The Scientific End of Materialism and Determinism?

The age has come by, and with quantum mechanics (and even classical mechanics) in the picture, both materialism and determinism seem to have come out. Classical mechanics deals with the motion of macroscopic bodies (such tennis balls, planets and asteroids) whereas quantum mechanics deals with the universe at the subatomic level (i.e. what happens at the level of anything smaller than an atom, such as photons and electrons). So, despite the technical names, we all know (or have heard of) a thing or two about these forms of physics, including quantum mechanics, if we’ve ever heard of wave-particle duality (all entities are both waves and particles), nuclear decay (when an atom emits protons/neutrons/photons to become more balanced), wave functions (probability waves) of electrons around an atom, etc. The first book I read introducing me to all these concepts was a well-articulated book by physicist Brian Greene titled The Elegant Universe.

Here, materialism and determinism start becoming problematic. Materialism is the idea that everything that exists has a composition of matter, merely constructed in different modifications, and determinism, the view that everything that will happen is ultimately determined outside of the will, so for example, if you knew everything about every particle in the universe and its movement, size, interaction, etc, you would be able to perfectly predict the future based on inevitable interactions between these particles. These views aren’t synonymous with atheism or naturalism at all, but atheists and naturalists form almost their entire membership, and of course, both concepts contradict supernaturalism (the view that there exists things beyond the natural world) and theism (the view that God/ a god(s) exists). Idealism, certainly, is not a popular view in unbelieving circles.

Determinism, of course, is outright impossible to reconcile with quantum mechanics. According to quantum mechanics, all particles exist in a probabilistic state before being observed/measured. That is to say, the particle/entity literally does not exist in one state as an object, but only exists in a probability region where the particle might be found. This is why things like quantum tunneling occur. In quantum tunneling, a ‘particle’ can pass right through an object (imagine someone walking through a wall) because the wave function it exists as enters the other side of the object by random chance. If this explanation isn’t perfectly clear, this video helps really helps explain the concept.

In other words, in light of the fact that the universe is completely probabilistic, determinism is false, since there is nothing deterministic about the wave function. In fact, it turns out that, according to a 2015 physics paper titled Determinism, independence, and objectivity are incompatible in the journal Physical Review Letters by physicists Radu Ionicioiu, Robert B. Mann, and Daniel R. Terno, determinism is incompatible “not only with quantum mechanics” (from the abstract) but even any classical theory of mechanics. So, the physics community seems to have come to terms with this truth resulting from physics. So why not many atheists?

Materialism falls into the same trap. Matter simply isn’t all that exists, since wave functions exist and are decidedly not matter (also see here). Also, as I was reading some comments by some people on this subject, another simple point was brought up that also does away with materialism, the beginning of the (not just the observable) universe! The fact that matter began to exist is the end of materialism. It’s also important to note that realism, the view that reality exists independently of us, has also been falsified by quantum mechanics (see the book from the renowned physicist Anton Zeilinger’s, Dance of the Photons: From Einstein to Quantum Teleportation). Admittedly, Bohmian mechanics is one way to get out of all this, but it’s probably wrong anyway. Local hidden variable theory has been virtually ruled out by Bell’s inequalities. It’s always nice when physics and science contribute to the slow deconstruction of the unbelieving worldview.


How the Ancient Greeks Did Not Invent Separation of Church and State

The Christians sometime a few centuries ago invented the idea of the separation of church and state, not for secular reasons, but from theological motivations. Hard to believe, I know. That’s why when I was discussing this with someone earlier, and I brought up this fact, they strangely attempted to argue that the real progenitor of the concept of the separation of church and state was the ancient Greeks. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re about to see how the Greeks were anything but secular in their government, and then I’ll explain the motivation for making this claim in the first place.

The Greeks not only did not separate their institutions of ‘church’ and state, they didn’t view these institutions as different to begin with. They were morphed in ancient Greek (and Roman) society in such inextricable ways that even speaking of a ‘separation’ might seem confusing. Everett Ferguson in his highly important monograph Backgrounds of Early Christianity writes;

We have already stated the civic basis of Greek and Roman religion; yet more needs to be said. Modern Western ideas that put religion in a separate category from government, society, and culture can seriously mislead us. Religion was closely interwoven with society in the Greco-Roman world. It was official and a part of the civil order. (pg. 170)

Therefore, it is not only incorrect to claim that the Greeks had a separation of church and state, but the mere idea of such a thing would have been inexplicable to the ancient Greeks. Indeed, the Greek government was almost the precise opposite of what this concept would normally mean to any of us. In the Greek city-states, all laws were devised and enforced by the magistrates (and anyone could be one). All magistrates in city-states like Athens, once they entered the government, had to pledge allegiance to the gods. Pierre Bonnechere thus writes;

Indeed, Athenian magistrates began their mandate with an oath which obligated them to the gods, and ended their terms by settling accounts. (pg. 367 in the edited voume A Companion to Ancient Greek Government)

This is only the beginning. Each Greek city-state had its own patron deity (i.e. Athena for Athens, Artemis for Ephesus). Meetings of assemblies and councils involved sacrifice and prayer, public funds were used to build temples and taxes used to support certain cults, many trials were held within sanctuaries. It doesn’t stop here, indeed, as Bonnechere continues to write (note: polis = city-state);

Again, citizens and other residents joined in various organizations of thiasotes or orge¯ones, private but endorsed by the polis and centered on a divinity, who might be foreign like Bendis. Finally, the cult of the dead remained a private prerogative, though the state often tried to limit its excesses and could hold commemorative ceremonies for the war dead, or organize, as at Athens, the annual festival of the Genesia (Georgoudi 1988b). (pg. 367)

The ancient Greeks and their governments were intimately married with religious precepts and practices, and religious Greek zealotry is why Socrates was executed by the government.

So, why this myth was invented in the first place? I have to admit, it’s a pretty rare myth and you probably won’t encounter it. However, it’s certainly part of a larger view that modern Western culture owes more, morally and scientifically, to Greek philosophy and ideas rather than Judeo-Christian culture. This is a surprisingly wrong idea, but it is indeed an attempt to erase history in order to synthesize a denial of the positive influence of Christianity and credit it as lowly as possible with where its credit is due, and redirect the credit to people whom it can’t be given to, but seem to be pretty smart, such as the ancient Greeks. By the end of the Middle Ages, Christian Europe had advanced the ancient Greeks so vastly in every sector of society; scientifically, ethically and morally, architecturally, philosophically, historiographically, etc, etc. The Middle Ages had successfully laid the foundations for the scientific revolution with countless natural philosophers (essentially an ancient scientist) making staggering contributions and advancements, largely motivated for theological reason and funded by the Church.

Social science on religion: a paradigm shift

While reading Rodney Stark’s incredible scholarly book The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries, I have learned of a paradigm shift has ensued in social scientific theory. Rodeny Stark is a world-renowned sociologist and Professor of Sociology and Comparative Religion at the University of Washington, who has used his vast expertise in the social sciences and impressive learning of the historical academic literature to present a very, very persuasive monograph accounting for the rise of Christianity.

Rodney Stark documents how the social sciences has had, from the beginning, an axe to grind against religion. Almost every religious motive that appeared under the study of social scientists, they explained through an appeal to religious irrationality. Some of these confused social scientists had ascribed the ability of early Christians to take on persecution to be evidence of masochism! The irrationalist theory, however, has been uprooted in recent decades of social scientific research, finally, and a paradigm shift has occurred in these studies that actually, and in my opinion convincingly, accounts for religious thought through appeal to rationalist (rather than irrationalist) understandings. Stark explains:

Rather, from the beginning, social scientific studies of religion have been shaped by a single question: What makes them do it? How could any rational person make sacrifices on behalf of unseen supernatural entities? The explicit answer to this question nearly always has been that religion is rooted in the irrational. Keep in mind that the imputation of irrational religious behavior by social scientists is not limited to extraordinary actions such as martyrdom. Rather, they have been content to apply the irrationalist argument to such ordinary activities as prayer, observance of moral codes, and contributions of time and wealth. For whether it be the imputation of outright psychopathology, of groundless fears, or merely of faulty reasoning and misperceptions, the irrationalist assumption has dominated the field. The notion that normal, sophisticated people could be religious has been limited to a few social scientists willing to allow their own brand of very mild, “intrinsic,” religiousness to pass the test of rationality. Thus, until recently, the social scientfiic study of religion was nothing of the sort. The field was more more concerned with discrediting religion than with understanding it. This is clear when it is realized that only in the area of religious belief and behavior have social scientists not based their theories on a rational choice premise. Indeed, my colleagues and I recently showed that antagonism toward all forms of religion and the conviction that it soon must disappear in an enlightened world were articles of faith among the earliest social scientists, and that today social scientists are far less likely to be religious than scholars in other areas, especially those in the physical and natural sciences (Stark, Iannaccone, and Finke 1995). Nevertheless, despite the enormous weight of learned opinion that created and sustained it, the irrationalist approach to religion recently has fallen upon evil times–beset by contrary evidence and by the unanticipated theoretical power of rational choice theories imported from microeconomics and modified appropriately. This chapter represents another step in that direction and extends my efforts to establish a scientific, rather than a polemical and political, basis for studies of religion. In it I shall attempt to show that, when analyzed properly, religious sacrifices and stigmas–even when acute cases are considered–usually turn out to represent rational choices. Indeed, the more that people must sacrifice for their faith, the greater the value of the rewards they gain in return. (Stark, The Rise of Christianity pg. 167)

Stark later goes on to say that “This suggests why the recent introduction of rational choice theories in the social scientific study of religion has been recognized as a major shift in paradigms (Warner 1993)–the irrationalist position is in full retreat” (pg. 178). Boom! I can see that the atheistic takeover of academia has literally lasted for hundreds of years. In our most recent decades, as new advances, theories and defenses have arisen, as well as the simple decline of atheistic ability to continue offering their own defenses in light of the most recent advancements and discoveries, it looks as if a new age is finally coming to light in the academic world, and the fact that the actual defenders of atheism are in a way, disappearing. In 2011, Christopher Hitchens died. Victor Stenger passed away in 2014. James Randi is 89 years old. A new day can be seen, and a new sun is rising out of the darkness.

The Fine-Tuning of the Multiverse

The two most common arguments for the existence of God today are based on the beginning of the universe, discovered in the early 20th century, and the fine-tuning of the universe, much more recently discovered by scientists in the last half century.

The fine-tuning of the universe refers to the fact that the universe is constructed by, in effect, various sets of constants that, were they to be any different by a miniscule scale, life in its entirety not only would not exist, but could not exist. As Martin Rees reveals in his book Just Six Numbers, explained by Rich Deem;

Another finely tuned constant is the strong nuclear force (the force that holds atoms together). The Sun “burns” by fusing hydrogen (and higher elements) together. When the two hydrogen atoms fuse, 0.7% of the mass of the hydrogen is converted into energy. If the amount of matter converted were slightly smaller—0.6% instead of 0.7%— a proton could not bond to a neutron, and the universe would consist only of hydrogen. With no heavy elements, there would be no rocky planets and no life. If the amount of matter converted were slightly larger—0.8%, fusion would happen so readily and rapidly that no hydrogen would have survived from the Big Bang. Again, there would be no solar systems and no life. The number must lie exactly between 0.6% and 0.8%.

So, the universe is finely tuned for the existence of life. But how did the fine-tuning come about? Since of course it is far too improbable for the constants to turn out the way they are by chance (the probability that the cosmological constant would be set just rightly to allow life is something like 1 in 10^60), chance is obviously out of question. Obviously, the most intuitive option is that God designed the universe. Indeed, it seems to perfectly correlate with what we are symbolically told in the opening chapters of Genesis, that God created all that exists to our aid so that we may rejoice in it and worship God its Creator (The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands -Psalm 19:1).

An atheist of course, cannot accept that. So, we are given an alternative way to understanding the constants — “Maybe there’s a multiverse,” we are told, “Maybe there is an inexpressible number of universes so that at least one of them had to have the constants we see in our universe.” So, the question arises, is there a multiverse so that we can explain why the constants of the universe are so finely tuned as to allow the existence of life (and moreso, advanced biological life)? The answer is, probably not. There seems to be no evidence for this supposed multiverse, even though we can look some 90 billion light years in diameter in our universe. Secondly, as the great philosopher Richard Swinburne puts it, “To postulate a trillion trillion other universes, rather than one God, in order to explain the orderliness of our universe seems the height of irrationality.” The multiversal hypothesis, when putting it alongside the competing God hypothesis, violates Occam’s Razor. According to Occam’s Razor, when understanding a phenomenon or something of some sort, we always ought to prefer the explanation that makes the least amount of assumptions.

The multiversal hypothesis seems to make an extraodinary, if not literally infinite number of assumptions (as some variations of the theorem postulate an infinite number of universes). Firstly, you must not only assume your numberless universes exist, but you also need to presume the existence of a mechanism that exists beyond the confines of space-time in order to continually produce these universes, there must be a universe producer of some sort (you can’t use God), in which no evidence suggests that such a thing is even naturally possible. This is irrational. God is just one assumption, and as some philosophers believe, God is an infinitely simple assumption (since complexity is determined by the parts or constituents that make up the whole, and God is not made up of any parts or constituents).

And, to me, the most daunting problem with the multiverse is that it explains absolutely nothing — it just pushes the cause one step back (contrast that with God, who is the uncaused first cause), which would require yet another explanation on top of itself to explain the multiverse! The multiversal hypothesis is shredded by Occam’s Razor and explains nothing. Therefore, the theist can once more rejoice in the science and philosophy that has affirmed his belief in God.

Bible Says Insects Have Four Legs?

The Holy Bible is one of the greatest documents in the history of humanity, if not easily the greatest. To date, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, selling over six billion copies. It has inspired billions and leads the way for the largest religious group on Earth, us Christians. With all the poetry, history, prophecy and moral teachings in this book, the Bible remains one of the most influential books of all time, taking the attention of the worlds greatest philosophers to walk this Earth. Indeed, many are even surprised by its complete lack of any errors whatsoever… However, some would like to challenge that. Indeed, the non-believers have been attempting to, for centuries, come up with a single error in this entire document, the Bible yet again finds itself in the way of another attack.

Funnily enough, once you deal with these critters long enough, you realize they’re wrong before they’ve even started. Apparently, these people postulate that the Bible contains a scientific error in the Book of Leviticus! The Bible, to these people, scientifically blunders as it laughably says insects only have four legs, when they have six in reality!

[Leviticus 11:20-23] “All winged insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you. But you may eat these kinds of all the winged insects that walk on all fours: those that have jointed legs above their feet for hopping on the ground. You may eat these: any kind of locust, katydid, cricket, and grasshopper. All other winged insects that have four feet are to be detestable to you.

The only way to respond to this attack from the non-Christians against the Bible, is to identify exactly what the passage says first. The verse is in the contest of the Levitical dietary laws and restrictions, where is it naming specific foods you can and cannot eat. So, what does it say? The verse specifically focuses on winged insects, as can be identified in the first few words of the passage, and it says that all winged insects that “walk on all fours” cannot be eaten, aside from the locust, katydid, cricket, and grasshopper. In order to really understand what the Bible is saying here, the only thing we can do in order to undergo an honest examination of the contents of this passage is to first see exactly what the Bible is talking about  regarding these winged insects that walk on all fours, and the only way to do this is to look at the four clean examples it gives us. That being the locust, katydid, cricket and grasshopper.






These insects are similar, especially the grasshopper and katydid, and all four insects have six legs. Although, it’s obvious that when the Bible says “all fours”, it’s making a distinction between the front four legs and the hind two legs, as they serve completely different functions. Only the front four legs are counted as feet, whereas the fact that the hind two legs serve a much different function due to their completely unique anatomy, size and responsibilities for the organism, are not counted as feet, rather merely legs. Biblical anatomy has different forms of classifications and descriptions for its biological terms than we do today, and that’s not very surprising considering it was written over three thousand years ago. In other words, this is obviously not a Bible error, this is just a difference between how people today classify different parts of insects and how Moses did thousands of years ago. The Bible does not count “jointed legs above their feet for hopping on the ground”, as the passage in Leviticus above phrases it, as feet, and likely any set of legs on an insect where the hind legs serve completely distinctive functions from the four front legs. It would seem ridiculous to assume that the ancient Hebrews didn’t know winged insects have four legs, considering they literally ate them raw. One type of winged insect that “walks on all fours” that would be prevented from being eaten according to this passage in Leviticus would be a honeybee.

As you can see, the hind legs of a honeybee are distinct from the front four legs, just like they are with the locust, katydid, cricket and grasshopper. Indeed, the two hind legs in the honeybee maintain a distinctive function from the front four legs. The hind legs in a honeybee differ in size from the front four legs, as well as how they are situated in the bee. In a bee colony, there are many types of bees. There is a queen, there are drones and there are also workers. Amongst all the types of bees in a colony, the hind legs have a different size in each of them. These hind legs are also specifically used to collect pollen from flowers. Although the hind legs can indeed be used similarly to the front legs in walking, they are clearly and vastly different in both appearance and function from the front legs. Likewise, this probably would be classified by the Bible’s anatomical classification system as a winged insect that walks on all fours. So there is no scientific error with the Bible, clearly, it’s simply the difference that exists between modern forms of classifying anatomical features in insects and how it was done many thousands of years ago.

God’s Word remains to be without error, and God’s many inventions, such as the bee, grasshopper and locust, all attest to the miracles God is responsible for creating.

Everything That Begins To Exist Has A Cause

This world is rather large, isn’t it? We live in a world that has various fundamental rules, in which cannot be broken. Some of these rules apply to the entire universe, and are even used as arguments for the existence of God. One of these rules is that everything that begins to exist has a cause.

In the past, between the 19th century and early 20th century, it was originally assumed that the universe was past-eternal, and that it had always existed forever. However, due to recent advancements in cosmology, astronomy and physics — it is now known and understood that the universe is not in fact past-eternal, rather is something that had an absolute beginning some finite amount of time ago. Space, time, matter and all of energy in existence, as well as any quantum principles, information, and anything else you may think of that exists in the natural world — even the natural world itself began to exist. It is commonly assumed that this beginning took place some 13,000,000,000-14,000,000,000 years ago, in a cataclysmic event known as the Big Bang.

Long before anyone knew the that the universe had a beginning, before we knew that the nearest large galaxy lies two million light-years from Earth, before we know how stars work or whether atoms exist, James Ferugson’s enthusiastic introduction to his favorite science rang true.

-Neil Degrasse Tyson, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry pg. 194

Indeed, the standard big bang inflationary model, commonly accepted by cosmologists, purports an absolute beginning, and this is part of accepted and established modern science nowadays. Previously, because the universe was thought to be past-eternal, it was also thought not to need a cause. This is because anything that is past-eternal, is necessarily self-existing and requires no external factors/causation to exist, it exists entirely on its own. Like God. However, now that it is known that the universe has an absolute beginning of its own, it must also necessarily have a cause — because everything that begins to exist has a cause. There are several reasons as to why this is true.

For one, the Law of Causality necessitates that it is true. Causality is a well understood and necessary principle, which states that any occurrence whatsoever at all, such as an action or event, must have a cause to allow it to happen. A beginning of the entire universe definitely qualifies as an occurrence, and thus the Law of Causality (which is a law of logic) must then apply to the universe. In fact, the beginning of the existence of anything at all requires a cause, as it is an occurrence and therefore the Law of Causality applies to it. The Law of Causality is perhaps, the most well established principle in all of existence. To say that something can come from nothing without any reasons, is worse then magic. Dr. William Lane Craig, who is a world-class philosopher says the following:

… something cannot come from nothing. To claim that something can come into being from nothing is worse than magic, when you think about it. When a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat, at least you’ve got the magician – not to speak of the hat!

-William Lane Craig

There are of course, some who actually try to deny this claim! Some people truly believe something can come from nothing. Usually, they actually try to cite the idea that virtual/subatomic particles can randomly pop in and out of existence from nothing, and in fact without cause as well. These claims are merely a skewing of science, and Dr. Craig goes on to make the following statement in the same speech in regards to these claims:

I think that this response represents a deliberate abuse of science, to be frank. The theories in question have to do with particles’ originating as fluctuations of the energy in the vacuum. And you need to understand that in physics, the vacuum is not what the layman means by a vacuum, namely, nothing. In physics, the vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy, a sea of violent activity, having a physical structure and governed by physical laws. Similarly, in these models of the universe, the universe comes into being out of the vacuum; it doesn’t come into being from nothing. The vacuum is definitely something, which is this sea of fluctuating energy. And to tell lay people that in this case something comes from nothing is simply a distortion of these theories and, as I say, an abuse of science by those who appeal to them. [Emphasis added.]

-William Lane Craig

The fact is, these subatomic/virtual particles do not come into existence from nothing, rather they are merely quantum fluctuations that occur in and out of the quantum field.

There’s a popular book called A Universe From Nothing by physicist Lawrence Krauss, where Krauss (who is also an atheist populist) claims that the universe can come into existence from nothing. Something that was more surprising to me is that the book was actually listed as a non-fiction. Krauss, to prove something can come from nothing, merely played a little game where he simply redefines the word ‘something’ to mean ‘nothing, and voilà, Krauss concludes you can get a universe from nothing. In reality, what he means by ‘nothing’ is really a vacuum filled with energy and quantum fluctuations. Sound familiar to what we just discussed? The funny thing is the existence of quantum mechanics (which ‘creates’ these subatomic/virtual particles) only is dependent on space, and so the cause of space (as well as time and the rest of universe) couldn’t have anything to do any quantum effects in the first place.

Now, because of mathematics, we can now it is an established criterion of the universe, and basically anything at all, that something cannot come from nothing. Allow me to explain.

Nothing, in mathematics, is represented by 0. Something, in mathematics, would be represented by any positive value above zero, like 5. In other words, for it to be possible to get something from nothing, it would also be possible to get 5 from 0 on its own. Unfortunately for any materialist of course, it isn’t. There is no possible way to extract the positive value of 5 from 0, because 0=0 and 0 =/= 5. Something cannot come from nothing. That means that everything that begins to exist has a cause — as something (5) coming into existence from nothing (0) is a mathematically incoherent idea. To Atheism, the fact that everything begins to exist has a cause is definitely frightening — and that is because it means that the universe has a cause. I wonder what caused the universe. God?

The Bible and the Shape of the Earth

Truly, idea that the Bible claims that the Earth is flat has always been a common lie by the atheists against the true and holy scriptures that we bear witness too — here, we will see how all their claims that the Bible claims a flat Earth are utterly false, and we will study our scriptures and reveal that the Bible unequivocally tells us that the Earth is actually spherical. This should shed some light onto those who do not accept our scriptures as truth because of these unfortunate misunderstandings, that do not originate from pure intentions.

First, let us address common verses quoted by the unbelievers who deceive that they use to attempt to show that the Bible claims the Earth is flat. We will explain them away with ease. Let us begin.

[Isaiah 11:12] He will lift up a banner for the nations and gather the dispersed of Israel; He will collect the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

One of the first verses quoted will be one that has the Bible saying that the Earth has four corners — which thus somehow translates to a flat Earth. However, it is clear to note that these ‘four corners’ are simply referring to North, South, East and West. We can confirm this by seeing that the Bible later affiliates the four corners of the Earth with the four winds of the Earth. Behold:

[Revelation 7:1] After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.

As we can see, the first attempt to show the Bible invokes a flat earth is utterly inconsequential. Moving forwards…

[Job 38:13] That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it?

[Daniel 4:11] The tree grew large and became strong And its height reached to the sky, And it was visible to the end of the whole earth.

This verse implies the existence of “the ends of the earth”. However, all “ends of the earth” means is simply the “entire Earth”, nothing more. There is one more type of verse that these people try to use to show the Bible claims the Earth is flat, and it is the following:

[Job 26:11] The pillars that hold up the sky tremble, astounded at His rebuke.

If the Earth has pillars, it must be flat! It might be somewhat confusing what the ‘pillars’ of the Earth in the Bible mean, but this problem simply disappears when we take a look at the Scholarly commentaries on Job 26:11 and understand what these verses truly mean.

Cambridge Bible Commentary:

The “pillars” of the heavens, if the conception be not wholly ideal, may be the lofty mountains on which the heavens seem to rest, and which, as they are lost in the clouds, are spoken of as belonging to heaven. At God’s rebuke, when His voice of thunder rolls, or when earthquakes shake the earth, they tremble with terror of His majesty,

Benson Commentary:

The pillars of heaven tremble — Perhaps the mountains, which by their height and strength seem to reach and support the heavens. And are astonished at his reproof — When God reproveth not them, but men by them, manifesting his displeasure by thunders or earthquakes.

Pulpit Commentary:

The pillars of heaven tremble. The “pillars of heaven” are the mountains, on which the sky seems to rest. These “tremble,” or seem to tremble, at the presence of God (Psalm 18:7; Psalm 114:4; Isaiah 5:25) when he visits the earth in storm and tempest, either because the whole atmosphere is full of disturbance, and the outline of the mountains shifts and changes as rain and storm sweep over them, or because the reverberations of the thunder, which shake the air, seem to shake the earth also. And are astonished at his reproof. To the mind of the poet this “trembling” is expressive of astonishment and consternation. He regards the mountains as hearing the voice of God in the storm, recognizing it as raised in anger, and so trembling and cowering before him.

So, these ‘pillars’, after thorough examination of the biblical evidence, simply mean the the mountains of the Earth.

Now that we have seen any attempts to coincide the Bible with a flat Earth turn out to be very disappointing, we will show that the Bible very clearly explains that the Earth is actually round. The Bible gives us three descriptions of the shape of the Earth that will allow us to piece this puzzle.

[Isaiah 40:22] God is enthroned above the circle of the earth; its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

The Bible tells us that the Earth is circular in some sense.

[Ephesians 4:9] But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth?

The Bible tells us that there are ‘lower parts of the earth’, in other words the Earth has multiple layers/regions. It has thickness.

[Matthew 12:40] For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.

The Bible tells us that the Earth has a ‘heart’ or perfect center.

Now that we have collected this information, let us list the three criteria of a shape needed in order to qualify as the Biblical Earth.

  1. It must be circular in some sense
  2. It must be a thick object, with the capacity of having multiple layers (three dimensional)
  3. It must have an absolute center or ‘heart’

The fact is, the only shape in the world that fits all the criterion for the Biblical shape of the Earth is a sphere. Flat circles do not qualify for the second criterion, and cylinders do not qualify for the third (as if the Bible could imply the Earth is a cylinder). However, a sphere is circular, is a thick three dimensional object that can have layers, and has a center in the middle of it. This means that there is no possible way the Bible says the Earth is flat, it evidently and very clearly necessitates the Earth to be a sphere, based on the evidence we have just seen.

Scientific Miracle in the Qur’an Debunked

One of the primary arguments that Muslims give to the critics of their religion Islam, in order to establish the authenticity of their religion, is to try to show that their Holy Book (the Qur’an) actually contains scientific miracles. One of their favorite examples of a scientific miracle in their Qur’an is to try to show that the Qur’an miraculously writes about the existence of the seven layers of the atmosphere hundreds of years before scientists discovered and verified the existence of the seven layers in the atmosphere. This claim by our Muslim friends is usually extrapolated from one of the two following verses in the Qur’an;

“It is He Who created everything on the earth for you and then directed His attention up to heaven and arranged it into seven regular heavens. He has knowledge of all things.”(Qur’an, 2:29)

“Then He turned to heaven when it was smoke. In two days He determined them as seven heavens and revealed, in every heaven, its own mandate.” (Qur’an, 41:11-12)

Indeed, you can see Muslims arguing for such a thing here and here. These seven layers of the atmosphere predicted by the Qur’an, according to the Muslims, are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere, ionosphere, and the magnetosphere. Because there are seven layers in the atmosphere, the Qur’an must be right and contain a scientific miracle.

Immediately, we can see a major error in this interpretation. For one, how exactly are the ‘seven heavens’ meant to be interpreted as seven layers in the Earth’s atmosphere? The idea that the Qur’anic heavens is meant to translate to the atmosphere levels of the Earth is a rather absurd idea from the get-go, and really, rather than a scientific miracle, it seems like a Muslim is trying to connect a rather vague verse in the Qur’an with modern science.

Secondly, according to NASA’s website, there are only six layers in the atmosphere. In other words, this connection is entirely non-existent in the first place. Unlike the diagram above, NASA does not include the magnetosphere. Indeed, what the magnetosphere actually is, is a region surrounding any astronomical body, such as our Earth, in which is dominated by the astronomical bodies magnetic field. It isn’t a later in the atmosphere.

Unfortunately for the Muslims, the problems don’t end there. On the off chance that the magnetosphere really is part of the atmosphere, Islam is actually a false religion, not a true one. Take a look at what else the Qur’an has to say about the seven heavens:

“So He ordained them seven heavens in two periods, and revealed in every heaven its affair; and We adorned the lower heaven with brilliant stars…” (Qur’an 41:12)

According to this verse, the Qur’an is telling us that the lower heavens possess the stars. So, according to the Muslims who believes that the seven heavens are the layers of the atmosphere, this verse must mean that the stars are actually located in the lower layers of our atmosphere — which is totally ridiculous. The nearest star is nowhere close to our atmosphere, let alone inside of it, for the nearest star to our Earth is the sun, which is nearly 150,000,000 kilometers away from Earth. If the stars were anywhere near the Earth, let alone right there in our atmosphere, we would all be incinerated. So, either the seven heavens in the Qur’an has nothing to do with the atmosphere, and Muhammad is off the hook, or the seven heavens is talking about the layers of our atmosphere, and Muhammad is a false prophet for revealing this fake information. The Muslim gets to choose which option he goes with.

Anyhoo, fact is, historians of ancient cosmology know what the Qur’an really means when it references the ‘seven heavens’, and that is because such a concept was actually common during the Qur’ans period, and more then a thousand years beforehand. The ancients believed that the universe had seven heavens, and these heavens were the moon, sun, Mercurcy, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn (as in the seven astronomical bodies that the ancients were aware of existing). Indeed, these were the ‘seven heavens’ according to pre-Copernican theory. Sadly for Muhammad though, he had no idea about the existence of Uranus and Neptune, two planets he missed from his counting of heavens. In other words, we know that when the Qur’an is talking about the seven heavens, it’s actually talking about outdated cosmology that modern scientists laugh at, not the atmosphere or any sort of other scientific phenomenon.

Are we done? No, there’s still another nail that we need in this coffin. Indeed, we shall entirely concede that the concept of the seven heavens WAS INDEED a scientific miracle, only obtainable to the people that lived before this scientific discovery because of knowledge given to them by God. So, what do we do now? Convert to Islam? No. Why? Because the notion of seven heavens PREDATES Islam. Indeed, the Martyrdom of Isaiah, for example, possesses the concept of the seven heavens and dates several hundred years before the Islamic religion came about. In fact most of the Martyrdom of Isaiah revolves around the concept of the seven heavens. The polytheists are the ones who originally came up with the idea of the seven heavens, and so by Muslim logic, the polytheists are the true believers of God because God obviously gave them this miraculous scientific knowledge thousands of years before they could have possibly known it. Hallelujah!

Seriously, though, the idea of the seven heavens is just ancient cosmological fiction.. and now it’s in the Qur’an.

UPDATE: Recently, there have been a number of excellent posts in a series on the Rider on the Clouds blog debunking more alleged scientific miracles in the Qur’an. Here they are:

No that’s not a miracle: 1, the Big Bang, No that isn’t a miracle: 2, the sky dome, No that’s not a miracle 3: Invisible pillars, No that’s not a miracle 4: Water from the sky, No, that’s not a miracle 5: In the beginning, part 1, No that’s not a miracle 6: Black holes, No that’s not a miracle 7: Bible Edition, No that’s not a miracle 8– Creation from clay and water