The Improbability of Mount Improbable

In his 1996 book entitled Climbing Mount Improbable, Richard Dawkins uses the analogy to the geological contour of a hypothetical mountain to explain how gradual development could produce complex life-forms…over long periods of time…like a falcon or a grey whale.

This mountain…in profile view…has a vertically steep, impregnatable rock face on one side…too high to climb in one naturalistic upward leap.  The highest peak of the mountain represents all of the combined features needed in any specific living organism to produce functional survival…or to bring to functional utility any specific single feature of a living organism…such as a leg, an arm, a wing, or a tail, for example.

The vertical rock face of the mountain represents the improbability…according to a purely naturalistic explanation…of producing any complex living creature in whole…or any complex part of a living creature…in one single step.

For every living thing…the assemblage of functioning parts is too complex to put together in a single leap…from the base of the mountain rock face up to the top…in scientific terms called a saltation or macro-mutation…in theistic, biblical terms called fiat creation or creation ex nihilo (creation out of nothing).

In his ground-breaking 1859 book The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin recognized this problem in differentiating philosophical naturalism from theistic creation…when he wrote in Latin: Natura non facit saltum…”Nature makes no sudden leaps.”

If new creatures were to suddenly appear in the fossil record…fully formed and functioning…this would be evidence against gradualism and a counter-argument for what Darwin called “miracle”…or fiat creation out of nothing.

Enter Richard Dawkin’s 1996 metaphor to explain how gradual genetic improvements over time could produce complex living things according to natural means alone.

This explanatory Mount Improbable has another slope…up the backside of the vertically steep rock face…that has a long, gradual upward incline…that can be scaled in comparative ease using random, naturally selected, incrementally small steps that take us by an alternate route to the top of the mountain…the analogy to reaching the high altitude of the complex features that make up each and every living thing…that otherwise logically would have to be ascribed to the premeditated design of a divine, intelligent agency…God.

On the surface…literally the upper contour profile of the mountain…this sounds like a plausible program…worthy of our deepest thought and critical analysis.

But upon further reflection the fundamental problem…well-known to modern science in this Age of Information understanding of the vast molecular complexity of all living things…is that the elevation at the base of Mount Improbable does not start at zero feet sea-level.

The diversity and variability of species that Charles Darwin observed in the middle 1830’s on the Galapagos Islands…to use this Mount Improbable analogy…was only the visible top 100 feet of 25,100-foot high, molecular mountains of DNA, proteins, amino acids, and architectural body-plans unknown to Darwin in the 1850’s…and unknown to us until the 1950’s with the discovery of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick.

Natural selection…operating upon genetic mutations…the core principle of the Darwinian evolutionary framework…needs an already functioning organism “up and running” to enable the opportunity for natural selections to improve upon and “create” the astounding diversity of life we see today.

Natural selection must already have an existing baseline of living things functioning and surviving at a minimum level…before any creature-altering diversification can occur.

A person does not have to have a PhD in the natural sciences to see the commonsense logical error in the metaphor of Mount Improbable as an explanation for the argument for gradual, trial-and-error development in the living world.

Nature makes no sudden leaps also applies to this metaphor of Mount Improbable.

There must be some backstory explanation…recorded in the fossil record or observable today as an explanatory mechanism…for the underlying complexity of information and integrated functionality…the bottom 25,000 feet…that gets the baseline prototypical living organism up to the starting elevation of Mount Improbable…that would then enable a gradual final ascent through natural selection…up the remaining 100 feet to the summit of “the survival of the fittest” variability and functionality that Darwin observed on the Galapagos Islands…and that modern science today more accurately labels as micro-evolution…small adaptive changes over time.

Within the foundational mass of the 25,000 feet of mountain…there must be a nearly infinite number of individual dots and gradually upward sloping developmental lines…that creates the underlying structure of function that at some elevation in the “mountain” then enables natural selection to operate.

This is a classic case of which came first…the cart or the horse…the chicken or the egg.

Genetic mutation acted upon by natural selection needs living organisms up and running…at some elevation in the growing mountain…before genetic mutation acted upon by natural selection…can begin.

And this requires some explanation of the near infinite number of dots and upward sloping lines of progressing improvements…that would have to come together…to form the mass of the mountain…to get us to this higher elevation where the Mount Improbable explanation makes sense within the definition of microevolution…not macroevolution.

In other words…it is not just the uppermost contour line of a gradually upward sloping line going up the backside of Mount Improbable…at the top-most elevation…that offers an explanation for the diversity of life.   This explanation must also include all of the innumerable sloping lines and individual dots that fall underneath this uppermost contour line…the gray-shaded area below the contour graph-line.

This Mount Improbable explanation for the diversity of life is way too simplistic.

Without going into the discontinuities…the gaps…between the phyla groups in the living world, or the current impasse in the origins-of-life research, or the lack of transitional nodes in Darwin’s tree of life…not only in the fossil record…but in many cases not even being able to imaginatively conceive of the sequential anatomical changes required in the gradual transitions needed to go from running on the ground to sustained flight…or from a respiratory system of lungs like ours to the totally different respiratory system of the lungs of birds…avian lungs…that require a sudden leap of functionality…or death ensues in minutes in the case of a dysfunctional respiratory system.

The fundamental problem inherent in unguided, trial-and-error gradualism…this challenge and difficulty in the purely naturalistic explanation of the origin and the mechanics for the diversity of life…applies to the divergence of each of the brilliantly original body-plan architectures and unique life-style habits of every living thing.

The huge block of factual disclosure that is missing in the analogy to Mount Improbable…as an explanation for the diversity of life…is that the mass of molecular information that gets us from non-living matter…from zero elevation at sea level to 10,000 or 15,000 elevation where diversification could begin to create the branching nodes of Darwin’s hypothetical “tree of life”…is entirely missing.  It is missing in the fossil record.  It is missing in our current observation of the living world.  And it is missing as hypothetical constructions out of our creative imagination.

Darwinists want us to apply what we see at the uppermost 100 feet of microevolutionary change at the top of the mountain…to explain the origin of the underlying large mass of mountain from zero elevation at sea level…up to the start of the gradual upward incline of Mount Improbable at 25,000 feet…the top 100 feet of change we can actually see in the fossil record and in the natural world today.

This requires an assumption as a “given”…a philosophical extrapolation…a hypothetical leap…that is not scientifically reasonable.

The nature makes no sudden leaps…requires an unbridgeable leap from non-living matter containing zero DNA…to the simplest living forms such as bacteria that gets life started on earth about three-and-one-half billion years ago…living bacterial cells that have an enormous amount of complex and functionally integrated DNA information.

Darwinian evolution has always been an effort to establish macroevolution through an expansion of microevolution…to take the top 100 feet of the 25,100-foot high mountain of information that makes up living creatures…and apply what we see and know about the top 100 feet…down into the underlying 25,000 feet of what we do not know and are ignorant about…which conceivably would have to be made up of a nearly infinite number of crisscrossing, gradually inclined slope-lines and individual dots…of progressively creative genetic improvements…producing ever-changing uppermost contours of the gradually rising Mount Improbable…to reach the 25,000-foot elevation where we can actually observe change.

The metaphor of Mount Improbable is therefore a misleading explanation for the diversity of life…because it ignores the vital fact that the baseline diversity of living things is built upon multiple divergences at some elevation above “sea level” in information content and functional organization…and natural selection is inoperable as an explanation for this underlying development to reach the beginning height of 10,000 or 15,000 feet…when natural selection could conceivably take-over and start producing diversity.

The correct answer here is that it takes divine creation to take each living thing up to its unique 25,000-foot high elevation…where the built-in genetic variation allows each creature to diversify within different habitats…as Darwin observed in the variations of finches on the Galapagos Islands…finches named after him.

The interesting feature in making the case for gradualism to explain the diversity of life…is that when it fails…each time it falls short as a plausible explanation…it then actually makes an argument in the opposite direction…that adds to the growing evidences in science that are slowly bringing down the edifice of modern Neo-Darwinism…logically and empirically piece-by-piece.

If gradualism does not exist in reality as a plausible causation method to explain the huge diversity in the living world…leaving fiat creation ex nihilo…sudden creation out of nothing as the only remaining option…this then sheds light on the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith…the theme of this book.

Like the Mount Improbable metaphor that is unsatisfactory because the base of the gradual incline slope up its backside does not start at zero elevation sea-level…but rather at the top of 25,000 feet of underlying genetic information such as DNA, proteins, amino acids, and a body-plan architecture displaying creative foresight…similarly the stories of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Ruth, Esther and Mordecai, Daniel, Peter, John, James, and Paul…also do not start at zero elevation sea-level.

The life-story of Abraham does not start from scratch at zero-information…at zero elevation sea-level…with God and Abraham improvising the events leading toward Abraham becoming the “father of faith”…making the whole thing up as they go along gradually up the slope of Mount Improbable.

This would be the biblical equivalent of Mount Improbable…of nature blindly selecting the next beneficial genetic mutation one-by-one while traversing up the gradual incline of the mountain…without plan, foresight, or premeditation as to where it is going and how it will end-up as a functionally perfected, living organism.

The biblical narrative stories of faith do not start from scratch.  They exist above 25,000 feet of the mountain of moral DNA…of righteousness and goodness and truth that makes up the character and person of God…in the same way that there is a mountain of complex information coherently integrated within every living thing…beneath what Darwin observed in the variety of finches on the Galapagos Islands in the 1830’s…and below what we can visually observe in the varied body-plan architectures and life-style habits of the billions of living organisms we see today.

The biblical narrative stories of faith do have variation and diversity…but again this diversification is built upon the base of 25,000 feet of the knowledge of good and evil…which is opened up for us to explore through a God-composed journey of faith life-script…the Holy Spirit leading us into the “all truth” of John 16:13.

The Counter-Argument

Some skeptical scholars in literature or linguistics may object here and say: “wait a minute…real-life history and human-generated fictional literature are filled with countless stories that have people leaving worldly conventional normalcy behind to go off to fight for years in foreign wars, or to go on adventures of discovery around the world, and all other imaginable varieties of missions and escapades large and small…motivated by duty, peer pressure, the high moral value of doing the right thing, or the bald self-interest of pursuing gold and glory.

All of these stories…literary fiction and real-life non-fiction…contain the concept that one course of action will necessitate the displacement of another course of action.  Obviously, no one can be in two places at once…and this is a commonplace, taken-for-granted reality in the development of real-life and fictional stories.

The skeptical scholar in the fields of the history of literature and linguistics…covering the span of human storytelling…might correctly observe that the displacement of what we might ordinarily want in life…what I call in this book worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…often occurs in real-life as a result of exterior forces outside our control…such as invading armies, economic recessions, technological progress and change, disease epidemics, or natural disasters, for example…or in literary fiction as an inventive, artistic plot-twist of unexpected suspense or humor…that is integral to telling an interesting story.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that it does not reach far enough outward to encompass a reasonable explanation for the novelty of biblical narrative stories of faith…that have the singular uniqueness of God being the intelligent artistic source of the displacement of our worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

God-composed journeys of faith involve a divinely creative artist in residence…in lieu of…in place of the naturalistic, universally normal response in the reactive mode to what would appear to be random outside occurrences and changing fortunes…combined with our autonomous free-will capacity to make choices and decisions.

The word that best describes the secular genres of literature compared to the biblical narrative stories of faith…is discontinuous.

The unique concept in the biblical narrative stories of faith…that God displaces our ways with His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9) as demonstrated through the life-stories of Enoch, Noah, and Abraham all the way through to Paul, Silas, and Timothy…is a supernatural ingredient that will not mix with the pride-filled hubris of self-autonomous self-sovereignty that is the hallmark of humanism.

Going our own way versus going God’s way is discontinuous…having as large a gap in thinking and in action as is imaginable.

This is why in university Religious Studies programs…the biblical faith of Hebrews 11:1 is never discussed…because it is discontinuous with worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…and therefore outside the critical analysis and purview of man-made and invented religion…the only possible realm of inquiry acceptable to humanism.

The fact that the biblical narrative stories of faith…that have the common theme of God displacing our ways with His higher ways…must be studied apart from other religions and outside of the accepted tenets of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…should again be a red-flag jolt in the contemporary Christian apologetics debate…as to where and how this contrasting dichotomy would and could originate from.

God Asks Too Much 2

Are there other notable characters of faith in the Bible who might have a legitimate complaint that God was asking too much of them…while again like Abraham lacking the long-range foresight of God to see all of the momentous benefits their God-composed journeys of faith produced?

God asking too much of us…is a universal component in every biblical narrative story of faith.

As Jacob deals with his unscrupulous uncle Laban over the shifting terms regarding Jacob obtaining Rachel as his wife…Jacob cannot see ahead in time as he, his wives, his twelve sons (Joseph already there as governor), and one daughter take refuge in Egypt as a result of the great famine…the beginning of the nation of Israel.

At the most difficult point in this God-scripted journey of faith…Jacob could have complained…by virtue of not possessing timeless foresight…that God was asking too much of him (Gen. 31:4-17).

As Joseph in Pharaoh’s prison ponders the discouraging fact that his attempt at procuring his freedom through the butler and baker’s intercession to Pharaoh had failed…and contemplates the course of his life up to that point in time…just prior to Pharaoh’s dream and the interpretation given by God to Joseph…Joseph probably considered the notion that in staying within the vision of his two earlier dreams received in Canaan as a teenager…that God was asking too much of Joseph.

At the burning bush…we sense that Moses comprehends the enormous magnitude and sheer impossibility of delivering the Israelites out of the grasp of Pharaoh and the nation of Egypt.

At many times during the miraculous ten plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and the Exodus across the wilderness of Sinai…Moses probably thought that God was asking too much of him (Ex. 18:18, 32:19; Num. 20:1-13).

After the death of Moses, God speaks to Joshua and tells him: “Be strong and of good courage” (Josh. 1:6)…implying that the out-numbered Israelites might be looking at an insurmountable challenge…in attacking the walled and fortified cities of the Canaanites.

After the Amalekites attacked and burned Ziklag…taking captive the wives and children of David and his men…at this lowest point in the adventure of faith in preparation to become the king of Israel…David might have thought that God was asking too much (1 Sam. 30:6).

More could be said about Gideon (Jud. 6:15), Elijah (1 Kings 19:10), Ezra (Ezra 4:17-24), Nehemiah (Neh. 2:19-20), Esther and Mordecai (Est. 4:16), the three young Hebrew men in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:16-18), Daniel in the lion’s den (Dan. 6:16), Jeremiah (Jer. 20:7-9, 14-18), and Peter (Lk. 22:61-62)…to name only a few.

We may set high expectations and ask a lot of ourselves.  But it takes someone outside ourselves…a parent, high school teacher, piano teacher, sports coach, personal trainer, mentor at work, or a husband or wife…to name a few…to inspire, encourage, and push us to achieve our very best.

Only God would and could ask too much of us through a God-composed journey of faith life-script that has faith and trust on-the-line…at risk…within a personal relationship…that also contains the by-product of unselfish service to other people.

The positive characters in the biblical narrative stories of faith not only develop a personal relationship with God…but also baked into their unique journey of faith storylines is a current and future blessing for other people…sometimes in large numbers.

The built-in, innate capacity within us to respond to the positive confidence and encouragement that people outside of us place in us to achieve our best…the root of which is a form and demonstration of love…in a God-composed journey of faith life-script…God simply takes to a higher place.

This again is outside the creative imagination of human literary fiction…and makes the case for a divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith.

God Asks Too Much 1

Along our God-composed journey of faith…at some point in time…we discover that God asks too much of us.

This is a truism that will resonate with Spirit-born Christians engaged in a genuine adventure of faith…actively pursuing some type of Christian ministry or calling…following the leading of Jesus Christ.

The fact that this is a reality in our lives, and that we see this recorded in the biblical narrative stories of faith…is a compelling argument for the existence of God and the divine origin of the Bible.

God asking too much of us through the interaction of a life-script calling or mission-plan not of our making…outside of our origination but instead coming to us through revelation…that stretches us beyond our seeming capacity in a divinely initiated relationship with God that has the trajectory of God-ward toward us rather from us-ward toward God…as asserted by atheism and skeptical unbelief to be human literary fiction…to be a product of humanistic thinking…is nonsensical.

A personal relationship between God and people that reached this level of intimacy and commitment…of God asking too much in our calling or mission…is beyond human literary invention as a made-up characterization of God or of a biblical narrative story of faith…because such a fictionalization falls completely outside of the normalcy of worldly convention and thinking…and would not stand up to the empirical scrutiny of human experience for any length of time…as has already been briefly argued in this book.

No one would ever invent this reality of God asking too much of us…because fictionalized religion would never get that far.

One explanation why God asks too much of us is that He has a lot to give usHe has a lot of territory to cover.

In a biblical narrative story of faith…not only does God have a lot to give us…but through the working out of the events of a journey of faith…these biblical characters have a lot to give to mankind…God giving through them to other people…and to us.

It almost seems in these biblical narrative stories of faith that God skips over the reasons “why” for a particular storyline…and jumps immediately into actualizing the events as if the “why” is not that important for the time being…or is beyond our current comprehension of the “big picture.”

It is as if God is saying to the biblical characters of faith: “trust me for now…I know exactly what I am doing…even though to you it is not entirely clear at this moment in time.”

The idea that God would use the biblical characters of faith…as a means to give what God has…through them to us…using the biblical faith of Hebrews 11:1 while bypassing collaboration as to the “why” of their specific and varied callings in life…is a singularly unique and specifically innovative concept in the broad marketplace of ideas…in the breadth and width of human experience.

A look at several of the biblical narrative stories of faith would be helpful here.

Acts 23:11 records Jesus visiting Paul at night, saying: “Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.”

After being violently rejected by the Jerusalem populace while giving his defense and witness from the steps of the Roman garrison castle (Acts 21:31-22:30)…and again violently rejected by the Jewish religious and political leaders of the Sanhedrin council…by the very home-town crowd Paul used to be in-tight with before converting to Christianity…the discouragement must have been overwhelming.

But I do not think Paul was ready to “throw in the towel” and give up on his calling and ministry…but Paul may have entertained the notion that God was asking too much of him.

Paul could not see ahead down through the upcoming twenty centuries to our current time…when his thirteen letters to the churches (including Hebrews) would strengthen and inspire tens and hundreds of millions of Christians in the “church age”…and establish orthodox Christian theology for the benefit of countless numbers of believers.

On that night in the first-century following these two enormous setbacks for Paul…Jesus does not explain all of the fine details of the “why” to Paul as to what is happening in the moment…but confirms Paul’s calling and ministry once again with His divine presence and encouragement.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

I think this verse can…and does…apply to the unimaginable sights and sounds we will discover in heaven.  But it can also describe God having a lot to give us…and to give through us…in the short length of time available in a human life-span.

God asking too much of us may simply be the product of the richness of what God has to give us…and the imperative of using the most brilliantly concise combination of events and circumstances to convey the “all truth” of John 16:13 to us in the most creatively insightful way imaginable.

The mission of Abraham on Mount Moriah may be the most difficult thing anyone has been asked by God to do (Gen. 22:1-14)…but also had the highest and purest benefit to us.  God saw the mature and developed faith of Abraham…as God had intended…that Abraham believed that God was able to raise up Isaac from the dead (Heb. 11:17-19)…and said to Himself: “yes, this is the biblical faith that will bless untold millions in the coming centuries and for all eternity”…earning Abraham the priceless moniker “the father of faith.”

But equally important…the entire scenario of the ram caught in a nearby thicket…that Abraham then uses as a replacement for Isaac as a sin offering to God…informs us of the timeless foresight of God in being able to craft countless similar scenarios large and small for our benefit and for the benefit of others…scenarios containing the highest, best, and most elegant outcomes imaginable.

Abraham could have said to God: “in this that you are asking me to do with Isaac my only son…God…you are asking far too much.”

Only God has the foresight to see down the long centuries in time to a lonely hill in Jerusalem displaying three crosses of execution…the center cross bearing the divine Son of God Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for mankind’s sin.

Abraham could have said to himself as he and Isaac traveled to Mount Moriah: “all this is working against me”…and it was.

Biblical narrative stories of faith have the uniquely novel goal…not found anywhere else in all of human literature or experience…of removing going our own way from our life-script trajectory.

God’s plans seemed to work against going our own way in this incredibly difficult task of Abraham letting go of his way to make room for God putting into action His higher ways and thoughts in-the-moment…Abraham not knowing that God would shortly shout from heaven “Stop…I myself will provide”…inferring from that time forward that only God Himself could provide a candidate worthy enough to be a human sacrifice for sin…Jesus Christ the sinless, blemish-free Son of God on Calvary Hill.

Journeys of Faith are not “Religious” 3

Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen…and many similar books written in the same genre…appear on the surface to be positive, uplifting, and inspiring…but they are as unbiblical as can be.

The “name it and claim it” preachers also have a message that is unbiblical.

The huge gap between the “your best life now” according to the prosperity gospel…and the biblical narrative stories of faith…that are the direct opposite…is another commonsense apologetic argument for the existence of God and the truth of the Bible.

Mere material particles and energy would never create the subtly complex temptation of the counterfeit deceptions of these false religious programs…aside from what some people might otherwise think of the relative merits of their messages pro and con.

From a philosophically materialistic viewpoint…this contrast between two opposing worldviews is too complex, too far apart, and too sophisticated to arise from within a purely naturalistic reality.

Nowhere in the biblical narrative stories of faith…is the theme about acquiring wealth and prosperity through faith in God…part of the through-line…the moral of the story.

The only place we find this concept being proffered is in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness…in which Satan offers to Jesus all the wealth and power of this world…which Satan must do to capture a prize like Jesus the Son of God…if Jesus will only fall down and worship him (Lk. 4:5-7).

What is instructive from an apologetics standpoint is that in the narrative stories of faith in the Bible…neither religious rituals and practices…nor the successful pursuit of worldly material possessions…personal gain…are found anywhere within the storylines.

The only notable exceptions might be Moses receiving the Ten Commandments, the 613 laws, and the instructions for the construction of the tabernacle (involving religious rituals and practices)…and Peter being instructed by Jesus to go fishing and pull a coin out of the mouth of the first fish he catches (involving money)…to pay their taxes (Mt. 17:27).

Male circumcision beginning with Abraham and Isaac would also be a major religious practice.

What is also fascinating and instructive here is that what establishes a compelling, commonsense, biblical argument for the existence of God and the truth of the Bible…also at the same time automatically dispels and refutes all other false teaching.

Truth really is exclusive.  Or at the very least the introduction of truth calls into question and analysis the bad outcomes of false teaching.

For example, “name it and claim it” assumes and implies the totally unbiblical idea that we would know independently what is best for us…apart from our Creator God…in claiming some things and rejecting others for our lives.  Here we are right back in the Garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve had no idea about the long-range, ripple-effect implications of their wrong-headed, impulsive decision to disobey God’s command to not eat the forbidden fruit.

According to the worldly conventional list of normal wants and aspirations described above…this faulty approach of “name it and claim it” once again places us in the undeserved and unqualified position of being junior gods…occupying the role that belongs to God alone.

The biblical narrative stories of faith cannot claim any connection to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…outside of “occupy till I come” (Lk. 19:13) in that these stories of faith have goals and mission-plans that are supernatural…that are unattainable through humanistic means.

Nothing could be further from “name it and claim it” than the God-composed journey of faith life-scripts in the Bible…having Hebrews 11:1 as the definition of biblical faith.

The idea that Abraham would “name and claim” becoming the “father of faith”…or that Joseph would “name and claim” becoming the governor of the foreign nation of Egypt…or that Moses at the burning bush would “name and claim” the near impossible and inconceivable task of delivering the Israelites…or that upon first meeting Jesus of Nazareth that Peter would “name and claim” becoming the first major leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem…or that Saul/Paul would have even the slightest advance premonition about converting to the Christian faith…which occurred after Damascus…much less “naming and claiming” his extraordinary calling and mission…all of these things according to the prosperity gospel of “your best life now” and “name it and claim it”…are unbiblical, absurd, and nonsensical.

Biblical narrative stories of faith have God actually displacing our ways with His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9)…the diametric opposite of the concept of our “naming and claiming” our preferences, desires, and wants…according to short-sighted, uninformed, and misdirected goals and aspirations.

All of this is way too complex and coherently functional to be the product of the worldview philosophy of naturalism…or to be the product of the imagination of human literary invention.

What if God’s alternate and non-worldly definition for “your best life now” were the narrative stories of faith as recorded in the Bible…there now in print for around 3,500 years?

What if God created human beings with the inbuilt, elevated capacity for unselfish service to others…actualized within a loving marriage…in a supportive family life…as a small town pastor of a church…as a foreign missionary evangelist…as a professor in a Bible college…as a plumbing contractor…a stay-at-home mom…the owner of a restaurant…a mechanical engineer…a heart surgeon…an insurance agent…and a Christian book writer…to name only a few examples?

What if the biblical narrative stories of faith…composed by God…and yes, containing costs and sacrifices…were designed to bring-out and to actualize our true capacity for a best life now…potentially applicable to every person today who will choose Jesus Christ as Lord and Master…and pick up their cross to follow Him (Mk. 8:34-35)?

What if “your best life now” according to the prosperity gospel…and “name it and claim it” were both a move downward on the vertical continuum line of goodness and light…an actual settling for much less than our optimum destiny?

What if “your best life now” and “name it and claim it” at their very best could never take the measure of our souls like the challenging elements of a God-composed life-script?

Would not the absolute necessity for our Creator God…the “adult” in the area of godliness…to write the life-scripts for our lives that would ingeniously blend divinely timeless foresight, our innate abilities and talents, and our free-will choice within the four dimensions of space and time now…would not this unconventionally alternate reality be a compelling evidence for both the existence of God…but also at the same time reveal the right way for living (Jn. 14:6)?

The sometimes difficult but hope-filled truth from the Bible is that God will do what He knows is best for us…even if this means waiting 25 years for the birth of Isaac…for Abraham…or spending 13 years in Potiphar’s house and in Pharaoh’s prison…like Joseph…or any of the other unconventionally challenging but divinely elevated storylines experienced by the people of faith in the Bible.

This again is a compelling, commonsense, apologetic argument for the existence of God and the truth of the Bible.

Journeys of Faith are not “Religious” 2

We do not see first, second, and third-graders in elementary schools out in large numbers picketing their schools on the weekends…with signs reading: “Down With Division”…or: “No More Multiplication”…or: “Forget Reading…Play Video Games”…while shouting chants of “Unfair” and “Heck No…We Won’t Go!”

Children at that young age have no idea of the importance of reading, writing, and mathematics for their upcoming adult lives.  Grown-ups set the agenda for our early childhood education…and as children we go along with this through childlike faith placed in our parents…our teachers…and in grown-ups in general.

There exist no other practical options in childhood education.  Adults are by default simply in the position to know more than children…to have the knowledge and the facts…in this critical area of what we need to learn as children…to get from where we are as children to where we need to get to…as we grow up into adults.

How is it that we would then assume to know anything about godliness?  Godliness belongs exclusively to God.  It is not found anywhere within conventional human living and thinking.

Godliness must come from top-down…not from bottom-up.

Godliness is defined and actualized through the biblical narrative stories of faith…coming from the singular perspective of God.

Biblical Narrative Stories of Faith are not “Religious”

An amazing thing about the biblical narrative stories of faith…for the most part…is that they are not religious in nature.  This should also get our attention.

The Old Testament lists 613 laws…including the Ten Commandments…and has religious observances and celebrations like the Passover.  Male circumcision begins with Abraham and Isaac.  The Old Testament has the animal sacrifices in the temple conducted by the priests.

The New Testament has the Lord’s Supper communion for believers.

But the biblical narrative stories of faith themselves are not built around anything like pilgrimages to “holy sites,” or the veneration of relics, or the sale and possession of paper documents like indulgences insuring salvation, or elaborate religious rituals like a universal practice of praying toward a geographical location every day (Dan. 6:10).

The biblical narrative stories of faith provide no opportunity for salvation through the self-effort of “good-works” and the “self-realization” of religious practices and rituals.

Through God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…God goes boldly into the realm of human life…cutting across the grain of the conventionality of our standard dreams, goals, and aspirations…according to His higher ways and thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9).

In the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness it is recorded in Luke 4:6-8:

6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

7 If thou therefore will worship me, all shall be thine.

8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

“Worshipping only God”…tells us that the world still belongs to God.  Worshipping only God is the correct optional choice for human beings…and it is an option we can willingly choose.

God can craft life-scripts having events and circumstances that cross-over into human life in any way that He chooses in order to set up the context for biblical faith to actualize.

Judging from the narrative stories of faith in the Bible…this novel and innovative approach goes much deeper than the religious rituals designed for worship.

Becoming the “father of faith”, the governor of Egypt during a great famine, the deliverer of the Israelites from bondage as slaves in Egypt, becoming a godly (yet imperfect) king of Israel like David…being a prophet like Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, or one of the “minor” prophets, restoring the walls around Jerusalem and rebuilding the temple…like Ezra and Nehemiah…becoming the leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem like Peter…or being called-out to be the premier evangelical missionary to the first-century Greco-Roman world like Paul…all of these things fall right in the very heart of human living…yet transcend above and outside of  “religion” in a way that is entirely unique to the Bible.

These journeys of faith inexplicably have little connection to religious practices and rituals…an odd and elevated feature which looking back in hindsight we might expect to find in life-scripts leading toward “spiritual adulthood”…composed by a “grown-up” God for us…who obviously knows more about godliness than we do…and has set-out a course for life and for study for each of us…taking us through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ…through the narrow gate of Matthew 7:13-14…described in The Sermon on the Mount.

Divinely Timeless Foresight

Instantaneous revelations of the truths of John 16:13…”he will guide you into all truth” do not allow for first-hand experiences that are spread-out over the time intervals described in Hebrews 11:1…”Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” and inferred in John 16:13.

God is in a timeless reality (Isa. 46:9-10).

Psalm 22, Isaiah 9:6, and Isaiah 53 require divinely timeless foresight.

God created time at the Big-Bang beginning of the universe along with the laws of physics, chemistry, and mathematics…and with the material particles and energy that form our galaxies, stars, and planets.

God created time so that He would have a context…an environment…wherein He could compose life-scripts for us that enable us to have a personal relationship with Him…but also enable us to experience first-hand the lessons of a knowledge of good and evil…through durations of time having events and circumstances…rather than split-second, instantaneous revelations of “all truth.”

Where the confusion comes in is when we try to understand the timelessness of God from our perspective of our four dimensions of space and time…brilliantly and lovingly constructed for our benefit.

Abraham in his God-composed journey of faith life-script has total free-will choice…he can quit at any time…as can we…otherwise Abraham is in part a mechanical robot.

The resolution of the two seemingly unmixable realities of divine timeless foresight…and our lack of foresight as non-divine beings yet possessing the free-will capacity to love God…is found within the biblical narrative stories of faith that only God could compose and orchestrate to positive outcomes.

That God could blend together these seemingly disparate realities…His timeless foresight and foreknowledge…and our free-will…within the biblical narrative stories of faith and our Christian walks of faith today…is actually a compelling apologetic evidence for the existence of God, the divine origin of the Bible, and the truth of Christianity.

In my opinion…when articulated in this way…this seeming conflict disappears.