In the beginning, faith works both ways

February 28, 2005|by George Michael

I thought I might help Mr. Wilcox of Shepherdstown, W.Va., in thinking critically about some of his assumptions in regard to his "Beyond a leap of faith" letter to the editor where he questioned a number of statements I made in my earlier column.

First, the Bible does sell in the millions each year, or more accurately, tens of millions. The best numbers available indicate about 168,000 Bibles are sold or given away each day in America - about 61 million per year. The Wycliffe Bible organization states that over 20 million Bibles are sold in the U.S. each year. I didn't check the numbers for France, Germany, various African countries, Japan or South Korea. Admittedly, if everyone who had a Bible read it and if everyone who read it tried to live up to its precepts, the world would be a better place.

Additionally, Wilcox could go to the Wycliffe Bible Web site, New Tribes Mission or Bibles International to learn more about the work of thousands, yes, thousands of people involved in Bible translations every day. Wycliffe Bible workers alone currently are beginning a new translation project around the world every five days. I didn't intend distortion or hyperbole when I made my earlier assertions in that regard.


In regard to the rain needed to produce Noah's flood, Wilcox makes several assumptions at odds with the biblical account and good science, leading him to wrong conclusions. Two great organizations, Answers in Genesis, headed by Ken Ham, and the Institute for Creation Research, founded by Henry Morris, provide many tapes and books written by top-notch scientists that give more detail than is possible here on the creation and flood model of early Earth. Suffice it to say the assumptions Wilcox made about rainfall are all wet.

One piece of evidence of the flood is the billions of fossils (this is not hyperbole) found in the sedimentary rock layers all over the earth. Fossils are not forming in any great numbers today. Animals and plants that die today simply decay. They do not produce fossils. A study of fossil formation suggests a cataclysmic event is necessary to produce them. Fossils are a testimony of a great destruction on Earth some time in the past.

In his letter, Wilcox reveals how little he knows about the great leaders of the age of science. I could have named many others besides Newton, Kepler, or Faraday, such as Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, Carl Linnaeus or Joseph Priestly. All had what is best referred to as a high view of the Bible. I wasn't lying about what these men believed, as Wilcox asserts.

Sir Isaac Newton actually wrote more on theology than science, if one takes the trouble of researching his life history. Kepler himself said he dedicated his life to "finding the mathematical harmonies in the mind of the creator." Priestly was a clergyman. Space doesn't permit dozens of quotes available from the writings of these scientists about their personal faith.

I didn't try to explain how God started in my earlier article. I can't. I accept his existence by faith. But when I look at the marvelous complexity of creation, I can only rationally conclude there has to be a divine intelligence behind it all. None of us can prove our assumptions about the origins of life. No one was there except God. Agnostics and atheists who are intellectually honest have to admit their views of how life began are also based on some assumptions, or faith, if you will - faith in a system with a lot of holes in it.

As for the story in the Bible about Earth standing still in Joshua's day, or any other miracle in the Bible, God who created the Earth has from time to time suspended the natural order of things to show who the real boss is. The miracles of the Bible demonstrate God's power over nature.

Of course, all other miracles in the Bible pale in comparison to the greatest one of all, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The empty tomb is hard to explain away. Accepting that truth, albeit by faith, can be a life-changing event.

It's time Wilcox started thinking critically about some of his assumptions. As the founder of the Scientific Method, Francis Bacon noted in his essay "On Atheism," "When the fool says in his heart that there is no God, he says it 'by rote' in an attempt to convince himself." After reading Wilcox, it would appear that not much has changed.

George Michael is a Williamsport resident, who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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