Answering our “unanswerable” questions
Near the beginning of this appendix I quoted two questions which I asked a gentleman via email. They are:
How do you know God is perfectly holy?
How do you know God “cannot sin?”
Both these questions center around what is considered “proof” and having “proven” something. Seeing we are limited in our ability to investigate every aspect of the LORD God in all His infinity, we are tempted to say these questions will remain unanswered. However, we are not asking for absolute proof. Absolute proof is nearly impossible in all but the most controlled situations as there will always be some element which, if we are honest, has some measure of variability, some unknown. To accomplish complete control of all variables is impossible except in the most limited of circumstances as it requires knowing every piece of information that bears on a subject or action. If we are truthful with ourselves, we must admit that we do not have every single bit of information available for the vast majority of subjects or events which exist. Moreover, we are creatures of iniquity. Being so, we must first overcome our own inequality or negate its influence in some way.
Nevertheless, this situation is not impossible. There are methods which yield proof, even as there are ways to check certain tools and instruments against themselves. For instance, how could we be assured that a level used for checking the foundation of a house, or the setting up of a table is actually accurate? The method used is to check it against itself. By cleaning the surface we will test it on, and then carefully setting the level in place, we mark its position and note the bubble position. We then rotate the level 180 degrees carefully setting it in the exact spot that we had it initially. Now we check the bubble position. Does it have the same deviation it had in the first position? If so, then the level is accurate. If not, the level is not accurate and cannot yield proper readings.
Even so it is with this. Logic dictates that unequal things do not bring forth equal things. In like manner, beings and persons which are unequal in their ways do not create equal things and do not make laws which equally apply in all instances. Moreover, they are not interested in the balancing or the leveling out of unequal situations to make them equal. This principle alone is provides nearly all the evidence required for proof. Yet, it is not all that is available to us. Let us think back to all the previous explanation on righteousness and understand the logic of it all.
It is manifest that for anyone to be equal, they must be equal in all their ways and all their works. In this, we understand that the property or attribute of righteousness is absolute and cannot stand any taint or hint of iniquity. We find that any being that is not righteous will be inconsistent in its interaction with others and its behavior in things it elects to do of itself, independent of any interaction with others.
Moreover, in understanding righteousness, it is associated with truth and the concept of trueness. It is also associated in certain senses with the concepts of balance, straightness, and squareness. All of these speak to absolutes in which the thing measured either meets or does not meet an exacting condition.
Knowing this, we can examine certain events and happenings and make determinations, based on logic, as to what kind of creation we live in and whether it was created and is still upheld by a holy and righteous LORD and God.
Let us then observe the creation itself and examine the principles of equality and inequality. Let us examine what the LORD God testifies of man and determine whether the LORD God has told the truth about man.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (Psalm 19:1-9)
The statement “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” is entirely applicable here. Some simple and common observations of the world we live in prove that it is an ordered and orderly creation that is self-correcting, and even correcting of man’s blunders and errors. It is of no small note that the processes of nature (as it were) seek equilibrium. Moreover, in all that we observe, everything is applied equally. There is not one physical law applicable to only one part of the universe, and not another. Rather, the entire universe seeks equilibrium, and there is equal application of the governing laws across the universe. We can see this stated in the laws of gravitation and motion as observed and stated by Newton and Euler:1
Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that any two bodies in the universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.2
- The laws of motion
- First law: When viewed in an inertial reference frame, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.3
- Second law:The vector sum of the forces F on an object is equal to the mass m of that object multiplied by the acceleration vector a of the object: F = ma.4
- Third law: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.5
- Euler’s first law states that the linear momentum of a body, p (also denoted G) is equal to the product of the mass of the body m and the velocity of its center of mass vcm:6
- Euler’s second law states that the rate of change of angular momentum L (also denoted H) about a point that is fixed in an inertial reference frame, or is the mass center of the body, is equal to the sum of the external moments of force (torques) M (also denoted τ or Γ) about that point:7
The mere fact these natural, physical laws exist, separate, distinct and above man’s intervention, demonstrates that the physical universe we live in did not come about by chance or randomness. We should understand that natural, physical laws are not changeable by normal, natural means,8 neither can they be touched or altered by man and his efforts. These laws are utterly dependable to render the observer able to accurately predict the outcome of any action or event governed by them. The description of natural, physical law from the Wikipedia site9 suffices here, as it is sufficiently and accurately cited:
A physical law or scientific law “is a theoretical principle deduced from particular facts, applicable to a defined group or class of phenomena, and expressible by the statement that a particular phenomenon always occurs if certain conditions be present.” Physical laws are typically conclusions based on repeated scientific experiments and observations over many years and which have become accepted universally within the scientific community. The production of a summary description of our environment in the form of such laws is a fundamental aim of science. These terms are not used the same way by all authors.
The distinction between natural law in the political-legal sense and law of nature or physical law in the scientific sense is a modern one, both concepts being equally derived from physis, the Greek word (translated into Latin as natura) for nature.10)
Several general properties of physical laws have been identified (see Davies (1992) and Feynman (1965) as noted, although each of the characterizations are not necessarily original to them). Physical laws are:
- True, at least within their regime of validity. By definition, there have never been repeatable contradicting observations.
- Universal. They appear to apply everywhere in the universe. (Davies, 1992:82)
- Simple. They are typically expressed in terms of a single mathematical equation. (Davies)
- Absolute. Nothing in the universe appears to affect them. (Davies, 1992:82)
- Stable. Unchanged since first discovered (although they may have been shown to be approximations of more accurate laws—see “Laws as approximations” below),
- Omnipotent. Everything in the universe apparently must comply with them (according to observations). (Davies, 1992:83)
- Generally conservative of quantity. (Feynman, 1965:59)
- Often expressions of existing homogeneities (symmetries) of space and time. (Feynman)
- Typically theoretically reversible in time (if non-quantum), although time itself is irreversible. (Feynman)
Physical laws are distinguished from scientific theories by their simplicity. Scientific theories are generally more complex than laws; they have many component parts, and are more likely to be changed as the body of available experimental data and analysis develops. This is because a physical law is a summary observation of strictly empirical matters, whereas a theory is a model that accounts for the observation, explains it, relates it to other observations, and makes testable predictions based upon it. Simply stated, while a law notes that something happens, a theory explains why and how something happens.
Of course we can compare the above description of what constitutes physical law with the following definition of “chance” from the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary and discern whether the two have anything in common at all:
- Full Definition of CHANCE11
- 1a: something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention or observable cause
- b: the assumed impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings: luck <an outcome decided by chance>
- c: the fortuitous or incalculable element in existence: contingency
- 2: a situation favoring some purpose : opportunity <needed a chance to relax>
- 3: a fielding opportunity in baseball
- 4a: the possibility of a particular outcome in an uncertain situation; also: the degree of likelihood of such an outcome <a small chance of success>
- b plural: the more likely indications <chances are he’s already gone>
- 5a: risk <not taking any chances>
- b: a raffle ticket
- — chance adjective
- — by chance
- : in the haphazard course of events <they met by chance>
Whether it is obvious that there exists no intersection between the physical laws and chance is largely dependent upon what any particular person is willing to observe and admit to. However, objectively, there is no intersection to be found. That men will engage in the most tortured of reasoning to avoid admitting to the existence of a God is beyond question. That men know the physical laws implicitly declare God exists is also obvious. A read through the article “Natural Laws Are Descriptions, not Rules” from the “LessWrong” blog (http://lesswrong.com/lw/ct3/natural_laws_are_descriptions_not_rules/) is sufficient to convince us that men will indeed torture their consciences to avoid any hint of the physical laws implying that God is real and does exist.
In returning to the example of the laws of motion and gravitation, and indeed all physical laws, we should be able to observe and logically conclude that the laws do not come about by the actions of a being that has iniquity. Rather, the creation of principles and laws that apply equally across the span of the universe (that is, everything we have yet observed of it – but all things being consistent thus far, there is little reason to believe we would encounter anything different), and the desire of every physical thing to seek equilibrium, speak directly to a righteous Creator. It is notable that however much man’s iniquity has corrupted this physical universe, the laws and principles which govern it are not corrupted. This speaks directly to the fact that the law is transcendent, rising above mere place, time, and circumstance. It also speaks to the fact that the spiritual is higher than the physical, with all things being governed by law.
Yet, when we observe mankind, we find a vastly different testimony. In the following passages we find the LORD God’s testimony of man, and the condition He knows man to be in:
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. (Romans 3:9-19)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
If we doubt the LORD’s testimony concerning us, all we have to do is read history honestly. Anyone taking an honest assessment of the history of man has no choice but to conclude that the race of man is every bit as wicked and evil as the LORD God states we (as the race of man), individually and collectively are. Were the LORD God in any way unrighteous, He would convey to us no different testimony than the Greco-Roman and Norse mythologies give us of their gods. He would turn the same blind eye those supposed gods did and engage in the same petty behavior as they. Instead, what we find of the LORD God is a setting forth of a lawful and righteous foundation for everything He does. Moreover, unlike those supposed gods who played favorites with men, the LORD God condemns the transgressions of those who serve Him just as He does those who refuse to serve Him. There is no difference with the LORD – were this not the case, He would be no different than the gods of mythology who behaved just like the men they supposedly ruled over. The fact that man created mythical gods of various types and their behavior is no better than the men who worship them, speaks volumes about the willingness of man to justify himself anyway he can, without regard to righteousness. Thus, what we are given in the reading of the Scriptures matches what we know of history – that the situation of mankind is exactly as the LORD God testifies.
|The Scriptural Case Against Abortion – Table of Contents||Appendix A: Righteousness – Table of Contents||What We Can Conclude|
- We should note here that Isaac Newton did not believe that Christ is God manifest in the flesh, and Euler believed as most Protestants believed. This is to say that it is certain Newton never knew the LORD, and Euler likely didn’t either. Mere belief in “God” is not sufficient for salvation. Believing the Scripture to be divinely inspired is helpful to the individual, but that alone will not justify one before the LORD, and indicates nothing about that individual’s relationship to Christ. What the recognition of the physical laws by these men does say is that the outworking of the righteousness of the LORD God is easy to identify and know. In short, it is obvious and cannot be missed.↩
- “Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation.” wikipedia.org. Accessed December 5, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_law_of_universal_gravitation↩
- “Newton’s Laws of Motion.” wikipedia.org. Accessed December 5, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion↩
- “Euler’s Laws of Motion.” wikipedia.org. Accessed December 5, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euler%27s_laws_of_motion↩
- This is the point of the miracles described in Scripture. The natural laws were suspended or held in abeyance for a brief time to demonstrate to man the power of the LORD God over the physical processes He created and set in motion. Primarily, this was done because man worshiped the physical creation and thought it all powerful. Nonetheless, however spectacular those miracles were, they were not then, nor are they now, a substitute for the spiritual instrument which is faith. ↩
- Though some may argue with the use of the Wikipedia site for any reference, the charge is baseless as any reference work is only as good as the source material and the validity of the citations therein. Some articles on the Wikipedia site are absolute junk, being slanted politically and socially, and others are quite high quality with accurate, proper context quotations and citations. In short, there is no substitute for verifying the information.↩
- Some modern philosophers, e.g. Norman Swartz, use “physical law” to mean the laws of nature as they truly are and not as they are inferred by scientists. See Norman Swartz,The Concept of Physical Law (New York: Cambridge University Press), 1985. Second edition available online . (http://www.sfu.ca/~swartz/physical-law/↩
- “Chance.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed December 3, 2014. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chance.↩