The God of Feathers

The God of Feathers.001 (1)

by Ken Dahlstrom,

Planner, Lockheed Martin

Special Guest Writer

When William Paley published a book affirming God’s existence, Natural Theology, in 1802, he began with an argument derived from some thoughts you might have if you were walking out in nature somewhere and came across a stone as well as a watch, both lying on the ground. Wondering how each came to be there, it occurs to you that for all you know the stone might have been there since the beginning of time. Whatever natural processes it might have been through in the history of its existence, whether upheaval from the earth’s interior by volcanic activity, or formation under pressure by some geologic activity, or erosion by exposure to sun, wind, and rain, you would not in your wildest imagination suppose that the same processes produced the stone and the watch. Even an evolutionist would not be childish enough to believe, as if in naively awesome wonder, that the watch just formed itself out there in nature as the stone did.

We know a watch had to be crafted by men who knew principles of design and manufacture. They had to employ all the craftsmanship needed to produce each detailed part and assemble them all into a well-functioning product. Since the chances of nature just happening to match all the processes of the watch factory is essentially zero, we know that watches do not “just happen” without the directed intelligence of everyone in the watch corporation carrying out every operation in every step of the process of making a watch. The same could be said of any and all man-made products since the dawn of time. The work that went into making them was no accident. But what about objects that obviously are not man-made, whose apparent design and complexity is beyond anything man ever worked out? Who designed and made them? Is there some extra-physical super-intelligence who has the power to make every living thing in the plant and animal kingdoms, as well as all the underlying atomic and subatomic building blocks common to every object in the universe?

Paley was almost 60 years old at the publication of his aforementioned book, born 100 years after Newton and Lavoisier, the founding fathers of modern physics and chemistry respectively. when Paley wrote:

  • The United States of America was a newly independent nation.
  • The Industrial Revolution was under way.
  • The Restoration Movement in the Lord’s church was building influence.
  • It would be another 60 years or so before Darwin would publish his rebellious treatise (Origin of Species, 1859), before electricity was well understood (Maxwell’s equations, 1861), and before the Civil War (1861-1865) and the end of American slavery.
  • It would be about another 100 years until the Wright brothers’ first flight (1903), Einstein’s famous five papers (1905), and the U.S. Census’ first recognition of the “Christian Church” as a separate entity from the churches of Christ (1906).

For the time when Paley lived, he wrote with amazing insight.

Now suppose we were to include in Paley’s argument a feather, alongside the watch and stone. We could begin to address some properties of flying objects. Of course, you could make a stone or a watch fly by throwing it, whereby you might actually find that they make better ballistic objects than feathers. Newton’s thoughts on gravity were based on this type of flight, that is, an apple falling from a tree and cannon balls falling to their targets. Imagine if you had a cannon powerful enough to launch a ball so far that it would not return to earth, but just continue to fall around the Earth in an orbit, as the moon does. But this motion is not the self-powering, sustained flight for which feathers were designed. We know that a feather does much better when it is attached to a bird with all its other feathers and parts that make birds supremely good flyers. Yet what bird was ever crafted by an army of workers at a bird factory?

Now that we are dozen years past the 100th anniversary of flight, we have seen 112 years of incredible development in aircraft design by many companies and their factories. During that time, design has progressed from wooden frames covered with fabric to all-aluminum structures to combinations of titanium and thermoplastic composite materials; and from piston to jet to rocket-powered engines. Man now flies cargo around the world and into space as a major part of the human economy. Still, man never has invented a feather approach, as found in bird designs, or matched many other elegant flight and glide designs found in nature, from insects to reptiles to mammals such as bats and flying squirrels.

Shouldn’t even the evolutionist admit that the feather, unmatched in all of human aviation technology, was designed just as the watch was? It obviously did not “just happen” any more than the watch did. If you could wait millions of years for a result, you would find that no amount of time would be sufficient to make feathers just appear out of the ground any more than watches would. Even if man supposes in his arrogance, as Pharaoh’s magicians did, that he can copy what God does, the feebleness of his attempts will be apparent sooner rather than later (Exodus 8:18). There must be an almighty Creator Who designed and made the rocks and trees, the skies and seas, and all that fills them. Moreover, He did not need to use evolution to produce flying creatures from land animals. He created flying creatures on the fifth day, the day before He created the land animals (Genesis 1:20-23).

  • “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
  • “The Lord has made all for Himself” (Proverbs 16:4).
  • “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7).

Proponents of evolution who are looking only for naturalistic explanations simply do not want to see the purpose behind the obvious intelligent design in nature. Instead, they deny God, writing books like The God Delusion and The Blind Watchmaker. But who is really deluded and blind? God (the “watchmaker”), or men who are unfaithful to God? There were some Pharisees who once asked Jesus, “Are we blind also?,” after He healed a man born blind. Jesus’ conclusion was, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but not you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” Jesus was sent by God His Father and came into the world to redeem man from his sin, because He is so good. Jesus even said, “No one is good but One, that is God” (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19). That is what Paley affirmed in the last chapter of his book, the chapter titled “The Goodness of the Deity.”

  • “For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness” (Psalms 5:4).
  • “I know also, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness” (1 Chronicles 29:17).
  • “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation” (Psalms 149:4).

Why would anyone not want to stand with the God Who loves his Creation, which He created to show His love to His glory? Why in the name of science would anyone want to oppose God with something as unscientific as evolutionary theory? Are there not plenty of believing scientists who adhere to true science based upon scientific method? They do not have a problem with natural laws God created, which can be verified experimentally. Don’t students in school do such lab work regularly to verify Newton’s law of gravitation, Ohm’s law of electrical resistance, Boyle’s law, etc.? What experiments verify that one species can transform into a completely different species, even a vastly different kind of organism? The closest thing to such experimental verification of evolution are researches that prove only that there is microevolution. That is, species have the capacity to produce minor variations. Yet all those varieties can interbreed, being still of the same kind. All dogs have been proven genetically to be descendants of gray wolves. The Soviet farm-fox experiment has produced similar results in the domestication of foxes, with the appearance of many dog-like features in tame foxes. Farmers have, over the centuries, produced many varieties of cattle, pigs, chickens, rabbits, etc., that came from some basic early progenitor, yet each variety is still within its own kind. Nothing ever became some totally different kind of animal. In other words, there is no macroevolution. Things still produce seed after their own kind, just as God established at creation (Genesis 1:21-25).

Whether it has been natural selection producing varieties of wild species, such as the finches Darwin observed, or artificial selection producing varieties of domesticated species, as discussed above, species remain perpetually within the limits of their own kind. Repeating lies to the contrary is not science. It’s just lying. God has a special place prepared for all liars (Revelation 21:8), and especially for the father of lies, the devil (John 8:44). It is the broad way to destruction, down which Christians are not going (Matthew 7:13). We follow the narrow way to life, though it is difficult, for many do not want to believe what Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

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