Is Anybody Out There?
by Dan Juster, Director, Tikkun Ministries International
Broadcast news is buzzing over the discovery of a new planet orbiting a star 1400 light years away from the Earth called Kepler-452b. Why all the excitement if we won't be going there any time soon?1 It is because this is the first planet discovered so far whose distance from its sun would seem to be ideal for supporting life as we know it. Some think that the existence of Kepler-45 2b supports the idea of our naturalistic evolution. The planet is large, almost 60% larger than Earth, and revolves around a larger sun than ours. Scientists reasonably speculate that there must be many such planets orbiting stars whose conditions are favorable for life. If there are such numbers of planets, so the reasoning goes, it makes the probability of our naturalistic evolution that much more convincing.
The excitement is ostensibly from discovering something of who we are and how we got here, but this kind of excitement is not new. When scientists discovered what they considered to be the evidence of water on Mars, or on a comet, or recently on Pluto, they again asserted that they found one of the conditions for life, from which life could naturally evolve if the conditions were right. However, all of this excitement and speculation is based on a naturalistic world view where the universe is not the manifestation of an infinite personal God who designed it. Indeed, this stance is contrary to all the evidence we really have concerning natural evolution as well. Yet the drumbeat for naturalistic evolution goes on. Recently the famous paraplegic scientist, Steven Hawking, offered $100,000 to projects searching for extra-terrestrial intelligent life.
The Bankrupt Assumption of Naturalistic Evolution
The average person does not realize that the slant on these reports on life on other planets, conditions him or her to embrace a naturalistic world view rather than a biblical theistic one, that God created the heavens and the earth. A few years ago, Antony Flew, a leading atheist philosopher in the English speaking world renounced atheism and embraced the existence of God as the designer of the universe. For fifty years, Flew was world famous for his arguments against the existence of God. Even more important is the fact that he was one of the most important philosophers of science. Flew's understanding and presentation of how science works, the nature of science, was internationally noted. His study of the theory of evolution and the nature of microscopic cellular life, the irreducible complexity of life, convinced him that nature had to be designed, that it had not naturalistically evolved.
Then, just three years ago, a leading American philosopher, Thomas Nagel of New York University, wrote a bombshell of a book entitled Mind and Cosmos. In short, his premise is that the naturalistic theory of evolution is totally impossible. Nagel is a leading philosopher of science! At the time of writing his book, Nagel desired to remain an atheist, but pointed out the bankruptcy of the contemporary evolution paradigm/narrative. Indeed, according to Nagel, the basic evolutionary description of inanimate material is such that it could never by chance produce our world no matter what amount of time is involved. The kind of plants and animals that we know in our world are simply of a different category of existence and cannot be evolved from the inanimate. He said that he did not have an answer as to how we got here, but it certainly was not naturalistic evolution as currently embraced. Eventually Nagel opted for some kind of mentalism - that is a mental dimension in all things whereby particles seek to join together and seek to develop and become more complex and aware. In other words, there is mind in all things. This is a kind of pluralistic pan-mental universe. Well, that is no real answer, and Nagel realizes that it is a very weak answer. But he thinks it is more credible than materialistic evolution.
Is There Life On Other Planets?
The famous literary scholar and apologist C. S. Lewis argued that there may well be life on other planets. However, if there is life, it will not be because of naturalistic evolution, but because God created life on those planets. Those planets may be connected to our human future as well. We do not know. If life is found on other planets, asteroids, or comets, it is just as impossible for it to have evolved there as here. The universe is composed of the same substances throughout. Chance is the biggest term of explanation in evolution, and chance is a non-explanatory term. Finding life on other planets tells us nothing about our naturalistic origins. It may tell us that God has also created in other worlds, and that would be interesting. It is fully compatible with belief in God.
Let's not allow ourselves to be conditioned by these constant so-called scientific statements, which are not science, that somehow finding life in the universe will tell us something important about ourselves. The most important information about ourselves has been written in a Jewish book, a book for the whole world. That book is called the Bible and has influenced almost two and a half billion people to believe that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).
1 It would take 20 million years to get there at our present maximum spaceship velocity of around 60,000 km/hour (38,000 mph).
Is Anybody Out There?
by Patty Juster, , Restoration From Zion
When my father was retired, he used to watch TV almost all day and did practically nothing with his life that had any purpose. I asked him one day why he no longer cared about how he spent his time, and he responded with these words: "Life has a way of beating you down."
When you have lived a long time on this earth, chances are that you have experienced many hardships, sorrows, losses, disappointments and soul vexation over the condition of the world, unmet goals, or relational breakups. The list can go on. After a while there is a slow erosion of "get up and go" - and apathy, entitlement, cynicism or complacency set in. In short, you have lost heart. In the past you might have been a dynamic, on-fire believer, a prayer warrior, a person that fought against injustice or the wiles of the enemy; but now lethargy has taken over.
Please know that you are not alone. We have all been through seasons of feeling beaten down. However, there is a danger in losing heart. Losing heart is a symptom of growing unbelief or hardening of heart. It is not a pleasant place to be in as you are tempted to give up and feel entitled to indulge the flesh. Hence, we need to encourage each other more and more as the times of the end draw near (Hebrews 10:25). The good news is that God is faithful even when we feel faithless (2 Timothy 2:13).
He who has begun a good work in us will see it to completion (Philippians 1:6). Surround yourself with those who are still full of faith and optimism in God. Repent of unbelief, start doing the things you did at the beginning of your walk with God, seeking Him with all your heart. These are the days of resurrection. So, I want to encourage you, put your hope in God as you will yet praise the Lord and streams will burst forth in the desert (Isaiah 35:6). He created you to bear fruit, even in your later years (Psalm 92:14)! Your best days are ahead!
This article was previously published Jul15 here in the Juster's Prayer and Update Newsletter
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