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Home » Can Science Explain Everything? – John Lennox & James Tour (Transcript)

Can Science Explain Everything? – John Lennox & James Tour (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of the conversation titled “Can Science Explain Everything?” with renowned Oxford professor John Lennox and esteemed chemist Dr. James Tour.

TRANSCRIPT:

ISABELLA: Welcome and thank you for being here for tonight’s conversation. A special welcome to those of you who are joining us on the live stream, either from Keck Hall or elsewhere. I am Isabella, I am a senior here at Rice, I am studying computer science, and it is my absolute pleasure to get to introduce y’all to our two speakers for tonight. And so I’m going to move over here so you can see them better.

And so this is Dr. Tour, and he is the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Materials Science and Nanoengineering. He has over 785 published articles. He has over 130 patents, with 100 pending. He also has an incredibly long list of accomplishments, including the Oesper Award, the Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Prize, and the Trotter Prize. In 2019, he was named in the 50 most influential scientists in the world by thebestschools.org.

And our honored guest, Dr. Lennox, is the Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, and he is an internationally renowned speaker and author of many books on the interface of science, philosophy, and religion. He has over 70 published articles on mathematics. He has co-authored two mathematical monographs for Oxford, and he also has translated Russian mathematics. And we are also just so glad to have Dr. Lennox again. He has come many times, had the invitation of Dr. Tour, and has always packed out rooms.

And tonight’s program will begin with the stories of faith of Dr. Tour and Dr. Lennox, and then we’re going to move into a conversation about Dr. Lennox’s book, “Can Science Explain Everything?” And then we’ll wrap up with a Q & A session moderated by Rice alumnus, Zac McCray. And so we are so glad to get to hear all of this, and Dr. Lennox, would you get us started? Thank you.

Dr. John Lennox’s Opening Remarks

JOHN LENNOX: Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s an honor for me to be back at Rice and to be sitting beside a very intelligent person whose publication record is at least 10 times mine. And I look forward very much this evening to the discussion.

The famous philosopher, Immanuel Kant, said that there are three fundamental questions that we need to answer: What can I know? What can I hope for? And what must I do? And as I travel these days and particularly talk to students and young people, I find there’s an aura of hopelessness in many people’s minds and hearts. The awful wars that are going on, the various crises at the level of climate, the fires, the poverty, and everything else. It means that people increasingly ask Kant’s second question, is there any hope?

And the poet, Emily Dickinson, wrote a lovely poem about hope. “Hope,” she said, “hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all. And sweetest in the gale is heard and sore must be the storm that could have bashed the little bird that kept so many warm. I’ve heard it in the chillest land and on the strangest sea, yet never in extremity. It asked a crumb of me.”

And in this famous poem, Emily Dickinson, she often does, takes an abstract concept and likens it to something physical, visible, and tangible so that here she represents hope by a singing bird singing a wordless tune that never stops. So her view is that hope does not speak to us in any conventional way. It is a sense, not always a rational one, that cheers us even in the darkness and despair of a fierce storm. Hope, in her view, can withstand just about anything, even in the chillest land or far from home in the strangest sea. It provides comfort and solace and doesn’t ask anything back.

And George MacDonald, who influenced C.S. Lewis so much, once wrote, “though the sky be dim, my hope is in the sky.” Now, the Oxford English Dictionary, which I respect because it’s written and published at my own university, defines hope to be the expectation of something desired, a feeling of trust or confidence. And the word can be also used ironically for something that has little chance of being realized.

For example, “there’s some hope of him passing that exam.” It can also denote a person or thing that gives hope or in which hopes are placed. And I want to be very upfront with you. I’m nearly 80 years old. And after a lifetime, I have no hesitation of saying to you, as a scientist and a Christian, that my greatest hope is the hope of glory because Jesus Christ is within me. That may sound very strange to you, but I’ve got a real expectation for the future, an ultimate expectation that transcends all the misery of this earth because it’s rooted outside this world.

Now, expectation and hope are not quite the same. If I have aggressive cancer and I have some kind of cancer, I might well expect to die. And yet, my hope transcends death. Now, the question of time is important as we look towards the future, because you see, the past, our knowledge and memory of the past gives us identity. And our hopes for the future give us meaning in the sense of giving us something to live for. And both of these relate to the very important question for each of us, what does it mean to flourish as a human being?

And it’s interesting to me that some of the leading universities in the world, particularly Yale, have got a department dedicated to what human flourishing is. Now, I’m a Christian because the Christian message is, to my mind, the only message that brings ultimate hope. And what authenticates Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God who gave his life for us is his resurrection from the dead. And I believe that firmly as a scientist. And one of the early apostles explains this to us. And he writes this to Christians, but we can all listen: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Now, the Bible is unique in giving us a narrative with real explanatory power that’s big enough to give a framework in which we can not only live but flourish in. It’s a metanarrative. It spans a whole of history from the beginning to the end. It starts with God creating the universe and making human beings male and female in his own image. That is a staggering fact. The universe, and I’m an amateur astronomer, shows God’s glory. It wasn’t made in his image; you were. And that gives you an infinite, immeasurable dignity.

Jordan Peterson was once commenting on this, and he came across this statement in Genesis about human beings being made in the image of God. And he said this, he paused and he said, “man,” he said, “this fact is a cornerstone of our civilization. It’s the fundamental base of all value, and we neglect it at our peril.” And part of the hopelessness of our society, ladies and gentlemen, is that for us, for millennia, God has been at the center of moral values and hope. We have seen fit to jettison God and hope that we can retain some value.

And I’ve been in Russia many times, and I remember Anakha on the mission saying to me quietly, he said, “You know, we made a huge mistake. We thought that we could get rid of God and maintain a value for human beings, and we found out too late that we could not.” And loss of the biblical root of our culture, and let’s not forget it. Our culture owes a huge amount to the Judeo-Christian tradition. Our universities, Harvard, you know what its motto is, don’t you, veritas, but they cut it short. That wasn’t its original motto. Its original motto was ‘Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae‘. That is truth in Christ and the church.

And my university of Oxford similarly has a biblical motto because the people that founded these universities saw that God and learning went together. They weren’t divorced, and I maintain that very strongly today. But by getting rid of God, it hasn’t improved our culture, and it’s led to widespread disorientation, especially among young people, hopelessness. Many people have been completely duped by a God-denying authoritarian naturalistic worldview into believing that they are nothing more than a highly organized arrangement of chemicals without ultimate meaning.

Understanding Perception

And the tendency is that because we’ve been pressurized and confined into a naturalistic world, we try to find meaning inside it because there’s no other place to look. But the philosopher Wittgenstein, who was extremely bright, once said, “The meaning of the world will not be found within the world. The meaning of a system won’t be found inside the system. The meaning of a computer won’t be found inside a computer. The meaning transcends it.” And there’s a brilliant book being written by a neuroscientist, Iain McGilchrist, recently called The Matter with Things. And he says, “Why is it we’re in a universe today where we understand how almost everything works and what it’s made of, but we understand the meaning of nothing?”

And he has studied our brains. We’ve got two halves to our brains. I hope most of you have anyway. And he has, with neuroscientific research, discovered that there’s a lot of truth in the idea, you know, people say he’s left-brained, he’s a bit of a nerd, or she’s right-brained, or Ed’s always in the artistic clouds. And what he’s discovered is the two halves of our brain perceive reality differently. The left side sees us as things. The right side sees us as persons.

And he develops this, and he says, and this is the important thing, that for the last 500 years, we’ve put such an emphasis on the left side of the brain that we’re left in a world where we understand how things work and we understand the meaning of nothing. And we need to look outside the world and start using the right side of our brains. And I asked McGilchrist, I said, does that mean that Richard Dawkins is half-brained?

And he said, you could say so. And it’s a serious point. We’re neglecting the whole-brained, holistic approach. So it’s a fascinating actual book. So having lost any grip on divine transcendence, we look inside ourselves, and what do we find? A conflicting mass of emotions and desires. And we wander lost in a culture that devalues truth, ethics, and human life. And meaning becomes more and more dependent on connection through social media.

Acknowledging Christianity’s Influence

So where can we find hope? Well, the brilliant historian, Tom Holland, in his book, “Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind,” tells us that he once thought that all the good things in our society, our values of our institutions, our democratic rights, our human rights, came from the Greeks and the Romans. And he gradually realized that this was not the case. It was the biblical worldview that actually had underpinned life in the West for centuries. And so we’ve every reason not to be ashamed of the immense impact of Christianity on our culture.

And influential atheists realize this, like Jürgen Habermas, who says that our ideals of freedom and individual morality and human rights and so on are the direct legacy of the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. To this day, there’s no alternative. Everything else is just post-modern talk. So over a century ago, hard atheist, Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote with great clarity something that many of the softer atheists like Dawkins do not grasp. When one gives up the Christian faith, he wrote, one pulls the right to Christian morality from under one’s feet. As if morality could survive when the God who sanctioned it is missing.

So if we’re going to understand Western culture, we cannot avoid considering the Christian worldview. And that is hugely important. Now, my first encounter with it was in my parental home in Ireland, where my parents were credible Christians. What do I mean by that? They lived as if there was a God above them. My father would apologize to us kids if he felt he was too strict.

Lessons from a Life of Faith

And in a very sectarian, troubled Ireland, where the two cultures were fighting each other, he employed Protestants and Catholics equally in his store, and he was bombed for it. My brother was nearly killed. And I said, “Dad, why do you do it?” And he said, “Listen.” He said, “The Bible teaches that every man and woman, irrespective of their worldview, is made in the image of God, and I intend to treat them like that.” And that affected me deeply.

The second thing was that my father and mother loved me enough to allow me space to think. And so I could come to the Christian faith, which he opened up to me as an expansive, meta-narrative that was fascinating in its own right. And then he presented me with a communist manifesto when I was 14, and I asked him, had he read it? And he said, “No.” And I said, “Why should I read it?” He said, “You need to know what other people think.”

The Good News of Christianity

And I spent my life exposing my Christian faith to its opposite. Now, coming to the heart of this, I believe that Christianity is good news. Why? Well, here’s Tom Holland, who’s moving rapidly towards theism. And he says in his book that what he found was that the heart of the gospel was his revolutionary teaching about the death of Jesus on the cross. And that is amazing. Listen to what he wrote.

Here’s a secular historian writing about what he discovers. “If Paul could not leave the sheer wonder of this alone, if he risked everything to proclaim it to strangers, likely to find it disgusting or lunatic or both, then that was because he had been brought by his vision of the risen Jesus to gaze directly into what it meant for him and for all the world.” That Christ, whose participation in the divine sovereignty over space and time, he, Paul, never seems to have doubted, had become human and suffered death on the ultimate instrument of torture was precisely the measure of his understanding of God that he was love. The world stood transformed as a result.

Such was the gospel. Paul, in proclaiming it, offered himself as the surest measure of its truth. He was nothing, worse than nothing, a man who had persecuted Christ’s followers, foolish and despised, and yet he had been forgiven and saved. “I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” And if Paul, then why not everyone else, says Holland?

Why not indeed? Paul wasn’t ashamed of the gospel because it’s the power of God unto salvation. And you know, as my final point, because my time has run, I want to say this, that many people say to me, “You’re a scientist, Christianity’s not testable.” It is, because Christ promises people things.

The risen Christ promises that if we face the mess we’ve made of our own lives and sadly sometimes the lives of others, he will give us peace. I meet many people, particularly students, there’s no peace. He will give us forgiveness because he died for us. And many people have consciences absolutely full of guilt of the things they’ve seen, the things they’ve done, and so on.

But then he’ll also give us something even more. He will give us the power to live the kind of life that we know in our hearts we’d like to live. Why do I believe this, folks? Because I believe that as a fact of history, Jesus Christ is still alive today because 20 centuries ago, God raised him from the dead. That’s why I believe it.

And so I turn to Dr. Tour to tell us about that.

Dr. James Tour’s Opening Remarks

JAMES TOUR: Thank you, John. Thank you for coming to Rice. I mean, we are really fully blessed to be able to have you here. Let me follow up on that a little bit with my background.

I didn’t grow up in a Christian home. I grew up in a secular Jewish home. We were not particularly practicing Jews, just like many Jews are not particularly practicing. Many Baptists are not particularly practicing. We went to synagogue about twice a year, like some Baptists go twice a year. We did the same sort of thing.

I was being interviewed just recently, and she said, you know, I told this woman who was interviewing me that I came to a knowledge of Jesus Christ when I was 18, shortly after I came to college. She said, “You must have been thinking a lot about the cosmological argument and pondering these things as a high school student.” I said, “I was just thinking about women. I mean, that’s all I was really thinking about.” There was nothing deep about what I was thinking about.

A Life-Changing Conversation

And then, so I wasn’t one of these pondering people and pensive and wondering about the things of life. But a young man, we were in the laundry room, and it was August of my freshman year, and it had to be the first load of laundry that I ever did because my mother always did it for me at home. And here I was at college trying to figure out how to wash my clothes. And there was another guy in there. We got to talking. I said, “What are you going to do when you graduate?” He was on the football team.

And I asked him if he was going to play ball. And he says, “Oh, no, I’m not good enough for that.” I said, “What are you going to do?” He said, “Lay ministry.” I said, “What’s that?” He said, “Sort of like a missionary.” We secular Jews don’t have missionaries. I didn’t even know missionaries existed. I thought American Indians probably killed them all off. I never heard of a missionary. I never met a missionary. So I said, “Why do we need missionaries?” We just got TV. This is 1977. You just beam it right in. And he said, “Do you mind if I give you a presentation of the gospel?”

And I didn’t know what he meant. “Sure, go ahead.” So he opened up his Bible, and he drew a little picture of a man on one side and God on the other, and the chasm of sin separating us. And he opened up his Bible and said, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I said, “I’m not a sinner.” He was a bit surprised. I said, “I’m not. I never killed anybody. I never robbed a bank. How could I be a sinner?” In modern secular Judaism, it’s not little things that make you a sinner. It’s not this Christian thing like, “I just sinned again, it’s terrible.” It’s just blissfully unaware of any of this. It’s very calm. As long as you don’t rob banks or kill people, you’re not a sinner.

And then he turned to a verse in Matthew 5, verse 28. And it says, “Jesus said, if you look at a woman with lust for her, you’ve already committed adultery with her in your heart.” And that really hit me. It really hit me because I was addicted to pornography from the age of 14. I started working in a gas station just outside New York City on the highway, and men would throw away their magazines, and I’d pick them up. “Why should I even care what some guy 2,000 years ago said? I didn’t know Jesus was Jewish. Did you know Jesus was Jewish? Who knew?” The rabbis told us that Jesus was Christian. They did. I didn’t know Jesus was Jewish. And so why should I even care?

Encountering Jesus

But what happens is, when Jesus is getting hold of your heart, his words have enormous power. And all of a sudden, I was convicted of my sin for the first time in my life. And I said, “If I just look at a woman with lust for her, I didn’t know how to look at a woman any other way. That’s the only way I knew.” And then you’ve committed adultery with her already in your heart. And I knew adultery was wrong. That was one of the 10 Commandments. And all of a sudden, he had my attention.

Then he goes through the gospel message of how there’s nothing that I can do to deliver myself from my sin, but God has paid the price by coming to this earth in the form of a man named Jesus Christ. “It means it’s God. It’s God trying to reach out to us.” You know, there were these guys in college, they had tropical fish. I don’t know if any of you own tropical fish, but if you don’t, don’t get them. They’re terrible. And these guys, they would have special food, special rocks, special lights, pH had to be just right, salinity, and they died all the time, but they were beautiful. And every time the guy would go near the fish tank, the fish would swim behind the rocks.

The Incarnation Explained

He could never get a good look. And he said, “You know, I wish I could become a fish, and I could just tell them that I’m not going to hurt them, that this person means no harm to them. He just wants to enjoy them.” And it’s very much like that with God, that he wants to have a relationship with us. So he says, ‘I’ll come as a man, but if I just come as a man, they’ll still fear me. But I’ll be born among them, and I’ll grow up among them.’ It’s an amazing story. And I’m just listening to this story.

And then this man says, “I will take the death that you deserve because of your sin, because the wages of sin is death, the Bible says, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” “I’ll take that death,” Jesus said. It’s an amazing picture of love. “If any of you are parents, you know the way you would defend your child to the death. You would give your life 100 times if you could for your child.” And he gave his life for us. And I heard this message. And then he rose from the dead.

The Resurrection as Hope

This is the thing that gives hope. Jesus rose from the dead. Look at scriptural evidence. Jesus appeared in the morning. It wasn’t a foggy night. In the morning, he appeared to a group of women, first a woman, Mary, and then another group of women. He appeared to his disciples. He appeared to people over a period of 40 days, over 500 people at one time. And hallucinations are never shared. So if these people are hallucinating, they’re not going to be sharing it, certainly not 500 people. And Paul said, ‘You go and ask the people. They’re alive today.’

“Go ask them.” When he first appeared to his disciples, he says, “They thought they were seeing just like a ghost.” Jesus said, “No, no, come here, come here. I want you to touch me. See, I have flesh and bones. You see, I have. I want you to touch me.” And he says, “You got something here to eat?” And they gave him a piece of fish and he ate it. He ate it right in front of them. And when he first appeared to his disciples, they were all there except Thomas wasn’t there. And they told Thomas, “Hey, we’ve seen the risen Savior.” Thomas was like, “Come on. I don’t believe that. Must be an imposter, you know, some guy, white robe, beard, long hair.” He said, “I’m not going to believe it unless I stick my finger into the hole in his hands.”

The Tangible Evidence

And unless I stick my hand into the hole in his side because when Jesus was on the cross, they wanted to make sure he was dead. He was dead for many hours, but they still wanted to make sure. Says a Roman soldier thrust his spear into the side of Jesus and blood and water came out. Jesus is up high on the cross. The soldier’s down here, six-foot spear, thrusted into the side, probably under the rib cage, hit the main artery of the heart. Blood and water gushed out.

Why blood and water? The blood had already coagulated. You get this gelatinous phase of blood and you get this aqueous phase which is kind of pink, watery. That came out. He’d been dead for hours. This is what the Bible references.

Faith Confirmed Through History

This is what it talks about. It is into that hole that Thomas said, “I’m going to have to stick my hand.” Jesus appears to them again. He says, ‘Thomas, come here. I want you to stick your finger into the hole in my hand. Now, I want you to stick your hand into the hole in my side.’ Thomas is probably like, ‘it’s okay.'” Jesus said, “Come here.” Jesus commanded him, the risen Savior, “stick your hand into the hole in my side.” How could he resist? This is the risen Savior.

Thomas sticks his hand, it’s deeper. No imposter is walking around with a hole in their side big enough for a man to insert his hand and inviting people to insert their hand into it. Jesus had risen from the dead. Jesus appeared to them in Jerusalem, in Emmaus, the road between Jerusalem and Emmaus. He appeared to them up in the north, in the Galilee, indoors, out of doors. Over 40 days, he had a picnic with them on the beach. He cooked for them.

But there’s also extra biblical evidence. There’s evidence from the writings of that century. There was Tacitus, who was a historian. He was a brutal historian. He wrote, if he didn’t like you, he wrote amazing things about you. But he wrote accurately. He’s the one that tells us that Nero was the one who set Rome on fire, tried to blame it on the Christians. But as we all know, Nero did this. He wrote of how they were putting Christians to death. They would take fresh animal skins and tie it to them and throw them to wild dogs. But they were not recanting this confession that Jesus was alive.

Pliny the Younger, in Asia Minor, which is current day Turkey, he was a governor there. He’s putting Christians to death. And he writes a letter to Trajan. We have that letter. Trajan was the emperor at the time. He says, “I’m putting all these Christians to death. Am I doing the right thing?” They won’t worship your image. They’re worshiping Jesus as if he’s alive. Trajan writes a much shorter letter back. He says, “Yes, kill them. If they won’t worship my image, if they won’t recant their confession, put them to death.”

The Apostles’ Testimony

We have writings of the apostles on how they died. Some apostles, Peter was crucified upside down. One was boiled in oil, another was flayed alive, where they pin you to the ground and they peel the skin off you like you’re a fish. “What’s amazing is that these people were not dying for what they believed. I would die for what I believe. John would die for what he believes. Lots of people die for what they believe. Nothing unique about that.

These people were not dying for what they believed to be true. They were dying for what they knew to be true because they saw it with their own eyes. And nobody dies for what they know to be a lie. They’d be boiling that oil and the guy would be like, ‘Uh, psych, April Fools, let me tell you where we hid the body.’ You’re not going to die for this. This is a compelling argument. Jesus rose from the dead. In this, we have tremendous hope.

I don’t know what it’s like growing up in your generation. In my generation, I remember we were hiding under desks because the Russians were going to bomb us and we would practice jumping under our desks and the kids giggling. I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in this generation, but I know that there’s hope in Christ. There’s hope in him. Jesus has risen from the dead.

The Resurrection and Its Impact

And you know how I know that you embrace the resurrection, that God has impressed the resurrection already on your heart? It’s already there. It’s already there because you’re here tonight. If the resurrection were not already written on your heart, you wouldn’t waste your time with this. You’d be somewhere else. The truth of the resurrection is already there. It’s already on your heart. And all I’m asking you to do is to confess to that which is already there, the truth of the resurrection.

Jesus has risen from the dead. And in that, we have great hope. That is the fundamental behind the Christian faith, that Jesus has given himself for us. He died on our behalf. He was buried and he rose from the dead. In his resurrection from the dead, it shows that he can take us with him. And that’s what he promised. I will take you with me.

If you are here tonight, I call you to confess to that truth, that he’s already risen from the dead. The truth of the resurrection’s already there. That’s my story. That’s my testimony. And that’s what’s impacted my life and been the governing force in my life is that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. And I love him so much. Thank you.

Science and Faith

Now we’re going to get to John’s book: Can Science Explain Everything? Now I’m a scientist and I think I know the answer to this. All right? But we’re going to go through this because and I’ve read this before and I reread it again. And so John, tell us, can you be a scientist and believe in God? Can real scientists believe in God? Can real scientists believe in God? Are you always going to be a lousy scientist if you believe in God?

JOHN LENNOX: Well, I think there are two examples of the contrary sitting in front of this audience. The relationship between science and God is a very deep one actually. And even asking that question can show that we don’t know much about our history because science, modern science, is really a gift of the biblical worldview to the world. You think back of the pioneers of modern science. So you start with Galileo and then you’ve got Kepler, Newton, and you come on up through Faraday, Clark Maxwell, and so on. All of them were believers of God.

And C.S. Lewis put it very succinctly when he said, men became scientific. Why? Because they expected law and nature. And they expected law and nature because they believed in a legislator. So that’s the first thing that brings them together in my mind. And what I discover is that the scientific endeavor, the motor that drove it actually originally was faith in God because it was belief in a rational creator meant that it was natural as part of worship of God to study that creation. I was just a couple of weeks ago in Prague and I was talking to them about Johannes Kepler and how he said that God had written the way in which the world works in the language of mathematics, that kind of thing.

And that has always been a great inspiration to me. So I’m not slightly the least embarrassed in being a scientist and a Christian because as I put it, it was science, it was Christianity that arguably gave me my subject. And one of the deep things about this was, if you think of Kepler, what happened is fascinating. He became the Imperial mathematician in the 17th century in Prague. And he was working with a Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe.

And Brahe was a brilliant observer and he was observing the orbit of Mars. And he put Kepler to work and said, you’ve got to develop some way of understanding this in terms of circular motion because Aristotle had said centuries before that perfect motion is circular. And so the heavens above the moon are perfect so they must be circular.

So here was Aristotle’s worldview being imposed on science. And what Kepler did was step out of that. He said, it doesn’t work, I can’t fit it. So what I’m going to do is listen to the universe and see what it says. And very rapidly, he came up with the idea that the planets moved in equally perfect ellipses around the sun. And that was a profound move because what it is really saying that he believed the universe is contingent. That is, God could create it any way he likes. And if you want to find out, you go and look. And that is the genuine scientific attitude. And when these people discovered things about the universe, they didn’t say, oh, wonderful. We now know the law of gravity and you can deduce the planetary motions from the law of gravity. We don’t need God. None of them reacted like that.

Isaac Newton actually said, what a genius God is to do it that way. In other words, he didn’t believe in a kind of God of the gaps. I can’t explain it, therefore God did it. It was what he understood of the workings of nature that were evidence of God’s working. So that’s where I’d start that.

From Newton to Hawking

JAMES TOUR: Well, then how did we go from Newton to Hawking? They had kind of different views.

JOHN LENNOX: They had kind of different views, yes. It always intrigued me. And it’s a big question I asked myself. Isaac Newton, discoverer of the law of gravity, uses it as an argument for God. Stephen Hawking, genius, working on gravitation, uses it as an argument for atheism. And I thought, how do you get from one to the other? And it seems to me that there’s a lot underneath this that I can explain as follows.

I think Hawking, he was a brilliant mathematician, but, and I’m not saying this, one of our greatest contemporary scientists, Lord Rees, the astronomer, said this, that Hawking was a hopeless philosopher. In fact, in his book, the grand design, which is fascinating because he, like everybody else, sees that the universe gives an impression of design, and yet he tries to explain it away. And I want to argue that Hawking made this mistake. Why? Because he had a false understanding of science. Now, that’s a pretty big thing to say if I’m a world-famous cosmologist.

And secondly, he had a false understanding of God. Let me address the first one, and two of them, if you don’t mind, briefly. Think of science, I like to put it this way. Why is the water boiling? Well, because heat energy is being transmitted through the copper sides of the kettle, and it’s agitating the water molecules, and it’s boiling. That’s why it’s boiling. Well, yes, it is, but it’s also boiling because I want a cup of tea. Now, think of those. Those are two different explanations, aren’t they? But think of them. They don’t conflict, they don’t compete, they complement each other.

And in fact, outside the lab, the tea explanation is by far the most important. People have been enjoying tea for millennia before they knew anything about heat transfer. Now, the interesting about that is, let’s extrapolate that up to the size of the universe. You see, Hawking says explicitly, you’ve got to choose between science and God. You can’t have both. And I wondered about this for years. How could you possibly say that? Well, you can say it if you think that the God explanation is the same as the scientific explanation.

Dawkins believes that. So one excludes the other. But you see, working on the basis of that illustration, I’ve said to you, I can put it this way. God no more competes with science as an explanation of the universe than Henry Ford competes with automobile engineering and physics as an explanation for the motor car. They’re different kinds of explanation. One is in terms of science, law, laws of nature, and so on. The other is in terms of an agent. It’s a totally different kind of explanation.

And a lot of heat is taken out of the so-called science-God tension if we realize that. To sum that up, science tends to answer the questions, how does this work? And why a function? Why is that bit there? Etc. It doesn’t answer the question, why of purpose? That can only be answered in terms of an agency. And to have a complete explanation, you need both. And what I contend for is we need to think seriously about what it means to explain.

You see, when I went to school, some of my teachers weren’t very good. And I was taught that the law of gravity explained gravity. But it doesn’t. Newton realized that. But he put it in Latin. That’s why people don’t know it. He said, non fingo Hypotheses. I don’t make hypotheses. I don’t pretend to know what gravity is. No one today even knows that. Now, if you don’t believe that, read Richard Feynman, one of your finest physicists of the last century.

What he did was he found the law of gravitation, which enables you to do calculations accurate enough to put a man on the moon. But it doesn’t tell you what gravity is. So that explanation only tells you part of the story. It’s very important to realize that, even within science itself.

Choosing Between Science and God

Now to the second part. Choose between science and God. Well, there are different kinds of gods. And unfortunately, Stephen Hawking, like Dawkins, got mixed up with his gods. And what he’s thinking of, and it took me a long time, I’m afraid, I was a bit slow in the uptake, to realize that often their concept of a god is the Greek concept. People didn’t understand lightning or thunder, so they postulated a god of lightning and thunder. And then you come to Rice University, you take atmospheric physics 101, and those gods disappear very quickly.

So science has got rid of lots of gods, and a good thing too. But you see, the God of the Bible is not a God of the gaps. We can’t explain it, therefore God did it. I sometimes say to people, have you read the first statement of the Bible carefully? It goes like this. In the beginning, God created the bits of the universe we don’t yet understand. Well, it doesn’t. It says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” That is everything. The bits we do understand, the bits we don’t.

And I’ve already said that Newton’s reaction was, the bits that we do understand give evidence of God, of an intelligent creator. Just like if you understand something about art, you will see much more in the genius of a Rembrandt or a Picasso than I can see, who know nothing about art. The more you understand, the more you admire the genius of the person behind it. And suddenly I realized that what Hawking was doing is saying that you’ve got to choose between science and a Greek god. That’s a totally different question.

And you see, they have the habit of saying, I had a debate in Oxford with a number of people. Dawkins was there, but he didn’t debate. And it was put to me rather cynically that I was an atheist. And the explanation was, well, then you’re an atheist with respect to Baal, Zeus, Astarte, and all these gods. And I admit, I am totally atheistic with regard to all of those gods. And then Michael Shermer, who was the person there, he gave a big smile and said, we just go one God further, and we add Jehovah to the list.

He hasn’t a clue about the ancient gods, but there are people that have a clue. Werner Jaeger, world expert in Oxford on the Greek gods said this, listen carefully. He said “The difference between the Greek Babylonian Assyrian gods and the biblical God is this, that those ancient gods were descended from the heavens and the earth. They were products of the chaotic creation. The God of the Bible created the heavens and the earth.” There’s a massive difference. And science doesn’t displace that God.

In fact, if God hadn’t created the universe and scientists, there’d be nothing there to study, and there’d be no scientists to study it. So it seems to me that we can answer this question. How do you get from Newton to Hawking? You get there by making fundamental mistakes about the nature of science and the nature of God.

Faith and Science: A Misunderstood Relationship

JAMES TOUR: Okay, good. Before I ask the next question, I’m going to ask you to take off your glasses because I think they’re hitting your microphones and I don’t want to, perfect, perfect. All right, so what do you think of this statement? “Religion depends on faith, science depends on fact.”

JOHN LENNOX: Depends which religion? That’s the first reaction, which is hopeless really as an explanation of anything. But what lies behind this is a total confusion as to what faith means. If you look at some dictionaries and certainly talk to many atheists, I ask them all the time, what is faith in your view? And they say faith is a religious word that means believing where there’s no evidence. Both of those statements are false when it comes to Christianity because faith actually has two meanings in the English language. It has an objective meaning and a subjective meaning.

The objective meaning is in phrases like the Christian faith, the Jewish faith. That is, it’s a set of things to be believed. But then there’s your faith and my faith that can be in anything. You could have faith in the, what do you call them, the astros? You know what I’m saying?

JAMES TOUR: It’s hard to have faith in them sometimes.

JOHN LENNOX: But you see, you’re all laughing, which is great because you understand what I’m saying about this. Faith is not just a religious word. It’s an ordinary word. In English, it comes from the Latin fides. And we get another word from fides, fidelity, trustworthiness, all these ideas. So faith in the atheist sense often is what most people would define as blind faith. And that is totally false. Now, let me make a couple of things very clear.

First of all, the Christian faith is not blind faith. John, when he’s writing his explanation, just after he talks about the evidence for the resurrection that Jim has so brilliantly summarized for us, he describes why he wrote his gospel. And he says, “Many of the signs Jesus did, which are not written in this book, but these are written in order that you may believe, have faith that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing and that having faith, you might have life in his name.” In other words, here’s the evidence. And those signs were mostly what we call the miracles of Jesus. They’re pointers to who he is. They’re evidence upon which faith is to be based.

You’d be crazy to believe in Jesus if there was no evidence. And we are used to this. You remember the financial crisis? You know why it happened, in the opinion of some. We thought we could trust the bankers. But unfortunately, there was a lot of things going on behind the scenes, and there was a huge crash. And it took a long time before, quotes, trust came back into the market. All of us know, because of that crisis, the difference between evidence-based faith and blind faith. And if you go in to get a mortgage for your house, you try saying to the bank, oh, just believe me, I can pay this back. Just trust me. They won’t just trust you. They will ask you for collateral evidence and all the rest of it.

We live in a world where trust is hugely important in all areas of life. Your exercised faith, by coming here tonight, you believed there was going to be a talk and a discussion at seven o’clock. So actually, you believe in absolute truth, but that’s another thing. The point is, we are all, now here’s the big thing. Everybody is a person of faith. The BBC phoned me up, that’s our British Broadcasting Association, phoned me up some time ago and they said, Professor Lennox, we’d like to talk to you in an interview about faith schools. And I said, oh, I’d love to do that. I said, shall we start with the biggest group of faith schools? And he said, what’s that? Well, I said, secular schools, because they’re pumping out atheism. And there was dead silence.

Oh, he said, I was going to talk about Christian schools. I said, look, every school’s a faith school. There’s not a school that isn’t promulgating and teaching a worldview. And that was the end of the conversation and I wasn’t interviewed. Because this is a hugely important thing. That if we need to get it into our heads that every person has a worldview that they believe. And you read incredible things written by atheists.

Christopher Hitchens, who I debated a couple of times, is amazing, blessed, the late Christopher Hitchens. He says in one of his books, our beliefs are not a belief, our faith is not a faith. And that is absolute nonsense. And Dawkins wrote, atheists have no faith, and then there follow 400 pages on what he believes. Absolutely incredible. And can I tell them a story? Would you like a story? I debated Peter Singer and you can watch it. And I told the audience what I told you that my parents were believers in the debate. And he came back and he said, well, there you are. That’s my biggest objection to religion.

People stay in the faith in which you were brought up. And I thought this is going to be real fun. So when I got the opportunity to speak, I said, Peter, I told people honestly where I’m coming from, but you didn’t. Tell me, were your parents atheists? He said, yes, they were. Oh, I said, so you have remained in the faith in which you were brought up. Oh, but he said, it isn’t a faith. Oh, I said, Peter, I’m sorry, I thought you believed it. And cyberspace went mad at that point.

Here is one of the world’s most famous philosophers from Princeton. And he doesn’t say that his atheism is a belief system. That’s a pretty serious thing, you know. And it’s hugely important. So in answer to the question, faith on the Christian side is evidence-based. Now it comes to the scientific side. Faith is essential to science. I was taught quantum physics years ago at Cambridge by professor, the late professor Sir John Polkinghorne. And in his book, he points out this quote, “Physics is powerless to explain its faith in the rational intelligibility of the universe.” Why? Because you have to believe that before you do any physics at all.

Putting it simply, if you’re going to be a scientist like Jim Tour here, you have to believe that science can be done. You’ve gotta be committed to that. That’s your belief, that’s your cradle. And Einstein, he once wrote, “I cannot imagine a genuine scientist without that faith.” He didn’t mean faith in God. He meant faith in the mathematical intelligibility of the universe, which means that we can, at least in part, understand what’s out there in terms of mathematics. And all scientists believe that.

So the idea of saying there’s faith over here and that’s religious, and there’s science over here that doesn’t involve faith is totally false. That’s why I will never give talks on science and faith because that’s an atheist formulation. I often say to people, do you want me to talk about God? And they say, sure. I say, it’s not in the title. Oh, yes, it is faith. No, I said, I can give you a talk about faith and science and faith in God, but you didn’t mention God. So I better not talk about him. Oh, please do.

Understanding Evidence-Based Faith

JOHN LENNOX: So it’s very important to realize that, folks. What Jim was talking about, and it’s hugely important, is that there’s a solid evidential base historically and in our experience that Jesus rose from the dead because the implication of what we were told is that he can be met now. And that is one of the biggest evidences to me the transformation that has occurred in my life and that of my family and over the years knowing God’s guidance. So evidence-based faith is science and it’s also in Christianity.

Let me put it another way. One of the big deceptions of the contemporary scene is this, that science and rationality are coextensive. Hence, can science explain everything? No, it can’t, because rationality goes well beyond science and it’s a good thing, because if science and rationality were the same thing, half the faculties in this university would have to close. There’d be no languages, history, economics, because those aren’t natural sciences. They’re rational disciplines. So is philosophy and theology. So the natural sciences are powerful because they’re limited and the greatest scientists can see that very clearly.

Interpreting the Bible in the Scientific Age

JAMES TOUR: Thank you. So tell me the Bible. Can we really take the Bible literally when we have the scientific world? Could it be taken literally or is it just a bunch of stories?

JOHN LENNOX: Well, neither actually. I don’t know anybody that takes the Bible completely literally. Jesus said, “I am the door.” What was he made of, steel glass or plastic? Now, I know you laugh at this, but this is a serious business. The word literal is totally inadequate to define the categories that we meet in any literature and language. And we make a huge mistake here. The Bible is the revealed truth of God. I believe it is true and it is the words of God revealed to us. But the language that’s used is not always literal language. Otherwise, it would be monumentally boring.

Just think of this. I remember sitting on a plane in Australia and this Australian said to me, big chap, he said, “What have you been doing in my country?” I said, “I’ve been teaching the book of Revelation.” And he said, “Man,” he said, “did you take that literally?” And I said, “When people like you ask me a question like that, I say to them this, ‘Israel was a land flowing with milk and honey.'” Now I said, “How do you take that? Do you take it literally? When the Israelites came in, they met a great sticky mess of honey and milk coming rushing down the main street of Jerusalem.” No, I said, “A chap like you would take it spiritually.”

The Role of Metaphor and Literal Meaning in Scripture

Israel was a land full of the milk of the word of God and the honey of the Holy Spirit. And he thought I was completely crazy. And I said, “Look, let’s analyze it because it’s actually quite interesting. Israel was a land.” Is that literal? Of course it is. The milk and the honey were literal. There was good grass and cows and produced good milk and there were bees and flowers and so on. Flowing is a metaphor. So you’ve got literal bits in that and flowing. But now here’s the mistake that people make. They think that because there’s a metaphor used, it’s not real.

Now C.S. Lewis taught me a great deal. I used to listen to him lecture, but he taught me a great deal through his writings. And one of the things is this, a metaphor always stands for something real. You see, if I said to you, “I was watching Jim Tour yesterday and he was flying down the campus road. It is the only car yesterday at Rice.” Now, what do you think? Would you say it was 50 feet up in the air or 75? Of course you wouldn’t. Jim’s real, the campus is real and he’s driving fast. That’s a reality. So let me come back to Jesus’ claim.

“I am the door.” Jesus is not a literal door, but he’s a real door. He’s a real doorway into, at this level up, a literal experience of God. That’s what you’ve been describing. The problem is folks, the word literal is hopeless. It’s almost useless. And scholars have now reserved the word literalistic for the base level. But for language to be living, we use metaphor all the time.

See, if I say to you, “I met Fred the other day and his heart’s broken,” would you send him to a surgeon? No, because you’re describing with a metaphor a very real and literal experience of anxiety and anguish. Do you get the meaning? So, the first thing to realize is what is the nature of any literature at all? And the way we speak to each other is full of metaphors and that makes it interesting. God does exactly the same thing. In Genesis 1, it says, ‘and God said‘.

Does that mean God’s a voice box and lungs like we’ve got? Of course not. Because God is Spirit. So what does it mean? It means he communicates. In what way? We haven’t a notion. But we can understand from our understanding of what speech is, that this is describing real communication. Does that make sense to you? So, my approach to that is to be very aware of how language is used. Now, having said that, I will repeat what I said before. I believe in the full inspiration of scripture as God’s word. Now, what was your question, Jim?

JAMES TOUR: I’m afraid you used the word literally. Can we take the Bible seriously in this scientific world?

JOHN LENNOX: Of course we can. Of course we can. At all kinds of different levels. Now, there are many different levels of this. And I was introduced as a young person, as a teenager, to the kind of evidence you’d want to ask for something that’s an ancient historical document or claims to be. Is it true to history? And is there evidence of that? Now, let me just take an example of that.

The first Christian history was written by Luke. Now, Luke is the most interesting person. He’s the only scientifically trained person that writes in the New Testament. Probably studied medicine at Alexandria, which is a brilliant center of it. But he was also a brilliant historian. Now, all the technical language he uses for various city officials, for places, have been checked and checked again. And he gets them all right. And scholars will tell you it’s one of the most accurate descriptions of the ancient world, much of it checkable.

Now, that’s the kind of thing that ancient historians can assure us as are the facts. Now, I was amazed to read in Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion, where he said a good case can be made that Jesus never existed. Well, he’s fair enough to say, actually, I don’t go down that route. And he quotes a professor, though, who believes that. But I did a bit of checking. Who was that professor? He was a retired professor of German. Not an ancient historian at all.

Then I checked with the ancient historians, and I find that whether they’re atheists or not, there is scarcely one in the entire world that doubts not only that Jesus existed, but that much of what the New Testament says about him, including even the resurrection appearances, are true to history and happened. Now, that kind of thing, I find, is very helpful. The manuscript evidence for the New Testament is huge.

I was taught Caesar’s Gallic Wars at school, but they never told me, and I may not remember this accurately, that the first actual documents that we have of Caesar’s Gallic War were written 900 years or so after the events, and there are very few of them. We have 5,000 manuscripts, at least, of the New Testament. Some of them go back into the second century. The documentary evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament is the greatest documentary evidence we have for any book from the ancient world, and that’s a good start.

And so my response to it is that we’re talking now not about the natural sciences. We’re talking about what I would call forensic science. When you’re talking about the past, you can’t have science in the narrow sense of repeated experimentation. That’s true in science as well. You cannot repeat the history of the universe in the lab to see what happened. You have to make inferences about the past from what you perceive in the present. A lot of science, of the kind that Jim does, is experimental science where he writes a paper, and he expects and believes that it can be reproduced by anybody else in another laboratory.

That’s one kind of science, but there’s also, that’s inductive science. There’s another kind called abductive science, inference to the best explanation, and a forensic scientist uses that all the time. If A happened, we’d expect B to happen. Well, we see B, so it’s a reasonable inference that A did happen. You can’t prove it conclusively, but that’s the same with scripture. We can get at it. We can get evidence by arguing in that kind of way, and we can approach the resurrection that way, and Jim has demonstrated that in what he said earlier.

So it’s a rational discipline, and therefore I believe there’s very, very strong evidence at that level, but in the end, to me, the strongest evidence is when I, and this will sound sentimental to some of you, but I don’t mean it to be, when I hear the voice of God through his word. That’s what ultimately convinced me. When I sensed something speaking to me from through that word and beyond it that had the ring of deep truth, and that’s hugely important, and that’s what I’d expect.

If scripture is actually God’s word, then God’s speaking, and he’s speaking still, and one would expect to experience that. The trouble is we’re so busy, we fill ourselves with noise, we anesthetize ourselves with headphones all the time, and we don’t have time to listen to the still, small voice, or really start, as adults, reading scripture and saying, God, speak to me. I think that is, in the end, the best way of establishing the reality of it. Yes.

JAMES TOUR: Now, before I ask the next question, I have forgotten my time sheet. Zach or somebody, tell me, what time do we go to the questions? 8:15. Okay. So we’re going to take one more question.

Understanding Miracles in Scripture

JOHN LENNOX: Here’s a tough one. Miracles. What’s with the miracles in the Bible?

JOHN LENNOX: The word miracle comes from the Latin miraculum, something to be wondered at. And so we say that of people you know. It’s an absolute miracle that Jane passed that last exam because she didn’t do any work for it. Now, we’re not talking about that kind of thing. You see, in scripture, they’re called signs. The word miracle is Latin. It’s not Greek. They’re called signs, and what I want to emphasize is the biblical claim is these are supernatural things, and the resurrection is the prime one of them. It’s evidence that this world is not the only world there is.

Now, here you come up against Scotland in all its brilliant Enlightenment 17th century force with David Hume who said, and it’s influenced millions of scientists ever since, “Miracles are violations of the laws of nature, and therefore essentially they cannot happen and are not believable by anyone who has any pretensions to be a scientist.” Now, David Hume was wrong, and I got to know late in his life the chief interpreter of David Hume, Professor Antony Flew, and late in life he came to realize that Hume was wrong too. And he came to realize and believe that there was some kind of God that was really deism behind the universe.

And I interviewed him, and I said, ‘What about human miracles?’ And I’d never heard such a humble statement from a brilliant philosopher. And he said, you know, he said, “I was wrong about Hume, and all my books would have to be rewritten, but I’ll never live to do that.” Now, what’s the problem with Hume? Miracles are violations of the laws of nature. I suspect on this campus there are little notices that used to put fear in me as I drove around the United States, “Violators will be towed.” Do you know that notice?

JAMES TOUR: Oh, yeah, I know that notice.

JOHN LENNOX: Violators will be towed. That’s a violation of civil law. Now, here’s the problem. The big confusion is that the laws of nature are the same as the laws of the state. Now, and violation is exactly that kind of term. You get put in jail for violating a state law. C.S. Lewis put it brilliantly, so let me tell you his analogy. I’m staying here in Houston. Now, just imagine I’m in a hotel, and on the first evening, I put $100 in my bedside drawer, and on the second evening, I put another $100 in my bedside drawer. The third day I’m leaving the hotel, I open the drawer, and there are $10 in it.

Now, what do I conclude? That the laws of arithmetic have been broken, or the laws of the state of Texas? You know which. The laws of Texas, yes? How do I know that? Because the laws of arithmetic have not been broken. You see, $100 plus $100 is $200. And it was true yesterday, the day before, and today. And because I know that, I know that a thief has put his or her hand in and taken $190 out. Do you understand that? It’s very simple. I find some professors may just understand it. It’s too late at night for jokes, isn’t it?

This is hugely important, the confusion about this. You see, the interesting thing is, in order to recognize that a thief has put their hand in, you have to know about the laws of arithmetic that they don’t get broken. Now, hold that in your mind for a moment. God has made the universe, and what we call the laws of nature are our descriptions of what normally happens. If I drop an apple, it will fall, according to Newton, towards the center of the earth. That doesn’t stop you catching it and not hitting even the floor. In other words, they describe what will happen unless the parameters, the setting is changed.

Exploring the Intersection of Science, Faith, and Miracles

JOHN LENNOX: And the laws of nature can’t prevent that. So that’s hugely important. Now, Hume had a second point, and he said it was very easy to believe in miracles in the primitive days of the New Testament because they didn’t know the laws of nature. That is totally false. Joseph was engaged to Mary. Do you remember what happened? And she came to him and said, “I’m pregnant.” Did he know where babies normally come from? He certainly did. And we are told that he wanted to divorce her privately because he was a good man. He knew exactly where they came from. And so he didn’t believe her story until God intervened and gave him such a supernatural shock that he realized that this is something of God and he had to accept it. And wonderfully, he did.

Think of the blind man in John chapter 9. If you look it up afterwards. Here’s a man Jesus cures of his blind. And there’s all sorts of argy-bargy with the theologians. This wasn’t the man. He wasn’t blind and all this kind of thing. And the man said, “Look, since the beginning of the world,” he said to these theologians, “it has never been heard that a man born blind gets his sight back.” So he recognized this wasn’t a violation because, you see, let me put it this way. Back to the resurrection.

The resurrection of Jesus was not caused by natural processes going on in the grave five minutes before the resurrection. God raised him from the dead. That’s an entirely different thing. You see, God creates a universe and he builds into it certain laws which we recognize and that helps us to recognize when God does something special. He doesn’t break any laws. He feeds something new in from outside and then the laws of nature take over so that when Mary conceived by the power of God’s Spirit, nine months later, as Dr. Luke tells us, a child was born. So he is actually using a law of nature there to demonstrate to us the authenticity of this story.

Finally, Luke is very interesting. I said he was a medic. His gospel shows us exactly that they understood this prime objection. Luke starts with a story, not about Jesus, but of Zacharias, a priest. He believed in God. He was praying in the temple. He obviously believed in angels that were supernatural because he talked to one. But this particular angel that appeared while he was praying said, “Your prayers are heard. You’re going to have a child.” Now, he just didn’t believe it because he was very old and so was his wife. And he said, “We are old.” And he pointed out the law of nature that he and everybody else knows that you get too old, mercifully, that you can’t have children anymore. He knew that. That was the law of nature.

So he was being challenged to believe that God could do something. He didn’t believe it. And the angel said, “You’re going to be dumb until it happens.” Oh, that’s powerful, isn’t it? If you don’t believe that God can turn the physical clock back, you’ve got nothing to say. There’s no transcendent dimension in your message. And he was silent until he admitted that God was going to do something. So Luke understood perfectly the very first part of his gospel is devoted to telling us that the people of the first century understood this objection as much as a 20th century physicist. And that’s one of the reasons why.

Science has nothing to say against the idea of a God who creates the universe, builds regularities into it that we can understand. You see, you have to know the laws in order to recognize a miracle. If I didn’t know that the normal thing was for dead bodies to remain dead, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised by a resurrection. Would you? No. So it’s a complete misunderstanding. And therefore, we can, I believe, with moral intellectual integrity, as scientists, announce to the world that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fact both of history and of his huge implications in our experience.

JAMES TOUR: Well, I guess that means that the answer is no. Can science explain everything? And it’s no. All right. With that, we’re going to shift and we’re going to take questions from the audience. So, Zac, you’re going to lead us through this, right?

QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION

ZAC MCCRAY: Yes. Well, what a wonderful conversation that we’ve been able to witness tonight. And what an incredible blessing to have Dr. Lennox and Tour here to just share their heart and their faith with all of us. My name is Zac McCray. I am an alumnus from Rice University, but more excitedly, I am the chapter director and campus minister for Ratio Christi here at Rice. It is an apologetics ministry geared towards equipping believers to have answers for why we believe what we believe. And we love to host conversations like this.

As our mic handlers go to the middle level, you’ll notice that there are two very handsome and very faithful men. We have Andy Dennis, who is the chapter director, the campus minister for Baptist Student Ministries. We are so thankful for his work in organizing this, mobilizing students. And also Joshua Montgomery, who is our campus minister for Crew. And we are so grateful for your hard work in all of this. And thank you to CityRise, to Western University Baptist for helping put this on as well.

And so with that, if you would form a line in front all the way towards the back, our mic handlers will be on this middle level. Do not go past them. They will have the mic. They will hold onto the mic. And that is how you’ll ask your questions. So, Dr. Lennox, would you mind explaining how you want the questions to be asked?

JOHN LENNOX: Well, I know that in an audience like this, we all want to hear everybody else’s questions. So what I’m going to do is listen to four or five questions before we answer any of them. That’ll give you all an idea of what’s buzzing around in your minds. So state your question briefly. I’ll write it down. You can go and sit down, and the next person, and we’ll alternate perhaps from side to side. And I’ll collect some questions, and then we’ll look at them. So number one.

ZAC MCCRAY: I wrote it down also, but several years ago, Drs. William Dembski and Robert Marks II from Baylor University developed three conservation of information theorems, also known as the no-free-launch theorems. They show that basically complex information like what we find in DNA and other complex molecular machines could not have been created by natural processes. Do we go too far if we affirm that these three theorems are the closest that we get to proving scientifically the existence of God?

JOHN LENNOX: Thank you. Number two.

AUDIENCE: Dr. Lennox, so you mentioned some of the readings from Genesis 1. Certainly on a surface reading, you could see that God has blessed us not only with telling us that he created the world but also giving us a bit of insight into how. But in addition, you’ve also talked about the difference between the inductive method and abductive sort of sciences recently. How would you kind of characterize the gap that seems to be there between the way most people view cosmological history versus the way that Genesis 1 describes how God created the universe?

JOHN LENNOX: Okay, thank you very much. Three.

AUDIENCE: This is a question primarily for Dr. Tour, but Dr. Lennox, I’d love to hear your perspective on this. Why are so many scientists so quick to propose a sort of naturalism of the gaps as opposed to just saying, we don’t know, and as Plato’s citing Socrates, we’re going to follow the evidence where it leads? Thank you.

JOHN LENNOX: Okay, four.

AUDIENCE: A question I get a lot by my fellow students in my science classes is how we can explain as Christians the geologic and earth time scale. And I would just like to know how you would explain that and if it’s all the science is wrong on how we date the earth or if our understanding of it is not up to par. Thank you very much.

JOHN LENNOX: Five.

AUDIENCE: I was curious, so we talked a lot about…

JOHN LENNOX: It’s a very good thing to be curious. Well, I’m very glad.

AUDIENCE: We talked so much about different types of evidence and I’m curious specifically on the evidence after the resurrection appearances of all the power that the early church experienced from God and all the various miraculous outpourings that were no longer simply authenticating Jesus’ own words in his lived ministry, but the church’s own experience of what God was doing after he had ascended. The question is, why do we in the West not regularly see the same type of events, in your opinion, and is that something that can be rectified and used as evidence? Thank you.

JOHN LENNOX: How many are left up there? Six?

AUDIENCE: It’s like the same question as four, I think. Like, what is your opinion of the 6,000 years versus like the fossils of all the things that we examine? Like the year of the earth, how do we…

JOHN LENNOX: Oh, okay. Fine. Got it. You know, this is a great method. I just keep writing until the time’s up and then I go home. Is there another person still standing? One more question then. Okay, seven is a lovely number. We’ll take one more and then we’ll have a look and we’ll have another go later if we have time. Your question, sir.

AUDIENCE: I’ve heard you say in debates that if you arrive at a belief in a moral law, you can posit a moral law giver. And to me that’s intuitive, but to some agnostics and atheists it is not. And I was wondering if you were able to articulate a logical connection from moral law to moral law giver that might convince somebody that it’s not so intuitive to.

JOHN LENNOX: Okay, thank you very much. Now, Jim, you heard these. Which of them are you going to take first? Is there any one of those you’d like to…

JAMES TOUR: Well, there was only one directed to me, so I…

JOHN LENNOX: Okay, you take that one.

JAMES TOUR: Read it to me again.

JOHN LENNOX: Which one was it?

JAMES TOUR: It was the one directed to me. I think it was Paul’s question. What was it, Paul?

The Nature of Scientific Inquiry and the Bible

JOHN LENNOX: The naturalism of the gaps.

JAMES TOUR: Why don’t scientists just come out and say, “I don’t know.” I don’t know. I don’t know why they don’t just come out and say that. Because clearly we don’t know many things when it comes to the origin of life, when it comes to the origin of information, when it comes to the origin of how chemical bonds would come together, the origin of the assembly of a cell. We just don’t know.

I think it takes a philosopher to maybe begin to get at why scientists are so prone to not say, “I don’t know.” The question of the origin of life is so fundamental to who we are. How did we get here? I mean, this is a real fundamental question. It sort of predates anything else. And we can’t even answer that one. So maybe that’s why they feel compelled to do that. It’s hard for me to get into their brain while they’re doing that. And that’s my frustration with it all the time. And that’s why I keep poking them and pushing them, and they keep avoiding me. I’m done.

The Age of the Earth and Interpretation of Scripture

JOHN LENNOX: Okay, well, you notice, and this is why it’s helpful to collect questions. There are three questions out of the seven on the same topic. Did you notice that? And they’re all about the age of the Earth. Do you want to know how old the Earth is? It’s quite a bit older than me. So let’s have a look at this, because it bothers many people. And I want to say unnecessarily so.

I gave a speech at my old school two weeks ago. And my old school, I must confess this at the beginning, you see, and you’ll see why in a moment. My old school was founded by an archbishop and a mathematician. The archbishop’s name was Usher. And he calculated the age of the Earth. Well, he wrote to the vice chancellor of Cambridge University a letter, a famous letter. And he said, “Dear sir, I have worked out that Adam was born at 9 o’clock on the 5th of October, 4004 B.C. I am sorry that I cannot give any more precise information than that.” And that has gone down in history as Archbishop Usher’s young Earth chronology.

Now, I was standing beside his successor, who is the chairman of the governors of my school. And I turned to him and I said, “Sir, Usher was a historian and so were you.” Now, Usher’s interesting because many people laugh at his calculation. What they don’t know is that both Newton and Kepler made an almost similar calculation in that time. We never hear of that. But I said to the archbishop, “Your Grace, he was sitting here, I said, I suspect you probably reckon the Earth and the universe are about seven orders of magnitude older than that.” But I said, “Whatever the answer to the question is, we must not forget that he got one thing absolutely right. And that is there was a creation.”

Now, the most important thing about this is not when it happened, not even how it happened, but that it happened. And you know, it took centuries before people came to it. I was at Cambridge in the 1960s, not the 1860s, the 1960s, when the first evidence, really strong evidence from the microwave background came in that the universe was a finite age. Do you know, many people today don’t know, that the scientific establishment resisted that fiercely.

The chief editor of Nature, the world’s most famous scientific magazine at the time, a man called Maddox, said “We shouldn’t go down this line that there was a creation at a finite time in the past.” He wrote, “It gives too much leverage to people that believe the Bible.” That is one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the 20th century was resisted because it paralleled what scripture said.

Now come to the 21st century, and I was in a very prestigious gathering of physicists, philosophers, and so on. And I was the token Christian. And I was asked to say something about this. And I got up and said something about creation. And I was heckled. A leading scientist stopped me dead, and he said, “Professor Lennox, stop. You are joking. I hope you’re joking. If you suggest the Bible has anything to say to us in the 21st century.” Wow! I said I wasn’t joking. In fact, I said, “It’s interesting. Of course the Bible isn’t a textbook of science. I don’t teach algebra from Leviticus, and I never will.”

But it does talk in certain places about exactly the same physical universe that scientists study. “In the beginning, God created the very heavens and earth that you study.” And not only that, it’s got the idea, which is very new in terms of science, that creation is finite backwards in time. There’s huge mathematical work been done on this that is very convincing. Now I said, “I’m going to make a suggestion. If you, scientists, had not been so wedded to Aristotle and his eternal universe, you might just have looked more carefully to see if there was evidence of a finite age of the universe long before you did.”

And of course, that was a pretty devastating thing to say. But it’s hugely important. It’s the fact of creation that is a finite time backwards. Now, does the Bible say anything about that? Now, of course you can interpret the Bible as saying something about it. So I want to say something about this. You see, if we were having this evening lecture 500 years ago, that question would not have been asked. Not once, let alone three times. But I’ll tell you what question would have been asked three times. Somebody would have stood up in each of the lines and said, “Dr. Lennox, Dr. Tour, what are we to make about this crazy chap in Italy claiming that the earth moves when the Bible says it doesn’t?”

The earth is fixed on pillars, says the Psalms, so that it should not be moved. And this crazy chap is saying it does move. Now, help us to really get a grip of the fact that it doesn’t move. Just let me ask you, how many of you in this audience believe the earth doesn’t move against the background of the fixed stars? How many of you? Goodness, I thought I was in a place with some people who believed the Bible. Now, this is very interesting, you see.

You do believe that the earth moves, and yet the Bible says it doesn’t. Now, how has that happened? It’s happened because there was, first of all, Galileo, the first moving earther, and everybody else was a fixed earther. The philosophers, the Aristotelians, plus the Catholic Church. But then there were one or two more moving earthers, as they began to be convinced. And now the whole lot of you are moving earthers. But you haven’t necessarily given up your conviction that the Bible is true. Why?

Because we can see that when the Bible speaks about the earth being fixed, it’s not talking about being geometrically or spatially fixed. It’s talking about something much deeper, and that is stability. And the Bible refers to this. He’s made summer and harvest, they’re fixed things, and they depend, the stability of the earth and its orbit, for example, depends on gas giants and inverse square law of gravity and everything else. And we’re happy with that. But for centuries it was difficult. Now, come with me if you can.

It seems to me a very similar thing is happening with your question. You can believe, if you want, that the Bible says the earth doesn’t move. You can believe it. But you don’t have to. Now, I want to argue, briefly, that you can believe that the earth is young and the universe is young, but you don’t have to, because the Bible doesn’t claim it. Now, let me try and establish that briefly. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And then you have a sequence of days. Remember that? Six days and a day of rest.

Now, here’s the interesting thing. In the Hebrew language, the first statement, “In the beginning, were the heavens and the earth,” and the earth was this and that, is made in one Hebrew past tense. The tense changes to another past tense for the description of the days. You can establish that. I asked, to be fair, the professor of Hebrew at Oxford and the professor at Cambridge, and they agreed, amazingly, that this is what it says. Now, what does that mean?

Well, Professor Jack Collins, who was a scientist and is now the chief translator for the English Standard Version of the Bible, which you may be aware of, says, I quote, “It means that the first statement occurs at an indefinite period before the second.” What does the Bible say about the age of the universe and the earth? Absolutely nothing. So why fight about it, folks? Why? I meet people, not so many in the UK and Europe, but I do meet people who’ve been put off the gospel and say there’s a flat contradiction. But there isn’t in what the Bible says. There is only a contradiction between it and the dating given by cosmology these days on the basis of a certain interpretation of the Bible.

Now, I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. I don’t believe that every interpretation of it is. And we’ve got to separate between those two things. So linguistically, it seems very clear that we cannot be dogmatic here. Now, there’s a lot more to be said. But people say, look, the word yom means a day, a 24-hour day, and that’s the finish of it. But just a moment. You see, what I’ve just told you is quite subtle. Because it means that no matter what you think the days are, the universe isn’t young because its creation occurred in an indefinite period before the days.

So the interpretation of days is not affected by the question of the age. But now let’s come to the days. I’m amazed, frankly, that people don’t read this text. What’s the first mention of day in Genesis 1? “And God called the light day.” And the darkness he called night. How long was that day? It certainly was not 24 hours. At the equator, how many hours is it? Yes, 12. So, where does this insistence come from? That every time the Bible uses the word day, it’s 24 hours, when the very first one isn’t.

Now let’s look at the second one, if you will. “And there was evening and morning, the first day.” That is usually taken to be, although there’s some controversy about it, as the Hebrew way of saying a normal 24-hour day. So let it stand. That’s the second meaning of day. Now we come to the third meaning of day. “And God rested on the seventh day.” Have you noticed there’s no formula? “And there was evening and morning, the seventh day.” Why is that? Right from the early centuries of Christianity. And Jewish interpreters understood that to mean that God is still resting from creating. When did God start creating again? He never did. So that Shabbat day, the seventh day, is still going on. That’s a pretty long day, isn’t it? And it’s in the text. So that’s three meanings for the word day. Now we come to the fourth one.

The Complexity of Language in Genesis

JOHN LENNOX: Chapter 2, verse 4 of Genesis says, when God created the heavens and the earth. That’s what the English translation says. The Hebrew doesn’t. It says, in the day God created. What day was that? Tuesday or Thursday? No. You know as well as I do. You’ve heard people say, they often say today for some reason, back in the day. Do you know that expression here? What day was that? Sunday or Wednesday? No.

If I say to you, in my young day at Cambridge, you have to be back in your college at 10 o’clock at night. You would never say what day was that. Because my young day is an indefinite period of time in the past. So there are four meanings for the same word in a text of 100 words. What does that tell me? Be very careful. But you need to be even more careful. Because if you read most English translations, they say the first day, the second day. Do you remember that? That’s not what the Hebrew says.

Hebrew has a definite article. Ha. Hayom. The day. It’s not used for the first five. Not interesting. The translators, I’ve spoken to professors of Hebrew that never noticed it. The definite article is used on days six and seven. The sixth day. The seventh day. They’re special. The sixth day God created human beings in his image. The seventh he rested. But actually what it says is day one, day two, day three, day four, day five, or a first day, a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth. Now if you just had that text, what would you deduce logically? Well, you could say those are the six days of an earth week. Are they? Necessarily.

But suppose they were days of the sort that of evenings and mornings. Day one, God creates something. Day two, God creates something more. When is day two? How long after day one? The text doesn’t say. It’s a creation day. Day three. So you see, the text itself, once you begin to think about it, opens up all kinds of possibilities. So I wouldn’t be dogmatic about it.

The Universe as a Word-Based Creation

JOHN LENNOX: The thing to emphasize though is what these days are telling you. And it’s vitally important. And God said, repeated all the time, this is a word-based universe. That is the exact opposite of a random, unguided evolutionary process, ladies and gentlemen. And it’s hugely important because this is the information age. And Genesis and John’s Gospel, which packs it together in the brilliant statement, in the beginning was the Word. The Word is primary. The material universe is derivative.

In the beginning was the Word. That is the Word already was. The Word is God, is eternal. All things, now unfortunately the translators have not been strict enough. All things were made by Him. That is true, but it’s not what it says. All things came to be through Him. It’s an existence statement. So you’ve got the Word is primary. The material universe is derivative. The basic naturalism that we were being asked about earlier is the exact opposite of that. The material universe is primary. The life, mind, and the idea of God is derivative. There is no real God. It’s the exact opposite.

And what is so important is this, that this information age, we’ve now come to the point where in science people recognize that information is a quantity irreducible to physics and chemistry. And that’s hugely important. The Bible has seen it centuries ago.

The Information Age and the Existence of God

And that’s one of the evidences to me that although Scripture says very little about how God did it, it does enough to say it fits with everything we understand. And that relates to the question about a law of conservation of information. The Demski, and so on.

Now, I’m not really qualified to answer your question because this statement has come in for some of the fiercest criticism from theoretical computer scientists. And I think the fair thing to say is that the judgment is out. So, I don’t think we can say this is the closest we get to evidence of God. The fact that this is an information age is a far closer piece of evidence because we have two major levels of this.

Number one, I’ve said it before, the basic faith of the scientist is the universe is mathematically describable. That is evidence of a mind behind the universe. In biology, we have lived to see the fundamental biological unit, the human genome, the DNA molecule, is an information-bearing molecule. The longest word we’ve ever discovered in four chemical letters, 3.4 billion letters long. And, you know, look up there. E-X-I-T. You, you see four letters. You know that has a meaning. And you will deduce immediately that whatever physical processes went into producing that, there’s a mind behind it because it has a meaning.

And yet, some of my colleagues can look at the DNA molecule with the word 3.4 billion letters long and say it was chance and the laws of nature. There’s something going wrong, folks. And I’ve pointed that out to many a scientist. And they’ve no answer to it. You know, I say to them, tell me the origin of what you do science with, your brain or your mind. They don’t believe in the mind, many of them, so I leave it with the brain. And they say, well, the brain is the end product of a mindless, unguided process. And I smile at them and I say, and you trust it.

Tell me honestly, if you knew that your computer that you’re going to use tomorrow in your lab was the end product of an unguided, mindless process, would you trust it? And from every scientist I’ve asked that question with hesitation, I’ve had the answer, no, I would not. And I said, I see you have a problem.

Miracles in the Modern World

So a word-based universe, Genesis has much more depth than many people realize. So we don’t need to get in a panic about it. And as for your question, it was Peter Medawar, the Nobel Prize winner, that suggested there might be a law of conservation of information. But I myself, and it’s a defect of me, I don’t really understand enough of the mathematics to be able to have a verdict on it. But I certainly believe that much more powerful evidence than that is the fact that Genesis has been confirmed at the level there is a creation, there was a creation event, finite, backwards in time, however long.

And secondly, that this universe shows every evidence of being word-based. There is an intelligent God behind it. Now, we have two more questions. Jim, do you want to take one of them?

JAMES TOUR: I’m not sure I want to, but read it to me.

JOHN LENNOX: Well, there’s one about why don’t we see miracles of the kind going on in the New Testament today?

JAMES TOUR: Yeah, I mean, I try, but you’re going to have to help me out here, John. If you look at the New Testament, you see miracles happening very early on in the Book of Acts. And they tend to get less and less. The Book of Acts is over a very long period of time. And if you look at the number of miracles, there’s not a lot for that long period of time. There’s not as many as you would think. And then as you move beyond the Book of Acts, you see less and less of these. So clearly there was a witness that was going on early on, but it’s not as many as you think because the Book of Acts covers a long period of time. And plus it gets less and less with period going on. I don’t know. Is that right, John?

JOHN LENNOX: Well, that’s the impression you get. And that’s not only true of the New Testament. It’s true of the Old Testament. These supernatural events clump together. There are very few in Genesis. There’s a bunch of them in Exodus with Pharaoh coming out of Egypt. There then is a long period with very little until you get to Elijah, and you get a bunch of them there. So it seems that the pattern of Scripture is that God doesn’t always intervene in this way. And I believe that’s because that he’s not going to browbeat people into believing and is therefore careful before he uses what I would call overwhelming force because God is interested in us responding to his love freely. So I think that that’s true.

The second point I’d make is this. If you go to certain remote parts of the earth like where I’ve been in Rwanda and spoken to missionaries who have directly to deal with what one can only describe as demonic forces, and they tell you what happens from time to time there, you very rapidly come to the conclusion that they’re telling you the truth. There is a real evil spirit world and in dealing with it, there are clearly supernatural events happen.

Now the third thing I would say is evidence of miracles in the sense of the supernatural happens every time a person becomes a Christian believer and their lives are transformed. That is the key evidence that God is real, that he offers up to us the fact, as I said earlier, that he’d give us peace with God, free us from guilt, and give us a new power to live. And there’s endless evidence of that. It’s an absolute miracle that a man I know is a medical doctor and he was in Rwanda and he was telling me of his operating under fire. And I said, however did you as a doctor come here?

He said, I was studying at the University of Seattle and I was a top student and I was coming to my final exams and I didn’t know enough about pain. So I went to the bookshop and there in the window there was a book, The Problem of Pain. And I thought it was a medical textbook. And I bought it, it was by C.S. Lewis and I became a Christian through reading it. And here I’ve been here for years in the depth of Africa. That’s a miracle. And that kind of thing happens again and again.

So the emphasis has changed, but the miracle of the transformation of life has not changed. And the final question was your question about the moral law. Does the existence of a moral law imply a law giver? Now this is a fascinating question and I did a degree in ethics to try to find out some answers to it. And this would require another lecture, but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to just make one or two suggestions. Tonight we have mentioned part of what I might call the intellectual argument for the existence of God in terms of the way in which the universe, we see it, a word-based universe and all the phenomena of it.

The Interplay of Science, Philosophy, and Faith

We’ve said very little about scientific results. We’ve said quite a lot about the nature of science and the philosophy of science. But then there is the fact that to many brilliant people through history has given evidence of God. I mentioned Immanuel Kant. And on his tombstone, there is written a very famous statement. “The heavens above me and the moral law within me,” they’re the things that persuade him that there is a God. Now there’s a huge question here because, and we need to ask it, in a world that says it’s post-modern, it’s relative, there are no absolute morals. Now most of that is nonsense because the statement that all morals and truth are relative is an absolute statement.

And so it’s funny, isn’t it? The very statement all truth is relative is an absolute statement. So it accepts itself. So it’s incoherent logically. And we need to watch for that. It’s a sure test of logical incoherence.

The Essence of Morality and Its Implications

But having said that, we find ourselves to be moral beings. And we ask ourselves what explains that? Now I think Lewis started me off in understanding this. He talks about instinct. Is it instinct? Now I’m out in the woods of Siberia and I’ve been there. And it’s cold and it’s dark. And you hear a cry for help. So one instinct is, let me get out of here. Another instinct is, I ought to go and help. And Lewis says, what is it that decides between those instincts? It can’t be an instinct.

There’s something over and above our instincts. Now that starts to point upwards. Now if you have peeked at the Bible and done a spoiler alert, which is a very good thing to do, you will discover in the early pages of the Bible that morality is defined vertically before it’s defined horizontally. What do I mean by that? That in the first part of Genesis, the first section, chapter one, the Word creates the universe. We’ve seen that. But in the second part, the Word defines morality. They were in a garden. The basic parameters of morality are, you’re free to eat everything except that one thing. No, not quite that. They were free to eat the whole lot. But one thing was forbidden.

They had to be free to eat it or else there would be no morality. They’d simply been automata or robots. So those are the basic parameters for humans to be a moral being. And it was God that defined that. So the claim is that just as the universe points up to a word that’s transcendent, so the moral universe that we find within us points upward to something that is transcendent.

Atheism and Morality: A Philosophical Examination

Now let’s bring the atheists in. J.L. Mackie was a brilliant philosopher in Oxford. And he made the point long ago. He said, if there are moral absolutes, there’s a very easy, logical path to the existence of a lawgiver, a God who created them. Now he was an atheist, and you can read his book. Now I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Russia, and the Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, once said, “Если Бога нет, то всё дозволено,” and of course you all know that that means if God does not exist, then everything is permitted. Now what did he mean?

He didn’t mean that atheists can’t behave. Of course they can, because they’re moral beings made in the image of God. What he meant was there is no rational justification for morality if there’s no God. Now I quoted Nietzsche tonight. Nietzsche said the same. And Nietzsche was a real atheist. He wasn’t a timid, soft atheist like Dawkins or Hitchens. He was a hard atheist. And he could see that once you lose God as the anchor, you lose morality. And that’s hugely important.

And listen to Dawkins explain it to us in the clearest of terms. His atheism leads to a moral-less universe. Let me quote it. “This universe is just what you’d expect it to be. If at bottom there is no good, there is no evil, there is no justice. DNA just is and we dance to its music.” Well, you see, that’s the end of all morality. And he is deducing the absence of morality from atheism. And the flip side of the logic is if there is morality, if there are absolute values, then there must be a God behind them.

The Universality of Moral Principles Across Cultures

Now are there absolute values? Have you ever met anybody saying who believes that torturing babies isn’t wrong? There are absolute values. You know C.S. Lewis did a study of all religions and philosophies, there are many of them. And he wrote in the book that everybody should read who’s interested in the status of human beings. He wrote it in 1940. It’s called “The Abolition of Man.” And in an appendix, he says, isn’t it amazing that in every religion, every philosophy known to human beings, you find the golden rule as we call it: “Do unto others as you would be done by.” It is amazing. But it isn’t if you’re a Christian.

Because what it’s saying is morality is hardwired into humans. And the evidence is that you find it everywhere. And in fact, if it didn’t exist, all of society would collapse. We’d have no basis on which to argue with our fellow human beings. So that’s just the start of the answer to your question. Sorry it’s been so long. But it is very important. I believe there is a very strong moral argument for the existence of God. And therefore it seems to me these things build up. And these aren’t the only arguments. There’s an argument for beauty. The existence of beauty. And so on and so forth.

Closing Remarks and Invitation for Continued Dialogue

Now that’s the lot as far as I can see. We’ve done our best. Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for your questions.

ISABELLA: Thank you for so sincerely and wisely answering all of our questions and speaking to us tonight. Thank you Dr. Tour for also speaking and inviting Dr. Lennox. And I mean truly the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So we would like to give an opportunity to all of you to indicate interest in continuing this conversation or to give feedback. And so the feedback forms that you were given as you entered, please take a few moments to fill that out. If you do not have one, please raise your hand and someone will bring one to you.

If you don’t have a pencil, raise your hand, someone will bring it to you. And then pass those cards toward the aisle and someone will collect them. Additionally, just to wrap things up, there will be books for sale. “Can science explain everything?” out in the foyer and Dr. Lennox will be signing them. Have a good evening everybody.

JOHN LENNOX: I’ll sign a few books tonight. Thank you.

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