A Tale of Two Cosmic Cities
Two organizations have prepared curricula presenting grand panoramas of cosmic history. Each is divided into seven modules – but that is where any similarity ends. One is a completely materialistic and evolutionary view composed by scientists and educators from NASA and the federal government and major academic institutions and corporations. The other is a completely Biblical, theistic view put forward by Answers in Genesis, a creationist group. Here they are in summary outline form:
- Cosmic Voyage: A curriculum named Voyages Through Time was developed by the SETI Institute partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, the California Academy of Sciences, and San Francisco State University with major funding from the National Science Foundation (Grant IMD #9730693), NASA, Hewlett Packard Company, Foundation for Microbiology, SETI Institute, and Educate America, according to an article “Astrobiology 101” on Space.com. The website of Voyages Through Time shows seven headings:
- The Curriculum: The overview module stresses the important of key “overarching goals” to be taught students in the year-long curriculum: evolution as cumulative changes over time, the various processes underlying these changes, the differing time scales and rates of change, the connections and relationships across these realms of change, and science as a process for advancing our understanding of the natural world.
- Cosmic Evolution: This module teaches that “The universe, the totality of all things that exist, is thought to have begun with an explosion of space and time and the expansion of a hot, dense mass of elementary particles and photons, that has evolved over billions of years into the stars and galaxies we observe today.”
- Planetary Evolution: As the title implies, this module teaches that all planets “formed from the same spinning disk of dust and gas,” implying Earth is a cosmic accident that happened to provide an environment suitable for life.
- Origin of Life: This module recognizes a lack of scientific understanding, but promises light in the future: “Current evidence from the rock and fossil record indicates that life on Earth began about 3.8 billion years ago. Yet how life first formed, or even how the biochemical precursors of life developed, and under what conditions these events happened, are not yet understood. The origin of life is an area of active research, with considerable debate among scientists from various disciplines.”
- Evolution of Life: This fully Darwinian module exhibits peppered moths, uniformitarian dating methods, phylogenetic trees and other evolutionary icons to present standard Darwinism: the entire diversity of life on the planet emerged from a universal common ancestor through an unguided process of mutation and natural selection.
- Hominid Evolution: The sixth module teaches that humans are products of the same unguided, natural process that produced the first life and all other creatures.
- Evolution of Technology: The final module continues its portrayal of evolutionary history up to our present human civilization. Students are shown the “timeline of major events throughout the history of technology in the context of the evolution of everything, beginning with the Big Bang about 15 billion years ago.” They are assigned a poster project to show how technologies of the future may evolve.
Nothing is mentioned in the final module, apparently, about the ultimate fate of mankind or the “heat death” of the universe in which all life, and rationality, presumably will have long ceased to exist.
- The Seven C’s of History: A curriculum from Answers in Genesis, a private creationist organization funded primarily by private donations and no government grants, takes a very different approach to cosmic history. The “Seven C’s” outline, first proposed by AIG president Ken Ham in one of his books (see article) also forms the “walk through history” structure of AIG’s Creation Museum that opened last year (05/26/2007).
- Creation: The universe began as a purposeful act of an omnipotent, personal God. The stars, the Earth, all life, the angels and mankind were created in the six days of creation outlined in Genesis 1. Man and woman were created in the image of God. They were rational and spiritual beings from the start. The creation was good and innocent.
- Corruption: The first human pair, Adam and Eve, believing a lie of Satan (who had previously led an angelic rebellion), disobeyed God and fell into sin, as described in Genesis 3. This separated mankind from God and brought a curse upon the world. Death came because of sin. The first child committed the first murder.
- Catastrophe: The world became filled with violence. Only Noah believed God; he and his family were spared on the Ark (Genesis 6-9) while God judged the Earth with a world-wide Flood. This had major consequences in geology and the subsequent environment for life after the survivors spread out over the earth.
- Confusion: After the Flood, people again strayed from the Lord and sought to build their own pagan empire. God confused their languages at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). This began the origin of separate nations, languages and cultures, as people separated from one another to the far reaches of the earth. False religions sprung up – many with distant but corrupted memories of the Flood, and of the one true eternal Creator God.
- Christ: Since the Fall (Genesis 3:15), God had promised a Redeemer, the “seed of the woman” who would crush the serpent Satan’s head. In the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4), the promise of God’s prophets was fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Luke 4:16-21).
- Cross: God’s righteousness demands that sin be punished. Christ took the punishment for man’s sin on himself at Calvary. His sacrifice offered a full pardon for sin, and his resurrection demonstrated the power of God to raise from the dead all who have put their trust in him.
- Consummation: The curse will be lifted at the end time when Christ returns in glory. God will create a new heavens and a new earth, where the redeemed of all ages will rejoice with God forever.
Augustine of Hippo was an influential Christian theologian and philosopher of the 5th century. He was well acquainted with the pagan and secular worldviews of his age as well as the Biblical worldview. In his classic The City of God, he contrasted the pagan and Christian views of reality by portraying them as two cities: the city of the pagans, and the city of God.
The city of the pagans consists of people who live by their sense impressions alone. Their philosophers build systems of the world from the imagination of their own hearts. The common people fear natural and political disasters, such as the fall of Rome that had recently occurred in Augustine’s time, and face death without hope or with false hope.
The city of God, Augustine said, consists of those who trust God’s revelation. They live their earthly lives in hope of heaven, like Abraham, who “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10). They walk by faith convinced in the trustworthiness of God’s promises.
The two cities are thriving in 2008 with zeal like that of a presidential campaign. Both have a message, a mission, and the means to propagate their contrasting views of reality.
Among the dozens of arguments that could be debated back and forth between these two opposite world views, let us consider just two: one piece of evidence, and one logical argument. The logical argument is this: to argue anything, you need confidence in unseen realities that are true, universal, necessary and certain, such as the laws of logic, the validity of inductive and deductive reasoning, the correspondence theory of truth (that our sense impressions relate to an external reality), the correspondence of human rationality with truth, and the moral superiority of telling the truth instead of lying. None of these things can evolve from an explosion of matter and energy in time. Remember, they told us that this constitutes the “totality of all things that exist.” So unless the evolutionists wish to violate their own principles by claiming that these intangibles are real, true, universal, necessary and certain (i.e., by plagiarizing from the theists), their world view has been falsified at the starting gate.
Before getting into the piece of evidence, allow one aside on a practical note. You see that the evolutionary world view is being promulgated by the government, corporations, and leading scientific and academic institutions. If the previous argument makes sense to you, you may wonder how it is possible that so many smart people could believe a self-refuting proposition. If that is a problem, read this article at AllAboutScience.org. Consider also that the pagan, evolutionary worldview is ancient. Most leading Greek and Roman philosophers were evolutionists – even those who believed in pagan gods, because to them, the gods evolved, too, from a primordial chaos. Having a majority of leading intellectuals promoting the secularist world view, therefore, is as old as Rome or Babel – or the antediluvian world, for that matter. Don’t be surprised. Truth is not a function of majority vote, popularity, or political power.
In our civilization, the Darwinists usurped the scientific institutions in the 19th century (01/14/2004 and 02/25/2007 commentaries) and have systematically marginalized the members of the city of God who had dominated scientific inquiry since Augustine. So the evolutionists who control Big Science today should be considered no different from a situation where Druids, Gnostics or Epicureans were to wrest the institutions of power and portray themselves as the “scientists” or soothsayers of their day, and use public funds to promote their religion as the cultural truth.
Realize that there is no possible way under heaven for mortals to know any of the cosmic evolutionary stories that were presented above in the secular diorama. It amounts to a grand, sweeping creation myth for today’s secular culture. The reigning shamans strive to maintain their power over the propaganda outlets. That is why, as a minority of the population, they work so diligently with lawyers and special-interest groups to guarantee that the “accepted” cultural myth be inculcated, without contradiction, at the secular monasteries (public schools), where students are unwitting novitiates into the cult, and in the courts, academies, media and government institutions. Otherwise the common-sense observation that design demands a Designer would be too obvious.
Some of their methods for achieving and maintaining dominance are: shaming the opposition (see ridicule and intimidation), linking their doctrines with “science” (see association and bandwagon), refusing to seriously consider opposing arguments (see card stacking and sidestepping), and clouding the problems of their story in generalities (see glittering generalities and equivocation). For other techniques see the Baloney Detector.
Now, on to just one piece of evidence among many that could be raised in support of the city of God. Without controversy, scholars know that the book of Isaiah was written long before Christ. Regardless of what one thinks of the Old Testament, one cannot deny the book of Isaiah precedes the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth by at least a century and a half (liberal view) or seven centuries (conservative view), because a complete manuscript was found in its entirety in Cave 1 at Qumran when the pre-Christian Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947; portions of 21 other copies of Isaiah were subsequently found. If you agree with this so far, now read the following excerpt from Isaiah carefully, and ask yourself, about whom is the prophet writing? (Isaiah 52:6-53:12). Read the section now and come back.
This is just one of dozens of Old Testament passages, beginning as far back as Genesis 3, that were fulfilled literally in Jesus Christ. Jesus himself announced his presence as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (cf. Isaiah 61 and Luke 4). More of these Old Testament prophecies are discussed in the recent DVD The Case for Christ. They were powerful enough pieces of evidence, in combination with many other arguments and evidences from creation and history, to convince hardened skeptic Lee Strobel that the Bible’s world view was true. In the film, he challenged viewers to make it a project to look at the evidence fairly, and come to a point of decision.
You may not be ready to hang out with Ken Ham or other creationists, whom the media love to portray as Bible-thumping buffoons (as if media portrayals are any guide to how to think about things). You may have many more questions about science and the Bible. At least start considering what city you will call home. Does anything else matter? (Isaiah 55).