Genesis One: Doubting Creatio Ex Nihilo

Genesis “Look up to heaven and earth and see all that is therein, and know that God made them out of things that did not exist” (2 Maccabees 7:28)

Creatio ex nihilo is explicitly taught in 2 Maccabees 7:28 above and other passages such as John 1:1-3, Hebrews 11:3, Romans 4:17 and 2 Enoch 24:2. Philo, thus, correctly stated that “God, when he begat all things, not only brought them into manifestation, but made things which did not exist before, being himself not only a Demiurge but also a Creator” (De Somn. 1. 13).

The question I concisely addressed in this article is whether Genesis 1 is also communicating creatio ex nihilo. I think it does not. Genesis 1 does not articulate the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. This is why I think it does not: Continue reading

Book Review: Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One

The Lost World of Genesis“Creations’ debate game changer” is my four words review of John H. Walton’s 192-paged InterVarsity Press published book The Lost World of Genesis One (2009). Noting that the Old Testament was not written to us but for us, Walton returns us to the lost and forgotten ancient Jews to whom the Testament was written to. He, thus, invites us to decipher  ancient Near East cosmology as they would have had understood it. The result, if true, is a game changer in American heating up creations-debate.  It renders the whole debate not only unnecessarily but misguided in the first place.

Walton summons us to interpret Genesis 1:1-2:3b cosmology as ancient Jews would have understood it. He wrote: “We gain nothing by bringing God’s revelation into accordance with today’s science. In contrast, it makes perfect sense that God communicated his revelation to his immediate audience in terms they understood.”(Walton 2009: 15) He invites us to read the text on its “face value”. Before asking what it means to us today, we need to know what it meant to them then. Continue reading

Plants vs. Zombie: Fossil Record Contradicts Evolution

Darwin SignPopular myths are like zombies.  They invade your head and eat your brain. This series of articles concisely introduced some of popular theists and atheists myths. My aim is to give plants and fungi to both sincere atheists and theists brains’ soil to battle these waves of  zombies. So, lets get ready to soil our plants and fungi before these zombies eat our brains.

Myth II: Fossil Record Contradict Evolution

In Evolution? The Fossils Say No! Duane T. Gish wrote that paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould argued that fossil record “does not produce evidence of the gradual change of one plant or animal form into another”(Gish 1979, 172) Gish pointed out that according to Gould fossil record produced evidence for “each kind appeared abruptly”.

A zombie appeared with the hidden assumption that if phyletic gradualism is wrong then Darwinism¹ must also be wrong. This zombie failed to see the difference between two schools of evolutionary biology.

It is true that Gould and Niles Eldredge contended that “[m]ost species, during their geological history, either do not change in any appreciable way, or else they fluctuate mildly in morphology, with no apparent direction.”(Gould & Eldredge 1977, 115) Punctuated equilibria explains the “overlooked phenomenon of marked stability, responding to a pattern where adaptive evolutionary change seems to be concentrated into (relatively) brief episodes, ‘punctuating’ vastly linger intervals where little or no change is accumulated.”(Eldredge 1989, 174)

According to Gould and Niles, most evolutionary modification is concentrated in rapid proceedings of speciation in small, marginally remote populations (1977, 117). Even if we were to assume that “graualistic tale were true, which it is not” (ibid 116) there is limited fossil date to establish the truthfulness such a tale. What were prima facie treated as gaps in fossil data are actually data, stasis period of species proliferation.

Although Charles Robert Darwin in his later works moved towards gradualism, his early stages works showed that he held saltationist view. On page 130 of his Red Notebook, for example, Darwin argued that were there is no gradual change and one species has changed into another, then “it must be per saltum- or species may perish”.

Darwin encountered what paleontologists  found and noted it as a good objection to his theory (Notebook E, 1838). Since “[o]n the theory of natural selection, we can clearly understand why she[nature] should not; for natural selection can act only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a leap, but must advance by the shortest and slowest steps.”(Darwin 1964, 194) Darwin resolved this objection by appealing to an incomplete fossil record (1964, 310-11)

Even though paleontologists failed to see gradualism, a slow, steady and gradual change of species in fossil record as the only paradigm of Darwinism, they harmonized that broad-spectrum patterns of evolutionary history displayed in the fossil record with another evolutionary biological paradigm, ‘punctuated equilibria’. It is prima facie contra natura non facit saltum of Darwinian gradualism but Darwinism nonetheless.


Darwin, Charles (1964) On the Origin of Species: A Facsimile of the First Edition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Gish, Duane T. (1979) Evolution: The Fossils Say No! San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers.

Gould, Stephen Jay & Eldredge, Niles (1977) ‘Punctuated equilibria: the tempo and mode of evolution reconsidered.’ Paleobiology vol. 3: 115-151

Eldredge, Niles (1989) ‘Punctuated equilibra, rates of change and large-scale entities in evolutionary systems.’  Journal of Social and Biological Structures Vol. 12:173-184

Previous Myth: Hume Was An Atheist

[1] I used Darwinianism and Evolution synonymously.

Is the Matrix Possible?

Neo MatrixIn questions under the discipline of philosophy, and more so under epistemology (the theory of knowledge) particularly, we often find ourselves having to wrestle with certain beliefs, claims, and scenarios that might affect how we truly know things or whether we know anything at all. For instance,  French philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650) in his Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) once wrote:

But what about when I considered something very simple and easy in the areas of arithmetic or geometry, for example that 2 plus 3 make 5, and the like? Did I not intuit them at least clearly enough so as to affirm them as true? To be sure, I did decide later on that I must doubt these things, but that was only because it occurred to me that some God could perhaps have given me a nature such that I might be deceived even about matters that seemed most evident. [1]

How are we to know if we aren’t being deceived by some evil demon about our most basic beliefs? That 2 and 3 make 5, or that triangles have three sides? Although Descartes solved this dilemma along the lines of his cogito (“I think therefore I am”), he still maintained a level of methodological skepticism that functioned for purely intellectual purposes; it is what Gerald Erion calls “a matter of heuristics.” [2] However, a more contemporary discussion on this dilemma of beliefs can be found in Peter Unger’s Ignorance (1975), where instead of an evil demon deceiving us, it is an evilscientist [3]. As Barry Smith explains,

In Unger’s scenario, [ … ] the common belief that there are chairs, books, and other similar objects in the world around is simply an elaborate deception stimulated in our brains by an evil scientist, a super-neurologist who uses a computer to generate electrical impulses that are then transmitted to electrodes fastened to the relevant parts of our central nervous systems. Using these impulses to stimulate our brains, the scientist deceives us into thinking that there are chairs and books, even though there are no such things in the world. [4]

It was Unger’s position that “if skepticism is right, then all is not well with common sense, however useful those beliefs have been as a basis on which science might grow.” [4] Hilary Putnam (1981) [5] moreover argues a stronger thesis that “an evil scientist deceives us not just about rocks, but about everything we think we perceive through the senses” [6].  This scenario runs along the lines to say that we are not merely being deceived by a super-neurologist who uses a computer to generate certain electrical impulses, but rather that we are brains in a vat, surgically placed in brain-nourishing chemicals from which a highly powerful computer sends impulses to our brains and has us belief that our experiences are simply illusions [7].

Now you of course might agree with Daniel Dennett when he says that “[s]ometimes philosophers clutch an insupportable hypothesis to their bosoms and run headlong over the cliff edge. Then, like cartoon characters, they hang there in mid-air, until they notice what they have done and gravity takes over.” [8] Surely this seems to be the case. However, even given these hypotheses and their mere (absurd?) possibilities, what about the idea that we might trapped within a virtual world, and are actually apart of the Matrix, sitting in pink vats of goo being farmed and kept by spider-like robots? What is the possibility that we are in the Matrix now?

The Matrix Possibility 

First, in respect to understanding what is meant by beliefs in epistemological philosophy, it is also important to understand the difference between “warranted” and “justified” beliefs. In his discussion on our faculties of knowledge, Mortimer Adler remarks that beliefs are sometimes understood “to signify that we have some measure of doubt about the opinion we claim to be true on the basis of evidence and reasons” [9]. Furthermore that beliefs can also be otherwise understood “to signify total lack of evidence or reasons for asserting an opinion” [10].

However, beliefs are only properly designated under the correct epistemological context. For instance, we do not say that we believe 2 and 2 make 4, but rather that weknow 2 and 2 makes 4. According to one line of philosophical thinking we do contain a framework of given beliefs that could be rejected if they are without proper justification, while some others do not require that same justification [11].

For now then, let us stick with David Nixon’s proposal known as The Matrix Possibility: “It’s possible that I am (or you are) in the Matrix right now” [12]. However, this proposal is merely saying that it is possible that I am in the Matrix right now, not necessarily that I am in it currently. This is where I believe the distinction (but relationship) between belief and knowledge becomes interesting. One reaction to this proposal might be that

  • (A) If a given belief has the possibility of being false, then it is not one that we can say we really know.

It seems to be the case that the mere possibility of an evil demon deceiving him of even the most simplest truths was enough for Descartes to cast doubt on his having knowledge. However, what about another given reaction to the proposal? Namely, that

  • (B) If a belief is possible and yet we recognize its capability of being false, we may still recognize these kinds of circumstances as having knowledge.

This reaction is far more interesting than the former reaction (A), where (B) is concerned more so with the probability of beliefs rather than the mere possible false-hoods of them.

What Should We Be Left to Think?

If Descartes’ demon or Unger’s mad scientist were in fact true, then we have good reasons to be skeptics in respect to most if not all the beliefs that we hold. However, from the current existential standpoint, we should not be skeptics on the basis of the possibilities of these scenarios. It is not until we are concerned with the probability of those scenarios that we should entertain the truth-hood of their proposals.

Until sufficient probability has been established, the belief that we are in the Matrix is epistemically unreasonable.



  • [1] Rene Descartes, Philosophical Essays and Correspondence, ed. Roger Ariew (Hackett: 2000) p. 113
  • [2] Gerald J. Erion and Barry Smith, “Skepticism, Morality, and the Matrix” in The Matrix and Philosophy, ed. William Irwin (Open Court Publishing: 2002) p. 18
  • [3] Peter Unger, Ignorance: A Case for Skepticism (Clarendon Press: 1979)
  • [4] Ibid., p. 4
  • [5] Hilary Putnam, Reason, Truth, and History (Cambridge University Press: 1981)
  • [6] Gerald Erion and Barry Smith (2002), p. 21
  • [7] See Putnam (1981), pp. 5-8
  • [8] Daniel Dennett, “The Unimagined Preposterousness of Zombies” in Journal of Consciousness Studies (vol. 2, no. 4, 1995). See the passage at this link:
  • [9] Mortimer J. Adler, Ten Philosophical Mistakes (Simon and Schuster: 1985) p. 87
  • [10] Ibid.
  • [11] Alvin Plantinga in his book God and Other Minds (1967) argues for instance that belief in the existence of God is properly basic. According to James Beilby on Plantinga’s view: “For Plantinga, beliefs formed by the sensus divinitatis and the internal instigation of the Holy Spirit are both psychologically direct – they are not inferred or accepted on the evidential basis of other beliefs – andepistemically direct – they do not receive their warrant from another belief” (James Beilby, “Plantinga’s Model of Warranted Christian Belief” in Alvin Plantinga, ed. Deane-Peter Baker (Cambridge University Press: 2007) p. 47).
  • [12] David Mitsuo Nixon, “The Matrix Possibility” in The Matrix and Philosophy (2002), p. 28

About Guest Contributor

Steven DunnSteven Dunn is a blogger of Hellenistic Christendom, a blog that is fringed with philosophy and theology. Steven’s critically analyzes philosophical issues with passion and clarity. His desire to explore theological questions with the aim of understanding the centrality of Christ in all marks him as a great Christian philosopher in making.

Steven’s article originally appeared at Hellenistic Christendom.

Nietzsche’s Rejection of Darwinian Evolution

Nietzsche Wikipedia

“The error of the Darwinist school has become a problem for me: ” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche, “how can one be so blind as to fail to see clearly here? … That the species represent progress is the most unreasonable assertion in the world:” (Nietzsche 2003, 258)

In a period of ten years, Nietzsche drifted from admiring Darwin and his company as “great names of England” to discourteously mocking and ridiculing them as “English psychologists” and “our ape-genealogists”. This article concisely introduced only two, among many, of Nietzsche’s cases against the theory of Darwinian evolution mostly when associated with Homo sapiens.

Case Against Darwinian Progressivity

Natural selection works, according to Charles Darwin, “solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection.”(Darwin 1909, 528) This idea of progressivity in Darwinian evolution did not only astounded Nietzsche but also its opposite seemed, according to Nietzsche’s survey of “great destinies of man”, to be true. He wrote,

What surprises me most when surveying the great destinies of man is always seeing before me the opposite of what Darwin and his school see or want to see today: selection in favor of the stronger, in favor of those who have come off better, the progress of the species. The very opposite is quite palpably the case: the elimination of the strokes of luck, the uselessness of the better-constituted types, the inevitable domination achieved by the average, even below-average types.(Nietzsche 2003, 258)

Unless our-ape-genealogists gave him reasons why Homo sapiens were an exception to Darwinian evolution, Nietzsche was persuaded that “the school of Darwin has everywhere deceived itself ”(2003, 259) In struggle for man’s existence, it is not the highest, the strongest, the fittest and the fortunate that survive but the lower and the weaker who “predominate through numbers, through prudence, [and] through cunning”.

Nietzsche argued that chance variation, contrary to Darwinian’s survival for the fittest, does not yield any benefit to the fittest. He observed that “nature is cruel towards its favourites, it spares and protects and loves les humbles ”(2003, 260)

Thus it is not the case that in struggle for existence the weak organism perishes while the strong survive. Chance seems to serve both the weak and the strong. Nietzsche asserted that, “one nowhere finds any example of unconscious selection (absolutely not). The most disparate individuals unite with one another, the extremes are submerged in the mass. Everything competes to preserve its type; creatures with exterior markings to protect them from danger do not lose them when they encounter conditions in which they live without danger” (Nietzsche 1968, 362)

Case Against Macroevolution of Creatures

“There are no transitional forms.-” contended Nietzsche. Darwinist asserts modification of organism as they struggle to adapt into their environment, food and climate. Nietzsche argued that this is not what we see in reality. “Every type has its limits;” he explained, “beyond these there is no evolution. Up to this point, absolute regularity”(1968, 363)

Nietzsche accepted a microevolution of creatures theory, but argued that one cannot move from microevolution to macroevolution. Example we can, by unnatural selection, breed dogs to form different breeds, but there is a limit and beyond these there is no evolution. Dogs after all remain dogs. It is for this reason we have no transitional forms.

Concisely, Nietzsche’s general view could be captured as: “man as a species is not progressing. Higher types are indeed attained, but they do not last. The level of the species is not raised […] man as a species does not represent any progress compared with any other animal. The whole animal and vegetable kingdom does not evolve from the lower to the higher – but all at the same time, in utter disorder, over and against each other”(ibid)

The two Nietzschean doubts I presented, as some of reasons Nietzsche rejected Darwinian evolution, mostly when applied to Homo sapiens, are (1) the falsehood of survival for the fittest and (2) the limits of evolution.

Previous: Nietzsche and Two Unpleasant Implications of Darwinism


Darwin, Charles (1909). The Harvard Classics 11: Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin. (C. W. Eliot, Ed.) . New York: P.F. Collier & Son.

Nietzsche, Friedrich (1968) The Will to Power. A New Translation by Water Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale. Vintage Books. New York.

_________________________ (2003) Writings from the Late Notebooks. Translated by Kate Sturge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Naturalists Faith in Multiverses


“If nature so ‘clever’ as to exploit mechanisms that amaze us with their ingenuity, is that not persuasive evidence for the existence of intelligent design behind the universe?” asked a theoretical physicist Paul Davies, “If the world’s finest mind can unravel only with difficulty the deeper workings of nature, how could it be supposed that those workings are merely a mindless accident, a product of blind chance?”1 (Davies 1984: 235-6)

Stunning evidences on how complex and delicately fine tuned is the electrical to gravitational force ratio (N = 10 36), strength of nuclear binding (E = 0.007), normalized amount of matter in universe (Ω = 0. 3), normalized cosmological constant (Λ = 0.7), seeds for cosmic structure (Q = 1/100,000), number of spatial dimensions (D = 3)2 et cetera required for intelligent life permitting universe are piling up in the scientific community.

Our universe, as theoretical physicist Brandon Carter judged, according to Davies, is just right for life. “It looked like a fix – a big fix”(Davies 2007: x). This raises a further question. What is the most plausible explanation for the seemed big fixed values? Martin Rees gave three alternatives,

If our existence depends on a seemingly special cosmic recipe, how should we react to the apparent fine-tuning? There appears to be a choice between three options: we can dismiss it as happenstance [or coincidence]; we can acclaim it as the workings of providence; or (my preference) we can conjecture that our universe is a specially favored domain in a still vaster multiverse.(Rees 2005:  211)

For atheist scientists and philosophers, work of providence would be surrendering their entire worldview to theism, which view these increasingly modern scientific findings as resurging the argument from design.

Few are prepared to take the route that led a notorious atheist philosopher, late Antony Flew, to migrate from atheism to deism. Following where he thought the evidence led him, given the pilling evidences, Flew admitted that, “multiverse or not, we still have to come to terms with the origin of the laws of nature. And the only viable explanation here is the divine Mind.”(Flew 2007 120-1)

Philosopher Bradley Monton, who is less certain of his atheism after investigating arguments from design,  “think that there is some evidence for an intelligent designer, and in fact, [he] think that there is some evidence that that intelligent designer is God” (Monton 2009: 39) Unlike Flew, Monton does not think that the evidence is enough to make him stop being an atheist.

Rees on the other hand holds an agnostic position that “[w]e do not know whether there are other universes. Perhaps we never shall”(Rees 2005: 210). He would disagree with Flew’s conclusion. Rees supposes that multiverse can still be postulated as a genuine scientific explanation for the fine-turning of our universe. It is still likely that in the distant future, cosmologists would probably have a convincing theory that show whether a multiverse exists contended Rees. He went further,

But while we are waiting for that theory—and it could be a long wait—the “off the shelf” clothes shop analogy can already be checked. It could even be refuted: this would happen if our universe turned out to be even more specially tuned than our presence requires. (Rees 2005: 218)

George E. R. Ellis informed us that the idea of a multiverses, is increasingly receiving attention in the field of cosmology. Vilenkin, Lind, Guth, Smolin, Deutsch, Susskind, Sciama, Tegmark, and Rees are among proponents of different models of multiverses.

Ellis considered that “[t]he very nature of the scientific enterprise is at stake in the multiverse debate: the multiverse proponents are proposing weakening the nature of scientific proof in order to claim that multiverses provide a scientific explanation. This is a dangerous tactic.”(Ellis 2007) He contended,

The extreme case is multiverse proposals, where no direct observational tests of the hypothesis are possible, as the supposed other universes cannot be seen by any observations whatever, and the assumed underlying physics is also untested and indeed probably untestable.(ibid)

Exploring the evidences offered for existence of actual multiverses, Ellis concluded that these “proposals are good empirically – based philosophical proposals for the nature of what exists, but are not strictly within the domain of science because they are not testable”.  He finds multiverses theory not testable because it is so flexible and that it can accommodate almost any observation. “The multiverse theory can’t make any predications because it can explain anything at all.”(ibid)

Ellis concluded that both design and multiverse lack conclusive evidence thus both require an equal degree faith to be believed. “Despite scientific appearances, belief in multiverse is an exercise in faith”(ibid)

Martin Gardner shares Ellis’ position. He wrote,

The stark truth is that there is not the slightest shred of reliable evidence that there is any universe other than the one we are in. No multiverse theory has so far provided a prediction that can be tested. In my layman’s opinion they are all frivolous fantasies. As far as we can tell, universes are not as plentiful as even two blackberries. Surely the conjecture that there is just one universe and its Creator is infinitely simpler and easier to believe than that there are countless billions upon billions of worlds, constantly increasing in number and created by nobody. I can only marvel at the low state to which today’s philosophy of science has fallen. (Garder 2001: n.p)

Does multiverse actually exists? Maybe it does, maybe it does not. I would end by concurring with Ellis’ conclusion that “[t]he claim they exist is a belief rather than an established scientific fact. It is a reasonable faith with strong explanatory nature, but a belief none the less.”

Question: Does the multiverses explain the fine-tuning of our universe?


Davies, Paul (1984) Superforce: The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Nature. New York: Simon and Schuster.

_________ (2007) The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is The Universe Just Right For Life?. Penguin Books

Ellis, George E. R. (2007) The multiverse, ultimate causation and God. Talk at Emmanuel College 6th November 2007.

Flew, Antony (2007) There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. HarperOne

Gardner, Martin (2001) Multiverses and Blackberries: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher Vol. 25.5 , September / October 2001

Monton, Bradley (2009) Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends intelligent Design. Broadview Press.

Rees, Martin (2005) Other Universes: A Scientific Perspective in Ed. Neil A. Manson’s God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science.  Routledge.


[1] Davies rejects both multiverse and design as appealing to something beyond our universe. He holds to a kind of a self-designed universe.

[2] Martin Rees’ Just Six Numbers

Was Charles Darwin Theistic Evolutionist?

I could not help but wondered if Charles Darwin, as I read Origin of the Species, held a theistic evolution position. It is Chapter XV: Recapitulation and Conclusion  which made me wondered. Darwin wrote:

Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual. When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled.

He went further

It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.(Darwin 1909: 527-9)

It seems that Darwin had a room for the Creator. Is it possible that Darwin was a theistic evolutionist? Give reasons (I am interested in more than your opinion, so I will be glad if you could quote Darwin’s work to back your position)


Darwin, C. (1909). The Harvard Classics 11: Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin (C. W. Eliot, Ed.). New York: P.F. Collier & Son.


Darwin Project contains basic descriptions of more than 15,000 letters known to have been written by or to Charles Darwin, and the complete texts of around half of those. It is treasure mine for those who love to know more about Darwin

Biologos a community of evangelical Christians committed to exploring and celebrating the compatibility of evolutionary creation and biblical faith, guided by the truth that “all things hold together in Christ.”

[I, Prayson, am still pondering if Darwinian Evolution is compatible with Christianity. I am pursued more to ID but I am open to explore different views because I believe all truths are God’s truth. I will follow were the evidences and its correct interpretation point to]