"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
 John 3:19

 

 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1

 

Mistakes God Did Not Make

How the balance of nature witnesses to the wisdom of God and the inspiration of the Bible.

By B. H. SHADDUCK, Ph. D.

A MISTAKE GOD WILL NOT MAKE

The nations want peace—their own kind of peace. No nation wants peace with defeat. Neither does God. So does God want His kind of peace.

A wicked world at peace and blest with prosperity would mock the warnings of God, nullify the prophecies, and Satan would be happy—if devils can be happy. Quite the most of the people of the world are ignorant of or reject the God of the Bible. Of those who accept the Bible in whole or in part, most of them would be as unhappy in heaven as they are in a prayer-meeting or spending a Sabbath without worldly entertainment.

Yes, peace is coming. "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." Is. 2:4. You will make a mistake if you do not read that this peace is to be after "He shall judge among the nations and rebuke many people." A peace that left the nations in bondage to sin, superstition and despotism would be a mistake.

"It is appointed unto man once to die." What then is wrong with war? It narrows life for those who are crippled and shortens life for those who are killed.

Is it possible that drink, dope, gambling, vice, Sabbath desecration, false teaching, and filthy printed matter, break up far more homes and cripple. and kill many more men and women than war does?

To pray effectively, we must try to see life as God sees it. Hitler was hated by millions, but if the devil has lost any popularity, I have overlooked something. So long as the nation raises a crop of children to be harvested by those who commercialize sin, there will be no enduring peace.

Note by Author:

In my youth I was much thrilled with the stories of scouts.

I wanted to follow trails through the forest, seeing footprints invisible to untrained eyes. I tried it, but revised my ambitions when I found that any mongrel pup could do it better than I could, and there was no demand for second rate scouts. Next, I had day-dreams of being a great detective, reasoning from clues and taking apart mysteries that baffled shallow thinkers.

Then I had my great chance. It was to settle for myself whether or not there was a God who would enter covenant relations with men. I wasted no time on obviously discredited gods, but what a blundering investigator I proved to be! I overlooked outstanding evidences of God and took seriously negative testimony.

If chickens could talk, there are millions of old hens that would testify that there are no stars—they have never seen them. There are millions of men who decide that there have been no miracles, BECAUSE THEY HAVE NEVER SEEN THEM. I reasoned that a real God ought to be the most evident being in the universe, and difficulty in finding Him argued against his existence. Then I heard quoted the words of the great Teacher, "If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know ... " In other words, if I really wanted to go God’s way, He would find me.

I did and He did.

Most people are looking for a God who will accept their way of life, or one who will be pleased with compliments and gestures in lieu of obedience. Unless you are eager to love what He loves and hate what He hates, you might as well hunt for wild squirrels with a bass drum. If you are determined to put God first in your life, the angels of God will "run interference" for you on your way to the goal.

God seems to have decreed that every ism that nullifies any portion of the Holy Scriptures, shall have one or more threads sticking out. Pull it where it is loose and it will unravel. Only truth will fit all the facts of nature and human experience; it will never contradict itself nor sponsor a mathematical absurdity. To young people, let me say, I am trying to do for you what I wish someone had done for me fifty years ago. Know your Bible. It will put you "wise" to most of the "cockeyed" isms of the day. In the discussion that follows I offer some facts that may help you to do with man-made religions what I once did with a doll that was cracked in the head. I took it apart to see the sawdust in it.

Life on earth depends on the good behavior of snowflakes. Just a little mistake by the Creator, and the earth would be as dead as the other planets.

Many astute minds have overlooked the fact that if life had evolved on the earth without a master mind it would have evolved its own destroyers.

If the Holy Scriptures had not been inspired, some of the hundreds of mistakes that are found in all other ancient books would have gotten into the Bible, and it would be as easily discredited as they are.

Many visionary theories would not be taken seriously if men realized that, through the centuries, subtraction and addition must play together or break up the game. If, for the last 3,000 years, the annual birth rate of mice and men had exceeded the death rate by only one half of one per cent, a million more worlds would have been needed for colonization.

THE DELICATE ADJUSTMENT OF NATURE

Honest thinkers must see, if they investigate, that only an infallible mind could have adjusted our world and its life in its amazing intricacies. The purpose of this paper is to show that it would have been a mistake if God had done any other way than the Bible says he did.

The God of the Holy Scriptures is the only God whom scientists seriously consider—all others have been discredited. He is the only God whom freethinkers, rethinkers, and methinkers regard as a worthwhile target. Yet the nominal church has leaders who apologize for the mistakes of the Bible—the only source of authority the church has.

Of course, if, through the ages, God has sponsored a religion that needs to have its discredited theories replaced every century, as science does with its own theories, he must have made many mistakes.

Man is the mistake-maker of the universe. He has made more trouble for God and himself than is within the bounds of human calculation. A colony of ants makes fewer errors. A library could be filled with details of silly and even appalling superstitions that have shackled the race—many of them with us yet.

All other ancient books accepted the delusions of their times. You would expect a God to know better. He did. If the Bible warned against black cats, planting in the wrong phase of the moon or when the signs of the zodiac are not propitious, if the Bible had sponsored any of the hoodoo, voodoo, powwow, and jinx-defeating rites that are popular with many, ignorance would be a Christian asset. Those who insist that much of the Bible is folklore have yet to explain why the Bible disapproves of "old wives’ fables," sorcery, enchantment, soothsaying, witchcraft, necromancy, and the fleet of superstitions that enslaved the world.

OLD-FASHIONED MEDICINE

It is not so long ago that the treatment of many sick people started with the bleeding of the patient. In my youth, children with measles were dosed with a tea made from the refuse of the sheep barn, and children with croup were given a drink so revolting that I shrink from naming it. If the Bible prescribed any of a hundred old-time remedies now discarded by science, atheists would make much of it. In the Bible we have figs for poultice, wine for disinfectant, and oil to anoint damaged tissues—good medicine yet.

The Bible is the only ancient sacred book that has emphasized prophecy and has staked its case on the forecasts of the prophets. Prophecies that do not come true ought to discredit their purveyors; but unfortunately, multitudes come back for a second and third helping. Since my days in a little brick schoolhouse I have heard and read the forecasts of teachers, philosophers, statesmen, poets, politicians, and some preachers, who with amazing unanimity have prophesied the speedy moral uplift of the nations. For a few decades it seemed evident to many that reform forces working in and with the church might Christianize society, before the order of events foretold by our Lord could reach consummation. But the forecasts of a million volunteer prophets have now been discarded by present world conditions—the Bible is unimpeached. Surely no student of the Bible will say that God ever promised peace, prosperity, and stability to any nation when its show houses, stadiums, arenas, grandstands, night clubs, and saloons are crowded and its churches comparatively empty. Just now it takes a deal of credulity to blow the whistle for Utopia as the next station stop. We have had prophecies from every stratum of society,—from poolroom to pulpit,—and those not in harmony with the Word of God have failed.

Let me put it mildly. I can understand how a misinformed prophet can continue popular before his prophecies are discredited, but I cannot understand how he can continue unabashed after the opposite of what he has promised comes true. If the Bible forecast is right and his forecast has been wrong, it seems to me he should apologize to the Bible rather than for it.

Those who think of the Bible as a back number would show sagacity by reflecting on the words of our Lord, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35). The Bible records no prophecy having to do with our times that has not been fulfilled or is in process of fulfillment.

BALANCING THE PULLS AND PUSHES

Scientists tell us that there are nearly a hundred elements in the make-up of our world. These elements have affinities and aversions, and are the playgrounds of opposing forces, yet with all their pulling and pushing there is a nicety of balance that is amazing to thinkers, There may be other elements somewhere in the universe, but another one might upset the balance of those we have, and certainly if any one of a dozen elements that could be named were taken away, earth would be a desert. God has just the right number, in the right proportion, and they behave exactly the right way so that all the pulls balance all the pushes.

Without lime there could be no bones. Without oxygen there could be neither air nor water. Without nitrogen there could be no life. If there were too much of any one of a dozen elements that could be named, or if some of the deadly poisons were not made harmless by locking them together, life would be impossible—the world would choke us, poison us, burn us, freeze us, or blow us up.

Most of what man knows he learned from some other person’s experiments or mistakes, and after a fourth of his life spent in school, man fumbles with the mysteries of life and matter-sometimes with an air of profundity. God served no apprenticeships.

If, through the centuries, snowflakes accumulated one-half of one per cent faster than they melted, the water of the earth would pile up in mountains of ice until the weight crushed the crust of the earth or gathered all the water of the earth in frozen embrace. Reflect on how a little change would result in that one-half of one per cent, and consider that there have been glacial ages. If the melting point of ice were slightly lower, if the earth were tilted otherwise than it is, if the highlands were higher, if the atmosphere were thinner or shallower, if the sun were smaller, cooler, or farther away, this might easily follow.

IF WATER FROZE AT A LOWER POINT

From absolute zero, 460 degrees below Fahrenheit zero, up to the boiling point of water at 212 above, is 672 degrees. Anywhere between these extremes God could have fixed the freezing-melting point, but anywhere except where it is 32 above, would have been a mistake. If water froze 4 per cent of the 672-degree range lower than it now does, it could rain in a temperature of 6 degrees above zero. Man and most warm-blooded animals would chill to death with a wet skin in such cold. Where now there are vast fields of snow that store up water against the heat and drought of summer, there would be winter floods and guttered hillsides. If God had fixed the freezing point 2 per cent of the range higher, there would be frosts whenever the temperature dropped to 45 degrees above, and snow and ice would never melt in colder areas of the earth. Whatever caused the advance and retreat of the ice fields in glacial ages, there could be no retreat if water froze at 45 degrees above.

Much as the existence of plants and animals depends on the freezing point being where it is, it would never do to have oceans freeze 32 degrees above. In Polar seas the yearly thawing could not balance the yearly freezing, and ice would accumulate through the centuries. To prevent such a disaster, God put salt in the sea and arranged that evaporation takes nothing but fresh water back to the land.

What a fickle substance water is! Its molecules lock together in flinty embrace as ice, cover the earth with a dry blanket of snow in winter, quench the thirst of plants and animals, shade us from the sun as clouds, drive ponderous machinery as steam, and, if super-heated, push one another through the steel plates of a boiler. Then if you take water apart and light a match, it will blow you up.

Suppose water were more or less volatile. If it evaporated more readily there would be more moisture in the air, more clouds in the sky, but land and vegetation would more quickly dry up in drought intervals. If water evaporated less readily, more of the earth would be a desert.

IF ICE WERE HEAVIER

Water gets heavier as it gets colder. Atheistic scientists would assure us that this is a fixed law, eternally unalterable if they had not seen ice. Heavy ice would settle to the bottom; some lakes and rivers would freeze solid; icebergs below the surface would endanger shipping; animals could not cross streams in winter. God did not overlook anything. When water cools to 32 degrees above, the so-called law goes into reverse, and water becomes much lighter.

If God gave to an inexperienced angel a barrel of human brains and gave him the task of designing another world, he would not in a hundred years think of combining two gases into a substance so that man can build houses with it, walk on it, drink it, wash in it, catch fish out of it, turn a desert into a garden with it, make rainbows of it, drive machinery with it, boil beans in it, and then use it to put out the fire.

When God made the world he had vast quantities of chlorine and sodium, one destructive to life, the other a deadly poison. This was not a problem for a resourceful God; he made them fond of each other and locked them together in each other’s embrace as salt, without which earth would be uninhabitable. Then, because too much salt on the surface of the earth would ruin it, he buried most of it. Now, after thousands of years, man has learned how to take salt apart and make poison gas for his wars and disinfectants for his plague spots.

If wonders were not so commonplace the world would marvel that God has created elements that reverse their very nature when combined with others. Oxygen makes the fire blaze with a heat that will melt steel; hydrogen is explosive when touched with flame; together as water, they put fire out. Nitrogen makes air, in combination with oxygen, but when it is "fixed" in other combinations it becomes food, fertilizer, medicine, or explosives.

Why did not God make the world so big that nations would not destroy themselves fussing over it? Indeed, some religious groups talk bravely about "building a new world"-and there doesn’t seem to be any place to build it! Why not have a world twice as great in diameter? The force of gravity depends on the size of the world. To multiply the size of the world would multiply the weight of everything on the earth, from dew drop to avalanche. Imagine, if you can, a 400-pound fireman carrying a 350-pound woman down a ladder that was near to breaking with its own weight. Falling hail would hit much harder, heads of wheat would be too heavy for the straw, great forests would go down in a sleet storm, fruit trees would break under their burdens, a fall down stairs would finish most of us, and people with shapely ankles would be most unfortunate. The contents of the stomach would weigh much more, and the man who ate a large beefsteak might dream that he had swallowed the skillet.

What would life on earth be like if the earth were one-half its present diameter? Certainly the weight of everything on the earth would be greatly reduced. Astronomers say that a 150-pound man removed to the smaller planet Mars would weigh only 57 pounds. Mars has a diameter more than half as great as the earth. If sand, dust, and loose matter on the earth surface were only one-third its present weight, you can guess what would happen in a wind storm, and imagine what a wind would do to the sea if water weighed one third its present weight. The effect on climate and temperature would depend on the adjustment of other factors.

HIGHLANDS ONE TENTH OF ONE PER CENT TOO HIGH

When God made mountains, he did more than make scenery for us. Without elevated lands there could be no drainage, and earth would be largely swamp and shallow sea. Water supply, wind, rain, and temperature depend on mountains. Without them, most of our minerals and metals would never have been utilized.

The radius of the earth is nearly 4,000 miles. If any considerable area of the earth’s surface were heaved up one tenth of one per cent of that radius, snow and ice would collect through the ages until the earth crust collapsed or the earth became lop-sided. Of course, we have mountains more than four miles high, but they are cone shaped and glaciers carry snow and ice down to melting level.

"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?" (Isa. 40:12 ).

We have great tablelands, but God who weighed and measured them, and fixed the melting point of snow, kept them below the danger line. Just a little mistake of a thousandth part of the earth’s radius, and the earth would be interesting to look at through a telescope.

A MISTAKE OF 1% IN DEPTH OF ATMOSPHERE

Scientists say that far above us there is a layer of ozone that screens out certain rays from the sun which would otherwise destroy all earthly life. It seems that God overlooked nothing. I am glad that this matter of a filter of ozone "between 60 and 250 miles" above us was not left for some "Cosmic Urge" or "Fortuitous Coalition of Forces" to attend to. You could hardly trust some Spontaneous Eruption of Primordial Unrest, could you?

It is well known that the depth and density of the atmosphere modifies our temperature just as altitude does. It must be clear, then, that any mistake that gave us a deeper or shallower atmosphere would make most of the earth an oven or a refrigerator. Death Valley is below sea level and has a record temperature of 134 in the shade. It is obvious, then that a high plateau would be excessively hot if it had the depth of atmosphere that Death Valley has. No one knows how deep our atmosphere is. Guesses range from 50 to 250 miles. Judging from the flight of meteors that burn up while passing through the air, the atmosphere must be at least 100 miles deep. Assuming that this is correct, it must be apparent that a mistake that made it one per cent deeper would make life as we know it impossible. A mistake that made it one per cent shallower would certainly leave much of the earth covered with snow and ice. It would mean snow on equatorial highlands.

IF IT HAD BEEN TILTED OTHERWISE THAN IT IS

The axis of the earth in relation to the plane of its orbit is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees, thus making the sun appear to come north in summer and go south in winter, giving us four seasons in the temperate zones. If it had been tilted 45 degrees, the temperate zones would have torrid-zone heat in summer and frigid-zone cold in winter. If the axis were vertical to the plane of the orbit, January and July would have the same climate, and ice would accumulate until the seas would be either dry salt beds or too salty for marine life. If the axis of the earth were horizontal to the plans of its orbit, the earth would be a crazy jumble of fierce heat and deadly cold, with prolonged night on one-half of the earth and prolonged day on the other half. It is doubtful if any life could withstand the extremes.

The moon goes around the earth, always presenting the same side to the earth. If the earth did not spin on its axis, but always presented the same hemisphere to the sun, the earth would be as dead as the moon. The planet Mercury does not spin and astronomers calculate that on one side it is hot enough to melt lead and on the other side it is severely cold. From this we may reason that, if the earth did not revolve, no life would be possible on either side.

The speed of the earth around the sun could be slower or faster. Astronomers say that if it went slower, it would be drawn nearer the sun and all life would be destroyed. By the same reasoning, if it went faster, it would go farther from the sun and be a frozen world.

"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."

A MISTAKE OF 10% IN DISTANCE, DIAMETER, OR TEMPERATURE OF THE SUN

Our sun is one of the smallest stars in the universe, but it is exactly big enough and far enough away. No one knows exactly how much heat comes to the earth from the sun because we do not know how cold the earth would be without the sun. From absolute zero up to the heat under the direct rays of the sun would be over 600 degrees. If we take that as basis, 5 per cent more or less heat would ruin the world. Thirty degrees more heat would roast meat under a glass cover under direct rays of the sun. Thirty degrees less heat would usher in a glacial age.

If the sun were smaller, cooler, or farther away, a 5 per cent mistake would not be much for a scientist to make, but too much for a God to make.

A MOON TOO LARGE, TOO SMALL, TOO NEAR, TOO FAR

Moons are somewhat commonplace in our solar system. Saturn has nine, and the latest report credits Jupiter with thirteen. Romantic people may feel that earth has been discriminated against, but a mistake in the number of moons, or the size and distance of the one we have, might be disastrous. If the moon were half as far away, or twice its present diameter, great tides would wreck most of our harbors, submerge low-lying islands and coastal plains, and drive inland a hundred miles on some rivers. Some, who "love darkness rather than light," would prefer to have no moon or one much smaller or farther away. Such a moon would not raise sufficient tides to cleanse our harbors.

That all the adjustments of distance, size, altitude, temperature, revolutions, poise, and behavior of the elements happened by chance is as unlikely as to suppose that a blind printer, not understanding our language, standing before cases of type, would set up by chance Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

The credulity of atheists is amazing.

It is impossible for thoughtful people to observe the cruelty in nature and believe that a God of love and pity planned it that way. A careless Creator might have left man to wonder why he designed such a carnival of slaughter as "nature red in tooth and claw," but God did not make that mistake. He saved our faith in his goodness by disavowing all responsibility when "all flesh . . . corrupted their way upon the earth" (Gen. 6:12, R. V.). Without a sixth chapter of Genesis it would be difficult to reconcile the pity of God with the cruelty of nature.

THE MISTAKE OF UNRESTRAINED DESTROYERS

After earth-life went wrong, the destroyers would have destroyed other living things and then have starved to death; but God set destroyers destroying destroyers, else would life have ceased on the earth long ago. Vegetation could not long survive if no enemies held worms and insects in check. It is a wise God who set the blood temperature of birds higher than mammals, thus making more foodfuel necessary. In the case of insect-eating toads, frogs, and bats, because of hibernation they must eat enough in six months to sustain them for a year. Some birds destroy their own weight of pestiferous insects and larvae in one day. A pair of wrens will destroy more foes of man in a day than a man could kill with a club in a month. Less hungry insect-eaters would be a disaster. It would be quite impossible for man to provide winter quarters for these friends, so God sends the birds south, and bats, frogs, lizards, and toads into hibernation.

Men who are willing to relieve God from overwork in the past have adopted, in lieu of a Creator, an abstraction called Evolution. I have not been able to keep up with the frequent revisions of this hypothesis, but its sponsors credit it with having given diversity of form and equipment to a million kinds of animals. If it has done all that is claimed for it, then it has manifested a sagacity that rivals Deity. If it has originated the pitiless horrors of nature, then it has manifested a cruelty that rivals the prince of demons.

IF INSECTS HAD ARRIVED TEN YEARS BEFORE THEIR DESTROYERS

Destructive forms of life must be held in check. Evolution is assumed to have worked very leisurely, taking thousands of years to make noticeable changes. Yet, if insect destroyers of vegetation had arrived ten years before their destroyers, earth would have been a desert. If creatures evolved haphazard, some creature would have evolved an equipment enabling it to kill or starve all others. The skunk has an equipment that makes it immune from the attack of all informed neighbors, but it has a colossal stupidity, and is so restricted in diet and speed that its multiplication beyond narrow limits would mean starvation.

SHADDUCK TOC   Part 2