Tag Archives: God of Excellence

The Excellence of God in Creation – An Intelligent Designer, a Universe of Remarkable Precision, and the Origin of Life

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”  

Francis Crick

Today, we conclude with this article the first chapter of the study that Towards Excellence began to share a couple of months ago on “The God of Creation as an Author and Example of Excellence”, excerpts on the investigation of this truly exciting topic.

It is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2022/01/02/la-excelencia-de-dios-en-la-creacion-un-disenador-inteligente-un-universo-de-remarcable-precision-y-el-origen-de-la-vida/); not necessarily from the original texts and works of authors here cited. The Bible verses used are from NASB.

Lee Strobel defends the existence of an Intelligent Designer from the evidence of Astronomy; thus he manifests that the Earth’s position in the universe and its intricately choreographed geological and chemical processes work together with superb efficiency to create a safe place for humans to live. And Strobel quotes NASA astrophysicist John A. O’Keefe:

“If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision, we would have never existed. In my opinion, these circumstances indicate that the universe was created for man to live ”. (Strobel, The Case for a Creator 2014)

On the other hand, the astronomer Guillermo González and the scientific philosopher Jay Wesley Richards stated that:

“… It would take a star with the highly unusual properties of our sun to nurture living organisms on a surrounding planet. Among the properties are: the correct mass, the correct light, the correct age, the correct distance, the correct orbit, the correct galaxy, the correct location. Therefore, numerous factors make our solar system and our location in the universe perfect for a habitable environment. ” (Strobel, The Case for a Creator 2014)

Indeed, the creation of the universe and its precision is a topic that has been widely discussed from different spheres and throughout decades. Millard J. Erickson, in his book “Christian Theology,” notes that the great evolution debate in the early 20th century makes it clear that while Theology and Science advance in parallel courses most of the time without intersecting on a common theme; on the other hand, the problem of the origin of the world is one of the points where they definitely meet.[1]

Therefore, while we address the issue of the precision of the universe, it is worthwhile at this point to analyze Darwinian Evolution vs. Intelligent Design. “The Origin of Species,” well-known publication of Darwin in 1859 exposes on biological evolution, whose theory provides a completely naturalistic hypothesis that tries to explain the apparent design of natural teleological systems such as eyeballs. This is how James E. Taylor states, in “Introducing Apologetics” that the Darwinian explanation of natural biological teleology includes 3 important aspects: (1) random genetic change, (2) natural selection and (3) genetic heritage.[2]  And this explanation unfolds like this:

“Complex organisms and organs like the eyeballs have evolved over a long period of time from multiple life forms. This process of biological evolution from simpler to more complex forms took place through random genetic changes (mutations) that occurred in simpler forms during the reproductive process. In other words, an organism produces offspring that differ from it in some important respect.” (Taylor 2006)

Thus, according to the Darwinian Theory, such accidental and unplanned alterations in the parts of biological organisms have survival value for organisms or not. If they have survival value, then the organism that acquired them will tend to better adapt to its environment. If they do not have a survival value, then the organism will not be as likely to adapt, and therefore will not have as much desire to survive. This is the idea of ​​the survival of the fittest one or the strongest one. Therefore, the “natural selection” proposed by Darwin is:

“… The name given to this process of elimination of organisms that occurs naturally as a result of the degree to which they can survive. Organisms that inherit traits that allow them to better adapt to their environments are ‘selected’ by nature. (Taylor 2006)

TE-Darwin pic-engSurprisingly, Charles Darwin in his book, “The Origin of Species” identified a means to disprove his theory:

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” (Taylor 2006).

Thus, Darwin incredibly recognized that if someone identifies a biological system that could not have been built in gradual steps over long periods of time, then his theory would be invalid.

At this point, it is auspicious for us to address the inherent evidence for molecular machine design that certainly defies Darwin’s explanation of “natural selection.”

Christian biologist and apologist Michael J. Behe, in his book “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution” argues that there are integrative and complex systems in biological organisms, which he calls “irreducibly complex”, these include sophisticated motors and all kinds of biological circuits; as explained and synthesized by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, in a long interview with journalist Lee Strobel.[3]

Meyer also specifies:

“These biological machines need all of their varied parts in order to function. Natural selection only preserves things that perform some function, in other words, helping the organism to survive in the next generation. This is the strongest survival. (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

According to Meyer, complex irreducible systems have a problem and that is that they have no function until all their parts are present and working together in coordination with each other. So, natural selection cannot help building such systems; you can only preserve them once they are built.

Therefore, Meyer adds, in his reference to Behe’s argument that it is impossible for evolution to take such a big leap just by chance and create a complete system at once. This, by the way, leads to the formulation of the following question: “How did the biochemical machine come about? And then Meyer quotes:

“Behe says that these biological systems are likely to appear designed because they were actually designed. After all, when we look at irreducibly complex systems and know how they were formed, invariably a designer made them. ” (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

For Behe, the notion of irreducible complexity sums it up like this:

“… a single system made up of several harmonic and interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, in which the elimination of any of these parts prevents the system from functioning.” (Collado 2007)

And to explain this notion, Behe ​​takes as an example a homemade artifact – the mouse trap. It can be seen with the naked eye that it is made up of a set of pieces that interact according to a specific design and to achieve a particular purpose. Those who analyze this instrument conclude that the system of parts that compose it has not been arranged at random. It is ruled out, by the way, that the system has been formed gradually; and because of a series of intermediate steps that have been improving the system by a Darwinian-type mechanism. For this instrument to work, it is required that each one of the pieces be arranged according to the expected order or the system ultimately does not work.[4]

To better illustrate it, Behe, in his book “Darwin’s black box” puts it this way:

“Oddly enough, modern biochemistry has shown that the cell is operated by machines: literally, molecular machines. Like their artificial counterparts (mousetraps, bicycles, and spaceships), molecular machines range from the simple to the highly complex: mechanical machines that generate energy, as in muscles; electronic machines, as in the nerves; and solar powered machines, as in photosynthesis. Of course, molecular machines are made of proteins, not metal and plastic. (Collado 2007)

On the other hand, according to Behe, the bacterial flagellum for example is literally an outboard motor that some bacteria use to swim. In fact, Behe ​​accepts Darwin’s challenge by arguing that the bacterial flagellum and other subcellular systems are irreducibly complex and therefore cannot be formed by numerous successive and slight modifications.[5]

Simply put, Behe’s argument against Darwinism is quoted like this:

  • “Some biological systems such as the bacterial flagellum are irreducibly complex.
  • If a biological system is irreducibly complex, then it could not have arisen solely through a process of evolution by natural selection.
  • If there are biological systems that have not arisen solely through a process of evolution by natural selection, then Darwinism is false.
  • Therefore, Darwinism is false.” (Taylor 2006)

Thus, continuing in line with these analyzes and reflections, it should be noted that, for Dr. Meyer, science and faith point towards the same truth. In fact, Meyer convinced states:

“I believe that the testimony of science supports theism. While there are always going to be points of tension or unresolved conflicts, the greatest advance in science in the last five decades has been to walk strongly in the direction of theism… Science, well done, points towards God.” (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

And a magnificent example of science pointing towards God is precisely the origin of life and the origin of the information necessary to bring life into existence. This information is stored in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and in molecular proteins.

Thus, Richard Dawkins, a British biologist, stated the following:

“The gene machine code is eerily similar to computers.” (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

As we know, Meyer points out, computers operate through software programs, the same ones that have been designed by intelligent engineers. Indeed, the information itself – a computer code, hieroglyphic inscriptions or a book, all this points towards intelligence. The same is true about the information of every cell in every living creature.[6]

In fact, the well-known software developer, Bill Gates, confirms this:

“DNA is like a computer program, but extremely more advanced than any software ever created.” (Meyer 2009)

Researcher holding blue pill for health care in laboratory with

So, DNA stores the assembly instructions for building the many crucial proteins and protein machines that serve and maintain even the most primitive single-celled organisms.

Along these lines, a curious note. First established in 1985 by Sir Alec Jeffreys, DNA testing has become an increasingly popular method of identification and research. As it is known, genes are the blueprints of life and control everything from hair color to blood sugar, telling cells which proteins to produce, how much, when and where. Genes exist in most cells. There is a long chain of chemical DNA inside a cell. The part of DNA that determines which protein to make and when, it is called a gene.[7]

The benefits of DNA testing are vast. In 1988, for example, Colin Pitchfork became the first British murderer and rapist, who was caught because of DNA fingerprint tests.[8]

On the other hand, the information provided with the DNA tests has also helped unjustly imprisoned people such as the Americans Gary Dotson (Illinois) and Dennis Halstead (New York) to obtain their freedom in 1989 and 2003, respectively.[9]

Here it should be noted that the origin of life and biological information is a subject that has captivated many, from the highest scientific spheres to ordinary mortals. And it is clearly observed that great scientific findings such as DNA, not only that point to the confirmation of the existence of an intelligent being behind the creation of the entire universe; rather, these same findings, put into practice in daily life, contribute to the growth, development, and care of society; as in the case of technical DNA tests to do justice in cases related to crime, or in cases inherent to responsible paternity.

Thus, the German researcher Bernd-Olaf Küppers, whose scientific interests cover a wide range of problems centered on the fundamental question about the origin and evolution of life, concludes:

“The problem of the origin of life is clear and basically equivalent to the problem of the origin of biological information.” (Meyer 2009)

In the book “Life itself,” Francis Crick, a philosophical materialist, admitted:

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

On other hand, Stephen C. Meyer, author of “Signature in the Cell” affirms that, in the Theory of Evolution, Charles Darwin, never intended to uncover the mystery of the origin of biological information. For the English naturalist, this origin was always an impenetrable ministry.[10]

Impenetrable mystery? To the amazement of humanity, each time, the origin of life is revealed even more and more. The most revealing discovery has indeed been that when James Watson and Francis Crick elucidated on the structure of DNA. More than half a century ago, thanks to Watson and Crick, it was discovered that each cell has a complex and advanced information processing and storage system that far surpasses any computer system.

And the famous English scientist, astronomer, theologian and author, Isaac Newton, already 3 centuries ago, in his masterpiece Opticks, published in 1704, reflected:

“How came the bodies of animals to be contrived with so much art, and for what ends were their several parts? Was the eye contrived without skill in Opticks, and the ear without knowledge of sounds?…And these things being rightly dispatch’d, does it not appear from Phænomena that there is a Being incorporeal, living, intelligent…?” (Meyer 2009)

These assertions, the fruit of long years of study and scientific research, are only small samples that the universe and the origin of life itself are supported by an intelligent Creator, a Creator of order, a wise Creator, an Almighty Creator, a Creator of excellence.

Nonetheless, the Word of God, God himself already announced it, centuries ago. Thus, in Jeremiah, written between 627 BC. and 586 BC, he poetically stated it:

It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom;
And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.
When He utters His voice, there is a roar of waters in the heavens,
And He makes the clouds ascend from the end of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain,
And brings out the wind from His storehouses.” (Jeremiah 10: 12,13)

But that same Almighty Creator is the one who not only displayed His excellence in making the heavens and the earth, the universe as such, but also everything that is in it. God, the Creator, also displayed and left His mark of excellence in a singular way by making humanity, the masterpiece of His creation, as the Psalmist sublimely expresses it:

“For You created my innermost parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139: 13,14)

Thus, the quote from Mark DeVine is conducive to this closure:

“It is precisely as a creature that humanity is imago dei and the inclusion of humanity within the rest of the created order can extract the divine superlative ´very good´.” (DeVine 2019)

Towards Excellence will continue sharing excerpts from its research on “The God of Creation as an Author and Example of Excellence” throughout 2022. Please, await for our next articles! A very blessed New Year 2022!

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 393.

[2] James E. Taylor, Introducing Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Academic, 2006), 131-133.

[3] Lee Strobel, El Caso del Creador: Un periodista investiga evidencias científicas que apuntan hacia Dios (Miami, FL:  Editorial Vida, 2005), 1767 – 1772.

[4] Santiago Collado, Análisis del Diseño Inteligente (España: Universidad de Navarra, 2007), 10.

[5] James E. Taylor, Introducing Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Academic, 2006), 133-134

[6] Lee Strobel, El Caso del Creador: Un periodista investiga evidencias científicas que apuntan hacia Dios (Miami, FL:  Editorial Vida, 2005), 1757 – 1760.

[7] Live Science, “DNA and Genes,” Live Science,  https://www.livescience.com/topics/dna-genes/7

[8] Live Science, “DNA and Genes,” Live Science,  https://www.livescience.com/topics/dna-genes/7

[9] Innocence Project, “200 Exonerated – Too Many Wrongfully Convicted: An Innocence Project Report on the First 200 DNA Exonerations in the U.S.”, https://www.innocenceproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/ip_200.pdf

[10] Tendencias 21 – Tendencias de las religiones, “Un nuevo libro basa el diseño inteligente en el ADN celular,” Tendencias 21, https://www.tendencias21.net/Un-nuevo-libro-basa-el-diseno-inteligente-en-el-ADN-celular_a3987.html

Creation – Six-Day Journey…

 

“Then God said …;” “And it was so …;” simply denote the authority of our Creator God…“And God saw that it was good;” “and behold, it was very good;” speak absolutely of the excellence of God.”

Cecy Yépez

Following the commitment of “Towards Excellence” we now share a second excerpt from the study “The God of creation as author and example of excellence”, this time focused on the extraordinary six-day journey in which the wonderful creation took place.

It is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2021/11/01/creacion-una-jornada-de-seis-dias); not from the original texts and works of authors here cited. The Bible verses used are from NASB.

So, sit back and let’s briefly travel through time!

Herbert Wolf states that Genesis was written as the prologue to the rest of the Bible. In general terms, Genesis expounds on the origin of the universe, the physical world, human life, cultures and certainly the nation of Israel. All this without considering the detailed explanation of how sin entered this world and how it ruined God’s original creation.[1]

It is interesting that throughout the creation account the frequency of at least 4 phrases to which much attention should be paid is observed: “Then God said …;” “And it was so …;” “And God saw that it was good; ““And behold, it was very good”.

The first two sentences: “Then God said …;” “And it was so …;” simply denote the authority of our Creator God. His Word is truthful and trustworthy. What God says that is fulfilled. As it is stated in Psalm 33: 8-9 (NASB):

“Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood firm.”TE.Palm33

The second two sentences: “And God saw that it was good;” “and behold, it was very good;” speak absolutely of the excellence of God. But these last two sentences are definitely connected with the first two. God declares His Word with authority and truthfulness, consequently His decrees are executed, and they are executed with undoubted excellence.

Don Fleming, author of the “Concise Bible Commentary,” in his section “Plan of the Genesis account,” states that the Earth constitutes only a small part of God’s creation. And he adds:

“The Genesis account is concerned with showing that God made everything from nothing, that He worked from what is without form to what has form, from the simple to the complex. He describes how He led the universe through various stages until His creative activity reached its climax in Adam and Eve.” (Fleming 1994)

Thus, it is time then to travel through part of the great creative work of God. Let us start our imagination for this journey…a journey that originally lasted six days, exposed in Genesis 1: 1 – 2: 3. And for this purpose, we will quote again Fleming, who in a simple but dynamic and creative way, superbly synthesizes this work:

At first the earth was shapeless and in darkness, due to the surrounding mass of water, but as the thick clouds of steam began to lose their density, a hazy light came from the invisible Sun (1: 1-5 – Day 1).

And as they lost greater density, the vapor clouds rose from the ground, producing a clear distinction between the surface of the oceans and the roof of the heavy clouds above (1: 6-8 – Day 2).

Meanwhile the Earth (the planet) was drying up and the Earth as such appeared visible. Simpler forms of life began to appear. Various kinds of soils and climatic conditions produced various kinds of plants, which were thus created so that they continue to produce more plants according to their own species (1: 9-13 – Day 3).

The heavy cloud above, which gradually became thinner and thinner, finally broke apart. And so the sun, moon and stars that were previously hidden are now clearly visible. And its effect on the land allowed a variety of climates and an annual pattern of seasons to occur (1: 14-19 – Day 4).

As God’s creative activity progressed, animal life began to appear, with creatures in the sea and creatures in the sky (1: 20-23 – Day 5).

Creation-girl and forest2The Earth also experienced the appearance of animal life, until it was also filled with all kinds of creatures. And finally, the first human couple arrived, representing the pinnacle of God’s creation. Unlike other living beings, the human couple was created in the image of God. (1: 24-31 – Day 6).[2]  And about this we will talk later, in a future article, about how God, their Creator, prepared everything for their arrival and reception.

Throughout this journey of creation, it is important to note that five of the six days of creation itself, the following statement is reiterated: “And God saw that it was good.”

Henry M. Morris III, in his article “Genesis and the Character of God”, points out that it is the same word in Hebrew that is used every time and means exactly what is expected, that is: good, pleasant, charming, excellent, beneficial. In fact, this term is used more than 500 times in the Bible. There is nothing so unusual about the use of God’s Word, Morris says, except that it is repeated often and that it is God who uses this term.[3]

And the sixth time, precisely on the sixth day, a greater emphasis is observed, “And God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

The Hebrew word for good is טוב [TOV] and from the Hebraic perspective it means that “TOV” is practical and functional, not just a state of pleasure. Thus, in Genesis 1:31, it is observed that God saw that His creation worked perfectly.[4]

On the other hand, Nachmanides interprets the word מְאֹ֑ד [ME´OD] as “mainly,” that is, the world is “mainly good,” quoting Onkelos, it would be further specified as “very orderly” and “appropriately arranged.”[5]

Throughout the six-day journey, it is undoubtedly shown that creation displays the Creator’s mark of excellence. In fact, the Creator Himself stated that His creation is flawless in every way. It is impeccable for sure in beauty, in function, in purpose, and in potential. After the creation, God saw all and saw that all created was very good.[6]

More of the God of excellence in our next post. See you soon!

 

[1] Herbert Wolf, An Introduction to the Old Testament – Pentateuch (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), 79-80.

[2] Don Fleming, Concise Bible Commentary (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1994), 13.

[3] Henry M. Morris III, “Genesis and the Character of God,” Institute of Creation Research, https://www.icr.org/article/genesis-character-god/

[4] CMJ Israel, “Hebrew Word Studies,” CMJ Israel, https://www.cmj-israel.org/yeshiva/hebrew-word-studies

[5] Zachary Braiterman, “Tohu and Bohu are TOV – Genesis,” Jewish Philosophy Place, https://jewishphilosophyplace.com/2014/10/19/tohu-vabohu-is-tov-genesis/

[6] BibleRef, “What does Genesis 1:31 mean?,” BibleRef, https://www.bibleref.com/Genesis/1/Genesis-1-31.html

 

The God of Creation as Author and Example of Excellence – Introduction

“…from the microscopic and complex of DNA to the magnificent and unattainable galactic world of the splendid universe, the Creator´s mark of excellence is infallibly present.”

Cecy Yepez

For some months “Towards Excellence” has been silent, due to some circumstances, perhaps one of the main ones, because I, the author, was working on a long research whose theme fascinates me. So, for some time I have considered to share excerpts from it with each of you, the beloved audience of “Towards Excellence.”

From now on, I will be pleased to provide a broad overview of the excellence of the Triune Creator God and its implications for the work of leaders, and especially, Christian leaders within their various spheres of influence.

Through the study of Genesis 1 and 2, among other Biblical passages, the fascinating world of creation and its different moments are approached, in which the excellence of its Maker undoubtedly unfolds. It is observed, of course, that from the microscopic and complex of DNA to the magnificent and unattainable galactic world of the splendid universe, the Creator’s mark of excellence is infallibly present.

And of course, this study highlights the sublime and supernatural presence of the mark of excellence in the Creator’s masterpiece – the human being, in whose being His image and likeness were impregnated, which unfortunately was upset, stained and broken by the fall; but it is emphasized that it has the opportunity to be restored through the redemptive work of Christ. Of Whom, incidentally, a wonderful approach is made as “the image of the invisible God”, based on Colossians 1:15-17 and Colossians 2:9.

Space view on Planet Earth and Sun Star rotating on its axis in black Universe. Elements of image furnished by NASA, [Envato Elements].

In fact, to understand even more about the image of God, the character of Jesus and His actions are also analyzed, since He is the perfect example of what human nature should have been.

Thus, this study, in its last part, deals with what concerns Christian leadership, understanding that its actors, made in the image and likeness of the Creator, are challenged to be an example of His excellence where they have been called to lead. And not only that, but as bearers of His image, they have been commanded to exercise dominion over all creation, but they must do so in a way that is consistent with the character of the God of excellence.

For this reason, throughout the excerpts that I will share from this research, the great example of Jesus Christ will be denoted, whose leadership style has revolutionized the world. A leader who sacrificially serves lepers, without fear of infection; a leader who breaks down cultural barriers, not fearing other people´s opinion, such as the encounter with the Samaritan woman; a leader who forgives and restores, as when he courageously defended the woman who was about to be stoned; a confronting leader, as in the eviction of the temple. A true servant leader who gives His life for the cause that was entrusted to Him!

And we delved further, understanding that this leader did not allow Himself to be infected by the profane culture of His environment; but rather fearlessly expanded the culture of the Kingdom of God.

I trust that these excerpts will inspire many as they may have the opportunity to meet the God of excellence for the first time, or reaffirm their knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ, the God of excellence; or even more, mobilize many to be and act as ambassadors of excellence in this world.

In our next issue, we will start together an extraordinary journey through which we will recognize “the excellence of God in creation”; and certainly, we will join the poetic statement of Job:

“[God] who alone stretched out the heavens
    and trampled the waves of the sea;

who made the Bear and Orion,
    the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;

who does great things beyond searching out,
    and marvelous things beyond number.”

(Job 9:8-10 – ESV)

See you soon and in the meantime, I encourage you to live a life marked by excellence!