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THE COMPLEXITY OF THE UNIVERSE

by Dr. Christopher Cagan

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, May 13, 2001


"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world" (Psalm 19:1-4).

On a cold night in January, while driving through rural Georgia, my wife Judith and I stopped our car and looked out at the stars. Without air pollution and city lights, we could see a lot more of God's creation than we could in a smoggy place like Los Angeles. We saw thousands and thousands of stars.

Then, up in the sky we saw a strip of light the color of milk. We were looking in through the disk of our galaxy, towards the center, and saw a band of stars too far away to see individually - but all together they painted the sky with a beautiful band the color of milk. It was beautiful.

Using a telescope, I have seen even more of God's glory in His universe. Some stars are bound together in clusters, others in pairs or triplet arrangements. Some are red and some are blue. Once I saw the Andromeda galaxy through a telescope. Though it is as big as our own galaxy and has as many stars, it is so far away that it was just a small white cloud when seen through the telescope I was using.

How great is the universe? How great is the God who made it? Greater than you or I can imagine!

It took a very big and very great God to make the universe as grand as it is. Our earth is about 25,000 miles in circumference (around the equator). About 240,000 miles away, the moon revolves around the earth and causes the tides of the oceans. Our sun is 93,000,000 miles away from the earth. It would take a jet plane many years to fly that distance!

But the sun is just one of many stars. The nearest star is about 24,000,000,000,000 miles away, so far that it takes light about four years to reach us from there (and so this star, Alpha Centauri, is said to be four light-years away). There are about 100,000,000,000 stars in our Milky Way spiral galaxy, and many of them have planets going around them. But even our galaxy is just one of about 100,000,000,000 galaxies, and the farthest galaxy is about 10,000,000,000 light-years away. How many stars did God make? Only He knows.

How great is the universe? How great is the God who made it? Greater than you or I can imagine!

The greatness and complexity of the universe testifies to the existence and to the eternal power and glory of God. The Bible says:

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:19-20).

The Bible says that you are "without excuse"! You say you don't believe in God. You say you don't believe in Christianity and the Bible. You say you're not sure there's any God greater than you are, and you're not sure there's any life or any judgment after you die. You say you want to study more. Well, go out at night and look at the stars! That's all the studying you need! Then seek a right relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you don't believe in the God of the Bible, it isn't because you're too smart. The Bible says you are "without excuse." You have no excuse!

But you and people like you don't want to face the God of the Bible. If you had to face God's judgment today, you'd be in trouble! The Bible says,

"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).

You may believe that God exists, but you don't want to meet the God of the Bible, because He would have to punish you for your sins.

And you don't want to believe in the God of the Bible, or in His Son, Jesus Christ, because you want to hold on to your sins. You want to keep on missing church on Sunday. You want to keep on in sexual sin. You want to keep on living for yourself. And that's why you say you don't believe in the God of the Bible. You make up some reason, from science, or any other reason, so you won't have to get right with God. The Bible says you have "changed the truth of God into a lie" (Romans 1:25). You hold on to some other belief in order to run away from the God of the Bible.

Today we're going to look at three of the lies that people cling to today. You've probably heard all three of them in school, on television - and everywhere around you! After looking at these three lies, we'll look at the truth from God:

1. The lie of reductionism
2. The lie of evolution
3. The lie of scientism and science fiction
4. The truth of God in Jesus Christ.

I.    First, there's the lie of reductionism.

Sinful people have, as they always do, perverted God's gifts and God's truth. Like a young person who doesn't appreciate what his parents have given him, lost sinners don't appreciate what God has done for them. They have taken God's creation and pushed away the God who made it in the first place. They "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature (created thing) more than the Creator" (Romans 1:25).

"Reductionism" sounds like a fancy word - but you should know it. You've heard the ideas of reductionism a hundred times or more. It just means that everything and everybody is just a collection of atoms, nothing more. According to this false theory, there is no God and nothing after you're dead. You've probably heard people say, "When you're dead, you're dead. That's all there is to it." That's the lie of reductionism.

According to this idea, you and I don't really exist at all! We're just a bunch of atoms moving around. According to this idea, the important things that make life worth living are fakes. When two married people say to each other, "I love you," there is nothing real called "love" which they have for each other. It's just that the atoms in their bodies are moving this way and that - and nothing else, nothing more.

In a recent article, Newsweek magazine said the same thing. Newsweek said that when a person experiences God it's all an illusion - his brain is just playing tricks on him, and that's all. The magazine wrote:

In the new field of "neurotheology," scientists seek the biological basis of spirituality. Is God all in our heads?
    ("Religion and the Brain," Newsweek, May 7, 2001).

But is it all a trick? When you look at the sun, your eyes and your brain register the sensations of light and heat. Does it mean that there is no sun out there - and it's all a trick of your brain? No! It means that your eyes and your brain are doing the jobs God made them to do - they see and feel the light and heat of the sun - the sun that is really there. There really is a sun out there, and you can tell it's there. In the same way, there is a God in Heaven - and you can come to know Him through Jesus Christ - unless you'd rather not know him - unless you want to keep on sinning more than find the God who made you.

If there were no God, if the universe simply existed by itself, it would be a very boring and disorderly place. Atoms and particles would shuffle around at random with no particular pattern and no definite purpose. They would move in a "sloppy soup" forever and never form intricate structures able to carry out complicated and purposeful actions. The British philosopher William Paley (1743-1805) explained complexity as evidence of design in this way:

Suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place…For this reason, and for no other, viz. That when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive…that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose.

Atoms could never assemble themselves into a working watch by random and purposeless motion. The watch requires a watchmaker, an intelligent designer.

I typed the manuscript of this sermon on a computer - the kind that can be bought in stores for a few hundred dollars today. Sixty years ago, when my father was a teenager, a computer like this couldn't have been built and you couldn't have bought it for all the money in the world. Computers hadn't been invented yet. And when they were first invented, they cost millions of dollars and were many times less powerful than the machines that anyone can buy for a few hundred dollars in an office supply store today.

Now, you wouldn't say that my computer, or yours, exists by itself, or somehow made itself up out of nothing. No, it is clear that thousands of people put an incredible amount of thinking to make that computer possible, to design it and to put it together. Well, it's the same, only a billion times over, with the universe. The universe in its scientific structure is far more complicated and requires far more intelligence than any computer. Why not give glory to the God who designed and made it all?

It is not hard to see that you and I are more than just a bunch of vibrating atoms living in a jumbled and meaningless world. So why do people invent and teach such ideas? Why do you believe ideas like that? The answer is simple: because you want to sin. People who want to break God's law invent an excuse for themselves.

The courts have heard it, and taught it, ten thousand times. The idea first put forth by the agnostic Clarence Darrow was this: "They couldn't help it." "It was in the genes." "It was in the environment." "It was the fault of society." "Why, you can't put a murderer to death, it was all the fault of his genes, his social environment, the chemicals in his body, and there was nothing he could do about it!" Well, I live in inner-city Los Angeles, and I can't go out on the street at night because somebody might follow his genes or his atoms and jump on me. Baloney!

In the old days, back in the 20th century, the Communists used the same old excuse. "There is no God," they said. "People are just material objects, and nothing more." They said this so it wouldn't sound so bad when they killed millions upon millions of people to take power and stay in power. These ideas didn't help anyone. They left nothing behind them except piles of bones.

Back in the 20th century, the U.S. Supreme Court used the same excuse as the Communists for killing people. "Unborn babies aren't really people, they're just chemicals and biological tissue," said the "justices" in the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973. Killing 40 million babies (more than six times as many people as Hitler exterminated) hasn't built a better society. It has made America into a near-empty killing field, wide open for the occupation of people from other countries who don't abort their babies. Millions pour across our borders to fill the vacuum caused by the American Holocaust.

And even today, people use this old 20th century excuse when they want to commit sexual sin. "I couldn't help it. It's just what my body does." This lie is presented in the public schools, and in the movies, television, and music of today. Well, God knew that you had a body. He gave it to you in the first place. And God intended for men and women to get married and have sexual relations within that bond. The Bible says:

"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).

The marriage bed is not defiled, not contaminated (Hebrews 13:4). But when you have sex outside of marriage, that bed is defiled. That bed is contaminated. God sees your dirty sin and He will punish you for it. You need to get your sins washed away by the Blood of Jesus Christ before it's too late.

You're not just a body. You're not just a bunch of chemicals. You are a person, and you are responsible for your actions. Get right with God through Jesus Christ before it's too late!

II.   Second, there's the lie of evolution.

Since the days of Charles Darwin, many rebellious people have hid from God in the theory of evolution . Darwin published his famous book, The Origin of Species, in 1859. This book was sold completely out of the bookstores the first day it was offered - because people wanted to believe it. It gave them a "religious faith" with which to replace Christianity.

Today, evolution is taught as an accepted truth in most classrooms across our land. According to this theory, the atoms and molecules of a long-ago "soup" bounced against each other for millions of years. By a combination of random chance and scientific principles, they somehow organized themselves in more and more complicated ways, until simple organisms were formed. These organisms competed in survival and only the "fittest" survived. Mutations and asteroids crashing into the earth produced changes in the blueprints of plants and animals, until we arrived at the world as we know it today.

There's one thing wrong with the theory of evolution: IT ISN'T TRUE. The simplest organism is far too complicated to arise without a Designer, even after allowing for all scientific principles of material organization, complexity theory, and preferred arrangements of molecules.

Here is an extended quotation from Evolution: a Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton (pp. 328-329). Dr. Denton is an Australian molecular biologist and medical doctor. He explains eloquently that even a simple cell is an extremely complicated construction, which could not possibly have risen from random interactions of atoms and molecules. He writes:

      To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometre in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly places in the outer regions of the cell.
      We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines. We would notice that the simplest of the functional components of the cell, the protein molecules, were astonishingly, complex pieces of molecular machinery, each one consisting of about three thousand atoms arranged in highly organized 3-D spatial conformation. We would wonder even more as we watched the strangely purposeful activities of these weird molecular machines, particularly when we realized that, despite all our accumulated knowledge of physics and chemistry, the task of designing one such molecular machine - that is one single functional protein molecule - would be completely beyond our capacity at present…Yet the life of the cell depends on the integrated activities of thousands, certainly tens, and probably hundreds of thousands of different protein molecules.
      We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding machines, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and molecular construction. In fact, so deep would be the feeling of deja-vu, so persuasive the analogy, that much of the terminology we would use to describe this fascinating molecular reality would be borrowed from the world of…technology.
      What we would be witnessing would be an object resembling an immense automated factory, a factory larger than a city and carrying out almost as many unique functions as all the manufacturing activities of man on earth. However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equalled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure in a matter of a few hours. To witness such an act at a magnification of one thousand million times would be an awe-inspiring spectacle.

Remember that he is writing about just one single cell! The human body consists of uncounted billions of cells of different types, arranged together in incredibly complicated structures and patterns. The complexity of one cell, not to speak of the human body itself, is impossible to understand in terms of simple molecular motion and random or semi-random combinations. The amount of information required is staggering, and requires an intelligent Designer.

The Bible says that every person is "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). The human race did not evolve by accident. The first man and woman were created, made in a special way, by God. And you're not here by accident. God knows everything about you. And you'll have to stand before Him some day.

As always, the Bible presents a better scientific picture than Charles Darwin did. The Bible says that God performed His creative work in six days. On the third day, God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so" (Genesis 1:11).

On the fifth day, God said, "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good" (Genesis 1:20-21).

On the sixth day, God did two things. First, God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so" (Genesis 1:24). Second, God said, "Let us make man" (Genesis 1:26).

These verses from Genesis refute the theory of evolution. Over and over the Bible says that each living creature brings forth descendants "after his kind." Now, variations are possible within the boundaries of what the Bible calls "kinds." If people bring red-haired dogs together for generation after generation, the result will be a pure-bred line of red-haired dogs. If these dogs are then allowed to mix with dogs of other colors, all sorts of mixtures and combinations will result. But the dogs will always stay within their Biblical "kind." They will never produce birds, fish, or people. Those creatures can only arise from their own kinds.

If at any point God had stopped, nothing more would have been created. If God had stopped after the third day, there wouldn't be any animals or people, just plants. If God had stopped part of the way through the sixth day, there would never have been any humans. The different kinds of creatures are not mere reductions to the basic atoms from which they were built. They didn't evolve one into another! They required a separate command, a separate word from God, in order to exist. God knew what He was doing. And it was God who did it!

God made you as a person, a human being, not as mere atoms and chemicals. Yes, God created the first man from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7a) but He did not stop there. He breathed the breath of life into the first man (Genesis 2:7b) and defined Adam as a living soul (Genesis 2:7c), more than just the dust from which his body was made. God looks upon you as a living soul, and He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for you, though you have been an ungodly sinner (ref. Romans 5:6, 8). Will you not trust Jesus today?

III.  Third, there's the lie of scientism and science fiction.

Before I became a Christian, I read a lot of science fiction. In fact, my hope was in science. I believed that man would solve every problem through science. That's the doctrine of scientism- that science is the highest truth and that the answers to our problems can be found through science. I believed that someday soon we would be flying to the stars and building great civilizations through the heavens. I watched "Star Trek" on television and read many novels and stories in magazines. My hope lay in science solving all of mankind's problems.

When I became a Christian, I had to give up my false hope. I read the Bible completely through before I became a Christian. I wanted to find out what the Bible was all about. One thing the Bible taught was that my science-fiction dreams were wrong.

The Bible doesn't teach that people will fly across the universe and build civilizations over the galaxy in this present age. No, in the Bible, the action happens on our own planet! The Bible teaches that Jesus will come back to Israel, on our own earth, and not to some other planet or galaxy. The Bible says:

"And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives…and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee" (Zechariah 14:4-5).

Before Jesus returns, the Bible teaches there will come a terrible period of tribulation headed up by a world dictator called the Antichrist - and all these things will happen on our own Earth, not somewhere else. And when Jesus does come back, He will set up His kingdom for a thousand years and reign over this planet. The drama of the Bible takes place here, not on other planets. As I read and thought, I knew that I would have to give up my science-fiction dreams, and I did.

Why does God put a limit on man's space travels? Why will Jesus come back to Earth before man travels to other stars? The answer is simple: God won't let a Star Trek occur because He doesn't want any Star Wars!

The human race is by nature contaminated with sin. Every human being is born with a sin nature, and that's where fighting and wars come from (ref. James 4:1). Look at how people are ruining this beautiful Earth that God made for us, destroying one species after another and cutting down the trees that produce the air we breathe. Look at how people mistreat and even kill one another by the millions. Look at how almost everyone ignores God and treats Him as though He were not important.

You have treated God as though He were not important. You have missed church for almost any reason - family, study, work, a friend, anything! You have treated God as though He were not important. You've committed one sin after another. Why would God want to expand the stain of sin all over His universe?

Why would God want to spread "sin-pollution" from mankind to other stars and planets? It would spread the horrible ruin of human sin over a larger distance! And that's what most science fiction is about! Wars and killing and one sin after another - the same as it is today, only on a bigger scale - would be spread throughout the universe! For man to carry sin and destruction to every planet of a thousand galaxies may be the devil's agenda, but it isn't God's desire. Why should God let us ruin everything everywhere as we are doing here and now? He won't.

For God to call an end to the human sin-drama is really an act of love as much as it is an act of justice. Someday soon, God will say, "It is enough." When lost and rebellious humanity destroys everything in a final act of rebellion against its Maker, God will send Jesus Christ back to the Mount of Olives from which He ascended, to set up His Kingdom on the earth. After the thousand-year kingdom will come the final rebellion of man and the Last Judgment. There will be no travel across the stars and galaxies until God has dealt firmly and finally with man's sin.

Are you ready for the Judgment? Are your sins washed away in the Blood of Jesus Christ?

IV.   Fourth and finally, let's hear the truth of God in Jesus Christ.

William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) has been portrayed by the media and Hollywood as a fool for defending the Bible against evolution. But Bryan was no fool. He was the Democratic Party nominee for president in 1896, 1900 and 1908. And history shows that the first man he ran against, McKinley, was not of the quality of a man like Bryan. McKinley is hardly remembered today. Bryan was Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1915) and had the moral courage to resign rather than back the president in plunging our nation into World War I, "the unfinished war," that did little good and much wickedness. Bryan's arguments on the subject of creation and evolution are solid and convincing. His great speech, The Bible or Evolution? , is available from Sword of the Lord, P.O. Box 1099, Murfreesboro, TN 37133 for only fifty cents. Get it and read the convincing arguments of this great American against the evil of evolution. Bryan correctly said:

There never was a time when we needed religion more than today. We need it in the world; we need it in this country. Look at the sin and crime in our own country…There are (thousands of) college men in our prisons; how much good has education done them? The country spent its money to educate them, but their hearts went wrong, and their hearts took their brains with them. Brains that are trained for the good of the country were turned to the plunder of society and there is no hope unless we can get back to a religion that makes men believe in God and a future life and gives them a sense of responsibility. The world needs Christ (pp. 28-29).

The wretched, cold, hedonistic, lonely, meaningless society of our day proves that Bryan was right - and his opponents were wrong. Read the newspaper. A society gone wrong proves Bryan to have been one of the few in his day with the insight to see you can't live in a world without love, without meaning - without God!

Bryan was right about you. Your heart went wrong. That's it - your heart went wrong. You have sin in your heart, and sin in your life. The Bible says:

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"
   (Romans 3:23).

You have sinned. You have broken God's commandments. Your sins are written down in God's books. You will stand in front of God at the Last Judgment, and your sins will be read. You will be sent to the Lake of Fire for your sins:

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works… And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:12,15).

The Bible tells you that Jesus Christ died to pay for your sins. Then He rose from the dead. The Bible says:

"Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

The Bible tells you that the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was shed to wash your sins away:

"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin"
   (I John 1:7).

Without Jesus, you don't have the truth, and you don't have life. You have no hope of Heaven. Jesus said:

"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

You've got to have Jesus! Jesus shed His Blood to wash your sins away. He rose from the dead. He is in Heaven now, at the right hand of God, waiting for you to come to Him, to believe on Him. The Bible says:

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
   (Acts 16:31).

Believe on Jesus today! Trust Jesus today! Come to Jesus today! May God bless you as you do it.



Scripture Read Before Sermon: Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-25.
Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "How Big Is God?"

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."




THE OUTLINE OF

THE COMPLEXITY OF THE UNIVERSE

by Dr. Christopher Cagan

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world" (Psalm 19:1-4).

(Romans 1:19-20; Hebrews 10:31; Romans 1:25)

I.   The lie of reductionism, Romans 1:25; Hebrews 13:4

II.  The lie of evolution, Psalm 139:14; Genesis 1:11,20-21,24,26;
Genesis 2:7; Romans 5:6,8.

III. The lie of scientism and science fiction, Zechariah 14:4-5;
James 4:1.

IV.  The truth of God in Jesus Christ, Romans 3:23;
Revelation 20:12,15; I Corinthians 15:3-4; I John 1:7;
John 14:6; Acts 16:31.