Daniel, Babylon, and the Ancient Primordial Soup

I’ve been doing some reading about Daniel (from the Bible) in a book by the great Oxford University mathematician, philosopher of science, and Christian apologist, John Lennox entitled, “Against the Flow, The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism.” While studying the history, it is pointed out that in order to draw parallels with the Babylonian society of Daniel with today’s Western society, we must first understand the worldview of the ancient Babylonians.

Ancient Babylon was an ultra-modern, polytheistic, yet secular society. The people found meaning and salvation through science and technology, much like many people do today. After all, the Bible says there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc 1:9). At this time of great prosperity and ultra-modern secularism, Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. He ordered many of the young men of Jerusalem back to Babylon to be stripped of their old way of life and be socially engineered into being a Babylonian and serving the king in various capacities. Daniel and three of his friends were just a few of the young men who were ripped from their families and taken to a foreign land to learn a new language, new literature, and all new customs.

Daniel found out real quick that these people did not believe in Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Daniel believed that Yahweh was the one true God, creator of heaven and earth. But after studying in Babylon (think about being away at college) he obviously had to study their gods. While they had many gods, the very beginning of the long line of gods began with a goddess named Nammu. She was the goddess who gave birth to all other goddesses.

I have three points I have learned about the time period, Nammu, and the view the ancient Babylonians had about her. I’ll share them and parallel it all with today’s world.

  1. Nammu was dubbed the “Primordial Sea Goddess.” This name for her gives us some great clues related to how the ancient people viewed their gods. In all of ancient Sumerian and Greek mythology, the gods all seem to be dependent on a pre-existing form of matter. These gods seem to originate inside an already existing cosmos (in this case, the sea). This is hugely important in drawing the distinction between these phony gods and the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible clearly exists outside of the cosmos. He created the cosmos and therefore He transcends it altogether, just as the Bible teaches. This leads me into my next point.
  1. The most vocal and militant evangelist of the New Atheism movement, Richard Dawkins, has been quoted many times saying this line: “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” The problem with this is that Judeo-Christian monotheism is not some streamlined version of pagan polytheism. Christians believe in a God that cannot be compared to the gods Dawkins speaks about. They are two totally different categories and I’ll show why this is the case.

John Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the UK puts it nicely when he says, “We make a great mistake if we think of monotheism as a linear development from polytheism, as if people first worshiped many gods and then reduced them to one. Monotheism is something else entirely. The meaning of a system lies outside the system. Therefore the meaning of the universe lies outside the universe. Monotheism, by discovering the transcendental God, the God who stands outside the universe and creates it, made it possible for the first time to believe that life has a meaning, not just a mythic or scientific explanation.”

So this argument that atheists simply believe in one god less than a Christian sounds very clever but fails miserably to make its point. While all the other gods that humanity has ever believed in which Dawkins speaks about are products of heaven and earth, our Christian God actually created heaven and earth and exists wholly apart from them.

  1. The third point I want to make draws a connection between the mythical goddess Nammu and the idea of macro-evolution. Remember from above that Nammu was called the “Primordial Sea Goddess.” Anyone with a basic familiarity with macro-evolution probably has ears that perk up when they hear the word “primordial.” Today’s evolutionists will use this word to form the term “primordial soup.” According to Webster, primordial soup is a mixture of organic molecules in evolutionary theory from which life on earth originated. Today’s evolutionary theorists, despite all the advances in science, et al, are still thinking the same way the ancients of Babylon thought thousands of years ago! Like today’s evolutionary theorists, the Babylonians thought life itself emerged from a primordial sea as evidenced by the primordial sea god, Nammu. Their old philosophy was much like that of today’s evolutionists in that they deified the basic forces of nature without ever knowing how to explain how the basic forces of nature could possibly originate on their own. While they derived all life from somehow pre-existing matter, the Christian God created the matter, it did not create Him!

Lennox notes in his book that “this idea that mass-energy is primitive, and all else derives from it, is the essence of the materialistic reductionism that tries to dominate Western society. On this view, mass-energy is subject to the laws of nature…and must have latent capacity to produce all we see around us…

Isn’t it amazing that there truly is nothing new under the sun?

“History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.” –Ecclesiastes 1:9.

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Bill Nye and His Cute Little Emoji Video

The last four days has produced some moderate internet traffic to a YouTube video created by Bill Nye.  In the video, Mr. Nye uses emoji’s found on iPhones to supposedly illustrate how macro-evolutionary processes work.  Some people are finding this approach so fashionable that they’re describing it as “probably the best explanation of evolution ever.” Really?

I’ve watched the video a few times and could not resist posting about it.  Let’s break it down, but first, watch the two minute video:

WOW!  There are so many things that are wrong within just the first twenty five seconds but before I get to that let me say something about this little production.  When one watches the video the first time they are probably listening to some of what he has to say.  But the thing that really grabs one’s attention is the emoji figures.  I suggest watching the video several times and then play it with your eyes shut.  That’s funny, but it seems the emoji figures are there to disguise some serious misleading statements.  Let’s look at them.

The first statement that should raise high the eyebrows of any person with a brain is when he says, “molecules just happen.”  Is that so?  Amazing!  Let’s not be silly Mr. Nye.  That premise right there does not provide sufficient evidence for me to base any kind theory or idea. Based on these first words by Mr. Nye, thinking people should immediately be skeptical. This notion of things “just happening” is simply an insufficient foundation for any kind of true science.

He goes on to say that, “somehow, probably with energy from the sun, these molecules hooked together and accidentally found ways to reproduce themselves.”  Whoa!!  There are three key words here that raise red flags when attempting to pass off facts:  somehow, probably, and accidentally.  To assert that something “somehow” did something implies an insufficient explanation to anything that follows.  “Probably” implies uncertainty.  “Accidentally” implies chance.  To be sure, these words need not negatively apply to any and all ideas.  The problem with using these words in this context is that Mr. Nye is attempting to pass off macro-evolution as a proven fact and using these kinds of words hardly helps his case.

Toward the conclusion of the video, Mr. Nye presents the most holy tenant of his religion:  time.  Theists are often accused of the “God of the Gaps” theory which says that we simply plug in God for things we cannot answer.  That is not true.  Theists, at least those of the Christian bend, base their belief in God on some very good evidence.  On the other hand, Darwinism must use time in place of God as it’s own “God of the Gaps.”  You see it often; if it can’t be explained away rationally let’s just throw in a few billion more years.  All this does is beg the question.  Time has never been shown to create anything.  Sure Mr. Nye, lots of things can happen in 4.5 billion years.  Maybe over the next 4.5 billion years it will be shown how ridiculous macro-evolution really is.

The underlying problem here for the Darwinist is the problem of abiogenesis, that is to say the idea of life arising from non-life. There is absolutely no evidence for naturalistic abiogenesis and saying that it “just happens” is absurd.  This is the first tenant of faith for the worldview of Darwinism, which is unfortunate since Darwinism itself shouldn’t necessarily deal with abiogenesis, but the Naturalists insist.  Empirical science tells us that nothing “accidentally” reproduces.  We have always known reproduction to be a means to a specified end.

Moreover, while abiogenesis precedes supposed macro-evolution, the Anthropic Principle necessarily precedes abiogenesis.  The Anthropic Principle is the term used to define the fine tuning of the universe in order for the possibility of life to occur.  There are dozens and dozens of these cosmic characteristics that are required for life and more and more are being discovered all the time.  For example, the tilt of Earth, the distance of Earth from our sun, the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, etc.  These constants are so finely tuned that if they were altered by minuscule amounts, life as we know it would not exist.

Let’s be clear here.  Bill Nye is talking about macro-evolution and NOT micro-evolution.  The macro form says that fish can eventually develop wings and fly.  The micro form says that changes can indeed occur within species such as the wide variety of dogs we see.

Theism and good science are not at odds.  Let me repeat, theism and good science are not at odds.  The problem is bad science.  And when words and phrases like those used by Bill Nye are used to pass off supposed fact, we see bad science rearing its ugly head.  By the way, the sexy argument I’m hearing these days against those who oppose macro-evolution are that those opposed “just don’t understand it.”  This is an ad hominem attack.  An ad hominem attack is when a person attacks his opposition rather than his opposition’s arguments.  This type of argumentation should not be dignified with a response.

I know I’ve rambled a bit but these things need to be pointed out.  In conclusion, I think theism offers a far more plausible foundation for abiogenesis and the propagation of life.  There are many evidences such as the Cosmological and Teleological arguments, just to name two.  Look into these things and maybe I’ll write about them soon.  Thanks for reading.