Monday, July 6, 2015

The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God

The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward GodThe Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God by Lee Strobel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As most of you know Lee Strobel has written several "The Case for ..." books. This one is very good. I don't necessaryly like his writing style but the information in is books are great. It takes me a little bit longer to read his books than most books I read but it is worth it. You will get a great taste for the book from the quotes below. I trust they will either encorage you or challenge your belief. Enjoy!

William Provine of Cornell University said, “If Darwinism is true, then there are five inescapable conclusions:
• there’s no evidence for God
• there’s no life after death
• there’s no absolute foundation for right and wrong
• there’s no ultimate meaning for life
• and people don’t really have free will.”

It is hard to resist the impression that the present structure of the universe, apparently so sensitive to minor alterations in numbers, has been rather carefully thought out. … The seemingly miraculous concurrence of these numerical values must remain the most compelling evidence for cosmic design. ~Physicist Paul Davies

Would it not be strange if a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose? ~Sir John Templeton

… all the seemingly arbitrary and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common – these are precisely the values you need if you want to have a universe capable of producing life. ~Patrick Glynn

In his book God: The Evidence, [Patrick] Glynn credits the absolutely incredible fine-tuning of the cosmos as being among the key reasons why he concluded that the universe must have been the handiwork of a master designer.

A universe aiming at the production of man implies a mind directing it. Though man is not at the physical center of the universe, he appears to be at the center of its purpose. ~Robert Augros

When scientists talk about the fine-tuning of the universe they’re generally referring to the extraordinary balancing of the fundamental laws and parameters of physics and the initial conditions of the universe. Our minds can’t comprehend the precision of some of them. The result is a universe that has just the right conditions to sustain life. The coincidences are simply too amazing to have been the result of happenstance. ~Robin Collins … as Paul Davies said, “the impression of design is overwhelming.”

As scientific knowledge grew, dreams of finding lunar civilizations dissipated. Everyone came to agree that the moon cannot support life. Yet surprising discoveries in recent years have shown the opposite to be true: the moon really does support life – ours! Scientific evidence confirms how this parched, airless satellite actually contributes in unexpected ways to creating a lush and stable environment a quarter of a million miles away on Earth. ~Lee Strobel

There was a remarkable finding that the moon actually stabilizes the tilt of the earth’s axis. The tilt is responsible for our seasons. During the summer, in the northern hemisphere the north pole axis is pointed more toward the sun. Six months later, when the Earth is on the other side of the sun, then the south pole is more pointed toward the sun. While the Earth’s tilt at 23.5 degrees, this gives us very mild seasons. So in a very real way, the stability of our climate is attributable to the moon. ~Guillermo Gonzalez

What would happen if the moon were not there? Then our tilt could swing wildly over a large range, resulting in major temperature swings. If our tilt were more like ninety degrees, the north pole would be exposed to the sun for six months, while the south pole would be in darkness, then vice-versa. Instead, it varies by only about one and a half degrees – just a tiny variation, because the gravity from the moon’s orbit keeps it stabilized. ~Guillermo Gonzalez

We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cossetted, cherished group of creatures; our Darwinian claim to have done it all ourselves is as ridiculous and as charming as a baby’s brave efforts to stand on its own feet and refuse his mother’s hand. If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in. ~John A. O’Keefe

If God so precisely and carefully and lovingly and amazingly constructed a mind-boggling habitat for his creatures, then it would be natural for Him to want them to explore it, to measure it, to investigate it, to appreciate it, to be inspired by it – and ultimately, and most importantly, to find Him through it. ~Lee Strobel

We have always underestimated the cell. … The entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines. … Why do we call [them] machines? Precisely because, like machines invented by humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world, these protein assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts. ~Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences

We should reject, as a matter of principle, the substitution of intelligent design for the dialogue of chance and necessity; but we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations. ~Biochemist Franklin M. Harold

One scientist described a singled-celled organism as a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction … [and] a capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours. ~Lee Strobel

Today we buy information, we sell it, we regard it as commodity, we value it, we send it down wires and bounce it off satellites – and we know it invariably comes from intelligent agents. So what do we make of the fact that DNA stores far more information in a smaller space than the most advanced supercomputer on the planet? ~Lee Strobel

Wilder Penfield, the renowned father of modern neurosurgery, has encountered concrete evidence that the brain and mind are actually distant from each other, although they clearly interact.

At this point, having considered J.P. Moreland’s critique of physicalism. I wanted to hear his affirmative case that consciousness and the souls are immaterial entities. “What positive evidence is there that consciousness and the self are not merely a physical process of the brain?” I [Lee Strobel] asked.

“We have experimental data, for one thing,” he replied. “For example, neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield electrically stimulated the brains of epilepsy patients and found he could cause them to move their arms or legs, turn their heads or eyes, talk, or swallow. Invariably the patient would respond by saying, ‘I didn’t do that. You did.’ According to Penfield, ‘the patient thinks of himself as having an existence separate from his body.’

“No matter how much Penfield probed the cerebral cortex, he said, ‘There is no place … whose electrical stimulation will cause a patient to believe or to decide.’ That’s because those functions originate in the conscious self, not the brain.

“A lot of subsequent research has validated this. When Roger Sperry and his team studied the differences between the brain’s right and left hemispheres, they discovered the mind has a causal power independent of the brain’s activities. This led Sperry to conclude materialism was false.”

The portrait of the Creator that emerges from the scientific data is uncannily consistent with the description of the God whose identity is spelled out in the pages of the Bible.
• Creator? “In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.”
• Unique? “You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides Him there is no other.”
• Uncaused and timeless? “Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.”
• Immaterial? “God is spirit.”
• Personal? “I am God Almighty.”
• Freedom of will? “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
• Intelligent and rational? “How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures.”
• Enormously powerful? “This Lord is … great in power.”
• Creative? “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
• Caring? “The earth is full of His unfailing love.”
• Omnipresent? “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain You.”
• Has given humankind purpose? “For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, … everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.”
• Provides for life after death? “He will sallow up death forever.”
As the apostle Paul wrote two millennia ago: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made [that is, His creation], so that men are without excuse.” ~ Lee Strobel

James Tour of Rice University said, “Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.” Astrophysicist and priest George Coyne put it this way, “Nothing we learn about the universe threatens our faith. It only enriches it.”

Polkinghome, who achieved acclaim as a mathematical physicist at Cambridge before becoming a full-time minister, the same kind of thinking he uses in science has helped him draw life-changing conclusions about God: “ No one has ever seen a quark, and we believe that no one ever will. They are so tightly bound to each other inside the protons and neutrons that nothing can make them break out on their own. Why, then, do I believe in these invisible quarks? … In summary, it’s because quarks make sense of a lot of direct physical evidence. … I wish to engage in a similar strategy with regard to the unseen reality of God. His existence makes sense of many aspects of our knowledge and experience: the order and fruitfulness of the physical world; the multilayered character of reality; the almost universal human experiences of worship and hope; the phenomenon of Jesus Christ (including His resurrection). I think that very similar thought processes are involved in both cases. I do not believe that I shift in some strange intellectual way when I move from science to religion. … In their search for the truth science and faith are intellectual cousins under the skin.”

Religious knowledge is more demanding than scientific knowledge. While it requires scrupulous attention to matters of truth, it also calls for the response of commitment to the truth discovered. ~ Polkinghome

Many have found that the awesome sight of the star-studded heavens evoke a sense of wonder, an awareness of transcendence, which is charged with spiritual significance. Yet the distant shimmering of stars does not itself create this sense of longing; it merely exposes what is already there. They are catalysts for our spiritual insights, revealing our emptiness and compelling us to ask whether and how this void might be filled.

Might our true origins and destiny somehow lie beyond these stars? Might there not be a homeland, from which we are presently exiled and to which we secretly long to return? Might not our accumulation of discontentment and disillusionment with our present existence be a pointer to another land where our true destiny lies and which is able to make its presence felt now in this haunting way?

Suppose that this is not where we are meant to be but that a better land is at hand? We don’t belong here. We have somehow lost our way. Would not this make our present existence both strange and splendid? Strange, because it is not where our true destiny lies; splendid, because it points ahead to where that real hope might be found. The beauty of the night skies or a glorious sunset are important pointers to the origins and the ultimate fulfillment of our heart’s deepest desires. But if we mistake the signpost for what is signposted, we will attach our hopes and longings to lesser goals, which cannot finally quench our thirst for meaning. ~Alister McGrath

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