iSoul In the beginning is reality

It Could Happen

NEW YORK, 2024 JUL 14. President of the Nations Jack Lever gave his State of the World speech to the United Nations today. President Lever began by listing his accomplishments in the past year. These included making the United Nations’ currency, the Uno, the sovereign currency of every country. Switzerland, the last hold-out, turned over it’s franc in May. He also stated that world unemployment was at the same level it was before the World Depression of 2010-2018. While he acknowledged that the world economy still needed redistribution of wealth, he said that much progress had been made.

President Lever then outlined the challenges he sees ahead. First was ending the epidemics that spread during the World Depression. Next was having the World Curriculum that was completed last year instituted in the schools of every nation. Third was bringing unity to the religions of the world.

He stressed the importance of the third goal even though the first two might seem more pressing. “The goal of world unity will not be achieved without religions reconciliation,” he said to the delegates who gave him a standing ovation. He went on to say “Each of the great religions of the world must become unified before world religions can unite.” President Lever said that as a Christian he was particularly interested in the unity of the Christian Church. “In the spirit of Constantine the Great, I am calling all church leaders to an ecumenical council of reconciliation.” he said.

After the speech, church leaders reacted with cautious optimism. Some extremists of the Fundamentalist and Traditionalist groups made negative remarks but acknowledged that recent scandals have left them in a weak position. Commentators pointed out that this was an opportune moment since many new leaders have arisen during the last ten years who support unity, including the new Pope, John-Paul III. The decision by China earlier this year to adopt Christianity (which they call “the Three Self Patriotic Movement”) as their official religion added to the momentum world for unity.

BRUSSELS, 2025 MAR 6. The Ecumenical Council of Christian Unity convened today with an elaborate procession through the Capital of Europe. In his opening remarks, President of the Nations Jack Lever noted that every Christian body was in attendance: Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and Patriots (Chinese). Even obscure denominations sent delegates. Many said this was a testimony to President Lever’s political skills. Commentators pointed out that last year’s purges of leaders among Catholics and Orthodox removed most of the remaining resistance to the Council. A significant holdout, Metropolitan Boris of the Russian Orthodox Church, charged that these purges were worse than Stalin’s. After he died suddenly he was replaced by Metropolitan Joseph who accepts unity as inevitable.

The charge of the Council is threefold: to produce a common creed, a common liturgy, and a common clergy. This is no small task particularly since President Lever wants it done by the end of the year. Pope John-Paul III expressed optimism, saying “The time has come to bring unity to all the world.” The 6000 delegates gave him a standing ovation.

BRUSSELS, 2025 JUN 9. The Ecumenical Council of Christian Unity announced today that agreement had been reached on a Common Creed. Many observers were surprised at how quickly agreement was produced. Commentators pointed out that after the initial round of discussions produced deadlock, the delegates started dropping phrases that were unacceptable to any group. President of the Nations Jack Lever, who is himself a Christian and has prodded the Council, praised the creed. “The Common Creed is simple, yet elegant, and could easily be translated into any language of the world,” he said. The Council still must produce a common liturgy and a common clergy.

BRUSSELS, 2025 NOV 11. The Ecumenical Council of Christian Unity announced agreement had been reached on a Common Clergy. The announcement came after weeks of high-level pressure from President of the Nations Jack Lever. The final agreement places headquarters offices in Beijing but the leadership will rotate every 5 years between the three so-called Regions: Asia-Oceania (Beijing), Europe-Africa (Rome), and the Americas (Orlando). The new structure reflects the “flat organization” that has transformed businesses worldwide. There are four levels: Regional Shepherd, National Shepherd, Urban Shepherd, and Local Shepherd.

Since President of the Nations Jack Lever began calling Beijing “the new Constantople” in July, his allies have been pressuring the Orthodox. Metropolitan Joseph of the Russian Orthodox Church acknowledged that some Orthodox were unhappy but said the new leaders generally supported unity. Catholics of course wanted the headquarters in Rome but Pope John-Paul III graciously accepted the result saying, “The time has come to set the past aside for the sake of world unity.” A few demonstrators outside the building where the council was held denounced the agreement but were taken into custody for psychiatric counseling.

BRUSSELS, 2026 MAY 1. The Ecumenical Council of Christian Unity concluded today with a celebration led by World Shepherd Chin which was conducted according to the Common Liturgy that was agreed on last week. The celebration began with the 6000 delegates reciting the Common Creed that they agreed on last year. After some discussion, it was decided that each delegate should recite the creed in their own language although the rest of the liturgy was in English which was the official language of the Council.

Many were surprised that it took so long to agree on a Common Liturgy after the heady days last year when the Council agreed on the Common Creed and the Common Clergy. In the end differing views of the meaning of the Sacraments weren’t mentioned. Shepherd of the Americas Roberto said “These issues were left to the conscience of the individual.” Others indicated this means that Local Shepherds would set their own policies.

Other controversial issues of the past such as the status of the Virgin Mary were treated the same way. Instead, the last argument was over the date of Easter (known in some places as Pascha and in China as the Great Morning). Surprisingly, this controversy delayed the Council for eight weeks. The final result is a complex combination of ancient, modern, and Chinese methods.

2008

The Lord is My Shepherd who Takes Care of Me

The Lord is my shepherd who takes care of me.
He makes me to lie down where grasses grow free.
He leads me by waters to drink and digest,
Restoring my soul and giving me rest.

He guides me down paths of the righteous and just
Because of his name, the one whom I trust.
When through a dark valley I can’t see the way,
I will not fear evil for with me you’ll stay.

Your rod and your staff are a comfort to see,
Protecting, correcting, and rescuing me.
You set me a table in front of my foes,
My head is anointed, my cup overflows.

Now truly your goodness and mercy are here
And follow me throughout the life I hold dear.
I go to the Lord’s house again and again;
May there be my dwelling forever. Amen.
________________

Meter: 11.11.11.11
Foundation (e.g., How Firm a Foundation)
Gordon (e.g., My Jesus, I Love Thee)

(c) 2009

God Created Earth and Heaven

God created earth and heaven
To begin all history.
Angels shouted out with joy when
He laid out the world to be
Dark and shapeless came the earth,
Wet and moving toward its birth.
God’s own Spirit softly hovered
Over waters as they quivered.

Piercing through the silent blackness,
God exclaimed, Let there be light!
He divided light from darkness,
Called light Day and darkness Night.
God saw that the light was good;
Solely on His Word it stood.
Evening shadows in rotation
Gave to morning day’s duration.

On the next day of creation
Waters swelled in full supply.
God said, Let there be expansion
Separating low from high.
Call it Heaven on display;
It was so the second day.
Evening shadows in rotation
Gave to morning day’s duration.

On the third day of creation
God said, Let the waters flow
Into Seas and call the region
Earth appearing from below.
Grass and herbs and fruit trees grew;
God declared their mass debut.
Evening shadows in rotation
Gave to morning day’s duration.

On the fourth day of creation
God said, Let there be two lights,
One to rule each day in motion,
One less bright to rule the nights.
God created stars besides,
And the planets to be guides.
Evening shadows in rotation
Gave to morning day’s duration.

On the fifth day of creation
God said, Waters bring forth life,
Birds and fish and great cetaceans,
All their kinds and free of strife.
God declared their blessed state
To abound and procreate.
Evening shadows in rotation
Gave to morning day’s duration.

On the sixth day of creation
God said, Bring forth from the Earth
Cattle, creeping things in action,
Beasts, and all their kinds to birth.
Lastly God said, Let us make
In our image man awake.
Let them have dominion regal
Over all from ant to eagle.

God created the first couple,
Told them multiply and fill
All the Earth, subdue and sample
Herbs and fruit on field and hill.
Creeping thing and bird and beast:
All were given herbs to feast.
Evening shadows in rotation
Gave to morning day’s duration.

Earth and Heaven were completed;
God ceased work and took a rest.
So the seventh day was hallowed;
The Creator called it blest.
Every facet God surveyed:
Very good was all He made.
Evening shadows in rotation
Gave to morning day’s duration.

God gave man and woman freedom
But with one condition made.
They took outlawed fruit and ate some,
Hid themselves, and were afraid.
God provided clothes of skin
For their labor under sin.
Shadows grew in each direction
Through the night of lost reflection.

On the day of new creation
God’s own Son arose from death.
He fulfilled mankind’s devotion,
Sacrificed with His last breath.
Trust in Him for life renewed
By His blood and body food.
Day eternal brings salvation,
Light seen now by revelation!

87.87.77.88

Suggested tune: Der Am Kreuz

Alternate: adapt 87.87.D (e.g., O du liebe)

(c) 2007-2008

Origins links

Evolution

Intelligent Design

Progressive Creation

Special Creation

Theistic Evolution

See also the American Scientific Affiliation

The short proof of creation

Ian Johnston has an interesting but flawed article on The Short Proof of Evolution, which prompted me to write A Short Critique of “The Short Proof of Evolution”. It also got me thinking about short arguments for creation. When combined together, the following arguments constitute a kind of proof of creation.

Matter and Life

Matter may be divided into living matter and non-living matter. Living matter generates other living matter through reproduction. There is no evidence that non-living matter ever produces living matter. Consider the question: What is the origin of living matter? If the reply is living matter, that evades the question of the origin of living matter. If the reply is non-living matter, that ignores the evidence that non-living matter does not produce living matter. Therefore, the origin of living matter is non-material.

Limits to Life

Consider exploring an old mine and finding a fossil and a piece of slag. There are good arguments that the fossil reflects the form of an organism that was once alive. But there are no good arguments that the piece of slag reflects the form of an organism that was once alive. We can recognize the difference between what could have be alive and what could not.

What does this show? It simply shows that there are limits to what could possibly have been a living form. It is not true that anything could have been a living form. There must be limits to what happened.

Now that it is established that limits exist to what could possibly have been a living form, the question is, “what are those limits?” Are there many limits or only a few? Are the limits simple or complex? What is the origin of these limits?

Kinds of Life

Consider carbon and copper: both are chemical elements but one is a metal and the other is not. That is, their differences are such that they are considered different kinds of elements. Similarly, the differences between human and non-human life are such that they must be different kinds of life.

Human and non-human life are different not only in degree but it kind. While there are many similarities between human and non-human beings (as if they had a common creator), they are poles apart in many ways, too.

G. K. Chesterton noted, “That man and brute are like is, in a sense, a truism; but that being so like they should then be so insanely unlike, that is the shock and enigma. That an ape has hands is far less interesting to the philosopher than the fact that having hands he does next to nothing with them; does not play knuckle-bones or the violin; does not carve marble or carve mutton.”

One can easily multiply the list of differences: humans alone make up names for things, laugh at jokes, tell lies, prove theorems, sign contracts, argue about creation, etc. etc. Note that these differences are not the kind that can be seen in fossils.

The point is simply that there is a qualitative barrier between human and non-human life. Human life is not merely a different species but a different kind of life. So there are at least two kinds of life, the humankind and the non-humankind (there may be other kinds of life, too).

Is there evidence that the qualitative barrier between the two kinds of life is breached over time? No, because it has not been directly observed and indirect evidence such as fossils cannot show the kinds of differences listed. The evidence indicates that species of one kind of life remain within that same kind of life. The origin of different kinds of life must be something different than other species.

Conclusion

If we combine these short arguments, we get this: Living matter must have a non-material origin, there are limits to the forms of life, there are at least two kinds of living matter, and the kinds of living matter must originate from something different than matter or other species. A non-material origin is called a creation and this creation must have limits and include two (or more) kinds of life.

2008

A short critique of “The Short Proof of Evolution”

Ian Johnston wrote an article called The Short Proof of Evolution. It has the merit of arguing for a general paradigm of evolution rather than a particular theory of evolution. It is accessible to a wide audience. And it is short. However, it falls far short of a proof. Here’s a short article why.

Johnston’s first point is “all living creatures must have a living parent.” Presumably, he means the parent must have been alive at some time since one’s parents may be deceased. This is an empirical conclusion that is presented as a universal proposition. Now as an empirical conclusion subject to empirical constraints, there is no problem with it. But Johnston wants to make a metaphysical point: there is no other possible origin of an organism other than from another organism. He provides no defense of this metaphysics.

Compare a similar statement: “all living human beings must have a pair of living parents.” If this is elevated from an empirical observation to a universal proposition (as Johnston does with his first point), then it would invalidate the evolution of humans from asexual organisms, contrary to evolutionary theory. One might as well conclude that humans have always existed.

His second point is “some living creatures are very different from some others.” This is certainly true. However, the real question is whether it is a difference of degree or of kind.

His final point is “simple animals and plants existed on earth long before more complex ones.” He tries to make this point by stating that fossil complexity and depth are directly related, with no exceptions. This begs the question of his uniformitarian assumptions. He admits that the existence of “a genuine fossil remnant” that went against this principle of interpretation would invalidate it.

In fact there is evidence to challenge this interpretation: the Cambrian explosion. This refers to the great quantity and diversity of life found in the Cambrian layer of the geologic column. Creationists have long pointed out the problem for evolution theory, namely that all the major groups (phyla) of life which appear in the Cambrian layer with no evolutionary ancestors. The main response from evolutionists has been to suggest possibilities that could explain why their theory lacks evidence.

For our purposes it is sufficient to note that Johnston’s third point has not been established, except in the sense that it is a point firmly believed by the evolutionary establishment.

In conclusion, Johnston’s first point does not address the ultimate origin of life and his third point is a matter of dispute. So the three points cannot be put together into a final argument. He has no proof.

I have online The Short Proof of Creation.

Nature, creation, and science

“Nature” commonly means creation apart from any consideration of God or transcendent reality. So one could say nature is creation as if there were no creator. “Naturalism” is the doctrine or belief that the world and all that is in it are completely natural, that is, there is no creator external to nature. So naturalism is the doctrine or belief that creation exists independently of God, hence that God is either non-existent or irrelevant.

“Natural science” is the study of nature, which based on the above means the study of creation without a creator. Natural science is inherently naturalistic because the word “nature” sidesteps the reality of God. So methodological naturalism is an essential feature of natural science as commonly understood. The methods of natural science are limited to developing explanations without reference to the reality and activity of God. Teleology and ultimate purpose are excluded.

Natural science is a system of acquiring knowledge based on empiricism, experimentation, and methodological naturalism, as well as the body of knowledge so acquired. Criteria for a good scientific theory include: parsimony (simplicity), consistency (with evidence and with itself), verifiability (or falsifiability), and fruitfulness (leads to new discoveries).

“Social sciences” are the study of aspects of humanity, such as psychology (behavior), sociology (society), and political science (government). The term “natural science” is often limited to the study of non-human aspects of “nature” (such as physics, chemistry, and biology). But that is misleading because nowadays the social sciences approach humanity as a part of nature.

“Creation” is the world and all that is in it, understood as being distinct from God, created by God, and dependent upon God. Creation is thus the product of God’s activity of creation. “Creationism” is the doctrine or belief that the world and all that is in it were created by God ex nihilio.

“Creation science” is the scientific study of creation. Its methods are similar to those of natural science but it is always open to explanations that include the reality and activity of God. Creation science is a discipline, not a theory. It includes the study of various aspects of creation such as the physical, chemical, biological, psychological sociological, and political. Such studies may have the same names as corresponding natural sciences and so may be confused with each other.

While creation science acknowledges the reality and activity of God, it does not study God per se. That is the subject of theology. But the activity of God in and through the creation is studied by creation science because such activity is open to human experience. Since the activity of God is not subject to human manipulation, some methods of natural science may not apply to creation science.

Creation science begins with creation as a product of God’s activity. The initial state of the created world may be studied by creation science as much as any other state is. Whether or not the world was created is a matter for philosophy and theology, not science.

Empirical evidence and arguments for and against evolution, intelligent design, the gap theory, the day-age theory, old earth creation, and young earth creation can take place within creation science. Theological arguments relevant to these theories are part of theology, not creation science.

While creation science and natural science have much in common, there are several key differences: creation science is methodologically creationist, that is, it assumes the doctrine that the world and all that is in it were created by God ex nihilio. Creation science theories may include teleology or purpose. In fact, teleology may be a criterion for a good theory. Finally, creation science is subject to limits derived from theological sources: (1) moral constraints on experimentation and (2) boundary conditions on theories.

If the theological constraints and boundary conditions are based on the Bible, it may be called biblical creation science. Since this is by far the most common form of creation science, the term “creation science” is often understood as a short form of “biblical creation science”.

Natural theology is a form of theistic apologetics in which nature is shown to be a creation of God. This is the study of creation limited to what is available to the “natural man”, that is, those who are unaware of God or transcendental reality. Natural theology is not science but often there are arguments for or against it in science literature.

October 2010

Explaining everything

Eureka! I found it! What is it? A principle that proves every mathematical theorem! Amazing, isn’t it? Now mathematics is completely solved. Everything is proved–everything. How is this done? Well, it turns out to be quite simple. No, I’m not a math genius. And you don’t have to be a math genius to understand it, either. Ready? Here it is:

Start with the Universal Theorem Prover: 1=0. Simple, isn’t it? All you need is 1=0. With this simple principle you can prove everything! But isn’t that a contradiction? Yes, of course! You just have to remember that if a contradiction is true, then so is everything else. Isn’t that great?

.

I suspect you aren’t impressed with the Universal Theorem Prover. It lacks meaning. It doesn’t really prove anything. Yet logically it does prove everything. That’s just the point: proving everything proves too much.

There is a trade-off between completeness and consistency. Yes, you can prove everything but the price is losing consistency. Alternately, you can retain consistency but you lose completeness. This is related to Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

Which shall it be–completeness or consistency? Keep this in mind.

Science has analogues to the Universal Theorem Prover. I call them Universal Explanation Engines (UEE). What does a UEE do? It explains everything. There’s nothing it can’t explain. Do you have a question? Do you have some puzzling evidence? It can all be explained by a UEE.

For example, there’s the It Just So Happened That Way UEE, which explains everything as the result of just so happening that way. Why is the Earth so finely tuned for life? It Just So Happened That Way. How did the first organism arise? It Just So Happened That Way. Why do migratory birds have such finely tuned navigation systems? It Just So Happened That Way. You get the idea.

There’s another UEE called Darwinism, commonly known as the theory of evolution. How did similar fossils arise? Evolution! How did dissimilar fossils arise? Evolution! How did simple organisms arise? Evolution! How did complex organisms arise? Evolution! How did well-designed organisms arise? Evolution! How did poorly designed organisms arise? Evolution! How did beautiful organisms arise? Evolution! How did ugly organisms arise? Evolution!

As one proponent put it, Darwinism is a “universal acid” because it explains (away) every religious belief. So how did religion arise? Evolution! Then how did evolution arise? Evolution!

Evolution explains everything! It’s a Universal Explanation Engine.

But wait–this is suspicious. Maybe this “explanation” doesn’t mean much of anything. Stop! Don’t think! Just say “Evolution!”

May 2008

The creation paradigm

Simply put, an historical paradigm is a storyline of history. A storyline is a theme that similar stories have. Compare this with what Imré Lakatos called “research programmes”:

For Lakatos, what we think of as a ‘theory’ may actually be a succession of slightly different theories and experimental techniques developed over time, that share some common idea, or what Lakatos called their ‘hard core’. Lakatos called such changing collections ‘Research Programmes’. [Wikipedia]

An historical paradigm is similar except that it concerns history rather than science. Here the Creation Paradigm is presented as the common idea of histories and theories around the concept of special creation. The core propositions of the creation paradigm are as follows.

Read more →

Creation history

A prima facie case can be made that mainline science conflicts with the Scriptures, that is, the Bible. For one thing, mainline science excludes final causes and follows naturalism so some conflict is inevitable. Naturalism excludes all miracles. The chronology of nature adopted by most science institutions is contrary to some historical parts of Scripture, at least if those parts are read as history. All these things come together in the question of the origin of creation.

Christians have dealt with these issues in various ways, and the main point to note is that there are reasonable ways of dealing with the question of origins that are consistent with Christianity. However, Christians disagree with one another on what is the best approach. Some consider science and Scripture to be operating in mutually exclusive realms that have no interaction (an idea that is found among some non-Christians as well). Often Christians accept as much science as they can and modify a few points to avoid head-on conflict. This is complemented by interpreting Scripture in a way that is compatible with mainline science. Theistic evolution and progressive creation are leading examples of this approach.

Intelligent design is a newcomer to the field of origins. ID proponents bring final causes into natural history and take exception to the assumption of naturalism. They accept mainline science in so far as it doesn’t presuppose naturalism. Finally, there are the creationists, who go beyond denying naturalism and declare boldly that the history presented in Scripture is correct and should be incorporated into science. This last group will be the focus here.

The study of origin of the universe, the earth, life, and humanity touches on science, history, philosophy, and theology. These short essays endeavor to show how they inter-relate.

The Creation Paradigm

Explaining Everything

Nature, Creation, and Science

A Short Critique of “The Short Proof of Evolution”

The Short Proof of Creation

Origins Links