Apologetics Philosophy

Nature, Wisdom & the Sciences

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God speaks to us in His two books: nature and the Holy Scriptures. The former is an unwritten word; the latter a written word (Ps. 19). His written word, too, speaks to us of His unwritten word. For example, Proverbs 3:19 reads: “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens”. This single text is worth a lifetime of reflection and exploration, but allow me to address a few points from it here.

Prior to this verse (vv. 13-18), Solomon is speaking about the happiness and benefits of the man who finds wisdom. Wisdom is to be treasured above all else and is even said to be “a tree of life” – it imparts life to the one who partakes of it. Wisdom gives rise to a life well lived. It’s as if Solomon is saying, “the one who finds wisdom is the one who takes after God, who founded the earth and the heavens with wisdom and understanding.” Indeed, “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6).  The one who seeks after and discovers wisdom, as a hidden treasure, is the one who discerns the fear of God (Prov. 2:1-5).

There’s a reason why we have sciences like biology and geology (largely pertaining to earthy things) and astronomy (pertaining to heavenly things). It’s because there’s wisdom in the birds and the bees and the trees and the planetary bodies. We look at them and can’t help but use the language of design and purpose (telos). It is wisdom that fruit trees bear fruit with its seed in it so that it can reproduce itself for man and animal to eat and not run out of supply (Gen. 1:29-31). It is wisdom that we can look at the stars to discern seasons, days, and years (Gen. 1:14), and to navigate the seas. The earth and the heavens, being founded on the wisdom of God, contain information – knowledge and truth. This information implies intelligence, and “only intelligence can explain the origin of the biological information necessary to build the first life and new forms of life.”[1]  Turek continues,

But couldn’t mutation and natural selection explain the origin of the genetic information necessary to produce the first life?  No.  Mutation and natural selection can happen only to organisms that already have genetic information.  If there’s nothing to mutate, there’s no mutation and natural selection going on.  The very word ‘selection’ implies there’s something to select.
                But couldn’t the first code be simple and then mutate into the longer codes we see now?  The problem is that even a simple information-rich sequence, like ‘HEY ROGER, THIS IS GOD!’ requires intelligence.  And so-called ‘simple life’ has a code much longer than that.  Indeed, Richard Dawkins admits that the amount of information in a one-celled life (like an amoeba) has as much information in its DNA as 1,000 Encyclopaedia Britannicas!  Now, believing that 1,000 encyclopedias came into existence without any intelligent intervention is like believing that an entire bookstore resulted from an explosion in a printing shop.  I don’t have enough faith to believe that![2]

It is wisdom to connect the dots of the celestial bodies.  It is wisdom to fear Him who made them, and foolishness is bound up in the one who despises (Prov. 1:7).

It is this wisdom in creation that led scientists to do what they do: “Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them” (Ps. 111:2).  Belief in God did not hinder the study of nature; it propelled it!

What is the wisdom of the trees and the seas?
What does all this have to do with me?

What of me and you?
Are not our bodies made of wise stuff too?

And what of this tugging within?
Does not our conscience speak to us of sin?

Naturalism, the notion that everything arises from natural causes, quite frankly, is the philosophy of fools.  In this worldview, meaning, morals, and the mind are reduced to the stuff of chemistry — chemical reactions in the brain.  Meaning is what one makes of it; but that only leads us to say, “Why bother?”. Why bother bothering when there is nothing ultimately to be bothered with?  Right and wrong become is and aint — moral relativism.  The former (right and wrong) assumes an absolute standard, whereas the latter assumes a standard of one’s own choosing.

The laws of nature, as applied to stones or trees, may only mean ‘what Nature, in fact, does’.  But if you turn to the Law of Human Nature, the Law of Decent Behaviour, it is a different matter.  That law certainly does not mean ‘what human beings, in fact, do’; for as I said before, many of them do not obey this law at all, and none of them obey it completely.  The law of gravity tells you what stones do if you drop them; but the Law of Human Nature tells you what human beings ought to do and do not.  In other words, when you are dealing with humans, something else comes in above and beyond the actual facts.  You have the facts (how men do behave) and you also have something else (how they ought to behave).[3]

Again, according to naturalism, the brain is the mind and the mind is the brain, and “chemical reactions” is the name of the game. I would say more, but I am bound to these reactions, and they have not reacted in such a way as to have me say more than what I have here said.

The wisdom of creation – of the earth below and the heavens above – is to result in praise and wonder, not of the creation itself, but of the One who in wisdom made it: “O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Ps. 104:24).  Only God can fit an oak tree in an acorn. Only God can sculpt the heavenly bodies. Let us, then, worship and wonder at the wisdom of God!

[1] Frank Turek, Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case (TN: NavPress, 2014), 57.

[2] Ibid., 59.  Emphasis is his.

[3] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (NY: HarperOne, renewed 1980), 17-18.

About Drew Mery

Drew is a husband, father, Reformed Christian, blogger, and data analyst, living just outside of Tampa, FL. He has a BS in Religion from Liberty University and is currently working on a MA in Humanities from American Public University (based on the Great Books program). He is a board member of Pietas Classical Christian School in Brevard County. Upon completing his degree, he desires to teach, write, and possibly earn a PhD.

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