IBRI Research Report #42 (1995)
Copyright © 1995 by David C. Bossard. All rights reserved.
|Unless otherwise attributed, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.|
|How do God's laws as set down in Scripture relate to the laws that govern his Creation? This report asserts that many of the laws and admonitions of Scripture, which are viewed by the world as optional or even arbitrary, and therefore candidates for social experimentation, reveal essential laws of human conduct that were laid down during Creation and are needed to maintain its stability and well-being. It is argued that these creation laws form a valid basis for Christian involvement in secular institutions that is consistent with the spirit of the constitutional separation of church and state.|
|Although the author is in agreement with the doctrinal statement of IBRI, it does not follow that all of the viewpoints espoused in this paper represent official positions of IBRI. Since one of the purposes of the IBRI report series is to serve as a preprint forum, it is possible that the author has revised some aspects of this work since it was first written.|
The past two decades have seen the entry of an organized "religious right" into the political arena. This is an interesting contrast to earlier times when overt political activism with the Christian stamp was considered by many Christians to be somehow improper in American society. Much of the change in viewpoint can be traced to a frustration with increasingly activist Federal policies that follow the lead of secular theorists and that seem not only to contradict traditional Christian values, but at the same time force Christians as well as all taxpayers to subsidize a broad social culture that is accelerating the trend to social degradation and chaos.
Is there a valid rational basis for Christian input to a secular culture? It is argued that such a basis does exist and consists in an understanding of creation law—laws that were built into Creation. Christians have a special contribution to make to secular society in understanding and sharing these laws as they are disclosed in the Creator's special revelation, the Bible, especially as they conflict with the assumptions of secular policy makers.
The discussion begins with a consideration of the role of Christians in a secular society, particularly the role that follows from a proper respect for a government that operates under the principle of the Constitutional separation of church and state. Following this, the concept of creation law is introduced and illustrated with a range of examples that serve to demonstrate both its breadth and limits.
After this general introduction, the discussion then turns specifically to the issue of social laws, which are the laws that would form the basis for Christian political action. The special difficulties that come with the treatment of social laws are particularly noted, which help to explain the reasons for secular failures as well as reinforce the benefit that Christians receive by a careful understanding of what Scripture says about these laws. Following this, a number of creation laws are suggested, and then the discussion ends with a summary of how these laws can be used to form a basis for Christian involvement in society.
There is some likelihood that in dealing with a "hot" topic such as
politics, some readers will disagree with certain conclusions, with assertions
regarding specific creation laws, or with the interpretation that is given
to certain Scriptural passages that are discussed. Hopefully such disagreements
will not obscure the overall purpose of this discussion, which is to get
Christians thinking about whether and how they can and should try to participate
in secular society, and to consider the way that the concepts of creation
law can contribute to that participation.
As a person who has worked for over thirty years trying to "get it right" in computer software, I am impressed with how easily the average human mind "gets it right" most of the time, and with how dauntingly difficult it is to translate common mental tasks into logical steps that can be performed by a computer and presented to the user in a way that reflects common sense. So perhaps it is not surprising that my own concept of social policy tends toward methods of implementation that leave the heavy work of getting it right to the lowest possible level of society. The failures of central planning, both in our own society and in other socialist societies worldwide simply reflect and reinforce this skepticism about the central planner's ability to get it right.1
Some theologians trace these failures of society to the
sinful condition of humans. I agree that the inclinations of man are to
evil as a result of his sinful nature, and yet I do not see this as the
only cause for social dysfunction. Even heavily Christian societies—such
as the Massachusetts Bay Colony or the Geneva Experiment—managed to make
drastic mistakes of central planning. Without for a moment trying to turn
Christians from their calling to evangelize the world, I maintain that
there is a lot that can be done to improve government on a secular level,
and that is what I seek to discuss in these remarks about the role of creation
law in human society.
God's Law, Creation Law
|"This is the great vice of academicism, that it is concerned with ideas rather than with thinking, and nowadays the errors of academicism do not stay in the academy; they make their way into the world and what begins as a failure of perception among intellectual specialists finds its fulfillment in policy and action."2|
Throughout the history of this country, Americans have
relied on academicism to formulate governmental policy, particularly at
the Federal level. The Constitution itself was the work of wise but practical
intellectuals, and is remarkable for its relative freedom from the corrupting
influences of power and moneyed interests. But in this century, as academia
has become stridently secular and self-assured, and as the reach of the
Federal government has been used in ways never contemplated by the founding
fathers, to force social changes that have proved disastrous, the "great
vice" of this quote has yielded its unfortunate fruits. As these failures
become painfully evident, a real danger is that America may take on a spirit
of thoughtless anti-academicism, turn to the tyrannies of demagogues, and
fall prey to the very interests that this country spurned in its founding.
The fundamental issue is this: What, if anything, should
Christians do in the face of this social meltdown? Is there a rationale
for Christian involvement in secular society, or in contrast to this, do
we simply hunker down and await the apocalypse? This paper argues that
there is a valid rationale for Christian involvement in secular society,
based on the concept of creation law, and that Christians, as followers
of the Creator's written revelation, have a unique ability, and so the
responsibility, to promote secular policies that are consistent with creation
1. Secular Society and Creation Law.
What is "Secular"? According to one author3
the very distinction between "secular" and "religious" is due to Christ's
own teaching, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto
God, the things that are God's." [Mt.22:21, KJV]. In Jesus' day, there
was a near universal mixing of secular and religious, so that, for example,
Rome deified its emperors and used religious fealty to the Caesar as a
test of patriotism. The very coin shown to Jesus when he made this statement
bore an image of Caesar with the inscription "Son of the divine Augustus";
the semi-divine title "Augustus" itself implies religious devotion (stronger
than "Reverend", something like "Revered One"). This muddled intermixing
of the religious with secular spheres lay behind much of the state-sponsored
persecution of Christians. It is through the influence of Christian thought
that (after millennia of indifferent success and many detours) a modern
sense of a proper distinction between the secular and religious spheres
Distinguishing between religious and secular spheres is
not the same as saying that they are completely separate. This notion is
a modern overreach promoted by many secularists that is refuted in the
book The Myth of Religious Neutrality by Roy A. Clouser, who argues:
|"The central claim of this book is that all theories [of philosophy and the sciences] cannot fail to be regulated by a religious belief of some kind…. Theories about math and physics, socology and economics, art and ethics, politics and law can never be religiously neutral. They are all regulated by some religious belief."4|
He defines a religious belief as "any belief in something
or other as divine", where "Divine means having the status of not depending
on anything else."5
>From this point of view, Jesus was not arguing for the separation of religious
and secular but for the recognition of the religious and secular elements
in society, and to argue against confusion of the two spheres.
Among secularists there is a general denial of a religious
element in "secular" claims. Perhaps the starkest example of this by secular
American society is in the definition of "science" given by the National
Academy of Sciences6,
which excludes by definition the possibility of a non-naturalistic cause
for any observable effect. In the desire to separate between secular and
religious, the N.A.S. adopted a metaphysical assumption that in no way
can be derived from a study of nature. In effect, it presupposes that "brute
matter has the capability to arrange itself into higher levels of complexity,"7
simply based on the fact that such complexity is observed in nature, even
though there is no plausible explanation for how this complexity came about.
In effect, "reality" is equated with things that science can study (measure),
and so the possibility of supernatural intervention in Creation is ruled
out by fiat.
What is the Christian Role in the Secular Arena? Our
particular interest here is in the Christian side of this issue: (1) Should
we as Christians properly recognize the distinction between the secular
and religious elements of society? If we do, (2) Is it a proper Christian
role to be actively involved in secular society? If so, (3) Do Christians
have a particular secular message to give? Since our interest here is in
the third question, I will only make a few remarks about the first two,
both of which I answer "Yes."
Regarding the first question: The history of the world
is rife with examples of how governments have tried to use the force of
law to impose religious views on their citizens. Sometimes (but not usually!)
this has worked to impose a form of Christianity. State-sponsored Christianity
has almost always been a perversion of the true Gospel message, from the
moment that it became a state religion in the days of the Roman Emperor
Constantine. This sad history demonstrates the wisdom in Christ's pronouncement,
and is the reason why the U.S. Constitution has the Religious Establishment
clause: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…".8
I certainly can and do fault the interpretations of this clause that seem
to put the government in a position of overt hostility to religion, and
such a position is rightly to be opposed. But on the other hand, we Christians
need to be careful that what we do propose as principles of Government
do not in effect violate that clause, which some policies of the past have
in fact done, just as surely as slavery violated the principle that all
men are created equal, as stated in the Declaration of Independence. I
believe that we have ample warrant to resist the temptation to reverse
the sense of this amendment, even if Christians are in the majority and
have the power to force such a change, because history demonstrates that
such seeming good intentions invariably turn to folly in due time.
Regarding the second question: Should Christians be actively
involved in secular society—for example, by participating in organizations
such as the Christian Coalition? There seems to be considerable argument
on both sides of this question, and some Christian sects such as the Amish
pointedly avoid such activity, but I firmly believe the answer is "Yes."
Christ said that we are the "salt of the earth." Although this might conceivably
be interpreted in the same sense as "light of the world," I believe that
the meaning is larger than just a beacon that beams out the Gospel. The
examples of Daniel, Nehemiah and Esther show that believers working in
and through the secular government can be tools used by God to combat moral
and spiritual decay and to foster and encourage believers.
Now to the third question: What is the secular message
that Christians have to give? The quote at the head of this paper expresses
a general despair regarding the destiny of a society that is led by the
ideas of intellectuals and experts. Ironically this is exactly the "ideal"
society that Plato postulated in his book, The Republic, and it
is largely the kind of centralized society that characterizes America today
as it follows the lead of social reconstructionists and policy experts.
A byproduct of the modern scientific age is that collective knowledge is
compartmentalized into ever more restrictive and narrow specialties, thus
increasing our dependence on narrowly-focussed experts. Big government
can fail in big ways. The temptation to use the vast resources of Government
to engineer society is nearly irresistible, but if the engineering is based
on ideas that have a narrow experience base and lack objective authority,
the results are too often failures that reflect faulty perceptions.
Christians do have an objective authority, based on revelation
from the Creator of the world that we live in. Built into the creation
are creation laws that govern how things work and that ensure the stability
and long-term endurance of his creation. Not so coincidentally, this Creator
has a lot to say about his creation in Scripture, things that are essential
to the continuance and well-being of creation, as distinct from things
that specially concern believers and their relationship to him. These creation
laws are essentially secular in nature. By understanding and heeding these
creation laws, Christians can derive ideas for secular policy that are
based on truths that will not prove empty when they find fulfillment.
It is not necessary for secular society to acknowledge
the Biblical source or objective nature of the Christian's authority, if
the results prove out, just as it is not necessary to know where a mathematician
got the inspiration in order to acknowledge the validity of a mathematical
proof. Nebuchadnezzar did not follow Daniel's advice because of Daniel's
objective source of authority in Scripture, but because the results proved
out: he "distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps
by his exceptional qualities." [Dan.6:3]. What the Christian offers is
a substitute for the self-appointed authority of academicism which acknowledges
that it has no objective basis and so uses the subjective authority of
academic credentials as a substitute.
As we discuss creation law, I don't want to give the impression
that the spiritual dimension to God's revelation is unimportant; in truth,
it is central to our lives as believers. I interpret passages such as Prov.
1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" in the narrow
sense that it is not possible to have true wisdom unless the reality of
God is part of our thought processes. For example, I believe that I as
a Christian can view the observable facts of physics and biology with an
equanimity and lack of bias that is not possible for a secular scientist,
because I am perfectly free to take facts as they lie, without having to
superimpose on them an assumption that the universe is the way it is due
to mindless chance. If it turns out that there is a clear, logical and
credible explanation for how living material evolved from nonliving material,
such a fact does not conflict with my belief in God; but an atheistic scientist
(or one who accepts the definition of "science" discussed above) has no
choice but to force such an explanation. The evidence to date is that there
is no credible sequence of events that can explain such a transformation.
Hence, my mindset based on a belief in God is more scientific than that
of a secular scientist.
What is Creation Law? A creation law is
a principle that is built by God into his creation that governs how his
creation works, or that ensures the stability and long-term viability of
his creation. Roughly speaking, what we refer to as the "sciences" have
as their legitimate focus the search for and expression of creation laws.
We intend to use the term "law" in a broad sense that concerns all details
of creation, and not just comprehensive generalizations (as the term tends
to be used in Physics and other grand unifying sciences). We will shortly
give a number of examples, but our particular interest in the discussion
of Christian contributions to a secular society is in social laws of human
behavior: built-in characteristics of humans as individuals and as social
creatures. There is much that Scripture says and implies about such creation
By "creation law" I do not mean "natural law" as the term
is used by theologians such as Thomas Aquinas. Natural laws are principles
that are arrived at as the end result of philosophical contemplation. A
natural law attributed to Justice Story (an early Supreme Court Justice)
is that what may not be done directly may not be done indirectly. For example,
if it is unlawful to commit murder, then it is also unlawful to hire assassins
to commit murder.9
Creation laws cannot be derived by mental analysis alone; they are built-in
features of Creation that can only be discovered in one of two ways: by
direct observation of Creation, or by special revelation from God. For
example, there is no way to come by Newton's laws by intellectual analysis.
Two things are important to realize from the outset. First,
creation laws are not necessarily flagged as such, or even explicitly stated
in Scripture; in many cases, what we see there are the implications of
creation laws rather than the laws themselves. It is our task to study
Scripture to determine the nature of the underlying creation laws. Second,
creation laws by their very nature are not "arbitrary" in the sense that
they can be ignored without penalty, although in some cases the penalty
may be delayed.
The Basis for Creation Law. Christ alluded to creation
law in his discussion of divorce in Mark 10:6-8 where he says, "At the
beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason
a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the
two will become one flesh.'" Jesus is saying in effect that the family
unit that is formed in marriage is a characteristic of creation itself—it
is a creation law. In addition, he also implies that the practice of offspring
leaving the parental family unit to form a new family unit is also a creation
Creation laws reflect the craftsmanship of God displayed
in his creation. As a scientist, I take particular interest in Psalms 19:1-4a,
because I believe that it describes this handiwork of God:
|"The heavens declare the glory of God;
The skies proclaim the work of his hands."
The word translated "sky" is "firmament" in the King James
translation and comes from a word that means to "stretch out" as by beating.
The picture is that of a highly skilled goldsmith hammering out thin sheets
of gold overlay. Gold is very malleable, and it can be hammered out into
a sheet of such microscopic thickness that it becomes translucent. In David's
day, the goldsmith was the picture of ultimate skill and craftsmanship,
and so he uses this analogy to describe God's work.
|"Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge."
The word "knowledge" refers to insight rather than news;
that is, an understanding of the Craftsman Creator God. This passage asserts
that careful study of his creation can give the observer insight into God's
nature as reflected in his work. This is also the message of Romans 1:20,
which asserts that God's qualities are clearly seen in his creation.
|"There is no speech or language
[where] their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world."
The word "where" in verse 3 is supplied in the translation.
The word translated "voice" in verse 4 is literally a "line". The word
is used elsewhere for a stretched-out measuring line. In this context the
image is that of a tuned harp string. In my mind I picture David composing
this Psalm with his harp in hand. As he composes the words and music, he
looks down at his harp, and sees a picture of how the "voice" of the heavens
proclaims the Glory of God. God's Creation is like a perfectly tuned harp.
The harp by itself is mute: "there is no speech or language; their voice
is not heard." But the voice is there, in the tuned harp strings:
all that lacks is the fingers of a talented musician who makes the effort
to pluck the strings, and the speech will pour forth: "their line goes
out into all the earth; their words to the ends of the world." This line
goes throughout the world, so that it can be heard (by those who play and
listen) everywhere in his creation.
What this passage tells me is that God revels in his creative
work, and that inquiry into his creation tells the skillful inquirer much
about who he is. It is significant that Paul quotes this passage in Romans
10:18 in support of his claim that God's good news has indeed "gone out
into all the earth."
I believe that a warranted inference from this Psalm is
that God takes special pleasure in honest and skillful inquiry into the
nature of his creation, and that he rewards such inquiry with insight into
his nature. In short, God loves an honest scientist, and the honest, skillful
study of his creation will not lead to false information about the nature
of God or of Creation.
Creation laws are the mortar that governs this finely
crafted creation and holds it together. They are the "tuning" of the fine
instrument of God's creation. You can't really violate a creation law in
the long run: you may pretend that the law of gravity doesn't exist, but
if you jump off a building you will fall to the ground nonetheless. By
extending the concept of creation law to other areas than physics and the
hard sciences, what I assert is that they can't be violated either: if
you pretend they don't exist, you will suffer the inevitable consequences
in due time. To put it another way, there are some things in life that
qualify as "alternative" ways of doing things in the sense that each way
will lead to a stable and sustainable end state: "there is more than one
way to skin a cat." But creation laws are not optional in this sense: failing
to obey them leads to an unstable, unsustainable or self-destructive end
Creation Law as the Basis for Christian Action in a
Secular Society. The past 20 years or so have seen the growth of various
Christian or quasi-Christian organizations with active political agendas.
In the early 1980's we had the Moral Majority; today we have the Christian
Coalition and similar groups; some, such as the Heritage Foundation based
in Valley Forge, are not specifically religious but promote causes that
many would associate with Christianity. I admit that I have mixed feelings
about such groups, especially with the way that they attach the name "Christian"
to some of their causes.
An understanding of creation laws that underlie Scripture
provides a valid basis for "Christian" involvement in the secular political
arena by Christian or quasi-Christian groups. I am not arguing against
a vigorous Christian outreach to propagate the faith as, for example, in
evangelism or in defense of Christian beliefs; but I do not believe that
these should be part of a political movement. To me, one of the sad things
that happened to the Moral Majority in the mid-80's is that the Christian
message got watered down, as the special Christian values and viewpoints
were questioned, as they attempted to broaden their appeal, and as they
maintained their claim to represent the "majority" viewpoint. In my view,
this process came about as a result of fuzzy thinking about the nature
and identity of creation law. It would have been far better if the message
had not been "Christian" in the first place, but rather focused on creation
There is a good Constitutional precedent for taking Biblical
expressions of creation law and making them a fundamental part of the fabric
of society. Built into the U.S. Constitution is the conviction that humans
are not by nature selfless, that they can be tempted into corruption and
thus it is necessary to have a government of checks and balances so that
no group or social class can rule unchecked. This conviction amounts to
a creation law, possibly brought on by the Fall, which has been encoded
into our form of Government. This is not the form of government
in Britain or in any other society of the time, which had monarchs and
ruling classes that were presumed to have the good of the society in mind
due to their high breeding. In these other governments, there was the notion
of the divine rights of kings and nobility to rule; that notion of government
is patterned about the theory of the "good despot" that Socrates promoted
in Plato's Republic. Incidentally, liberalism has at root this ruling
class conceit—the notion that society is best governed by an educated elite,
with laws that enforce their pronouncements. We saw this elitism in the
way that the health care reform proposals were drawn up and presented in
1993-4. An essential part of liberal social science involves the ability
of an educated elite to control society by legislation, so that it must
follow a prescribed behavior. These notions are contrary to the spirit
of the Constitution.
Many Christians seem to have adopted a fatalistic attitude
toward issues such as effecting changes in social behavior patterns of
secular society. Personally, I am not so fatalistic, because demonstrable
changes in social attitudes have occurred in the recent past. I would like
to give an example or two. One of the most destructive aspects of the modern
entertainment industry is the messages that it gives (under the guise of
free speech) to young people about the "rites of passage" to adulthood.
By holding up certain behavior as typical of normal adults but denied to
children, the inevitable message to unguided minds is "to be grown-up (or
to appear grown-up to your peers) you must engage in this behavior." To
restive young people who are anxious to enter the adult world, this message
becomes, "By all means, do this as soon as you can." Look at the things
that are glorified in the media: smoking, drinking, drug use, sexual activity,
violence and so on.
But here is the interesting thing. Forty years ago, smoking
and drinking were glamorized in films: every macho male and liberated female
was seen lighting up a cigarette or taking a drink. Today such images are
much less common. Smoking and drinking patterns in the U.S. have changed
dramatically, mostly for the good—except, significantly, among young women,
where smoking remains a symbol of liberation. It is remarkable to me to
note in offices and public places how often it is the young women who smoke,
while the men, expecially professionals, do not.
To give another example: twenty years ago, homosexuals
in San Francisco considered it their fundamental "right" to do as they
please in the public bath houses and loudly protested attempts to control
that right. Today, the bath houses are shut down, despite this "right".
To my mind this demonstrates that change is possible
in the secular arena; not that change is easy or rapid, and much more needs
to be done, but there is at least a clear (if somewhat hypocritical) "message"
in secular society that smoking and drinking are no longer necessary rites
of passage to adulthood. Some progress is also being made in drug use;
regress rather than progress is occurring in the area of sexual activity,
which is glamorized by an irresponsible entertainment industry that conveys
the message that "to be fully human, one must be sexually active."10
Christians should take heart in the progress, and see it as demonstrating
the potential for further changes.
The challenge is to present calls for action in the secular
arena based on creation law rather than religious principle. Later we will
attempt to make a case for proactive teaching of moral conduct and virtue
as a consequence of creation laws, including the law that moral conduct
is not an inborn characteristic of the human will, and must be taught.
The present-day theories that prevail in public education and social welfare
policy are exactly opposed to these laws, and the result is that we have
raised a generation of young people who have very little moral anchoring,
creating a social climate in which many young people seem to have no moral
concepts of right or wrong, and over a third of all births are to unwed
mothers. The significance of this problem extends far beyond the issue
of religious belief; it has created a situation that threatens the ability
to maintain civil democratic government as we know it. A stark example
of this is the increase in killings at the hands of children and adolescents.
In a talk to the National Prayer Breakfast in 1993, Mother Teresa linked
this violence to the social acceptance of abortion:
|"Many people are also concerned about all the violence
in this great country of the United States. …But often these same people
are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate
decision of their own mothers.
"And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today—abortion, which brings people to such blindness.
"… If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill each other? …Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want."11
2. Examples of Creation Laws
I would now like to give some examples of creation laws,
to show the variety and scope of what I have in mind. For now we will stick
to easy examples; later we will focus on human social relationships for
a more extensive discussion.
Laws in Physics. In physics, mention of the word
"law" brings to mind Newton's laws of motion and gravity. To the extent
that they are accurate statements of natural forces, these are "creation
laws" because everything we experience in the material world reflects these
One should not think of creation laws in Physics as necessarily
few in number and broad in scope; in fact, the very opposite is true. Some
of the most remarkable findings of modern science over the past generation
or so, concern the realization that the very existence of the earth as
a life-supporting planet, depends on a myriad of details (laws) that might
seem arbitrary—even accidental—but are in fact essential to our existence.
For example12, during
the summer of 1994 we saw a dramatic example of one such law at work when
the comet Shoemaker-Levy collided with Jupiter. Question: Why are the outer
planets of our solar system—Saturn and Jupiter—so massive? Answer: Because
they act as shields for Earth, protecting us from comet and asteroid collisions
by acting as massive attractors for these objects. But the inquiry doesn't
end there: Second Question: Why are the orbits of these planets so regular
(nearly circular and in the same general plane with all of the planets)?
Answer: If these massive planets had less regular orbits then their gravitational
attraction would cause the inner planets to have such chaotic orbits that
Earth would have an unstable climate, and the inner planets might "pop"
right out of the solar system. In other words, life could not exist. This
is just one small example of a whole host of finely tuned "coincidences"
of the material world that turn out to be essential for our existence,
collectively known as the Anthropic Cosmological Principle. These are examples
of creation laws, described in detail by several authors over the past
Laws in Biology. Creation laws in biology concern
the laws that govern the existence and propagation of living material.
These laws are much more difficult to pin down precisely than are physical
laws (not that they have been completely pinned down in physics either!)
because the very concept of "life" is itself exceedingly mysterious. Many
of the biological laws are statistical in nature because of the vast complexity
of the organisms that they deal with. Mendel's laws of heredity, for example,
are a sort of statistical creation law concerning the transmission of traits
between generations. Since the discovery of the role of DNA around 1950,
biologists are learning more and more creation laws that are built into
Every biology text that describes the activities of the
living cell, covers hundreds of details that amount to creation laws built
into the way that a cell functions. This activity is almost unimaginably
complex, even for the so-called "simple" one-celled life forms. For example,
the cell's process that builds protein molecules from DNA coding is remarkably
complex, and seems to require the prior existence of a large array of intermediate
A fascinating area of interest to Bible students is the
question of the natural limits of "species" (the Biblical "kind"). Very
slowly scientists are discovering biological reasons both for the broad
range of variation in some life forms, such as viruses, and their remarkable
ability to modify themselves (form new species in effect) as a means of
self-perpetuation, as well as the apparently narrow limits of variation
of many other species. The issue here, not only among believers but among
all scientists, is to discover the driving creation laws (although the
secular scientists would not refer to them in these terms).
Social laws. We will particularly focus here on
creation laws concerning human social relationships. Human society is governed
by a number of creation laws that are important for us to understand so
that we can have a stable society. That such social laws exist in nature
is obvious from the study of various animal "societies" such as bee and
ant colonies, lion prides, gorilla bands and so on. There is an extensive
structure of built-in social arrangements that is part of the creation
of these species. The structures are so stable within a species that they
can be studied definitively, which is of course what a "law" implies. Social
laws also extend to individual behavior traits. Again, it is possible to
study the behavior laws of cats, dogs and other species, and to see a trend
in sophistication as you move from lower to higher species complexity.
3. Nature and Purpose of Creation Laws
God has created a universe that is governed by creation
laws. The laws accomplish two general things: first, there are the basic
rules of how things work, such as the classic laws of physics, genetics,
and so on. Second, there are the laws that ensure the stability and long-term
viability of the creation order.
Stability. The issue of stability is an interesting
one. It is curious that God chose to leave so much potential for instability
in his creation. Why, for example, did he place the earth in an asteroid
belt? Its nice to know that Jupiter and Saturn provide protection, but
why the asteroids in the first place? Why did he leave a hot core in the
interior of the earth, with the resultant periodic volcanoes, earthquakes
and other catastrophes? One of the remarkable things about scientific discovery
in recent decades is the way that it reveals that many of these things
that seem to denote instability are actually needed to provide the life-supporting
world that we enjoy.
Why is the earth's ecosystem so apparently unstable? Hugh
Ross gives a fascinating example of this: changing the mean temperature
of the earth by a few degrees either way would be catastrophic. Since ice
and snow reflect the sun's radiation back into space, lower temperatures,
leading to more ice and snow, would cause more radiation to escape, leading
to lower temperatures. On the other hand, higher temperatures lead to less
ice and snow, more water vapor and carbon dioxide (due to more plant growth)
in the atmosphere, leading to greater retention of solar radiation—called
the greenhouse effect—leading to higher temperatures. It's interesting
to note that God used the greenhouse effect in the early days of
life on earth to retain heat when solar radiation was about 35% less than
it is today. As the sun heated up to its present state, the life mix changed
from plant to animal forms and the greenhouse effect decreased to maintain
a life-sustaining temperature range that avoided both extremes of runaway
heating or cooling.14
As a mathematician and physicist, one area of study that
I find most fascinating is the so-called many body problem. The solar system
is an example of a fairly stable many body problem: eight or nine planets
and innumerable asteroids and other objects orbiting around the sun. The
only reason that astronomers in the time of Galileo were able to compute
these orbits is because the sun is so massive and the planets so far apart
that for practical purposes, each planet's motion can be computed as a
two body problem: that planet, viewed as a point mass, orbiting around
the sun, also viewed as a point mass. An example of an unstable many body
problem is two or three bodies of similar mass orbiting each other at close
distances (close enough that it isn't reasonable to view each as a point
mass)—many examples exist in astronomy: I believe that one example in our
own solar system is Pluto and its moon. In these bizarre cases, the orbits
are generally not stable, so that the separation of the bodies varies over
a very broad range (leading to a very unstable environment, or to the possibility
that the bodies will fly apart under the influence of other heavenly objects),
or so that one body eventually crashes into another.
In the analogy to the many body problem, many creation
laws are rules that lead to stable orbits in the midst of potential instability.
The examples of the Cosmological Anthropic Principle illustrate this, where
"stability" means the ability to create a life-sustaining environment.
It's not that you can't design other orbital configurations, but that they
will not be stable. The question, of course, is how to identify the stable
4. The Inscrutability of Creation Laws
One thing to keep in mind as we discuss creation laws,
is that we are working in the area of human interpretations and are limited
by our current perceptions. Most of the creation laws are not explicitly
stated in Scripture, and so can be understood only after considerable effort.
And those understandings are fallible.
Just as Newton's predecessors and he himself postulated
creation laws that proved to be fallible, just so that is the case with
any that we discuss here. One of God's creation acts was to create humans
in his own image (Gen. 1:27). What does this mean? I am convinced that
one thing it means is that God has given us the ability to think. This
ability is certainly one thing that distinguishes humans from all other
animals, and so it doesn't seem too farfetched to conclude that it is part
of what is meant by God's image. One of my favorite verses along these
lines is Eccl. 3:11,
|"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."|
Note the juxtaposition of beauty with inscrutability:
what is beauty? Why is beauty? These are deep questions—the easy answer
of the evolutionists that everything has the purpose of survival of the
fittest is woefully inadequate. I call this inability to fathom what God
has done the itch of eternity that God has placed in the heart of
every human. This frustration, combined with the evident beauty in nature,
combined with the observation later in the same passage that "we are like
the animals" is the fire that fuels the urge to investigate his creation,
to make rational sense out of it, and discover the "speech" that Psalm
19 talks about.
I believe that God intends for us to study and ponder
his creation and discover its laws. The admonitions and commands of Scripture
give general indications of the fundamental laws, but it is only by careful
study and analysis of the failures and successes of humankind and as we
scientifically investigate and ponder his creation that we can zero in
on what they are. After all, if it took over 2000 years of deep study to
come up with the familiar laws of physics and mathematics. Why should we
feel that the much more subtle and complex creation laws of biology or
of human social behavior should be easy to find? This inquiry is not Ex
Cathedra: we can be in error, and the history of knowledge is one of
gradually refining our collective knowledge over long periods of time.
Job's Ostrich. One of my favorite descriptions
of God's creation activity is his answer to Job's complaints recorded in
Job 38-41. For the most part this passage is a series of questions. The
exception is God's description of the ostrich in Job 39:13-18. In my imagination
I think that God is repeating back Job's own thoughts that occurred
to him once as he came upon some ostriches roaming about in the desert.
What a comical creation! Almost useless wings that flap about joyously
but serve no useful function in flying. The hen lays her eggs right on
the ground with no protection, too dumb to realize the foolishness of that
habit—why, some animal's foot may accidentally crush it, never mind the
intentional destruction of a predator. When the chicks are born, her nurturing
instincts clearly are defective: she treats them harshly, not in a manner
that appears designed to ensure survival. God did not endow her with much
wisdom, or give her a share of good sense; yet she can outrun a swift horse
and rider. Why would God have created such an unlikely species? All indications
point to swift extinction, and yet there it is! And how could this strange
creature actually best the horse, one of God's more noble successes?
God uses the example of the ostrich to point out that
things are not necessarily as they appear, and that wisdom in creation
is not always what we as humans would expect. In particular there is an
apparent built-in instability that somehow turns around and actually enhances
stability. In our pride, we might think: If I were creating the
earth, I certainly would not have placed it in an asteroid belt. And who
can imagine creating life on a planet that has a hot core, with the resultant
periodic convulsions of the earth's surface? By implication, God says to
Job: is the ostrich creation really all that foolish? He conveys the thought
that from a human perspective, the creation looks unstable, but that is
because Job is not God, and God has through his wisdom assured the survival
of the ostrich despite its apparently foolhardy behavior.
5. The Special Case of Human Social Laws
I would like to spend the rest of this paper discussing
creation laws as they concern human social relationships, because these
are the laws that provide the basis for Christian involvement in secular
society. My mention of creation laws in other areas was primarily to convey
the sense of continuity: social laws are not some strange forced structure
imposed on humans; rather they are part of a general pattern or rule of
law throughout creation—and to caution that identifying creation laws of
human relationships may be tricky.
The Twentieth Century has been a century of grand social
experiments, many of which have proved to be disasters. The social sciences
deal with theories of human behavior. Their theories range from the now-discredited
Marxist/Communist and Nazi theories to the modern notions that have taken
hold of public education and the government social programs of recent decades.
Two things separate social theories from the empirical
sciences. These are: the nihilist premise; and the way that the social
sciences view the real world.
The Nihilist Premise. The nihilist premise is the
notion that there is no such thing as objective truth. In the absence of
objective truth, what is taken to be "true", that is, what is taught as
fact, and the basis for held beliefs, depends on a political agenda rather
than on an objective standard. It is my opinion that the academic world
has become increasingly nihilistic in the past generation, in all but the
"hard" laboratory sciences—mathematics, physics, chemistry, molecular biology,
etc. In part this is due to the "dumbing down" of academia, so that most
people who get higher academic degrees today are ignorant of the methods
of precise mathematical reasoning, so that what passes for logical deduction
becomes an exercise in persuasion. In part, it is a conscious radical movement.
Many educators are practical nihilists, but it is extremely unlikely that
a mathematician—my own training—is a genuine nihilist.
The most startling manifestations of the nihilist premise
are in areas such as history where there are attempts to revise the facts
of history, not based on any objective analysis but on a particular political
agenda. In effect such people are saying that what I did yesterday or this
morning is not fact but is subject to revision. A second area where practical
nihilism occurs is in government-sponsored research. A large amount of
government-sponsored science is constrained by the requirement that the
findings be politically correct: thus scientific investigations must support
government policies on the dangers of asbestos, radon, the equality of
the sexes, the nature of homosexuality, and so on at the risk of losing
funds. These "scientific studies" are essentially based on the nihilist
premise. I would argue that most work of "consultants" is of this sort.
The Role of the Real World. The major event
that led to the scientific revolution was the concept of empirical science.
This concept was able to get around the fundamental block to learning that
is posed by the faulty senses, a problem that stumped Socrates, Plato and
Aristotle. Empirical science does not mean that all theories and constructs
are obtained by experimentation, but rather that all theories are subject
to experimental verification through comparison with the experiential world.
The hallmark of an empirical science is the design of repeatable
experiments that produce repeatable results that confirm (or deny)
As an empirical scientist, I am free to postulate the
theory that bodies fall upward. As such, this postulate is as good as any
other as the start of an empirical theory. But having made this assertion,
it is my burden to design repeatable experiments that show that this postulate
indeed explains the observed results. I think I would have a hard time
doing that. Empirical verification is the essence of empirical science.
Perhaps Einstein was the most spectacular practitioner
of the empirical sciences in this century: he derived his theories as an
intellectual process that appealed to mathematical beauty. The general
theory of relativity is based on a very simple concept: that there is no
fixed or preferred coordinate system in the universe. This means, for example,
that it is impossible to find the "true" velocity of the earth, or the
sun or any other object; all that is possible is to measure the velocity
of one body relative to another (hence "relativity"). Once Einstein had
derived his general theory, it was necessary to design experiments that
show that the predictions of his theory agree with the empirical observations.
One of the remarkable things about the past 30 years—a full 50 years after
Einstein's original theory was set down—is the way that many of his predictions—which
could not be tested in his day because of the crude instrumentation available
(and so by definition could in no way have been called "empirical" at the
time)—have proved accurate.15
The Empirical Difficulty of Social Sciences. The
problem with the social sciences is that their view of the real world tends
to make many of them practical nihilists, whether or not they explicitly
acknowledge the nihilist premise. The reason for this is that to the social
sciences, the real world is the problem, not the ultimate test of reality.
In their view, the real world, called the environment, is to blame
for most of the ills of society, and the way to fix society is to change
the environment, according to whatever theory that particular scientist
proposes. Social scientists generally have the point of view that society
is very moldable, and that you don't "discover" an ideal society, you impose
it. In contrast to physics where the real world is the ultimate crucible
and moment of truth for a theory, in social science the real world, called
the "environment" is a major part of the problem.
In the Communist theory, for example, the essential activity
is to cleanse society of its evil components so that the good can flourish,
guided by careful propaganda. This is the opposite of empirical science,
because it seeks to impose a structure on society, and then manage society
so that it will produce the results that the particular social theory predicts.
Thus, Marxism blamed the capitalist system and religion as the roots of
all evil, and claimed that if these influences were removed, society would
become fair-minded and equitable. The Soviet Union was a grand experiment
that took some 70 years to prove the folly of that notion.
Since the 1960's social scientists have imposed their
notions of the natural goodness of humans to free public school students
and the welfare system of externally imposed concepts of morality, punishment,
frugality and the like, and to free the human spirit to do whatever feels
good. The result is a massive breakdown of the family structure, particularly
in poor urban settings, the exploding incidence of teenage pregnancy, child
mothers raising children, and drug/sex related epidemics. Basically, what
has happened in both the case of Marxism and American social engineering
is that the social theorists have largely succeeded in changing the environment,
but the result has been demonstrable failure. I am told, for example, that
in the early 1950's less than 1 out of 5 black children were born and raised
in single parent homes. Today the figure is close to 3 out of 4. Among
whites the corresponding number is 1 out of 3, compared to 1 in 20 in the
1950's. As far as I can determine, nearly everyone except Murphy Brown
agrees that the two-parent family is essential to the development of children
into healthy adults. In fact, we will argue below that the two-parent family
unit is a provision of creation law, necessary for the well-being of the
Paul Johnson, in his recent book Intellectuals
|"Social engineering has been the salient delusion and the greatest curse of the modern age.… Social engineering is the creation of millenarian intellectuals who believe they can refashion the universe by the light of their unaided reason."16|
The Personhood Problem of Social Science. A second
problem with the social sciences in addition to the empirical problem is
that social theory deals with a human's personhood, not just external circumstances
that a person happens to live under. The "environment" that these theorists
talk about is inextricably tied to the person's soul, to his or her sense
of self-worth and well-being. Marxist theory and the modern social theories
wouldn't matter a bit if people were content with themselves and their
situation. People can be physically deprived and still be spiritually complete;
but if a person's inner being has been destroyed, no amount of physical
advantage will substitute for such a loss.
6. The Scriptural Response to the Empirical difficulties of Social Science.
Given the empirical problems with social science, how
can we then proceed? There are three facts that help to resolve this apparent
dilemma, and provide the rationale for Christian involvement in the secular
arena. First: we recognize that the accumulation of experience over the
ages of recorded history provides valuable insight into what theories work
and what don't work. The secular socialists do not give this accumulated
wisdom much attention. Second: we acknowledge that much of this experience,
together with other insights and rationale is recorded in God's written
word. Third: we believe that this revelation is a faithful and accurate
expression of truth given to us by the Creator himself. Because of the
non-empirical nature of social theories, the creation laws that form the
basis of the Bible's teachings on social relationships take on even greater
importance, and this isn't only limited to believers: the laws concern
all of society.
As to the first point: what it means is that there is
something in the human experience called "wisdom", which the dictionary
defines as "accumulated learning." Christians do not have a monopoly on
wisdom—something that we would be good to remember—but we do have an advantage
in that we have God's own endorsement of the wisdom that we find in Scripture.
Modern secular social science tends to disparage wisdom
as found in the historical record and in accumulated human experience.
Perhaps this is the reason why Paul Johnson in his book cited earlier,
says that "a dozen people picked at random on the street are at least as
likely to offer sensible views on moral and political matters as a cross-section
of the intelligentsia."17Randomly
selected people tend to respect wisdom!
To illustrate this modern bias against the past, consider
the following, taken from a college textbook on sociology:
|"For most people in our society, infants and children are small people to whom we should try to offer aid and comfort whenever possible. This attitude is new. A search of historical sources shows that until the last century children were instead offered beatings and whippings, with instruments usually associated with torture chambers. In fact, the history of childhood is a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken. In antiquity infanticide was so common that every river, dung-heap and cesspool used to be littered with dead infants." [Abridged; Emphasis added]18|
As I remarked to my wife after reading this to her, "I
wonder how George Washington ever got across the Delaware River with so
many infant bodies littering the way." I doubt that even the most narrow-minded
missionary to the most benighted heathen culture would offer such a statement
as truth. It illustrates how social scientists throw away and discredit
the record of history, which is—by definition—the source of wisdom.
The attitude expressed in this quote is so patently false,
biased, unscientific and inclusive that it defies description, but it is
just an extreme example of the self-congratulatory bias that can be found
in social science circles. As my wife accuses me of saying, "It leaves
me limp." It promotes the notion that until the new age of social enlightenment,
social theories were beneath contempt. The consequence of course is that
with such an attitude it is impossible to learn from the past. There is
no such thing as wisdom that we can turn to.
As possessors of a historically-based faith, Christians
have a special advantage over the secular world in that we have a built-in
inclination to respect the wisdom records of the past. In addition, we
have the confidence of faith in God's revelation that enables us to sift
through this mixed wisdom record to identify the true reflections of creation
law. In contrast, the secular social scientists have nothing to go on but
their own narrow vision and limited imaginings. This doesn't mean that
the Christian's task is easy, but that we have a solid and confident starting
point to proceed from, and we don't have to start from scratch. Let's look
at some of the Scriptural tools and insights that they give about creation
laws concerning social behavior. As we noted before, there are two sources
of information about creation law: empirical experience and special revelation.
The Old Testament Wisdom Literature.
The books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are examples of Old Testament Wisdom
literature, and contain many teachings that reflect the accumulated wisdom
of experience, culled, modified and extended by the Creator's own insight.
The very reason these wisdom books exist reflects a basic
creation law: that acceptable social behavior must be taught, and that
the collective wisdom of earlier generations is a basic part of this teaching.
Humans are not born with innate wisdom.
As an aside, it is an exceedingly interesting and open
question as to the extent that other species share this trait of passed-on
wisdom. Recent experiments with migrating geese (led by "Father Goose"
in an ultralite aircraft) are an example of attempts to answer this question
as it concerns the nesting and wintering grounds of migratory geese. Are
the wintering and nesting sites built into the DNA of these geese or are
they acquired knowledge that is passed on from generation to generation?
This is a fascinating area of inquiry.
The concept that human wisdom is acquired has not been
universally held. In one sense the modern social theorists' belief that
positive social virtues are innate is a 2500 year throwback to the thinking
of the golden days of Athens. Plato and Socrates thought that all wisdom
is inborn: humans are born with all of the wisdom required for living.
Socrates claimed that his main function as a teacher was to bring out what
his students already knew (this is the rationale for the Socratic method
of teaching). Plato had the view that everything we encounter in the world
already exists in our minds in an ideal form. This is not so ridiculous
an idea as some might think. In fact, it is obvious from the observation
of lower life forms, and even of humans, that many social traits of even
quite complex nature are inborn.
Part of the reason why the Greek philosophers thought
this way is deeply rooted in their analysis of the philosophical problems
of learning: how do we learn truth? How do we gain knowledge? They were
deeply aware that every channel that the human has to gain knowledge is
demonstrably faulty: the eye can see things that aren't really there; the
ear can misunderstand; and so on. As a result, they were stumped by the
question of how we could ever learn true things about our surroundings
through the filters of our senses. They were stumped because they had not
yet fully thought through the concept of empirical learning, with its ability
to convey information even through faulty senses because of the consistency
of repetition. To resolve this dilemma, some assumed that true knowledge
must already be present in the human at birth.
The modern day social fallacy which is somewhat parallel
to this is the notion that one's inner being is good, and that people (unless
they are sick) will naturally make good social choices once they clearly
understand the facts and can sort through all of the confusing and conflicting
messages that they receive from their environment via the senses. The key
word is "self-actualization", to cite a term from Rogerian psychology.
One textbook in Psychology says of this:
|"All individuals possess a strong drive toward personal growth, health and adjustment. Tension, anxiety and defensiveness interfere with basic human drives. If those forces can be reduced or relieved, a person can experience personal growth. Neurotic individuals have lost sight of their own values and have taken on the values of others. The goal of therapy is to help people regain contact with their true feelings and values."19 [slightly abridged, empahses added]|
Note that in Rogerian psychology only sick people take
on the values of others. In contrast, the Biblical teaching is that wisdom
and values must be "taken on"—they are not inborn—and that left to itself
the natural inclination of a human is toward waste and self-centered dissipation.
This is the reason why the Proverbs and other wisdom literature emphasize
the importance of training, nurturing and discipline.
In confronting the social scientists, it is important
to realise that they have no objective basis for their presuppositions.
In fact, they generally deny the concept of objective truth, and instead
substitute positional authority and academic credentials as a sort of ad
hoc authority. This is a form of elitism that has no defense other
than bombast. Christians do not need to be apologetic about urging the
replacement of this baselessness with Biblically-based creation laws.
Nothing that we have said thus far requires that the various
proverbs or the implied creation laws are unknowable unless they are directly
revealed by God. In fact, proverbs express the collected experience of
people who have seen good and bad, and they are designed to be passed along
to children so they can benefit without having to experience the down side
themselves. Much of creation social law is like that: if we ignore the
collected wisdom of the past, then we will waste our lives repeating the
same mistakes. The advantage of revelation is that we have confidence that
they are accurate observations of life and correctly reflect the built-in
laws set in place at Creation.
The Judaeo/Christian heritage has no monopoly on this
wisdom. In fact, a number of the proverbs that appear in the book of Proverbs
originated in other societies. A good example is the "thirty sayings of
the wise" in Prov. 22:17-24:22, which closely parallel the 30 sections
of the Egyptian "Wisdom of Amenemope" (in fact the translation "thirty
sayings" in 22:20 [RSV and NIV], is derived from this parallelism: the
phrase in Hebrew is obscure and so is replaced in these translations by
the corresponding wording of Amenemope)20.
It is worth mentioning here one other characteristic of
the Proverbs: they express the wisdom of experience by stating the normal
expectation. In fact, most social theories deal with expected, normal or
average outcomes: they tend to be statistical in form. In the case of the
Proverbs, it is good to keep this in mind and not to read the proverbs
as if they were deterministic cause and effect statements: if you do this,
then that will surely follow. For example, "Train up a Child in the way
he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" is a good
general rule for child raising, but it doesn't rule out willful disobedience,
a la Adam and Eve. Harking back to Job's ostrich: despite God's provision
for the preservation of that species, a particular ostrich may well be
done in by its improvidence!
The book of Ecclesiastes is a special case in wisdom literature
that is particularly valuable for today's "do your own thing" society.
An overall message of this book is a plea to the reader to avoid dissipating
his life in empty pursuits. It is exactly this dissipation that characterizes
the lives of people who pursue careers in the arts and operate under the
assumption that you can't be wise until you have personally explored every
life experience, however depraved.
7. Creation Laws of the Human Species
We will next discuss selected creation laws of human behavior
that we can see in Scripture. The discussion is in two parts: laws that
humans share with the rest of creation, and laws that are unique to the
7.1 Laws Shared with Other Species.
There is a curious passage, Ecclesiastes 3:18,19: "As
for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.
Man's fate is like that of the animals, the same fate awaits them both…."
In the immediate context the subject is death and the inability to know
what lies beyond the grave. But I believe that the passage makes a larger
point: that many characteristics and constraints of humans are shared by
the animals, and that we can learn something about ourselves by looking
at other species. I do not have to be an evolutionist to see the point
to this: that we can see parallels to human social relationships in the
relationships that we find in other species. In our immediate context,
the implication is that the parallels point out things that are very likely
built into the human species at creation—creation laws—rather than acquired
social or religious customs and conventions.
Among the creation laws that humans share with other species
we will discuss laws that derive from considerations of disease and the
transmission of inherited traits, and laws that concern social organization
and arrangements within the species. Many people see these laws as intolerable
constraints on their personal liberties, and seem to assume that they fall
in the category of technical details that can be evaded by the advances
of science. It is at least as valid—and in line with God's revelation—
to assume, given the long reign of these laws throughout creation, that
they are inherent in the human condition and cannot be finessed by modern
technology, simply because they are hostile to a one's personal view of
how things ought to be. When the AIDS virus first arose in the early 1980's,
some advocates of unrestrained sexual behavior expressed outrage with the
illiberality of Nature for allowing such a virus to arise. In fact, though,
fidelity in sexual relations is a creation law for the human species, that
is necessary, along with taboos against mating of close relatives, to avoid
propagation of disease and genetic defects.
Laws of Disease and Inheritance. A number of creation
laws for the social behavior of animal species pose limits of "safe" behavior
for the species. Two types of behavior are of particular interest here:
sexual promiscuity and incest. Many species have built-in social laws restricting
one or both types of behavior.
Promiscuous behavior spreads disease, a fact that is generally
acknowledged. Built into the nature of viruses, bacteria and other primitive
life forms is the capability to change genetic structure as a random byproduct
of genetic replication. The success of this depends on the opportunity
to find hosts to generate many new generations of the virus. Built into
the higher life forms is the ability to develop resistance to specific
infections. Thus the spread of disease becomes a race between the infecting
agent and the development of resistance.
The tendency for random errors to arise in genetic codes
is a survival mechanism for viruses and bacteria: as the infected host
develops defenses against a viral strain, the virus undergoes genetic changes
due to these random errors, and eventually a new strain develops, which
defeats the defenses. In higher life forms, this genetic variation is almost
always harmful. The key to "success" for these viruses is to infect new
hosts who do not have effective defenses, and to continue the process of
infection until enough generations of the virus have passed so that the
random genetic changes can produce a resistant strain. This feature leads
to a second line of defense for animal species: avoid behavior that infects
new hosts. This leads to creation laws of the species concerning sexual
promiscuity and other activities that tend to propagate disease. These
laws are not simply religious laws with arbitrary taboos, but have a solid
epidemiological and genetic basis.
Every higher-order animal is in effect a microcosm of
infections and built-in immunities. This fact is the rationale behind the
use of vaccinations and other immunity-building medications. When sexual
mating occurs, the separate infection pools of the partners are shared.
This is why it sometimes happens that a couple shortly after marriage experiences
a temporary period of discomfort, as each shares and adapts to the other's
infections. Since the immunities are typically carried by the blood stream,
the immunities are not typically shared along with the infective agents.
Taboos against promiscuity within a species and cleanliness habits built
into the species limit the ability of viruses that are transmitted by direct
contact or in bodily fluids to find hosts that have not developed effective
resistance, thus limiting the opportunity for sharing of pools of infection.
In limiting the opportunities for replication, the development of new viral
strains is retarded or suppressed.
The AIDS virus arose as a result of a viral genetic mutation.
It arose originally and was originally spread by promiscuous homosexual
contact. Because of the nature of the virus, and its relative inability
to be propagated casually, it became an epidemic as a result of specific
promiscuous sexual activity. After it arose, infected victims could transmit
the virus by blood transfusions, intravenous drug injections, and other
means. The most common cause of infection still remains sexual activity
between an infected and non-infected partner. Faithful monogamous or even
restricted polygamous practices are almost certain protection against the
AIDS virus, if other sources of direct blood infection are avoided. The
critical behavior is sexual purity prior to and during the relationship,
in keeping with creation law.
Incest taboos reflect a related genetic mechanism. Many
higher species avoid mating of siblings and close relatives, a practice
that helps to avoid the transmission of genetic defects. These genetic
defects amount to changes in the DNA genetic code. The errors occur in
several ways: random copying errors during cell duplication, errors induced
by radiation, errors caused by tampering of the DNA code during viral infection,
etc. When these errors occur they tend to become part of the genetic code
and are duplicated during cell reproduction. However, since sexual
reproduction mates the DNA from the two parents, only very close relatives
are likely to have the same genetic defect in the same portion of the DNA,
and so defects tend to die out over time, provided the mates are not too
closely related. In genetics, the selection of mates from outside the immediate
family is called "renewing the genetic pool," and is recognized as an important
feature in many of the higher species. One would expect incest taboos to
be strongest in those species that are most vulnerable to harmful genetic
From the viewpoint of social policy, it is interesting
to note that neither of the mechanisms discussed here—development of variant
viral strains or transmission of genetic defects—can be prevented by advances
in medicine. Therefore the acknowledgment of creation laws concerning promiscuity
and incest are critical to the well-being of society and are a legitimate
basis for social action.
Laws of Social Organization. Laws of social organization
include issues such as the makeup and organization of the family unit.
Many species, particular in the bird and mammal families, and particularly
among the primates, have social structures built around a family unit.
The family unit exists for mutual protection, for nourishment and training
of infants and immature offspring, and reflects the taboos against promiscuity
and incest mentioned above. The family unit also tends to limit promiscuity,
its debilitating consequences.
To give one example among the primates, extensive observations
of gorillas in their natural habitat show the following social features21:
|• Gorillas live in family units
• A single male exercises headship of the family unit
• The family unit typically includes several females and their offspring
• Mature offspring leave the family to find mates
• The female "wives" mate exclusively with the dominant male
• The male and his wives share the nurture of offspring
• The male is extraordinarily gentle but firm within the family group.
There have also been extensive studies of chimpanzees,
baboons and other primates, with varying social arrangements, some of which
conflict with these. I do not by any means wish to argue for the descent
of humans from gorillas or other primates, but only to note that issues
such as headship of the family unit are a normal provision of creation
law for some species.
Of particular interest to us are the issues of family
headship and the use of a family unit in the raising of offspring. In my
view the male headship of the human family is a creation law (not a consequence
of the Fall, which we will discuss in the next section), and reflects basic
differences between the make-up of males and females and in their roles
within the family unit. It is not insignificant in my view that the male
ego is oriented toward a leadership role, and in my view this is a built-in
(not acquired) characteristic of the species.
One of the unfortunate features of modern social policy
has been the devaluation of the male role—by dispensing with the family
unit itself in some instances, and by replacing the provider and protection
role of the male with social welfare—which leaves the male unfulfilled
and prone to direct his energies in wasteful and antisocial directions.
A connection between "single parenting" and child abuse
was also observed in a study of offspring abuse by single gorilla mothers
in captivity. One study found:
|"In the wild, gorilla mothers are gentle and affectionate.
They rear their young in 'families', protected by a dominant male and surrounded
by other, seemingly content mothers. The male…plays with his babies like
a friendly giant. He may tower up to six feet tall and weigh more than
400 pounds, but his touch is gentle with a newborn.
"But in captivity, the gorilla's normal parental behavior is somehow warped. 'When they are caged alone with their babies, abuse by gorilla mothers seems to be the norm.' said Ronald Nadler, a psychologist at the Yerks Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia…"22
The conclusion of this study is that single gorilla mothers
who do not have the support of a family unit become frustrated and tend
to abuse their children as a result. Commenting on this, the study concludes:
|"A lot of things contribute to human child abuse …but I'm also inclined to think that the abuse we've been hearing so much about recently is indeed related to the loneliness experienced by today's young [single—added] mothers. In years past, a human's family situation was like that of wild gorillas…Folks stuck together and there was always a grandma or an older sister to help when things got rough. Now the trend is to go it alone…"23|
One author recently wrote:
|"The fatherless family of the U.S. in the late 20th century is a social invention of the most daring and untested design. It represents a radical departure from virtually all of human history and experience."24|
We have already discussed the need for directed training
of children and the need for proper training and modeling in a family unit.
In the next section we will extend this discussion into a consideration
of how the mind learns and assimilates knowledge.
7.2 Laws Unique to the Human Species.
Next we will consider creation laws that are unique to
the human species. At its root, what makes humans unique and separates
them from the rest of creation is that they are created in the image of
God, and that they are under the specific curses of the Fall.
Equal Participation of the sexes in God's Image. To
begin with, the Bible pointedly affirms the creation law that males and
females are equal participants in God's image. This point needs emphasis
because one consequence of the Fall (which we will discuss shortly) is
that the record of male/female relationships tends to belie this fact—this
is probably the reason why Scripture goes to some pains to make the point.
The expression of the full humanity of both sexes is in
the creation account in Genesis 1:27, further amplified in Galatians 3:28
and I Peter 3:7. Genesis 1:27 states, "God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." At
first glance this seems to be a rather wordy way of making a point, but
on reflection, it is clear that the point of the wordiness is to emphasize
that this image is shared by both sexes. Galatians 3:28 makes a similar
point, emphasizing that this equality extends to the spiritual domain:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you
are all one in Christ Jesus." I Peter 3:7 makes the point to husbands,
urging a respectful treatment of their wives as "heirs with you of the
gracious gift of life…." The Declaration of Independence could have benefited
from a similar bit of wordiness in its declaration that all men are created
Why is it necessary to make this point? Because in the
history of humans this creation law has been widely ignored—a consequence
of the Fall. Most societies through history have treated women as inherently
inferior to men; in fact, many religions treat them as if they are sub-human.
In ancient Roman society and in Asia throughout history, female infanticide
has been common. I recently read that in parts of India today, male infants
outnumber female by almost 3 to 2, a statistic that can only be interpreted
as the result of female infanticide.
It is precisely because this equality of the sexes is
obscured by the Fall, and the subsequent reign of sin in humanity, that
it is particularly valuable to have this creation law revealed in Scripture,
because the Fall makes it doubly difficult to come by this law through
empirical wisdom alone. Ironically, the modern-day drive for women's rights
is based, not on this revelation, but on a general disdain for the record
of history and the accumulated wisdom of the past.
This historical mistreatment of women is in fact the outworking
of a curse that came about as a result of the Fall. Unfortunately, faulty
exegesis has obscured the issue, and so I would like to spend some time
on a focal point of this event, the curse of Genesis 3:16b: "Your desire
will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." The question is,
what does this mean, and what is its impact on humanity?
The meaning of this curse pivots on the meaning of the
word translated "desire". This word appears in only two other places in
Scripture: Gen. 4:7 and Song of Solomon 7:10. In Gen. 4:7, "sin is crouching
at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it," the
meaning is "to dominate"; in Song of Solomon 7:10, "I belong to my lover,
and his desire is for me," the meaning is "to possess". According
to one commentator, the word root implies a desire bordering on a disease,
a "violent craving"25.
Putting this together, I would paraphrase the curse as follows: "You will
seek to dominate your husband (literally 'man'), but he will in fact master
you by force." Expressed in this way, it is an accurate commentary on the
history of relations between the sexes throughout all of history, extending
into the present. It is truly one of the most destructive curses in its
effect on what should be normal male/female relationships.
As with any curse of the Fall, this one expresses a human
tendency that can be overcome through clear-eyed awareness, and with the
appropriate checks and balances. Concerning personal behavior, this curse
warns women not to fall into its trap by evading the creation law regarding
the headship of the husband, and warns husbands to avoid the primordial
urge to dominate, but rather nurture the wife so that she will feel secure
(and hence not feel the need to dominate) under the husband's leadership,
an admonition further amplified in Ephesians 5:22ff.
The footnote on Genesis 3:16b in the NIV Study Bible is
typical of the exegetical confusion about this curse:
|"Her sexual attraction for the man, and his headship over her, will become intimate aspects of her life in which she experiences trouble and anguish rather than unalloyed joy and blessing."|
This equates desire with sexual attraction and
with headship of the family unit, neither of which is a curse, but rather
are characteristics of the human species built into creation: headship
of the man in the family unit is no more a curse than is the headship of
Christ over the church—which is given as an analogy in Ephesians 5:23.
The creation law of full humanity of the sexes and equal
sharing in God's image does not contradict or displace the creation law
regarding the headship of the male in the family unit. It is important
to realize that headship does not imply essential superiority or qualitative
difference—in fact the temptation to make that bridge is part of the curse
that we have just discussed.
Human Self-centeredness and the Itch of Eternity.
We previously noted the itch of eternity that is built into every human's
spirit. The effect of this itch is a basic recognition of and discontentment
with human limitations. The theme of Ecclesiastes is that all human pursuits
lead to emptiness and do not provide ultimate satisfaction. As a result
it is important for secular society to recognize the importance of the
spiritual or religious dimension in humanity, even if it is secular. Attempts
to totally remove religious elements from society lead to an empty, fatalistic,
mechanistic and despairing society. It is not an accident that the societies
that are the most "advanced" in terms of a social agenda (such as Sweden)
are also the ones with the highest incidence of suicide. The irony is that
the ultimate goal for total security of the human by humanistic means is
destructive of freedom: a caged animal may be very secure, but that is
not a happy end for a human.
The basic elements of the human spirit that revolve around
this itch of eternity include:
|* What it means to crush the spirit
* The emptiness of vain pursuits
* Need for a sense of self-worth and a reason for one's existence
* Respect for one's personhood.
Unfortunately, much of the modern methodology for handling "inappropriate"
social behavior intrudes on these elements in a striking way: in the movement
to avoid corporal punishment, for example, modern sociologists substitute
psychological pressure or behavioral stereotyping, such as labeling anti-social
behavior with medical terms such as "compulsive disruptive behavior", which
robs the person of the sense of self-worth and the opportunity to change
One creation law that has found its way into the American
Constitutional government of checks and balances, which we have already
discussed above, is the question of human self-centeredness. The essential
point is this: that humans are self-centered and seek individual pleasure
even if this conflicts with the good of human society as a whole. It is
a misunderstanding of this point that leads to Rogerian psychology and
other foibles of current social policy as we have already noted. It is
the reason why children must be taught virtue and morals rather
than left to their own imaginations and constructions.
One could question whether the characteristic of human
self-centeredness is a creation law or a consequence of the Fall. In my
view it is a creation law, and I come by this view from the fact that the
Fall came about primarily because Adam and Eve desired to become more self-aware.
I also believe that the point could be made that one of the roles of the
family structure among primates is to train offspring to turn their exclusive
attention away from self-gratification and toward the social group. Thus,
recognition of self-centeredness as a creation law implies the need for
training and discipline during child-rearing.
As is characteristic of creation laws, this human tendency
is not purely negative, and in fact can be a powerful force for positive
achievement and also for self-understanding. In a sense it is perhaps a
natural outgrowth of such characteristics as individuality and self-awareness.
The success of the capitalist economic system, with the motivation for
individual success based on innovation and personal advantage, is a positive
force in society that leads to many social gains. It is interesting that
this force is at root self-centeredness. Societies in the recent past that
suppress individual expression have faltered economically, as the Soviet
example abundantly demonstrates.
The human capability to reach beyond its circumstances
is basic to survival of the human race in the face of the constantly changing
environment, and so it is a positive creation law built into the human
species. But this law also has an underside, and this is the reason why
there is a need for checks and balances, in establishing government (as
in the Constitutional separation of powers). Indeed a major role of government
is to place a damper on the negative aspects of this human instinct; thus
the use of government to regulate self-expression when it can become destabilizing
to society, as in monopolies, slavery, and other social problems.
Human Learning and Mental Processes. I would like
to conclude this discussion of creation laws that are unique to humans
with some remarks on the human learning process and creation laws that
derive from it. I first began to look into creation law in connection with
my principal life work, artificial intelligence. One thing in particular
that has impressed me in this work is that many of the strange "quirks"
in the way the mind works actually have their origin in vital survival
mechanisms—in effect, creation laws. A number of years ago I wrote on the
subject of artificial intelligence and noted that the mind has mechanisms
that it uses to cope with impossibly high rates of data that it receives
from its senses:
|"The potential, perhaps even the expectation, is present
for the mind to be overwhelmed by the data assimilation tasks it faces
every day. Certainly without the working example of the mind to prove that
it is possible, we would surely conclude that it is not…. The trick apparently
is in the data processing.
"What the mind does in its reasoning processes is two things, that take place concurrently: it enjoys its task (i.e. it does whatever it is doing: [seeing, hearing, reading, etc. -- added]), and it also contemplates the task. … The contemplation takes place at a much higher level than merely thinking about what is taking place. It is attempting to model what is going on, to give it a kind of fictional independent existence. This model is used to aid in the reasoning process, and in fact becomes in most common activities of the mind, almost indistinguishable from logical deduction."26
This mental modeling activity is necessary for survival
because the alternative is to become bogged down in detail: it is built
into Creation; it is a creation law. This modeling activity, while necessary,
also has its down side, and thus can manifest itself in some of the great
evils of humanity. For example, prejudice is at root a mental model gone
awry: we receive some data and our mental model applies un-warranted attributes
to the data.
A graphic example of how mental model-building works is
found in the video 1-2-3 Magic! by Dr. Thomas W. Phelan.27
This video, intended to help parents of young children, presents two models
of child rearing:
|(1) The Little Adult Model:
Kids are basically reasonable and unselfish.
(2) The Wild Animal Trainer Model:
In Dr. Phelan's view, the first method is a dead end:
"words and reasons don't usually do any good in dealing with kids" (his
words) and often lead to the "talk, persuade, argue, yell, hit syndrome."
The 1-2-3 Magic! method is a simple way to carry out the "Animal Trainer"
model, by counting out misbehavior: "that's 1, that's 2, that's 3: take
5" with the child banished to his or her room for five minutes. Evidence
shows that the method works with most young children, despite its apparent
For our discussion of mental modeling, the important point
to note is that these are very sketchy descriptions and yet given even
this minuscule amount of detail, the hearer can conjure up a fairly complete
image including ramifications and expectations. This is the primary reason
for the success of the approach. If our children are little adults, then
we don't expect to have to repeat our requests ninetyfifteen times. But
mention of the wild animal trainer model immediately calls up things that
we have learned over our lives about how one should go about training a
wild animal, and almost surely a part of this concept is a greatly reduced
expectation about how effective a single request is, and an increase in
how many repetitions it takes to nail down a point. In addition, most people
have been taught some things about training an animal, such as "Don't hit
a dog with anything stronger than a folded newspaper," which is an argument
against extreme punishment.
An effective counselor always tries to generate positive
head pictures in counseling. If the attempt is successful, it does two
primary things. First, the counselor can save a lot of breath, because
a good head picture is literally worth a thousand words. Second, the counselor
provides the client with a ready-made model to replace a defective one
that he or she may have developed in the past. Incidentally, the use of
analogy, which the wild animal trainer model is, is a major tool that the
mind uses in its modeling work.
We have already mentioned earlier the issue of innate
knowledge in the discussion of the role of the real world. An important
creation law of learning is that humans are born with a self-centered orientation
and it takes careful nurturing to turn this into a wholesome direction.
In essence, virtue must be taught, it is not inborn. This is the point
of a number of proverbs which distinguish between the "simple" person (who
is essentially amoral but with negative tendencies toward self-centeredness),
the "fool" who has not learned or rejects self-control and discipline,
and the "wise" person who has learned and assimilated the wisdom of his
The combination of the use of mental models in the mind's
activity, with the fact that the human does not have built-in virtuous
instincts, leads to the result that it is necessary to give careful attention
to mental hygiene in mental model building. This is not just applicable
to raising children, it is also important as adults. Many proverbs and
sayings in the Bible concern this mental hygiene as an adult. I firmly
believe in what I call self-propaganda: that a wise person must constantly
control his thoughts and his circumstances to ensure as much as possible
that they will lead to healthy mental modeling. Many Biblical admonitions
can be viewed as examples of this. Perhaps the best-known is Philippians
4:8, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever
is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent
or praiseworthy—think about such things." The motivation behind Bill Bennett's
of Virtues is exactly this sort of thing.28In
essence, what is at stake here is the construction of good head pictures
and suppression of bad ones by careful control of what goes into the senses.
This verse from Philippians is a proverb of positive action;
the negative effect of exposure to evil is expressed, for example, in Proverbs
22:24ff: "Do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his
ways and get yourself ensnared." In Proverbs 27:20 we get some additional
insight on the effect of exposure to evil, "Death and Destruction are never
satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man." This last proverb implies
not only that there is a danger in absorbing a bevy of bad mental models
but that the human in fact lusts after such images, so that there are possible
additional creation laws at work: forbidden fruits are intriguing to the
mind, and lust enjoyed generates more lust. Actually both of these laws
are simply negative aspects of what can be positive traits built into the
human spirit—a sense of curiosity and a desire to repeat enjoyable experiences—both
of which we use to good effect in child raising.
In contrast to this positive attempt in self-propaganda
is the experience in the world of the secular artist. My son-in-law, who
is a very solid Christian, is a violinist in a professional symphony orchestra,
and has spent his entire adulthood in the middle of the art culture. We
have often talked about the high incidence of dysfunctional social behavior
in that culture, particularly sexual perversion and substance abuse. It
is no accident that so many in the so-called world of culture have AIDS,
which is in almost every case a disease of personal lifestyle. One might
ask, why is this so characteristic of the art culture? The answer, I believe,
comes to the matter of self-propaganda. Although one might even imagine
a verse such as Philippians 4:8 engraved over the entrance of a hall of
fine arts, the fact is that artisans seem to be obsessed with the need
to immerse themselves in every human experience. They seem to ask,
"How can I judge that something is bad unless I have experienced it?" And
so they end up with their heads filled with a lot of depraved models.
I will admit that at one time in the past I enjoyed reading
and watching mysteries. I no longer do that, except for classics such as
Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy Sayers. For me the attraction to mysteries
was the logical tangle of the plot. But unfortunately, it is easy to go
from this to find oneself in a race with the author to see who can think
up the most novel way of committing bizarre crimes. When my mind switches
from a logical game to seeing whether I can out-do the writer, things have
become unhealthy. This is an example of what I mean by self-propaganda.
In summary, understanding of the creation laws regarding
the mind, how it begins in an amoral but negatively self-centered focus,
how it learns and assimilates information through modeling, and the importance
of the environment in nourishing good mental models and concepts, are fundamental
to the development of virtue and strong positive character traits. Conversely,
denying these laws and constraints on behavior leads to socially destructive
8. Creation Laws as the Basis for Social Action.
The creation laws that we have discussed here imply underlying
principles for the human species that are radically different from what
many secular social activists assume. Lacking a concept of objective truth,
secular scientists follow principles and assumptions that seem right in
their own eyes based on whatever seems to be in tune with their own inclinations
and the public mood of the day. The results have been disastrous.
The issue is not whether society will assume some form
of social laws, but whether its assumed laws are valid. As we pointed out
in the introduction, the first task is to press home this point: to force
secular scientists to concede the element of faith and metaphysics in their
position—to clarify, in effect, both the distinction and the inter-relatedness
of the secular and religious spheres. Granted this, then it is possible
to proceed to a discussion of the form and content of alternative secular
laws: in this debate the Christians have a great contribution that they
can make to society because they have the insight of what the Creator has
said in the Bible about his creation.
Without denying the value of academic wisdom and careful
intellectual thought, we must release public policy from the vice-like
grip of the intellectual and academic in the formation of public policy.
The moral track record of intellectuals in this century is not very inspiring.
Paul Johnson, in his recent book Intellectuals points out the nearly
universal moral bankruptcy of the personal lives of these intellectuals,
which betrays a view that they are above the law, and not subject to their
But he notes a hopeful sign:
|"I think I detect today a certain public skepticism when intellectuals stand up to preach to us, a growing tendency among ordinary people to dispute the right of academics, writers and philosophers, eminent though they may be, to tell us how to behave and conduct our affairs. … A dozen people picked at random on the street are at least as likely to offer sensible views on moral and political matters as a cross-section of the intelligentsia.…Beware committees, conferences and leagues of intellectuals. Distrust public statements issued from their serried ranks. Discount their verdicts on political leaders and important events. …Taken as a group, they are often ultra-conformist within the circles formed by those whose approval they seek and value. This is what makes them, en masse, so dangerous, for it enables them to create climates of opinion and prevailing orthodoxies, which themselves often generate irrational and destructive courses of action."30|
At the same time, we need to honor the memory of those
deep thinkers who were responsible for building this nation, and avoid
a thoughtless know-nothing attitude toward all academic inquiry.
We have discussed a number of places where creation laws
conflict with current premises of social policy. A summary of some of these
is given in the table below.
One of the most important areas of creation law that we
have discussed is the value of wisdom, that is, of the accumulated human
experience. At the same time, we must avoid the thoughtless acceptance
of everything the past stood for, because there were indeed many injustices
perpetrated in the past in the name of wisdom. Again, Scripture provides
a good standard of measurement, and in fact warns us not to thoughtlessly
adopt what the world considers to be wisdom.
A second critical area of creation law is the fact that
humans need to be taught acceptable social behavior, including morality
and virtue, in a protected family environment. The social programs that
are based on an assumed inborn "virtue" in the unguided human, and that
seem to work against the nuclear family have proved disastrous. Creation
law appoints the nuclear family to provide the nurturing environment in
which these things can be taught, and uses the wisdom of accumulated experience
gained over generations to formulate the form and content of this nurturing.
Social policies that substitute other institutions for the nuclear family,
or that otherwise discourage it, and that propose radical departures from
the accumulated wisdom of experience, are opposed to these laws and ultimately
lead to failure.
|Current Social Policy Assumption||Creation Law|
|Virtue and social values are innate: humans are reasonable and unselfish unless they are sick. Only sick people adopt the values of others.||Virtue and social values are taught: humans are naturally self-centered and must be taught and disciplined to become otherwise.|
|The family unit is optional||The family unit is vital to social health|
|Single motherhood is a viable option and is socially acceptable.||Mothers need family support; child abuse often results from a lack of a support infrastructure for single parents.|
|There are no constraints on sexual activity other than incest.||Sexual restraint is essential to limit the spread and generation of new virulent strains of disease and protect the integrity of the family unit.|
|The human mind reasons logically, based on the observed facts. There is no need to control the contents of life experiences.||The human mind reasons inductively by using models developed over a lifetime of experience. The need for mental hygiene is thus present to control those models.|
|Common experience has little intrinsic value||Common experience determines and confirms wisdom|
|Wisdom yields to intellectual analysis: scientific insight negates the value of historical wisdom||Wisdom transcends intellectual analysis and provides insights that cannot be found by intellectual analysis alone.|
|No lasting negative effects result from experimentation with deviant behavior||Life experiences leave a permanent impression on the mind's thought processes and behavior, and so deviant behavior must be avoided.|
|The spiritual dimension can be disregarded: personal gratification is supreme.||The itch of Eternity cannot be evaded: it reflects a need to satisfy spiritual emptiness.|
In this paper we have discussed a number of creation laws
and some of the reasons for these laws. The purpose for this is to start
building the groundwork for Christian involvement in the secular arena.
Our aim has been to sketch out the general outline of the type of analysis
that is needed. If followed, I am confident that we can have a positive
impact and carry out our responsibility as Christians to be the salt of
David C. Bossard
1. For further on the failures of central planning, see Philip K. Howard, The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America. Random House, New York, 1994.
2. Letter to the Editor, Wall Street Journal Nov. 17, 1994 by Arnold Beichman of the Hoover Institution, quoting Lionel Trilling.
3. Harvey Cox, The Secular City, MacMillan, 1965, and Religion in the Secular City, Simon and Schuster, 1984. Harvey Cox is to my tastes a very liberal theologian, and I certainly do not agree with his version of Christianity, but his claim that Christians were the first to distinguish between the secular and religious spheres is very compelling.
4. Roy A. Clouser, The Myth of Religious Neutrality: An Essay on the Hidden Role of Religious Belief in Theories, U. Notre Dame Press, 1991, p.2.
5. Ibid, p. 21.
6. Darwinism: Science or Philosophy? Jon Buell and Virginia Hearn, Eds., Foundation for Thought and Ethics, Richardson, TX 1994. See Phillip E. Johnson,"Darwinism's Rules of Reasoning", p15. The NAS pamphlet cited is Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences (1984).
7. Ibid. Stephen C. Meyer, "Laws, Causes, and Facts" pp. 29-40. Meyer and Johnson both argue effectively that attempts to soften the metaphysical implications of the N.A.S. position—including their own denials of an essential conflict with religion—misstate the essential point (and true metaphysical position) expressed in this statement.
8. First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
9. First Things, May 1992, "Natural Law and the Law".
10. Sex Education, Emmaus News, Box 21, Ambridge, PA 15003. Oct. 1994, Vol 1, No. 39 lists seven assumptions of current secular sex-ed programs. The first three are: 1. The sex drive is the primary drive of human nature; 2. The sex drive has a multitude of ways of expressing itself… 3. To be fully human, one must be sexually active.
11. Jim Finnegan, Abortion's Moral Blindness, Manchester Union Leader, Jan 4, 1995, quoting Mother Teresa at the National Prayer Breakfast February 3, 1994. Jim Finnegan is an editor of the Union Leader.
12. This example is from Hugh Ross, "Jupiter's Stability" in Facts & Faith, Fall 1994 Vol 8 No. 3.
13. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, NavPress, 1993; John D. Barrow & Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Oxford, 1986.
14. Ross, ibid., pp 126-7.
15. See Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, 1993, Chapter V "Tales of Theory and Experiment" for further on the final verification of Einstein's theories.
16. Paul Johnson, Intellectuals, Harper and Row, 1988, p342.
17. Ibid. p. 340
18. Ian Robertson, Sociology , Third Edition, Worth Publishers, New York,1987, p133
19. Paul D. Meier, Frank B. Minirth, Frank Wichern, Introduction to Psychology and Counseling Baker Book House 1982, p304.
20. See Derek Kidner, Proverbs: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Inter-Varsity Press, 1964, p23.
21. Dian Fossey, Gorillas out of the Mist, Houghton Mifflin 1983.
22. A Parent Aide Pre-Service Training Manual, Linda Grossi Paolino, Parent Aide Program New Hope, Inc., 140 Park St., Attleboro, MA 02703. Undated. Reprinted article, "Gorilla Mothers Need Some Help From Their Friends" by Maxine A. Rock, Smithsonian, Vol 9, July 1978, pp 58-63, quoting Ronald Nadler, a psychologist at the Yerks Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
24. David Blankenhorn, "Taps for the Fatherhood
Idea," Wall Street Journal, 28 Feb 95.
Mr. Blankenhorn is author of Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem, Basic Books, 1995.
25. C.F.Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Eerdmans.
26. David C. Bossard, Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt: Logical Deduction and the Reasoning Process. Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute report No. 31, 1986. The distinction between enjoyment and contemplation is discussed in C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy.
27. Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.,1-2-3 Magic! , Child Management, Inc., Glen Ellyn, Il, 1990. Video and course material
28. William J. Bennett, The Book of Virtues, Simon and Schuster, 1994.
29. Paul Johnson, Intellectuals, Harper and Row, 1988. The index to this book lists the following under "Intellectual Characteristics": anger, aggresssiveness, violence, cowardice, cruelty, deceitfulness, dishonesty, egocentricity, egotism, genius for self-publicity, hypocrisy, ingratitude, rudeness, intolerance, misanthropy, love of power, manipulativeness, exploitativeness, quarrelsomeness, self-deception, gullibility, selfishness, ruthlessness, self-pity, paranoia, self-righteousness, shiftlessness, spongeing, snobbery, intellectual snobbery, vanity
30. Ibid. p. 342.