When Belief in Chance Surpasses Reason

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When Belief in Chance Surpasses Reason

The odds of some things happening by chance alone (like the creation of the universe and life) are highly improbable, and yet we know improbable things do happen. So how improbable does an event have to be to rule out chance alone? At what point should our doubts about something happening by chance alone cause us to reject that explanation as unreasonable?Design

If something is highly improbable to happen by chance it may still be reasonable to believe that it will happen by chance, depending on the probabilistic resources. The probabilistic resources are the number of opportunities there are to generate the event. In the game of roulette it is improbable that the ball will land in the red 16 pocket twice in a row. In two spins of the wheel there are 38×38, or 1,444, possible outcomes. Therefore there is one chance in 1,444 of the ball landing on the red 16 twice in a row. So that’s improbable. But if a casino worker has 1,444 opportunities to spin the wheel in a week, he will quite likely witness this improbable event during that time.

But how good are we at estimating the probabilistic resources for unlikely events? People realize that the odds of the universe and life itself coming into existence by chance alone are highly improbably but they may just think that the probabilistic resources are sufficient to make the unlikely event likely.  With enough time anything can happen, we might think.

A Coin Toss

William Dembski uses a coin-tossing scenario to illustrate the human tendency to over-estimate the power of our probabilistic resources. He tells the story of a man who had been arrested and convicted of running a crooked gambling operation. He was brought before the judge for sentencing and the judge decided it was appropriate to offer him a choice. He offered the criminal either ten years in prison or a term in prison that is determined by the outcome of a game of chance. Specifically, the judge tells him that he can leave prison as soon as he flips a coin and it turns up heads 100 times in a row. Or course the coin must be fair.

What should he choose? Ten years in prison or the coin-flipping option?

He might think, “Even if it takes two or three years, I’ll be better off than sitting in prison for a guaranteed ten years.” However, his accountant sitting behind him hands him a calculator and reminds him that the judge is one of the people he fleeced in his crooked casino. But what’s he supposed to do with the calculator? The accountant whispers “Two to the 100th power.” Then it comes back to him. As a casino operator he knows something about calculating probabilities. He punches in 2100 and sees the figure 1.2676506 x 1030.

He suddenly realizes that it’s a life sentence without any realistic possibility of parole. For any given 100-toss series, he would have only 1 chance in 1,267,650,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of getting all heads. The ten year window isn’t enough to give him a realistic chance of flipping 100 heads in a row. Demski says that if a prisoner flipped a coin once every five seconds for eight hours a day, six days a week for ten years, he would only generate 17,797,120 trials.  A hundred years isn’t even enough. A trillion years wouldn’t be enough. He should ignore his initial intuition and take the ten year sentence.

When It Is Reasonable to Think That Something Is Up

Imagine that the criminal decides to go with the coin-flipping option. He begins to flip a quarter in front of a surveillance camera, as required by the court to verify any winning result. After two days, the criminal calls for a prison guard and asks to have the tape reviewed. After viewing the tape of the criminal’s last 100 flips, the guard and the warden verify that, yes indeed, the prisoner flipped 100 heads in a row.

So what would the court conclude about the prisoner’s unexpected success? That the prisoner just got lucky on one of his first attempts? This is, of course, possible, though incredibly improbable. But knowing the odds and the prisoner’s probabilistic resources, the court, and probably you, would reasonably think that something else was up. The court would reasonably suspect that the prisoner cheated. So they investigate before releasing him, and sure enough, they find that the prisoner had snuck a biased coin into his cell.

When something happens that’s highly improbably to happen by chance alone, when there aren’t the probabilistic resources for it, it’s reasonable to suspect that there’s else something up, that more than chance alone was at play. What’s the more reasonable position to take in the case of our “lucky” prisoner? I’m not sure how many of us would feel comfortable stating that we believe it was just incredible luck. A lot of people would think that such a position is rather naive.

And yet when it comes to those who believe that “something was up” when it came to the creation of the universe and life itself – that, given the probabilistic resources for that, chance alone just isn’t a reasonable enough explanation – those who hold that position are somehow made out to be the naive, unreasonable, unscientific-thinking ones. Why is that?

I think that we should follow the evidence wherever it reasonably leads, even if that goes against any presupposition we might have. If the evidence says that something was probably up in the creation of the universe, like there being an intelligent designer directing it all, I think we should be open to that possibility, or at the very least, acknowledge that it’s reasonable for others to do so.

Source: Signature in the Cell by Stephen C. Meyer


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100 Billion Times

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100 Billion Times

I had to share this song as it ties into so much of the evidence for God that I’ve shared here. Knowing God by faith involves both the mind and the heart and this song really grabs both for me. It’s a little long but I think it’s worth the listening/watching to the end. I hope it speaks to you as it does me.

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How Do I See Myself and the People Around Me?

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How Do I See Myself and the People Around Me?

Whether we realize it or not, what we think about the origins of human life can have a dramatic effect on how we view ourselves and others. If I think I’m just an evolved animal, or going further back, just an accidental blob of chemicals that happened to come together in the right way, what reason do I have to think that there’s much value to my life? Or what about the people around me?

On a sinister scale, views of human life as just being an evolutionary accident, no different than an animal or the chemicals that make us all up, have been used to justify atrocities against entire races and groups of people. While I may not identify with that, what about in smaller ways in my daily life?

What about those people I have to wait in line behind at the Kwik Trip as I try to quickly stop for a doughnut on the way to work? If I think of them as just other accidental blobs of chemicals that happen to be in my way, I might degrade them in my mind as I watch them slowly put their wallet back away instead of quickly grabbing their stuff and moving out of my way. What about people that have some skills of abilities that I am in need of? I might think of them just as tools to be used. Or what about people that I find attractive? If I think of them as attractive, accidental arrangements of chemicals, I might think of them simply as objects that are there to be seen.

When I have a low view of human life, it’s easy just to see others as nuisances in my way or as a way to get what I want. But are we just accidental arrangements of chemicals, that beat incredible odds in coming together just right, or are we something more?

Made in His Image

As I’ve written here on this blog many times, I believe that the evidence from the fine tuning of the universe and our amazing planet, along with the start of life from non-life itself, makes a very strong case for a designer of it all. The odds against it just happening by accident are astronomical. I believe that it took a creator, it took God to bring about life and ultimately human life. The Bible says that humanity is special. It says that God made all living things on Earth and then as a culmination, he made human beings.

Genesis 1 says

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:26-27

God created human being as special. He created us in his image. I don’t claim to know exactly what all that means but it means that in some senses we are like him. You and I bear the image of God. Every person we see in our daily lives bears his image. That means that they are special and have great value and worth, just as you do.

I realized that while I believe that, I need to remind myself of it more often., throughout my day. Whether someone irritates me or pleases me, I need to remind myself that there in front of me is a valuable human being who is made in God’s image. They’re not an accident, they have great value and worth.

Not only did God create human beings in his image, he later became one of us in his Son, Jesus Christ, further showing the worth and value he has placed on us. So don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not special and valuable and don’t let yourself think that of anyone else.

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Eclipses – Amazing Coincidence or Evidence of Design?

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Eclipses – Amazing Coincidence or Evidence of Design?

On Monday, August 21st, 2017 the great majority of the United States will get to see a solar eclipse, with a total eclipse path going from Oregon to South Carolina. It will be an amazing and wonderful sight. I’m sure that we’re all going to be seeing lots of diagrams of how eclipses happen, like the one below. But while these are helpful, because they are not done to scale (which would be admittedly difficult) I think we may not always realize how truly amazing it is that eclipses happen.

How Big is the Moon Compared to the Sun?

The Sun is actually 400 times bigger than the sun. The image below shows the actual size comparison between the Sun, Moon and the Earth.

Think about how small the Moon actually is compared to the Sun, and then think about how amazing it is that when they line up, the Moon perfectly covers the Sun. While the Sun is 400 times bigger than the Moon, it happens to be 400 times further away, causing them to look the same size from Earth.



Other than providing an amazing sight, this perfect fit has also allowed us to learn a lot about the Sun that we couldn’t learn otherwise. The eclipse of 1919 even helped to confirm theory of relativity.

So is this perfect fit just an amazing coincidence or is it one of many signs of design? I’ve written here on the blog about many of these evidences. I encourage you to check out some of my other posts on design. The universe, our solar system and our wonderful planet have been fine tuned for life.

Design with a Purpose

I believe that the universe and our planet have been specially designed. It’s too hard to believe that, just by chance, so many factors have been finely tuned so that life is possible. I believe that the evidence shows that the universe has been designed for a purpose. I believe that God has created an amazing universe and an amazing planet for us to live on. I also believe that He designed you with a purpose. The Bible says that God made us so that we could know him. He loves us so much that he gave us life and when we turned our backs on him and sinned against him, he went further and became one of his own creations. God became a human being in Jesus Christ and he died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and rose again so that we could be forgiven and live our lives in personal relationship with him. I’ve found that it’s in living in loving connection with my Maker that I can find fulfillment, hope and  joy in this life that I’ve been given.

The Bible says,

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Psalm 19:1-4


As you view or think back on the amazing sight of this eclipse, may you think about God and his purpose for you. May you find that your life fits perfectly within Him.

If this is your first time here, be sure to check out the various types of evidence for God and Jesus that I’ve written about. See the categories to the right.

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Earth-like Planet Found Orbiting Nearest Star

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Earth-like Planet Found Orbiting Nearest Star

You may have heard a couple of weeks ago about the discovery of the closest Earth-like planet we have found. It’s orbiting the nearest star to us after the Sun, Proxima Centauri. The planet has been dubbed Proxima b. It’s just 4.2 light years away, meaning it takes just over four years for light to travel from there to here. That’s quite a ways away, but in astronomy that’s pretty close, compared to how far away other stars are.


Is it Habitable?

Of course the big question with this planet is, Is it Habitable? It has been said that the planet is in it’s star’s Habitable Zone. This means that the planet is the right distance away from it’s star for water to be able to exist in liquid form. It’s not too close and hot where water would boil and it’s not too far and cold where water would freeze. This is important because liquid water is essential to life as we know it for many reasons.

Proxima b is only 4.3 million miles from it’s star, compared to Earth’s 93 million miles from the sun. But that’s ok because Proxima Centauri is a cooler red dwarf star so it’s habitable zone is closer to it than our Sun’s. So it is in the water habitable zone and that’s good. But of course there are many other factors to whether life could exist there.

The Reaction to the Discovery

This is certainly an exciting finding. What I found almost more interesting, though, was the reaction to it. You probably did hear about it. It was all over the news. There was a lot of excitement and optimism that life might be found there.

One article in particular caught my attention. It was on, a site that I frequent, as, if you don’t know, I’m a Geek. The article described the finding this way, “For now, Proxima b represents one of the most important discoveries we’ve ever made. Finding another Earth-like planet, on top of the hundreds of others we’ve seen over the past few years, could mean that our universe really is teeming with life.”

We wonder, rightly so, if we are alone or if there is more life in the universe. We’ve yet to find any other life but the possibility exists. It just seems to be quite a jump to go to a universe “teeming with life”.

Finding other life would certainly be interesting. I just get a sense with some that they want life to be so common and ordinary, that it just pops up and evolves all over the place, at the drop of a hat. To me this seems to diminish the miracle of life.

Is Life Special?

The article also said, “This is huge. Massive. Proxima Centauri is the closest star to Earth (besides the Sun, obviously), and given that we’ve already found hundreds of exoplanets, this could mean that the universe really is littered with life. After all, just about every star we turn to seems to have a few planets, often with at least one in the habitable zone — a region around a star that could be just the right temperature to allow for liquid water on the surface.”

This really caused a reaction with me. Not only could the universe be “teeming” with life, it could be “littered” with life. I don’t want to make more of this choice of words than was intended, but I can’t imagine using the word “littered” when talking about life. Life is precious and from what we’ve seen and know so far, it is exceedingly rare.

Not only is the water habitable zone important, but, according to astrophysicist Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, there are nine different habitable zones necessary for life and a planet must reside in all nine habitable zones for life to exist. For example there is also the ultraviolet habitable zone. A planet has to receive a little bit of ultraviolet light for life but not too much. And for 97% of the stars in the universe, the water habitable zone and the ultraviolet habitable zone do not overlap, meaning there is no place where both conditions for life can be met at the same time.

According to Hugh Ross, of the 3500 exoplanets we’ve discovered so far, including Proxima b, only one exists in all nine habitable zones, and that’s the one you’re sitting on right now.

To the writer’s credit, he does give a few caveats to his optimism and says that Earth, as far as we know, is still unique and it may be that Earth truly is special.

Earth and Life is Special

Proxima b is a long ways away. Traveling by the space shuttle it would take about 165,000 years to get there. A yet to be develop technology may allow us to send small probes that would take 20 years to get there. So it may be quite a while before we know all there is to know about it, but I feel safe in saying that Earth truly is special and so is the life that exists here.

I’m not saying that life couldn’t exist anywhere else but it certainly doesn’t just pop up accidentally. I believe that the reason you and I are here is because God designed an amazing universe and he put an amazing planet at just the right spot to be in all nine of those nine habitable zones. And then after creating a planet where life could exist, God went farther to bring about the incredible miracle of life. The odds are so against all of that happening by chance that I just can’t believe that.

Your life is special. You are not an accident. There is a meaning and purpose to your life here on Earth. I believe that, first and foremost, God gave you life so that you could know him. He wants to have a personal relationship with you and he sent his Son Jesus to come and die on the cross for your sins and mine so that we could be forgiven of all we’ve done wrong and know him and his love for us. Our sins come between us and God but because of what Jesus did for us and rose again, we can have the relationship with him that we were created to have.

Give this some thought. If you’d like to know more about it, use the contact link here on the page.

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Evidence for a Creator: No DNA, No Cell; No Cell, No DNA

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Evidence for a Creator: No DNA, No Cell; No Cell, No DNA

We have long known that DNA is critical for life. It carries and preserves the genetic information that makes up an organism. It is essential to the growth and reproduction of life forms because DNA has to be carefully copied for cell division to occur. So cells are dependent on DNA, but it turns out DNA is also dependent on cells or it would quickly break down. It has been learned that DNA is inherently unstable. The complicated interdependent relationship of DNA and cells means that neither could have risen independently of the other.


The Cell’s Role in Preserving DNA

Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for their research into DNA. Their findings make it even harder to believe that life came about on it’s own by accident, without any intelligent direction.

Tomas Lindahl demonstrated that DNA decays at such a rate that the development of life on Earth should have been impossible. The Nobel Committee put it this way, “you ought to have been a chemical chaos long before you even developed into a fetus.” So why doesn’t our genetic information break down completely? Only because of the genetic repair systems in the cell. In one mechanism that Lindahl discovered, called base excision repair, an enzyme will detect an error that will break the DNA chain and other enzymes will repair it so that the DNA can replicate properly.

DNAPaul Modrich discovered another molecular mechanism called mismatch repair. As DNA is copied, replication errors happen and Modrich found that enzymes continually detect most of these and other enzymes repair them. The Nobel Committee said this “reduces the error frequency during DNA replication by about a thousandfold.”

The third scientist, Aziz Sancar, found how cells deal with mutations that can damage DNA. Because of radiation, two DNA base pairs might bind to each other incorrectly, but through nucleotide excision repair, enzymes will cut out and replace such damaged DNA strands.

The Implications

As Hugh Henry and Daniel Dyke say, “We have long known that the cell could not reproduce without DNA, but we now know that DNA would self-destruct without the cell. It is this complex symbiotic relationship between a cell and its DNA that makes the modern evolutionary theory more difficult to defend.”

DNA and a cell’s complex ability to monitor and repair it would have had to have come about at the same instant. If random, unguided processes brought them about, they had to bring them both about the same time and had to have anticipated the inherent instability of DNA and built into the cell the variety of enzymes to prevent the self-destruction of DNA.

Personally, it’s too hard for me to believe that these kind of complex things come about on their own, and what’s more, that they come about right at the same time so that such seemingly miraculous advances aren’t immediately lost because they can’t be preserved. Such complex, interdependent systems point to an intelligent creator who knew just what he was building and put it together just as was needed.

Source: Hugh Henry and Daniel Dyke of Reasons to Believe



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Evidence for a Creator: Design Convergences

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Evidence for a Creator: Design Convergences

Evolutionary theory holds that all forms of life on earth today evolved from the first single-celled life form through unguided natural selection. An evolutionary tree has been developed that shows how various species are supposed to have evolved from other species. Species on the same branch of the tree are supposed to have had a common ancestor. So while all species are supposed to  have a common ancestor in the first life form, species on one branch of the tree did not evolve or descend from species on another branch of the tree. Each branch is said to have evolved randomly and independently. So then why is it that unrelated species, that evolved independently, have some of the same features? These common features are known as Design Convergences. Let’s explore the implications of this.



Design Convergences

It can be observed that species unrelated in the evolutionary tree often manifest identical anatomical and physiological features. So if these features were supposed to have come about by random, beneficial, mutations, why do two unrelated species have the same features?

According to the evolutionary tree, bats and flying lemurs didn’t come from the same common ancestor, so why is it that they each have the same limb structure? We’re to believe that the same independent mutations came about randomly, just coincidentally, in different areas of the evolutionary tree?

Naturalists attempt to explain such design convergences as the result of nearly identical environmental, predatory and competitive pressures on unrelated species. So because these unrelated species faced similar challenges to survival, they propose that natural selection shaped these species in identical ways. Now, that might make sense if natural selection was a designing intelligence, but remember it’s mindless and totally unguided.

Here are two problems Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe sees with this. First, given that naturalistic evolution supposedly happened in response to a large number of unpredictable and dissimilar events, design convergence resulting from natural process should be extremely rare, yet design convergence outcomes permeate the fossil record. Second, design convergence appears in species from radically different habitats facing widely diverse survival stresses. Different habitats and survival stresses would imply dissimilar bases for natural selection.


The chameleon (a reptile) and the sandlance (a fish) are another example. Both have eyes that move independently; when one eye is in motion, the other eye can remain motionless. Both use the cornea rather than the lens of the eye to focus on objects. Both have skin coverings for their eyes that make them less conspicuous to prey and predators. Both have the same kind of tongue and the same kind of tongue-launching mechanism for snagging prey. Yet these creatures exist in drastically distinct habitats and remain far apart on any workable evolutionary chart.

Paleontologist Simon Conway Morris has described dozens of such design convergences at the organism level and Biochemist Fazale Rana offers over a hundred examples at the molecular level. So if we are to believe in evolution by unguided natural selection, we must believe that many identical random mutations all came about independently, just by chance.

The Aliens Look Just Like Us

On a larger scale it would be like if life did evolve on Earth and on another planet somewhere in the galaxy, and when those aliens showed up to visit us, we saw that they looked just like us: same body structure, walking upright, two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears, one nose, one mouth. Life evolved randomly, by chance, against the odds, on two different planets with different environments, and both look the same.

This would help with Sci-Fi movie budgets because the aliens would look just like humans – but if life came about somewhere else by chance, we know they wouldn’t be just like us. Likewise, two unrelated species on earth, evolving by chance in different environments, shouldn’t have such similarities, not unless there was a common intelligent designer behind both.

Common Descent or Common Designer?

Random, unguided mutations aren’t going to produce the same result in different cases. But an intelligent creator might well use some of the same designs and features in different cases. As a computer programmer I reuse good code in different programs all the time when I have a similar need.

Some commonalities we see in the life on earth could be evidence of common descent, but they could also be evidence for a common designer. And then there are these design convergences that are quite a problem for the idea of common descent. So as you think about what we see in all the amazing life around us, which explanation do you think makes the most sense?

Source: More Than a Theory by Hugh Ross

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Is the Virgin Birth Believable?

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Christmas, Design, Evidence for the Resurrection | Leave a comment

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Is the Virgin Birth Believable?

Is it possible in today’s age to believe that the virgin birth of Jesus Christ actually happened? Is it scientifically possible? Many have reason to be skeptical of such things, as we just don’t see things like this happening every day. While  I don’t have any evidence to present that specifically supports the virgin birth, because of much of the other evidence  I have been presenting here on the blog, I find the virgin birth very believable.


The Evidence of Creation Makes it Easy for Me to Believe

As I have presented in many posts, I believe that there has to be a satisfying reason why the universe, in it’s amazing complexity, exists. The evidence strongly favors the idea that there was a beginning to the universe, meaning there was a time when there was nothing, and then the universe (time, space and matter) came into existence. This had to have a cause. What’s more, this cause had to be outside of time, space and matter and it had to have the power to bring the universe into existence. It, or he, also had to have the intelligence to design the universe in the way that would make life in it possible. As I have presented before, there is a slim set of possible conditions that all have to be met for life to be possible.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough to show the need for a creator, this creator also had to be able to bring life into existence from non-life. Everything we know from science tells us that life does not just spontaneously generate from non-life. What’s more, reason tells us that the amount of information in DNA, the instructions for the building of all living things, could not have come about from a non-intelligent source. The evidence is clear to me that there was a designer and creator of life.



The Evidence of the Resurrection Makes it Easy for Me to Believe

As I have also presented in many posts, the evidence is strong that Jesus Christ actually died by crucifixion, was buried, and rose again from the dead. This idea isn’t just wishful thinking, a nice myth that makes us feel better and more hopeful. When you examine the historical evidence with an open mind, it presents a very strong case. To me it’s a convincing case. The alternative theories fail to account for the five minimal facts of the resurrection. If the evidence was just that the tomb was empty, for example, the theory that his body was stolen might be satisfying. But that’s not the sole piece of evidence. You also have to explain why the disciples clearly believed that they had witnessed the risen Jesus, and gave their lives defending that belief. You also have to explain why an enemy and a skeptic also came to believe in the risen Jesus, and give their lives for their new found belief.

Dead men don’t often come back to life, but a God who can bring life out of non-life can certainly handle bringing a human body back to life.

The God of Miraculous Life

If God can bring life into existence from nothing and bring a dead human body back to life, then why should we find it difficult to believe that he could bring about a virgin birth? Just as God brought hope to the world through the miraculous child who has been born for us, he can bring new life to you when life seems hopeless. He came for you. God loves you so much that, even though we have all turned out backs on him and thought we could do life just fine without him, he sent his only Son to come for us. Jesus is God and he was born miraculously all so that he could give his life for you and I. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so that we can be forgiven and enjoy life as God intended it, in relationship with him. And then after he died for us, he rose again from the dead and forever lives as the bridge between God and man.

That’s what we celebrate at Christmas. It’s my prayer for you that, if you haven’t yet, you will receive God’s Christmas gift to you, the gift of new life in Christ. Tell him that you believe and that you want to be forgiven and know him, both now and for eternity.  Merry Christmas to All!

tree cross tomb med

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Tacos, Timelines, Significance and Hope

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Design, Hope, Misconceptions, Why Jesus Came | Leave a comment

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Do you ever feel small and insignificant? I want to tell you that you’re not. I hope you’ll take a few minutes and read this.

BOGO Bonus

I went to Chipotle with my wife the other day for BOGO tacos. The tacos were great as I expected but I also got something I didn’t expect, something I want to share. Little did I know that BOGO would really stand for, Buy One taco and Get One blog post. You see Chipotle puts some writer’s thoughts on their drink cups, along with some artwork, something to think about while you eat your lunch. It’s their Cultivating Thought Author Series. The title “Two-Minute Entreaty” on my cup caught my eye. It was written by Anthony Doerr.

Anthony uses an illustration. He says, “Tattoo Earth’s 4.5-billion-year timeline onto your arm, shoulder to fingertip.” On this view of the Earth’s timeline your upper arm will only have meteorites, magma and acid rain. Life won’t begin until your bicep and it’s all single celled life until your wrist. He says that creatures that are finally big enough to see will crisscross the back of your hand and dinosaurs are around the joints at the end of your fingers. Human life fits on the sliver of fingernail at the end of your longest finger. He says…

“We are each no more than a spark, a mote illuminated for a split-second as it passes through a beam of light.

And you? Your grandma’s toffee bars, your CD collection, your treehouse, your best-ever Halloween costume, every regret you’ll ever have, every dream you’ll ever dream, every mouth you’ll ever kiss (or wish you had)—they’ll all ride the microscopic edge of your fingernail, a tattoo so thin you’d need an electron microscope to glimpse it.”

Further, he rather casually says,

“File your nail and you’ll wipe out your entire family tree, and Shakespeare and ancient Greece with it.”

He acknowledges that the picture he’s painting with his illustration might make us feel rather small and hopeless but he does have an encouraging message for us that he ends with…

“I say, Be big. Big-hearted, big-witted, big-eyed. See, try, love, read, make, paint, and taste everything you can while you can.
You still have some hours left. Go.”

I don’t know about you, but his encouragement didn’t do much to give me hope after the bleak, hopeless and purposeless picture he had just painted. You’ve still got some hours left. Go do some stuff while you still can, before your life falls away like nail filings. As insignificantly it started, your life will end. End of story.

What leads me to share?

I mean no disrespect to Anthony Doerr. He’s entitled to his view of the world and a lot of people agree with him. But after reading his entreaty I wanted to share one of my own because I believe that there is much more hope and purpose and significance for us in this life than what his view allows.

Now some of you might think that a big issue for me with his view is about the age of the Earth. The view that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and humanity has only been around for the last little bit might make us feel small but I don’t think that’s the issue. That doesn’t matter that much to me. I don’t think the significance of our lives is dependent on whether the tattoo of Earth’s timeline goes back to the top of your hand or the top of your shoulder.

To see your significance you instead need to turn your hand over and look at your palm. Look at it right now and imagine that you’re looking at the palm of Jesus. What do you see there? I see the hole that was put there as he was nailed to the cross.

You and I can know that we are significant and so very valuable in the grand scheme of things because the one who made the earth, and us, was willing to come and even give his life for us so that we could know him. He loves us so much that he died for our sins so that we can be forgiven and have a personal relationship with the one who made us in his image.

My Entreaty

So here’s my entreaty. Don’t look at your finger nails, instead look at the nail holes in Jesus’ hands. That’s what shows you your significance and getting to know him gives us purpose and hope in life. And as we get to know him and his great love and hope, he wants to use us to share those with others.

I believe that you have a lot more than just some hours left and it’s my hope that you will find and live the life that God has given you in the love and hope of Christ.


If you haven’t read my blog before and you should think that I hold this view of the world that I do just because it makes me feel better than Mr Doerr’s view, I encourage you to read some more while you’re here because I have been presenting the reasons for the hope that I have in Christ. I believe that the evidence is convincing that God made the universe and life and that Jesus really came and died and rose again as the Bible says. I encourage you to explore the evidence and see what you think.

You can read Anthony Doerr’s full entreaty here.

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The Earth is More Unique Than We May Want to Think

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The Earth is More Unique Than We May Want to Think

In previous posts I’ve laid out the evidence for the uniqueness of Earth and how unlikely it is that life exists here on our planet and even in our universe. While the Sci-Fi geek in me finds the idea of life on other planets a very interesting idea, the odds are just heavily against it.


In a very popular article on the Wall Street Journal, Eric Metaxas recently wrote about how “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God”.  The tag line is “The odds of life existing on another planet grow ever longer. Intelligent Design, anyone?”

He shares how Carl Sagan said in 1966 that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life, the right kind of star and a planet the right distance from the star. So given the incredibly large number of planets in the universe, the odds seemed good to find many planets capable of supporting life.   With the odds being seen as that good, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) was started in the 1960s with a great deal of optimism.  The earth must be pretty run of the mill, like in Star Trek or Star Wars. They thought they were sure to find evidence of other intelligent life soon by listening for intelligent signals from space.

So how has the search gone? As Metaxas says, “the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening.”  Congress defunded SETI in 1993, though it has gone on with private funds. Yet, to date, nothing has been found.  Why not?

We’ve Learned a lot More About the Universe

Since the ’60s we’ve learned a lot more about the universe and how it works.  It has become clear that there are a lot more factors that go into making a planet capable of supporting life.  The number of necessary factors grew from 2 to 10, to 50.  And as the number of factors grew, the number of likely planets having all of those factors shrank.  Today we know of more than 200 factors necessary for life.

Even proponents of SETI have acknowledged this.  In 2006 Peter Schenkel wrote in a piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine that, “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest… We should quietly admit that the early estimates… may no longer be tenable.”

When you look at the odds, science seems to point to the fact the life here on earth isn’t just some random accident. Common sense tells me that the earth and the life that lives on it is miraculous.  It is the creative work of an amazingly intelligent God.

What’s the Response to this Scientific Evidence?

So what is the response to this scientific evidence that points to the earth being very unique?  What is the response to it seeming to show that it is very unlikely that our lives here are the result of random chance?

One of the responses to the Metaxas article was someone writing that we invented math, anyway, so we don’t really need to listen to the implications of the odds.  That’s not a very scientific or reasonable response, if you ask me.

NASA seems to want to continue to promote the early SETI optimism.  They recently produced three Exoplanet Travel Bureau posters.

As a article puts it, “Each poster has a cool fictionalized rendering of people visiting the planet and a slogan to draw you in and make you wish you could start planning a trip.”   The last one says, “Relax on Kepler-16b”.  Like Tatooine in Star Wars, this planet has two suns.  The poster says, “The land of two suns, where your shadow always has company.”  Sounds like a nice place to visit, right?But just how relaxing would it be on this planet?

As puts it, “NASA is taking some liberties with this one.”  Actually, I think they’re taking some liberties with all of them. In the small print on the bottom of the poster NASA does provide the real facts.  It says, “Depicted here as a terrestrial planet, Kepler-16b might also be a gas giant like Saturn. Prospects for life on this unusual world aren’t good, as it has a temperature similar to that of dry ice.”  That’s 100 to 150 degrees below zero!  Though that does help me to have a better attitude about our Wisconsin winters, that doesn’t sound very relaxing to me.

What’s Your Response?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t keep trying to learn more about our universe and the planets out there, but I don’t think we should have high hopes of finding other habitable planets. What we have learned makes me very appreciative of the incredibly unique world that I believe God created for us to live on, and, of course, appreciative for our very lives.

What do you think?

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Psalm 19:1

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