Monday, December 31, 2007

Vacation

Hi everyone, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families. My family and I just returned from sunny Mazatlan after a week's stay Oceanside. We were blessed with a hotel room overlooking the hotel's pool and the Pacific Ocean. Yes, there were palm trees and a gentle breeze most days that made me almost forget about what winter is like in Minnesota. But as we returned on Saturday night, the cold reality of our winter hit us – as well as a driveway almost filled knee high with snow (I am very grateful to our neighbor who before we arrived shoveled a path for our car to get up our steep incline of a driveway.)


 

But as I was relaxing this past week, one thought kept returning to me: how powerful and destructive nature is. The ocean's wave's relentless and never-ending pounding of the shore destroyed everything it touched. My son Elijah and daughter Olivia built several sand castles on the edge of where the water would come up to on the beach. And they were able to mostly protect their construction with a protective wall on the side that the waves would come. But it turns out that the water rushing back was even more destructive to the sand castles than even the on-coming waves. The pull of the water back to the ocean was so strong that it would tear away the backside of the castles. But the combination of the wave's pounding and drawing back leveled every castle in short order.


 

So why did I think about nature's destructive power during this trip? It made me appreciate God our Creator all the more, the Maker and Creator of all of life around us. You see, the atheist belief is that nature's forces can build and create the marvelous designs of creatures, plants and animals by itself, without the need for Divine aid – that life started simply with even a single one-celled life, and then life through nature's forces grew more and more complicated, even to the point of creating the human brain/central nervous system/circulatory system, etc. And somehow the process of variation and mutation of the cell's DNA, the argument goes that nature can creatively make more and more complex living creatures, with the aid of nature naturally selecting the survival of the fittest life.


 

But let me ask the question – does this make any sense? Does it make sense to believe that nature alone can create a plant, an animal, or even man itself? I don't believe the atheist/naturalistic position makes sense. There is nothing in the world around us that shows that nature can create anything. The sun decomposes and breaks down anything left in its rays, as shown by an apple left out. Oxygen is the same way. The wind, the ocean's waves, rivers all cut and destroy everything in it's' path. Lightning? Of course, lightning destroys anything it hits – and yet people still cling to the 1950's Miller-Urey test tube experiment (over 50 years ago, and it is still relied upon – crazy?! The experiment showed that amino acids were created when an electrical current was run through a mixture of chemicals), as somehow proof that life can originate on its own. The hit of a lightning bolt kills life, and doesn't create it, the movie Young Frankenstein notwithstanding.


 

So with nature so clearly destroying order, and creating disarray in its' path, how have we departed so far from the path that lets us see that God is responsible and the Originator of everything in the world around us? Join me in praising the Triune God, Creator of the Heavens and Earth, and of all life around us.

3 comments:

edward oleander said...

Hi Tom, welcome home and Happy New Year to you and yours!!! I would NOT have wanted to come home to face your driveway!

How can you say that nature can only destroy? This is an amazing piece of selective tunnel-vision! On the large scale, we can see stars being created in far-off gas clouds within our galaxy. In the creation and destruction of stars, we can see the creation of all the other elements which go into making you, me, and the plane you flew home in... On the smaller scale, we see the Earth making new lands through the action of volcanoes and plate tectonics. We see those new lands covered in fertile soil from the action of wind and water. We see light, heat, chemicals and time giving rise to life itself (even if we don't understand the finer details yet). How lucky we are to be a part of such a wonderful process of creation!

But I forget... there are some who are so frightened of this awesome process that they must invent powerful mythical wizards with inscrutable purposes to make us somehow special, and apart from the rest of nature. These wizards wield enormous and mysterious powers and can explain everything we don't understand. Up until the last few centuries, these wizards (or gods if you will) were used to explain thunder, wind and babies. Fortunately for us, the mysteries fall one by one, and the wizards are replaced with scientific fact. And yet for all of that, the wonder is lessened not a bit...

Glad to have you back safe and sound, old friend...
~Ed~

tom wolff said...

Hi Ed,

Please help me to understand your point better. I do not see natural forces creating something that builds upon itself in making more order, or even with an appearance of design. Your examples of land being created from plate-tectonic forces is not helpful as land by itself is not organized, there is nothing obviously recognized as designed from it. I guess a good way of explaining this difference is by looking at Mount Rushmore versus a Mountain: one was obviously created by intelligence while the other is the product of natural forces of wind, rain, etc. One is not more beautiful than the other, but one is more obviously designed than the other.

Let me help out our discussion in this way - let's look at a snowflake, perhaps the best example of nature "designing" something unique. Let me respond by saying that every one of the examples you provided show the destructive role of nature rather than any creative role.

Why do I say that? Let's look at perhaps your best example, the snowflake. The air moisture, air currents, and gravity help form beautifully "designed" snowflakes - each one unique. But my point is that nature destroys rather than builds upon itself. So we see many different ways this beautiful snowflake structure is destroyed: warmth destroys it, wind can pulverize it upon other things, water melts it, gravity pounds it into the ground with other snowflakes and they lose their structure, instead of building upon itself. And so we never see a snowflake lasting longer than a few moments. Otherwise, nature completely destroys its own unique creation.

I like seeing evidence, evidence that is persuasive. Now if snowflakes could stick together in unusual patterns and build upon the already existing design, then this would be great evidence in favor of Darwinism. But we do not see things like snowflakes sticking together to form a beautiful giant snowflake. Or even something more grandiose, like the St. Paul Winter Carnival Palace. Perhaps you can help me to understand your point by providing me with any evidence of nature building upon itself to form something that looks like it is "designed"?

Thanks for your response and discussion - /s/Tom Wolff

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