More Evidence That the Early Church Believed in the Divinity of Christ

An early Christian mosaic found in the Megiddo church, near Tel Megiddo, Israel. Based on several clues, it is dated around AD 230.

For some reason, I missed the discovery of this amazing mosaic when it was announced. However, a pastor friend of mine recently shared this article, which indicates that the mosaic might be coming to the Museum of the Bible here in the U.S., so I looked into it and decided some of my readers might be interested.

The story begins in 2004 when a prison in northern Israel was planning some new construction. Archaeologists came to ensure that the construction wouldn’t destroy any historically-valuable material, and it’s a good thing they did, because they found that the prison had been built over an ancient Christian house of prayer. It is now thought to be the earliest known Christian prayer hall, dated to be from approximately AD 230!1

More importantly, a portion of the mosaic (shown above) says, “The God-loving Akeptous has offered the table to God Jesus Christ as a memorial.”2 The table isn’t there, but it probably functioned as an altar. However, the message of the mosaic is clear: Jesus Christ is God. This is important, because some popularizers of Christian scholarship claim that the early church didn’t believe in the Divinity of Christ. For example, in her book, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Karen Armstrong claims:3

After his death, his followers decided that Jesus had been Divine. This did not happen immediately; as we shall see, the doctrine that Jesus had been God in human form was not finalized until the fourth century. The development of Christian belief in the Incarnation was a gradual, complex process.

If that sounds familiar to you, you might recognize it from Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. No serious scholar of early Christianity believes such nonsense, because there is ample evidence that says otherwise. Nevertheless, since it was in the popular book-turned-movie, I encounter a lot of people who believe it. Well, here is a mosaic that predates the fourth century by about one hundred years, and it says that at least those who came into this prayer hall knew that Jesus is God.

Of course, we don’t need this mosaic to tell us that the early church believed in the Divinity of Christ, since lots of early church fathers are on record about it. Here is a sampling:

Ignatius of Antioch (c. AD 50 – c. AD 110):

I Glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that you are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if you were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…
[Epistle to the Smyrnaeans]

Hence every kind of magic was destroyed, and every bond of wickedness disappeared; ignorance was removed, and the old kingdom abolished, God Himself being manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life.
[Epistle to the Ephesians]

Justin Martyr (AD 100 – AD 165):

And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said.
[Dialogue with Trypho]

…but now you will permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts…
[Dialogue with Trypho]

…the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign, having, as we before said, become Man by a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, for the salvation of those who believe on Him…
[First Apology]

Irenaeus of Lyons (c. AD 130 – c. AD 200):

For I have shown from the Scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the Scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man…. He is the holy Lord, the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Beautiful in appearance, and the Mighty God, coming on the clouds as the Judge of all men;—all these things did the Scriptures prophesy of Him.
[Against Heresies]

Like many things we learn from our culture, then, the idea that the early church didn’t believe in the Divinity of Christ is demonstrably false. This Mosaic simply adds more evidence to the huge pile.


1. Yotam Tepper and Leah Di Segni, A Christian Prayer Hall of the Third Century CE at Kfar ‘Othnay (Legio), Publication of the Israel Antiquities Authority, p. 50, 2006.
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2. Ibid, p. 36.
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3. Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, (Ballatine Books, 1993), p. 81
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Archaeological Confirmation of Joshua’s Altar at Ebal?

X-ray tomographic reconstruction of the artifact discussed in the article. (image from the scientific paper linked below)

Last year, a team of archaeologists led by Dr. Scott Stripling of the Bible Seminary in Texas announced that they had found the oldest example of Hebrew writing, and it contained the word “Yahweh,” the divine name for God that was used by the Israelites. If true, this would show that the Israelites were literate long before many historians think they were. In addition, it would provide strong evidence for the historical accuracy of an event reported in Joshua 8:30-35. Unfortunately, the team revealed their discovery through social media instead of in a scientific peer-reviewed journal. As a result, I was hesitant to discuss the discovery when I first learned about it, despite how exciting it is. Well, the team has now published a paper in a peer-reviewed journal, and I have to say that while I find the discovery intriguing, I am not nearly as excited about it as I was initially.

The discovery was made when the archaeologists were searching through material that had been discarded more than thirty years ago during the excavation of ancient altars on Mount Ebal. In sifting through that rubble, they found an object that was about the size of a postage stamp. When cleaned, the object was recognized as a small lead tablet. Since lead is soft, it was often used as a surface upon which to scratch words. The material found around the tablet was consistent with the older of the two altars that had been excavated, and that altar is thought to be from a time consistent with the book of Joshua. Thus, it could be the one that Joshua built on Mount Ebal as described in Joshua 8:30-35.

The tablet is folded and could not be opened without damaging it. However, the authors used X-ray computed tomography to look inside. At a certain depth within the tablet, they got the image shown on the left at the top of this article. Since the tablet had been deformed, they used a computer to virtually “flatten” the tablet. That produced the image on the right.

What do you see in those two images? I see a lot of dimples, but there are clearly some scratches that seem to form shapes, one of which looks like a stick figure of a person. The authors indicate that this is what they see:

The authors’ sketch of what they think is on the lead tablet (drawing from the scientific paper linked above; note that each X-ray image shown above is a mirror image, so this drawing reverses the image shown on the right)

I don’t see much of that, but then again, I haven’t been studying the raw X-ray images in detail. It’s possible that if I spent enough time with all the images they have, I might see everything they see. However, their own note towards the end of the scientific paper indicates that one author sees more letters than the other authors.

So…assuming the things drawn above really are on the tablet, what does it say? According to the authors, it says:

You are cursed by the god yhw, cursed.

You will die, cursed—cursed, you will surely die.

Cursed you are by yhw—cursed.

This, of course, would be consistent with the account in Joshua 8:30-35, since verse 34 says:

Then afterward he read all the words of the Law, the blessing and the curse, according to everything that is written in the Book of the Law.

While this is a potentially very exciting discovery, the scientific paper leaves me skeptical. Apparently, I am not the only one.

Whether or not this tablet ends up being what the authors think it is, I have no doubt that the events in the book of Joshua happened in just the way they are reported. However, it is always nice when archaeology confirms the Biblical record.

Homeschooling and a Cowboy Church Lead a Former Associate of Richard Dawkins to Christ!

Josh Timonen and his Family
(Image from the video embedded below)

I was sent this very interesting video from Living Waters, a ministry founded by Ray Comfort. It’s a discussion among three men associated with the ministry and Josh Timonen, a former associate of Richard Dawkins.

The video is rather long and a bit disjointed, so I thought I would give you a summary, along with my “color commentary.”

Josh Timonen was an American computer programmer who was also an atheist, and he spent a lot of time reading atheist websites. That’s how he learned about Richard Dawkins. However, he noticed that Dawkins didn’t have a website. After watching “Root of All Evil?”, he found an email address for Dawkins and wrote to him, offering to build him a website. To his surprise, Dawkins responded. They decided to meet. While Timonen and his wife (also an atheist) were traveling back to the U.S. from India (they were volunteering for a charitable organization there), he met with Dawkins (who lives in England), and Dawkins decided that Timonen should definitely build a website for him. This was just before The God Delusion was published, and Timonen’s work on the website earned him a mention in the preface:

Nowadays, a book such as this is not complete until it becomes the nucleus of a living website, a forum for supplementary materials, reactions, discussions, questions and answers – who knows what the future may bring? I hope that, the website of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, will come to fill that role, and I am extremely grateful to Josh Timonen for the artistry, professionalism and sheer hard work that he is putting into it. (p. 7)

Dawkins was obviously very happy with Timonen’s work, since he dedicated his next book, The Greatest Show on Earth, to Timonen.

Timonen then started to work on a documentary with Dawkins, but because of some people associated with Dawkins (Timonen calls them “unstable”), Timonen decided to stop working on both the documentary and the website. He didn’t want to be associated with Dawkins anymore. This did not go over well, and Dawkins ended up suing him in 2010. However, that lawsuit was dismissed, and Timonen’s countersuit was settled out of court.

Timonen and his wife then moved to Portland, Oregon. The riots that happened there in 2020 became a wakeup call for him. He was distraught by the violence and was disheartened that many of his atheist friends (and the media) supported it. As a result, he and his family (by this time, they had a daughter) left Portland and moved to Waco, Texas. They started homeschooling their daughter (as atheists), but they decided that she needed some socialization. His wife mentioned a “cowboy church” nearby (Top Hand Cowboy Church), so they decided to see if it would give their daughter the socialization she needed. Mind you, they were still atheists at that point. However, they decided the church worked for their daughter, so they kept going.

Of course, hearing the Word preached (even though he didn’t believe it) made an impact. At some point, he realized:

…ok, I see how [the church is] benefitting the community, the people that are going. Maybe I should give it a better shake…so I started reading the Bible…when I got done with that I…thought to myself well, that’s something, but there’s still a lot of crazy stuff in here that I don’t think I buy.

However, he did come to the realization that he had always just accepted what the atheists said and had never really looked into it for himself. Thus, he read Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Christ. He eventually realized that he had to:

…deal with the fact that it was real. That Jesus was real.

He started reading the Bible again, and he also read more books about the Bible. Of course, since he and his wife were experiencing this church together, he also had a lot of discussions with her about Christ. Eventually, he was convicted that what the church was teaching is true. He says

I didn’t have an answer for every atheist thought that had come before…but that conviction is there, in the moment, that seed, that initial peace, that you know is true, and you’re like, well the rest of it will figure itself out.

I love that statement. He didn’t think he needed an answer to every atheist argument, because he was convinced of the truth of Christianity. More Christian organizations need to stress this fact. Understanding the truth of Christ doesn’t require answering every challenge to your faith. It simply requires realizing that God’s truth outweighs those objections.

Of course, as a homeschooling advocate, I also love the fact that homeschooling his daughter played a pivotal role in his journey to Christ. Had they not been homeschooling, he and his family would never have gone to a church.

Let that be a lesson to the churches out there: People come to you for lots of reasons other than to hear the truth. You shouldn’t expect them to believe what you believe right away. Rejoice for whatever reason they have come, and simply preach the Word. If you do that, you will transform lives. Just look at Josh Timonen’s!

The Real Reason Some Scientists are Upset with India for Removing Evolution from One Part of Its Curriculum

A politician (Bhupesh Baghel) inspects an Indian school’s chemistry lab. (click for credit)

The two most important science journals in the world (Nature and Science) are aghast at the news that India has dropped evolution from one part of its curriculum (Std X, which is taken by students who are typically 14-15 years old). Indian scientists are similarly dismayed. An article written by Indian scientists L. S. Shashidhara and Amitabh Joshi puts it this way:

…other than basics of how the human body functions, evolution is perhaps the most important part of biology that all educated citizens should be aware of and, therefore, it should remain in the Std X curriculum which all students study before they choose different specializations in Std XI.

The authors of the article point out that younger students (ages 12-13) will still learn about evolution, and if older students decide to specialize in biology, they will learn about it again. Nevertheless, the authors think it was a huge mistake to remove it from this particular year of study.

Why? They regurgitate the typical evolutionary propaganda that has been repeated over and over again in an attempt to make evolution more important than it really is. For example, they quote Theodosius Dobzhansky’s nonsensical comment that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” and Sir Peter Medawar’s inane idea that the only alternative to evolutionary thinking for a biologist is no thinking at all. In fact, flagellate-to-philosopher evolution makes very little sense in the light of modern biological data, and biologists not thinking in evolutionary terms have made incredible scientific discoveries (see here, here, here, here, and here, for example).

If you read Shashidhara and Joshi’s paper closely enough, you will find the real reason they (and others) are upset:

Following the Copernican and Newtonian intellectual revolutions in Europe, living organisms were the last bastion of “religious” or “supernatural” explanations in nature. The Darwinian intellectual revolution showed, that just as in the case for movement of celestial bodies after Newton, there was no need to invoke supernatural explanations to understand the living world, the diversity, relatedness and adaptedness of life forms, or of human origins (see Thus, evolution is also a central concept in our modern rational world-view, as opposed to a superstitious or mythological one…

In other words, Shashidhara and Joshi decry the loss of evolutionary content in one part of India’s curriculum because it hinders their attempt to root out any hint of religious or supernatural thinking in science. Never mind that religious thinking produced modern science and is used successfully by modern scientists today (see here, here, and here, for example). They don’t like it, so they want to keep Indian students from considering it.

It’s sad when scientists conflate their personal worldview with science. It’s worse when they try to force students to learn that worldview under the guise of “science education.”

Religious Students Earn Better Grades

A bit more than a week ago, I spoke at an education event focused on those who were considering homeschooling. One of the talks I gave focused on why you should educate your children from a Christian worldview. Afterward, a woman came up to me and asked if I had seen the studies that show that being religious improves a student’s academic performance. I told her I had not, and later on, she graciously sent me some examples. I was amazed that I had not seen this research before, because it conclusively demonstrates that more religious adolescents are simply better students than those who are less religious.

For example, the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth performed in 1997 collected a “…nationally representative sample of 8,984 men and women born during the years 1980 through 1984.” It collected “…extensive information on respondents’ labor market behavior and educational experiences.” Analysis of those data indicated that the more frequently a student attended religious services, the better his or her GPA:

While these data are a bit old, a review article published just last year surveyed 42 studies that have been published from 1990 to 2020. They all show that the more religious a student is, the better his or her academic achievement.

Now, of course, correlation doesn’t mean causation, so it is possible that religion doesn’t directly affect academic achievement. However, the first conclusion drawn by the review article is:

First, research has advanced from correlational studies to methodologically rigorous designs suggesting religion can play a causal role in academic success.

One of the more interesting of those “methodologically rigorous” studies compared children in the same family. It found that even within a given family, the more religious siblings had higher grade point averages than the less religious siblings. It also found (in agreement with other studies not focused on siblings) that the more religious siblings completed more years of education than the less religious ones. Thus, even with the same parents and family structure, religious adolescents are better students.

Why does being religious produce better grades? One study suggests that going to religious services broadens the students’ social network, giving them better access to adults other than their parents, peers who also share similar views, and extracurricular activities that are education focused. Others suggest that religion encourages students to be cooperative and conscientious, and such traits are positively correlated with academic achievement.

While those reasons might help explain the well-known fact that religious students have higher academic achievement, I think I can offer at least a couple of other suggestions. As a Christian, I have been taught that God gave me certain gifts, and it is my duty to Him to develop those gifts as much as possible. Most of my motivation for doing well in college and getting my Ph.D. was because I knew God had given me gifts in science and teaching, and it would be an affront to Him had I not concentrated on honing those gifts to the best of my ability. While not everyone has God-given gifts in academic subjects, it is clear that a good education (especially through high school) helps you develop any gift better.

However, there is another reason. It was given by the father of the Scientific Method, Roger Bacon, nearly 800 years ago. He wrote:

For the grace of faith illuminates greatly, as also do divine inspirations, not only in things spiritual, but in things corporeal and in the sciences of philosophy
(The Opus Majus of Roger Bacon, Robert Belle Burke (trans.), Russel & Russell, Inc. 1962, p. 585)

Faith illuminates all areas of life, including academics.

So, in addition to the reasons I gave in my talk about why you should educate from a Christian worldview, I must add this:

A Christian Worldview Produces Greater Academic Success.

How Well Do You Know The Bible?

May 1940 British troops line up on the beach at Dunkirk to await evacuation. (click for credit)

NOTE: According to a historian I respect a great deal, the beginning of this article (in brackets and italics) is not correct. Apparently, the first mention of the message “But if not” seems to be from sources that occur in the 1990s. Thus, the phrase “But if not” as it relates to Dunkirk is almost certainly an urban legend that fooled me. I am keeping the post up, because I do think the last four paragraphs are important. However, I have also added this to the Christian Myths category so that people might find out that this oft-repeated story is not verifiable.

[You are a high-ranking officer in an army that is at war. You receive a three-word message from a large contingent of your soldiers who you know are about to face the enemy:

But if not

Would that mean anything to you? Fortunately, it meant something to British commanders in World War II. In 1940, more than 350,000 Allied soldiers were trapped at Dunkirk, and the German forces were on their way. The soldiers stood no chance of defeating the enemy, and an officer wanted to communicate the situation to his superiors in London. However, he didn’t want to give away any vital information. As a result, he sent those three words. They spoke volumes…to anyone who knows the Bible well.

They are the first words of Daniel 3:18, which contains the response Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego gave to King Nebuchadnezzar when the King threatened to throw them in the furnace if they didn’t worship the golden image that he had constructed in Babylon:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (Daniel 3:16-18, KJV)

Those three words became a rallying cry that caused a rag-tag group of fishermen, pleasure boaters, merchant mariners, and yacht racers to sail to the shores of Dunkirk and evacuate the trapped soldiers. In the end, they saved more than 338,000 of the soldiers in what is commonly known as The Miracle of Dunkirk. A 2017 film tells the story, albeit without the three words that inspired the entire event.

Now think about that for a moment. The officer who sent the message knew the Bible well enough to recall the passage, and he expected the commanders in London to know the Bible well enough to recognize the passage and realize what it meant. Fortunately, they did.] Do you think they would today? Almost certainly not, because most Christians today don’t really know the Bible.

I recall sitting at a lunch with a well-known politician, a group of Christian homeschooled seniors, and their parents. One senior was telling the politician that he wasn’t concerned about attending a secular university, because he knew the Lord would protect him. The politician smiled and said, “The paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, huh?” All the seniors and all their parents looked at the politician with blank stares. There was an uncomfortable silence, and I had to tell them what he meant. It’s a quote from 1 Samuel 17:37, in which David tells Saul that he is not afraid of Goliath: “The Lord who saved me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” (NASB)

I am sure the parents of these seniors spent a lot of time discussing the Bible in their homeschools. They probably even read books on having a “Biblical Worldview.” Nevertheless, none of them recognized what I would consider to be a very important passage from the Old Testament. Why? I can’t give you a definitive answer, but I can at least say this: Far too many Christian homeschools study books about having a “Biblical Worldview” but don’t spend enough time studying the Bible itself. In my opinion, there is only one way to have a Biblical Worldview, and that is to know the Bible so well that you can quote large sections of it from memory and recognize phrases like “But if not” and “the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear.”

After all, having a Biblical worldview means evaluating everything you encounter through the lens of the Bible. If you don’t know what the Bible says, you won’t be able to use it as a lens! So if you want a Biblical worldview, don’t read books that tell you how to have one. Don’t attend talks that tell you what it is. Spend that time studying the Bible so well that you know it backward and forward. That’s the first step in developing a Biblical worldview.

William Lane Craig on Adam

William Lane Craig’s latest book.
In September of last year, a reader asked me to review William Lane Craig’s In Quest of the Historical Adam: A Biblical and Scientific Exploration. Well, I finally got around to reading it, and I have to say up front that I was disappointed. Not with his conclusion; I predicted that ahead of time. I was disappointed with Dr. Craig’s intellectual inconsistency. I expected more of a philosopher with his credentials and track record.

But I am getting ahead of myself. In the first part of the book, Dr. Craig spends a lot of time comparing the Genesis account to creation myths of the Ancient Near East (ANE). He claims that there are many parallels between the ANE myths and the Genesis account. To demonstrate this “fact,” he discusses a lot of those myths. The problem is, they sound nothing at all like the creation account of Genesis. Consider the following:

In the Sumerian myth Enki and Ninmah 24-37 we read that Enki enjoins the mother goddess Namma to knead clay so that the birth-goddesses could nip off pieces with which she could fashion human beings. How is the story of God’s forming man from the dust of the earth in Gen 2 functionally distinct from such a story simply in virtue of the fact that Yahweh is the sole diety? (Chapter 3)

I don’t know about you, but I find quite a bit of functional distinction. For example, Yahweh had actually made the dust. There is no indication that anyone in the Sumerian myth made the clay. This is a huge distinction. Yahweh is the Creator of everything in the Genesis account. In the ANE myths that Dr. Craig discusses, there is no sense of the gods (or a single god) being the creator of everything. Also, people have experience using clay to make things. The Sumerian myth makes it sound like the gods are doing typical human activities, but they just have some magic added in. That’s not the way the Genesis account reads at all. Nevertheless, based on what I would call very questionable “similarities” Dr. Craig decides that the Genesis account has all the trappings of a myth. However, since it does have historical overtones, he says that the Genesis account belongs in a category called “Mytho-History.”

Of course, he takes great pains to reiterate what C.S. Lewis made abundantly clear quite some time ago: The term “myth” does not mean the story is false. Myths can be used to teach deep truths. It just means that the setting and many of the details aren’t meant to be taken literally. In Matthew 13:3-9, for example, Jesus tells the story of a sower who is planting seeds. He doesn’t intend for you to believe this sower actually existed. Instead, he wants you to hear the truth in his story. In the same way, the Genesis creation account is mythical but teaches a very important truth.

Now, even though Dr. Craig thinks the Genesis account is mythical, he says we have to take its historical overtones seriously, especially when we read the New Testament. In the book of Romans, Paul writes of Adam as a real, historical person. So based on the New Testament (not the Genesis account), Dr. Craig says that Adam must have actually existed. However, since the Genesis account is mytho-history, we can’t assume that he was created exactly as is discussed in the myth or that Eve was actually made from his rib. The details of the account are mostly mythological; his existence is the important historical element.

With this conclusion, Dr. Craig decides to go searching for Adam using the historical and scientific tools we have at our disposal. Not surprisingly, he slavishly follows the scientific consensus, up to a crucial point. Thus, as far as Dr. Craig is concerned, the earth is billions of years old, biological evolution happened essentially as the High Priests of Science have proclaimed, and the standard tales told by anthropologists are true. Based on all this, Dr. Craig concludes:

Adam, then, may be plausibly identified as a member of Homo heidelbergensis living perhaps >750 kya. He could even have lived in the Near East in the biblical site of the Garden of Eden – though vastly earlier than usually thought, of course. (Chapter 12) [Note: kya means thousand years ago]

Of course, the basic concept here is neither new nor surprising. Lots of Christians have decided to accept the scientific consensus and say that God used evolution to produce the human race. However, most who accept this view think that Adam and Eve are mythological beings; they didn’t actually exist in history. Dr. Craig comes to a different conclusion. How? By being utterly inconsistent.

He accepts the scientific consensus on the age of the earth, biological evolution, anthropology, etc., etc. However, he then throws scientific consensus out of the window by writing:

Such an identification is fully consistent, both temporally and geographically, with the data of population genetics, which does not rule out the existence of two heterozygous, sole genetic progenitors of the human race earlier than 500 kya. (Chapter 13)

What does he use to back up this idea? A reference to the journal BIO-Complexity, which is well outside the scientific consensus! Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against that journal. In fact, I think an incredibly important genetic study can be found in it.

Here’s the problem: The scientific consensus says that there is simply no way evolution could produce the genetics of the human race from just two people. At minimum, it needed to start with a group of 2,250 people. However, since Dr. Craig wants to believe that Adam existed in history and is the father of the human race, he must believe that the scientific consensus is invalid on this point. As a result, he looks outside the scientific consensus to find science that backs up his view.

Now to be sure, he tries to justify this view by reporting that a few consensus-driven scientists (like S. Joshua Swamidass) say that if you push Adam’s existence far enough back in history (more than 500,000 years), then science cannot rule out the possibility that he and Eve could be the genetic origin of all humanity. However, the vast majority of geneticists would disagree with that. Thus, it is still an idea that is well outside the scientific consensus. Indeed, S. Joshua Swamidass himself doesn’t agree with it.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I have no problem with going against the scientific consensus. Indeed, nearly every important scientific advance that has happened was the result of doing just that. What I am saying is that if Dr. Craig has the courage to question the scientific consensus when it comes to the genetics of the human race, perhaps he could find the courage to question the scientific consensus when it comes to other issues, such as the age of the earth and biological evolution. If he does that, he might find a much more satisfying way to believe in a historical Adam.

NOTE (added 8/1/2023): Swamidass suggested this link to help clarify the issue.

Scientist Who Prays for Insight Revolutionizes Recycling

Dr. James Tour in his lab with students. (click for source)

I have written about Dr. James Tour before. He is a giant in the field of synthetic organic chemistry. Because he spends his days making molecules, he knows that despite the bluster coming from evolutionary evangelists, we have absolutely no idea how the molecules of life could have been formed from nonliving matter. As a good scientist, he doesn’t rule out the possibility that it might have happened. However, he tries to educate people about how little we know regarding this hypothetical process so they are not fooled by the lies they hear from their teachers and read in their textbooks.

I am writing about him again because he and his group just published a paper that will truly revolutionize the recycling industry. In fact, it turns recycling into upcycling, because it makes the waste into something more versatile than the original products. The process described in the paper can take anything that is mostly carbon (like plastic) and convert it into graphene, which is many times stronger than steel but much more lightweight and flexible. This makes it ideal in many applications. As the University of Manchester says:

Transport, medicine, electronics, energy, defence, desalination; the range of industries where graphene research is making an impact is substantial.

Interestingly enough, graphene comes in two forms, and the form that Dr. Tour’s process makes is the easier one to use in most industrial applications.

The process involves taking any material that contains high amounts of carbon, grinding it into a fine dust, and zapping it with enough electricity to break every bond in the material. All non-carbon atoms form molecules that are vaporized, and the carbon is left behind in the form of graphene.

In their experiments, they used the plastic material from a truck’s bumpers, seats, carpets, and gaskets. They put it through their process and gave the graphene they produced to the Ford Motor Company, which then used it to make new plastic components for their trucks. These new components performed the same as components produced with unrecycled graphene.

According to their paper, published in the journal Nature:

A prospective cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment suggests that our method may afford lower cumulative energy demand and water use, and a decrease in global warming potential compared to traditional graphene synthesis methods.

This incredible achievement is noteworthy enough, but I want to spend a moment on the man behind it. Dr. Tour is a Christian and has written a detailed account of how his faith helps his scientific research in a document entitled Faith of a Scientist: The Impact of the Bible on a Christian Professor. In it, he states:

As a scientist, when posed with scientific mysteries that have presented themselves in my research, I have so often bowed my heart and prayed, “Lord, make your light shine on this darkness. When no others can see, please Lord, let me see.” On many occasions, when graduate students have brought their puzzling laboratory results and laid them on my desk, I have been as baffled as they. So remembering [Psalm 112:4], which I had long before committed to memory, I pray for light, and God answers. Surely, meditating on God’s word can cause light to arise in darkness even for the challenges that confront our secular careers.

While this might sound odd to closed-minded secularists, Dr. Tour is not alone in using his faith to aid his scientific work. In fact, the father of the scientific method (Roger Bacon) wrote1:

For the grace of faith illuminates greatly, as also do divine inspirations, not only in things spiritual, but in things corporeal and in the sciences of philosophy;

Copernicus put the sun at the center of what he called “the world” because that made the system more orderly, and he said that this made more sense, since the world was made by “the Best and Most Orderly Workman of all”2. Kepler use the Trinity as a basis for his model of the universe, with the sun at the center representing God the Father, the sphere that held the stars representing God the Son, and the space in between representing God the Holy Spirit. James Clerk Maxwell, the genius who discovered that light is an electromagnetic wave, also prayed to received scientific enlightenment.

There are those who say that Christianity and science are incompatible. In no uncertain terms, scientific luminaries from Roger Bacon to Dr. James Tour demonstrate that this notion is 100% false.


1. The Opus Majus of Roger Bacon, Robert Belle Burke (trans.), (Russel & Russell, Inc. 1962), p. 585
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2. Nicolaus Copernicus, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, R. Catesby Taliaferro (trans.), Great Books of the Western World, (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1939), vol. 16, p. 508.
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Physics Helps You Understand the Mysteries of Christianity

Dr. John Charlton Polkinghorne was a theoretical physicist whose work was important enough to earn him election as a fellow in the longest-lived scientific organization in the world, the Royal Society. However, after 25 years of contributing to our knowledge of God’s creation, he decided that his best work in physics was behind him, so he began training to become an Anglican priest. After being ordained, he served in the Anglican Church for 14 years before retiring.

Obviously, Dr. Polkinghorne’s education and life experiences make him an authoritative voice when it comes to the relationship between Christianity and Science. He wrote a lot about the subject, and while I often disagree with him, I have read and appreciated much of what he has written. In 2009, he and one of his students (Nicholas Beale) wrote a book entitled, Questions of Truth: Fifty-one Responses to Questions about God, Science, and Belief. I read it quite a while ago, and I reacted as I usually did – agreeing with some parts of the book and disagreeing with others. However, I was thumbing through it to find a quote I wanted to use, and the Foreword caught my eye. I don’t think I read it when I read the book, so I decided to take a look at it.

It was written by Nobel Laureate Dr. Antony Hewish, who was an astronomer and a devout Christian. In less than two pages, he makes one of the most interesting arguments I have ever heard regarding the relationship between science and Christianity. He first makes the point, which I make over and over again when I teach science, that science does not follow common-sense thinking. Aristotle used common-sense thinking to come to the conclusion that all objects have a natural state of being at rest, and you have to force them out of that state to get them to move. Galileo and Newton followed experiments rather than common sense, and they demonstrated that an object has no preferred state of motion. It remains in its current state until it is acted on by an outside force. That non-common-sense notion is now called Newton’s First Law of Motion.

Of course, since Dr. Hewish is well-versed in physics, he gives a better example of how physics doesn’t follow common-sense thinking and then makes a conclusion from this fact:

For example, the simplest piece of matter, a hydrogen atom, cannot be accurately described without including the effects caused by the cloud of virtual particles with which it is surrounded. There is no such thing as truly empty space. Quantum theory predicts that even a perfect vacuum is filled with a multitude of particles that flash into and out of existence much too rapidly to be caught by any detector. Yet their existence modifies the motion of electrons orbiting protons in a calculable way that has been verified by direct observation. The ghostly presence of virtual particles defies rational common sense and is nonintuitive for those unacquainted with physics. Religious belief in God, and Christian belief that God became man around two thousand years ago, may seem strange to common-sense thinking. But when the most elementary physical things behave in this way, we should be prepared to accept that the deepest aspects of our existence go beyond our common-sense intuitions.

(John Polkinghorne and Nicholas Bealexii, Questions of Truth: Fifty-one Responses to Questions about God, Science, and Belief, (Presbyterian Publishing 2009), p. xii)

In the end, Dr. Hewish is making the case that understanding modern physics should make you more inclined to be a Christian (or at least more inclined to be religious), since it conditions you to believe that the universe is based on mysterious processes that cannot be directly observed.

I have to say that this has happened in my own life, even though I was not aware of it. I went from being an atheist to believing in some kind of Creator because science showed me that the universe was obviously the result of design. I eventually became a Christian because after reading extensively on world religions, by grace I saw that Christianity is supported by the most evidence. I was initially very uncomfortable with the mysteries that are inherently a part of Christianity, but as I grew older, I became more and more comfortable with them. I thought that this was because I had grown accustomed to them. However, after reading Dr. Hewish’s foreword, I noticed that my level of comfort with the mysteries of Christianity coincided with my increasing knowledge of quantum mechanics.

Dr. Hewish seems to have hit the nail on the head, at least when it comes to how modern physics has helped me grow in my faith.

The Heavens Tell of the Glory of God

Astronomer Johannes Kepler (left) and Astronaut James Irwin on the moon (right)

As I wrote previously, one of the reasons I took a break from blogging was so that I could concentrate on teaching a Master’s Class at Memoria College this year. In that class, we read the great natural philosophers of the past, from Archimedes to Darwin. Many of the students remarked on how often God was mentioned in these works, especially the works of astronomy. For example, Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), the brilliant astronomer who figured out that planets orbit the sun in ellipses, not circles, described the sphere of the universe this way:

For in the sphere, which is the image of God the Creator and the Archetype of the world-as was proved in Book 1-there are three regions, symbols of the three persons of the Holy Trinity – the center, a symbol of the Father; the surface, of the Son; and the intermediate space, of the Holy Ghost.
(Johannes Kepler, Epitome of Copernican Astronomy – Book IV, First Book on the Doctrine of the Schemata [436])

In other words, he saw the Trinity in his model of the universe. The sun represented God the Father, the outer edge of the universe (where he thought all the stars resided) represented God the Son, and the area in between represented God the Holy Spirit.

I find it refreshing that scientists like Kepler were comfortable relating their science to their faith. Nowadays, that kind of language is censored from the scientific literature, but for most of history, it wasn’t. That’s one of the many benefits of reading scientific works from the past. It allows you to see the incredibly strong, positive impact Christianity had on science.

I asked the class why Kepler viewed the universe the way he did. One student (a pastor) gave a Bible verse as his answer:

The heavens tell of the glory of God; And their expanse declares the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.
(Psalm 19:1-2, NASB)

In this student’s opinion (with which I agree), a person must strongly compartmentalize his or her thinking in order to study the universe and deny that God’s power and majesty are reflected in it.

In support of that idea, another student mentioned Astronaut James Irwin. After coming home from walking on the moon, he wrote a book entitled More than Earthlings. In it, he explained how his trip to the moon inspired him to take his Christian faith more seriously:

Being on the moon had a profound spiritual impact upon my life. Before I entered space with the Apollo 15 mission in July of 1971, I was a lukewarm Christian, to say the least! I was even a silent Christian, but I feel the Lord sent me to the moon so I could return to the earth and share his Son, Jesus Christ. The entire space achievement is put in proper perspective when one realizes that God walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon. I believe that God walked on the earth 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ.

As a result, he started the High Flight Foundation, which works “…hand in hand with leaders serving the Nations and the people as they discover God’s destiny for their lives and Nation.”

Johannes Kepler and James Irwin are just two of the many scientists who recognize that the heavens do, indeed, tell of the glory of God. In fact, that is the most important reason students should study science. The more you learn about science, the more you should be in awe of the power and majesty of God!