Taken from Dave Hunt’s article, “Biblical Redemption/Atonement”, Part I,
in the Berean Call, dated August 1, 2002.
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy, the stuff of which the universe is made, can neither be created nor destroyed. Two conclusions follow: (1) the total energy in the universe remains constant; and (2) energy must be self-existent and eternal, exactly what the Bible says about God. Is science promoting energy as “God”?
The second law of thermodynamics states that while total energy remains constant, usable energy and order continually decrease as entropy increases. Common sense tells us that all fires eventually burn out. Neither our sun nor the other stars could have been burning forever. There must have been a time when neither stars nor the energy of which they consist existed. Clearly, the universe had a beginning, as the Bible declares: “In the beginning…” (Gn 1:1).
The conflict between these two laws poses a serious problem for science. Energy could not have been here forever as the first law implies, or, according to the second, ages ago it would have reached the state of maximum entropy, but it hasn’t. The contradiction can be resolved in only one way: since energy could not have been created by any means known to science, yet has not always existed, it must have been created by God.
Matter, life and intelligence could not arise spontaneously from nothing. Therefore, all that now exists was created either by a self-existent eternal energy, or by a self-existent eternal Person. The first choice is eliminated by the second law of thermodynamics, because energy itself and all things it produces deteriorate. Furthermore, whereas energy is physical, there is a demonstrable nonphysical dimension to human existence. Nor could energy, being impersonal, create personal beings such as man.
We are driven to the conclusion that some One always existed, an infinite Person without beginning or end, who is capable of creating out of nothing the entire universe and all the creatures in it, including man. Our finite minds cannot conceive of God always having existed. Yet we know He must exist eternally or nothing would exist. And He must be outside of time for a number of reasons, including human freedom of choice in spite of His foreknowledge, which we have shown in the past.
Science says the universe began with a “Big Bang.” But what was the source of that energy? It could not have existed forever or (according to the second law) it would have reached maximum entropy before it “banged.” Obviously the energy from which the universe is made came into existence simultaneously with the universe a finite number of years ago. It could not have arisen out of nothing by any natural process and thus its origin had to be supernatural. Accurately, the Bible says, “God said, Let there be…” (Gn 1:3,6,9,11,14,20, 24,26); “…the worlds were framed by the word of God…” (Heb 11:3a). That God made the universe out of nothing is also clear: “…things that are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb 11:3b). It has taken science thousands of years to catch up with the Bible.
Did God create the universe in a sudden burst of energy? We don’t know. We do know that a “Big Bang” could never produce the digitally organized database imprinted on the single cell (the size of the period at the end of this sentence) with which each human life begins. This immense store of self-replicating information (with enzymes that check for copy errors and correct them) directs the construction, operation and differentiation of tens of trillions of cells as different as those in the heart and hair, an incredible feat which science can’t even begin to unravel.
The written instructions are encoded so that only the proper protein (of which there are tens of thousands of types) can decipher it. Darwin knew nothing of DNA or the structure and operation of the cell, today’s knowledge of which has relegated his theory of evolution to the trash heap of absurdities, where it belonged from the beginning. If the simplest cell were broken into its chemical components, the odds that they would ever come back together in the right way is 1 chance in 1 followed by 100,000,000,000 zeros, and the human body has trillions of cells.
With a retina which solves in a fraction of a second complex equations that would occupy a supercomputer for 100 years, the human eye’s 100 million light-sensitive cells send information through a million fibers of the optic nerve to the brain. We can’t produce optical instruments that come even close to the human eye. A newly discovered starfish has more than 1,000 eyes, each with a lens at least ten times better than anything science has yet been able to construct and all evolved independently yet simultaneously by chance? Please!
The human brain, with its 100 billion nerve cells linked by 240,000 miles of nerve fibers and 100 trillion connections, storage capacity 1,000 times that of a Cray-2 supercomputer and operating at a thousand trillion computations per second, is
even more incredible than the eye, whose optical impulses it translates into three-dimensional images to which it directs numerous parts of the body to react instantly. And all this was produced by a “Big Bang” plus chance, eons of time and survival of the fittest? But until they worked, the eye and brain could not aid in survival, thus the “evolution” it supposedly took to create this incredible optical/intelligence system produced millions of intermediate stages in the right succession by pure chance without any “survival of the fittest!” Yet in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, evolution continues to be promoted as fact by the media and taught, in fact mandated in our schools!
Instead of a spontaneous “Big Bang” of previously nonexistent energy that suddenly created itself, the Bible introduces us to the Creator, a personal God who always existed and was able to make the universe out of nothing by speaking the word.
Science and reason demand the very God the Bible presents.
In contrast to the pitiful gods of the world’s religions which hold their followers in darkness, superstition and fear, the Bible describes God exactly as He must be: self-existent (“I am that I am” – Ex 3:14), eternal (“the eternal God is thy refuge” – Dt 33:27; “from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” – Ps 90:2); and a personal Being who wills (“this is the will of God” – 1 Thes 4:3; 5:18; “by the will of God” – Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; 2 Tm 1:1; and many other verses), who thinks (“my thoughts are not your thoughts” ú Is 55:8), has personal emotions (“God is angry with the wicked every day” – Ps 7:11; “we love him, because he first loved us” – 1 Jn 4:19; “I was grieved with that generation” – Heb 3:10, etc.), and speaks (“the Lord spake” is found 144 times, “the word of the Lord” is found 258 times in Scripture, etc.).
Except for God’s unique qualities (self-existence, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, perfection, sinlessness, etc.) man reflects, though imperfectly, God’s characteristics listed above. “God created man in his own image…” (Gn 1:27), but not physically because God “is a Spirit” (Jn 4:24). Thus man must also be a spirit living in a physical body. There is no other explanation for man’s intellectual abilities (to form conceptual ideas and express them in words, etc.) inasmuch as intelligence, thoughts, will, emotions, etc. are not physical but spiritual. That easily proven fact (which we touch upon in the following Q&A) involves serious consequences from which physical death provides no escape: “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27); “…the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments…” (Lk 16:22,23).
We have proved in the past that man is a nonphysical soul and spirit living in a physical body (“I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body…” – 1 Thes 5:23). Bodies, being material, are subject to the second law above, begin to die from birth, deteriorate and eventually return to dust: “…dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gn 3:19).
But the spiritual part of man which thinks and makes choicesman’s soul and spirit, invisible to physical eyesis not subject to entropy and must continue to exist forever. As Paul declared, “for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18). The fact that death does not end human existence carries awesome eternal consequences. God is perfectly holy and by his very nature must punish sin by banishing the sinner from his presence.
Sin is defined as coming “short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). When Adam and Eve sinned, they immediately “knew that they were naked…” (Gn 3:7a). It wasn’t that they suddenly realized they had never worn clothes; they had been stripped of the spiritual glory that clothed them upon their creation in God’s image.
Their sense of nakedness was a new and frightening awareness of God’s holiness in contrast to themselves as sinful rebels: “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb 4:13). Adam and Eve “sewed fig leaves together [for] aprons” (Gn 3:7b). Unable to cover their spiritual nakedness, they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden” (v. 8).
God had given them the easiest command possible: not to eat of oneonly one of the thousands of trees in the garden where He had lovingly placed them. The Spirit of God had withdrawn from their seditious spirits, bringing immediate spiritual death, which also affected their bodies and finally resulted in physical death. This harsh penalty was not for “stealing some fruit” but for rebelling against God.
Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden lest they “take also of the tree of life,…and live forever” (Gn 3:22). While the physical fruit of that special tree, if eaten continuously, could have caused their bodies to live forever, it could not restore spiritual life through bringing God’s Spirit back into their spirits. God will not perpetuate man in his sinful condition. How much more wicked would man be if he knew he would never die!
In spite of man’s sin, God loves him and is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pt 3:9). In infinite love, He would “have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4). He desires for all mankind a full and eternal restoration to the glory in which Adam was createdand in a new universe where sin can never enter.
But how can that be done?
God cannot “clear the guilty” (Ex 34:7). Cannot? (see “What a Sovereign God Cannot Do,” TBC, Feb ’01) Isn’t He omnipotent? Yes, but He is also perfectly just. God’s love, compassion and mercy cannot override his justice, which will not allow sin to be forgiven unjustly. Nor will God’s integrity allow him to go back on his Word that “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23).
Man’s forgiveness and restoration involve the very nature of both God and man. It is no mere figure of speech that man was made “in the image of God.” We have often used the analogy of a mirror, which exists solely to reflect another image. Note the folly of the popular delusion even among evangelicals of developing a “positive self-image.” What vanity and pride for a mirror to concern itself about its “self-image”! Rather, the mirror needs to exhibit a faithful likeness of the one whose image it was designed to reflect.
Sinful man must be reconciled to a holy God and brought back into an intimate relationship so that the very life of God becomes once again the life of man or man’s doom is eternal. The first three chapters of the Bible tell of man’s creation in God’s image and of the defacing, deforming, and defiling of that image through man’s sin and separation from God. The rest of the Bible is all about the reconciliation of man to God.
This reconciliation comes about through what the Bible calls “redemption” and “atonement.” It is a thrilling love story of God’s willingness to leave His glory to become a Man through a virgin birth, to be rejected, misunderstood, hated, falsely accused, mocked, scourged and nailed to a crossand as He hung there to take upon himself the sins of the world, suffering the penalty for all mankind demanded by his perfect justice.
This love story involves One who is called “the second man…the last Adam” (1 Cor 15:45-47). Since Adam, no one who walked this earth was a man as God intended, until Christ was born in Bethlehem of the virgin Mary. He is the progenitor of a new race and thus He is the second Adam. But because there will never be another, He is called “the last Adam.”
When Adam was cast out of the garden, God guarded the tree of life with “Cherubims, and a flaming sword” (Gn 3:24). Mankind fled that sword in complaint against the harshness of the “death penalty” decreed by God upon sinners. In love, the second man, the last Adam, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, took that sword of God’s judgment in His own heart for us. Thus He became “the way, the truth, and the life” which alone leads men back to God (Jn 14:6).