The Concept of Infinity and God

The Concept of Infinity and God

When you read the biblical description of God, you find that it involves qualities that atheists reject. An omnipresent, omnipotent, and eternal God are biblical descriptions that skeptics refuse to accept as possible. The foundation of the atheist worldview rejects an infinite eternity in heaven. Likewise, mathematicians rejected the concept of infinity for many years until the end of the nineteenth century. However, infinity exists, and mathematics doesn’t make sense without it.

Euclid’s geometry deliberately excluded the idea of anything infinitely small or infinitely large. The Greeks believed they could describe the entire universe with positive rational numbers. However, there are cases where a calculation cannot be made with a whole number or one having non-repeating decimal places. For example, the value of pi requires an irrational number with infinite decimal representation. A circle with a radius of one turns out to be 22/7, which is 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 if carried out to 100 places. The value of pi is called an irrational number because even at 100 places, it does not end. The digits after the decimal point are infinite.

Legend says that Hippasus, the first to prove that irrational numbers exist, was executed when his proof was published. The scholarly group known as the Pythagorean brotherhood was vocal about naturalism which had to deny the existence of the infinite. Eventually, it became evident that their view of the cosmos was impossible. And yet here in the twenty-first century, we find that denial of the concept of infinity is still the thinking of those who reject the biblical concept of God.

You can’t understand your life as having an infinite purpose if you reject the concept of infinity. The concept of the infinite is contained in the statement of Jesus in Matthew 20:16, “So the last will be first, and the first last,” and Matthew 16:25, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that God has set eternity in the hearts of humanity. On a fundamental level, that biblical concept of reality makes sense, and the history of mathematics is a strong support for the credibility of the biblical concept of eternity.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: “Mathematical Theology” by Doug Phillippy in the Fall 2022 issue of God and Nature

Blood Moon and Shooting Stars

Blood Moon and Shooting Stars

On the morning of November 8, you will have a chance to see a total lunar eclipse, also known as a “blood moon.” At the same, you may also see a display of “shooting stars.”

A full moon occurs every 29.5 days as our planet comes between the Moon and the Sun. A couple of times per year, the alignment is precise enough that some part of Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon. If the outer area of the shadow crosses the Moon, we see a slight darkening of the Moon’s light. If the full shadow covers only a portion of the Moon, we see a partial eclipse looking as if someone has taken a bite out of the Moon. However, we will see the more dramatic total lunar eclipse this time.

When the eclipse reaches totality, the Moon will take on an orange or reddish glow. That is why people call it a “blood moon.” That color is because the small amount of sunlight reaching the Moon’s surface is the glow of sunrise and sunset all around the world. Our atmosphere bends and filters the light, blocking the blue light and focusing the lower-frequency reds and yellows on the Moon. We see that reflected back to us, this time for about 85 minutes.

You can enjoy a double treat if the sky is clear and the weather is not too cold. This is also the time for the annual Taurid meteor shower. The annual Taurid “shooting stars” are actually fragments of the comet Encke which burn up from the friction of Earth’s atmosphere. They are primarily tiny sand-grain-size pieces of rock that appear as streaks of light. However, some may be a little larger, looking like fireballs. The Taurids generally move more slowly and are often larger than the meteorites of other annual meteor showers. But, they may be fewer and farther between, with perhaps five to fifteen per hour visible in very dark skies.

The problem this year is that the peak of the Taurids is during the full Moon. The bright Moon always makes it difficult to see the much dimmer meteor showers. However, the 85 minutes of the total lunar eclipse creates an ideal window to look for the meteorites. So you can enjoy the “blood moon” and the “shooting stars” at the same time.

So, how and when can you see them? The total eclipse phase will begin on the morning of November 8 at 5:17 a.m. and end at 6:42 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The partial eclipse will start and end about half an hour before and after those times. The faint penumbral phase will begin and end about an hour before and after the partial eclipse times. To see the Taurids, plan on being where you can see a clear view of the whole sky during the total eclipse phase. If you miss this total lunar eclipse, the next one will not occur until March 14, 2025.

Romans 1:20 tells us that we can know there is a God by observing the things He has made. What do the lunar eclipse and the Taurid meteor shower tell us about God? They are not omens of world events. They tell us that the creation is not chaotic but predictable. We live in a solar “system” in which we can accurately predict the movement of planets and moons and calculate what is going to happen and when–even to the exact minute. God has given us an orderly universe that we can study to learn about His power and wisdom. He has also given us His written word, which we can study to learn about His love and find the instructions for how to enjoy the gifts He wants to give us.

— Roland Earnst © 2022

References: on their website or YouTube channel and NASA HERE, HERE, and HERE

Numbers, Chance, and Design

Numbers Chance and Design

It’s an interesting case of numbers, chance, and design. We often get letters and emails from atheists who want to argue about the things we post. Interestingly, they usually do the opposite of what the writer expects. For example, we recently received a challenge to our argument for God based on the design we see throughout the cosmos. Our atheist friend claimed that numbers are a matter of chance, and therefore they refute any suggestion of design.

In reality, the opposite is true. I was familiar with the example my atheist friend gave. It involves the fact that multiplying 111,111,111 by itself gives a sequence that my atheist friend says “might look like design but clearly isn’t.” You can do this yourself. Multiply 111,111,111 by 111,111,111 and see what you get. If you do it correctly, the answer 12,345,678,987,654,321. Try it and see. Is this a product of chance or a product of design?

This works in a numerical system based on 10, which we use in the western world. However, we are in the midst of switching to a binary system because our computers work on 1 and 0 (or + and -), and much of our world today runs on computers. When mathematicians developed these systems, they had to choose a numerical sequence that worked well for the time and the culture in which they functioned. Since we have ten fingers, base ten was a good choice. I had a math professor who told us that if the early scholars had been barefooted, we would have been using a base twenty system.

What does that tell us about numbers, chance, and design?
The point is that the reason 111,111,111 times 111,111,111 gives the pattern that it does is because intelligence designed the system. Intelligent minds made the choices that produced the number pattern. This is an argument for the validity of design in the creation, and design demands a Designer.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

God Spoke It Into Existence

God Spoke It Into Existence- The Bat Nebula
The Bat Nebula NGC 6995

One of the wonderful things that technology gives us is the ability to see how God created the Earth and life on it. The Webb telescope is adding to our understanding of the universe. Advances in astronomy and optical telescopes continue to give us more pictures and data, helping us understand what God has done and the methods He employed. When dealing with the creation, preachers, and even some Bible paraphrases, are fond of saying, “God spoke it into existence.” That is an oversimplification because, obviously, it was not God’s voice that created time, space, and matter-energy.

The NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day ( for September 20, 2022, has a beautiful picture of the “Statue of Liberty Nebula.” (See the link below.) The data from this area of space shows the presence and creation of complex carbon molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Biologists tell us that these are building blocks of life.

In addition to chemical compounds like PAHs, we can also see hydrogen being forged into the heavier elements that make up the creation around us. Hydrogen is a non-renewable resource, and as we watch stars turning it into heavier elements, we know that the process had a start. The existence of hydrogen throughout space tells us there was a beginning to the creation. As hydrogen is forged into heavier elements, the amount of hydrogen in the cosmos decreases. If space, time, and matter-energy were eternal, all of the hydrogen would be gone.

Proverbs 8 tells us that wisdom was a partner in creation. Psalms 148 praises God for the creation, and verse 5 says, “He commanded, and they were created.” That is not the same as saying, “God spoke it into existence.” As we study God’s WORD, we learn of His wisdom and love. As we study God’s WORK, modern technology allows us to know some of His methods more clearly than ever before.

The Bible gives a simple statement of creation that every human can understand: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Science shows us the wisdom, power, and design of what God has done.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: for September 20, 2022.

God Created Two Books

God Created Two Books

How have you arrived at the belief system that governs your life? God created two books we are called to use as the basis for our lives, morals, and religious practice. Since these two books have one author, they must be complimentary and cannot conflict. It is strange that many people read one book and refuse to look at the other. That is true of both atheists and religionists.

One of the books is the Bible, and it calls us to use it as a guide for life. Second Timothy 3:16-17 states it very clearly: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for teaching, for training, for guiding and for moral discipline so that the man of God may be complete and adequately equipped for all good work.” Atheists reject this book because it involves denying one of a few physical pleasures and gives a purpose in living other than survival. Living selfishly has its rewards, and that is attractive.

God created two books, and the second book is the creation itself. The Bible is full of admonitions to use the things God has created as a means of knowing truth and learning how to live a productive and rewarding life. The Old Testament calls us to use what we see in the world around us as a guide to life. The entire book of Job carries that message. Numerous Psalms call us to see God’s wisdom and design and shape our beliefs in them. (See Psalms 8:3-9; 19:1; 53:1-4; 139:14-16.) Proverbs is full of admonitions to learn from the creation. (See Proverbs 6:6; 8:1-7 and 22-36.)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus used the created world as the basis of much of His teaching. (See Matthew 6:26-30; 7:16-20.) Romans 1:18 – 23 says of humans, “That which can be known of God lies plain before their eyes for God himself has made it clear to them. For those things of God which the eye can not see, ever since the creation of the world, are clearly perceived through the things that are made, and are clear to the eye of reason, even his eternal power and divine character so that men have no excuse.”

So God created two books, and it is clear why atheists do not wish to read and apply the Bible to guide their moral and spiritual lives. It is hard to understand why people who claim to believe in God refuse to look at the creation as a source of instruction and guidance. Some are too lazy to read the Bible and study its message, and others are too lazy to read the creation and learn its message. We need to read and study both books so that we can do what 1 Peter 3:15 tells us: “Revere Christ as Lord in your hearts and always be ready with your defense whenever you are called to account for the hope that is in you, yet argue gently and cautiously with meekness and respect.”

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Wormholes, Black Holes, and the Beginning

Wormholes, Black Holes, and the Beginning
Wormhole Illustration

One of the strongest arguments for God’s existence is the fact that all evidence indicates that there was a beginning to the creation. Space and time are not eternal. If the creation began, there had to be a cause for space/time. The only way to avoid that is to show that space/time is eternal. The classic atheist argument is that if God has always existed, it is just as valid to claim that space/time has always existed. One way to support the view that space/time is eternal is to suggest that tunnels called wormholes exist between black holes in the cosmos.

The idea is that wormholes would allow matter/energy to fall into a black hole in one area of space and re-emerge in another part of space. By falling into a black hole, the conservation laws of science and the laws of thermodynamics would be invalidated. Physical laws, entropy, and all other boundaries would start over when the matter/energy emerged at the wormhole’s other end. All matter/energy in the cosmos would experience these changes through an infinite number of wormholes, and since the laws of science would be re-established, this could go on forever. In essence, this is a new version of last century’s oscillating universe theory.

Science fiction writers have used this idea as a way for aliens to quickly travel anywhere in the cosmos. The distances between galaxies are in the millions of light years, so traveling even at the speed of light would take millions of years. If wormholes connected the galaxies, you could take a shortcut traveling instantly from one galaxy to another. This is an imaginative proposal, but the evidence doesn’t support it.

If every galaxy is connected to other galaxies by wormholes, we should be able to see matter/energy emerging from every galaxy we observe. If the wormhole were in empty space, you would see white holes where this would be happening. We don’t see any such objects anywhere. Instead, we see black holes and even have photographic evidence of their existence. However, the nature of a black hole is that matter/energy falls into it and is compressed smaller and smaller to an infinitely small point. Nothing comes out of a black hole by any process.

Scientists speculate that ultimately, all the matter/energy in the cosmos will fall into one supermassive black hole and be destroyed. That reminds us of the words of Peter in 2 Peter 3:10-12, “The elements will be dissolved.” There was a beginning, and it was caused by God, an entity outside of space/time, and there will be an end.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

A Remarkable Tool of Astronomy – The JWST

A Remarkable Tool of Astronomy – The JWST image of Carina Nebula
JWST Image of the Carina Nebula with stars never seen before

On July 12, 2022, NASA released the first public images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), launched on December 25, 2021. JWST is a remarkable tool of astronomy that can see objects in outer space not visible to Earth-bound telescopes. Dr. Scott Acton is a 1984 Abilene Christian University graduate who worked on the JWST for almost 24 years as a wavefront sensing and controls scientist. As a Christian, he said, “Seeing these images will increase your faith.”

In February, Dr. Acton’s team was privileged to download a “throwaway” image from a JWST fine guidance sensor, which brought him to tears. He described his feelings by saying, “I realized that single image contained probably 500 galaxies that had never been seen before.”

As a remarkable tool of astronomy, the JWST enables us to expand our understanding of the incredible size and magnitude of the creation. As the tools of observation improved, astronomers realized that our Milky Way galaxy was just one of many. Thanks to the JWST, we can now see countless galaxies that astronomers have never seen before, and each one contains billions of stars, many of which have planets orbiting them.

These distant galaxies send out all kinds of light – not just visible light. The JWST can see the light invisible to our eyes and see it without the obstruction of our atmosphere. That light can tell us the history of creation and testify to the truthfulness of what the Bible says about creation.

In Job 38:6-7, God says to Job, “Upon what are the foundations of the earth fastened and who do you think laid the cornerstone when the morning stars sang together?” Dr. Acton says that he imagined the galaxies singing: “Not in any kind of language that people could understand, but certainly the emotion we can understand. I would call that emotion joy. It’s almost like the galaxies or the universe was happy that after all this time, we could finally see them.”

The pictures from this remarkable tool of astronomy will give us more evidence that the creation of the cosmos had a beginning in which time and space came into existence. We can see the evidence of design and purpose everywhere in the cosmos and on Earth. If there was a beginning, there had to be a cause, and that cause was “Elohim,” the God of Genesis 1:1.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: The Christian Chronicle for August 2022, pages 18-19.

Probability of a Life-Supporting Exoplanet

Planet Earth and the Probability of a Life-Supporting Exoplanet

One of my favorite columnists is Bob Berman, who writes in Astronomy magazine. Mr, Berman is a science writer who doesn’t have an ax to grind and doesn’t stoop to ridicule or hostility toward Christianity or faith in general. In the September 2022 issue, he referred to recent articles hinting that astronomers have found exoplanets better suited for life than planet Earth and examines the probability of a life-supporting exoplanet.

Berman lists a few of Earth’s unusual features. He points out that a planet being at the proper distance from its star to allow liquid water to exist is not that difficult to achieve. If you get the appropriate distance from a fire, you can have just about any temperature you want. Five other cases that Berman mentions are not that easy.

They include…
1) …having a nearby moon that stabilizes the axial tilt over long periods.
2) …not having lethal surface radiation.
3) …not having overactive volcanoes.
4) …having atmospheric gases that are used and produced by living organisms.
5) …having the right temperature underground. On Earth, surface temperatures disappear at about six inches, and at 30 feet, temperatures don’t change no matter what happens at the surface.

These are only five of the unique qualities of our home planet. Each design feature appears reasonable, but the probability of a life-supporting exoplanet depends on more than a single feature. Many planets may have one or two of the required variables, but to sustain life, ALL of them must be in place. That means you would have to MULTIPLY the probability of each individual variable to find the odds for life, especially advanced life, to exist on a planet.

The bottom line is that the probability of a life-supporting exoplanet is vastly greater than the number of stars in the cosmos. This planet is unique because it was designed by God to sustain life. Wisdom’s words in Proverbs 8:22-36 eloquently describe the process that gave us this extraordinary planet. We need to thank God for what we have been given–and take care of it.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Bob Berman in Astronomy magazine, September 2022, page 12
See a list containing 47 variables that make Earth unique in “Evidence for Design in the Universe,” adapted from a paper titled “Limits for the Universe” by astronomer Hugh Ross. It’s available free under “charts” on our website at THIS LINK.

Every Discovery that Answers One Question Raises a Dozen More

Every Discovery that Answers One Question Raises a Dozen More - James Webb Telescope
James Webb Telescope

As technology progresses, we get better and better pictures from outer space. We are now seeing images from the Webb space telescope showing previously unknown details. The new information also challenges some of the assumptions of astronomy and cosmology. Researchers have an old saying: “Every discovery that answers one question raises a dozen more.” The general public may feel that we have a complete understanding of the cosmos and creation itself, but nothing could be further from the truth.,

A classic example of that is the red spot on Jupiter. Giovanni Cassini saw and made note of it 357 years ago. Astronomers have studied and analyzed that mysterious massive storm on Jupiter over and over ever since. Yet, here we are in 2022, and we still have no idea why it is red.

We are now detecting rapid radio bursts from outer space
, but we don’t understand them. Interestingly, they have a pattern similar to a beating human heart. The cosmos is full of challenges we are still trying to understand. Many of them have been brought to our attention by advances in technology.

Voyager 1 left the Earth 45 years ago and has added more to our solar system knowledge than any other probe. However, scientists still cannot understand many of its discoveries. Every discovery that answers one question raises a dozen more.

As the Webb telescope sends incredible pictures like never seen before from deep space, it’s an exciting time to be alive and view areas of the creation that human eyes have never witnessed. Every new observation and discovery tells us more about the magnitude of God’s power, wisdom, and design.

Despite all this, the primary cosmological proof of the existence of God remains. Our discoveries continue to show us that there was a beginning to time, space, and matter/energy. Since the cosmos could not have come from absolute nothingness, we know that beginning had a cause, and the nature of that cause was an intelligence – not blind opportunistic chance.

The ancient words of the psalmist in Psalms 19:1-2 continue to ring true: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day after day, they utter speech, and night after night, they show knowledge.”

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: for 7/17/22.

Science and Faith are Friends

 Science and Faith are Friends - Not Enemies

For the past week, we have explored the idea that science and faith are friends.
Both science and theology deal with the fundamental human desire to know. We are naturally curious because God made us that way. Science began with Christian believers who sought to learn more about God through His creation. A desire to learn about God through the things He has made motivated men like Roger Bacon, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and others to create what today we call “science.”

Faith in a loving and orderly Creator opened the door to a realization that the universe is orderly and not the chaotic product of the many gods of the ancient Greeks and Romans. As a result, theology and theologians developed many of the methods of modern science. Also, it was theologians who recognized that only natural causation is open to our direct study. They knew by faith that God was the ultimate cause of the universe. But since God is not a physical being, we can only study the secondary causation.

Even though we recognize that God is the only possible cause of the universe, all we can do is discover how He did it and marvel at the precision fine-tuning of the cosmos. If we say that God “zapped” these things into existence without a process, we deny God’s engineering and architectural skills. Science and faith are friends, and we can know there is a God through the things He has made (Romans 1:20).

Today, well-known scientists use books and TV programs to proclaim atheism, materialism, and scientism. At the same time, prominent and often highly-paid religious teachers debunk science and tell people to take off their “science glasses” and put on “Bible glasses.” It’s time to call a truce in the war between science and faith. Although the Bible is scientifically accurate beyond its time, it is not a science book. Although nature can tell us much about God, only the Bible can tell us everything we need to know about the Creator of the universe and how to have a relationship with Him. Good science and good theology go hand-in-hand because science and faith are friends.

We have seen that the scientific understanding of the Cause of the universe matches the biblical description of God. Since God is outside of time, He can hear the prayers of millions of people all over the world at the same time. We can’t imagine what it would be like to be outside of time because being locked into time is all we know. If we could step out of history’s timeline and see it from God’s perspective, we could understand why God allows things to happen. We could understand the things that make us ask, “Why doesn’t God prevent that?” We could see the conclusion of all things. We would know that because of God’s wisdom, justice, and love, the conclusion is good.

— Roland Earnst © 2022