The Problem with Kalam

A favorite apologetic for many Christians is the Kalam Cosmological Argument.  This apologetic is stated as:

From Matt Slick:

Cosmological Argument

  1. Things exist.
  2. It is possible for those things to not exist.
  3. Whatever has the possibility of non-existence, yet exists, has been caused to exist.
    1. Something cannot bring itself into existence since it must exist to bring itself into existence, which is illogical.
  4. There cannot be an infinite number of causes to bring something into existence.
    1. An infinite regression of causes ultimately has no initial cause, which means there is no cause of existence.
    2. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause.
  5. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all things.
  6. The uncaused cause must be God.

Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) had a version of the Cosmological Argument called the Argument from Motion.  He stated that things in motion could not have brought themselves into motion but must be caused to move.  There cannot be an infinite regression of movers.  Therefore, there must be an Unmoved Mover.  This Unmoved Mover is God.

Although he is stating this as originating from Thomas Aquinas, it dates back far earlier than that, all the way back to Aristotle.  In fact, the modern name Kalam Cosmological Argument betrays a simple fact:  Kalam refers to Islamic teachings.  Herein is are my major argument against this apologetic.  It originated with Aristotle, which relates back to greek mythology:

In the beginning there was an empty darkness. The only thing in this void was Nyx, a bird with black wings. With the wind she laid a golden egg and for ages she sat upon this egg. Finally life began to stir in the egg and out of it rose Eros, the god of love. One half of the shell rose into the air and became the sky and the other became the Earth. Eros named the sky Uranus and the Earth he named Gaia. Then Eros made them fall in love.

As you can see there, the cosmic egg is a just as valid as the Biblical account of Waters from Waters, firmament, etc.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place,and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.  God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

Do either of these sound like how the universe actually started?

From Space.com

In the first second after the universe began, the surrounding temperature was about 10 billion degrees Fahrenheit (5.5 billion Celsius), according to NASA. The cosmos contained a vast array of fundamental particles such as neutrons, electrons and protons. These decayed or combined as the universe got cooler.

This early soup would have been impossible to look at, because light could not carry inside of it. “The free electrons would have caused light (photons) to scatter the way sunlight scatters from the water droplets in clouds,” NASA stated. Over time, however, the free electrons met up with nuclei and created neutral atoms. This allowed light to shine through about 380,000 years after the Big Bang.

This early light — sometimes called the “afterglow” of the Big Bang — is more properly known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB). It was first predicted by Ralph Alpher and other scientists in 1948, but was found only by accident almost 20 years later.

So, if you are a Christian (or Muslim) trying to argue that the Cosmological argument proves god, explain to me why your creation myth has no connection with how the universe actually started?  In fact, light was not even the first thing, it took over 380,000 years before light was even possible.  In fact, using this argument creates four HUGE problems:

  1. Your own creation myths have no relation to present theories as to how the universe began.
  2. You have no way to linking your particular god to the first mover, or uncaused cause.
  3. The violates the law of parsimony, by introducing a far more complicated solution, namely a timeless, spaceless, unchanging god that can create the universe out of nothing.
  4. By using this apologetic, you are ACTIVELY refuting your own personal god.

This fourth point is important.   Accepting the universe started with the Big Bang, followed by no discernable interaction for billions of years, eliminates the need for a personal god.  This apologetic really works against the concept of a god that answers prayers, cares about our sins, or interacts with the universe in any way.  This lack of the need of a personal god also works against the fine tuning argument.  If your deistic god started the universe and set all of the laws in motion and disappeared…you would have the universe as you see it now.

More on Kalam and other deistic apologetics.

For me, the most confusing aspects of the Kalam Cosmological are the abandonment of the Bible (or at least the old testament) and the first statement of any cosmological argument, namely that thing begint to exist.  First off, lets look into the abandoment of the Bible.

The first line of the Bible is “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”  This, somehow, relates to Big Bang.  You can accept the Genesis at face value, or you can accept the standard model.  I suppose you could come up with convoluted interpretation of Genesis, but reading the actual words on the page “God created the Heavens and the Earth” I can’t help but contrast this with how the universe actually started.  The Earth began to form billions of years after this universe began.  Heck, even light was not possible for 300,000 years!  While you have apologetics that cling to the first cause, first mover, etc. accepting any of these explicitly forces the speaker to reject the Biblical Earth creation narrative.  Accepting both accounts as true is like finding a square circle or a married bachelor.  A 6 day creation that also took billions of years, in the opposite order, is logically impossible.  There is also a misunderstanding of what begins to exist actually means.

Strictly speaking EVERYTHING came into existence at the same time, at T=0, the first instant of the big bang.  Energy and matter CAN NOT be created or destroyed, only change from one to the other, or the patterns can change.  Everything is the universe is the same age AS the universe.  It just has been changing forms and states for that entire time.  The matter in your body, stars, the electricity that powers your computer, all came into existence when the universe began.  I repeat:  NOTHING has come into existence since the universe began.  The whole concept of first cause or first mover is nonsense.  The universe started all at once and will eventually end up as all heat.  In all of those trillions of years, not a single atom will come into existence that was not there at the big bang, well, at least all the elemental particles that make up atoms was there.

 

 

CARM

Going through the 5 apologetics on CARM.org, my comments are in italics.  

Cosmological Argument

  1. Things exist.  Ok.
  2. It is possible for those things to not exist.  No, I do not agree with this.  This is a nonsense statement.  It is very likely it is NOT possible for something to not exist.  Energy and matter can not be created or destroyed.  After the first Planck second, all the was and every will be came into existence.  
  3. Whatever has the possibility of non-existence, yet exists, has been caused to exist.  There is no such thing as possible non-existence.  The sum total of the universe never changes, just changes form.
    1. Something cannot bring itself into existence since it must exist to bring itself into existence, which is illogical.
  4. There cannot be an infinite number of causes to bring something into existence.
    1. An infinite regression of causes ultimately has no initial cause, which means there is no cause of existence.  Yes, you can have an infinite series of causes.
    2. Since the universe exists, it must have a cause.  This is an assertion.  The universe does not need a  cause.  
  5. Therefore, there must be an uncaused cause of all things.  The very concept of an uncaused cause is contradictory.
  6. The uncaused cause must be God.  Why?  Why can’t the uncaused cause be a quantum fluctuation?  Or the intersection of two or more universes?  There are almost an infinite number of causes that are simpler than a god.

 

  1. Everything that has a beginning needs a cause.  How do you know that?  This universe started and all matter and energy started at once. 
  2. The universe had a beginning. Really?  How do you know that?  The most commonly accepted hypothesis is the universe most likely did not have a beginning, just a point of minimal entropy.  We will never know what came before.
  3. The universe needs a cause.  If the universe never began, it does not need a cause.
  4. There cannot be an infinite regress of caused causes.  Yes, there can be.  
  5. There must be a cause for all else which has no beginning and needs no cause for its own existence.  This is contradictory and makes no sense.  To postulate an uncaused cause is nonsense.

Paley’s argument is as follows:

  1. Human artifacts are products of intelligent design.   We only know this because we are familiar with intelligent designers, us.
  2. The universe resembles human artifacts.  No, it doesn’t, at all.
  3. Therefore the universe is a product of intelligent design.  Since 2 is not true, this is a non sequitur.  
  4. But the universe is complex and gigantic in comparison to human artifacts.   Since 2 is not true, this is a non sequitur, and childish to boot.
  5. Therefore, there probably is a powerful and vastly intelligent designer who created the universe.  Really?  Not even probably, and the very concept lacks any parsimony.

The Moral Argument for God’s Existence

The argument is a very simple one, and can be structured something like this:

  1. For an objective moral standard to exist, God must exist  Objective morals do not exist.  Morals are the product of thinking agents.
  2. An objective moral standard does exist.  If all multicellular life went extinct, would there be morals?  Of course not.  Objective morals, like objective colors, do not exist.
  3. Therefore, God exists.  Therefore gods don’t exist.  Even if there were a objective moral standard, those morals, by definition, would have to be subjective to whatever creates those morals.  If the creature is bound by objective morals, it is not a god. 

Some Christians have found it helpful to structure the argument in the negative form1:

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.  Correct, they do not exist.
  2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.  No, they do not.  Can you even name what those objective morals are?  
  3. Therefore God exists.  Therefore, gods do not exist.

The Ontological Argument

This argument was first attempted by Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century. He approached it this way:

  1. God is by definition the greatest conceivable being.
  2. This is obvious, because if one can conceive of a being greater than God, then that being would be God
  3. If God exists only in the mind, something greater than God can be conceived: A God who exists in the actual world
  4. But God is the greatest conceivable being, so definitionally we cannot conceive of anything greater than God
  5. God must, then, be a being that exists not only in the mind but also in reality
  6. Therefore God exists

Anselm explained this another way, saying:

  1. A being whose non-existence is inconceivable is greater than a being whose non-existence is conceivable.
  2. God is the greatest conceivable being
  3. God, then, is a being whose non-existence is inconceivable
  4. Therefore, God exists

Many Christian thinkers still believe in and use various forms of this kind of argument. The most popular modern expression was published by Alvin Plantinga and popularized by William Lane Craig. It follows the approach of Anselm in using the concept of God’s definitional greatness and frames the argument this way:1

  1. It is possible that a maximally great being exits.
  2. If a maximally great being exists, then it exists in some possible world.
  3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
  4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
  5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists
  6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists

All of the ontological arguments can be broken down into “I can imagine a god exists, so it has to exist in reality.”  Plug in daemon instead of god and the logic holds just as well.   Let me reword it:

  1. It is possible that a maximally evil being exits.
  2. If a maximally evil being exists, then it exists in some possible world.
  3. If a maximally evil being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world
  4. If a maximally evil being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world
  5. If a maximally evil being exists in the actual world, then a maximally evil being exists
  6. Therefore, a maximally evil being exists

I just proved the Devil exists.  Stop using this apologetic. It didn’t work 900 years ago, it does not work now.

Doubts

I don’t believe you.

The more that I think about, the less I can accept full grown adults can believe in an invisible space wizard, that grants wishes, created the whole universe, and had to sacrifice himself to himself, to appease himself.  You can’t possibly believe that an infinite sky daddy ‘fine tuned’ 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% of the the universe to make a world mostly suited to humans? Can you?  Yes, that is 1×10-53rd power.  Why would a god create a universe with 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, just for us?  Why would an intelligent designer give squids better eyes than us?  It just don’t believe it, I can’t believe it, and I don’t understand how people are so deluded that that think some desert goat herders got it all right a few thousand years ago.  They key is, their holy book contradicts reality.  FROM PAGE 1.  The order of creation is all wrong, cosmology is all wrong, the origin of species is all wrong, there never was a flood, Babel never existed, Moses never lived, and there were not 2,000,000 Jews wandering the desert for 40 years.  You can WALK from Egypt to Israel in about 5 days.  

Birds aren’t bats, rabbits don’t chew their cud, axe heads don’t float, you can’t walk on water or return from the dead.  I don’t have a problem with the Bible contradicting itself, I have a problem with it contradicting reality.  

The sheer level of self delusion needed is incomprehesible to me.  So, let me know how you thold those two concepts at the same time?  Do you just deney reality?  Do you just not think about it? Do you use some sort of pretzel logic?  Me, I can only hold one concept at a time.

Bored

When I started this site a few years ago, I had high hopes that I could really sink my teeth into modern Christian apologetics.  Along the way, I tackled Flat Earth (and grew bored of it), looked into some transcendent gibberish, and starting reading the Bible.  I wanted to really challenge myself and really discover if there is anything to these alternative beliefs.  Instead, I find myself bored with the whole concept, starting with Christian Apologists.

What I was most shocked to discover in Apologetics is there has not been any new defenses put forth in 700 years!  There has been some rebranding and new names, but it still the same tired apologetics.  One of the most absurd defenses I have run across is you have to really study theology to ‘find god’.  This is stupid.  Do I need to study astrophysics to know the sun is real?  Do I need to study oceanography to know the oceans are real?  Real things are self evident.  Imaginary things are not.  God is not self evident and is imaginary.  My other complaint in studying apologetics is there are some real areas which there are no reasonable answers.

The first of which is “why should I believe in your gibberish over someone else’s gibberish?”  Or more elegantly, this is the outside test of faith.  You both use the same arguments for wildly different claims.  How can I tell the difference?

The second issue for me is for many of the philosophical arguments, like the Kalam or First Mover, there is no link between the vague deistic god and their particular god.   No matter how much they argue about the fine tuning of the universe, or, objective morality, I have not been able to find any coherent connection between those concepts and a particular god.

A third issue is ‘objective morality’ or ‘objective truths’ or even ‘Judeo-Christian Values.’  For the life of me, I can’t find any of these spelled out.  Seriously, try to search for it.  If you can point to a good source for any of these concepts, please, PLEASE, leave them in the comment section.

Fourthly, I am personally disgusted by the views shown on many apologetics websites, specifically, the anti homosexual agenda.  I really don’t want to drive any sort of traffic back to those hate filled websites.

Finally, I am just bored.  There is just no challenge countering Christian Apologetics.  The Bible is a vile and boring book.  Debunking Flat Earth is boring and stupid.   Maybe I will continue with the Bible reading, however, it is going nowhere and I just don’t care.  If anyone would like me to continue, please let me know, otherwise, I will be spending my free time on retro video games and systems and making stuff.  So much more fun than researching religious drivel.

My website

I recently had a post up regarding a way to reason to Christianity, to which the author responded.  I looked into his blog further and found much of want he is writing about is personally very offensive to me and I do not wish to link back to his site for the clicks.  No matter how you spin it, saying homosexuality is wrong and using your religion to justify it gets no quarter on MY website.  I am a straight, married man, but I have been to two gay weddings in the last 3 years and have gay friends.  To vilify someone for their orientation is disgusting.  My website, my rules.

 

Ark Park

Over a year ago, I posted about the irony of Ken Ham’s Ark Park. Turns out, the ark is not the huge draw that was expected.

America’s Research Group had estimated the park would attract between 1.4 million and 2.2 million visitors its first year.

They claim it is drawing in 1.4 million visitors in the first year.  I was wondering, how busy does a ‘museum’ have to be draw in these numbers of visitors?  Turns out, I live in Chicago, with some of the world’s most renowned museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Science and Industry, and The Field Museum of Natural History.   As a comparison, the 2016 visitor numbers:

  1. Lincoln Park Zoo, 3.6 Million
  2. Brookfield Zoo, 2.3 Million
  3. Shedd Aquarium, 1.9 Million
  4. Art Institute of Chicago, 1.8 Million
  5. Field Museum, 1.7 Million
  6. Museum of Science and Industry, 1.5 Million
  7. Morton Arboretum, 1.1 Million
  8. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1.1 Million
  9. Adler Planetarium, 577,749
  10. Chicago Children’s Museum 409,979.

Yes, Chicago has a shit ton of museums and zoos, and has an entire campus downtown for museums.  However, Chicago has a population of 2.7 million, with the surrounding suburbs having 6 million more.  As a member of Brookfield Zoo, I can tell you, it can get insanely busy on the weekends.  Somehow, the Ark Park expected 2.2 million visitors, which is just a touch more than ONE OF THE BEST ZOOS IN THE WORLD!!!  Mind you,  Williamstown, KY has a population of 3,925 people.  How they expected 1 to 2 million people to drive to northern Kentucky to see a boat shaped barn with animatronic figures is beyond me.  The closest real museum in Chicago to the Ark is the Field Museum, with 1.7 million last year.

The entry fee is the Ark Encounter is a staggering $40 for adults and $28 for children 5-12!

Brookfield Zoo is $19.85 for Adults, $14.50 for children 3-12.  And Brookfield has to feed and care for real animals, not animatronic toys.  Lincoln Park Zoo is Free!

Getting back to the Field Museum of Actual Fucking Natural History, $22 adults, $15 children, 3-11, with free days scattered throughout the year.

I don’t get what they were thinking.  I guess if the people who are coming are used to giving up 10% of their income, no questions asked, what is another couple hundred bucks?

Finally, Ken Ham is blaming Atheists and Secularists for the lower than expected numbers.  Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you had the Almighty Creator of the Universe is on your side?  Turns out human can defeat your god.  All we needed was the power of the pen.

 

 

The 6 Philosophical Christian Apologetics

Thanks to Wikipedia, there is a convenient list of the 6 philosophical Christian Apologetics. Let’s see if I can tear them down in less than 10 minutes.

1. Cosmological argument – Argues that the existence of the universe demonstrates that God exists. Various primary arguments from cosmology and the nature of causation are often offered to support the cosmological argument.

Despite the modern sounding name, this is probably the oldest argument.  Plato used a version of it, and it was made famous by Thomas Aquinas, in the 13th century.  You can see two problems here.  Plato was a not a Christian and this argument predates Christianity.  The second is, even if you can somehow posit a first mover, it would be infinitely more complex than a naturalistic explanation.  In addition, the ‘newer’ Kalam version of this apologetic STILL does not have a way to link this first mover to the god of their choice.

2. Teleological argument – Argues that there is a purposeful design in the world around us, and a design requires a designer. Cicero, William Paley, and Michael Behe use this argument as well as others.

This argument was always a weak one to me.  The world does not appear to be designed, or if it is, not very well.  From what we now know about evolution by means of natural selection, and the fossil record, this argument is next to useless.

3.  Ontological argument – Argues that the very concept of God demands that there is an actual existent God.

Silliest of the arguments, because you can think of a maximally great entity, it must exist.  This argument really falls apart if you replace god with demon.  It works equally well, perhaps even better, arguing an infinitely evil entity exists.  Even when new, this argument never gained much traction.

4.  Moral Argument – Argues that there are objectively valid moral values, and therefore, there must be an absolute from which they are derived.

Simple, there are no objective moral values, and cultures in isolation can have very different values.  Morals are a result of culture and genetic predisposition and are not absolute.

5.  Transcendental Argument – Argues that all our abilities to think and reason require the existence of God.

I really don’t get this one, to be honest.  Animals can think, machines can reason.  If a machine can reason, there is a god?  It really makes no sense and have not really read a good explanation over several apologetics books I have read.

6.  Presuppositional Arguments – Argues that the basic beliefs of theists and nontheists require God as a necessary precondition.

This is the most circular argument and a subset of Transcendental Argument, which I don’t get. The argument boils down to you need to know everything, or know someone who knows everything, to know anything.  This is a stupid argument.  It is akin to saying you need to know the absolute temperatures to know any temperature.  We were able to measure temperature WAY before we knew what temperature was and what the limits are. I don’t know why you would need to know ALL of the members of a set to know ANY of the members of a set.  Another example is numbers.  They are a concept, but you do not need to know all real numbers to perform mathematics.  The last issue is, how do you know which god to choose?  Your Bible says it is true, but so does the Koran, Book of Mormon, i ching, 4 noble truths, eightfold path, Tao Te Ching, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead and many others.  In the end, the Bible is True, Because the Bible Says It’s True.

8 Questions No Atheist Can Answer!

I watched a few seconds of a Youtube video, rebutting 8 Questions No Atheist Can Answer!  So, I decided to stop and see how I would/could answer these 8 questions:

1. If morality isn’t objective, does that mean Hitler never did anything wrong? Are our actions just a consequence of nature?

Objectively wrong, no Hitler did not do anything objectively wrong.  To his point of view, what he did was moral and just.  Morality is subjective, and what he did was subjectively wrong to most people, but not all.  Our actions are a consequence of nature.

2. If you’re meaning to life is subjective and your sense of purpose in life is truly meaningless when you take into account how brief it is in the geologic time scale and how the universe will one day be destroyed, why do you try to hold others to your subjective moral standard? Why and HOW can you judge God?

I don’t hold others to my subjective moral standard, but as a society and as a species, it is in our best interest to develop a SUBJECTIVE moral code.  Knowing this is our only life make it imperative to not waste it being cruel to others.  I can’t judge god, god is an imaginary character.  It is like asking how I can judge Spiderman or the Hulk.  It is a nonsense question.

3. What proof do you have to say that God doesn’t exist? To prove that God doesn’t exist, you have to logically have a reason as to why the universe came into being out of an eternal realm of nothingness.

No, I do not have and have no obligation to disprove a god.  I am not the one making a positive claim.  However, the concept of an all powerful, infinite, all loving, but unchanging god, that is separate from time and space, but personal seems pretty self refuting.  The concept of eternal and nothingness is meaningless before time and space.

4. Where and why did the universe pop into existence out of the “Big Bang”? Where did the Multiverse pop out of? If there was no universe made out of space-time, does that mean it just popped out of an eternal realm of nothing?

This is just the second part of question 3, broken out.   The concept of “Where” is meaningless before space-time.  Why? is an odd question.  Does the sun need a reason to shine?  Apply the same to Multiverse.  Yes, our present universe can just pop out of nothing, it is called quantum fluctuations.  Happens all the time.

5. Where did life come from and how? How do you explain the fine-tuning of the universe? That means that there are hundreds of thousands of conditions that needed to meet so that our universe could support life or even exist.

I am not a biologist that studies abiogenesis and I suspect you aren’t either, but let me muddle through this disjointed question. Life arose over 3.5 billion year ago, there are many theories of the origin.  I personally believe it began either in mud, or around hydrothermal vents.  I am not a physicist, but the fine tuning argument is poorly understood.  Fine tuning is a Descriptive, not Prescriptive values.  They are descriptions of what the values are.  There are not hundreds of thousands of values.  The entire universe is bounded by:  Electromagnetism, Gravity, Strong Nuclear Force, and the Weak Nuclear Force.  I only count 4 fundamental forces.  Finally, life began and evolved to work within these limits, no the other way around.

6. Why did the first organism need to consume to survive if it came into existence out of star dust? What drove it to survive?

It did not pop into existence in star dust.  Life almost certainly began in the vast oceans, where there was tremendous amounts of chemical energy.  When that chemical energy ran out, photosynthesis evolved to harness the sun.  The first life on earth was almost certainly RNA based.  It had no drive to survive, like a falling object has no desire to fall, it just does.

7. Where did DNA come from and how did something so complicated randomly come into existence? It is said that one single DNA can hold the equivalent to 4,500 books of information.

Before DNA was RNA, which is derived from Amino Acids. Amino acids are VERY common, and can even be found in the near vacuum of space.  The early oceans were a literal soup of amino acids.  Take amino acids, add energy and time and you will get RNA.  Make enough RNA and there will be self replicating RNA.  Put self replicating RNA in a phospholipid membrane, and you have a simple cell.  The second part is a statement referring to a metaphor.  DNA is not a book.

8. What evidence is there for the changing of kinds? We all know that there are thousands of species of the same kind of animal, like there are several different kinds of dogs. But there in nothing in the record of evolution that proves that one kind of animal, like a fish, can evolve into a human. Cats are always cat and humanoids are always humanoids. Some people say that because we all share DNA, that we are therefore all related. However, DNA and matter can merely be the mechanism God used to create all animals with and he made each slightly different.

Kinds is a meaningless term.  There are entire museums and warehouses FULL of transitional fossils.  I don’t understand the ‘thousands of species of the same kind of animal’.  A species is a very specific definition.  It is members of a population that can mate and produce viable offspring.  The evolution of humans is intently researched and beyond the scope of this humble blog post.  Cats are not always cats and humanoids are not human.  You could not mate with an homo habilis, erectus, etc.  Maybe, maybe with a Heidelbergensis, but I doubt it.  Where are all these other humanoids?  They are all extinct.  We are all related, humans, dogs, whales, potatoes, crabs, grass…we all share DNA.  What’s the point?  Finally, we have a cop out here with guided evolution.  Why add god when natural selection is the simpler answer?

Finding Hell

Some Christian apologists describe hell as a separation from god, not the fiery pit we all think of.  I don’t know how separation from a god you don’t think exists is hell, but I got me wondering:  How is hell described in the Bible?

With the magic of Xiphos and the search feature, lets find every reference to hell in the Modern King James Version of the Bible:

Deuteronomy  32:22  For a fire is kindled in My anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with its increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Sounds pretty hot and fiery to me.

II Samuel 22:6 When the waves of death encircled me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.  The sorrows of hell hemmed me in. The snares of death went in front of me.

Not much here to go off of.

Job 11:8  Can you perfectly find out the Almighty?  Heights of the heavens! What can you do?It is deeper than hell, what can you know?  The measure of it is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.

Hell is described as a physical place, a very deep place.

Job 26:6  Hell is naked before Him, and the Pit has no covering.

Hell is a pit.

Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, all the nations that forget God.

Still sounds like hell is a physical place, and the nations have already forgotten god.

Psalms 16:10  My flesh also shall rest in hope;  For You will not leave My soul in hell; You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

First mention of a soul in hell.

Psalms 18:5  The sorrows of death hemmed me in, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.  The sorrows of hell surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me.  

First indication that hell is being compared to ungodly men.

Psalms 55:15  Let desolation take hold on them, and let them go down alive into hell; for evils are among them in their dwellings.

Go alive into hell.  Hell is a physical place.

Psalms 86:13  For great is Your mercy toward me; and You have delivered my soul from the lowest hell. 

Hell still a physical place.  Rephrased Psalms 16:10.

Psalms 116:3 The sorrows of death hemmed me in, and the pains of hell took hold on me; I found trouble and sorrow.

Same as Psalms 18:5 without the ungodly men.  Still sounds like physical place.

Proverbs 5:5  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell,  lest you should meditate on the path of life, her tracks are movable; you cannot know them.

Going down to a hell.  Still physical sounding.

Proverbs 7:27  Her house is the way to hell, going down to the rooms of death.

Hell is still a place.

Proverbs 9:18  But he does not know that the dead are there; her guests are in the depths of hell. 

Depths of hell.  Sounds pretty physical to me.

Proverbs 15:11    Hell and destruction are before the LORD; even more the hearts of the sons of men? 

Really sounds like god made hell.

Proverbs 15:24    The way of life is above to the wise, so that he may turn away from hell below. 

Hell is below, physically below.

Proverbs 23:14  Do not withhold correction from a boy, for if you beat him with the rod, he will not die.  You shall beat him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell.  

Child abuse, beating with a rod, and soul that goes to hell.  No mention of separation from god here.

Proverbs 27:20  Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Hell is a place that is never full.

Isaiah 5:14  So hell has enlarged itself, and opened its mouth without measure; and their glory, and their multitude, and their pride, and he who rejoices in her, shall go down into it.

Hell is a place, that has a mouth that can be infinite.

Isaiah 14:9  Hell from below is moved for you, to meet you at your coming. It stirs up the dead for you, all the he-goats of the earth. It has raised from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

Hell is still a physical place.

Isaiah 14:15    I will go up above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.  Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the Pit.

Down to hell, sides of the Pit.

Isaiah 28:15   Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and we have made a vision with hell; when the overwhelming rod shall pass through, it shall not come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and we have hidden ourselves under falsehood,  therefore so says the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I place in Zion a Stone for a foundation, a tried Stone, a precious Cornerstone, a sure Foundation; he who believes shall not hurry.

Hell is still a place.

Isaiah 28:18  And your covenant with death shall be wiped out, and your vision with hell shall not stand; when the overwhelming rod shall pass through, then you shall be beaten down by it.

Still sounds like a place, beaten down by it.

Isaiah 57:9  And you went to the king with ointment, and increased your perfumes, and sent your messengers far off, and lowered yourself even to hell. 

Lowered to hell.

Ezekiel 31:16-17  I made the nations shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with those who go down in the Pit. And all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the lower parts of the earth.   They also went down into hell with him to those who are slain with the sword, even his arm, who lived under his shadow in the midst of the nations.

Hell is described as the Pit.  Down to hell.  Still no mention of separation from god.

Ezekiel 32:21  The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with those who help him. They have gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.

Back to hell.

Ezekiel 32:27  And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, who have gone down to hell with their weapons of war. And they have put their swords under their heads, but their sins shall be on their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

Down to hell, with weapons of war.

Amos 9:2   If they dig into hell, there My hand shall take them. And if they go up to the heavens, I will bring them down from there.

You can dig to hell.

New Testament Hell:

Matthew 5:22  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be liable to the judgment. And whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be liable to the sanhedrin; but whoever shall say, Fool! shall be liable to be thrown into the fire of hell. 

Thrown into the fire of hell.

Matthew 5:29   And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell. 

Whole body thrown into hell, and pluck your own eye out?  Really?

Matthew 5:30  And if your right hand offends you, cut it off and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell.

Hand instead of eye this time.

Matthew 10:28  And do not fear those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

This is an interesting one, seems to imply the soul can be destroyed in hell.  Annihilation?

Matthew 11:23  And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to the heaven, shall be brought down to hell. For if the mighty works which have been done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Up to heaven, down to hell.  No idea what the rest means.

Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Gates of Hell.  Again, physical place.

Matthew 18:9  And if your eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire.

Same exact thing as Matthew 5:29.  Why?  Hell of fire.

Matthew 23:15  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you compass sea and the dry land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Don’t know.

Matthew 23:33   Serpents! Offspring of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

Hell has snakes.

Mark 9:43  And if your hand offends you, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than to have two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.

Really, again?  However, this add a fire that never shall be quenched.

Mark 9:45-47   And if your foot offends you, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame than to have two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched  where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.  And if your eye offends you, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes to be cast into hell fire  where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched.

Foot this time, and back to eyes and a fire that can’t be quenched.

Luke 10:15   And you, Capernaum, which has been lifted up to Heaven, you shall be thrust down into hell.

Didn’t we read this before?  Still down to hell.

Luke 12:5  But I will warn you of whom you shall fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yea, I say to you, fear Him.

This is an interesting one, is appears god casts you to hell.  It is his choice.

Luke 16:23  And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

Hell is a place, being in torment.  Not sure what Abraham holding Lazarus in his bosom means.

James 3:6  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. So the tongue is set among our members, spotting all the body and inflaming the course of nature, and being inflamed by hell.

Yep, more fiery hell.

Revelation 1:18  Do not fear, I am the First and the Last,  and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death.

Again, god is the one who is in charge of death and hell.

Revelation 6:8  And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him sitting on it was Death, and Hell followed with him. And authority was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword and with hunger and with death and by the beasts of the earth.

This time Hell is used as a proper name.  Are Death and Hell one in the same?  Not sure.

Revelation 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead in them. And each one of them was judged according to their works.

Sounds like in this case hell is just the ground.  Interestingly, it does appear that we are judged by our works.  Hmmm.

Revelation 201:14   And death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.

Well, there you have it.  Lake of Fire.

This was every reference I could find in the Bible to hell.  As with a lot of the Bible, there are repeats.  I don’t see separation from god in here as an alternative to an unquenchable flame and a Lake of Fire and torment.  Hell pretty much meets up with the classic understanding of hell.  A fiery place, full of torment.  Any apologists out there who want to point out the alternative view?  I quoted EVERY Bible verse.  I did not omit one jot or tiddle.

I did look online for some reference to separation from god, and found this:

II Thessalonians  For this is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which you also suffer,  since it is a righteous thing with God to repay tribulation to those who trouble you,  and to give rest with us to you who are troubled, at the revealing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with the angels of His power,  in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,  who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,  when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those who believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that Day.

In flaming fire…punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord…  Well.  I am more concerned with fire and destruction than separation from the presence of the Lord.  Seems coincidental, not the main focus.

On the theological side, I have read both arguments, and, to be honest, I have to agree with the old fire and brimstone idea of hell.  If you actually read the Bible, that is clearly what it is describing.   I could fine no evidence otherwise.

 

Shifting the burden of proof and a definition

Came across a gem of a website, Stand To Reason

To summarize, it is attempting to shift the burden of proof by making non Christians define what god they don’t believe in.

The only useful thing on the page was a definition of what god the author believes in:

For instance, the God of the Bible is an uncreated, infinite, eternal, and metaphysically necessary Being. Furthermore, He is described as all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good, and everywhere present.

So, yes, indeed, I do not believe in this god, or even think a god like this is possible.  Let us break down the properties here:

  • Uncreated : so the God of the Bible is uncreated, but how is this even possible?  Uncreated, to me, is the same as non existent, it is a useless concept.
  • Infinite: Again, infinity is just a concept, like numbers.  The concept of infinite is something a thinking mind can create and does not exist in the real universe.
  • Eternal:  The universe may be eternal (oscillating, or cyclical, or something we can not conceive, but nothing is eternal).  The current version of this universe, is not eternal, and has a finite beginning.
  • Metaphysically necessary being:  This is just another definition of god, so kind of an odd term to use.  Circular definition.
  • All-powerful: If you are infinite, you will also be all powerful.  Infinite is a concept, not a real thing.
  • All-knowing: If you are infinite, you will also be all knowing.  Infinite is a concept, not a real thing.
  • All-good:  Natural evil anyone?  Holoprosencephaly.  Do a google image search on that term and tell me god is all good.
  • Everywhere present:  Again, if you are infinite, you will be a everywhere.  Infinite is a concept, not a real thing.

This definition of god is describing an entirely imaginary concept.  If god is all good, whence comes evil?  If god is all knowing and ever present, is there no such thing as free will?  Infinity is a concept, like numbers.  0, +/- infinity are all just concepts of thinking minds, and I don’t think apologists know this.  There is one last point I want to make:  How can I have a personal, infinite god in a finite universe?