Why I Am a Theist

I lack enough faith to be an Atheist!

[This Thesis is under construction and a work in progress, so come back often for updates and corrections].

Let me start out by saying what prompted this article.

I am a Christian apologist, so my calling is to defend the Christian faith. That calling gave me the responsibility to answer attacks by such people as an Atheist, but frees me of any responsibility for how they respond to the truth I point them to. All Christians have that same responsibility and that same freedom. Our responsibility is to proclaim, the Holy Spirit’s responsibility is to convict. Never confuse the two!

apologist

uhpoluh-jist ]

noun

person who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief, idea, etc.

I am a Theist because within the Science of Astronomy alone I find insurmountable evidence for the God of the Bible and of the Universe being Created by Him (see Hugh Ross, Astronomical Evidences for the God of the Bible). I have developed a life attribute in both Science and Faith to Test Everything.

“A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

–Cambridge University astrophysicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle

Let me say something that just occurred to me during a discussion with an atheist. There is no such thing as an Atheist Scientist. Yes, you read that right. No scientist can be an atheist. To be an atheist, you have to start with the presupposition that there is no God. The Scientific Method rules out  approaching anything with a presupposition. You have to test everything in science. Isn’t it interesting that the student of the Bible has been given the same instructions?

“Test Everything (1 Th 5:21)”

So, the job of any Apologist, any Christian for that matter, dealing with an Atheist is to present the facts then let them stew on them. A discussion with an atheist is futile, because they refuse the scientific method; they tightly hold on to their own religion of Presupposition.

I am a theist because I followed the Biblical and scientific principle to “test everything.” My faith wasn’t strong enough for me to be an atheist. The probabilities of the Universe and Life to be the product of chance are Astronomical.

Once the evidence is approached with an open mind and true quest for knowledge and truth, the facts are undeniable. Theism takes any test thrown at it. And that is exactly what the Bible says in Romans 1:19-20, where it states:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

There are two forms of Revelation given man by God. Special Revelation, and Natural Revelation. The difference between the two is that in Special Revelation man becomes saved, while in Natural Revelation man becomes lost. No human will ever stand before God and be able to say “that’s not fair, I didn’t know.” 

As a teenager, I begin to search out the Universe using my small Telescope, a 6 inch Criterian RV-6 Dynascope. Everywhere I pointed my telescope, I kept noticing the immensity of the Universe. By 1973, I already had logged 12 years searching out the Cosmos for answers to who or what created all that I was experiencing. I’d began my interest when my Grandfather took me out one night and introduced me to the night sky. Immediately, I was hooked.

Unfortunately, Learning Disabilities kept me from excelling in math and science, otherwise I would be an Astrophysicist today. My fate laid in another direction remaining as a lay scientist most of my life. Despite struggling in school, early on I became a citizen scientist, and not just in Astronomy. In the late 60’s to early ’70’s, I joined a citizen science project called the Monarch Butterfly Research project. I would tag specimens of Monarch Butterfly’s and release them bearing the scientific tag placed my me and others worldwide.

By the early 70’s, I was already recognized in the scientific circles of Astronomy. I’d joined the Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers helping finalize the Dark Haloed Craters program. I then turned my attention to the Lunar Dome Survey. We were discovering, cataloging and classifying volcanic shields on the lunar surface.

Eventually I turned to studying specific areas of the moon in a program I ran known as the Selected Areas Program. My attention was captured by one object in particular, the Reiner Gamma feature. Neither a crater nor raised feature, it was some sort of deposit on the lunar surface. I researched this feature and eventually wrote and published a scientific paper on it in a Scientific journal. That work was recognized by a NASA scientist who was himself writing a short paper on Reiner Gamma and other Lunar Swirls as they came to be know. He listed a link to my paper under his recommendations for further reading (and mine was on top of his list).

So by the time I was introduced to church and Theology I had developed an inquisitive approach to Christianity. I was not satisfied with water downed religion. When I was taught a biblical principle, I had to see proof it was truth and not just someones random interpretation.

I was probably more a Forest Gump that an Einstein, but I demanded verifiable truth. If a Pastor, Sunday School teacher or classroom Teacher said something, I demanded they knew what they were talking about. SHOW ME!

I’d learned Einstein had theorized that everything in the Universe was expanding and slowing down at the same time, which was proven by Edwin Hubble. I’d sat in church learning that the Bible was teaching what I’d already found to be true in the work of Einstein & Hubble. The General Theory of Relativity that Einstein proposed left a hole to be filled, the need for science to explain how and who created the universe. My inquisitive mind wanted to understand by who or what, and I was as giddy as a school boy realizing science was verifying portions of the claims of the Bible!

As I aged, I learned that space and time, likewise, seems to be expanding. Around 1978 I ran across a book by the Agnostic Astrophysicist Robert Jastow, God and the Astronomers. I’d already run aground trying to figure out truth in Cosmic matters with Church Pastor and staff. Instead of encouraging me in my quest for knowledge and truth, they ostracized me and viewed my questions as a threat instead of ally to the faith. They denied the clear teaching of the Bible to Test Everything. They had little faith in the truthfulness And authority of Scripture. No objections of man will ever cause Scripture to fail any test thrown at it. No wonder so many Christian students are shredded in science classes when they are faced with one of these anti-christian professors. They are completely unprepared to defend their faith against the attacks of secularism and humanism.

It hit me that Einstein wasn’t really elated with his General Theory of Relativity. That was not what he’d set out to do – prove the Universe was created. It really bothered him. He’d held a world view contrary to Theism. So he introduced a new concept that would rule out the expansion and deceleration of the Cosmos. I can almost hear his thoughts, “There – that fixes that…” But along came Edwin Hubble, and the rest if history and science had to acknowledge the Creation of the Universe. This surrender means that the Big Bang Theory was taught thousands of years before Einstein and Hubble, it was taught in the Old Testament of the Bible. No wonder Robert Jastrow wrote:

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.
― Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

In the same work, Jastrow wrote:

“Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth.  And they have found that all this happened as a product of forces they cannot hope to discover….  That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact.”

I really had trouble reconciling the objections of my churches teachings and reality, because I saw no conflict whatsoever between science (specifically Cosmology) and the Christian Faith. Whats more I found the Big Bang Theory and teachings of the Bible to be one and the same. Science pointed out that the universe was expanding and had been created, the Bible was showing God to be that creator and that it taught the universe was “spread forth” by God…expanding in other words.

On this subject, several Cosmologists verify lend weight to the improbability of the Universe occurring simply by chance.

“There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the Big Bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”

–Astrophysicist and cosmologist George Smoot, as above.

On the other hand, my associations with so many science minded acquaintances and friends hit me with an opposing discrimination for being a professed Christian. Opposite the battle I fought within the church defending science as an ally to Theism, I fought the science crowd having to defend my faith. So I received it from both sides of the coin!

For a time I looked into the teachings of the young earth crowd within Christianity. However, their positions and arguments were, frankly, silly. It required one to shut off their mind and ‘have faith.’ This is contrary to the Scripture that teaches us to test everything. It does not say to “test everything except…The eons taught by science was viewed as an attack on the 10,000 year old earth concept – thus making those like me who tested everything  (like the young earth philosophy) thus understanding science to teach the universe was 13.8 Billion years old to be contrary to the Faith and Scripture..

The young earth teaching (held by some respectable proponents such as my beloved Theology professor Dr. William E. Bell at Dallas Baptist University) taught that the earth/universe was created with the appearance of age. However, (again testing everything) in my mind that teaching makes God a prankster or out right liar. If God wishes all to be saved why would he give the universe an appearance of being much older than it actually is? That is makes no sense.

My theology studies under such great minds as Dr. Bell gave me an understanding of Systematic Theology and Hermeneutics. One of the rules of Hermeneutics is that Scripture interprets Scripture, and evenly so that the Bible cannot contradict itself. Genesis 1 and 2 from the young earth point of view violates both principles. The latter especially, where you take a Hebrew word in Genesis one to mean literally twenty four hours while clearly that same Hebrew word in Genesis two means a period of time…not to mention the passage teaching ‘the day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day…

Clearly, God is not the author of confusion. He is not some theistic prankster either. God has always desired that mankind know exactly what his message to us was in the language of the common man.

Back to science, the fact is the evidence for Creation and the existence of God is from my point of view insurmountable. I attended a lecture by a Cosmologist years ago at the University of Florida (I was there for the Transit of Venus). I wish I could remember exactly what he had said, but I have to say it shocked and surprised me. This man, much like Robert Jastrow, was an agnostic. After lecturing diligently trying to make a point about the origin of the Universe, paused, looked out on the audience and said:

Well, lets just say it…God.

He had to transition his lecture on creation from the Cosmologists point of view, acknowledging the only viable answer coming close to offering an explanation for the data was that a superior being existed that was the causation of the Cosmos’s. Nothing else accounted for the facts seen in the physical properties of the Universe.

“There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all. . . It seems as though somebody has fine tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe. . . The impression of design is overwhelming.”

“It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”

–Physicist Paul Davies, winner of the 2001 Kelvin Medal issued by the Institute of Physics and the winner of the 2002 Faraday Prize issued by the Royal Society (among other awards).

The bottom line is that the universe is at least ten billion orders of magnitude (a factor of 1010,000,000,000 times) too small or too young to permit life to be assembled by natural processes. Researchers, who are both non-theists and theists and who are in a variety of disciplines, have arrived at this calculation.

Hugh Ross offers a new theory never before offered by a Creationist, a Testable Creation Model.

My experience with the average Atheist though causes me to doubt how many true atheists will read such a work, because the atheist defend their lack of belief with religious zeal.  You present the atheist with evidence and they run for the hills!

More Than a Theory offers a comprehensive, testable creation model. This fascinating book responds to the recent, well-publicized challenges from aggressive atheists who deny the existence of a Creator. It also reminds the scientific community of what constitutes good science and supplies Christians with the scientific information they need to defend their conviction that the Creator is the God of the Bible.

So time will only tell how effective such a work will be, the atheist likes their apple cart and defend them from being overturned with their very (eternal) lives.

There are a number of undeniable facts to help us search for truth in regards to Creation of the Cosmos. For one thing, the relationship between the sun and the moon is unique. We have discovered some 4,000 exoplanets to date, and of those, not one mirrors the Sun/Earth system. The fine tuning of our solar system is remarkable. 

For life to exist on any planet, that planet has to reside within a narrow ‘habitual’ zone, very little latitude is allowable for animation of any lifeforms to exist.

Any planet suitable for life has to fall within very narrow favorable conditions. Gravity, Atmosphere, Water, oxygen, nitrogen, and a myriad of other factors must be very specifically fine-tuned. Ross and his group has stated that life by natural mechanisms alone is next to impossible in our Universe.

The bottom line is that the universe is at least ten billion orders of magnitude (a factor of 1010,000,000,000 times) too small or too young to permit life to be assembled by natural processes. Researchers, who are both non-theists and theists and who are in a variety of disciplines, have arrived at this calculation.

Finding suitable candidates is remarkably difficult. Exoplanets are often discovered by the wobble caused by solar systems gravitational pull on their star. So direct observation of these worlds would be required to determine specifics, but so far all of the objects found thus far completely rule out any life to exist. They are all very exotic to say the least. No life, at least as we know it, could exist in these systems.

The earth/moon relationship is another factor. Without the moon, like on Planet Earth would be impossible. Just look at the moon with any telescope, and you will quickly figure out why. The moon is a record of bombardment that once happened on both the earth and the moon. This relationship is essential for life. Our moon is just the right size to stabilize our planet . It effects our climate, temperature, orbital rotation,  axis, etc. 

Donald Browniee and Peter Ward wrote:

“Without the Moon there would be no moonbeams, no month, no lunacy, no Apollo program, less poetry, and a world where every night was dark and gloomy. Without the Moon it is also likely that no birds, redwoods, whales, trilobite, or other advanced life would ever grace the earth.”

In the Constellation Pegasus is an object known as 51 Pegasi b. Why all the fuss over this planet is beyond me. Yes, it’s star is similar to our sun,  but Dimidium, as it is called, is called a ‘hot Jupiter’ for a reason. If you hope to find life there, good luck. We humans could not exist there that is certain.

Science has invested a lot of funding in the search for Exoplanets. Two notable missions include the Kepler and Spitzer Telescopes. Kepler is looking for transits where an orbiting planet passes between the star in our line of sight. Spitzer on the other hand can detect light reflecting light from an exoplanets star, so it is a direct observational method. Even Citizen scientists can get into the act through Exoplanet Explorers on Zooniverse for example.

 

Some writers claim there are 16 exoplanets with a high probability of sustaining life. To my knowledge this is a wild guess, as the ones I know about are different from earth.

Some supposed candidates for worlds that could support life include Wolfe 1061c, Gliese 832c. Gliese 667Cc, TRAPPIST-1d, and Gliese 163c. None of these resemble earth nor do they exhibit any attributes other than their location suggesting they are favorable for supporting life.