A bit of wisdom, from the beginning

by Robert Blomgren

In the last Pietisten, there were a couple of articles dealing with the New Atheists and Science v. Religion. In my reading of various reviews of Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, even his fellow atheists pan what they refer to as his “freshmen” atheism. I think it is fairly clear that the foundation for the atheism of the Four Horseman of Atheism (Dawkins, Dennett, Harris and Hitchens) is Science, with a capital “S.” So it is important to try to understand what has been happening in science over the last 50 years.

John Lennox, of Oxford, in his book God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God, and David Berlinski, in his book The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, deal with how the scientific evidence of the last decades does not support the claim that chance and necessity are all that is required to put together the universe and all of life. When referring to life and taking into consideration the information content of DNA and the complexity of the organisms required to support life, there are also a growing number of scientist that have had to conclude: It did not happen by chance.

In 1949, a “bit” was defined by Claude Shannon as the smallest possible quantity of information.1 In 1989 the physicist John Archibald Wheeler, a pioneer of nuclear fission, offered up the catchphrase: “It from Bit.” He went on to say “every it – every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself – derives its function, its meaning, its very existence ... from bits.”2

For hundreds of years, Genesis 1:1 has been translated from the Hebrew as “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” But Israeli physicist Gerald Schroeder writes that in the Hebrew:

“The opening word, usually translated as ‘in the beginning,’ is Be’reasheet. Be’reasheet can mean ‘in the beginning of,’ but not ‘in the beginning.’ The difficulty with the preposition ‘of’ is that its object is absent from the sentence; thus the King James translation merely drops it. But the 2100-year-old Jerusalem translation of Genesis into Aramaic takes a different approach, realizing that Be’reasheet is a compound word: the prefix Be’, ‘with,’ and reasheet, a ‘first wisdom.’ The Aramaic translation is thus ‘With wisdom God created the heavens and the earth.’ …Wisdom is the fundamental building block of the universe …In the processes of life it finds its most complex revelation. Wisdom, information, an idea, is the link between the metaphysical Creator and the physical creation. It is the hidden face of God.”3

Romans 1:20 also reminds us: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

So we are without excuse, and “It from Bit” affirms what both science and the Bible have been trying to tell us for thousands of years: “With wisdom God created the heavens and the earth.”

1. James Gleick, 2011, The Information, Pantheon Books, 229.

2. Ibid, 356.

3. Gerald Schroeder, 2002, The Hidden Face of God, Free Press, 49.