Aesthetics, art, beauty and mind Intelligent Design

Beauty in Nature – Staggering Evidence of Design

Spread the love

Eric Hedin writes:

Beauty and the Beholder

Although beauty has an objective quality even within science, in another sense beauty is in the eye (or the mind) of the beholder. By this, I do not mean that it is purely subjective, but that its appreciation is dependent on qualities of perception, sympathy, and intellect within the beholder. “The mere animal hears the Mozart concerto and sees the daffodil,” writes Dubay, “but it is neither enraptured nor overwhelmed. It has no intellect to perceive the inner depth, the form.”[1]

Besides needing a sufficient level of intellect to respond to beauty, we also need the ability to delight in something other than ourselves. Being fully responsive to beauty requires having enough humility to let something else move you. It requires the ability to appreciate a thing for what it is, not just for what use it may have. Such a quality of intellect is neither animal-like, nor mechanistic.

Snow Lake, Cascade Range, Washington State. Credit: Eric Hedin

Beauty abounds on this Earth in majestic mountains, sparkling waterfalls, pastoral landscapes, white sandy beaches splashed by turquoise-blue waves. Beauty deepens in form and variety in the living creatures which grace our planet in endless abundance: flowers of every hue and symmetric form, tropical fish, songbirds and raptors, mammals large and small, each manifesting radiant beauty.

Human art demands an artist. The artistry of the beauties of nature is surely no less than that of any painting in The Louvre. What are we to make of this? Dubay sees in this evidence of foresight and planning: “One bluebird ‘in its way absolutely perfect’ is staggering evidence of art and design.”[2]

Depth of Form, by Design

The forces of nature, acting on matter according to the laws of physics often give rise to forms of beauty manifesting simplicity, symmetry, and harmony. Patterns can arise naturally that show simple, symmetric repetition of form, as in crystals. Beauty is also found in complex arrangements of matter involving a significant degree of randomness, as seen in clouds illuminated by the setting sun. Throughout the natural universe we see beautiful images revealed to us by astronomers’ powerful telescopes. Diamond-like clusters of stars, vaporous nebulae of almost every conceivable color, and majestic galaxies all strike our senses as beautiful examples of celestial art.

These examples of beauty in nature, however, possess only a limited degree of depth of form. The greatest depths of beauty are in living things, such as flowers, animals of all types and, in our fellow human beings. From where does the intense depth of form seen in a rose, a butterfly, or a human face arise?

Beauty in nature reveals a conjunction both curious, and curiously fitting. We find depth of beauty in living things; Earth’s most intelligent living organisms, humans, alone appear able to intensely appreciate depth of form; only with intelligent agents do we observe the creation of information-rich artifacts, such as novels and symphonies; and depth of beauty is the purview of the most information-rich structures in nature, living things. Depth of beauty appears to be—in its manifestation, creation, and appreciation—the purview of a mind attuned to beauty.

www.pixabay.com

A living thing’s depth of form is coded into its DNA and its other reservoirs of biological information. The form arises from DNA being read in conjunction with the marvelously orchestrated biochemistry of a cell. What is the explanation for such information-rich artistry? One easy response is, “Isn’t evolution grand?” Well, something is grand—something or someone. But if we want to address the question of the origin of living forms rationally, merely genuflecting before the theory of evolution won’t do. We need to compare the explanatory power of competing explanations and find one with the demonstrated capacity for generating depths of form and information. Blind evolution, I have argued, being subject solely to the laws of nature, lacks that capacity. Intelligent agents, by contrast, have demonstrated the capacity repeatedly.


[1] Thomas Dubay, S.M., The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), 51.

[2] Dubay, The Evidential Power of Beauty (1999), 24. Dubay quotes the phrase, “in its way absolutely perfect,” from biochemist Lewis Thomas, “On the Uncertainty of Science,” Harvard Magazine 83(1):19– 22, 1980.

Excerpted from Eric Hedin, Canceled Science: What Some Atheists Don’t Want You to See, (Discovery Institute Press, Seattle, 2021), pp. 202-204.

28 Replies to “Beauty in Nature – Staggering Evidence of Design

  1. 1
    relatd says:

    Human beings are generally attuned to the beauty of nature at a young age. Why does this beauty exist? And the perfection of shapes. Anyone studying art [representational art = art made to depict actual things] and industrial design [now called product design] knows the elements required. Human anatomy employs certain mathematical truths in its proportions. The proportions in the human face have a range, but most know, without understanding what ‘ideal’ proportions are, beauty when they see it. This goes for birds and other animals. The perfection of the underlying muscle and bone that allows humans to move and work, as well as animals, is incredible. It is not accidental.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Charles Darwin himself denied the objective reality of beauty and even said that, “They believe that very many structures have been created for beauty in the eyes of man, or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory.”

    “The foregoing remarks lead me to say a few words on the protest lately made by some naturalists, against the utilitarian doctrine that every detail of structure has been produced for the good of its possessor. They believe that very many structures have been created for beauty in the eyes of man, or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory.”
    (Charles Darwin – 1859, p. 199)

    Although some Darwinists, via sexual selection, have tried to give a ‘utilitarian’ basis for the existence of beauty ‘in the eyes of man’,,

    The Evolution of Beauty
    The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us is a 2017 book by the ornithologist and evolutionary biologist Richard O. Prum about the power of aesthetic mate choice, arguing it to be an important independent agent in evolution.,,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Evolution_of_Beauty

    ,,, This appeal to ‘sexual selection’ does not help the Darwinists explain the existence of beauty. First, sexual selection does not create anything new but ‘inhibits’ species maintenance.

    As the following study found, “The effects of pure Fisherian sexual selection on species maintenance are thus much more inhibitory than previously assumed.”

    The counterintuitive role of sexual selection in species maintenance and speciation – Maria R. Servedio – April 2014
    Excerpt: Speculation on the role of sexual selection in driving speciation and species maintenance traces back to the beginning of the explosion in sexual selection research seen in the past few decades (e.g., refs. 3, 4, 22, and 28). The more that this putative relationship is explored, however, the more tenuous it appears to be (e.g., refs. 10 and 11). Here we show that when sexual selection is isolated in a pure Fisherian form, it inhibits species maintenance in one of the situations in which its role seemed clearest, when the trait under sexual selection is also locally adapted. Furthermore, sexual selection is lost in this Fisherian system if preference strengths themselves are allowed to evolve.,,
    The effects of pure Fisherian sexual selection on species maintenance are thus much more inhibitory than previously assumed.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....4111.short

    Likewise, the following article, though somewhat technical, revealed that every approach, in which Darwinian materialists tried to reduce our subjective sense of beauty to a mere material mechanism, (to ‘utilitarian’ explanation), was thwarted.

    Beauty Evades the Clutches of Materialism – March 27, 2013
    Excerpt: Evolutionary materialists must believe, at some level, that the experience of beauty can be reduced to actions of neurons in the brain. This would bring beauty into the purview of neuroscience — a subtopic known as neuroaesthetics — that could be probed and explained with the tools of science. If the materialists are right, the Prince doesn’t really love Cinderella because she is beautiful. She is beautiful to him because he loves her, and he loves her because certain neurons fire in response to a stimulus. Beauty is “merely” an experience in the physical brain, not an external reality.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2013/03/beauty_evades_t/

    Moreover, as the preceding article touched upon, even if sexual selection were somehow viable as a scientific theory it still would, ‘theoretically’, only be able to explain why opposite sexes might find each other attractive. Sexual selection would still not be able to explain why we find beauty abounding on earth and in nature.

    To state the blatantly obvious, the beauty revealed in nature and biology simply goes far beyond what can possibly be explained by Darwinian evolution in general, and sexual selection in particular.

    The Biology of the Baroque – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FothcJW-Quo
    “The Biology of the Baroque” is a documentary that explores the amazing patterns, order, and beauty in biology that go (far) beyond what can (possibly) be explained by Darwinian evolution. It features geneticist Michael Denton and is inspired by Denton’s new book Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis

    Beauty, Darwin & Design – video – 2019
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ax-lkRoES8
    Charles Darwin once wrote that the sight of a male peacock’s tail made him physically ill. Why? Because he knew that the gratuitous beauty so prevalent throughout the living world points unmistakably to intelligent design, foresight and plan. Explore the artistry and stunning implications of natural colors, patterns, and ornamentation in the animal and plant kingdoms that exist for a purpose beyond mere survival.

    To reiterate, for Charles Darwin himself the existence of beauty “in the eyes of man’, (apart from any materialistic, and/or ‘utilitarian’ explanation), is quote-unquote “absolutely fatal” to Darwin’s theory.

    And the main reason why the objective existence of beauty is ‘absolutely fatal’ for Darwin’s theory is simply because beauty is not, and cannot possibly be, a property of the material/physical realm, but beauty is instead an immaterial, i.e. ‘abstract’, property of the mind.

    How much does beauty weigh? Is beauty closer to Maine or California? How fast does beauty go? etc.. etc.. All these questions are, of course, absurd since beauty is, obviously, not reducible to any possible materialistic, and/or ‘utilitarian’, explanation. Beauty can only be appreciated by a mind,,, by an immaterial mind. And as such, since beauty can only be appreciated by an immaterial mind, then it necessary follows that beauty would not exist if “this ‘idea’ of beauty were not found in the Mind in a more perfect form”.

    “Beauty… can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this ‘idea’ of beauty were not found in the Mind in a more perfect form…. This consideration has readily persuaded men of ability and learning… that the original “idea” is not to be found in this sphere.”
    (Augustine, City of God)
    https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2017/07/beauty-imagination-aaron-ames.html

    In short, the objective reality of beauty must find its ultimate basis in the Mind of God.

    The Reason Why God Is the Beauty We All Seek – Sept. 4, 2019
    Excerpt: God loves beauty. As Thomas Aquinas asserts, God “is beauty itself”[1] St. Anselm argues that “God must be the supreme beauty for the same reasons that He must be justice and other such qualities.”[2] As the contemporary theologian Michael Horton so aptly states in his book The Christian Faith, “God would not be God if he did not possess all his attributes in the simplicity and perfection of his essence.”[3] The reason why we gravitate toward beauty is because God created us in his image.,,,
    In a chapel sermon titled, “Can Beauty Save the World,” Albert Mohler explains,
    “The Christian worldview posits that anything pure and good finds its ultimate source in the self-existent, omnipotent God who is infinite in all his perfections. Thus the Christian worldview reminds us that the “transcendentals”—the good, the true, and the beautiful—are inseparable. Thus when Psalm 27 speaks of the beauty of the Lord, the Psalmist is also making a claim about the goodness of the Lord and the truthfulness of the Lord. While we distinguish God’s attributes from one another in order to understand them better, we must also recognize that these attributes are inseparable from one another.[19]”
    Mohler goes on to state, “Our job as Christians is to remember the difference between the beautiful and the pretty,” because pure beauty is found in goodness and truth.[20] When we gaze upon ascetically pleasing objects or witness kind deeds in this world, we are at best seeing imperfect versions of the pure beauty that can only be found in God.
    https://www.beautifulchristianlife.com/blog/reason-why-god-is-the-beauty-we-all-seek

    To put it more succinctly, the argument for God from beauty can be formulated like this,

    1. If God does not exist then beauty does not objectively exist in the ‘eyes of man’ but it is merely illusory.
    2. Yet, Beauty does objectively exist in the ‘eyes of man’.
    3. Therefore God necessarily exists.

    Verses:

    Philippians 4:8
    Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

    Psalm 27:4
    One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note, “Researchers attempted to plug into the automatic or “default” human brain by showing subjects images of natural landscapes and things made by human beings, then requiring lightning-fast responses to the question on whether “any being purposefully made the thing in the picture,” notes Pacific-Standard.
    “Religious participants’ baseline tendency to endorse nature as purposefully created was higher” than that of atheists, the study found. But non-religious participants “increasingly defaulted to understanding natural phenomena as purposefully made” when “they did not have time to censor their thinking,” ”

    Richard Dawkins take heed: Even atheists instinctively believe in a creator says study – Mary Papenfuss – June 12, 2015
    Excerpt: Three studies at Boston University found that even among atheists, the “knee jerk” reaction to natural phenomenon is the belief that they’re purposefully designed by some intelligence, according to a report on the research in Cognition entitled the “Divided Mind of a disbeliever.”
    The findings “suggest that there is a deeply rooted natural tendency to view nature as designed,” writes a research team led by Elisa Järnefelt of Newman University. They also provide evidence that, in the researchers’ words, “religious non-belief is cognitively effortful.”
    Researchers attempted to plug into the automatic or “default” human brain by showing subjects images of natural landscapes and things made by human beings, then requiring lightning-fast responses to the question on whether “any being purposefully made the thing in the picture,” notes Pacific-Standard.
    “Religious participants’ baseline tendency to endorse nature as purposefully created was higher” than that of atheists, the study found. But non-religious participants “increasingly defaulted to understanding natural phenomena as purposefully made” when “they did not have time to censor their thinking,” wrote the researchers.
    The results suggest that “the tendency to construe both living and non-living nature as intentionally made derives from automatic cognitive processes, not just practised explicit beliefs,” the report concluded.
    The results were similar even among subjects from Finland, where atheism is not a controversial issue as it can be in the US.
    “Design-based intuitions run deep,” the researchers conclude, “persisting even in those with no explicit religious commitment and, indeed, even among those with an active aversion to them.”
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/richa.....dy-1505712

    Is Atheism a Delusion?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ii-bsrHB0o

    Cultivating Ears To Hear Beauty’s Call – by Philip Tallon – April 2013
    Excerpt: I’ve found that skeptics of one stripe or other are more sympathetic to theistic arguments from beauty than nearly any other form of natural theology. In a debate on the existence of God, agnostic philosopher Peter S. Fosl admitted that Cat Stevens’ song “Morning Has Broken” pushes him over to theism on some days.,,,
    in “Essay on American Scenery,” Thomas Cole writes, “Amid [these scenes of nature] the consequent associations are of God the creator–they are his undefiled works, and the mind is cast into contemplation of eternal things.”
    http://www.transpositions.co.u.....utys-call/

    In other words, it is not that atheists do not intuitively see beauty, purpose, and design in nature, it is that atheists, for whatever severely misguided reason, live in denial of, and are ‘suppressing’, the beauty, purpose, and design that they themselves are seeing in nature.

    It truly is sad.

    It is said that Socrates, (prior to his execution for ‘corrupting youth’), once said “The unexamined life is not worth living”, I would add that a life lived without any real sense of beauty would hardly qualify as a life worth living either.

    “The unexamined life is not worth living” is a famous dictum supposedly uttered by Socrates at his trial for impiety and corrupting youth, for which he was subsequently sentenced to death.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_unexamined_life_is_not_worth_living

  4. 4
    Jblais says:

    Couldn’t resist a quick comment before leaving.

    The beauty of nature is the first and most immediate experience of the divine accessible to all for free from the earliest of age. I cannot think of any greater motivation to do science than to reveal nature’s beauty in all its intricacies.

    The experience of beauty is another instance of an aspect of reality that is unintelligible under naturalism. This experience is the same whether it’s produced by a work of art or from nature, thus pointing to a common creation process between human art and nature. The naturalist must therefore, in the same way that he needs to do it with consciousness, free will, morality, etc…, eliminate beauty by denying its objectivity and pretending that it is entirely subjective and relative i.e. ultimately an illusion. A very sad and deluded way of looking at the world.

  5. 5
    chuckdarwin says:

    I live in the northern Rockies close to Yellowstone. In fact, I can see the Grand Teton from my back porch. My undergrad biology degree, which, I received over 50 years ago, specialized in wildlife ecology and management which required substantial field work, in my case, mostly among elk herds. In retirement, I spend most of my time hiking and Jeeping what is left of the wilds.

    Anyone with any “in the weeds” experience with the natural world, knows that its beauty comes with a very high cost–the struggle to live. “Red in tooth and claw” is not a euphemism or a metaphor. Mother Nature is cruel and profligate. She gives no quarter, and she plays no favorites. All you need to see is a pack of wolves circle in on a minute’s-old bison calf facing a certain, excruciating death or the charred carcasses of elk in a burn zone, or the devastation of brucellosis running through a herd of buffalo, just once, to disabuse you of the idylls of poets or the arm-chair ruminations of philosophers and theologians pondering the “divineness” of nature.

    The beauty in nature is there, no doubt. I try to reflect on it every day. Does it point to a benevolent and loving God? I seriously doubt it…..

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    As a (philosophical) naturalist, I see beauty in Nature just as much as any believer. For example, I was deeply impressed by the wonderful landscape photographs of Ansel Adams and Elliot Porter.

    But, like CD, you cannot ignore the bloody brutality of the natural world. The stunning photography in David Attenborough’s wild life documentaries does not mask the seal being grabbed by a killer whale or by the calves or injured individuals brought down by predators like wolves or big cats. Wolves and cheetahs are magnificent creatures but what they do to live is ugly.

    And I believe Ted Bundy chose to commit those crimes, that he had the capacity to choose otherwise but didn’t. He was responsible. But what are we to say of an omniscient and omnipotent God who chose to nothing to stop him?

  7. 7
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 6,

    The world isn’t perfect? It was at one time. People aren’t perfect? Yeah, so? Your focus on death and destruction – instead of beauty – is a poor way to look at things.

    And please, don’t deny God and then blame Him for something at the same time.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev: You say that you believe beauty actually exists “just as much as any believer”. But if beauty actually, and objectively, exists as the believer holds, then God necessarily exists.

    There are no two ways about it. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Very much like the existence of objective morality, there simply is no way for you to ground the existence of objective beauty within your atheistic naturalism.

    After overlooking that “minor detail’, you then observed that the beauty of the world is marred by ugliness, (i.e. by “the seal being grabbed by a killer whale” ,, etc.),,, and then you argued, basically, because of such ugliness in the world, that therefore God does not exist,,,, but pointing to the ugliness in death does not detract one iota from the fact that beauty actually exists, and therefore God necessarily exists.

    Just as darkness is the absence of light, and death is the absence of life, and hate is the absence of love, and evil is the absence of good, so too ugliness could not exist unless there was first an absence of beauty. Beauty must first objectively exist in order for ugliness to have its existence.

    In short, and as is usual with your arguments against God, your argument against God is self-refuting in the most fundamental way possible in that you have to presuppose the objective reality of beauty, and therefore presuppose the objective reality of God, in order for your ‘argument from ugly’ to have a chance at succeeding.

    As Cornelius van Til once put it, the atheist, in his arguments against God, is very much like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face. Without God “the place on which he stands does not exist”. The unbeliever “cannot stand in a vacuum.”

    “In other words, the non-Christian needs the truth of the Christian religion in order to attack it. As a child needs to sit on the lap of its father in order to slap the father’s face, so the unbeliever, as a creature, needs God the Creator and providential controller of the universe in order to oppose this God. Without this God, the place on which he stands does not exist. He cannot stand in a vacuum.”
    – Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

  10. 10
    relatd says:

    Ba77 at 3,

    “In other words, it is not that atheists do not intuitively see beauty, purpose, and design in nature, it is that atheists, for whatever severely misguided reason, live in denial of, and are ‘suppressing’, the beauty, purpose, and design that they themselves are seeing in nature.”

    As you have repeatedly pointed out, everything leads back to God. Everything we see around us leads back to God. And the ugliness, the death and destruction? As you know, Creation was corrupted after The Fall. Man and the order of life around him changed by a single act of disobedience.

    But the atheist-materialist must block the roads to God. As if to say, ‘No, no. Everything came to exist on its own. Man is the ultimate judge. Man is the greatest of all creatures! Man is responsible to no one but himself!”

    When man prefers himself instead of God, he puts his life and soul at great risk. By denying the truth, he is at great risk. By saying he was not made by God, he denies the truth.

    Romans 9:20

    ‘But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

  11. 11
    chuckdarwin says:

    Relatd/7
    The world was never perfect, not even close. Your Catholicism posits a perfect God that created a perfect place with perfect animals and plants all in harmony with the cosmos. Then your perfect God blew it, he created man, an imperfect being, in his image and likeness. Man had no choice but to sin, he was destined to sin: God created him that way.
    Augustine says in the Confessions that God is the arbiter of sin, but not it’s creator. But how can that be? Did we not just say that God did not merely create man, but did so in his image and likeness? Shouldn’t we be honest, just once, and lay authorship of pain and suffering, sin and evil, at the doorstep where they ultimately belong? At the doorstep of your Christian God?

  12. 12
    relatd says:

    CD at 11,

    I recently watched a video of a local Catholic priest discussing evil and atheist objections to God. Among them was ‘God is bad.’ Is God bad for giving man free will? The ability to choose between right and wrong? If God created male and female human robots that obeyed Him 100% then how are we free to choose? In a relationship – a true relationship – love and doing what love requires, is a choice. You can’t walk up to someone and force them to love you, can you? A relationship develops, a commitment is made.

    That is what human beings are – free to choose.

    “your Christian God”? Is that how you understand God? If so, you know nothing. The truth is, after the first sin, God so loved the world that he sent His Son to offer healing to the world. To bring all men to repentance. To get them to turn away from sin and live a life dedicated to holiness. That is why Jesus died on the cross. To pay the price for sin. We choose God of our own free will. He will not force us. But I suspect, based on your thinking, that He should. But love, real love, is not something forced on another. It is freely given and freely received.

    The Church tells us the value of beauty. Those who paint or sculpt were given a gift from the Holy Spirit. They can share in God’s creative nature. Every good thing comes from God.

    Matthew 13:14

    ‘Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ““You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.”

    15

    ‘For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’

    16

    “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.”

  13. 13
    Querius says:

    Chuckdarwin and Seversky:

    What I’d like to ask is why the United States and the State of Idaho allowed the horrific murder of four young college students and why the supposedly fair justice system has allowed Bryan Kohberger to remain alive despite all the suffering he brought to these innocent students and their families and friends?

    How can you believe in Government when such things are always happening?

    -Q

  14. 14
    chuckdarwin says:

    Querius
    “Allowed these murders”? What in the world is wrong with you? And what do you suggest—that we simply take him behind the courthouse and shoot him? No trial, no due process, just a summary execution.? And what of the presumption of innocence?
    I don’t know where you live, in the US we have a criminal justice system. And the operative word is justice. I suggest you read the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution before you go popping off about “justice” in the US……

  15. 15
    Querius says:

    Chuckdarwin @14,

    Yes, exactly! My comment @13 was actually an analogy to free will and divine justice.

    Think about about, okay?

    -Q

  16. 16
    Querius says:

    To spell it out more obviously, the world we live in is in a lengthy (by human standards) process of divine judgment:

    * According to the New Testament, “the Lake of Fire” was originally prepared solely for Satan and his fallen angels who CHOSE to insert themselves into God’s creation, taking over direct control, causing massive harm and suffering in the process. God is allowing them to fail spectacularly in their attempt at taking over from God, demonstrating their evil, and justifying their complete destruction as a result.

    * God CHOSE to destroy Satan by means of humanity, the beings God created to rule the earth as naturalists. Specifically, the Messiah of promise came as God in human form not to condemn humanity, but to save as many people as possible who CHOOSE to accept the forgiveness the Messiah provides. However, for Satan and his fallen angels, there is no forgiveness, only justice. Same for people who CHOOSE to turn their back on God’s offer of mercy or who are complete phonies and hypocrites (I’m sure you know of examples).

    * There will be an ultimate and absolutely perfect judgment: Revelation 11:18 (NASB 1995) reads

    And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”

    You’re undoubtedly aware of those who are destroying the earth . . .

    * Then, God will create everything anew–a new heavens and a new earth, devoid of predation, suffering, and death.

    This is what Bible-believing Christians believe.

    Wishing you and everyone all the best for the new year!

    -Q

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Querius at 13, 15 and 16, that was ‘beautiful’! 🙂

    And ChuckyD’s ‘hook, line and sinker’, response at 14 is also a ‘beautiful’ example that ChuckyD was blissfully unaware that the very water he is breathing, in his moral/ethical judgments, is Christianity.

    As historian Tom Holland put it, and as far as morality is concerned, “If Western civilization is the fishbowl then the water is Christianity.”

    Atheists in Praise of Christianity? – May 19, 2020
    Excerpt: Historian Tom Holland is known primarily as a storyteller of the ancient world. Thus, his newest book Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, came as something of a surprise for several reasons. First, Tom Holland is not a Christian. Second, Holland’s book is one of the most ambitious historical defenses of Christianity in a very long time.
    Attracting Criticism
    Holland’s book-length defense of the belief system the elites love to despise has unsurprisingly attracted some criticism. He faced off with militant atheist and prominent philosopher A.C. Grayling on the question “Did Christianity give us our human values?” Grayling struggled to rebut Holland, sounding more petty than philosophical. Holland, on the other hand, became positively passionate in his defense of Christianity. If Western civilization is the fishbowl, he stated, then the water is Christianity.
    https://stream.org/atheists-in-praise-of-christianity/

    And as Tom Holland stated elsewhere, “In my morals and ethics, I have learned to accept that I am not Greek or Roman at all, but thoroughly and proudly Christian.”

    Tom Holland: Why I was wrong about Christianity – 2016
    It took me a long time to realise my morals are not Greek or Roman, but thoroughly, and proudly, Christian.
    Excerpt: The longer I spent immersed in the study of classical antiquity, the more alien and unsettling I came to find it. The values of Leonidas, whose people had practised a peculiarly murderous form of eugenics, and trained their young to kill uppity Untermenschen by night, were nothing that I recognised as my own; nor were those of Caesar, who was reported to have killed a million Gauls and enslaved a million more. It was not just the extremes of callousness that I came to find shocking, but the lack of a sense that the poor or the weak might have any intrinsic value. As such, the founding conviction of the Enlightenment – that it owed nothing to the faith into which most of its greatest figures had been born – increasingly came to seem to me unsustainable.
    “Every sensible man,” Voltaire wrote, “every honourable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror.” Rather than acknowledge that his ethical principles might owe anything to Christianity, he preferred to derive them from a range of other sources – not just classical literature, but Chinese philosophy and his own powers of reason. Yet Voltaire, in his concern for the weak and ­oppressed, was marked more enduringly by the stamp of biblical ethics than he cared to admit. His defiance of the Christian God, in a paradox that was certainly not unique to him, drew on motivations that were, in part at least, recognisably Christian.
    “We preach Christ crucified,” St Paul declared, “unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” He was right. Nothing could have run more counter to the most profoundly held assumptions of Paul’s contemporaries – Jews, or Greeks, or Romans. The notion that a god might have suffered torture and death on a cross was so shocking as to appear repulsive. Familiarity with the biblical narrative of the Crucifixion has dulled our sense of just how completely novel a deity Christ was. In the ancient world, it was the role of gods who laid claim to ruling the universe to uphold its order by inflicting punishment – not to suffer it themselves.
    Today, even as belief in God fades across the West, the countries that were once collectively known as Christendom continue to bear the stamp of the two-millennia-old revolution that Christianity represents. It is the principal reason why, by and large, most of us who live in post-Christian societies still take for granted that it is nobler to suffer than to inflict suffering. It is why we generally assume that every human life is of equal value. In my morals and ethics, I have learned to accept that I am not Greek or Roman at all, but thoroughly and proudly Christian.
    https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/religion/2016/09/tom-holland-why-i-was-wrong-about-christianity

  18. 18
    jerry says:

    Then your perfect God blew it, he created man, an imperfect being, in his image and likeness. Man had no choice but to sin, he was destined to sin: God created him that way

    But so far this God which you despise, created about 15 billion entities that have the potential for eternal happiness.

    Yes, they all can sin but is this permanent? Can they overcome sin?

    For that eternal happiness, do they have to endure relatively minor unwanted effects for an extremely short time? I know the unwanted effects will vary by person but is this necessary? Must there be doubt?

    Some will reject this opportunity. We do not know what the exact results of this rejection is but will it be eternal even if it is annihilation? Must doubt work here too? We have all seen how fear is the biggest motivator there is.

    Does this God who you despise not have the ability to know each one’s heart? Is free will to accept or reject and doubt necessary conditions for this world we live in order to attain this eternal happiness.

    Did this God create the best of all possible worlds?

  19. 19
    Querius says:

    Heh, looks like Chuckdarwin once again fled to another topic.

    It’s sad when people collect grievances against God in order to rationalize their rejection of God, but find these grievances too precious to let go even when faced with inconsistencies between these grievances and their own values.

    As a result, I WILL PREDICT that Chuckdarwin and Seversky will freely use Herbert Spencer’s notion of nature being red in tooth and claw as an argument against the existence of a loving God whenever it’s convenient for them in the future.

    -Q

  20. 20
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/17
    I have the greatest respect for Tom Holland if for no other reason than his willingness to speak out on behalf of the Yazidi people when most in the “Christian” West largely ignored their plight.

    No one denies that Christianity played a prominent role in European arts and science but neither should one deny the blood spilled in the almost interminable religious conflicts across the continent for centuries. They are all part and parcel of the same story and to emphasize one influence but ignore the rest is poor history and science.

    And what is wrong with adopting Christian moral values such as charity, compassion and tolerance without the Christian theological baggage which comes with them?

  21. 21
    Seversky says:

    Querius/19

    As a result, I WILL PREDICT that Chuckdarwin and Seversky will freely use Herbert Spencer’s notion of nature being red in tooth and claw as an argument against the existence of a loving God whenever it’s convenient for them in the future.

    I can’t speak for CD but, for myself, I’m happy to grant your prediction. I will continue to raise questions such as why didn’t God prevent Ted Bundy when He could have? When I watch the TV commercials trying to raise donations for the St Jude’s Hospital for treating childhood cancers, what possible divine purpose can the suffering and death of those children possibly serve?

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev:, “what is wrong with adopting Christian moral values such as charity, compassion and tolerance without the Christian theological baggage which comes with them?”

    LOL, and you see no problem with you ‘stealing’ from Christian ethics and morality, since your ‘red in tooth and claw’ atheistic worldview is in moral bankruptcy?

    To point out the blatantly obvious, illegitimately “stealing” morality from the Christian worldview, since your ‘red in tooth and claw’ atheistic worldview can’t account for morality, presents, in and of itself, a moral dilemma for you! 🙂

  23. 23
    Querius says:

    Seversky @21,

    I can’t speak for CD but, for myself, I’m happy to grant your prediction.

    Ok, good. But just as Attitude is key to success in life, Perspective is key to understanding God as portrayed in the Bible. Again, my point is that many people want/need to find fault with God.

    But . . .

    1. If the Biblical God really does exist, then to find fault with a being of a billion IQ is silly.

    2. If the Hindu trinity of Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer actually exist. Then, finding fault with Shiva is silly.

    3. If no superior beings exist as an arbiter of truth or morality, than any system of morality is completely arbitrary and an ephemeral illusion of that society alone. Objecting to suffering or attempting to right wrongs is, once again, silly.

    I will continue to raise questions such as why didn’t God prevent Ted Bundy when He could have?

    It demonstrates how God honors His gift to us of free will, and how it results in massive suffering caused by people who disregard the fear of God and choose not to follow His teachings. This is comparable to a man giving his son a new car along with an admonition that with this gift comes responsibility. And then the son goes out and gets drunk and . . .

    When I watch the TV commercials trying to raise donations for the St Jude’s Hospital for treating childhood cancers, what possible divine purpose can the suffering and death of those children possibly serve?

    To break our stony hearts.

    Those children suffer, but in death they will be together with God forever, and forever is a very long time. Mothers and babies suffer as babies enter this world, but the suffering is soon forgotten.

    As a result of suffering, we try to advance the medical sciences to cure disease and mitigate suffering. Other people want to amass power and wealth such as Vladimir Putin who is now raining pain, suffering, and death on the people of Ukraine.

    Ultimately, there will be a complete, thorough and totally fair judgment by God of all people who reject God’s mercy, including all their thoughts, attitudes, and actions. It will be particularly severe for religious phonies, opportunists, and hypocrites! It will then be apparent TO THEM that their destruction is completely deserved and appropriate.

    God’s mercy was enabled for us by His clothing Himself with a human body, to lead a perfect life and then to get tortured to death by the political/religious establishment. His death is payment in full for all our evil–if we CHOOSE to truly repent and follow his teachings and actions.

    One of my earliest memories was chasing around the house as a toddler with a friend. Running away from her, I accidentally slammed the door on her fingers. Her dad caught me and then with kindness and patience made me look at her bleeding fingers. I denied having done it because I wanted it not to be true, but I felt terrible. Her suffering wasn’t for nothing. It’s affected me deeply for my entire life!

    -Q

  24. 24
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 20,

    “And what is wrong with adopting Christian moral values such as charity, compassion and tolerance without the Christian theological baggage which comes with them?”

    “theological baggage”? like a kid in a candy store, picking and choosing. When man chooses himself as the ultimate everything… well, it’s just obvious where things usually go.

    Proverbs 14:12

    “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

  25. 25
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @20

    And what is wrong with adopting Christian moral values such as charity, compassion and tolerance without the Christian theological baggage which comes with them?

    Nothing, provided that one can justify or ground those moral values in some way without the theological baggage.

    The challenge to naturalistic humanism is how to respond to Nietzsche:

    They’ve gotten rid of the Christian God, and now they think they have to hold onto Christian morality al the more: that’s English logic . . . Things are different for the rest of us. If you give up Christian faith, you pull the right to Christian morality out from under your feet. This morality is simply not self-evident . . . Christianity is a system, a view of things that is conceived as a connected whole. If you break off a major concept from it, faith in God, you break up the whole as well: there are no necessities left to hold onto anymore. Christianity presupposes that human beings do not know, cannot know, what is good and evil for them: they believe in God, who is the only one who knows it. Christian morality is commandment; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it is true only if God is truth — it stands and falls with faith in God — If the English actually believe they know on their own, “intuitively”, what is good and evil, if they consequently think they no longer need Christianity as a guarantee of morality, this itself is just the consequence of the domination of Christian value judgments, and an expression of the strength and depth of this domination: so that the origin of English morality has been forgotten, so that the highly conditional status of its right to exist is no longer sensed. For the English, morality is not yet a problem . . . (“Raids of an Untimely Man” 5 in Twilight of the Idols, 1888, trans. Richard Polt)

    In other words, anyone who wants to disentangle Christian morality from Christian theology needs to show that they are entitled to do that, which means demonstrating that natural human reason has the capacity to determine the criteria by which we can adjudicate conflicting views about what is good and what is bad for beings like ourselves.

    It should be tolerably clear that I would not be a naturalistic humanist if I did not think that this could demand could be satisfied, but I certainly recognize the legitimacy of the demand itself.

  26. 26
    chuckdarwin says:

    Querius/16
    If you feel you have to explain your original response, it pretty much loses its cleverness, you know, like having to explain a joke. While it initially occurred to me that you were trying to school me on “divine justice”, it also occurred to me that, deep down, you believe that vigilantism is justified. I was simply trying to remind you that, at least in the United States, we still are committed to the rule of law, despite whatever failings you think you see in our criminal justice system…..

  27. 27
    relatd says:

    PM1 at 25,

    Man teaches man. There is no greater teacher. Really?

  28. 28
    Querius says:

    Chuckdarwin @16,

    While it initially occurred to me that you were trying to school me on “divine justice”, it also occurred to me that, deep down, you believe that vigilantism is justified.

    Wrong on both counts. That’s why I needed to elaborate.

    1. I wasn’t trying to “school” you. I let you “school” yourself–which you did admirably and embarrassingly well! LOL

    2. No, I’m completely and absolutely opposed to vigilantism and antisemitism.

    What I provoked you to demonstrate was that your objection to God for seemingly “allowing” certain things was comparable to the justice system seemingly “allowing” certain things while the wheels of justice move slowly, methodically, and inexorably toward an approximation of justice.

    You were outraged at my pretended impatience with the State in this case, but objected that the ultimate judgment of God should take so long. You can’t have it both ways.

    Yes, I obviously needed to “explain the joke,” as you again demonstrated above.

    -Q

Leave a Reply