Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is this “Theistic Evolution”?
A: No. This is Engineered Evolution, related to Natural Genetic Engineering. “Theistic evolution” is a vague term that often seems to mean “the hand of God mysteriously works through the randomness.” Theistic evolution is Neo-Darwinism warmed up in a God-microwave for 30 seconds. However, engineered evolution is empirical. New species and functions actually observed in real time. Reproducible in the lab.
In addition to the given definition of NGE, I believe Engineered Evolution is 1) mathematically structured algorithms – “rails” for the evolutionary process to run on, combined with 2) freedom of choice in a universe that is free to develop in its own way. Humans and to some extent creatures as well are free to choose; not determined or programmed, but sentient and willful.
Someone once said “Art is science with more than seven variables.” I think that is quite right. Because of the complexity of living organisms, evolution is an interdisciplinary field that invites many points of view – including engineering, mathematics, business, complex systems theory, music and art.
An exceptionally observant artist, programmer or entrepreneur may be as well equipped to gain a new insight about evolution as a geneticist. Charles Darwin’s ideas about natural selection were strongly influenced by his study of capitalism; D’Arcy Thompson’s ideas about form are just as artistic as they are mathematical.
A: Because has an encoder, a message, and a decoder, just like all other communication systems.
|This video explains exactly why DNA is a digital communication systemClick Here for the Whole Discussion|
Your computer is a communication system because when you press the letter “A” your keyboard encodes the pressing of that button into 1000001 and your computer then decodes 1000001 to display the letter “A” on your screen:
The computer follows the rules of the ASCII code: a = 1100001; A = 1000001; b = 1100010; B = 1100010 and so on.
In the same way, DNA is a communication system because the triplets are encoded into Messenger RNA and decoded into amino acids and proteins. For example the base pairs GGG (Guanine-Guanine-Guanine) are instructions to make the amino acid Glycine which is then assembled into proteins by the ribosomes.
The organism follows the rules of the Genetic Code. GGG = Glycine, CGG = Arginine, AGC = Serine, etc. Note that GGG is not literally Glycine, it is symbolic instructions to make Glycine.
Just like computer codes, the genetic code is arbitrary. There is no law of physics that says “1” has to mean “on” and “0” has to mean “off.” There’s no law of physics that says 10000001 has to code for the letter “A.” Similarly, there is no law of physics that says three Guanine molecules in a row have to code for Glycine. In both cases, the communication system operates from a freely chosen, fixed set of rules.
In all communication systems it is possible to label the encoder, the message and the decoder and determine the rules of the code.
The rules of communication systems are defined in advance by conscious minds. There are no known exceptions to this. Therefore we have 100% inference that the Genetic Code was designed by a conscious mind.
A: Because based on the definition of a communication system there is no encoder > message > decoder.
It is not possible to draw a diagram of a proper communication system for these things…
…because it’s not possible to produce a table of symbols (as we do with DNA, i.e. GGG = Glycine, 1000001 = A), because there are no symbolic relationships. An electron is an electron, sunlight is photons, a snowflake is a snowflake. None of these things symbolically represents anything other than itself. Contrast this with DNA where three Guanines in a row are instructions to make Glycine. Three Guanines are not Glycine, they are instructions to make Glycine.
Layers of sediment might be considered codes, except that no decoding takes place until an intelligent being (a human) arrives on the scene to interpret them. Therefore sediment all by itself is not a communication system because there is no decoder. Furthermore the exact meaning of the layers is certainly not fixed and digital the way the genetic code is. Decoding the meaning of the layers is subjective.
If someone wants to overturn my thesis and solve the “Atheist’s Riddle”, then they must do the following: Show a naturally occurring communication system that matches Claude Shannon’s model according to the above criteria.
They must draw a communication system and label the encoder, the communication channel, and the decoder. Then they must explicitly fill out both the encoding table and the decoding table and match the symbols to their referents.
|How to solve the Atheist’s Riddle: Distinguishing The Difference Between Codes and Non-Codes|
A formal specification for solving this problem is posted at http://evo2.org/solve/
A: These things are all codes, but animals and insects exhibit some level of intelligence. Animals and insects come from other animals and insects so they don’t qualify.
We don’t know the origin of DNA or animals or insects, so these examples don’t count as evidence for non-intelligent origin of DNA. Any candidate for a naturally occurring code must be derived independently of all known life forms and human designs.
A: I’m author of the book Industrial Ethernet which applies communication theory to manufacturing systems.
Information is THE central question in the origin of life question, because the genetic code is necessary for any possibility of reproduction or evolution. I spent seven years in the industrial communications business where I published dozens of articles and white papers about digital communication. When I began to investigate biology and evolution, my communication engineering background suddenly became a tremendous resource.
Information theory applies directly to biology and genetics. There are many books and papers on this topic; in my opinion the best is Hubert Yockey’s book Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life (Cambridge University Press, 2005). Yockey demonstrates that concepts in engineering are 100% transferable to biology.
Digital Communication is one of the most advanced engineering fields in the world today and communication engineers have much to contribute to the discussion about information in biological systems.
Oxford University publishes the journal Bioinformatics, and Wikipedia defines Bioinformatics as “the application of computer science to the field of molecular biology.” It is not reasonable to say that computer codes are irrelevant to the genetic code – they two are isomorphic.
Because DNA is a digital code, the field of biology is greatly benefiting from the experience of engineers who made the Internet possible. Biology is making great use of tools and methods that were originally developed in engineering.
A: No, because science cannot formally prove anything. However I have shown 100% scientific INFERENCE to design.
Most scientific laws (gravity, thermodynamics, conservation of matter and energy, relativity) cannot be proven, they are only inferred through the consistency of observations.
There is no known exception to the laws of gravity, so we infer a law of gravitation.
Heat flows from hot objects to cool objects 100% of the time, so we infer the laws of thermodynamics.
In science, if an observation is supported by 100% inference, it is eventually considered to be a law.
I submit to readers of this website that information systems are designed by conscious minds 100% of the time, no exceptions. Thus we can propose a law of information, that coded information is always directly or indirectly caused by a conscious agent.
This observation is just as reliable as the laws of thermodynamics and gravity. There are no known exceptions.
This may mean that there are other forms of consciousness that we don’t know about. (It could mean there are aliens but that only kicks the can down the road.)
So to the extent that science can prove anything – which is 100% inference – we can conclude that DNA is a product of design by some outside intelligence. Have I proven God exists? No… but what we have proven is that the design problem in biology has never been solved. Darwin didn’t solve this problem; David Hume didn’t solve it; William Paley’s original watchmaker argument is alive and well in the 21st century: Show me a code that’s not designed.
The closest I believe you can get to proving the existence of God is via Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem. The only way the universe can be rational [and therefore scientific] is if something infinite outside of space and time necessarily exists. See www.evo2.org/incompleteness.
Q: “But isn’t that just a God-of-the-Gaps argument?”
A: This brings us to the purpose of the Evolution 2.0 Prize. “We can’t explain it – therefore God did it” is a God-of-Gaps argument. When presented that way, it becomes a science stopper. But proper belief in God should always encourage science not discourage science. The classical view of the great scientists like Copernicus and Newton was that God made a fantastic orderly universe and to understand how it works is to discover the mind of God.
This is why the Evolution 2.0 Prize rewards discovery of a naturally occurring code. I want someone to discover this because it will tell us something very important about the universe and about God, a very deep truth – some fractal property of the universe that opens up windows of insight into new realms. I predict that such a discovery will completely leave 20th century reductionist science in the dust. This discovery is not likely to be reductionist, but integrationist.
A: Because information is based on abstract laws that cannot be derived from the laws of physics.
Norbert Weiner, founder of cybernetics and MIT professor, said, “Information is information, neither matter nor energy. Any materialism that fails to accept this cannot survive the present day.”
The best way to explain what he meant by that is with the question, “What is ‘Romeo and Juliet’?”
It’s a play written by Shakespeare, of course.
In what sense does it exist?
It is a code. It is a sequence of symbols. Romeo and Juliet is Romeo and Juliet whether it exists on a handwritten manuscript, a printed book, a WORD document, a PDF document, a string of 1’s and 0’s. It exists whether that pattern is stored on a hard drive or transmitted by radio waves or sound waves or lasers in fiber optic cable.
Any person or algorithm or properly programmed computer can check its identity based on a simple set of rules of matching the pattern to a reference pattern. In the mathematical terms of the Turing Machine, the identity of Romeo and Juliet is “computable.” In other words you can write an algorithm that answers the question “Is this piece of data a copy of Romeo and Juliet?”
Thus the text of Romeo and Juliet exists as an ontological entity. But it is not matter and it is not energy. It is a PATTERN. Yes, in any particular instance it is either matter OR energy or a combination of both. But Romeo and Juliet is not paper and it’s not ink and it’s not sound or light. The pattern itself is neither matter nor energy.
That is what Norbert Weiner meant by his statement.
And you cannot derive codes from the laws of physics. People are welcome to disagree – I just ask them to show me how they can derive the genetic code from the laws of physics.
Let’s take just one aspect of DNA: The fact that it has a four-letter alphabet.
It could have a 2 letter or 3 letter or 6 or 8 or 16 letter alphabet but it has 4.
Can anyone answer that question using the laws of physics alone? Or do they have to appeal to chance?
An appeal to chance is unscientific. It does not refer to any systematic repeatable process. It’s throwing up one’s hands and saying, “I guess we just got LUCKY.”
Even if the primordial soup provided ALL the intact chemicals necessary for DNA and the first cell (that’s a big if), you still have only answered half the question. Because the other half of the question is, why is there a code, where did the rules of the code come from, and how did the code come to make the SPECIFIC choices that it makes?
The choices seen in the genetic code include:
- 4 letter alphabet
- The four letters are arranged in triplets so there are 64 possible combinations of triplets
- There is built-in redundancy so that there are 20 words in the messenger RNA vocabulary, not 64. Each “word” can be represented by three different triplets; for example GGA, GGG and GGC all code for Glycine. If DNA is damaged there is still a good chance the right amino acid will still be transcribed. A feature similar to this exists in most human-designed communication systems to prevent errors.
- The redundancy in the genetic code is actually quite ingenious. It is literally one in a million in terms of its optimization for error correction.
DNA has error correction and error checking mechanisms, just like the hardware that connects your computer to the Internet. How do you derive those mechanisms from the laws of physics? Do the laws of electron bonding or gravity or nuclear forces or the equations for light or magnetism give you these error correction mechanisms?
Would random mutation produce mechanisms that prevent random mutation?
Of course not.
All of the characteristics of the things just described are ONLY found in intelligently designed communication systems. In man made systems, most of these technologies were developed in the mid-20th century by very smart people.
Thus because of all the things we see in the genetic code, we have 100% inference to Design and 0% inference to any other explanation.
A: Evolution requires replication and replication requires DNA to exist first.
Evolution is not possible without self-replication. Self-replication is not possible without a code (Computer science pioneer John Von Neumann determined that in the 1960’s.) So evolution requires DNA to exist FIRST. Evolution is not a valid explanation for the origin of DNA or the genetic code.
A: No, it is a communication system that follows the genetic code, which cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry.
Hubert Yockey in his book “Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life” (Cambridge University Press, 2005) said, “The reason that there are principles of biology that cannot be derived from the laws of physics and chemistry lies simply in the fact that the genetic information content of the genome for constructing even the simplest organisms is much larger than the information content of these laws. The existence of a genome and the genetic code divides living organisms from nonliving matter. There is nothing in the physico-chemical world that remotely resembles reactions being determined by a sequence and codes between sequences.”
Q: Is the big bang the beginning of time?
A: From the standpoint of everything within our universe, yes.
Einstein’s Spacetime theorems combine space and time into a single continuum. The expansion of space corresponds to the forward movement of time. At the moment of the Big Bang, the universe occupies an infinitely small space. Extrapolation of the expansion of the universe backwards in time using general relativity yields an infinite density and temperature at a finite time in the past.
As we move from the present to the moment of the Big Bang, general relativity breaks down prior to t=10^-43 seconds (“Planck time.”). Between t=0 and Planck time we are unable to investigate the exact progress of the Big Bang.
Prior to t=0 there is no such thing as time. Time itself begins literally at the point of the Big Bang.
There may be other dimensions of time and other universes but we have no access to them or knowledge of them.
In 1931, astronomer Georges Lemaître suggested that the evident expansion in forward time required that the universe contracted backwards in time, and would continue to do so until it could contract no further, bringing all the mass of the universe into a single point, a “primeval atom”, at a point in time before which time and space did not exist. As such, at this point, the fabric of time and space had not yet come into existence.
It is not logical to conclude that matter and energy existed before that since there is no “before.”
This has an interesting correspondence to Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning [of time] God created [out of nothing] the heavens and the earth [everything].”
A: The Designer is an Uncaused Cause.
Philosophers almost universally reject any form of infinite regress because the result is an infinitely complex answer to a finite question. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_regress.
At some point in the past there is the inevitable reality of an uncaused cause.
Some say that the universe itself is its own uncaused cause.
However everything that has a beginning must have a cause.
Since the universe has a beginning, it has a cause.
Therefore the universe is not its own cause. It has to have been caused by something else.
It is possible to hypothesize that it came from another universe and that’s fine but it doesn’t bring us to any conclusion.
The question we have to answer is, what could cause the time, space, matter and energy to come into being at a single point in time and for the universe to expand at an exact rate with 120 decimal places of precision?
I would like to suggest that the only adequate explanation is an intelligent, willful, eternal being outside of space and time, namely God.
More thoughts on the concept of God being outside of space and time here.
A: The fact that the scientist’s job is to search for naturalistic explanations.
I think the strongest criticism of the ideas I have presented is the person who says, “Very well then, you posit a designer but as a scientist I am not allowed to stop there. A scientist’s job is to search for a NATURAL explanation. So yes there is no natural explanation for the origin of DNA at this time. But it’s still my job to find one. So I’m going to continue to do my job and look for one just like Newton looked for a natural explanation for why apples fall out of trees.”
And I think that’s a very fair response. If there is a naturalistic explanation for the origin of information then yes, we should look for it.
I will then argue that the only way we could ever find such an explanation is to admit that the current laws of physics do not explain the origin of information or consciousness, thus acknowledge we are searching for a new law of physics.
Again, all that is fair enough.
But note that some people accuse me of throwing up my hands and saying “GodDidIt!” and giving up the search for scientific answers. I am NOT doing that. Any more than a mechanic who works on Toyota Corollas throws up his hands and says “ToyotaDidIt” when he has a question about how the engine works. Recognizing that the Corolla was designed by engineers at Toyota is not the least bit unscientific. The fact that an intelligent being designed the car is actually the first thing you need to know.
Recognizing the work of a designer is not any more anti-scientific when we’re studying DNA than when we’re studying Toyota Corollas. It just acknowledges that there are some things that are not reducible to mere physical laws.
Case in point, you cannot reduce the rules of any computer program to mere physical laws. They obey physical laws 100% but they also follow additional rules set by the programmer. To pretend there’s no programmer is not just unscientific, it’s foolish. It actually prevents you from ever fully understanding the program.
That’s where we’re at with DNA. You clearly cannot derive the genetic code from physical laws, because the coding table is arbitrary. There is no law that says there it has to use a four letter alphabet (A/C/G/T). It could just as well use a 6 letter alphabet or a 2 letter alphabet (1/0). Thus DNA gives every indication of having been designed.
Therefore living things are better studied in the same manner that we study car engines than in the manner that we study apples falling out of trees.
Finally, I must mention that science cannot be practiced without a philosophy in place which is outside of science itself. Science is built on the premise that the universe operates according to fixed discoverable laws. This premise is literally an act of faith and originally came from theologians (see below for further explanation of this.)
Science cannot operate apart from philosophy and draws very significantly from theology. Science need not be pitted against philosophy or religion, and science cannot be practiced in a vacuum. It’s OK for scientists to admit that the origin of life question takes us outside the boundaries of science.
Technically speaking, the genetic code and the communication protocols in DNA is an enormously sophisticated set of specific, particular rules that are not universal physical laws. They are the exact same sort of particular rules that we find in computer programs. .JPG image files have a set of rules; .HTML web pages have a different set of rules; .DOC files (Microsoft Word) have their own set of rules; and so do strands of DNA.
Prediction: Once science openly acknowledges this, a new wave of scientific discoveries will follow.
Presently the biggest question that is being stubbornly ignored by large portions of the scientific community is: What is the mechanism that drives evolution? Hint: It’s NOT random mutation. That theory has failed, continues to fail, and is rife with problems. No person who fully understands communication theory can possibly accept the traditional Darwinian explanation of randomness.
I propose that what drives evolution is cellular genetic engineering combined with natural selection. An perhaps also some form of intelligent selection that’s pre-programmed in the genome.
Before I go on, please allow me to state the following:
Even though I embrace a Christian worldview I think there is an urgent need in the world for a general, “theistic” model for intelligent design that is religiously neutral.
Presuming design in biology greatly assists science in performing its task, regardless of whether the scientist is Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Deist, or even Agnostic.
Why? Because science itself relies on faith that the world is governed by fixed, discoverable laws.
Therefore, people of ALL religious perspectives are welcome to use my arguments and quote material from this website in supporting a scientific perspective that the universe has a Creator.
Having said that, I think cosmology and information theory harmonize especially well with Christian theology. Here’s why:
1) Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” – a definitive statement that time has a beginning and the universe begins with it. This has only been fully validated in the last 20 years and turns out to be a stunningly accurate statement.
If we make two simple assumptions the rest of Genesis 1 exactly matches modern cosmology and the fossil record. The assumptions are:
(a) a “day” is a period of time, not 24 hours
(b) the story is describing how the events appear from the earth’s surface, not from outer space.
The sequence of events:
- Light appears
- The atmospheric water cycle begins
- Land appears, continents form
- Vegetation grows
- The sun and moon become visible in the sky (the atmosphere becomes transparent)
- Fish and birds appear
- Animals appear
- God makes human beings in His image
- On the 7th day God rests, and there is no “evening and morning” marking the end of the 7th day. In other words, we’re in the 7th day right now.
- I do not see Genesis 1 as being incompatible with evolution, nor do I see it as endorsing it. I think one can interpret the Bible either way on this point. The fundamental principle is that the development of life on earth is an act of God’s creative will and not accidental or purposeless.
This sequence of events is astronomically, biologically and geologically correct. I encourage you to listen to Hugh Ross’s full presentation about this here.
I have also written a post that compares Genesis 1 to modern science. You can read it here.
Now there is an additional factor which I think is very significant, and it comes from information theory.
Information theory is all about the fact that conception precedes embodiment. An idea is first a message and then is decoded into something useful. The object exists as an idea before it exists physically. This concept is fundamental to all living things because of the genetic code.
Every creative act in Genesis begins with “And God said…”
And then John 1 says:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
This is a recognition that words and language are the basis of all creative acts, and a statement that Jesus Christ is the incarnate expression of God’s words and language. Thus the concept of communication is core to the very nature of God and living things are a reflection of this reality.
As I said, I have three other reasons for embracing Christian theology:
Science got started in ancient China; in ancient Egypt and Greece and Rome; and in Islam. But it never went anywhere. In those cultures, it sputtered and coughed and died.
Because those cultures did not have a theology to support it.
Science rests on faith that the universe is governed by fixed, discoverable laws. That it operates without the need for constant intervention by the creator and that the creation has a degree of freedom to follow its own course.
Islam does not teach this; Greek and Roman mythology did not teach this, and neither did the Egyptian or Eastern religions.
Wisdom of Solomon 11:21, which was written 3,000 years ago, says, “Thou hast ordered all things in weight and number and measure.” This is found in the apocrypha, i.e. the books of the Catholic Bible.
In Islam, the will of Allah is absolute and the world functions according to His inscrutable purposes. In Roman and Greek theology, thunder and lightning occurred because one deity was at war with another. Aristotle’s claim that heavier objects would fall faster was often repeated but almost never tested – even though anyone could easily stand on a chair and put his theory to the test.
Chinese mysticism similarly provided no grounds for an orderly, mechanistic universe.
Atheism offers no outside framework for assuming the universe is orderly either; many atheists, both ancient and modern, assume it’s all a big giant accident. Which is an explicitly anti-scientific proposition.
Only in Christian Europe was there a basis for believing that a search for discoverable laws would be richly rewarded. And it’s no coincidence that a large number of the great scientists – Newton, Copernicus, Galileo, Maxwell, Boyle – were deeply religious and considered the practice of science to be an act of worship. A way of peering into the very mind of God.
The United States Declaration of Independence makes a world-shattering declaration that transformed the modern world:
“We hold these things to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“In Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. All are equal in Christ Jesus.”
Tocqueville points out that before Paul said this, NO ONE had ever made such a bold and sweeping statement. No one. Not the Jews, not the Babylonians, not the Egyptians, not the Greeks, not the Chinese. The concept of equality came first from Paul and this, Tocqueville explains, is where the key ideas in the Declaration of Independence came from.
Like science, yes this idea had already appeared in fragments in other cultures. In China, Mo Tzu said, essentially, that all men are equal in the eyes of god/gods; and if god doesn’t care about our superficial differences, why should we. Fair enough. But Mo Tzu’s statement was not as bold and sweeping as Paul’s and most importantly it didn’t take root. (Has China ever been known as a place where equality was championed as a core virtue?)
And of course one cannot possibly derive belief in equality from Darwinism!
St. Paul’s idea got planted in western civilization and began to grow and develop, little by little dismantling slave trade, sowing the seeds for democratic ideas and spurring technological and political progress. Rodney Stark, in his book The Victory of Reason, explains how by 600 AD, slavery was being challenged by Christians in Europe and this is one of the reasons that technological innovations like windmills were developed: a desired substitute for cheap human labor.
Tocqueville explains how from 1100 AD forward, every major development in Europe – the Magna Carta, the invention of the horseshoe, the invention of the post office, the invention of the gun; the steam engine, the Reformation, the invention of the printing press and the library – every one of these things served to create more equality not less… whether they were intended to or not.
And of course the trends Tocqueville described only accelerate after 1835, and we see that citizen-driven government spreads at increasing speed, and the development of the telephone, radio, TV, automobiles and eventually the Internet all serve to provide more equality. The concept of equality and the evolution of technology are closely linked.
Paul was declaring that there is an underlying spiritual reality, that yours and my true identity doesn’t come from accomplishments or money or power but from our Heavenly Father. That once we know that true identity we’re no longer slaves to money and power and accomplishments and the ‘natural’ order of things.
I believe that the prosperity, education and quality of life in the West flows from the rise of science and equality. I think that had Jesus not come the world would still be mired in pagan religions and primitive lifestyles.
And in the grand scheme of things, Jesus Christ has no equal in history. He stepped into the world and split time in half – BC and AD – and he is the most loved, most hated, most argued about, most reviled, most divisive, most revolutionary person in all of human history. People reading this right now are stirred by my very words to either nod their heads in agreement or rise up in anger. You cannot be neutral about Jesus – just what we should expect if God’s son enters this world.
Many men have claimed to be God but only Jesus is taken seriously on this claim.
I often ask people:
“Name 5 protestant Christian countries that have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.”
“Name 5 Buddhist countries… or 5 Hindu countries… or 5 Muslim countries… or 5 Atheist countries… that do NOT have rampant poverty, illiteracy and human rights abuses.”
Of these, the atheist countries have the worst track record. I’ve got a book on my shelf called The Black Book Of Communism. It documents in excruciating detail the genocide of 160 million people under mostly atheist regimes — in the 20th century alone.
That’s more people murdered, butchered, slaughtered, churches burned with congregations inside, women and children sent to mass graves via atheism – during the 20th century – than because of all religious wars in all centuries combined.
I freely confess that religious people and yes both Christians and “Christians” have murdered in the name of God. This is EVIL and everyone knows it. (Does not the Bible itself report that the very first murder was Cain killing Abel in a fight about how to worship God? Ladies and gentlemen, the story of the human race begins in earnest in Genesis 4.) And yes, murder in the name of God is utterly wrong and decidedly anti-Christian. The Old and New Testaments explicitly condemn murder.
For the sins of Christians everywhere, I confess and I apologize.
Yet I am even more sorry to report that atheism has more blood on its hands than any other belief system. 160 million dead in the last 100 years.
My fourth reason for embracing Christianity is
The New Testament explicitly invokes miracles as proof of the divinity of Christ. In John 3, Nicodemus, a member of the religious elite, comes to see Jesus under the cover of night. He says, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
It is clear from the context of the Gospel accounts that the miracles Jesus performed were far beyond what normal people ever experienced or expected.
The greatest miracle of all, of course, is the resurrection of Jesus.
No one who rejects the resurrection offers a convincing alternative explanation of what happened. Theories abound, but no single “2nd theory” has achieved any real consensus; alternative theories all have significant problems and leave major questions unanswered. Most of the alternative theories have little if any supporting evidence from historical documents.
Even a prominent skeptic admits: If God exists, belief in the resurrection is philosophically rational and historically reasonable:
“Atheists are quick to ridicule the resurrection because of its miraculous nature; Christian apologists are quick to point out that an a priori rejection of the miraculous is unwarranted.
“Both sides are correct within their worldview. But they have failed to argue outside of their worldview. Atheists should not be so quick to ridicule the miraculous and use a Humean attack on miracles to refute the resurrection. Unless atheists can demonstrate that theism is irrational or that the historical evidence for a material resurrection is lacking, they are unlikely to convince many theists to reject the resurrection. Similarly, Christian apologists need to recognize that, until atheists are shown that theism is plausible, atheists will continue to regard the resurrection as a highly implausible event.
“I think it is rational to both accept and reject the resurrection. I think there are strong historical arguments for the resurrection (a lá William Lane Craig), but I also think there are good reasons to reject such arguments. I realize this may sound like a cop-out to some, but I think it is quite reasonable, especially when the issue of prior probability is taken into consideration.” -Jeffrey Jay Lowder, The Historicity of Jesus’ Resurrection, 1995 (Infidels.org)
Finally I have my own experience of miracles to report. An article I wrote in 2007 when I was in India, further outlines various Christian positions on miracles, specific medical documentation of miracles, and events that I personally witnessed. This is just one event. I have had other miraculous experiences as well, as have numerous close friends. From my own personal experience there can be no doubt that there is a supernatural world that intersects our familiar physical world.
You cannot look up at the stars at night without pondering the significance of it all. You wonder about the mysteries of time and eternity.
Jesus’ closest disciple, John, wrote these words:
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Having a relationship with the Creator of the Universe is not complicated. It’s simple. It’s as simple as acknowledging His love and his power, and inviting him to be the forgiver of your sins and the leader of your life.
I invite you to stop what you’re doing and say a simple prayer: “God, I acknowledge the wonders of the universe that you have made. I accept your Son Jesus Christ as the WORD, as the human expression of your love for us. I confess my failures and I choose to follow you.”
At the very moment of praying this prayer you have crossed an infinite chasm – you have gone from separation from God to communion with God.
I invite you to let us know you have made this decision. Click this link, fill in the form and someone will personally be in contact with you to help you in your journey as a child of God.
I also invite you to subscribe to my free email series 7 Great Lies of Organized Religion which explores Jesus’ war against those who abused religious power.