The Divine Challenge

On Matter, Mind, Math & Meaning

Look Inside Price $15.00 $12.00

496 in stock

Weight 0.92 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.4 × 1 in
Banner Pub Date

Nov 30, 2004

topic

Worldview, Apologetics

page-count

336

Original Pub Date

2004

binding

Paperback

Format

Book

isbn

9780851518879

Book Description

Since the Beginning of time man has challenged God’s supremacy, striving to dethrone God and reinterpret the universe according to his own standards and purposes. In response God, who is determined to destroy the wisdom of the wordly wise and to unmask it for the foolishness that it really is, issues his own challenge to sinful man. Arrogantly, modern scientific man takes up that divine challenge, arming himself with scientific knowledge and technological power. Indeed, man has convinced himself that this rational wisdom has made foolish the wisdom of Scripture, with its tall tales of a personal God, of life after death, and of heaven and hell. ‘Such notions’, Einstein declared, ‘are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls.’

John byl argues that the Christian worldview provides the only foundation for logic, mathematics, science and morality. The Divine Challenge aims to substantiate this bold claim. Byl shows the failure of today’s predominant philosophies to provide a coherent worldview that can yield a plausible account of the various aspects of life as we experience it. Only a Christian worldview, squarely based on the truth of the Bible and the comprehensive sovereignty of God, can give our lives coherence, meaning, purpose and hope.

Table of Contents Expand ↓

  Preface xiii
1. List of Diagrams xii
THE CHALLENGE FRAMED 1
  Is God Dead? 4
  The Mysterious Trio – Matter, Mind and Math 7
2. WORLD VIEW WARS 12
  World view Questions 13
  We Need Assumptions 15
  World views in Conflict:  
  Theism, Naturalism, Relativism 17
  Judging Worldviews 19
  Science and Common Sense 21
  Basics of Common Sense 22
  Basics of Science 23
  Logic and Truth  
  Contradictions of Absurdity 24
  Refuting Oneself 25
  What Is Truth? 26
  Everything Has a Reason 27
  Conclusions 28
  Appendix: A Brief Primer on Logic 28
3. NATURALISM 32
  The Days of Myth and Magic 33
  The Impact of Christianity 35
  The Scientific Revolution 36
  Basics of Naturalism  
  Nature Is the Ultimate Reality 40
  Nature Is a Closed System 41
  Man Is a Mere Machine 41
  Only Sense Knowledge Counts 42
  Man Sets the Standards 42
  History Has No Purpose 42
  Conclusions 42
4. MYSTERIES OF MATTER 44
  Why Does the World Exist 45
  Why Is the World Orderly? 48
  Why Is the World Uniform? 51
  Why Can We Understand the World? 53
  How Can Math Make Matter? 57
  How Does the One Relate to the Many? 59
  Conclusions 61
5. CHANCE, CAUSE AND CHAOS 63
  The Puzzle of Gravity 64
  Causes of Chaos 66
  The Strange World of Atoms 68
  Predicting Uncertainty 71
  Is Chance a Cause? 72
  Does Everything Have a Cause? 73
  Making Sense of the Atomic World  
  An Unknowable World 74
  A Determined World 75
  Mind Makes Reality 77
  Many Worlds 78
  Taking Your Pick 78
  Mind over Matter? 80
  Conclusions 81
6. FROM MATTER TO MIND 82
  Making Matter Come Alive 84
  The Complexity of Life 84
  The Tale of the Selfish Genes 87
  Implications of Information 90
  Detecting Design 91
  Does Life Have a Purpose? 93
  Turning Matter into Mind 95
  Mysteries of Mind 96
  What Are Thoughts about? 97
  Is Mind More than Brain? 98
  Emerging Mind 98
  Dismissing the Mind 100
  Are You for Real? 101
  Meme Machine Minds 103
  Can You Believe Your Beliefs? 106
  Thoughts about Thoughts 108
  Turning Thought into Action 109
  Conclusions  
7. FROM MIND TO MATH 111
  Let’s Be Reasonable 112
  Who Knows? 112
  Can You Trust Your Mind?  
  Survival or Truth? 113
  Physics or Purpose? 115
  Justifying Truth  
  Where in the World is Truth? 116
  A Question of Logic 117
  Math Is Ideal 118
  Are There Absolutes? 118
  Where Are the Standards? 121
  How Do You Know? 122
  Is Non-Science Nonsense? 123
  Making Sense of Sense 124
  The Ideal Connection 125
  The Gift of the Gab 126
  Beauty and the Naturalist Beast 129
  Conclusions 131
8. MYSTERIES OF MATHEMATICS 133
  The Classical View on Math 134
  Math is an Ideal World 135
  Math in the Mind of God 136
  Removing God from Math 137
  Putting Math on Its Feet 138
  Math in Crisis 140
  Man-made Math 144
  Evolution-made Math 147
  Are Numbers Real? 149
  Conclusions 153
9. BEYOND NATURALISM 155
  Naturalism’s Failures 156
  The Magic of Emergence 157
  The Dangers of Self-Refutation 159
  The Post-Modern Backlash 160
  The Loss of Truth 160
  Playing with Words 160
  Power Makes Truth 162
  Post-Modern Post-Mortem 163
  The Ghost of Naturalism 166
  What Does a Worldview Need? 167
  Creating a Natural God 168
  Do Atoms Have Feelings? 170
  Finding Firm Ground 171
  Appendix: How to Refute Scepticism 173
  Testing Assumptions 173
  Trying out the System 174
  An Impossible Life 175
10. THE CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW 178
  Basics of the Christian Worldview  
  God Is the Ultimate Reality 179
  The Universe Totally Depends on God 183
  Man Was Created to Be God’s Steward 185
  God Created Man to Know 187
  God Sets the Standards 189
  History Unfolds God’s Plan 190
  Examining the Christian Worldview 190
  A Total Worldview 190
  Justifying Worldview Tests 191
  The Test of Experience 191
  The Test of Scripture 192
  The Test of Consistency 193
  The Test of Livability 193
  The Danger of Compromise 194
  Conclusions 195
11. GOD AND THE PHYSICAL WORLD 196
  God’s Creation 197
  Why We Can Understand the Universe 197
  God’s Providence 198
  God Uses Secondary Causes 199
  Miracles Happen 199
  Does God Play with Dice? 201
  Providence and Chance 202
  Does God Limit Himself? 204
  Knowing an Uncertain Future 206
  Butterflies and Storms 208
  Conclusions 208
12. FREE WILL AND RESPONSIBILITY 210
  What Is Human Free Will? 212
  Two Views on Free Will 213
  Freedom within Uncertainty 214
  The Need for Chance 214
  A Missing Proof 215
  Freedom Shackled 216
  Limiting God 216
  God’s Knowledge of Our Choices 218
  Where Does It Lead? 220
  Freedom within Reason 221
  More than Physics 222
  Forming Your Fate 223
  Do You Really Have a Choice? 224
  Who Is Responsible? 226
  The Bible and Responsibility 227
  The Problem of Evil 231
  Conclusions 235
13. BODY AND SOUL 237
  What Is the Soul? 239
  Body and Soul in the Bible 240
  Human Souls Survive Death 241
  Body, Mind and Common Sense 243
  Do You Need a Soul? 244
  Probing an Immaterial Mind 245
  How Do Minds Operate? 246
  Minding Energy 248
  Where Is Your Mind? 250
  Who Made Your Soul? 251
  Conclusions 253
14. A CHRISTIAN VIEW OF MATHEMATICS 254
  God and Math 256
  God and Logic 257
  God and Number  
  Infinity 258
  The Trinity 259
  Connecting the One to the Many 261
  God and Necessary Truths 262
  How Do We Learn Math? 265
  Our Inborn Abilities 265
  The Rule of Logic 267
  The Leaps of Intuition 267
  How Can We Justify Math? 269
  A Bible-based Math? 269
  Classical Math and God 270
  Some Simple Set Theory 271
  Counting beyond Infinity 273
  The Axiom of Choice 274
  Justifying Math as a Whole 276
  Conclusions 277
15. THE CHALLENGE SETTLED 279
  Brief Summary  
  The Nature of Worldviews 280
  Naturalism and Relativism 281
  The Christian Worldview 282
  Assessing Christianity 283
  Defending the Faith 284
  Why (Post-) Modernists Reject Christianity 286
  World Stories: Human and Divine 289
  The Return of the Pagans 291
  Finale 293
  Bibliography 299
  Index 311
  DIAGRAMS  
  Figure 1.1: Three Worlds and Three Mysteries 9
  Figure 4.1: Some Simple Mathematical Shapes in Nature 50
  Figure 5.1: The Double Slit Experiment 69
  Figure 6.1: The Simple Cell 86
  Figure 6.2: The DNA Molecule 88
  Figure 8.1: The Mandelbrot Set 150

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