The Fingerprints Of GodDr. Erwin W. Lutzer | March 8, 2009
Selected highlights from this sermon
Darwinian scientists think they know where everything came from. However, no one was present in the beginning—only God observed it. Yet they claim that the Big Bang occurred billions of years ago and they are allowed to teach it in our schools.
Job also thought he knew a few things. When he questioned God and His reign over the world, God proceeded to humble him by listing the glories of His created works. Job finally understood his place, and he humbly accepted God’s testimony and rule.
Let us not value ourselves and our knowledge too highly—especially in the presence of God.
Well, because this is our Father’s world, and because we are going to talk about his world, let’s pray to him one more time.
Our Father, we pray that all people listening to this message will be drawn into it, that their attention will be riveted upon what you have revealed. I pray that you will give us such understanding and such conviction that we may leave here today better worshippers, better servants, and more committed to your holy word and your truth, for you alone can speak authoritatively about the matters that are before us. I pray for the skeptics, that you will change their hearts. I pray for the cold Christians, that you will warm them. I pray for those who have doubts, that they will be led to faith, and I pray for those who have never trusted Christ as Savior, that they too shall see their need of a Savior, because we do have a redeemer. Now Lord, those are huge requests, but we leave them before you in Jesus blessed name. Amen.
Well, this is the fourth and last in a series of messages that is entitled The Darwin Delusion. Perhaps you say to yourself that you’ve never had doubts about the Scriptures. You’ve never accepted evolution, but the fact is that your children are being exposed to it in the schools and in the universities, so I think it’s important that you consider giving them this series of messages to help them to understand where the issues lie. All of us must be aware of the fact that we are living at a time when people do not want to allow a divine foot in the door, as we learned in previous messages.
Well, today I am going to begin with a declarative statement. I’m going to answer some questions and then we will look at the text of Scripture. First of all, I want to say that the most important information that we have about creation, the only reliable information about creation, is found in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” and that statement is not a scientific statement because according to science you should be able to observe your experiment and you should be able to repeat it and no one was there to observe it, and it is unrepeatable, but it is the most important bit of information we could find anywhere. So let me speak candidly. Science has nothing to say about the origin of anything. Science has absolutely no contribution to make to the subject of origins. You see, science observes natural law. Science can detail birds and fish and people and all kinds of details, but within those details there is no hint as to how those details and those persons and animals came about. For that we must look to the Bible. You see the Bible speaks of it as a super-natural event – not a natural event.
Let me give you two illustrations. Let’s suppose that you were around when Lazarus was raised from the dead, and you said to yourself, “I don’t know where he came from. I know he was dead but I don’t know where he came from. What I want to do is a detailed analysis of his anatomy. I want to check him out. I want to look at his blood pressure, and study him and see if I can find out how he was raised from the dead.” No, you can’t find that out because his raising from the dead was supernatural. It was not based on natural law.
You’re walking along and you find a flashlight and you say to yourself, “Well, I have to find out how that flashlight came about so what I’m going to do is to study the bulb and the batteries and the connection and the switch, and the more I study it, it might give me some insight as to how the flashlight evolved or where it came from.” No, it won’t, because you see all that you’re dealing with there is natural law. Now, of course, in the case of a flashlight, there is an answer, namely it was created by someone who had some intelligence, but in the case of creation, only God was there. Only God knew how it happened, and science has no idea how all the things that are studied in science came about, except, of course, if we bow before God’s holy word and believe it. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Well, what about the Big Bang Theory? You know the Universe is constantly expanding evidently, and so the idea arose that it had a specific beginning and this is known as the Big Bang. In a previous message I read to you about how there was one single molecule, and somehow this molecule exploded and everything that you can see today all came about, no matter how preposterous it is.
Now the Big Bang Theory may help us in this sense - to convince some people that the Universe had a beginning and is not eternal, but the Big Bang itself does not explain how the Big Bang or anything in relation to it got here except by great leaps of the imagination. Furthermore the Big Bang doesn’t really jive with Scripture (does it?) because according to the Bible the earth was created first, and then on the fourth day you have the sun and the moon and the stars being created, whereas the Big Bang Theory would say that the stars are millions of years old and billions of years old, and then things began to create the earth.
Well, as you know, I believe that when God created on that fourth day that the sun was already shining, and the stars were already shining. If Adam and Eve had gone out that evening, they’d have been able to see the stars. The earth was created full-blown for them, so the light from distant stars that takes eons to get here was already shining upon the earth. The Big Bang might help us some, but it needs very much to be corrected by God’s holy word.
What about intelligent design? You know there is a movement about that says that life could not have originated without intelligence, that it does have a purpose. Richard Dawkins, the atheist, says that the things in nature appear to have been made for a purpose but they weren’t. The purpose just developed through this thing called natural selection, so intelligent design comes along and says that there is an intelligence to nature. Well it’s fine as far as it goes but many people in the I.D. movement do not want to identify the creator as the God of the Bible, because, you see, the minute you identify him as the God of the Bible then you have these other problems. You have God as a lawgiver and you have God as a judge, and people don’t want that. They want some kind of a tame God, the kind of intelligence to whom we do not give an account. So, I.D. has its value in pointing us toward creation, but it doesn’t go far enough.
Now, is it possible to believe in I.D. and be a good scientist? Is it possible to believe in Genesis 1:1 and be a good scientist? Obviously, the answer is yes. I don’t have time to go through the literature but you know today there are articles that say that if you believe that the earth was created with a purpose, if you believe in intelligent design, and especially if you believe in a creator (such as in Genesis 1) you can’t be a good scientist. You can only be a good scientist if you are totally atheistic and materialistic, and that of course, is utter nonsense.
Going back to my flashlight illustration, let us suppose that you conclude after looking at it, or an even better illustration would be a computer. Let us suppose that after looking at it you come to the very, very great conclusion that this has the mark of intelligence. This simply could not have happened. Or let’s suppose that you pick up a dictionary, and you look at it, and you say to yourself, “This couldn’t be the result of an explosion in a print factory. There was some intelligence behind it.” Does that mean now that you can’t be a good studier of words? Does it mean that you can’t study that computer and understand it very well because you think it had a purpose? You think that it was created by intelligence, and that totally disqualifies you as a scientist and as a student of words and a student of a computer. That’s utter nonsense.
Of course that’s why some of the best scientists ever when science was beginning had a Christian worldview, and yet today in America, not even intelligent design is allowed in the schools. And if you follow that case in Dover, Pennsylvania, where the school board ruled and a judge ruled that evolution alone needs to be taught, and even said in effect, if you look at the ruling closely, that criticism of evolution is out of bounds, you can’t really even critique it, lest in critiquing it somebody concludes, “You know, maybe intelligent design isn’t too bad.” We can allow that in our classrooms, can’t we?
Well, evolution has huge problems. People also ask me questions in light of this series like, “When did the dinosaurs live?” Well, the answer is they lived before the flood. “Oh that means they lived when man lived? They were created on the sixth day with man?” The answer is yes. A worldwide flood is one of the best explanations for the fossil record that we see today, by the way. That explains why there are fossils of sea creatures on some of the tallest mountains, and it explains the rapid burial of plants and animals. Now when it comes to the business of fossils, the record is haphazard, and there’s just no evidence for the idea that things moved from (toward?) complexity in the fossil record. None!
You know when you go into a museum you sometimes see maybe thirty or forty different paintings, first of all of monkeys (and then the monkey was on all fours of course), and then the monkey began to stand, and as your eye goes along, pretty soon you have human beings over here. Well, I want you to know today that the evidence for that in the fossil record is zero. There’s not one single shred of evidence for that. I challenge for you to take every one of those particular paintings and find a fossil that goes along with it. There are none.
“Oh,” you say, “That’s you. What do you know about it? You’re a preacher. You’re not a scientist.” You’re right. I’m not a scientist, so let me read from Harvard Paleontologist, Steven J. Gould. Would that name do it for you? He says, “The extreme rarity of transitional fossils is a trade secret among paleontologists.” Did you get that? The extreme rarity of transitional fossils is a trade secret. They do not exist. The Java man was a hoax. The Pilkington man was a hoax, and there was a tooth found that was believed to be the tooth of one of these transitional forms, and from that tooth in a British journal there was painted a picture of the man, what he would have looked like, what the woman would have looked like and their children, and then they discovered that the tooth was the tooth of a pig. [laughter] There are no transitional fossils.
Do you realize that if evolution were right over millions of years there would be millions of transitional fossils? They would be everywhere. We’d find them not only in relation to some missing link. There would be millions of missing links. There would be millions of fossils of all the animals as they transitioned from one to another. They do not exist. Remember this. Evolution is a theory in search of evidence. It is a house of cards held together by ropes of mist.
You say to yourself, “Now, could all the animals get into the ark?” That’s another question I was asked. Yes, because God arranged it so, but of course there were only two dogs, and later on those dogs, because of inter-breeding and mutation, developed into maybe forty or fifty different varieties of dogs today, and that’s true in all of the animal kingdom, but a dog never was a frog. And what you don’t find is frogs becoming dogs, and you do not see that kind of change from one species to another. There is therefore this small little microevolution within a species, but you don’t see species evolving into other species.
Now Darwin said that everything changed over a period of millions of years in incremental changes, and if there were some form of life that could not be explained by these little incremental changes, then his theories would collapse. Well it’s been shown that there are thousands of things that could have never evolved over millions of years. Let me give you one example. Have you ever heard of the Bombardier Beetle? This beetle produces two chemicals, which react one to another, and so if these two chemicals get together they create a minor explosion, so the Bombardier Beetle keeps them in two separate compartments near the tip of his abdomen. But if these two chemicals came together they’d explode. What they need is a catalyst to neutralize them. When threatened the beetle contracts muscles that force the two chemicals through valve tubes into a mixing chamber containing water and this catalyst. When the two chemicals come together with the catalyst they undergo a violent chemical reaction raising their temperature to near the boiling point of water (212 degrees). Why doesn’t the beetle get damaged from all this heat? It’s because as the pressure builds up this forces the entrance valves into the storage chambers to close to protect the beetle from its inner organs, or else they’d get burned up. The boiling foul-mouth smelling liquid partially becomes gas and is expelled into the atmosphere with a loud popping sound, and in this way the beetle defends itself. The flow of the chemicals into the reaction chamber and the subsequent ejection into the atmosphere occurs cyclically at the rate of five hundred times per second with a total pulsation lasting only, of course, a fraction of a second.
Now this is going to evolve over a period of time with natural selection only - bungling, unintelligent, random? First of all, a little beetle has to get some chemical over here, okay? And somehow this knows, but remember you can’t have any intelligence. This is just bungling natural selection. Well, you’ve got this chemical over here. You need another chemical but you need to get the right chemical because it has to have the right reaction, and so eventually bungling another million years you get the right chemical. The problem is the catalyst isn’t working, so these two compartments with these two different chemicals, they come together. All the little beetles explode all the time [laughter] because the catalyst isn’t quite right, and even when the catalyst is right, the valve isn’t closing so the beetle is getting burned up with 212 degrees.
Now do you know what evolutionists do with this? They write Ph.D. dissertations on how this could have happened. “If this happened, if that happened, we’ve seen this happen over here, so this could have happened here,” and on and on it goes. Well show me something like that that’s happening today. It isn’t happening today, folks, but evolutionists will say, “Well, no, it didn’t happen today, but if you give it enough million years it might have happened.” How refreshing to say, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” [applause] Isn’t that wonderful?
And now it is time for us to turn to God’s word. Turn with me to Job 38. You have to understand that Job in this book is going through a trial, and he always wants to talk to God. “If I could just come before God,” he says in chapter 23, “I’d fill my mouth with arguments, and either he’d equip me or I’d tell him a thing or two,” says Job. Well finally God comes and speaks, and Job is going to have his chance to talk to God. It’s a chance that all of us have wanted. “If I could just talk to God, I’d say this to him.” Job gets the chance, but God has a couple of questions for him first, and in point of fact, God asks him about 77 different questions just to help him to understand a few things about God and a few things about himself.
Chapter 38:2 says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (It’s referring to Job and his friends.) Dress for action like a man, Job. I will question you, and you make it known to me.”
I’d love to ask this question of all the evolutionists. God says, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know!” Is that question too difficult for you? If you think that you can take my place and run my Universe, give me an answer. “Who determined its measurements -— surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone (The reason there is so much imagery here is because this is done in a poetic style) when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” The sons of God I should say; they are the angels in chapter 1. It says, “The sons of God presented themselves to God and Satan came among them.” Sons of God in this context is a reference to angels, so this is the basis for the idea that before God created all the world, and this isn’t far-fetched. He lined up all the angels and said, “Watch this!” and did they get a show. They shouted for joy. They said, “Wow!” or something like that.
So God goes on to ask Job questions. In verse 19 he asks, “Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness?” Where do I hide darkness during the day, and then where do I get it from at night? On and on the questions go. Let’s skip. Well, God talks about the hail and he talks about glaciers, how ice piles up. By the way, did you know that when water is freezing it condenses but just before it freezes, it expands? If you didn’t have that, ice would not float, and if ice didn’t float everything in the ocean would die, and everything else contracts when it’s cold and water contracts, and then just before it freezes, instead of contracting it expands, and only because of that do we have life today in the ocean. He goes on in verse 31, “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?” These are some stars that are really just next door to us actually. For example, Pleiades is part of the constellation of Torres. It’s only 470 light years away. Now remember a light year is traveling at 180 thousand miles a second. It goes around the earth about six times every second, and can you imagine how much it would travel, say in a minute? That’s mind-boggling. The sun’s rays come to us about eight minutes at 93 million miles. Well, what if it were eighty minutes? What if it were 100 minutes? What if it were a year? What if it were 470 years? And these stars are close by. They are the ones we see with the naked eye, and what God is saying to him is, “Job, are you the one who drags these stars out and brings them out so you can see them? Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth (That’s obviously a constellation.) in their season or can you guide the Bear (That is the Big Dipper and what we sometimes call the Northern Lights) with its children? Are you the one that keeps them in such precision that we can set our clocks by them? Are you the one that established this? How are you doing there, Job? You thought that you wanted to take over my world. I’m wondering if you can do these things.
Now after God is finished with that he takes Job to a zoo and they have a tour of the zoo and they see various animals. For example, in Job 39:13 it says, “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are the pinions and plumage of love? For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them. She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers.” She apparently takes eggs and lays them in the sand and then lays other eggs beside them so that when the young ones hatch they have something to eat. Now notice, “Though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear, because God has made her forget wisdom and given her no share in understanding.”
All the way through the centuries Pliny was the first one who said an ostrich would put its head in the sand, thinking that if predators were running against him or her that as long as its head was in the sand because it couldn’t see the predator, therefore the predator couldn’t see it. Now can you imagine this huge bird thinking it’s secure because its head is in the sand? They are stupid animals, and why? God made them that way. That’s what it says. It says, “God created them to forget wisdom,” and if you go to a zoo sometime you see these animals, and you’ve all thought, as I have, “When you created that, God, what were you thinking?” I think that every summer when I have trouble with mosquitoes. “God, what were you thinking?”
God says, “I just do this for my own pleasure. I’m thinking of things,” God is saying, “that you would never even think to do. You see I gave birds their instinct. I’m the one that created them with the DNA so that some of them act this way, and some of them act that way. Do you understand that Job? Have you got that nailed?”
When God is finished with Job here it says in chapter 40, “And the Lord said to Job: ‘Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.’ Then Job answered the Lord and said: ‘Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.’”
But God isn’t satisfied yet. Job is saying, “Okay, I’m silent. I’m not going to say anything. You know more than I do,” and God says, “Job, I still have further work to do in your life,” and God gets to the heart of the matter. In verse 7 he says, “Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? Can you adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; and clothe yourself with glory and splendor?” And now I’m skipping to verse 14. If you can do all that, “Then I also will acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you.”
I say that God is getting to the heart of the matter because what he is saying to Job is this. “You wanted to judge me and you thought that you would be a better ruler of my Universe than I am. Do you still think that, Job?” More people, I suppose, have left Christianity and become cynical because they don’t like God. Darwin himself turned away from God, but what really nailed it for him was when his 10-year old daughter, Anna, died, because he loved his daughter and was close to her. And his big thing was what kind of a God would allow my daughter to die? “If that’s the kind of God that’s out there,” he said, “the kind of God that sends people to hell, I want to have nothing to do with that kind of God,” and he just simply wrote God off.
Let me speak to you today very candidly. Are there some of you here who have not been able to lay down your anger against God because of what he’s allowed in your life, because of your background, because of your upbringing, because of what has taken place in situations that you know God could change but didn’t? Is there anger in your soul over it? I say this to you as a pastor. Get over it! Get over it! God is God. We are his creation. We submit to his authority, and if we do so, we have the benefit of having him as our Father. That’s a long story, but we must hurry on.
Now what God does is he takes Job again and mentions two animals to him. First of all he says in verse 15, “Behold the Behemoth.” We don’t know exactly what that is. It’s a transliteration of the Hebrew word because we know it is a big land animal, and many people think it is the hippopotamus, and it may well be, and we could describe that. And then in chapter 41 he talks about Leviathan. The first big animal is Behemoth, a huge animal in verse 15 of chapter 40, and in chapter 41 it’s the sea dragon. The first is a land animal. The second is an animal of the sea, and there are all kinds of various mythologies about Leviathan, but of course, God created this big beast. It may be the crocodile and this chapter gives the longest description of any animal in the whole Bible. It goes on. I don’t have time to read it, but “Can you put a rope in his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook?” Verse 5, “Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you put him on a leash for your girls?” (Are you going to let the kids play with this animal?) I like verse 8 especially. It says, “Lay your hands on him; remember the battle – you will not do it again!” No, I guess not.
Finally Job says this in chapter 42. “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” (God, when I’m discussing these issues with you, I am out of my league.) “Here, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.” He’s really quoting God there. In verse 5 he says, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job, in the presence of the creator God, when he encounters God says, “First of all, I valued myself far too highly. I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. In your presence I was ignorant because now I know that you know. And I also know that you care about me, because if you care for all of these animals (I mean these verses go on and talk about the feeding of the ox and the lions and so forth), you care about me.” And Jesus reaffirmed that when he said that two sparrows are sold for a farthing and said, “Are you not of much more value than they?” So Job says, “I repent in dust and ashes because I have seen God.”
Over in the Adler Planetarium here in Chicago it says, “If the earth would have been closer to the sun, like Mercury, all of the lakes and rivers would have boiled over forming water vapor. If the earth were farther from the sun, like Pluto, all of its lakes and oceans would freeze solid. If the earth were smaller, like Mars, it would not have gravity to hold much of an atmosphere. And without the presence of an atmosphere, its liquid would evaporate.”
You stand there and you read that and you want to say to an evolutionist, “So who worked that out? Was it your idea that the earth would be exactly the right size? Are you the one that invented the laws of gravity so that the planets stay in right relationship to each other with such precision that not only do we have seasons and we have life, but also we can set our clocks by them because they are so accurate? Is that something to do with the way you thought it should be? What about the human mind with its billions of cells, and each cell has as much activity as Chicago with various parts of it cleansing, and other parts of it growing, and the other distributing, and all of these things, and encoded in those cells is information as to exactly how they should relate to each other and are put together? Now, tell me, if you know, were you the one who thought of this? Are you the one that thought that life could have happened in this way and you invented it? Where were you when God did these things? Tell me if you have understanding. And there are birds today that can fly from the continent all the way to small islands for winter – thousands of miles, and (you’ve seen this on National Geographic or the History Channel or the Animal Channel) actually if those birds were off by one degree they would miss those islands. Now tell me, are you the one who gave them this navigational system that is so accurate that they can fly and know exactly where they are to be and that there are islands there, and they fly at the right angle? Is that what you’ve done?”
“Gird up your loins like a man (Dress up like a man),” God says, “and answer me.” In the presence of the creator God we have only one response that is rational, and that is submission and worship. The Bible says in the end times in the book of Revelation, “Thou are worthy to receive honor and glory and praise, for thou has created all things, and by thy will, by thy pleasure they are and they were created,” and it is in the presence of that God that we worship.
You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, why did God create?” That’s a good question, and there is only one book in the whole world that has an answer to that question. Isn’t that amazing? Read the books on science. Read the books from other religions, and try to find out why God created. Only the Bible has an answer to that question. Let me tell you what that answer is and then I shall read it for you. The answer is simply this. God created that he might redeem, because you see creation displays his power and his greatness, but creation doesn’t display his love, his mercy, his justice, his grace. None of that is seen in creation, so God created in order that he might redeem.
In Ephesians 3 Paul says, “I am bringing to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden in the ages (This has to do with the Gospel, of Jews and Gentiles being saved) in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God now might be made known to the rulers and the authorities in heavenly places (not only because of what is going on, on earth, but also what is going on in heaven). This was according to the eternal purpose that he has revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”
God created that he might redeem and, through the church, through his redeemed ones, display his love and his grace. Now here’s the bottom line. No matter what you think about evolution, not matter what you think about God, the Bible says that you and I are sinners, and if we want to participate in the redemption that I’ve spoken about, and the forgiveness and the mercy of God, there’s only one way to do that, and that is through Jesus Christ our Lord. There is no one else out there, and there are some of you who came here today not knowing that God was pursuing you because you feel in your heart that sense of conviction, that sense of longing, that sense of guilt and alienation, and you say to yourself, “I wish I could find God.” Well, you find him through Jesus Christ our Lord, and the Scripture says that “As many as received him, to those he gives the authority to become the children of God, even to those who believe on his name,” and it is then that we experience God, not just as creator but God as Father, God as friend, God as redeemer, God as merciful, God as gracious. All of that is part of his plan, and you can be a part of that part of his incredible plan.
As the choir sang so beautifully, “God and God alone is fit to take the Universe’s throne.” There’s one response – worship, humility, submission.
Father, we ask that these words, however imperfectly given, will inspire your people and will help us to realize that in your presence, whether you answer our questions or not, your presence alone is the answer. Give us the humility of Job, who said, “In your presence I repent in dust and ashes,” And now, Father, I pray whatever the Holy Spirit wants to do in our hearts, may he be free to do it.
If you need to speak to God today you talk to him right now.
Our Father, we ask that in these moments you might do a great work in our hearts, far above and beyond what we expected today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.