Translations

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022, Granny & Papaw Ferrell's Marriage License - 1908, Mom's Birthday - 1932 (published 11-30-2022; article #374)

Introduction

Greetings, to my national and international readers! I trust that you are each doing well.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman is about to get over the “CHV” (Children's Home Virus) that she contracted, on 11/16/2022. She still has a little cough. My wife laid up sickly until 11/22/2022, when she went back to work. The Children's Home does not need to send sick children to school! I had only mild symptoms of the “CHV,” which my wife tried not to give me. To those who are still obsessed with “Corona Myopia Psychosis,” no, my wife did not contract the China virus again! She did not take a made in China test, to see if she had contracted the China virus again! (See my first 5/1/2022 article, under section “3/28, Monday: China Test Kits for China Virus.”)

This article is about family heritage, on November 24th, for three select years. I'll highlight Thanksgiving 2022, Granny and Papaw Ferrell's marriage license in 1908, and Mom's birthday in 1932.

First, however, I have to share my power outage restoration “murakle” of Sunday morning! It's funny!

My Gift of Restoring a Power Outage

To my readers in northeast Tennessee, did you survive the heavy rain overnight Saturday into Sunday? On Sunday, our power went off at 4:58 AM. I called the power company, at 7:23 AM, to check the status of the outage. I could only speak with a robot (which is the “new normal” of “outstanding” customer service). While I was on the phone, answering “yes” or “no” to the robot's questions, the power came back on, at exactly 7:25 AM!

It was a “KUB reboot murakle!” (A “miracle” is God's action that sets aside natural law, such as raising the dead. A “murakle” is my way to describe a serendipitous coincidence!)

So, when any reader in the KUB electric area has power go off, just call me! I'll call the KUB robot for you. Your power will be back on, while I'm on the phone with the robot! I “promise,” believe me or not!

Now, let's get back to family heritage, on November 24th, for three select years.

Thanksgiving, Thursday, 11/24/2022

For recent Thanksgivings, either my youngest brother and his family came down here, or we drove up there. At times, other family had joined us. On this Thanksgiving, my youngest brother and family visited his brother-in-law, who recently took a wife. They spent time with them. My brother and family didn't have time to stop by here, on their way to or from west Knoxvegas. I think that I heard him honk his horn, on I-640.

Mrs. Appalachian Irishman and I had a good Thanksgiving gathering with her folks – her father, her two sisters, our niece, and her good first cousin. After the fixins were ready, I led a prayer to the Good Lord, and we sat down to eat. “Favorite” sister-in-law was sickly and stayed in bed. (She'd done a “no good deed goes unpunished” a few days before and was “rewarded” by coming down with a case of the snots.) We all talked and joked on several topics. Pepper, our niece's ol' puppy, enjoyed the droppings that I gave her.

My youngest sister-in-law (who is also my “favorite”) had traded cars. She needed to swap out the temporary license plate for the permanent plate. It's a nice looking, silver 2019 Kia Niro (not Nero) hybrid SUV. After the Thanksgiving meal, youngest sister-in-law, our niece, and I went outside, to change the tag. It should have been a one-man job that takes about three minutes.

Wrong! The rear bumper, at the plate attachment, must have been designed by an outer space alien! What should be a simple design requires an advanced degree in engineering to figure out!

Over the course of about twenty minutes or so, my father-in-law, my wife's cousin, and my wife came outside, to check on the progress that the three of us were making and to offer “insightful tips and suggestions.” At one point, all six of us were at the rear end of the car! Yes, it takes six people to change one license plate on one Kia.

To make a long story a little shorter, eventually, we got the permanent plate on the car. The right side screw holds tightly enough (if it doesn't wiggle loose), but the left side holds firmly. Just don't hit too many potholes on the interstate, sister-in-law! I'd take that Kia back to the dealer and have them fix the right side “intricate fastening device!” The left side device is holding.

Tuesday, 11/24/1908

Let's go back “through the mists of time,” 114 years ago, to Tuesday, November 24th, 1908. Thanksgiving was two days later, on the 26th, that year. (Kia vehicles didn't exist then.)

As the image (below) shows, on 11/24/1908, Papaw Marion Ferrell (4/13/1880 - 11/21/1970), at age 28, obtained the marriage license. Eli Jones, the minister, performed the wedding ceremony the next day, on 11/25/1908.

My paternal grandmother, Molly Gertrude Archer Ferrell (11/30/1892 - 6/11/1971) was five days away from turning age 16, when she married Papaw. My 6/13/2021 article includes the image (below), explains the Ferrell, Lype, Archer, and Carter family connections, and shares three memories of Granny Ferrell.

Source: "Tennessee Marriages, 1796-1950," database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X8Y4-BLV): 27 January 2020), Marion Ferrell, 1908.

Granny and Papaw Ferrell were blessed with eight children. Listed in birth order, their children were: Carrie E. Ferrell Davis (12/5/1909 - 1/28/2000), Lula Mae Ferrell Absher (1/14/1912 - 10/9/1995), James William “Bill” Ferrell (8/20/1914 - 6/21/1999), Roy Palmer Ferrell (6/9/1917 - 9/13/1991), George Charles Ferrell (1/14/1920 - 12/1/1995), Paul Edward Ferrell (3/16/1922 - 12/4/1983), Robert Carson Ferrell (4/30/1925 - 12/1/1999), and my Dad, Earl H. Ferrell (9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008).

I have records on the parents and siblings of both Granny and Papaw Ferrell. I may write an article or two, eventually, on the Ferrell and Archer ancestral lines. Papaw Ferrell's line is more detailed.

Thanksgiving was the day after Granny and Papaw Ferrell were married. Oral tradition has not passed down how Granny and Papaw spent their first Thanksgiving together. I can only imagine the joys that they must have shared.

Thanksgiving, Thursday, 11/24/1932

Going back 90 years ago, my Mom, Betty Lou Wood Ferrell (11/24/1932 - 12/27/2000) was born on Thanksgiving day, in 1932. Her parents were Aby William Wood (9/4/1901 - 3/14/1983) and Lula Frank Amos Wood (6/16/1901 - 8/12/1991). Her younger brother, Robert Allen Wood (5/14/1939 - 1/18/1941), lived to be only a year and eight months old.

Searching this website by “Mom,” “Granny and Papaw Wood,” and “Uncle Bobby” finds several articles that I have published over the years, to honor them. I look forward to meeting Uncle Bobby.

I scanned the photograph (above) on 1/3/2021. The original photograph is still in one of Mom's photograph albums, which I have. The photograph is not dated, but it had to have been taken around the time that Mom graduated high school.

Mom was born in Indiana, but she grew up in Morristown, Tennessee. As a boy, I remember humoring Mom by calling her a Yankee. Her usual reply was that she'd become a “southern transplant.”

Mom and Dad (Earl Ferrell, 9/17/1927 - 1/25/2008) were wed, on 9/3/1959. They were blessed with four sons. (Well, as boys, we aggravated Mom and Dad enough.) I am the oldest of us four brothers. Searching my website by “Mom and Dad,” “Mom,” and “Dad” will open articles that I've written over the years.

Growing up, with Mom's birthday falling on or near Thanksgiving, Dad sometimes happened to not remember Mom's birthday on time. I must admit, as a boy, that I had the same failure a few times. Mom, in her grace, never did let on that we'd forgotten her birthday. Granny and Papaw Wood usually drove up from Bean Station, Tennessee, for Thanksgiving with us. (Sometimes, we'd drive down there.) Granny and Papaw Wood always remembered Mom's birthday! Dad would say, “We let your mother's birthday slip this year, boys!” Dad would find Mom a birthday present (often a box of chocolate covered cherries, which she loved). Mom would always have a birthday celebration, even if it might have been a few days late! Mom's graciousness always forgave us. Thanks, Mom!

Conclusion

I am publishing this article on Granny Ferrell's birthday, in 1892. It is fitting. This is another article on family heritage. Before this article, 111 previous articles have been on or have included the topic of family. Eighty-six articles have been on or have included heritage.

Earlier today, I looked through Granny and Papaw Wood's Bibles, which are kept safely in our home. Granny Wood had written ancestral records for Papaw and her, in Papaw's Bible. I know oral family tradition. The records in Papaw's Bible may inspire future articles, about Granny and Papaw Wood and their ancestors. I pondered a while, about what life was like for all my ancestors.

My eyes of faith see several generations of ancestors gathering together in heaven, where the circle is unbroken. Those of us here, who are ready, will join them, in the blink of an eye, when it's our turn to go Home. Our ancestors will not even know that time passed, awaiting us, once we join them.

I hope that future generations of Ferrells will keep the family heritage going – in the right way. That's how I was raised. I honor the biblically-based heritage of the Ferrell and Wood families. Happy birthday, in heaven, Granny Ferrell!


Saturday, November 26, 2022

CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES (APOLOGETICS): Does God Exist - Cosmological Argument (published 11-26-2022; article #373; series article #4)

4/7/2017 Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.

Introduction

Greetings, once again, dear reader! We are settling comfortably into this series. This is my fourth article on Christian Evidences (in Topic Sections). My first article, on 10/28/2022, introduced the topic and listed the four questions that this series will answer.

The first question is Does God exist?” My second article, on 11/4/2022, proved that God exists, by the moral argument. My third article, on 11/16/2022, proved the existence of God, by the teleological argument.

This article is the third and final answer to the question: Does God exist? I will affirm the cosmological argument for the existence of God. Each of the three answers proves – independently – that God exists. One proof is sufficient. We have three proofs.

Are you ready to build “the third and final pole” that supports the “bright street light?” Let's get the construction project started!

The Cosmological Argument

I have joked for decades that ladies use cosmetics to turn chaos into cosmos! My apologies to the ladies, who are reading. I will explain!

The Greek word κόσμος (kosmos) is the root to “cosmetics” and “cosmology.” “Cosmos” is the transliteration. The word refers to that which is ordered, such as an ordered system (e.g., the universe, the world, etc.). A lady “orders” her face by applying cosmetics. That's how “cosmetics turn chaos into cosmos.” Don't worry ladies. Men's faces usually stay in a state of chaos!

The cosmological argument may appear to be like the teleological argument, which my third article has already proved. Cosmology, however, refers to the study of the origin and structure of the universe. I use “cosmological” in the sense of that study. The cosmological argument is also called “the argument from origin” or “the argument from cause and effect.”

As my first article states:

The cosmological argument: If the universe is not eternal, then an Eternal First Cause has always existed. The universe is not eternal. Therefore, an Eternal First Cause, God, has always exited. A simpler form is: If something exists, then something or Someone has always existed. Something (i.e., the cosmos and all that is in it, including the earth, you, and me) exists. Therefore, something or Someone, God, has always existed.

Definitions for the argument are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary which I call, with respect, “Mr. Webster.” I will clarify my use of “eternal” and “eternity.”

Eternal (adjective): “of or relating to eternity.” Eternity (noun): “the quality or state of being eternal.”

** Notice that Mr. Webster has “defined himself in a circle!” He states that eternal is eternity and that eternity is being eternal. My use of “eternal” and “eternity,” in this argument, means “that which has always existed, had no beginning, and will have no end.” The importance of the clarification will present itself, as the argument unfolds. **

First (adjective): “preceding all others in time, order, or importance.”

** Note that my use of “first,” specifically, means “preceding (being before) all else in time, which also includes order or importance.” **

Cause (noun): “something that brings about an effect or a result.”

Matter (noun): “material substance that occupies space, has mass, and is composed predominantly of atoms consisting of protons, neutrons, and electrons, that constitutes the observable universe, and that is interconvertible with energy.”

Major premise: if the universe is not eternal, then an Eternal First Cause has always existed.

The Latin phrase “ex nihilo, nihil fit” means “from nothing, nothing comes.” “Nothing” means, obviously, that which does not exist – a vacuum, a void, a null, zero, emptiness, complete nonexistence. If ever there were nothing at all, then nothing would exist now. We understand this innately. It is a self-evident truth. Nothing (that which does not exist) cannot create something. To say that nothing can create something is a logical contradiction. A thought or an idea forms in the mind and soul. It doesn't “just pop into my head,” from nothing.

I have often asked atheists to believe me when I state, “I was walking down the street and, all of a sudden, I saw a brand new car appear – from thin air, out of nothing!” They don't believe me, of course, but they usually understand where I am going, in my effort to enlighten them!

Obviously, something exists now (e.g., the universe, the earth, the keyboard on which I am typing, you, me, and so forth). Logically, therefore, something or Someone (the Eternal First Cause) has always existed. What or Who is the eternality (that has always existed) that caused (as first cause) that which exists?

The major premise is valid. I must prove, next, that the universe is not eternal.

Minor premise: the universe is not eternal.

The atheist must know and prove that matter (i.e., the tangible, the universe and everything that is in it), not mind (i.e., the intangible), is eternal. Matter must have always existed – if God, the Eternal Mind, has not always existed.

Has matter, the tangible universe (in some shape or form), always existed? No, it has not, as I will prove, by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Matter is finite, not infinite.

After I have established that the universe it not eternal, I will take time to refute two standard replies by atheists. I will also comment, briefly, on macro-evolution.

Second Law of ThermodynamicsProof that Matter is not Eternal

This section includes certain scientific details. The reference sources contain further details that I do not include in this article. Please do not allow the details to overwhelm or distract your focus! The basic point is simple, as I will explain.

First, we must understand and distinguish an “open system,” a “closed system,” and an “isolated system.” In an open system, energy and matter can enter and leave (e.g., an open frying pan, containing meat, vegetables, and water, on a heated stove eye). In a closed system, matter cannot enter or leave, but energy can enter or leave (e.g., a pot, with a lid on it, containing vegetables and water, on a heated stove eye). In an isolated system, neither matter nor energy can enter or leave. A thermos or cooler is an approximate example; however, isolated systems exist only in theory. (Of several sources, see LibreTexts, “Basic Definitions,” by Emily V. Eames, updated 8/13/2020.)

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is one of the four Laws of Thermodynamics. Thermodynamics is the branch of physics that studies energy transfer, as heat and work, in matter. (Source: Britannica, “thermodynamics” and “laws of thermodynamics.”)

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe contains a finite amount of usable energy that degrades (decays, deteriorates, becomes disordered) over time. This degradation is called entropy. Entropy, thus, is the degradation, running down, unwinding, and trend to disorder of a system, such as the universe. (Sources: the two Britannica references, cited above. Also, among several other sources, see Khan Academy, “The laws of thermodynamics” – which is based on “The laws of thermodynamics,” by OpenStax, part of Rice University.)

We understand entropy. Physically, we are born. We grow. If we live long enough, we begin to age and to “run down.” Eventually, we die physically. As another example, I have a 2006 Nissan Frontier truck. If I don't maintain and care for my truck, then he will “run down” faster. Now, I love my ol' truck! My truck, however, is slowly winding down. I am too. So are you. As a final example, every morning, I must bathe myself to order the disorder from a night's sleep. Eventually, I will “run down” to the point that I won't be able to do so. Someone else may have to bathe me. In time, I will die physically and won't need to be bathed. We can restore order, temporarily, in the relentless trend to disorder (entropy). Entropy, however, wins in the end. The fact is established by science and understood in life practically.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics – an established law of science that we understand practically – confirms that matter, the tangible universe, is “winding down.” It is finite. Matter will “wind down” completely at, what is called scientifically, maximum entropy, thermal equilibrium, or “heat death.” Since matter is finite, then it had to have been started (as in winding a watch) – by an infinite something or Someone.

The basic point is simple. Matter, the tangible universe is not eternal. It is finite. It is winding down. It had a beginning. The minor premise is valid.

Refutation of Two Standard Atheist Replies

The atheist -- in his blind, atheistic faith – may fight against the scientifically established fact that the universe is not eternal. The following are not two “straw men” that I have built (which is a fallacy in logic). They are known counter statements by atheists, which I have heard personally. I will refute two standard atheist replies to the scientific fact that the universe is not eternal. I do so, to assist my readers, who may encounter these two quibbles.

But, wait!” – the atheist may state first“what about the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that matter cannot be created or destroyed? Matter must be eternal, if it can't be created or destroyed.”

Yes, as the citations above confirm, the First Law of Thermodynamics states thatin a closed systemmatter (i.e., tangible mass and energy) cannot be created or destroyed.

Matter, however, is not eternal. It is finite, as the Second Law of Thermodynamics establishes. Further, “matter” (nothingness) could not create (spontaneously generate) matter (tangible mass and energy). That would violate the First Law of Thermodynamics, in a closed system, and the self-evident truth that “from nothing, nothing comes.”

The universe (i.e., all the tangible mass and energy that exists physically), therefore, has to be an open systemwhereby a non-physical and eternal force (not mass, matter, or energy) – that exists before and above the universe – created the physical universe. (For further study, see Apologetics Press, “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” by Jeff Miller, PhD, published 4/1/2007.) The atheist's first “but wait!” does him no good.

But wait!” – the atheist may continue – “the Big Bang proves that the universe and all life in it evolved. Thus, there is no God.”

The fact that the universe is not eternal, could not have created itself, and had to have been created by an eternal, non-physical, first cause has already been established. The atheist must admit this truth. The Big Bang theory does not help him. I, however, will summarize the Big Bang theory (or theories), with references, if any reader would like to study the topic further independently.

Do not allow conversations with atheists or independent study of the Big Bang theory (or theories) to intimidate you! The theory is a big bust (or failure). See the Institute for Creation Research article of 1994, “The Big Bust,” by Henry M. Morris, PhD, 5/1/1994. The article is timeless truth, despite having been written almost three decades ago.

What is the Big Bang theory (or theories)? The Big Bang is an astronomical theory that was postulated about a hundred years ago, has undergone several revisions, continues to be revised, and has several versions. (Various versions of the Big Bang theory continue to evolve.) A predominate version of the theory speculates that the universe started violently, about 13.8 billion years ago, by the explosion of a very small, very hot, and very dense singularity. The theory states that, over billions of years, the initial “bang” expanded, changed, and evolved, to form the universe, the Milky Way galaxy, our solar system, the earth, you, and me. The theory is used to support the theory of macro-evolution (or the molecules to man theory).

My grade school and high school science teachers had to teach me this version of the Big Bang theory – even if they didn't believe it. Of the many sources that explain the theory and revisions, the ThoughtCo article – “Understanding the Big-Bang Theory: The theory behind the origin of the universe,” by Andrew Zimmerman Jones (MS Mathematics Education, BA Physics), updated 6/11/2019 – is good enough. The article points out the history of the Big Bang theory, revisions to the theory, alleged evidence for it, problems with it, and questions that the theory cannot answer.

By the way, the predominate version of the Big Bang theory alleges that the universe is 13.8 billions years old. The alleged age of the universe had been calculated more widely. For example, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) article – “Then vs. Now: The Age of the Universe,” published in May 2006 – states: “Before 1999, astronomers had estimated that the age of the universe was between 7 and 20 billion years.” The article – which assumes that the Big Bang is true, with no solid evidence – explains how the various alleged ages of the universe have been redetermined during this century.

It is significant to note that the predominate Big Bang theory begins with the assumption that an undefined “singularity” already existed. The theory is that an unknown “singularity” exploded, which started time and space. (The “clock wound up and started ticking.”)

Big Bang theorists speculate that they can calculate the evolution of the universe, starting at 10-43 seconds after the Big Bang. Of various sources, I will cite two. See EarthHow, “The History of the Universe: The Big Bang and Beyond," author not listed, updated 5/12/2022. See also National Geographic, “The most popular theory of our universe's origin centers on a cosmic cataclysm unmatched in all of history – the big bang.” By Michael Greshko and National Geographic Staff, 1/18/2017.

In summary on this point, the predominate version of the Big Bang theorizes that, billions of years ago, a random quantum fluctuation occurred in a spaceless, timeless “singularity.” That fluctuation (or bang), over billions of years, formed the known universe.

The unknown “singularity” was, according to the predominate Big Bang theory, smaller than the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The theory does not and cannot explain the origin of the “singularity” (i.e., the very small, very hot, and very dense substance that existed before the Big Bang). The entirety of the immense universe started by the explosion of a dot? That's their theory, in a nutshell, and they don't know how the dot got there. (A nutshell is much larger than a dot.)

The atheist, therefore, must know, and cannot know, the origin of the theoretical “singularity,” which could not have been eternal, even if it had existed. The atheist's second “but wait!” falls by the wayside in defeat.

By the way, other versions of the Big Bang theory exist. These include (with my comments italicized):

The multiverse: one “singularity” exploded or “banged” and has formed and is forming an ongoing multitude of other universes besides ours. What or Who started the first “bang?”

The oscillating universe: there is an endless series of “big bangs” and “big crunches.” Again, what or Who started the first “bang?” An “endless series” is a logical contradiction. The line had to start somewhere.

The “flat hologram” universe: the universe is only a projection on the surface of a vast sphere. Really? Is this a joke? What or Who created the vast sphere?

The digital simulation universe: the universe is only code inside an immense computer. I did not and cannot make up this one! It's imagination gone wild. What or Who created the hypothetical immense computer?

One source is, for the four versions that I have listed, is on Space.com, “Alternatives to the Big Bang Theory,” by Karl Tate, contributions from Daisy Dobrijevic, published 3/8/2022.

I suggest – for further study on the Big Bang theory or theories – Answers in Genesis, under Topics, and select Big Bang topic page. The page explains five problems with the Big Bang theory. Several other articles that debunk the Big Bang theory are listed in that topic page. Again, the atheist's second “but wait!” falls by the wayside in defeat.

A Brief Comment on Macro-Evolution

Macro-evolution is the Darwinian “molecules to man” theory that speculates -- with no proof – that life evolved from non-life (“the rocks to molecules” theory). Darwinian theory speculates that life, which evolved from non-life, continued to evolve, eventually evolving into human life. The theory was introduced just over 160 years and continues to be revised. (Darwinian evolutionary theory continues to evolve.)

Darwinian scientists express their theory in intricate, scientific jargon, which intimidates some to believe the theory. Do not allow their jargon to intimidate you! They have no proof to support their theory. Their jargon reasons in a circle – by using assumptions, based on their conclusion, that, in their minds only, “prove” their conclusion. Such circular reasoning is a logical fallacy.

The theory violates the law of biogenesis, which has established that new life always comes from existing life, not from non-living matter. Of course, anyone with common sense knows this.

I suggest – for comprehensive and further study on Big Bang theories, macro-evolution (Darwinism), and proof that God exists – Proof Evolution is False,” by Shawn Nelson (Doctor of Ministry in Apologetics), February 2014. (The article can be downloaded.) It is a 31-page scholarly paper, which encapsulates the flaws in Darwinian evolution. Note that Dr. Shawn Nelson's ongoing website is Geeky Christian. His academic work is on Nelson.Ink, from which his February 2014 article is cited. I may not agree with all of his articles. I accept and agree with his paper that I have cited.

Darwinian evolution relies on the refuted Big Bang theory and does not help the atheist. I hope that my sidetracks that refuted two standard atheist replies and that commented briefly on macro-evolution did not distract your attention to the main purpose of this article.

Conclusion: therefore, an Eternal First Cause, God, has always exited.

Let's return now to the main purpose of this article. Since the universe is not eternal (is finite), then an Eternal First Cause has always existed. I have proved it.

The Eternal First Cause is called God – the Eternal Mind, Power, and Intellect, Who has always existed, above and before matter, space, and time. The argument is sound and must be true. It cannot be wrong.

The Atheist's Further Quibbles

The atheist, in labored effort to support his position, may offer a few more quibbles. I will note and rebut two, in a brief manner.

First, the atheist may ask, “What if an infinite line of 'First Causes' caused the universe?” The reply, obviously, is that an infinite line is a logical contradiction. Every line must start somewhere! What eternality, or Eternal Being, started the line? God is the Necessary (or First) Cause.

Second, the atheist may ask and state, “What if the “First Cause” died? Your argument does not prove that God is still alive.” The reply, again, is obvious. If ever nothing or no one existed, then nothing would exist now. An eternality, or Eternal Being, has always existed and, therefore, cannot die. This is why my specific definition of “eternal” and “eternity,” in this argument, means “that which has always existed, had no beginning, and will have no end.”

Conclusion

This article has explained that the universe could exist by only three possible means. The first is spontaneous generation (creating itself from nothing). That has been verified as false. The second is an eternal universe. That has been disproved. The third and final is that God created the universe. That is proved.

Atheists rely on one thin “match stick” (the Big Bang theory) to prop up their “short, little stool.” This article has broken that “match stick.” Their “stool” has fallen.

This article is the third and final “strong pole” that supports the “bright street light.” I pray that these three articles are used, to God's glory, as the first step to bring many non-believers to saving faith in Christ.

The first sentence in the Bible is a fitting conclusion:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1, NIV)


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

CHRISTIAN EVIDENCES (APOLOGETICS): Does God Exist - Teleological Argument (published 11-16-2022; article #372; series article #3)

4/7/2017 Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash. Free to use under the Unsplash License.

 Introduction

Greetings, dear reader! I trust that you are well. This is my third article on Christian Evidences (in Topic Sections). My first article, on 10/28/2022, introduced the topic series and explained my purpose for writing it. My second article, on 11/4/2022, proved the existence of God, by the moral argument.

This article is the second answer – of three answers – to the question: Does God exist? I will affirm the teleological argument for the existence of God. Each answer proves – independently – that God exists. One proof is sufficient. We have three proofs.

Are you ready to build “the second pole” that supports the “bright street light?” I thought so!

The Teleological Argument

“Teleological,” a Greek transliteration, is the academic word. The argument is also called “the argument from design” or “the design argument.” The line of reasoning is deductive. As I will show, the argument is both valid and sound; therefore, it is true.

As my first article states:

The teleological argument: If the creation (i.e., the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design, then an Intelligent Designer exists. The creation indicates intelligent design. Therefore, an Intelligent Designer, God, exists.

Definitions for the argument are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary – with one exception, which I will explain.

Creation: “the act of bringing the world into ordered existence.”

Intelligent design: “the theory that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by a designing intelligence.”

Design: “a mental project or scheme in which means to an end are laid down.”

Designer: “one who creates and often executes plans for a project or structure.”

The exception is that I will establish that “intelligent design” is fact, not theory. This article will prove that the Creator created and designed His creation. Future articles will establish that the Creator created according to His eternal purpose and plan.

Major premise: if the creation (i.e., the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design, then an Intelligent Designer exists.

We understand, innately, the concept of “design.” It is self-evident. For example, in the year 2002, my intellect designed the initial building plans for our house. (We moved in on 6/7/2003.) I took the photograph (below) of our house on 1/29/2022 – when a little snow was on the ground. Two vehicles – which had been designed and built by intelligence – were in the garage. The porch furnishings had been designed and built by intelligence. What intellect designed the trees that are in the background?

Every design has a designer. The truth is axiomatic (self-evident). Our house did not simply appear, from nothing, one fine morning! Intelligence designed and built it.

The atheist may quibble that not every design has a designer and claim that snowflakes have design without a designer. The reply, of course, is obvious. The United States government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration article – “How do snowflakes form? Get the science behind snow,” 12/19/2016 – has microscopic views of snowflakes and explains that certain weather conditions create snowflakes! Ask the atheist, “Who created the world and the weather conditions that create snowflakes?”

The major premise is valid. I must prove, next, that the creation (i.e., the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design.

Minor premise: the creation (the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design.

The creation – all that exists, in the space-time continuum, including us – indicates (points to) intelligent design. Evidence from the universe, the earth, and the human body are three, of several, lines of proof.

The Universe

The universe is immense. Looking into a clear sky at night, we see countless stars. We live on planet earth, in our sun's solar system. Our solar system is in the Milky Way galaxy. There are billions of galaxies.

The United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a featured article – “How Big is Our Universe?” – that speculates that the universe could be “infinitely large” – and that it is expanding. The article also speculates, theoretically, that other universes could exist.

Several sources speculate that the universe is about 92 or so billion light-years in diameter. For example, the Space.com article – “How big is the universe?” By Nola Taylor Tillman and Jonathan Gordon, published 1/28/2022 (with assumptions based on the unproven Big Bang theory)speculates that the observable (by telescopes) universe is “28 billion light-years in diameter.”

The article references sources and speculates, however, that the universe (beyond telescopic observance) could be “around 92 billion light-years” in diameter, or could be “at least 7 trillion light-years across,” or could be infinitely large. The various speculations depend on the shape of the universe (i.e., “closed like a sphere, infinite and negatively curved like a saddle, or flat and infinite”).

Yes, to say that the universe is immense is an understatement, even if its size and shape are unknown.

The universe is complex and governed by “fundamental constants.” NASA's “How Big is Our Universe?” article (as referenced above) includes evolutionary assumptions but states, regarding our galaxy: “The Milky Way is a huge city of stars . . . .”

Cities are designed. Who designed the “huge city of stars” that compose our Milky Way galaxy? (The Milky Way is one of billions of galaxies.) The article describes several complexities of the universe, including our solar system, our Milky Way galaxy, pulse rate of stars, supernovae, and “. . . the vast panorama of the observable universe.”

Fundamental constants, or laws, govern the universe. These are physical laws (or laws of physics). The universe is governed by at least 23 fundamental constants or physical laws. What are these constants of the universe? Research finds several scholarly articles on the subject. I will reference one only.

The article, on ScienceBlogs (part of Science 2.0), is: “The Fundamental Constants Behind Our Universe,” by Dr. Ethan Siegel (PhD in theoretical astrophysics), 5/29/2013. The introduction speculates the age of the universe, by the unproven Big Bang theory. The author then lists and explains the “26 fundamental constants,” or “the laws” “that govern” “our Universe.” The article details each constant or law.

Some of the universal constants or laws are familiar to us – such as the speed of light, Newton's laws of gravity, Newton's laws of motion, the laws of thermodynamics, and others. The author concludes by stating:

We don't yet know where the values of these constants come from, or whether that's something that will ever be known with the information available in our Universe.

Intelligent minds have discovered the fundamental constants, or laws, that govern our complex universe. Evolutionists “don't yet know” the source of “the values of these constants.” I affirm that an Intelligent Designer is the source of those fundamental constants.

Have you heard of the anthropic principle? The Britannica article, “anthropic principle” states that that the universe appears to have been structured for human life. The article goes into further detail on the origin and meaning of the “anthropic principle.” The first paragraph of the article states:

anthropic principle, in cosmology, any consideration of the structure of the universe, the values of the constants of nature, or the laws of nature that has a bearing upon the existence of life.

“Structure,” by common definition, refers to that which is arranged, or organized, in a definite pattern. I affirm, not only that an Intelligent Designer is the source of the fundamental constants of our complex universe, but also that the Designer used them to create all life – including human life.

The Earth

The earth is a unique planet. The Britannica entry on Earth (by Raymond Jeanloz, last updated 10/18/2022) includes at least sixteen pages of depth and detailed information. The article assumes the unproven theory of evolution and supports the theory of “man-made” global climate change, which is a fierce topic of political and scientific debate, as I pen this article. The entry, however, includes several known facts.

The entry begins by stating:

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the fifth largest planet in the solar system in terms of size and mass. Its near-surface environments are the only places in the universe known to harbour life.

The earth is unique, since it is the only known place in our immense and complex universe that is the home of life. The following are seven, of many, facts that the article details, which have made life on earth possible.

Earth's distance from and orbit around the sun: the earth, unlike other planets in our solar system, is the right distance from the sun (149,600,000 kilometers or 92,960,000 miles). Closer would be much hotter. Farther would be much colder. The earth orbits the sun every 365.25 days (once a year). The orbit is elliptical (or oval). The “orbital eccentricity” (variation in the earth's orbit) is 0.0167 – which is very slight. If the variation were less, then the earth could plunge into the sun. If it were more, then the earth could fly outwardly into space.

Earth's size, spin, and axis: at the equator, the circumference of the earth is 40,076 kilometers (24,902 miles.) The earth spins (rotates on its axis) every 23 hours, 56 minutes, and four seconds (once a day). The earth tilts on its axis at 23.44 degrees (which produces the four seasons).

Earth's atmosphere has the right mixture for life – 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. The other 1% includes other gases. The atmosphere has layers (from lowest to highest): troposphere stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. The atmosphere protects us from the sun's harmful radiation.

Earth's hydrosphere includes surface waters (liquid and frozen), groundwater (in soil and rock), and water vapor in the atmosphere. About 71% of the earth's surface is covered by ocean. (My father was a water well-driller, so I know about drilling wells, to find groundwater.) The earth's hydrologic cycle transfers water from the hydrosphere to the atmosphere in a continual cycle (e.g., rain falls and eventually recycles into the clouds).

The moon - the earth's satellite: the moon orbits the earth, at a distance of 384,400 kilometers (238,900 miles). The moon stabilizes the earth's axis, creates ocean tides, and provides “a night light.” The distance between the earth and the moon is exactly right for life.

Earth's gravitational field: gravity is what holds our feet to the ground and gives us weight. The mass (size) of the earth produces gravity. The earth “pulls down” on us (gravitational acceleration), at sea level, at about 980 cm/sec2 (32.2 feet/sec2). If gravity were stronger, then we could not be able to move or be crushed. If gravity were weaker, then we could have trouble staying on the ground or float into space.

Earth's magnetic field: the magnetic field is what points a compass north. It surrounds and protects our planet from the sun's solar winds. The strength of the magnetic field is exactly right for life.

Intelligent minds have discovered these, and many other, facts about our unique planet. The earth is the only known planet, in our immense and complex universe, that is the home of life.

Planet earth evidences extremely detailed and accurate points of design, which I have referenced. This evidence points to a very Intelligent Designer.

The Human Body

A healthy human body comprises an amazingly complex number of systems that function in perfectly organized symmetry. Of many sources, I have selected the OpenMD.com guide Human Body Systems – contributors: Shani Saks, MD; Reitze Rodseth MBBS, PhD; Lynette Stewart, BSN. The introduction states:

Organs of the human body are commonly grouped into eleven systems. Each body system includes organs and structures that serve a common purpose. The systems are highly interdependent, working together to sustain life and enable interaction with the surrounding environment.

The guide explains each of the eleven systems of the human body. Intelligence has grouped the organs of the human body into eleven systems. What Intelligence created the human body?

The human brain is the world's best computer. Our eyes are the best video camera. Our heart is the best pumping device. My analogy can be continued to associate other parts of our bodies to devices that intelligence created. Intelligence designed the computer, video camera, and pump. Who designed the brain, eyes, and heart?

Intelligent designers create artificial (replacement) parts for a damaged human body. Of many sources, I have selected the NEO.LIFE article: “Replace Your Used Body Parts With a Bionic Upgrade: A soft robotics researcher says bionic limbs that imitate living tissues could be viable within a decade.” By Stav Dimitropoulos, 9/15/2022. The article compares the human hand to a “bionic” (artificial) hand (created by human intelligence). Regarding the human hand, the author states:

Take the human hand, for example. It’s an incredibly complex and versatile part of the body, containing 27 bones, innumerable muscles, and a mind-numbing quantity of ligaments and tendons. The tiniest grab of an object is the sublime end product of the synergistic work of all these hand components.

Regarding the “bionic” hand (designed by human intelligence) the author states:

A bionic hand, on the other hand, works by detecting signals coming from a user’s muscles. When the user flexes the muscles in their residual limb just below their elbow, special sensors placed on their skin pick up small electric signals, which are converted into intentional bionic hand movement.

Intelligence created the “bionic” hand. Who created the original human hand?

By way of a personal illustration, on 3/29/2016, I almost died, when the other driver violated my right of way. My brain, left eye, left shoulder, right knee, and right foot were damaged. I was hospitalized 36 days. My brain and left eye recovered fully, with no surgery needed. My left shoulder, right knee, and right foot required surgery, to repair the damage. I have a total of 25 surgically installed metal items (i.e., rods, pins, screws) in those three joints.

The X-ray of my left shoulder (below) was taken on 6/27/2016. The skilled surgeon used ten metal items (one rod and nine screws) to reconstruct my left shoulder.

Who had constructed my original shoulder, before it was damaged?

The creation – specifically, the universe, the earth, and the human body – indicates (points to) intelligent design. The minor premise is valid.

Conclusion: therefore, an Intelligent Designer, God, exists.

Since the creation (i.e., the universe, the earth, the human body, etc.) indicates intelligent design, then an Intelligent Designer exists. I have proved it.

The Intelligent Designer is called God – the divine architect of the universe. The argument is sound and must be true. It cannot be wrong.

The Atheist's Quibble

The atheist may quibble, by claiming “faults” in God's designed creation. He may theorize that the human body could have been designed better. He may point to various defects in the earth that cause various and significant natural disasters.

The reply is simply that God, the Creator, created according to his eternal plan. Later articles, in this Christian Evidences series, will explore the nature of God and the inspiration of the Bible. As those articles will prove, the Creator designed the earth perfectly, perfectly fit for perfectly created humans. Sin, however, as God knew would happen, entered the world. The physical deterioration of aging and death are the consequences of sin. The earth was damaged, due to the worldwide flood, in the time of Noah. The earth continues to endure that damage, which causes natural disasters.

The atheist should be careful in his quibbles. The prophet Isaiah cited the word of the Lord:

Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”? Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”? (Isaiah 29:16, NIV)

See also Isaiah 45:9 and Romans 9:20. The atheist, as the pot, does not need to question the Creator, the Potter, as to why He designed the universe, the earth, or the human body, in the fashion that He did.

Rest assured, dear reader, that all the atheist's quibbles are easily resolved and fall away. Later articles in this series will elaborate.

Conclusion

Our imaginary street light now has two strong poles to support it. The teleological argument, by itself, proves that God exists.

We have one more pole to build – the cosmological argument – that, alone, will also prove that God exists. This article is enough “pole building” for now.

Biblical faith is grounded in evidence, as these articles on God's existence are establishing. By evidentiary faith, we see and know the unseen.

The words of the apostle Paul will conclude this article:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20, NIV)