Wednesday, February 16

The Holy Spirit in Acts

The Dictionary describes the Holy Spirit as, "the spirit of God" The Spirit of God is seen all throughout the Hebrew Bible, beginning in the second verse of Genesis. "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." The Spirit of God features prominently in Judges, 1st/2nd Samuel, and 1st/2nd Kings. David refers to Him in Psalm 51:11, "Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me." The Holy Spirit appears even more prominently in the New Testament. Jesus talked about Him often. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity - God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the (Holy) Spirit. (Matthew 28:19) The Holy Spirit plays a large role in the book of Acts, which was written by Dr. Luke. In fact, the Holy Spirit is first mentioned in the second verse of Acts. "until the day [Jesus] was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen." Despite what some traditions may say, I would contend that the Holy Spirit is alive and active - He is a being. He speaks (Acts 1:16; 8:29; 10:19; etc.), He enables people to speak, in some occasions different languages (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31), He bears witness to things (Acts 5:32), He sends out Christians (Acts 13:4), the Holy Spirit "has made... overseers," in other words, appointing people to accomplish tasks, He also is equal to God the Father and is linked with us. (Acts 5:3, 9; 15:28(Photo credit to: TurnBackToGod)

Acts 16:7 also calls Him the "Spirit of Jesus" (see Romans 8:9). This further links the Holy Spirit with God the Father, since Jesus is God the Son. Since we know that the Holy Spirit is God the Spirit, this is perfectly logical. How did the Holy Spirit work in Acts? We begin in Acts 2:2-4. "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."

It can be noted that Dr. Luke illustrates in Acts the progression of the gospel as well as the expansion of the church through the Holy Spirit. The church began with Jews and Gentiles who were committed to Judaism as if they were Jews, but the Holy Spirit expanded this to all people, including Samaritans  (Acts 8:14-17). The Holy Spirit enables us, both men and women, to be a witness. (Acts 1:8; 4:33) By being filled with the Holy Spirit, we can speak with power. (Acts 2:4, 14; 4:8, 31; 6:10) Acts 8:29 says, "The Spirit told Philip, 'Go to that chariot and stay near it." Acts 10:19 reveals, "While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, 'Simon, three men are looking for you.'" These two verses reveal that the Holy Spirit has on occasion told Christians to preach to certain men, but does not reveal the manner in which this is revealed. (Speech/Thought)

Just as the Holy Spirit was involved in prophecy all throughout the Hebrew Bible, He was (and still is) involved in the New Testament. He prophesied through Agabus (Acts 21:10-11), which was fulfilled when St. Paul was imprisoned by Gentiles. Prophecy was connected to the church in the way that it strengthened and encouraged the church. (Acts 15:32) Compare this to 1st Corinthians 14:3 which says, "But to those who prophesy speak to people for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort." The Holy Spirit's activities are clearly seen in Acts and continue today. This is to fulfill what was said through the prophet Joel, "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days." (Joel 2:28-29)

This also occurred to fulfill what Jesus said while on earth. John 14:16-17, "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." He also says in Luke 15:26, "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father - the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father - he will testify about me." The Holy Spirit plays a prominent role in the lives of every person on the planet, whether they realize it or not. The Holy Spirit is the one whom we ought to credit with the expansion and spread of Christianity. No single man has influenced history as much as Jesus Christ (see entry: "Jesus: The Most Influential Person In History?"), and God the Spirit has been and is the cause for this. We all experience the effects that Jesus has had on all areas of life: history, politics, economics, social areas, etc. This has all been furthered by the Holy Spirit through people.

The Holy Spirit plays an important role in Acts, and all throughout History. God the Spirit was there In the Beginning: God spoke, and the Spirit acted. The Holy Spirit literally wrote each book of the Bible using over 40 individual authors, though He allowed them to bring their research and knowledge to the books, but corrected them where they were wrong. (2nd Timothy 3:16, 2nd Peter 1:20-21) As pointed out in 2nd Peter 21, "For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along through the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:29-33 reveals to us that indeed the Holy Spirit truly did write through people, such as King David. In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit is directly responsible for the miracles, healings, and raising the dead to life. The Holy Spirit worked through St. Peter, St. Paul, Dr. Luke, St. John, and many, many others. St. Peter healed a lame beggar (Acts 3:1-10), the apostles healed many people (Acts 5:12-16), allowed St. Paul to raise to life a dead youth (Acts 20:7-12), and many other acts.

Troy Hillman

Wednesday, February 9

Exploring Near-Death Experiences

Millions of people around the world claim to have had a Near-Death or Out-Of-Body Experience. (NDE or OBE) An estimated 8-15 millions U.S. citizens claim to have had one such experience. Typically, these experiences occur near "clinical death," which happens after a person stops breathing - and your heart stops beating. About 40% report a NDE. Is there something to these experiences, or are they perhaps just the effects of a dying brain? Are these experiences biblical - or unbiblical?[1] Most reports of a Near-Death experience are similar. The patient reports 1 feeling of happiness or peacefulness followed by a separation from the body - the soul leaving the physical body - viewing surrounds from a distance, passing through a tunnel toward a bright light, meeting a being of light which "feels like love," meeting deceased friends and relatives, a life review, and a decision to - or command - return to life once more.[2] 

Now, let us examine NDE's - could they merely just be caused by a dying brain, or is there something more? In today's world, NDE's are more common than ever before, due to better medical equipment and better medical training as well as medicine. Doctors are able to revive many people who are "clinically dead."[3] Such experiences are not new. Indeed they have been described throughout history. One notable case is from the Greek philosopher Plato, who wrote about a soldier, Er, who died in war. Er's spirit allegedly flew up into the air and into a strange land, and he traveled with other dead soldiers. After seeing this strange land, Er was sent back to his body to tell people about the land he had seen. This alleged experience was written more than 2000 years ago.[4]

There are some Near-Death Experiences that are called "Veridical NDE's." These support the belief that people can have an awareness far from their body. For example, during a Veridical NDE, a person could see events occurring far from the physical body's location. For example, people will report seeing relatives or friends doing something specific. "I saw my brother, who lives hundreds of miles away, getting the high score of 12,000 on some new game he got, then he proceeded to write a reminder to pick up his red coat at the dry cleaners." When called, the brother, astonished, confirms the details. In 2001, a study headed by researcher Pim van Lommel, was done in the Netherlands with 344 people. Scientists interview these people who had been revived - all following heart attacks. This study showed that several common alleged causes of NDE's did not add up. All of the patients had lost consciousness when their brains did not receive enough oxygen - only 18% reported having a NDE. This study tended to breakdown the idea that NDE's are caused by a fear of death: most of these heart attacks happened suddenly: the person had not time to fear. This study showed that cerebral anoxia may not be the cause of NDE's. [5] What is cerebral anoxia? Cerebral anoxia was first studied in 1981. The condition occurs when the brain doesn't receive enough oxygen, producing hallucinations. Some believe this to be the cause of NDE's. Let us examine more of the history surrounding these experiences. The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) was formed in 1882. The organization began to study Near-Death Experiences and similar unexplained things. Dr. James Hyslop, who studied psychology, wrote a famous research paper which was published in 1907.[6]

In 1919, Hyslop wrote Contact With the Other World, a book in which he described several reported NDE's. Not all researchers were interested in proving the validity of these experiences. Dr. Edward Clarke, for example, believed that NDE's occurred when the brain fails to function properly. Other scientists believed that people were hallucinating. Some scientists still believe these things. George Richie, who was in the U.S. Army, became ill while training. In 1943, Ritchie was clinically dead - several minutes passed. When he was revived, he at one point wrote his detailed account of his experience.[7] It was this detailed account that led to Dr. Raymond Moody to become interested in the topic. Moody is now a well-known NDE researcher, publishing a book in 1975, Life after Life, which included 150 NDE's. Moody is credited with coining the term "near-death experiences." In 1982, Dr. Michael Sabom wrote Recollections of Death: A Medical Investigation, in which he notes that many people who have these experiences accurately report events occurring around them while clinically dead.[8]

It has been shown that NDE's drastically affect the way a person lives the rest of his or her life. For example, those who had these experiences during childhood or adolescence were less afraid of dying than others - and reportedly enjoy life more than those who have not had such experiences, though this is not always the case. While most researches claim that NDE's are nothing more than neurological and chemical phenomena in the mind, others cite NDE's as evidence for the soul, for the existence othe afterlife. [9] Dr. Don Rhodes notes, "One of the most common characteristics of the so-called near-death experience is encountering a being of light. This being is said to emanate love and warmth. It has been claimed by numerous (not all) individuals who have had alleged near-death experiences that the being of light they encountered was none other than Jesus Christ.[10] One must note, however, that people also claim to meet Buddha, Krishna, and other figures prominent in various religious traditions. For example - Betty J. Eadie's book, Embraced by the Light, is essentially a near-death experience written (we may argue) simply to support Mormon doctrines. It is for these reasons among others that some Christians seek to identity the common "being of light" reported in NDE's as the angel Lucifer, using St. Paul's words about Satan disguising himself as an angel of light as a "proof-text".

Nevertheless, there are a number of uncertainties in these experiences, their validity, their accuracy, and their vast differences. Yet, part of being Christian - part of being human - is accepting ambiguity, mystery and uncertainty at times. The very origin of the term "sacraments" within the Christian traditions is derived from the word mystery. We may say that although we have textual clues within sacred Scripture, God has not fully revealed every detail of the afterlife to us. Now, near-death experiences occur all the time. Are these merely hallucinations caused by the loss of oxygen in your brain, or could these experiences perhaps show that there is actually life after death? Personally, of course, I believe that some of these experiences indicate life after death. I believe that we should remain open both to the possibilities, and to the movement of God's Spirit in our world today.

Troy Hillman

[1] Martin, Michael. The Unexplained: Near-Death Experiences. 1st ed. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press, 2005. 8-27. Print.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid, [1]
[4] Ibid, [1]
[5] Ibid, [1]
[6] Ibid, [1]
[7] Ibid, [1]
[8] Ibid, [1]
[9] 1983. Counts, Dorothy E. Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in a Melanesian Society. Anabiosis 3:115-135.
[10] Don Rhodes, Dr. "Near Death Experiences - Who is the being of light encountered in near-death experiences?." Christian Answers Network. Christian Answers Network, n.d. Web. July 2010. 

Monday, February 7

Will People Know and Remember Each Other in Heaven?

Do those in heaven remember their family and their friends? This important theological question is explored in a number of passages, as well as referenced in various places throughout Christian history. In 2nd Samuel 12:23 for example, King David is mourning the loss of his and Bathsheba's first child, we read: "... I will go to him, but he will not return to me." In this passage, David is showing that he may go to his son, but his son cannot be brought back to life. Luke 15:7 and 10 illustrate an important point. Here, Jesus says that the the angels in Heaven rejoice when a sinner is saved. By this we know that they know when someone aligns themselves with the kingdom of God, they know what is going on here and who is here. In 1st Corinthians 13:12, St. Paul makes it clear that we will actually know others better than we do now, "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (Photo credit to: Mark Mallett)

1st Thessalonians 2:19-20 says, "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy." Here, St. Paul acknowledges that in Heaven, he will have extra joy and rejoicing by meeting those Christians which he won to Christ, in the presence of Jesus at his coming and after that. Be that as it may, this indicates that St. Paul would have to know those who he had won, in order to rejoice over them and with them. In 1st Thessalonians 4:16-18, St. Paul writes, "...and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words." As we may notice, there is comfort because those who have already died and those who are still alive to meet Jesus when He comes will be caught up "together." This is supposed to be a "comfort," which would show that we will know each other.

In the Christian tradition, though not often, does in a few cases tell about people on the Earth meeting people who had gone to Heaven. In these instances, it is clear that those who had gone to Heaven knew the person still on the Earth. For example, when King Saul had the witch of Endor call up Samuel the prophet. In this episode, we find that Samuel recognized and remembered Saul, and Saul knew Samuel (1st Samuel 28). Another instance is the very important Transfiguration of Jesus. During his Transfiguration, both Moses and Elijah appear, and talk with Jesus about his upcoming death in Jerusalem (Luke 9:27-34). St. Peter, St. James and St. John were also on the Mountain with Jesus. The text makes it clear that even though Peter had never met Moses or Elijah (they lived centuries before his birth), Peter recognized them. He said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah" (Luke 9:33, see entry: "The Transfiguration"). In Hebrews 12:1-2 we read, after the previous chapter which discusses the great heroes of faith (such as Moses, Noah, Enoch, etc), that we are surrounded by "so great a cloud of witnesses." Apparently, the saints in Heaven know us and look on with great interest. This particular verse may not be the most elaborate, but that appears to be what the text indicates. (See entry: "Faith In Action")

But perhaps one of the best evidences comes from Luke 16:19-32. Jesus is conveying to us the parable of a rich man, a beggar named Lazarus, and the patriarch Abraham. Lazarus always begged for food, but the rich man denied it. When the rich man died, he went to the underworld, and when Lazarus died, he went to the Limbo of the Fathers (for more on this, see entry: ". The rich man in the underworld knew Abraham when he saw him in Paradise, and recognized Lazarus, who had just died.(Luke 16:23). On a theological level, we can infer that we will thus know each other in heaven.

Consider also 1st Thessalonians 4:13, which says, "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope." Why would St. Paul comfort the believers regarding the resurrection if they would not recognize each other? There would be no point, and by this we see that again, we will know each other. Matthew 8:11 says, "I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." (NIV) Two points about this specific verse. If none of us recognized one another, how would this verse come to fruition, and what would be the point of names if we do not know each other? 

Another verse to consider would be Matthew 12:38-41. Verse 41 says, "The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here." (NIV) Mike Scott of puts out a few bold questions that are helpful in this discussion, "1) Produce ONE passage that teaches we won't recognize each other in the next life. 2) If we don't recognize each other, then wouldn't we think we were the only ones that made it? 3) Will we recognize our own selves? How will we know it is true? 4) Explain how we can be like Jesus and be without our memory faculty. 5) From evidence of Scripture, is there more evidence for believing that we will be able to recognize each other, or is there more teaching that we will not? 6) If God were to do nothing but raise my body, and make a being out of it that is not me, and put it up in heaven, why should I be interested any more than if God were to make that being out of a dead animal? 7) How could we praise the Lord for our redemption and salvation from sin in this world, unless we would remember we were once lost, and had been saved? 8) To say that we will become beings without our former faculties is to believe the doctrine of materialism that teaches extinction of man's being."[1]

The above Scriptures, on a theological level, indicate that we will know each other - including friends and family - in Heaven, and that we will actually know them better than we do now, and will remember our life on Earth. Another point we may seek to consider is the purported Near-Death Experiences. Now, many readers will understand my position on NDE's, that many of these experiences are indeed something concocted by oxygen loss in the brain while near-death, but other experiences are harder to dismiss. Although the variety and range of content in these experiences are vast, and are not tied to any one religious tradition, we may yet consider some for our purposes. For example, many report seeing famous biblical figures such as King David, Abraham, and even the prophet Elijah. Take John Bunyan for example - who claimed to have had an OBE (Out-of-Body-Experience). John Bunyan was an English Christian author who lived in the 17th century. Bunyan wrote over 40 books, the most famous of which is his Pilgrim's Progress

In this experience, Bunyan claims that he was taken first to Heaven to give an account to the world, as he was previously about to end his life in a forest; an atheist friend had him nearly persuaded that life was meaningless. But to Bunyan, God intervened, sending an angel to allow him to begin his long life of writing. While in Heaven, according to his written account, he met the prophet Elijah (see 1st Kings 19-2nd Kings 1). According to the text, "Swift as thought he conveyed me past thousands of angels, and presented me to that great saint, the prophet Elijah. Though he had lived in the world many hundreds of years ago, I knew him at first sight. 'Here is one,' said my conductor to Elijah, 'who by the commission of the Imperial Throne has been permitted to visit these realms of light, and I have brought him to you, to learn from you.'"[2]

Elijah and an angel proceed to tell Bunyan that yes, people do know each other in Heaven. As noted in the above text, without introduction, upon seeing Elijah, Bunyan "knew him at first sight." How could this be so unless we know each other in Heaven? It is possible of course that Bunyan's account is a faux account, but it is helpful in illustrating the theological principles that are seemingly present in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. The above passages indicate that we will know each other by name, that we will retain at least some of our memories, and that yes, we will know each other better than we do here on Earth. 

Troy Hillman

[1] Scott, Mike. "Will we know each other in heaven?." What Do The Scriptures Say?. Mike Scott and, n.d. Web. 7 Feb 2011. .
[2] Bunyan, John. Visions of Heaven and Hell. Chapter 3.

Wednesday, February 2

Natural Laws and God

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth... For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm." (Psalm 33:6, 8) "He set the earth upon its foundations; it can never be moved." (Psalm 104:5) "The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to humankind." (Psalm 115:16; Photo credit to: Archdiocese of Washington, EniG - edited by Aditaya Vadhan, Creation Wiki)

From these verses, mankind is able to determine that by the Word of the Lord, He created the universe, including the earth and mankind. All around us are "natural laws," such as the laws of chemistry, laws of mathematics, laws of physics, and laws of logic, that were established at Creation, "for at his command they were created, and he established them for ever and ever - he issued a decree that will never pass away." (Psalm 148:5-6)

These natural laws govern the universe around us. Take the law of biogenesis, for example, which states that life always comes from life. This law necessitates a Creator, although it does not specify the designer, we know the Creator to be God. Observational science as well as Genesis 1 reveal that living organisms reproduce after their own kind - this law and all other natural laws exist because God created the universe with this order.[1]

Like mankind, the universe obeys specific rules and laws, to which all things must adhere to, they are un-changing. When we examine natural laws we find primary laws of nature, followed by the secondary laws of nature which are based on the first. Consider the big bang hypothesis. Hypothesis means, "possible explanation for an event or solution to a problem, which is based on information."[2] In other words, an interpretation. The "big bang hypothesis" is defined as, "theory that the universe was originally a single dense sphere of hydrogen that exploded into a gigantic expanding cloud that eventually condensed into separate galaxies.[3] One of the leading Astronomical organizations, in their magazine Astronomy Magazine, freely admit, "What came before the big bang? No one knows... Science simply cannot answer this question."[4] God, however, can, and He has, in His Word. God created the heavens and the universe, and ordered them and has kept them in order using what we know as natural laws. Everything in the universe, whether it is a plant or animal, human or rock, light wave or star, whatever it may be, is bound by certain laws which all must obey.

Jeremiah 33:25 tells us that there are laws of nature, "ordinances of heaven and earth." These laws help to describe the way in which God accomplishes His will throughout our universe. The logic of the Lord is built into the universe so that it is not arbitrary in any sense. Indeed our universe obeys the laws of chemistry which are derived from the laws of physics, and several laws of physics are derived from other laws of physics as well as laws of mathematics. These laws are logical and we can extrapolate that these laws only exist because it is God's will.

If there was no law-giver, these laws ought not exist. God's Word is the foundation for natural laws. There are those who claim that these laws do not depend on a designer because man could change the laws or that if we had not discovered them, they would not exist. But consider the following: before Johannes Kepler discovered the Laws of Planetary Motion, did they not exist? Would our planet not already have orbited the sun in ellipses before Kepler discovered this?

Johannes Kepler was a creation scientist who discovered that the planets within our solar system obey three laws of nature. Kepler had found that planets orbit in ellipses and not perfect circles as previously believed, with the sun as its focal point, the focus of the ellipse. It is because of this that a given planet, such as the Earth, is sometimes closer to the sun than at other given times. Kepler also discovered that the planets "sweep out equal areas in equal times," which specifically is showing that planets will speed up as they move closer to the sun within their orbit, and conversely.[5]

The third law discovered by Kepler was the exact mathematical relationship between the distance of a planet from the sun (referred to as "a") and the planet's orbital period (referred to as "p"). Planets that are farther out in the solar system take longer to orbit than the planets which are closer, (shown as p2=a3) these laws also apply to the orbits of moons around a given planet. These laws are not fundamental, but are derived from other laws of nature. Sir Isaac Newton, another famous creation science, discovered that Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion could be mathematically derived from the laws of gravity and motion, which Newton discovered, and are both laws of physics.[6]

The laws of gravity existed before Newton discovered them, so does this mean that had he not, this law would not exist? No, on the contrary since the beginning of time these laws of nature have existed, but it took some time for mankind to discover them - they existed, but were as atoms, hidden. The Law of Life (also known as biogenesis) is a well-known law that, as aforementioned, states that life comes from life. Louis Pasteur disproved of one alleged case of spontaneous generation, showing that life comes from previous life. This law is universal - in other words, "Omne vivum ex ovo," which means, "all life is from life."  Pasteur also commented, "La génération spontanée est une chimère," which is translated as, "spontaneous generation is a dream."[7]

We know that life requires a specific chemistry - each of our bodies are powered by chemical reactions and are dependent on the laws of chemistry. The information that makes up any living being is stored in a molecule called DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid),[8] and if the laws of chemistry were any different, life as we know it could not be possible. God created these laws in a specific way so that life would be possible here on Earth, along with specific atmospheric conditions. (See entry, "The Intricacies of Creation"Different properties are given to different elements, (each of which is made up of a type of atom) and compounds (made up of two or more atoms bonded together). Atoms are the basic units that make up all matter. Electrons, which have a negative charge, are subatomic particles found on orbitals - the flow of electrons constitutes electricity in a conductor. Protons (from the Greek πρωτος, -η, -ον meaning "first")[9] are one of the other three types of subatomic particles in an atom (electrons, protons, and neutrons), and have a mass of 1 amu and a positive charge of +1.

Neutrons, the third subatomic particle, has no charge, as it is electrically neutral, and has slightly more mass than a proton unlike an electron, though both protons and neutrons have a mass of 1 amu. (Atomic Mass Unit) Properties of elements and compounds are not arbitrary, and can be logically organized into what is called "the periodic table," based on their physical properties. Elements on the periodic table are arranged in order of increasing atomic number. There is order to these elements, and it can be clearly seen that the periodic able did not happen by chance. Both atoms and molecules have their various properties because their electrons are bound by the laws of quantum physics. From this we can determine that chemistry was logically derived from the laws of physics. Consider, if quantum physics were slightly different, atoms may not even exist, but God created and designed the laws of chemistry and physics in a specific order so that they would come out the correct way.

Physics describes the behavior of the universe around us, down to the most fundamental levels. As with Chemistry, there are many different laws of physics, such as the way light reproduces, how gravity works, how energy is transported, how the total momentum of objects in a closed system remain constant, and many others. Another example is the law of conservation of charge that states that, "in a closed, isolated system, the total charge of the system remains constant," or the law of reflection which states that "the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection."[10]

The Periodic Table (Click to Enlarge)
Albert Einstein's famous formula E=mc² can be derived from other principles and equations of special relativity, although there are other laws of physics that cannot be derived from separate laws of physics, but many of these have derivative principles. The laws of physics, much like chemistry and mathematics, have been fine-tuned so that human life and other life on earth is possible, which is called the "Anthropic principle." The Anthropic principle can be defined as follows:

"The very presence of life within the universe is reliant upon a large number of extremely improbable events, and even the slightest alteration would make it impossible for life to exist. Everything from the particular energy state of the electron to the exact level of the weak nuclear force seems to be tailored for us to exist. We appear to live in a universe dependent on several independent variables where only a slight change would render it inhospitable for any form of life. And yet, here we are. Proponents of intelligent design draw support from this fact because it strongly suggests that the cosmos has been specifically designed."[11]

By examining the laws of mathematics we are able to determine that most are mathematical in nature. If we did not have the laws of mathematics, we would not have laws of physics and would therefore not have laws of chemistry, and would not have life. Laws include the rules of addition, commutative properties of addition and multiplication, transitive property, binomial theorem, and many others. Mathematics is one of the oldest and most fundamental sciences, and is often regarded as one of God's greatest gifts to mankind. (Jesus Christ is the greatest gift to mankind.) It is possible to envision a universe in which some of the laws of physics are different, but not a consistent universe with different the laws of mathematics, regardless of the fact that these laws do not necessarily attach themselves to any specific part of the universe and as abstract can be applied. Regardless of what God created, these laws of mathematics must true, as God's nature is logical and mathematical, and therefore any universe He created would involve mathematics.

The universe obeyed these laws before man discovered them, such as Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion or Newton's Law of Gravity. The only thing that could have been different in human terms is the notation, the way in which we express these mathematical truths through the use of symbols. This would not change the laws of mathematics, merely the notation in which they are expressed. Some rightly call mathematics the "language of creation" (such as Francis Collins of BioLogos).

Another point to consider is the Laws of Logic. All laws of nature are dependent on these laws. The law of non-contradiction is one example. The law states that you cannot have both "a" and "not a" in the same relationship, it is illogical. [12] Where do these laws of logic come from? God created these laws, and these laws reflect the very nature of God, such as the law of non-contradiction: God does not law and cannot be tempted with evil, as these things contradict His nature. (Numbers 23:19, James 1:13, see entry: "God and Simple Logic")

The laws of nature depend on other laws of nature, which depend on the will of God. The laws of nature are uniform and do not change, and apply throughout the universe. The laws of nature apply the same yesterday, today, an tomorrow, which is one of the most basic assumptions in science - without this assumption, modern science would not work. If these laws changed suddenly, we would not be able to determine anything about the future. Because God does not change, he upholds the universe in a consistent and orderly manner throughout the past, present, and future. These laws are perfectly consistent with what we find in God's Word, and lead us to the inevitable conclusion that there was a designer and that something created these laws as they are now. This is not illogical, instead, it is highly rationale and reasonable that God, not improbably chance, created the "heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1).

Troy Hillman

[1] Lisle, Jason. "God and Natural Law." Answers Magazine. Answers In Genesis, 28 Aug 2006. Web. 2 Dec 2010. .
[2] Spaulding, Nancy E., and Samuel N. Namowitz. Heath Earth Science. 1st ed. D.C. Heath and Company, 1994. 7, 671. Print.
[3] Spaulding, Nancy E., and Samuel N. Namowitz. Heath Earth Science. 1st ed. D.C. Heath and Company, 1994. 390, 668. Print.
[4] Kruesi, Liz. "Cosmology: 5 Things You Need To Know." Astronomy Magazine. May 2007: 32. Print.
[5] Lisle.
[6] Ibid.
[7] "Law of Biogenesis." Creation Wiki. Wikimedia, 23 Nov 2009. Web. 2 Feb 2011. .
[8] "DNA." Wikipedia. Wikimedia, 31 Jan 2011. Web. 2 Feb 2011. .
[9] "Atom." Creation Wiki. Wikimedia, 18 Jan 2011. Web. 28 Jan 2011. .
[10] Cook, Bernadine Hladik. Brief Review for New York Physics: The Physical Setting. 2007 ed. Boston, MA: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. 297. Print.
[11] "Anthropic Principle." Creation Wiki. Wikimedia, 29 March 2010. Web. 2 Feb 2011. .
[12] Lisle.