Well I thought real hard about whether I should or should not write this. My original plan was to learn from other experiences not just spout out mine. But I felt compelled to write something edifying in relation to dohzmans' suggestion and I hope it goes some way to explain why these issues have been something I think about a lot.
The writing below are not the responses I had given to the woman I talked to. I spent the whole of Sunday afternoon and evening yesterday writing this hoping that it would help as many Christians who read it. Although I am not well versed into evolutionay theories and even the fundamentals of Intelligent design, I have read only small bits and what I have written is something entirely from my own viewpoint as I also reflected on the Bible. The personal bits I also wrote down were completely true experiences. I hope you are blessed by this even if it is the last post to this thread. It is a bit long bear with me. Thanks.
Any evolving natural state could not have inherently developed or evolved its ability to "consciously" think based on just being a complex mass of protein. Evolving natural organisms--if they ever existed, could not have evolved a "mind" on their own. Having a brain does not equally mean being conscious and evolving over a complex "consciousness" process. Dead people have brains...but are not conscious. People in coma have brains but are not conscious. Living people who are asleep have brains, but are not fully conscious. The workings and reality of the mind represent a very huge gap in any evolution theory. No chaotic natural state, can ever evolve a mind, over any stretch of time. This is because the very structure that makes a mind "work", is not entirely physical. Yes, we do have physical brains, but the mesh of signals from neurons that are ubiquitous within its wet fragile mass, are way beyond our grasp. This is simply an area that science has no claim over and that part of the human body that interfaces with it--the brain, is largely unexplored by any scientific method. It would be really hubris to say that natural organisms that live on earth must also have evolved their conscious parts only based on natural selection and other criteria. If natural selection played a part in shaping and adapting for survival in hostile settings, that has not clearly explained where the essence of consciousness comes from--that only explains how these conscious entities react to their various environments. Reacting to physical stimuli does not explain the origin of consciousness. It could verify you are conscious, but prove its source, that it would not.
***A lot of arguments have gone about if the Universe can be deterministic...that is if it could naturally evolve orgnisms that can consciously observe it. It's a bit of stretch in the sense that the ability to mirror the real world internally into thoughts based on the experiences of the natural senses would imply that determinism in this little context is not entirely a physical process. It may have a physical chemical pattern in the brain, but things like memory, emotions, reasoning, and other things which are a product of the mind, go beyond physical processes. That is why humans behave so differently. That a human can "determine" to move from point A to B in 3 dimensional space, and do so intelligently, proves that ordered concepts and plans structure determinsm and this ordered concepts are not entirely physical. And you would realize that even things we think as being abstract like the spirit or the mind, are a higher level of concrete existence beyond what our natural senses can perceive, even though all our thinkings and behaviours are controlled by it.
An analogy is apt. Using the computer world we could say that if humans were the "hardware", and somehow this "hardware" evolved to what it is today, that is just one part of the puzzle. Where did the "software" or the mind come from? Did they evolve together? And by any stretch, the mind is far far more complex an entity than the hard tangible parts of the human being. So if your computer from Dell evolved to what it is today, could the Windows Operating System and applications running on it evolve the same way also? Does having a chunk of a brain AUTOMATICALLY create a conscious mind? If so, how?
These are very difficult questions that are simply unprovable by any scientific theory. In a sense, science also relies on its own kind of "faith" based on certain observable, measurable, verifiable strata of natural laws by trying to model "how it could have come about" or "how it could have been"--but this process is more faith than science because science here is trusting on the consistency of certain natural laws to help explain things it cannot readily prove at hand. Abstract modeling does not equate concrete evidence. So a scientific "faith" based on the trusted experience of physical laws is completely at odds with the Christian "faith" based on the fact that God created the Universe. So which "faith" is right?
As Christians we believe:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
We are stressing here that an external Power beyond the closed system of nature, was active in the process of creation. I believe this Power is a Person we know as God.
Proving a system from within a system is a good but very limited attempt. This is what evolution is trying to do. A child in a womb cannot be trusted to speak about the origins of the"universe of the womb" without realizing that a wide range of greater external forces took place before the process of life could begin to form in that womb. Does the baby in the womb even realize that there is a wider and greater world outside of the womb? And that this same world and its forces exactly started the process by which life could begin to form in that womb in the first place? It's just the same way we marvel if a greater spiritual world exists from the "wombs" of our natural universe. Another hubris is to think our natural bodies are the height of sense perception. We have five sense yes, does that make what we cannot verify by our senses non-existent? If we make instruments to compensate for this, does that still make what our instruments cannot verify non-existent? In other words, if our senses, experiences and machines cannot see beyond a point, does that make what we cannot account for null and void? I would have to say that either we humans are not really smart enough to observe the Spiritual world or that we are just too arrogant to admit that our scientific processes have severe shortcomings in understanding if the Spiritual world exist or its exact nature.
In other words, explaining the origins of a closed system like our natural world from within the same closed natural system is like running in circles. We hit a limit where we completely misunderstand what is going on and then we say in strange pride, that nothing beyond what our perceptions can gather exists. Those primitive ancestors were not as sophisticated as us that is why they say there is a God in a Spiritual world who knows and controls everything. We have made cars, planes and computers so we are smarter right?
If chaos characterized the early processes of evolution, and the natural state stabilized over a period of time, and this stability in nature is what we derive our physical laws from, is this stability so inscribed in stone that no anomaly ever occurs, ever? If true, what has sustained this stabilty over time? Why doesn't the moon suddenly rebel and crash towards the earth? Why doesn't gravity cease? Why doesn't the Sun suddenly expand and burn? Why don't we see the oceans flood the dry lands? Why are natural bodies and natural systems so largely stable at the moment? Is it because they just have to be stable? Yes, science can give plausible reasons as to what makes body A rotate around body B, or why the oceans don't just swell and flood the lands and other natural phenomena. But if we as humans have learnt any thing is that these natural systems sometimes do get chaotic once in a while and most times even this revert cannot simply be explained. Why they have to obey a very stable order most of the times and go bunkers at another time--cannot simply be because nature is inherently stable, or inherently unstable. There is an "order" in nature that physical laws, evolution or natural selection cannot just explain. The "forces" that govern these bodies have to have come from somewhere, and if you tell me, it is unlikely that natural forces in the earth and the Universe--like humans--can be trusted to regulate themselves. Put another way, a chaotic closed system can only stabilize under the control of a greater external influence. This is the catalyst effect. In its original sense a catalyst is supposed to be a substance which controls the rate of change of a chemical reaction without being affected by it. In another related sense, it is like a building on fire and you are trapped inside...can you effectively put out or control the fire from within? The firemen with their hoses do not put out the fire from within, the control and put it out from without. You in the building are in a closed system and limited. The firemen are out of the system and not so limited. If the early stages of the Universe was chaotic, the stability we see today could not have just been because a fall from a higher to a lower energy state occured. If true, what made it fall especially at this time? A catalyst extraneous to the whole system could have managed the chaos to the great stability that we see today. And the range of stability from the biological to the physical worlds and the amazing order in which they operate talks of a very Intelligent Being! No doubt about it!
The other argument about the age of the Universe can also be explained if we understand the Bible.
In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Before God segmented the creation into "days" He had already created a rough template which the Bible says "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." This rough template like a painter's template could have existed for any periods of time, the Bible is not specific in telling us when the "days-based" creation followed this rough template. I believe what the Bible says about God creating the heavens and the earth in seven days. But before this, the earth as well as the heavens were a formless mass, a rough template for sure. When God began to bring order and beauty into this template, in the process of creation, it could have been from any stretch of time from the initial rough template. The ignorance in those arguing that the earth could have been more than just six thousand years old since there is evidence that rocks date millions to even billions of years is like looking at a painter who created a beautiful painting on Sunday and saying--"Your beautiful painting could not have been created just today even though it looks so new. I have evidence to show that you couldn't have been the painter because the dating experiment on the canvas and colors on the painting proves that the painting is more than fifty years old!" So what if the painter used a fifty-year old canvas and color template? Does that make his fresh painting fifty year old or brand new if he painted his picture just today?
The fallacy here is, you are using the very mind that you claim has evolved from nature, to try to discover how it and other natural systems evolved and work. It is a worthy attempt. But being a derivative product of a said natural system--and not an external observing entity--beyond this system, you would always be limited in providing a sufficient explanation as to how this product--"your mind"--evolved or how even nature came to be.
To say the mind is entirely a physical entity is to be a big liar! And just like the wonderful order seen in nature, the ability to think and be "self aware" must have come from an external stimuli. Yes, this same God.
7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
This breath from God was NOT oxygen, since God is not human and does not need oxygen to survive. This breath of life from God that Adam got that day that changed him from being a lump of clay is the HOLY SPIRIT, and the day Adam and Eve sinned, this Spirit left them and they died in a spiritual sense. So in essence, man created in the image of God became a tripartite being like God: being a spirit, having a soul, and living in a body (please understand that I am not saying God's Tripartite Being is exactly like man's in that sense). The breath of life made Adam a spiritual entity in the image of God. The lump of clay, or Adam's body, "came alive" when the Spirit entered and this resulted in him becoming a living soul. So having a spirit, soul and body made up the complete human called Adam when the breath of life from God came into him. Now evolution is merely trying to account for how the "body" part came to be, but can it account for the soul or spirit parts? Does a soul exists? Are they tangibles too like the body? If so, where do they come from?
It is no wonder that we still can not explain fully how the brain works. Because here, we are actually dealing with the very interface between the natural and spiritual world. This is the boundary science just has to stop and marvel at because beyond a point, our scientific methods has no say in this area. This is where faith begins to count...the right kind of faith. Why faith? I think God deliberately made faith a means of finding Him instead of physical methods because after the fall, He had to really humble us. We want knowledge and means to control the natural world, we create scientific and technical disciplines to help us do that. All well and good, because God did tell us to dominate the earth and we are merely doing so. But with faith, we have to surrender all known means we have known to understand what exists beyond nature. Our science is useless here so we only have to fall back to TRUSTING what God says in His word. God is reminding us that this is an area way out of our control and TRUSTING Him is what matters not our ability to understand and manipulate things. We may manipulate what we see in the physical world to achieve what we want, but we simply cannot manipulate what exists in the Spiritual world. And to even begin to understand the spiritual world we just have to take the Lord Jesus seriously and especially when He said "Without me, you can do nothing."
I have been very very skeptical in sharing this. This is because I do not want to draw undue attention to myself. I know I am a very sinful person and that I live only by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have had very out-of-the-ordinary experiences since a child that convinced me that a larger spiritual world does exist. At a point in my teens between 1990-1994 I was quite agnostic and so terribly confused despite learning somewhat about Jesus earlier. I watched and listened to a lot of Carl Sagan, read Richard Hoagland and a lot of other nonsense about extraterrestrial intelligence and what not. In my zeal to appear intelligent and in control of my life, I became terribly foolish and sick. This in a real sense because those distractions affected my class work and I became a failure even in class. I also had a besetting sin which so gripped me, drove me crazy and almost destroyed me. When I asked Jesus into my life in 94 I was completely transformed. Jesus TRULY proved His power over the grip of sin by breaking its hold on me. This, what human effort could never do. I was so hungry for Him so I devoured His word like a starving mad man. The experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit alone in my bedroom at about midnight in July of 94 completely blew me away.
Here is what I wanted to really share. In some websites, as I have previously mentioned, people who are ignorant mock the supernatural nature of the Christian faith--especially who Jesus is and what He did. This is because they do not see their trusted laws of nature interrupted all the time the way Jesus did as recorded in the Bible. As a result, they equate the Bible with a Harry Porter book, or mock the fact that Jesus came through a virgin birth or even defied gravity! Even though it falls under a very intense personal experience I still want to share my testimony. Having been set free from sin, was not a guarantee that the temptation would cease forever. Once, I was alone in my room, this was in 95, I had the same temptation grip hold of me when I was resting on the bed. No I would not go into details here as I really don't want to cause any other further offense than I have, but it was something strongly related to lust. I was really weak and easily yielded to the temptation. In the midst of it I simply stopped what I was doing and could not continue. My mind and body wanted to but I simply could not continue. I was alone in the room, even sweating by this time. So I laid sideways facing the wall and immediately, I heard a voice shouting in my head "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!!" repeatedly. Remember, I was all alone in my room. My mouth was shut. But a voice in my head area was shouting the name of Jesus. I don't know what made me stretch out and recline my arm backward at the very moment the voice was shouting Jesus repeatedly. But in that moment, I TOUCHED A BEING WITHDRAWING FROM ME AS THE NAME WAS JESUS PROCLAIMED. My fingers touched the very being behind my sinful act. I could mention what the sin is but since I said it was related to lust and that I was alone you may have an idea already and I would not shock you by going further than this. Yes, demons have very tangible bodies too--their own kinds of spiritual bodies just the way we have natural bodies. It was amazing to suddenly realize that the very lustful images in my mind had a direct relationship with a being whose soft skin my fingers were touching. No, I did not see anything as I was facing the wall and my arm was stretched backward. Who shouted the name of Jesus? My own spirit? The Holy Spirit? I am not sure but I always held that it was the Holy Spirit who tried to help me overcome where I was weak by using His own voice to shout the name of Jesus. The images in my mind that left, had a real spiritual body behind it and the Holy Spirit made me touch this being as well. It was certainly a scary experience and it reminded me of how really merciful God is. He saw me sinning in the secret of my room but instead chose to help me in an amazing way.
I wrote my experience to stress a point--even though I did not go into full details because I did want to shock anyone--that yes, spirits are definitely tangibles. A spirit, whether a human spirit, or a demonic spirit, or an angelic spirit or even the Holy Spirit are not abstracts living in an abstract layer above the earth. Please no! They are as real as this real world--even more real! And the Spiritual world is not some far away place in the sky--it is all over. Just as Jesus said to those who listened to His words, the Kingdom of God is within you...we can say because of sin, the kingdom of Satan is all over where sin rules. It is shameful for me to say this, that my fingers touched a demon when I was sinning instead of Jesus, but it is true! They DO have their own kinds of tangible bodies--what I touched was so soft--really hard to describe. And yes, they interface with humans all the time through our minds and thoughts to enslave us to sin and despise God. But the good news is that this confirms to me beyond any reasonable doubt that the only Power and Authority in this physical world or the spiritual world is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus has the same power to reveal any formula or process behind His creation but these are not the essentials He is seeking from us. We foolishly seek the wrong kinds of knowledge when He just wants us to have a relationship with Him. If these demons would inspire humans to call my Lord a "cosmic zombie" it is simply because they have no hope of any kind and that they are resorting to these mockeries and blasphemies is proof that their fate is sealed. What is sad is that these demons begin to copy their personalities over some misguided people and begin to accuse God of being evil because in truth demons are powerless over the Person and name of Jesus and they are doomed because of what He did on the cross. Humans still have hope and can cry for their sins to be forgiven and Jesus would forgive them. Demons don't have hope. For the human to willingly share into the fate of the demon and begin to accuse God of being evil is tragic. It is buying into a lie. There is still hope for the human being since he or she can cry for mercy and God would still forgive because He is so merciful. For the human to despise God's only way to Salvation and Hope--the Lord Jesus Christ--and begin to share the hopelessness of the fate of demons is quite so sad.
I am compelled to share another experience not because I really want to. But I have to illustrate a point. We read really amazing things in the Bible and especially what the Lord Jesus did. Do we blush when we say before our unbelieving friends that Jesus truly walked on water and even defied gravity? Everything written down in the Bible is true!! I had the opportunity to talk to someone on her blog who was sharing the drawing images of Jesus ascending into heaven under "religious humor" tag. In the drawing, Jesus' disciples watched him ascend as some people in futuristic astronaut garb had some pipes connected to the image of Jesus and pumped something like helium or so--so that Jesus would float and rise in the sky. No, I did not tell this 19 year old girl my personal experience but I simply told her her humor was wrong.
The event I am about sharing occured recently to me on the 20th of May 2007--yes once more alone in my bedroom!!! I was so very very discouraged that Sunday. My heart was so heavy and with the weight came an unbearable pain. Certain things in my family were happening beyond my control. That Sunday night I was so very very heavy, sad and discouraged, I could not even pray...
I was just about sleeping but not yet asleep when a MASSIVELY HUGE FORCE or EXPLOSION I could both feel and hear its impact) occurred around my chest area as I felt A HUGE BEING FORCEFULLY REMOVED from my heart! The impact of this Being's ejection from me was so huge that it LIFTED ME UP FROM MY BED!! It was like my body was like a spring coil depressed by the this awesome weight. Then suddenly, this weight was released and like the coil, my whole body reacted to the release. No, I never made the conscious effort to raise my body. No, I did not even hear a voice.
My whole body was at inertia before this sudden massive explosive force tore through my heart and so massive was its ejection from my heart that my body lifted up in the forces' direction and then fell back. As a Christian I know that this "force" could not have been just an ordinary "force" but Satan Himself. I was actually raised from the bed as the Lord JESUS removed Satan from my heart who really oppressed me with the weight of pain and depression. My mind was dumbfounded! And it was a really scary experience. The depression, and other negative thoughts and feelings left and instantly I could feel a NEW REFRESHING ENERGY BUILD inside of me. Jesus brought back HOPE and STRENGHT to carry on amidst the very trying moments I was in. I was and am ever so grateful. I didn't ask Him to help but in His Mercy He reached down and helped me. For this I am so very thankful!! And my whole body being lifted up from the bed without my own conscious effort to do so really does baffle me. That does DEFY any laws of Physics. You could say a force beyond me made me defy gravity for a brief second! And I am just so amazed that we live in a world completely ignorant of the realities of the Spiritual World and the Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ
it is sad that this ignorance prevails even amongst Christians who yield to the persuasions of the so-called intelligent people of this age. But I am so grateful that the Lord reached out to help me even when I was so discouraged to even pray. I did think about Him, but I was so discouraged to even pray. I don't deserve His mercy and kindness of course
I know how terrible my heart can be. But He reached out to help me and comfort me amidst trials in an amazing supernatural way.
No, I really did not originally set out to tell you all about these things that happened to me but to learn from you. I believe Jesus defied gravity because the Holy Spirit was there to lift Him up to the bosoms of the Father just as the Holy Spirit had pity on me and helped eject an oppressive being from my heart and body, in turn, momentarily lifting me up from my bed. It does further convince me that the greater energy and power in the Spiritual world is so awesome--just so awesome that all the forces and laws of nature are so puny before it. Physical laws are not inscribed in stone. The Spiritual world controls the natural world in every way. The physical laws of nature which are ordered as they are did not create themselves. The One who created them can also interrupt them as He wishes and He does so to glorify and honor just one Person--Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Before Jesus comes, I look forward to hearing of and seeing more of ordinary humble Christian people who would experience the very wisdom and supernatural power of God before an unbelieving world. Yes, to the glory of only one Person, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Thank you for reading and God bless you all.