History records a man who lived 10 generations after a great Flood who used celestial science to prove the existence of God. This wealthy and influential ruler became a key figure in the history of ancient Austria. He was a skilled scientist, astronomer and mathematician. His astronomical discoveries shook the foundations of Babylonian religion. He heavily influenced not only Austrian culture, but also Egyptian scientific thought. He led armies that altered the course of Assyrian history.
And all this took place BEFORE he became the forefather of the Arab, Turk and Israelite peoples!
This man’s name was Abraham. Yes, the astounding evidence of both biblical and secular history proves that the patriarch Abraham was not only real; he exerted a tremendous effect on the ENTIRE ANCIENT WORLD! This influence is recounted in the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus, the Babylonian historian Berossus, the Roman historian Eusebius and in the medieval Austrian Chronicle.
Before the philosophy of German rationalism took root in modern education in the 19th century, secular histories regarding biblical patriarchs were widely taught. Based on the record of Berossus and other ancient historians, many books were written by scholars in the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries that recounted the lives of Noah, Shem, Nimrod, Abraham, Moses and many others.
These ancient records reveal that Abraham used mathematics and astronomy to discredit the pagan priesthood of his time, and to PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF THE ONE TRUEGOD.
Abraham was born in the city of Ur, in the land of the Chaldees, sometime around the year 1996 B.C. (James Ussher, Annals of the World,A.D. 1650). This city was then part of the world-ruling Assyrio-Babylonian Empire. While modern historians often downplay the impact of the old Assyrio-Babylonian Empire, the Roman historian Velleius Paterculus lists this kingdom as the first world empire.
Quoting an earlier source in his book Roman History, Paterculus writes, “Between this time [when Rome conquered Macedonia] and the beginning of the reign of Ninus, king of the Assyrians, who was the first to hold world power, lies an interval of nineteen hundred and ninety-five years” (emphasis added).
Rome conquered Macedonia during the middle of the second century before Christ, so King Ninus probably began his hold on world power sometime during the 22nd century B.C.
This was less than 200 years before Abraham’s birth.
Ninus is identified in the first-century Recognitions of Clement as the biblical Nimrod. The Bible records that Nimrod became the post-Flood world’s first emperor by protecting people from wild animals and gathering them into cities such as Babel, Erech and Accad (Genesis 10:8-12).
This biblical passage also records that Asshur, forefather of the Assyrians, went out of Babel and founded Nineveh. As the context of these verses indicates, however, it was Nimrod who led Asshur out of Babel and who actually supervised the construction of Nineveh (the city of Ninus).
Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily wrote his Bibliotheca Historica sometime between 60 and 30 B.C. He records that Ninus and his wife Semiramis ruled an empire stretching from Libya to the borders of India. Yet they rebelled against God and set up a pagan religion based on the worship of the sun and the fiery serpent associated with it.
Babylonian Mystery Religion
The pagan Babylonian priesthood publicly taught the masses to believe that the sun, moon, stars and planets were gods. Semiramis was identified with the planet Venus, while Nimrod was honored as the sun god. These priests used their knowledge of astronomy to predict the movements of the heavenly bodies, deceiving the masses into thinking they could communicate with the gods of the Babylonian pantheon (Israel Smith Clare, The Standard History of the World, Vol. 1).
As Nimrod and Semiramis expanded their kingdom, they ran into opposition from Noah’s son Shem. An ancient tradition relates that the apostates who joined in the rebellion of Nimrod made war against Shem and his followers. Shem is said to have obtained the aid of 72 Egyptian noblemen to overcome Nimrod. After Shem killed Nimrod, he had his body cut into pieces, and the pieces sent to various areas as a warning against idolatry (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons).
Shem’s actions, however, only temporarily halted the spread of idolatry.
“The religion started by Semiramis was carried into the different nations in the language of each. Semiramis and Nimrod were also identified with the names Isis and Osiris in Egypt. Each nation had its own names for its gods. But the whole labyrinth of pagan religions developed from that which originated with Semiramis.”
In the province of Sumeria, Semiramis was worshiped as the goddess Inanna, the morning and evening star. Nimrod was called Dumuzid, a god who was a precursor of the Babylonian Tammuz.
According to a list of Assyrian kings that Sextus Julius Africanus recorded in his early third century A.D.Chronographiai, Nimrod’s father, Cush, ruled 55 years. Nimrod ruled 52 years after his father’s death, and Semiramis ruled 42 years after Nimrod’s death.
Taking into account evidence of a joint reign between Nimrod and Cush, it becomes evident that Abraham was likely born around the end of the reign of Empress Semiramis. Ctesias of Cnidus, a Greek physician in the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes II, records that Semiramis was killed in a palace coup led by her son Ninyas after she returned from a failed invasion of India.
This was the political climate into which Abraham was born.
Chief Scientist of the Chaldeans
Now consider the record of the ancient Babylonian historian Berossus: “In the tenth generation after the Flood, there was among the Chaldeans a man righteous and great, and skillful in the celestial science.” While Berossus doesn’t give this great scientist a name, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus tells us Berossus was writing about Abraham, the same man recorded by the Bible.
Josephus mentions that the Greek historian Hecatæus of Abdera wrote an entire book of the accomplishments of Abraham (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, ChapterVII). Since Hecatæus was a scholar during the time of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, it can be assumed that his book on Abraham was lost when the royal Library of Alexandria was burned.
There is even an ancient Jewish hymn cited by Clement of Alexandria about “a certain unique man, an offshoot from far back of the race of the Chaldeans.” This man was “knowledgeable about the path of the star and how the movement of the sphere goes around the Earth, both in circular fashion, but each on its own axis.” The poem related that this scientist of the Chaldeans was the only man of his era to see Zeus, “the ruler of mortal men.”
Of course, ancient Greek poets tended to call the chief god of any religion by the name Zeus. The fact that this poem speaks of a Chaldean scientist who had a special relationship with “the mighty God” isn’t coincidence!
The fourth-century Roman historian Eusebius cited an earlier source by a man named Eupolemus: Concerning the Jews of Assyria. Quoting this source, Eusebius says Abraham “surpassed all men in nobility and wisdom, who was also the inventor of astronomy and the Chaldaic art, and pleased God well by his zeal towards religion.”
As a young man, Abraham “determined to renew and to change the opinion all men happened then to have concerning God; for he was the first that ventured to publish this notion, that there was but one God, the Creator of the Universe” (Josephus, op cit).
Abraham was teaching the people of Chaldea about the ONE TRUE CREATOR!
The Fight Against Paganism
The pagan priesthood established by Nimrod and Semiramis was teaching the masses to believe that the sun, moon, stars and planets were manifestations of the gods. They deceived people into thinking priests could communicate with these gods.
In addition to being a scientist, however, Abraham was a great teacher. He taught the people physics and mathematics, and showed them that the celestial bodies moved according to preordained laws.
Josephus paraphrases Abraham’s words: “If these bodies had power of their own, they would certainly take care of their own regular motions; but since they do not preserve such regularity, they make it plain, that in so far as they cooperate to our advantage, they do it not of their own abilities, but as they are subservient to Him that commands them, to whom alone we ought justly to offer our honor and thanksgiving” (ibid).
Abraham taught the Chaldeans what the priests secretly knew: The movements of the stars and other heavenly bodies are one of the greatest proofs of God’s existence. THE PRESENCE OF LAW DEMANDS THE PRESENCE OF A LAWGIVER!
As perhaps the most famous scientist in the land of the Chaldeans, Abraham declared the stars and planets were only physical objects created by the one true God!
“What is most certain is that Abraham’s scientific knowledge came through his connection with the Creator God, the one source powerful enough to create stars and galaxies and suns and moons and planets, brilliant enough to set them all in order according to perfect laws—and loving enough to teach those laws.”
What many historians are unwilling to admit is that Abraham possessed advanced astronomical knowledge that would not be rediscovered for thousands of years!
Read E.W. Bullinger's "Witness of the Stars"
Yet Josephus further records that Abraham wasn’t the first astronomer in his family. The study of astronomy originated in the family line of Seth, the third son of Adam. He wrote that “God gave [those who lived before the Flood] such long life that they might perfect those things which they had invented in astronomy.” Other ancient records indicate that Noah had knowledge of maritime astronomy involving navigating by the stars. This noble and elderly patriarch likely brought knowledge of mathematics, astronomy and other sciences from one side of the Flood to the other, passing it down from generation to generation to Abraham!
Father of the Faithful
According to The Biblical Companion, a Bible study aid published by William Carpenter in 1836, the idolatrous worship introduced by Semiramis didn’t obtain great ascendancy in Assyria till the days of her grandson Arioch, King of Elessar. Abraham would spend most of Arioch’s 30-year-reign fighting against this idolatrous worship (Genesis 14).
As the pagan priests of the Assyrio-Babylonian Empire gained power and influence, they lost patience with Abraham and his teachings about the one true God.
Josephus records that the Chaldeans and other peoples of Mesopotamia “raised a tumult” against Abraham, forcing him to flee the country. Unlike the priests of this Babylonian mystery religion, Abraham refused to teach lies to receive the praise of men.
These pagan religious leaders would have killed Abraham for publishing the truth and likely did kill his older brother Haran. The Bible only records that Haran “died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees” (Genesis 11:28). Josephus adds that a monument was erected in Haran’s honor, and that “Terah [hated] Chaldea, on account of his mourning for Haran” (op cit).
While Terah himself fell into idol worship, Abraham never lost faith in the existence of the great Creator of the universe.
To recount all the various histories of the things Abraham suffered during this period would fill many pages. He fought in battle against the feudal lord of the land of Aligemorum and lost. He was driven from his country and for a long time fell into poverty. He wandered with his followers along the banks of the Danube River until he came to the edge of the known world. There, in the Alpine valleys of Europe, he helped found one of the most sophisticated cultures of the ancient world. Then, in the course of time, he returned to Chaldea to connect with the family he had to leave behind.
Through his trials and tribulations, however, Abraham stayed faithful to his belief in God until; when he was 75 years old; Yehovah - God actually appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him that would change the course of history! Abraham knew more about the stars than any man of his era; so God made him a promise that if he continued to obey the one true Creator God, his descendants would be more numerous than the stars.
Most of this amazing history is actually corroborated in secular sources. Yet God summarizes what is most vital for us to know about Abraham in the pages of the Bible. James 2:23 states: “And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” ▪
I am a year(ish) away from earning my Ph.D. in neuroscience (the study of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system). As I went through eight years of science education, many people have asked me: How do you stay close to God while being bombarded by all this science?
I think it’s important first to define what science really is. It is easy to want to avoid science if it seems like a collection of questionable “facts” assembled by scientists who are biased against God. But science is actually investigation: an organized, rigorous, and ongoing attempt to find truth. It is a process, not a corpus. Isaac Asimov, a biochemist and the author of the novel I, Robot, said: “Science doesn’t purvey absolute truth. Science is a mechanism. It’s a way of trying to improve your knowledge of nature. It’s a system for testing your thoughts against the universe and seeing whether they match. And this works, not just for the ordinary aspects of science, but for all of life.”
In addition to understanding that science is a process for discovery, I also started out with a critical belief: God’s Word is the foundation of all truth (John 17:17). Everything that I hear, everything that I learn, I compare to what God says. Without this starting point, my journey would have veered off course a long time ago. Albert Einstein said, “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”
Because I understand what science really is, and because I believe God’s Word is the foundation of truth, being a scientist does not hinder my relationship with God. My scientific journey has actually helped me grow closer to God in a few distinct ways.
I have learned to love and pursue truth
There is so much information available to us today, and in many cases no one is held accountable for whether what they say is true. It’s easy to find information that matches what I already think is right. It is easy to find information that makes up in emotion, bias and curiosity what it lacks in truth. But God expects more from me: “I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). The scientific method has made me question whether I really love truth. Am I able to admit I was wrong when I find good evidence that refutes what I believe? Do I let my pride influence my opinions? It is very difficult to let go of a hypothesis or theory that I thought really made sense when I get results I don’t expect. But because science is a controlled process, it is a great mechanism for eliminating lies and false information. When my hypothesis is disproven, I must adjust my thinking. God takes this matter very seriously. Proverbs 19:5 says: “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape.”
I also need to use this same attitude in my spiritual life. Paul says, “[Love] does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). I cannot try to interpret God’s Word the way that I want it to go. I must be humble enough to seek God’s truth, even when it goes against what I think should be true. And I have found that the ongoing search for truth can be a challenging, exhilarating experience. It takes more work and is a very humbling process, but in the end brings godly love and peace.
I have learned humility
One of the reasons I decided to pursue neuroscience was because there is so much still to learn. We are nowhere near understanding how the human brain works–we’re still trying to figure out how the nervous system of a worm works . This is true in every crevice of creation. God made the physical world so wonderfully complicated that we will be studying it until Christ returns.
Here’s a short example: In the brain there are neurons (the main cells that talk to each other). They communicate with each other by sending chemicals or neurotransmitters (like calcium, dopamine, GABA) across synapses, which are little spaces between neurons. The neurotransmitters are sent and received through little molecular channels. Sounds simple, right? Except that for each neurotransmitter there are many different types of channels that respond in different ways based on the environment of the cell, other surrounding chemicals, the type of cells that are involved, etc. If we just focus on calcium, there are at many, many types of calcium channels, which open and close in different environments, deactivate at different times, and serve various purposes in different areas of cells. For each type of calcium channel, there are multiple subtypes of that channel. For each channel subtype, in each type of cell, scientists must isolate the channel and interrogate it (experimentally) to discover what properties it has, what its purpose is, and what happens when it doesn’t work properly. And that is all just for one tiny molecule. As I delve deeper into understanding God’s creation, it allows me to appreciate just how detailed, how organized, how beautiful God is.
With the physical world being this complicated, how much more amazing is the spirit world? We can’t even begin to comprehend it. Studying God’s physical creation helps me maintain an awe and reverence toward Him that is otherwise easy to lose. “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders!” (Exodus 15:11).
I have learned to deal with uncertainty
As I said before, the results we get from science experiments are far from indisputable facts. Instead, each result is a tiny piece in the puzzle that is our world. Each piece is likely, but not definitely true. That’s why we have statistics: to show how likely each result is to be true. This is the way our world works–our experiments, our measurements, even our senses aren’t perfect. There is always some amount of uncertainty–some amount of risk–that is incorporated into everything we do. As a scientist, I have come to accept this. We will never have all the answers, and we can never be completely sure of what we know. That is why God’s Word is so comforting and so critical. It is the one thing we have that we can truly be sure of. God didn’t provide us the answers to everything yet, but He gave us enough information so that we can have successful lives, so that we can grow in character, and so we can have hope for the future. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:7).
I have learned to widen my perspective
At the end of the book of Job, God asks: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4). And, “Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart (Job 38:36)?” It is easy to forget what a limited perspective humans have. Science allows us to expand our perspective a few orders of magnitude. We can now see cells and molecules and atoms , as well as galaxies in the universe . Science enables us to get a small glimpse of the way God sees the universe. And I like to think about the fact that God can see all these different views at once. He sees neurotransmitters flowing across the synapses in your brain; He sees the moons orbiting Saturn; He sees you.
The fact that science allows us to expand our perspective is important because it is so easy to get absorbed in one physical perspective and forget all the others. It is so easy to automatically question God when hard things happen in my life: “Why would God allow this to happen?” “How come God won’t just give me this one thing–I know it would be good for me.” It’s easy to forget how much bigger a view God has. He knows me better than I know myself (1 Kings 8:39) and He knows how everything works together (Job 38). Many times things that seem so clear aren’t true at all. Science shows us that.
I have learned to appreciate God’s power and creativity
Paul expressed this beautifully: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
The English chemist and Nobel Prize winner Sir Cyril Herman Hinshelwood said, “[Science is] an imaginative adventure of the mind seeking truth in a world of mystery.”
Science isn’t a scary or inherently bad thing. God made the world, and for me, becoming a scientist has allowed me to grow in knowledge, character, humility, respect and creativity.
Imagine for a moment being one of the world’s foremost atheists. You’ve basked in the fame of academic circles for 50 years and have written more than 30 books, many of which are hailed as hallmarks of atheistic thought. You’re highly respected, honored as one of the world’s brightest minds.
Then, suddenly, you announce you have reversed course and now believe in God.
You can imagine the reaction from most of your colleagues and the secular press—mostly anger, scorn and a withering hail of criticism.
What made you sacriﬁce your reputation and good standing among many of your peers, knowing full well how unpopular your belief in God was going to be, especially in an increasingly secular and atheistic society?
“I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an inﬁnite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God.”
It’s a fascinating story, and one that holds many valuable answers for young and old alike who have asked the most basic and most important question: Does God exist?
It’s not often that you can view this topic from the other side of the aisle—from one who had been a champion of atheistic thought and had based his life and teachings on the premise that God did not exist.
Who is this person? His name is Dr. Antony Flew, an Oxford professor who spent 50 years teaching philosophy and constructing clever arguments to support an atheistic point of view.
Why did he change his mind? And more importantly, why did he go public about his acceptance of God’s existence, knowing the damage to his reputation among his colleagues that would follow?
Prior to his death in 2010, Dr. Flew wrote a book in 2007 titled There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, explaining why he had reversed his long-held position and what had compelled him to admit he had been wrong. It’s not often that we see a premier philosopher who was an atheist explain why he changed his mind and came to believe in a divine Creator. His reasons are great answers to those who question God’s existence.
A principle to guide your life
In his book Dr. Flew mentioned that early in life, he came on a principle that would guide his career: Follow the evidence wherever it leads, no matter how unpopular that may be.
In his youth, he thought the evidence at that time backed an atheistic perspective, namely, that the scientiﬁc data and philosophical reasonings pointed more toward a belief that God did not exist.
Yet, he mentioned, from the 1980s on, the evidence started turning against atheism and toward a Creator God. He then had to reluctantly reassess his beliefs.
“I now believe,” he came to admit, “that the universe was brought into existence by an inﬁnite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science” ( There Is a God , p. 88, emphasis added throughout ).
In particular, he oﬀered three lines of evidence that convincingly led him to his belief in God.
How did the laws of nature come to be?
The ﬁrst of these has to do with the origin of the laws of nature.
Dr. Flew was quite candid about his former atheistic views on the laws of nature, which are the standard explanation against God’s existence. Yet he would later call this type of reasoning “the peculiar danger, the endemic evil, of dogmatic atheism” (p. 86).
This is the assumption that things in the universe exist as they are and should be accepted as such without much further thought. It had been his defense against any questions about the ultimate origins of what exists.
He noted: “Take such utterances as, ‘We should not ask for an explanation of how it is that the world exists; it is here and that’s all’ or ‘Since we cannot accept a transcendent source of life, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance from matter’ or ‘The laws of physics are “lawless laws” that arise from the void—end of discussion.’ They look at ﬁrst sight like rational arguments that have a special authority because they have a no-nonsense air about them. Of course, this is no more sign that they are either rational or arguments” (p. 87).
As the growing body of evidence in science and technology pointed increasingly to a more theistic explanation of the universe, he asserted that these standard atheistic explanations were becoming antiquated and untenable.
“My departure from atheism was not occasioned by any new phenomenon or argument,” he said. “Over the last two decades, my whole framework of thought has been in a state of migration. This was a consequence of my continuing assessment of the evidence of nature. When I ﬁnally came to recognize the existence of a God, it was not a paradigm shift, because my paradigm remains, as Plato in his Republic scripted his Socrates to insist: ‘We must follow the argument wherever it leads’” (p. 89).
He admitted that the accumulation of the evidence in the last two decades now supported the existence of a Creator God, and he had the courage, personal integrity and humility to accept this conclusion—no matter how personally disagreeable it had been for him.
He mentioned that the evidence dealing with the laws of nature increasingly indicated a Superior Mind was operating at a cosmic level.
“The leaders of science over the last hundred years,” he wrote, “along with some of today’s most inﬂuential scientists, have built a philosophically compelling vision of a rational universe that sprang from a divine Mind. As it happens, this is the particular view of the world that I now ﬁnd the soundest philosophical explanation of a multitude of phenomena encountered by scientists and laypeople alike.
“Three domains of scientiﬁc inquiry have been especially important for me … The ﬁrst is the question that puzzled and continues to puzzle most reﬂective scientists: How did the laws of nature come to be?”(p. 91).
One of the most enigmatic aspects of the laws of nature is that these invisible forces act on matter and energy, but are not matter or energy themselves. For them to work, they had to be in place before matter and energy existed, and they are not tangible objects. To believe all these intricate laws that act in unison somehow appeared together at just the right time, with just the right force, without some organizing Intellect behind them, deﬁes logic.
“The important point,” Flew brought out, “is not merely that there are regularities in nature, but that these regularities are mathematically precise, universal, and ‘tied together.’ Einstein spoke of them as ‘reason incarnate.’ The question we should ask is how nature came packaged in this fashion. This is certainly the question that scientists from Newton to Einstein to Heisenberg have asked—and answered. Their answer was the Mind of God” (p. 96).
So, although it may not be well known, a number of cosmologists and physicists have admitted that the orderly laws of the universe point to something bigger and grander than the universe itself!
Flew quoted numerous of these scientists, like the famous cosmologist Paul Davies, who aﬃrms: “Science is based on the assumption that the universe is thoroughly rational and logical at all levels. Atheists claim that the laws [of nature] exist reasonlessly and that the universe is ultimately absurd. As a scientist, I ﬁnd this hard to accept. There must be an unchanging rational ground in which the logical, orderly nature of the universe is rooted” (p. 111).
Flew concluded: “Those scientists who point to the Mind of God do not merely advance a series of arguments or a process of syllogistic reasoning. Rather, they propound a vision of reality that emerges from the conceptual heart of modern science and imposes itself on the rational mind. It is a vision that I personally ﬁnd compelling and irrefutable”(p. 112).
How did life originate from non-life?
Flew’s second line of evidence for a belief in God has to do with the great diﬀerence that exists between life and non-life.
“When the mass media ﬁrst reported the change in my view of the world,” he related, “I was quoted as saying that biologists’ investigation of DNA has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved.
“I had previously written that there was room for a new argument to design in explaining the ﬁrst emergence of living from nonliving matter—especially where this ﬁrst living matter already possessed the capacity to reproduce itself genetically. I maintained that there was no satisfactory naturalistic explanation for such a phenomenon”(p. 123).
Pondering over this question, Flew came to the conclusion that a self-replicating living thing being produced by chance from non-life utterly deﬁes all odds. Self-replication means that something has within itself the ability to copy components of its being and pass traits and the mechanism itself to future generations.
Indeed, that copy has to be so perfectly reproduced that it can perpetuate itself in turn, and yet it also has to carry an additional system that permits it to adapt to a changing environment to improve its chances of survival.
As a philosopher, Flew pointed out: “Most studies on the origin of life are carried out by scientists who rarely attend to the philosophical dimension of their ﬁndings. Philosophers, on the other hand, have said little on the nature and origin of life. The philosophical question that has not been answered in origin-of-life studies is this:How can a universe of mindless matter produce beings with intrinsic ends, self-replication capabilities, and ‘coded chemistry’? Here we are not dealing with biology, but an entirely diﬀerent category of problem” (p. 124).
He came to see that scientists don’t have a satisfying answer to this question.
“Carl Woese, a leader in origin-of-life studies,” he explained, “draws attention to the philosophically puzzling nature of this phenomenon. Writing in the journal RNA, he says, ‘The coding, mechanistic, and evolutionary facets of the problem now became separate issues. The idea that gene expression, like gene replication, was underlain by some fundamental physical principle was gone.’
“Not only is there no underlying physical principle, but the very existence of a code is a mystery. ‘The coding rules (the dictionary of codon assignments) are known. Yet they provide no clue as to why the code exists and why the mechanism of translation is what it is.’
“He frankly admits that we do not know anything about the origin of such a system. ‘The origins of translation, that is before it became a true decoding mechanism, are for now lost in the dimness of the past, and I don’t wish to … speculate on the origins of tRNA, tRNA charging systems or the genetic code’” (pp. 127-128).
Although there is an increasing body of knowledge about how DNA and RNA work, scientists still don’t have a clue about how all these coding systems originated, which Flew concluded do point to a Superior Intelligence at work.
He asked: “So how do we account for the origin of life? The Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald once famously argued that ‘we choose to believe the impossible; that life arose spontaneously by chance.’ In later years, he concluded that a preexisting mind, which he posits as the matrix of physical reality, composed a physical universe that breeds life … This, too, is my conclusion. The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an inﬁnitely intelligent Mind” (pp. 131-132).
Did something come from nothing?
Flew’s third line of evidence is the very existence of the universe.
In his early years, Flew believed that the universe had always existed, a popular belief at that time. If something had always been around, he reasoned, there was no need to bring up a Creator to explain it. But new scientiﬁc discoveries made him question this premise and whether something could come out of nothing.
“In fact,” he related, “my two main antitheological books were both written long before either the development of the big-bang cosmology or the introduction of the ﬁne-tuning argument from physical constants. But since the early 1980s, I had begun to reconsider. I confessed at that point that atheists have to be embarrassed by the contemporary cosmological consensus, for it seemed that the cosmologists were providing a scientiﬁc proof of what St. Thomas Aquinas contended could not be proved philosophically; namely, that the universe had a beginning.
“When I ﬁrst met the big-bang theory as an atheist, it seemed to me the theory made a big diﬀerence because it suggested that the universe had a beginning and that the ﬁrst sentence in Genesis (‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth’) was related to an event in the universe …
“If there had been no reason to think the universe had a beginning, there would be no need to postulate something else that produced the whole thing. But the big-bang theory changed all that. If the universe had a beginning, it became entirely sensible, almost inevitable, to ask what produced this beginning. This radically altered the situation” (pp. 135-137).
Of course, atheists and secular scientists came up with counterarguments for the growing evidence for a universe with a beginning. Over the years all kinds of unlikely explanations have appeared.
“Modern cosmologists,” he pointed out, “seemed just as disturbed as atheists about the potential theological implications of their work. Consequently, they devised inﬂuential escape routes that sought to preserve the nontheist status quo. These routes included the idea of the multiverse, numerous universes generated by endless vacuum ﬂuctuation events, and Stephen Hawking’s notion of a self-contained universe” (p. 137).
Flew found all these arguments to be desperate attempts and quite unconvincing.
He concluded: “The three items of evidence we have considered in this volume—the laws of nature, life with its teleological [or purpose-exhibiting] organization, and the existence of the universe—can only be explained in the light of an Intelligence that explains both its own existence and that of the world. Such a discovery of the Divine does not come through experiments and equations, but through an understanding of the structures they unveil and map” (p. 155).
Thus the existence of a divine Creator is a certain fact of logic. As Scripture attests: “From the beginning, creation in its magniﬁcence enlightens us to His nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible; and it voids the excuses and ignorant claims of these people [who would deny Him]” (Romans 1:20, The Voice).
Professor Flew died in 2010, but his intellectual and philosophical pursuit led him to accept the existence of an intelligent Creator—a surprising outcome for him, but one that was based on his lifelong premise that one should follow the evidence wherever it leads.
We hope his example, as well as the irrefutable evidence he was compelled to examine, will help others resolve the question of whether God exists. And by answering in the aﬃrmative, it is the natural starting point for one’s journey of faith in developing arelationship with this awesome God who made us!