In late January A.D. 2017 a woman was escorted off an airplane before its flight from Baltimore to Seattle following her verbal assault on a fellow passenger who held political views which differed from her own. As seen in a video record of the incident the shrill attacker, who had initiated conversation with her victim, suggests that disbelieving in climate change is comparable to disbelieving in gravity.
Let’s consider the idea of “believing in” gravity…
Surely, every autumn every detaching leaf on every deciduous tree falls earthward. A skier pushing off from her starting platform will begin to move downhill one hundred out of one hundred times. In every case in all of human history when a lumberjack’s iron axe head flew off its handle into a nearby stream or pond, his axe head sank…except one time. More on that presently.
This writer has no reason to be skeptical of what Sir Isaac Newton articulated after careful observation, namely that every mass attracts every other mass in the universe. But as Newton’s fellow creationist (as a young man, Isaac intended to become a minister), yours truly knows WHY gravity, electromagnetism, the nuclear and other so called natural forces exist and remain constant.
You might ask, “How can anyone possibly know that!” Thereby you reveal your persuasion that human knowledge is possible. That is, one can either know or not know X. That’s good because naturalism* snuffs out the very possibility of knowledge (or truth, or meaning). So since we agree that knowledge itself is real, since we both believe in knowledge, here’s your response to that question, “how do you know?”
Faithful, patient, and overwhelmingly perplexed Job having offered his lamenting discourses, God spoke to him out of a whirlwind. God’s majestic and beautiful responding discourse begins at the thirty eighth chapter of the Bible book bearing Job’s name. It includes many rhetorical questions. Here are just a few of them:
“Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?”
By these and many other questions and statements, God proclaims Himself the Upholder and Sustainer of the entire universe which He created. What we are seeing whenever we observe gravity in action is the perpetual, universal, unfailing faithfulness of our Creator. When we call these forces natural in the sense that they are not man made, no problem. But if we call them natural in the sense that God is irrelevant to their operation, we greatly err.
God is not the owner of a mechanical watch who wound it then went about his business without another thought. He is the abiding “mainspring of the mainspring” and the vigilant overseer of it and all the watch’s other components.
In another Bible book, Second Kings (chapter six) we have an account from the life of the prophet Elisha. The head of an axe wielded by a companion of the prophet came off the handle and fell into the Jordan river. By the power of God, Elisha made the solid iron axe head float to the surface so that it could be retrieved. The law of gravity was locally and temporarily suspended by the Maker of that law.
Of course, that is only one of many miraculous events in the Bible. These signs as they are called in Scripture don’t happen whimsically or capriciously as some imagine, but with very deliberate and exacting intent. But that’s a discussion for another day.
The point is, the naturalist* must deny that a miracle ever could occur because of the presuppositions of his basic world view – which is essentially his religion. For those who derive from the Bible the presuppositions of their basic world view, both the law of gravity and the referenced instance of its suspension are accounted for by the faithfulness of the almighty Creator. Our belief is in Him and His providence, not in forces which we affirm to exist without having the slightest clue why they exist.
Although it is doubtful that his arrogant attacker would have given him a tolerant hearing, what if that attacked airplane passenger had said:
“Yes ma’am, I acknowledge gravity, photosynthesis, gestation, and the diurnal cycle because I know that the almighty, faithful God of the Bible has given structure and order to his universe. Why do you ‘believe in’ gravity? How do you account for its existence?
In order to become Redeemer as well as Creator, God became incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord Christ. Because He is faithful and true, the sun will continue to rise and set. What we call friction will continue to make it possible for landing airplanes to slowly come to a stop on runways. Lead weights will continue to cause fishing lines to sink. And the earth’s climate will continue to fluctuate, not only according to the annual seasons, but according to patterns that span centuries.”
With emphases added, following are a couple of New Testament statements declaring that because Jesus never fails we can be confident of these things:
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and IN HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST.” (Colossians 1:16,17)
“…Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and UPHOLDING ALL THINGS BY THE WORD OF HIS POWER, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Hebrews 1:3)
* “In philosophy, naturalism is the ‘idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.’ Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.” — Wikipedia article