Saturday, February 15, 2014


 Objective Evidence of God.

The Knowledge of Good and Evil – (1942)

C.S. Lewis was a professor at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, a novelist (whose works of science fiction have been adapted for stage and films) and a convert from atheism to Christianity.  Called “the Apostle to the Skeptics” Lewis’s most influential works (including Mere Christianity) offer a rational basis for Christian faith.  Seventy-two years ago, when the Evil of Nazism appeared about to triumph over all that was good, the BBC asked C.S. Lewis to explain to the people of the British Isles exactly what Christians believe and why.  In the midst of breaking news of death, unspeakable destruction, and spreading human suffering, millions tuned-in to hear this gentle, humorous, scholar speak of decency, fair-play, and the innate morality instilled in human beings by their Creator.  The first series of talks was entitled – RIGHT AND WRONG AS A CLUE TO THE MEANING OF THE UNIVERSE.

In these talks, which were later published as the first section of Mere Christianity, Lewis argues that mankind’s innate sense of Right and Wrong (our universal internal standards of good and evil) are evidence of God’s existence and reveal God’s essential nature.  His premise is simple; only the existence of a fair, loving, and just Creator can rationally explain this aspect of human nature.  Those who sought to refute Lewis did not attack his premise; but rather objected to the evidence he sited as proof of a universal, innate standard of right and wrong.  The critics argued that Lewis was mistaken, that right and wrong are not “universal” but differ across cultures, and that our “moral” values are “learned” not “innate.”  They concluded that since morality is learned and differs between cultures, there is no evidence of God.

The Origins of Good and Evil --  (2013)
Last year, Paul Bloom, professor of psychology at Yale University, published a non-fiction review of the results of over a decade of research into the ability of babies to discriminate between right and wrong (good and evil) – Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.  After studying hundreds of infants as young as 3 months of age, Bloom and his colleagues concluded that human infants are born with:
  • Ø  a moral sense – some capacity to distinguish between kind and cruel actions
  • Ø  empathy and compassion – suffering at the pain of those around us and the wish to make this pain go away.
  • Ø  a rudimentary sense of fairness – a tendency to favor equal divisions of resources.
  • Ø  a rudimentary sense of justice – a desire to see good actions rewarded and bad actions punished. (quoted from the Preface).

These are astounding and revolutionary assertions, as evidenced by reactions of the general public, and journalists (including CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who ran four segments on the Yale research in Feb. 2014).  Scholars, including Lewis (1942), Thomas Jefferson (1787),  Adam Smith (1759), Robert Wright (1994) who strongly believed in man’s innate sense of morality, are vindicated by empirical studies, that support their observations and conclusions.

Explanations – Scientific and Theological

As a scientist, I know and respect Prof. Bloom from his earlier work in cognitive and linguistic development.  When he discusses the evolutionary sociobiological advantages that might be derived from a moral sense that supports “good” assistive, compassionate, positive interactions and avoids “bad” negative, obstructive, rude interactions, I respect his explaination.  In contrast, Bloom oversteps his evidence when he rejects possible interpretation of his data as evidence of a moral code, implanted by God.  This explanation cannot be rejected on the basis of Bloom’s research.

While Lewis is no longer able to defend his position, Francis Collins (physician, scientist, and Director of the National Institutes of Health) advances essential arguments.  In his 2006, book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Dr. Collins seeks to bridge the chasm between science and faith (Part One).  This book is a must-read for all interested in the great questions of human existence (Part Two); faith in science and faith in God (Part Three); and the moral practice of science and medicine: bioethics (Appendix).

Francis Collins is the leader of the international Human Genome Project, and possibly the world’s most distinguished living scientist.  He announced the completion of the mapping of the human genome in a joint, worldwide, satellite-carried conference with President Bill Clinton and Prime Minster Tony Blair.  He concluded his announcement of the most significant scientific accomplishment of our lifetime by saying, “It is a happy day for the world.  It is humbling for me, and awe inspiring, to realize we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God.”   As Dr. Collins directs the course of our nation’s medical research, he receives his direction and guidance from the Creator.  His book is a must read, especially for young people of faith, struggling to reconcile science and religion.

As a Christian, I find the Yale research exciting.  Knowing that the tiny, sweet baby, who is brought before the congregation for Christening or Blessing already possesses moral sensitivity, empathy, compassion, fairness, and justice, is overwhelming.  God has placed these sensibilities within the soul of His youngest Creation, and our responsibility is to encourage the development of what God has already endowed.  God gave each of us the “Knowledge of Good and Evil.”  She gave us an internal guide to right and wrong, and that which we call a conscience to alert us when we depart from right.  However, as Dr. Bloom’s research indicates, even babies sometimes choose “wrong” over “right.”  God gives us the guide, but allows us to choose the way we will follow.

Based on the following Books:

Bloom, Paul Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.  Crown Publishers, New York (2013).

Collins, Francis S. The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. Free Press, A Division of Simon & Shuster, Inc. New York. (2006).

Lewis, Clive Staples.  Mere Christianity, HarperCollins (1952) (1980) (2009).

Smith, Adam. The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Multiple Editions (1804 original).

Wright, Robert. The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, New York. (1995).