Francis Collins Language of God

My latest audio book in September 2023. Stimulating many thoughts.

So on vacation in the mountains I listen to this. Part of the reason is the insane Answers In Genesis agonists who call everybody heretics.

Francis Collins has a degree in physical chemistry. And medicine. He took up biology and genetics after pchem. And reading CS Lewis caused him to reconsider his agnosticism and after applying some logic he became a christian!

I may have thoughts on his book after finishing it. Those will be topical and appear in various categories.

A SciFi Fantasy

I feel a new sci fi story coming on. It includes:

How Delightful!

The victim. Every juicy story needs a victim.

A twisted story arc. One of many!

The protagonist (or one of them).

The hero to the rescue! (There always must be a way out).

A plot twist. OOPS! It gave away the source of the story!

OK, in a galaxy far far away 30.000,000 years into humanity’s future there arises a arch-hero of ancient fame. Errrr … was that 30,000,000 years in humanity’s past? Whatever.

Why (some) Deists are Stupid

Facebook pushed this at me:

Someone answered them. Actually, Luke 14:26 is followed by a parable – which the deist ignores.

Look how the deist answers. “A true leader does not speak in code”.

The OP is going to decide who a true leader is and who you should listen to based on the OP’s opinion. It is not even an argument. It is a declaration. Sounds like authoritarianism to me.

Actually it is the OP’s “Revealed Religion”, revealed by them. Because they say so.

This isn’t actually deism as conceived historically. It is pure atheism. Deists believe God wound up the universe but does not interfere with it. This OP says there is no God.


See below for this: In the Hebrew Scriptures, the contrast between “love” and “hatred” is sometimes used to communicate preference. For example, in dealing with inheritances in polygamous marriages, the Mosaic Law referred to “two wives, one beloved, and another hated”

Following the statement that we must “hate” our father and mother, Jesus relates a metaphor about a man who builds a house without first counting the cost (Luke 14:28–30). The man finds that he cannot follow through with what he set out to do. He leaves the house unfinished because he cannot pay what is required. Jesus’ illustration helps explain His difficult statement about hating our mother and father—namely, we must count the cost of being a disciple. There is a cost, and that is the point of the passage.

In order to be a disciple, we must be willing to give up everything for Jesus. Following Jesus requires commitment and faithfulness, even if our parents choose not to follow the Lord. If and when we are faced with the painful choice of loyalty to family versus loyalty to Jesus, we must choose Jesus. Even if our family members disown us—or worse—for being Christians, we must follow Christ. It is in this sense that we are “hating” our family. Jesus’ command to “hate father and mother” requires us to prioritize our relationship with Jesus over our relationship with parents, siblings, and other family members.

Of course, it is right to love our family members, and we want them to love and follow God. Elsewhere, Jesus confirmed the fifth commandment that we honor our fathers and mothers (Mark 7:9–13). And Paul sternly warned that “anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Jesus’ statement that we “hate” father and mother must be seen in relation to the whole of Scripture. His point is not that we are to be heartless toward our families, only that we must love Him more.

We must not forget that included in Jesus’ condition that a follower must “hate” his father and mother is the condition that he likewise hate “even his own life” (Luke 14:26, NAS). Jesus is not teaching an emotional hatred of one’s parents any more than He is teaching self-hatred. The emphasis is on self-denial and absolute surrender. Immediately following is Jesus’ instruction to “carry your own cross” (verse 27, NLT).

Some other translations make Jesus’ meaning a little clearer: “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison” (Luke 14:26, NLT, emphasis added), and the Amplified Bible says that a follower of Christ must “hate” his family members “in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God.” It is a “hatred” by comparison, not an absolute hatred.

The word hate in Luke 14:26 deserves a closer look. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the contrast between “love” and “hatred” is sometimes used to communicate preference. For example, in dealing with inheritances in polygamous marriages, the Mosaic Law referred to “two wives, one beloved, and another hated” (Deuteronomy 21:15, KJV). This is a good, literal translation. There was a “loved” wife and a “hated” wife. Other translations usually soften the “hated” wife to be “unloved” (CSB) or “less loved” (NET). The law was not indicating emotional hatred on the part of the husband, only preference. One wife was preferred over the other. We have a similar use of the love/hate idiom in Malachi 1:2–3 (cf. Romans 9:13).

Many Christians will never have to make the painful choice of turning their backs on their family in order to follow Christ. But, around the world, there are many other Christians who face shunning, disowning, or persecution from their families. These believers, if they are to be true to Christ, are forced to live in a way perceived as “hateful” toward their “father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters” (Luke 14:26). All believers are called to acknowledge the lordship of Christ and show Him preference over all earthly ties. Those who must sacrifice earthly relationships have this promise: “No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29–30).

So, the OP has jumped to a conclusion based on inadequate research of the subject he is complaining about. He is actually just complaining about his own imaginary world.

I do not need to read any more of this atheistic claptrap shrouded in religious language. A reductionist atheist makes way more sense. They at least know what epistemology actually is.

Surely You are Joking, Mr Lightman.

When an atheist (Mr.X.) declares to you “I don’t care what Alan Lightman thinks about God” you know you are talking to a narcissist.


Because Alan Lightman, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t think anything at all about God. He isn’t a theist.

Mr X, the narcissist, is either lying or he is an idiot.

Alan Lightman isn’t talking about God and religion. He is talking about physics.

The real question about what atheism is: what does atheism really have to say to humanity? Atheists need to explain the following: “How do you know thought and mind does not exist? And if it does not, isn’t your religious world view then nihilism? Is the logical conclusion of reductionism nihilism?”

Nihilism means if thought does not exist then minds do not exist. if minds do not exist then humans do not exist. The human race does not exist. its a fantasy. and values do not exist. Love, hate, justice, hope, all these are fantasies because none of them really exist. They are figments of the imagination and have no reality.

“Well, gee, batman”, a student mutters under his breath, “the trans person with hurt feelings is just going to have to lump it, aren’t they?”

What do nihilists really have to say to humanity? Nothing. They add no value. Values do not exist in their world view.

That doesnt answer the question of, “Is the logical conclusion of reductionism nihilism?”

Atheists aren’t talking. They do not know. They rage against theists on the basis of, well, as far as I can tell, a basis of ignorance. I think Jonathon Haight describes it best. They have a preconceived conclusion, really just a moral belief, and they are looking for evidence to shore up their belief. What Jonathon Haight calls “the elephant and the rider problem.” There is a cognitive dissonance in that process, and also a dishonesty.

Alan Lightman, by contrast, ponders the unknown and the unknowable and attempts to label them. That is why is is so hilarious that Mr X boldly declares “I don’t care what Alan Lightman says about God.”

Answers In Heresy (I mean Genesis)

AIG apologist Isaac Bourne claims Christians are going to hell (cannot be saved) because they fail to follow AIG theology. Here is his argument. It depends on having a belief about the age of the earth (being young).

Issac Bourne

That’s because the worlds education requires one to accept the worlds views. You cannot be educated with secular degrees and expect not to be rejected by the groups that educated you if you proclaim God and the Bible. God plays second fiddle to no man’s: Education, opinion or whatever. Period. And when this person gets to Heaven, God won’t be opening a science book either. And Darwin won’t be sitting next to Him giving judgment on how well every accepted evolution.

Which creation belief can you use to draw people forward to salvation?

God used evolution to create? Nope.

God used millions and billions of years to create? Nope.

God’s creation is literally true aka YEC? Yep. Happens everyday.

This is why you won’t see God used evolution to create do alter calls.

This is why you won’t see God took millions and billions of years do alter calls.

Because there is no God in it therefore God will not draw people unto his Son through a lie. So those 2 teachings come back void while YEC does not.

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17 KJV

When you know what the truth is and you instead decide to believe a lie.

Then what you believe becomes a sin because you knew better. That is why the word knoweth is used. Do you know God’s Word say nothing about using evolution during creation? Of course you do. Do you know God’s Word and tracible time line supports 6-24 hour days and 6.000 years? Of course you do.

And yet you believe something else right? So your belief is now a sin, not by my opinion, but what God’s Word states. And if you do not respect God’s Word enough to accept correction then you are already lost in that sin.

Here’s what happens when you mess with God’s Word.

“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:19 KJV

And can you enter Heaven without you name in the book of life?

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15 KJV

And because you now know, you can never claim true ignorance which is covered by grace because this ignorance is on purpose. YEC is just a literal belief. God’s Word judges what happens when you go outside of such things, not those who believe YEC, Did I not back up everything concerning that? Then your problem is not with YEC, it’s with God’s Word. And all we do is abide by that is that also is what you have a problem with. prove me wrong.

I said to him

Issac Bourne Origins theories have nothing to do with salvation as far as I can figure. Ive started to ask lifelong bible scholars, ordained ministers, and theologians about this. Is Christianity dependent upon a particular narrative or belief about origins? The answer I get is “no”. Salvation depends on Jesus of Nazareth and his death, burial, resurrection, and propitiation for sin, etc, etc, and faith in him and his work Age of the earth? Has nothing to do with that except you have constructed a narrative and turned it into a doctrine. The sorting of sheep and goats will depend on response to the Christ, not on opinion about origins. Unless you create some kind of “new and different?” doctrine that says judgement does depend on a believer’s opinion about origins. I dont see that requirement in the scriptures. It looks to me like this doctrine, if it is a doctrine at all, did not exist in the 1st and 2nd century but was added in modern times. Which adds doctrine to the scriptures. Its either modern additive doctrine or its not doctrine at all but instead is just personal opinion. A bit hard to tell.

I dont see the core beliefs of christianity being affected by your world view here.

Dustin Burlet, another AIG apologist says no, their belief about the bible and theology does not affect salvation per se. But if not accepted it does destroy the truth in the bible.

There is a lot to unpack here – if I have understood the scenario (about YEC) correctly much hinges on Jesus. Allow me to explain (citing C. John Collins, Science and Faith: Friends or Foes, pg. 106)

Collins states:

“The argument for a young earth . . . goes like this: the phrases ‘from the beginning of creation’ (Mark 10:6) and ‘from the beginning’ (Matt 19:4, 😎 do not refer to the beginning of mankind [sic] but to the beginning of creation itself. Therefore, Jesus was dating the origin of mankind [sic] to a time very shortly after the initial creation of Genesis 1:1. If there is any kind of time very shortly after the initial creation and the beginning of the creation week, or if the week itself lasts much longer than an ordinary week, then we must conclude that Jesus was mistaken (or worse, misleading), and therefore he can’t be God. “

Collins goes on to clarify:

“If this argument is sound, I’m in trouble, because . . . I cannot follow this reading of Genesis 1. On the other hand, I firmly believe in the traditional Christian doctrine of Christ, and tremble at the thought of doing anything to undermine it. But the argument is not sound. It finds its credibility from the way the English “from the beginning” seems so definite; but the Greek is not fixed in meaning. “

NB: Specifically, the use “of the article in Greek is not like use of the definite article in English, not least because Greek does not have the same choice of forms . . . Once a Greek speaker or writer chose to use the article, there was not a choice whether an indefinite or definite one would be used. Therefore, the presence or absence of an article does not make a substantive definite or indefinite.” Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament (London: Sheffield Academic 2nd. ed, 2005) 103. See too Middleton, Doctrine of the Greek Article (London: Rivington, 2nd ed, 1841). Notably, though, the term ἄρχη is not actually articular in any of the texts cited above save Matt 19:4 (Cf. John 1:1).

Irrespective of the minutia, what is clear from the above is that Collins does not dismiss the question of the age of the earth as a secondary issue. Instead, he (rightly) ties a proper understanding of these matters to biblical authority via connecting them to the doctrine of Christ (cf. John 18:37).

As such, In a similar way, Terry Mortenson asserts: “Exodus 20:8–11 resists all attempts to add millions of years anywhere in or before Genesis 1 because in Exodus 20:11 . . . God says He created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them during the six days described in Genesis 1. He made nothing before those six days. It should also be noted that the fourth commandment is one of only a few of the Ten Commandments that contains a reason for the commandment. If God created over millions of years, He could have not given a reason for Sabbath-keeping or He could have given a theological or redemptive reason as He did elsewhere (cf. Exod 31:13 and Deut 5:13–15) . . . Ultimately, the question of the age of the earth is a question of the truth and authority of Scripture. That’s why the age of the earth matters so much and why the church cannot compromise with millions of years (or evolution).” Terry Mortenson, “Young-Earth Creationist View Summarized And Defended.” No Pages. Online. Italics original.…/young-earth-creationist…/

Elsewhere, Mortenson also opines: “The . . . larger controlling thesis for this book is that the age of the creation is foundationally and critically important for Christian doctrine. It really does matter what we believe on this issue. To be sure, we are not insisting that a person must be a young-earth creationist to be saved and in a right relationship with God. Faith in Christ alone is sufficient for that. But what we believe on this topic does relate critically to inerrancy, hermeneutics, and Scripture as the final authority in all matters that it addresses.” Terry Mortenson, “Foreword,” in Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth, 20. New Leaf (2008).

Lastly, another YEC scholar (Joanthan Sarfati) maintains:

“OK, let’s assume for the sake of the argument that firstly, creation was by evolution, over millions of years of death and suffering—and that Jesus did perform some sort of lobotomy7 on Himself, so that He could no longer recall what really took place. So He just understood Genesis in the most natural straightforward way, not realizing what the real truth was. What you’re claiming in that case amounts to this: That God the Father, knowing the real truth, permitted not just the Apostles, but His beloved Son, while on Earth, to believe and teach things that were utter falsehoods. Furthermore, it means that the Father permitted these false teachings to appear—repeatedly—in His revealed Word. With the result that for some 2,000 years, the vast majority of Christians were seriously misled about such things as not just the time and manner of creation, but gospel-crucial matters such as the origin of sin, and of death and suffering.”

The doctrinal position of AIG

What you’re claiming in that case amounts to this: That God the Father, knowing the real truth, permitted not just the Apostles, but His beloved Son, while on Earth, to believe and teach things that were utter falsehoods. Furthermore, it means that the Father permitted these false teachings to appear—repeatedly—in His revealed Word. With the result that for some 2,000 years, the vast majority of Christians were seriously misled about such things as not just the time and manner of creation, but gospel-crucial matters such as the origin of sin, and of death and suffering.”

Wow, all of Christianity has been misled for 2000 years? Really?

AIG Fragility?

What I am left thinking:

Seems to me that if Adam ever stepped on a bug, or ate a bug, then death came into the world before the sin of Adam and their entire theological world view instantly collapses.

A Re-evaluation

If all the truth in the Bible were to be destroyed then how does anybody come to a saving faith in Jesus of Nazareth as their saviour? So, truth be told, perhaps the AIG belief really is about who can be a Christian? It is all about heresy.

Caveat: Is it possible for the bible to be true but AIG simply does not understand what it says? BINGO!

Is it possible for God to have spoken in parables in Genesis and the bible is still true? You see, AIG claims if Genesis is parables then the bible is not true. That is based on their opinion. Only on their opinion.

Raindrops Caught My Eye:

Scientific knowledge is of two types: knowledge of the properties of physical objects, like the size and mass of a raindrop, and knowledge of what we call “laws of nature.” One of the first human beings to formulate a law of the physical world was Archimedes, more than two thousand years ago. Archimedes “law of floating bodies”:

Any solid lighter than a fluid will, if placed in the fluid, be so far immersed that the weight of the solid will be equal to the weight of the fluid displaced.

We can speculate on how Archimedes arrived at his law. At the time, balance scales were available for weighing goods in the market. The scientist could have first weighed an object, then placed it in a rectangular container of water and measured the rise in height of the water. The area of the container multiplied by the height of the rise would give the volume of water displaced.

Finally, that volume of water could be placed in another container and weighed. Undoubtedly, Archimedes would have performed this exercise many times with different objects before devising the law. He probably also performed the experiment with other liquids, like mercury, to discover the generality of the law. 

All laws of the physical world are like Archimedes’ law. They are precise. They are quantitative. And they are general, applying to a large range of phenomena. Most importantly, all laws of nature discovered by scientists are considered provisional. They are considered to be approximations to deeper laws. They are constantly being revised as new experimental evidence is found or new (and testable) ideas are proposed. 

It is in the process of revision that we see the strongest differences between the methods and beliefs of science and religion.

Knowledge and believing

Everything that we know about the physical world – the domain of science – is subject to revision. Everything must be tested and proved. The knowledge of religion, coming from either the divine authority of the sacred books or from the irrefutable personal transcendent experience, is not subject to revision. It is not an approximation. It is certain. And it cannot be proved. It must be taken on faith.

Paradoxically, all of the knowledge of religion is considered certain, and all of the knowledge of science is considered uncertain. Still, science has done pretty well with its uncertainties and approximations. The approximations of science have been good enough to give us antibiotics and smart phones and rocket ships that can land men on the moon.

Science demands proof for what it believes, even though those beliefs are constantly changing as new experimental evidence becomes available. There is something that scientists believe in that cannot be proven. It is a principle I call the Central Doctrine of Science: The physical world is lawful. All properties and events in the physical universe are governed by laws, and those laws hold true at every time and place in the universe. Graduate students in science absorb this belief through every pore of their skin. It is an unconscious but powerful commitment.

I call the Central Doctrine of Science a doctrine because, despite its success in the past, it cannot be proved. It must be accepted as a matter of faith. No matter how lawful and logical the material cosmos has been up to now, we cannot be sure that something illogical, unexplainable, and fundamentally unlawful might happen tomorrow. Our faith in the Doctrine is so strong that when we find physical phenomena that cannot be explained in terms of current laws, we attempt to revise those laws rather than abandon our belief in a lawful universe.

When it was found in the 19th Century that the orbit of Mercury could not be completely explained in terms of Newton’s law of gravity, scientists did not attribute the discrepancy to an unsolvable mystery or to the breakdown of order in the physical world or to the intervention of a whimsical god. Instead, they recognized a physical problem that required a more advanced physical understanding.

That more advanced understanding was provided by Einstein’s theory of gravity. In fact, I cannot imagine any event in the material world that would cause most scientists to label the event a miracle, unexplainable by science. If a wheelbarrow began to float, a scientist would look for magnetic levitators or, if necessary, assign the phenomenon to some new kind of force. But a natural and lawful force, not a supernatural force. 

So, perhaps I am a person of faith after all. I will have to share this discovery with Micah.

Memphis native Alan Lightman is a physicist, novelist and professor of the practice of the humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His new book, “Searching for Stars on and Island in Maine” is published by Pantheon.

Fun with Hamsters.

Someone said this to Jerrod. I about spat out my coffee when I read it.
Saint Ken of the Ham really captures it well.

I wonder if there is a sigel for Saint Ken?

I swear, I am going to make a character in fantasy books modeled on Saint Ken of the Ham. He will be constructing giant submarines in the land of Garma to model the real one that happened in the “Great Soaping of Atlantis.”

Central Tenet of Science

Atheism is based on the irrational belief that the Central Tenet of Science is true.

But according to MIT physicist Alan Lightman the Central Tenet of Science cannot be proven. Therefore it is accepted by faith (my words, not his). Because it is faith it is metaphysics and has the same status as any metaphysical belief. But atheists lie to us and tell us the central tenet is FACT.

In all my life no atheist has ever given me one single rational reason to have any hope. Not one tiny thimbleful of any reason. The very best they come up with is humans are doomed for a life of misery and meaninglessness followed by an eternity of oblivion.

But if anyone believes in any other viewpoint the atheist says its all imaginary and foolishness. They will cry “science says so”and claim to KNOW they are correct. Really know. Without a shred of doubt. Not just a matter of what they happen to have chosen as a belief. No, they have KNOWLEDGE. And all who doubt them are idiots.

They have millions of followers who believe them without question. Its like a mind numbed cult.

One aspect of atheism is its lack of explanatory power about purpose. The opposite of purpose is nihilism.

Atheists tell us the best anyone can hope for is we go to oblivion. They never explain why that is a better place. Or why it is hope. But they sure do criticize anyone who doesn’t believe them. “What a wonderful future we will have” they claim. When their core belief is we have no future. Is that even rational? Who cares what people a million years from now think is wonderful if we are all in oblivion? Who could possibly care?

This is one reason I believe in hell. Surely there must be a punishment for the people who strip away all hope from humans.

A just God would create a hell if one did not already exist. Just for the atheists, because they have created a sense of despair and hopelessness for all humankind.

Doctrines of Salvation

CATEGORY: Spiritual

The words are from Covenant Grace Church. Any commentary I add will be in shaded background.

Martin Luther said that justification by faith alone is “the article upon which the church stands or falls” (articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae).1 Charles Spurgeon, concurred and stated, “Any church which puts in the place of justification by faith in Christ another method of salvation is a harlot church.”2 The doctrine of justification by faith alone is the heart of the gospel. It is possible for Christians to be in error on a myriad of theological points and still be in a state of salvation, but if a person is wrong on the Bible’s teaching concerning how a person is justified, they cannot be in a right relationship with God. The doctrine of justification by faith alone answers the most basic theological question: how can sinful man be right or just with God? How is it possible for people who have broken God’s righteous law and are unholy to be right with the Holy One? John Murray expressed this idea well when he wrote:

In the last analysis sin is always against God, and the essence of sin is to be against God. The one who is against God cannot be right with God. For if we are against God then God is against us. It could not be otherwise. God cannot be indifferent to or complacent towards that which is the contradiction of himself. His very perfection requires the recoil of righteous indignation. And that is God’s wrath. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18). This is our situation and it is our relation to God; how can we be right with him?3

The doctrine of justification by faith alone addresses this fundamental issue of how sinful man can be at peace with a holy God. This is why it is the heart and essence of the gospel.

Two needs exist in regard to sinful man having a relationship with God: 1) Man has broken God’s law; he is a sinner; and 2) Man is not perfectly righteous. Our justification in Christ meets both of these needs. The Westminster Shorter Catechism gives a succinct definition of justification by faith alone: “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, whereby he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone” (Question 33). Three key points concerning our justification are brought out in this definition: 1) It is a forensic or judicial act of God based upon his free grace in Christ; 2) In it our sins are forgiven; 3) In it we are accepted as righteous in the sight of God because of Christ’s righteousness being imputed to us.


It is important to recognize that God is the one that justifies. Justification is not something that we do; it is an act of God. Romans 4:5 states: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. . . .” Romans 8:33 states: “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies.” Both of these passages say that it is God who justifies. Louis Berkhof states concerning justification:

Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner. It is unique in the application of the work of redemption in that it is a judicial act of God, a declaration respecting the sinner, and not an act or process of renewal, such as regeneration, conversion, and sanctification. While it has respect to the sinner, it does not change his inner life. It does not affect his condition, but his state…4

John Murray writes:

This truth that God justifies needs to be underlined. We do not justify ourselves. Justification is not our apology nor is it the effect in us of a process of self-excusation. It is not even our confession nor the good feeling that may be induced in us by confession. Justification is not any religious exercise in which we engage however noble and good that religious exercise may be. If we are to understand justification and appropriate its grace we must turn our thoughts to the action of God justifying the ungodly.5

When we speak of God being the one who justifies, the key idea is that justification is a legal declaration by God. In this regard, justification does not mean to make righteous or holy in an ethical sense. For example, when a judge justifies a person who is accused of a crime, he does not make that person an innocent or upright person; he simply declares what the person is. In the same way, justification by God is a legal declaration of what is true concerning a person who is in Christ.

In both the Old and New Testaments, the usage of the term “justify” contains this meaning of a judicial declaration. Deuteronomy 25:1 states: “If there is a dispute between men and they go to court, and the judges decide their case, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked. . . .” The judges did not make the people righteous or wicked; they simply declared what was the truth concerning the person under judgment. Proverbs 17:15 sets forth the same concept of justification: “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.” Here again, a declarative idea is affirmed. If the term “justify” had the meaning of making righteous, this statement in Proverbs would not be true. It would be an honorable act to make the wicked righteous. In fact, this is what God does when he regenerates a person. However, the abomination in Proverbs 17:15 is the giving of a judgment that is contrary to the truth; to justify the wicked is to declare him righteous when, in fact, he is not righteous. Therefore, the term “justify” must have a declarative or judicial usage. The New Testament also uses the term “justify” in a declarative sense. Luke 7:29 says, “And when all the people and the tax-gatherers heard this, they justified God. . . .” Obviously, the people and the tax-gatherers did not make God righteous; they acknowledged the righteous or just actions of God. They declared that God was just. These passages demonstrate the that the meaning of justification with regard to our salvation is that it is a legal declaration. They also show that the term “justification” does not mean to make upright or righteous.

The legal nature of justification is also seen in the term being contrasted with condemnation. In Deut. 25:1 and Prov. 17:15, justify and condemn are the opposites of each other. Just as “condemn” does not mean to make wicked, “justify” does not mean to make good. Romans 8:3334 also employs this same contrast between justify and condemn: “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns. . . ?” This passage also emphasizes the idea of a judicial declaration. It is the rebuttal against an accusation that may be brought against the elect of God. The answer to that accusation is that God’s judgment is final. God’s declaration that a person is righteous stands against every accusation. It is a legal or judicial act of God not an inward work in which a person is made righteous (see also 1 Kings 8:32Matthew 12:37Romans 5:16). John Murray writes:

This is what is meant when we insist that justification is forensic. It has to do with a judgment given, declared, pronounced; it is judicial or juridical or forensic. The main point of such terms is to distinguish between the kind of action which justification involves and the kind of action involved in regeneration. Regeneration is an act of God in us; justification is a judgment of God with respect to us. The distinction is like that of the distinction between the act of a surgeon and the act of a judge. The surgeon, when he removes an inward cancer, does something in us. That is not what a judge does – he gives a verdict regarding our judicial status. If we are innocent he declares accordingly.6


Since Deuteronomy 25:1 and Proverbs 17:15 both make the point that a righteous judge will only proclaim a judgment that is in accordance with the truth about an individual, how can God, the ultimate righteous judge, make a legal declaration that a person who has broken his law is righteous? The answer to this question is found in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer. The ground of justification is the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer. The Scriptures teach that when a person believes in Christ, Jesus’ perfect obedience to the law of God is imputed or credited to him. Romans 4:1-8 is one of the more important passages in the New Testament that propounds this truth. After setting forth some critical points concerning justification in Romans 3:21-31, Paul gives two examples from the Old Testament that demonstrate that justification is a legal declaration that has its foundation in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and work of atonement. First, Paul emphasizes that justification is a free gift and that an individual’s so-called good works are not the basis of his justification: “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness’ (Rom. 4:1-3). When Abraham believed God, righteousness was reckoned to him. The Greek word translated as “reckoned” is elogisthe (Aorist passive of logizomai). This word has the meaning of reckoning to one’s account just like an accountant would enter an amount in an account book. The New International Version translates this Greek word with this accounting idea: “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Paul continues this thought in verses 4 and 5: “Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. . . .” Paul makes a simple point concerning wages and obligation. If a person contracts to work for a certain wage and fulfills the contract, then he is owed that wage by his employer. The employer does not pay him that wage as a favor, but pays it as an obligation that is owed. Paul states that when God justifies a sinner it is by no means an obligation or debt that is owed the sinner because of that sinner’s works. Justification is not on the basis of an individual’s personal righteousness; the basis of justification is the legal crediting of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner, a crediting that is received by faith alone. Romans 4:5 states: “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. . . .” Notice that God justifies the ungodly. It is not that a person makes himself righteous through a series of pious acts so that he has enough personal merit to be declared righteous by God. God justifies a sinner on the basis of Christ’s righteousness when he is still ungodly. God reckons the person as just or righteous because of the obedience of Christ credited to him. R. C. Sproul writes concerning this: “By imparting or imputing Christ’s righteousness to us sinners, God reckons us as just. It is ‘as if’ we were inherently just. But we are not inherently just. We are ‘counted’ or ‘reckoned’ just by imputation.”7 John Calvin said it this way:

Therefore, “to justify” means nothing else than to acquit of guilt him who was accused, as if his innocence were confirmed. Therefore, since God justifies us by the intercession of Christ, he absolves us not by the confirmation of our own innocence but by the imputation of righteousness, so that we who are not righteous in ourselves may be reckoned as such in Christ.8

Martin Luther summarized this idea in the phrase simul iustus et peccator (“at the same time just and sinner”). We are just or right before God because of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us and received by faith alone while at the same time sin remains in us. Romans 4:6-8 continues this thought and adds the idea of forgiveness for sins: “. . . just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.’” Paul continues to drive home the point that God reckons righteousness apart from works and uses the same accounting language in regard to the forgiveness of sins. The last phrase of verse 8 uses the same Greek word that is used previously in the passage for “reckon” or “credit” (logizomai). This passage supports the idea that justification is a legal act in which the sinner is declared righteous by God based on the imputation of Christ’s righteousness and the forgiveness of sins based on Christ’s work of sacrifice on the cross. Therefore, two aspects of Christ’s work are applied in our justification. Christ satisfied all the demands of God’s justice in his perfect obedience to the law of God during his life. It is this perfect obedience or righteousness that is imputed to us when we believe in him. Christ also satisfied all the demands of God’s justice against the law-breaker in his work of atonement on the cross. The sins of the believer were imputed to Christ and he took the penalty due those sins. R. C. Sproul writes, “The atonement is vicarious because it is accomplished via imputation. Christ is the sin-bearer for his people, the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) who takes away (expiates) our sin and satisfies (propitiates) the demands of God’s justice. The cross displays both God’s justice (in that he truly punishes sin) and his grace (because he punishes sin by providing a substitute for us).”9 2 Corinthians 5:21 sets forth both of these elements of justification concisely: “He made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Robert Reymond summarizes this idea:

That the righteousness of justification is the God-righteousness of the divine Christ himself, which is imputed or reckoned to us the moment we place our confidence in him (see justification as a finished act in Rom. 5:1 – ‘having been justified’), is amply testified to when the Scriptures teach that we are justified (1) in Christ (Isa. 45:24-25Acts 13:39Rom. 8:11 Cor. 6:11Gal. 2:17Phil. 3:9), (2) by Christ’s death work (Rom. 3:24-255:98:33-34), (3) not by our own but by the righteousness of God (Isa. 61:10Rom. 1:173:21-2210:32 Cor. 5:21Phil. 3:9) and (4) by the righteousness and obedience of Christ (Rom. 5:17-19). In short, the only ground of justification is the perfect God-righteousness of Christ that God the Father imputes to every sinner who places his confidence in the obedience and satisfaction of his Son. Said another way, the moment the sinner, through faith in Jesus Christ, turns away from every human resource and rests in Christ alone, the Father imputes his well-beloved Son’s preceptive (active) obedience to him and accepts him as righteous in his sight.10

If you trust in Christ alone as your Savior, the promise of Scripture is that you are forgiven and accepted in God’s sight as righteous, not because of your own righteousness, but because of Christ’s righteousness imputed to you and received by faith alone.


The Scriptures emphasize repeatedly that justification is not by law-keeping or human works, but by faith alone. This is the key point of the Reformation phrase sola fide (faith alone). Robert Reymond writes, “With a gloriously monotonous regularity Paul pits faith against all law-keeping, viewed as its diametrical opposite. Whereas the latter relies on human effort of the law-keeper looking to himself to render satisfaction before God and earn merit, the former repudiates and looks entirely away from self and all human effort to the work of Jesus Christ, who alone by his obedient life and sacrificial death rendered full satisfaction before God and men.”11 This principle is set forth in many passages. Observe how strongly the following passages enunciate this point:

Romans 3:20-22: “. . . because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. . . .”

Romans 3:28: “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”

Romans 4:2-5: “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. for what does the Scripture say? ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now to the one who works his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. . . .”

Romans 4:1314: “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be the heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified. . . .”

Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Galatians 2:16: “. . . nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”

Galatians 2:21: “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

Galatians 3:6: “Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

Galatians 3:11: “Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, ‘The righteous man shall live by faith.’”

Philippians 3:9: “. . .and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. . . .”

These verses demonstrate that the Scriptures teach that man is justified by faith alone and not by the works of the Law. While the exact phrase “faith alone” does not appear in these verses, the concept is clearly there. In these statements, the Apostle Paul is declaring that faith is the sole instrument of justification. Roman Catholic apologists have argued that since Paul does not use the exact phrase “faith alone” when speaking of justification, that it is improper to hold to this concept. At the time of the Reformation, Martin Luther answered this criticism:

Note. . . whether Paul does not assert more vehemently that faith alone justifies than I do, although he does not use the word alone (sola), which I have used. For he who says: Works do not justify, but faith justifies, certainly affirms more strongly that faith justifies than does he who says: Faith alone justifies. . . . Since the apostle does not ascribe anything to [works], he without doubt ascribes all to faith alone.”12

John Calvin also states that the concept of “faith alone” is taught even though the term“alone” does not directly appear with “faith:”

Now the reader sees how fairly the Sophists today cavil against our doctrine, when we say that man is justified by faith alone. They dare not deny that man is justified by faith because it recurs so often in Scripture. But since the word ‘alone’ is nowhere expressed, they do not allow this addition to be made. Is it so? But what will they reply to these words of Paul where he contends that righteousness cannot be of faith unless it be free? How will a free gift agree with works? . . . Does not he who takes everything from works firmly enough ascribe everything to faith alone. What, I pray, do these expressions mean: ‘His righteousness has been manifested apart from the law’; and, ‘Man is freely justified’; and, ‘Apart from the works of the law’?”13


Since justification is by faith alone and not by law-keeping, no one can boast that his salvation came because of his works or personal righteousness. That Justification is by faith alone means that the one believing is not looking to any human resource, work, or ability for salvation; the believer looks only to Christ’s work of salvation, a work which accomplished a complete satisfaction for all the needs of salvation before God.

Many Scriptures support this idea. For example:

Romans 3:2728: “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the Law.”

Romans 11:6: “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”

1 Corinthians 1:28-31: “. . . and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God. But by his doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”

Romans 4:16: “For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace. . . .”

Robert Reymond comments on Romans 4:16:

I recall on one occasion how shocked I was to hear a well-known, highly regarded preacher of the gospel say: ‘I don’t know why salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ. God just declared that that is the way it is going to be, and we have to accept it because God said it.’ I was shocked, I say, because this preacher should have known why salvation is by faith. He should have known because Paul expressly declared: ‘[Salvation] comes by faith, in order that it may be by grace’ Rom 4:16).”14

If justification were not by faith alone and human merit was a part of justification in any degree, then salvation would not be by grace alone. If man contributed to his salvation through his works, then he would have reason to boast before God. Salvation by grace and salvation by works are totally incompatible. Since salvation is purely of God’s grace, then justification is by faith alone, a faith by which the believer totally abandons all trust and reliance in himself and relies solely on Christ’s accomplished work.

Charles Hodge summarizes the doctrine of justification with six crucial points:

  1.  [Justification is] an act, and not, as sanctification, a continued and progressive work.
  2. It is an act of grace to the sinner. In himself he deserves condemnation when God justifies him.
  3. As to the nature of the act, it is, in the first place, not an efficient act, nor an act of power. It does not produce any subjective change in the person justified. It does not effect a change of character, making those good who were bad, those holy who were unholy. That is done in regeneration and sanctification. In the second place, it is not a mere executive act, as when a sovereign pardons a criminal, and thereby restores him to his civil rights, or to his former status in the commonwealth. In the third place, it is a forensic, or judicial act, the act of a judge, not of a sovereign. That is, in the case of the sinner, or, in foro Dei, it is an act of God not in his character of sovereign, but in his character as judge. It is a declarative act in which God pronounces the sinner just or righteous, that is, declares that the claims of justice, so far as he is concerned, are satisfied, so that he cannot be justly condemned, but is in justice entitled to the reward promised or due to perfect righteousness.
  4. The meritorious ground of justification is not faith; we are not justified on account of our faith, considered as a virtuous or holy act or state of mind. Nor are our works of any kind the ground of justification. Nothing done by us or wrought in us satisfies the demands of justice, or can be the ground or reason of the declaration that justice as far as it concerns us is satisfied. The ground of justification is the righteousness of Christ, active and passive, i. e., including his perfect obedience to the law as a covenant, and his enduring the penalty of the law in our stead and on our behalf.
  5. The righteousness of Christ is in justification imputed to the believer. That is, is set to his account, so that he is entitled to plead it at the bar of God, as though it were personally and inherently his own.
  6. Faith is the condition of justification. That is, so far as adults are concerned, God does not impute the righteousness of Christ to the sinner, until and unless, he (through grace), receives and rests on Christ alone for salvation.15

The believer in Christ, justified before God through faith in Christ’s work may sing in the words of Horatius Bonar:

Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load.

Thy work alone, O Christ, can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, can give me peace within.
No other work, save thine, no other blood will do;
No strength, save that which is divine, can bear me safely through.

Augustus Toplady adds to this chorus of praise to God’s “grace alone” salvation:

A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on, My person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view.


Works Cited

1 R. C. Sproul, Faith Alone (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995), 18.
2 Carter, Spurgeon At His Best, 116.
3 Murray, Redemption, Accomplished and Applied, 117.
4 Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1939), 513.
5 Murray, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, 118.
6 Murray, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied, 121.
7 Sproul, Faith Alone, 102.
8 Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3.11.3.
9 Sproul, Faith Alone, 104.
10 Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, 746-747.
11 Reymond, Paul: Missionary Theologian, 425.
12 Martin Luther, What Luther Says, edited by Ewald M. Plass (St. Louis: Concordia, 1959), 2:707-708.
13 Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3.11.19.
14 Reymond, Paul: Missionary Theologian, 428.
15 Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, reprinted 1981), 3:117, 118.

Noah’s Flood?

December 21, 2012  · 

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ABC News mentioned new scientific evidence tonight that Noah’s flood happened. Its been dated at 5000 BC. It was a melting of the ice caps that swelled the Mediterranean and when it broke through it flooded the Black Sea and covered a great deal of Asia Minor. It flooded almost all the ancient world of humans. The old coastline is about 400 feet below the surface.

Honey, you are such a Peach.

“The difference between you and a pear is you think you are important and the pear does not.”

— Dennis Prager.

He gets this from current events about a movement of people wanting to bequeath their bodies to nourish the earth.

Dennis says, (paraphrasing):

If humans are not made in the image of God then they are no different than fruit. They are just compost.
It comes down to whether you are merely physical. If humans are merely physical then they can be compost. They are compost. Any difference is just imaginary.

I would add this is the philosophy of atheism. Dennis calls it the nihilism of the secular western world. What I would call the secular western fundamentalist religion. It really is the logical conclusion of reductionism.

To the atheist your real meaning, in any ultimate sense, is you will become fertilizer and will help plants grow. Anything you do before that is … well, you are just having a nice fantasy.

Atheists will tell us they have moral codes and build moral societies. They have been saying that for years. What they cannot tell us is WHY. Who could possibly even care about the moral code of a pear? Or fof fertilizer? It is not logical. Not even rational. But they insist the theist’s interest in the transcendental is irrational. Surely they base this on a metaphysical assumption. They will tell you that the flaw in theism is that it is based on metaphysical assumptions. But will deny their own world view is based on a metaphysical assumption.

One atheist recently called me a nutcase for even asking the question. Instead of answering the question they just name-call. One can only assume that is because they cannot give reasons. Their philosophy is vacuous. If they could give reasons then everyone could consider the reasons.

Meanwhile, everywhere one encounters such people they scream that theists are believing in imaginary things. And they truly believe that too!

I think the atheist needs to explain why he is meta-physics free. Otherwise, why is he believable?

Undergraduate basics.

Lorraine and Corson is the standard E&M textbook in upper division physics at California State University, or at least it was for many years. It is the one I used for my undergraduate work. It is a core prerequisite for senior level physics courses. Generally you take 16 credits of physics per semester and add in one general ed easy course as the 5th to make 18, but this varies.

Lorraine and Corson was WONDERFUL as a course.

I was in my senior year of physics when I got married and moved across the country and well, life took a different turn.

Let me just say right now: I have never met a BIOLOGIST who took this E&M course. Doesn’t mean there aren’t some. I myself eventually became an engineer who shipped 30+ engineering products. But I also went on to study biology, microbiology, and biochemistry.

Let me quote a review from about Lorraine and Corson:

5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference work.Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2001

This book is intended primarily for students of Physics or Electrical Engineering at the junior or senior levels, although some schools will prefer to use it with first-year
graduate students. The book should also be useful for scientists and engineers who wish to review the subject.
The aim of this book is to give the reader a working knowledge of the basic concepts of electromagnetism. Indeed, as Alfred North Whitehead stated, half a century
ago, “Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge.” This explains the relatively large number of examples and problems. It also explains why
we have covered fewer subjects more thoroughly. For instance, Laplace’s equation is solved in rectangular and in spherical coordinates, but not in cylindrical
A chapter on vectors (Chapter 1), a discussion of Legendre’s differential equation (Section 4.5), an appendix on the technique that involves replacing cos wt by exp jwt,
and an appendix on wave propagation.
After the introductory chapter on vectors, Chapters 2, 3, and 4 describe electrostatic fields, both in a vacuum and in dielectrics. All of Chapter 4 is devoted to the
solution of Laplace’s and of Poisson’s equations.
Chapter 5 is a short exposition of the basic concepts of special relativity, with little reference to electric charges. It requires nothing more, in the way of mathematics,
than elementary differential calculus and the vector analysis of Chapter 1. Chapter 6 contains a demonstration of Maxwell’s equations that is based on Coulomb’s law
and on the Lorentz transformation and which is valid only for the case where the charges move at constant velocities.
Chapters 7 and 8 deal with the conventional approach to the magnetic fields associated with constant and with variable currents. Here, as elsewhere, references to
Chapter 6 may be disregarded.
Chapter 9 contains a discussion of magnetic materials that parallels, to a certain extent, that of Chapter 3 on dielectrics.
In Chapter 10, the Maxwell equation for the curl of B is rediscovered, without using relativity. This is followed by a discussion of the four Maxwell equations, as well
as of some of their more general implications. The point of view is different from that of Chapter 6, and there is essentially no repetition.
The last four chapters, 11 to 14, concern various applications of Maxwell’s equations: plane waves in infinite media in Chapter 11, reflection and refraction in Chapter
12, guided waves in Chapter 13, and radiation in Chapter 14. The only three media considered in Chapters 11 and 12 are perfect dielectrics, good conductors, and
low-pressure ionized gases. Similarly, Chapter 13 is limited to the two simplest types of guided wave, namely the TEM mode in coaxial lines and the TE1,0 mode in
rectangular guides. Chapter 14 discusses electric and magnetic dipoles and quadrupoles, as well as the essential ideas concerning the half-wave antenna, antenna arrays,
and the reciprocity theorem.
For a basic and relatively simple course on electromagnetism, one could study only Chapters 2, 3 (less Sections 3.3, 3.4, 3.8, 3.9, and 3.10), 4 (less Sections 4.4 and
4.5), 7, 8, 9 (less Section 9.3 but conserving the equation v – B = 0), and 10. For a rather advanced course, on the other hand, Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 could be
reviewed briefly using the summaries at the end of each chapter. One would then start with Chapter 6, and then go on to Chapter 10 and the following chapters. There
are, of course, many other possibilities.
In Chapter 12, Sections 12.3 and 12.7 could be dispensed with. They involve the application of Fresnel’s equations to particular cases and are not essential for the
remaining chapters. Chapter 13 is instructive, both because of the insight it provides into the propagation of electromagnetic waves and because of its engineering
applications, but it is not required for understanding Chapter 14. Finally, Chapter 14 is based on Chapter 10 and on the first two sections of Chapter 11.

PhD Microbiologist is a theist.

McGrath wrote the book for those who want more than the classical arguments about the existence of God. Atheists pretend that there are no folks with advanced degrees in science who are theists. The debate is not over knowledge or science. it is over belief. What is believable. A lot of scientists think theism is more believable than atheism. Calling them names or saying they are irrational isn’t a proof the the scientists who are theists are incorrect.

Scientific Religion?

Saying Scientific Materialism is like saying Scientific Religion.

Materialism is a philosophic opinion. It is not science. It is actually a leap of faith. But people talk about it because it sounds scientific, and because it is not very obvious that it is a leap of faith.

Putting the word scientific in front of materialism does not make materialism into science any more than putting the word scientific in front of the word religion turns religion into science.

It takes more than a label or an adjective to describe what is scientific.

Philosophers refer to materialism as being “scientific materialism” because the people talking about it talk a lot about science. I use the term too. It really means “science-y sort of like one would use the word geeky. But it is just plain old materialism spoken of in science-like terminology to dress it up a bit. What would be the difference between scientific materialism and non-scientific materialism? None.

Its a bit like grape nuts. They are not grapes. They are not nuts. They are just a name. Not even a description. More of a metaphor. Grape nuts is metaphorical language, not definitive or descriptive language. Scientific materialism is metaphorical language for materialism.

Shocked by Reductionism

Recently I watched a portion of a debate between an atheist and Dinesh De Souza in the wake of the Sean Carroll debate.
The atheist team member (who I thought was Sean himself) stated that thoughts are imaginary. They arise from chemical phenomena in the neuron but themselves are imaginary, i.e., do not exist. We only think they exist, but they actually do not. In other words, they are ontologically imaginary.

To me this has huge implications. It implies that minds are imaginary (and do not really exist). The trappings of minds, such as love and justice and morality and meaning are also imaginary. Personality does not exist. What a convenient way to get rid of the ultimate personality we call God. It is a very convenient solution to an atheists problem set! Define God as non-existent.

One problem: this means people also not exist! They are just chemical reactions.

I thought at the time, how does one who believes this way describe himself? Is he a reductionist? Is that his philosophy? Hmmm.

I want to touch briefly on reductionism. Here is a quote from Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy about Reductionism.


Reductionists are those who take one theory or phenomenon to be reducible to some other theory or phenomenon. For example, a reductionist regarding mathematics might take any given mathematical theory to be reducible to logic or set theory.

Or, a reductionist about biological entities like cells might take such entities to be reducible to collections of physico-chemical entities like atoms and molecules. The type of reductionism that is currently of most interest in metaphysics and philosophy of mind involves the claim that all sciences are reducible to physics. This is usually taken to entail that all phenomena (including mental phenomena like consciousness) are identical to physical phenomena.

The bulk of this article will discuss this latter understanding of reductionism.

This definition (in grey) certainly does describe the position of the atheist person debating Dinesh. It was presented as the position of modern physicists when arguing against Dinesh’s theism.

I do not think reductionism is the position taken by most physicists, and this is why the claim surprised me.

There is a related belief: scientific materialism.

Scientific materialist say “if a phenomena is not part of the physical world of matter and energy then the phenomena is not REAL. I.E., does not ontologically exist. It exists only as a concept (which of course is held by an imaginary non-existing entity we call a mind). This is what they mean by “imaginary”.

Who can question the word of a physicist?

What about John Polkinghorne? John Charlton Polkinghorne KBE FRS (16 October 1930 – 9 March 2021) was an English theoretical physicisttheologian, and Anglican priest.

*GASP* A “theist”. See some of what PolkingHorne has to say in his FAQ pages.

Or Stephen M Barr? Stephen Matthew Barr[1] (born November 28, 1953) is an American physicist who is a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Delaware.[2] A member of its Bartol Research Institute, Barr does research in theoretical particle physics and cosmology. In 2011, he was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the citation reading “for original contributions to grand unified theories, CP violation, and baryogenesis.”[3]

*GASP* … another theist.

Whats going on here?

Alan Lightman (Alan Lightman, both a novelist and a physicist, teaches at MIT. ) wrote about how many scientists see no problem between science and God’s intervention with the physical universe:

Francis Collins, leader of the celebrated Human Genome Project and now director of the National Institutes of Health, recently told Newsweek, “I’ve not had a problem reconciling science and faith since I became a believer at age 27 … if you limit yourself to the kinds of questions that science can ask, you’re leaving out some other things that I think are also pretty important, like why are we here and what’s the meaning of life and is there a God? Those are not scientific questions.” Ian Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, told me: “The universe exists because of God’s actions. What we call the ‘laws of nature’ are upheld by God, and they are our description of the normal way in which God orders the world. I do think miracles take place today and have taken place over history. I take the view that science is not all the reliable knowledge that exists. The evidence of the resurrection of Christ, for example, cannot be approached in a scientific way.” Owen Gingerich, professor emeritus of astronomy and of the history of science at Harvard University, says: “I believe that our physical universe is somehow wrapped within a broader and deeper spiritual universe, in which miracles can occur. We would not be able to plan ahead or make decisions without a world that is largely law-like. The scientific picture of the world is an important one. But it does not apply to all events. Even in science we take a lot for granted. It’s a matter of what you want to trust. Faith is about hope rather than proof.”

Devoutly religious scientists, such as Collins, Hutchinson and Gingerich, reconcile their belief in science with their belief in an interventionist God by adopting a worldview in which the autonomous laws of physics, biology and chemistry govern the behavior of the physical universe most of the time and therefore warrant our serious study. However, on occasion, God intervenes and acts outside of these laws. The exceptional divine actions cannot be analyzed by the methods of science.

Alan Lightman declares himself to be an atheist, yet can conceive of a religious belief that ould be valid once we learm more of the universe. Why? He says,

However, I certainly agree with Collins and Hutchinson and Gingerich that science is not the only avenue for arriving at knowledge, that there are interesting and vital questions beyond the reach of test tubes and equations.

But he ascribes such knowledge as belonging to the realm of arts and humanities.

Problem: To a reductionist (or to a scientific materialist) those realms of knowledge are NOT REAL. They are not really knowledge.

Lightman drops a bomb.

As another example, I cannot prove that the Central Doctrine of science is true.

Lightman seems to, ahem, cough, cough, not be a reductionist.

My Question: What makes a reductionist so sure he really knows?

Lightman drops another bomb:

I imagine the conversation in the MIT seminar room, with the murmurings of students in the hall and the silent photographs of Einstein and Watson and Crick staring from the wood-paneled walls:

I agree with much of you’ve said, says Jerry, but we need to distinguish between physical reality and what’s in our heads.

Something like the resurrection of Christ is a physical event. It either happened or it didn’t.

So he gets back to the actual historical claims of Christianity. These are not elements of religious faith. They either happened or they did not happen. How does a reductionist know they did not happen? Well, they just define it as not being possible. By faith in scientific materialism.

If reductionists cannot proven history did not happen how can they insist everybody must believe them? This seems a tough proposition – made more tough by the idea they want to tell the people doing the believing they themselves do not really have minds or personalities that are anything except imaginary.

Unless I misunderstand reductionism of course. Perhaps it is possible to have a mind but one where thoughts are all imaginary, as the reductionist said. Its difficult to ponder what such a mind would think of itself. It sounds sort of like Brave New World where Huxley proposes that if you don’t like your beliefs you just take a pill, and this alters chemistry, and this alters reality – POOF the world changes and history itself changes. This does not sound to me like the most rational of belief systems, but then again, I do not believe in reductionism so it is not my problem to solve.

I am just trying to understand 1) what reductionist are saying and 2) why they think it makes sense and is convincing.

Then came an anti-reductionist thought.

Physicists teach that the real state of matter at a microscopic scale is in indeterminate states until an observer interacts with matter. (i.e., does an observation). then there is a “quantum collapse” and the state of the matter becomes fixed. Example: an electron is both a wave and a particle and acts like both a wave and like a particle. And nobody knows which until it is observed. Then, having been observed, it is only a particle. If there isn’t an observer then it stays as both a wave and a particle. This is a well known paradox.

This implies that thoughts alter the material universe. Not the other way around. Perhaps I missed something and perhaps I am naive as can be. But to me this is hysterically funny.

What if an entity, made of only thought, outside the universe observed an electron? Or any other particle? Would it suddenly change it’s physical state? How do we know that is not possible?

What do we mean by “observer” anyway?

If an observer is imaginary, how can it affect physical states of matter?

Anyway, the bold declarations of the atheist debating with Dinesh just seemed to be a bit too strong to be taken at face value. It’s got to be more complicated and I see no reason to take his word for it.

I am going to discuss scientific materialism (separate post) and this may shed some light.

A final point on an argument between physicists.

First I want to mention one thing about Polkinghorne’s point that science and religion relate at a conceptual level. The atheist scientist I heard debate Dinesh, if I understand him correctly, would as a reductionist say Polkinghorne is wrong. They do not relate at a conceptual level. Why? Because thought is imaginary whereas physics is real. That is his belief.

I do have a question here. When this belief is expressed, is that KNOWLEDGE? I ask because if thought is imaginary then … isn’t knowledge itself also imaginary? I am somehow bothered by this sweeping thought under the rug by declaring it to be imaginary. I’m unsure how philosophers sort this out.

I think physicists really should disagree about this and really stop making categorically true statements that reductionism is the sole definition of scientific knowledge.

It’s called HOPE

Physicist John Polkinehorne writes about how the human mind, what we call the soul, is a hypercomplex machine that exists in higher level dimensions but which is linked to the three dimensional physical universe, i.e., our chemical based brains, and the two co-evolved (or were co-engineered to work together) by the creator.
This is a quantum computing phenomena that is beyond what physics can measure and thus is non-deterministic the same way that all quantum events are non-deterministic.

It is a metaphysical belief that is supported (inferred) by physical evidence. But we cannot measure it any more than we can measure the location of an electron.

Naturalists have no place in their metaphysical reality for such concepts.

But the soul is congruent with Christian beliefs. Not with naturalist’s beliefs.

Naturalists (and atheists) live in a soul-less universe where people are just an illusion produced by chemical reactions.

Chemical reactions can have no rights. Naturalism is dangerous to people’s rights. That is the political result of the American left. They have no basis for rights because humans are just illusions to them.

One way to understand the bankrupt socialist left is to read Francis Schaeffer.