule out God. At the bottom and the top, science has no answers. Science cannot tell us what is good. It takes a lot of faith to believe in the infinitesimally small possibility of life existing and continuing without God. A Christian’s faith is based in Christ faith. It starts with Christ resurrecting from the dead based on the evidence. The historical accuracy of the Bible has been well studied. At the same time, the Bible is not a science book. Based on the evidence, the Bible gives a better explanation of our experience than Scientism. Much of the science of today would not have been possible had men not believed that their Creator was orderly. It takes an orderly universe for a miracle to be possible. The resurrection defies what is natural. It is supernatural. But my belief in the resurrection is based on the evidence, not on blind belief. The evidence for the resurrection is enough for another post so I would recommend, “Who moved the stone?” by Frank Morrison for a good overview of that evidence.
Did this sentence create itself? What about the 3 billion base pair sentence of human DNA? The evidence stands high against life happening by “chance.” When I look at my daughter, it does not occur to me that she is only meat or only physics and biochemistry. She is a real person. At so many levels, the universe is amazingly complex and interesting. Is He not the God of wonders? If you want to feel tiny and insignificant, then listen to science tell you how vast the universe is and how cold and dark it will become. But you’re not insignificant. God created you and knew you before you even were. God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. (Eph 1:4) The miracle of life is no accident. God created us in His image. (Gen 1:27) This sentence did NOT create itself.
Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.