Reasons to Believe

Reasons to Believe through Music

By RTB Apologist Dr. Stan Lennard  

What is music to man? Music is manifold beauty. It expresses emotions of love, anger, joy, celebration, sadness and compassion. Music richly communicates information that has structure, meaning, plan and purpose as elaborate as in any advanced science, technology or philosophy.1 Its purpose is given action through creative expression2 and can be awesome in its majesty and power. It is composed with rules of order that assign specificity and pattern to complexity also found in such disciplines as mathematics, physics and molecular biology.3 Its expression demands justice to the rules of the score. Willful departure from the rules results in disharmony and chaos and becomes mere noise. In man music stimulates special interactive networks of synaptic transmission through neural codes. These codes ascribe unique patterns of melody and theme to assemblies of perceived and conceived frequencies, tempos, rhythms and harmonies, drawing upon an immense reservoir of informational entropy not by a process of blind chance but by the creative choice of human intelligence.4 Music is a language that is expressed only by man, distinguishing the uniqueness of human beings from all other creations.5 It links man's physical being with the soul and spirit.6 It is more ancient than man, preexisting and transcending man's physical temporal existence in the Mind of God.7

The character of God is outlined by Lee Strobel in his book The Case for a Creator.8 The portrait of God that emerges from scientific data is consistent with the description of God in the Bible. He is Creator, unique, uncaused, timeless, immaterial, caring and personal. He expresses will, is the Source of all intelligence, information and wisdom, and He is rational. The creations of God manifest His design, plan, meaning and purpose, and He is enormously powerful in His actions. Through Him we have identity and purpose, and He has provided for us to receive the hope of everlasting life.9

Music also expresses the character of God with the precision of science. The Christian musician Steve Camp has described the character of God in music. He states in "The Character of Christian Music"10 that it is He who has given us music, (1 Chronicles 16:7-36) and its ultimate aim is to glorify Him (Psalm 18:1-6; 105:3). It encourages council, warns, corrects, comforts and teaches truth (1 Chronicles 25:1-5). It describes God's glorious deeds, His inscrutable ways, His attributes and character. It describes His preeminence as the only true God and His eternal reign as Sovereign Lord and King (1 Chronicles 16:8-36). Music flows from a life where His Word richly dwells and out of the life that is filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit (Colossians 3:16-17; Ephesians 5:17-20). Life in the Spirit and life in the Word are identical, bearing the fruit of music that honors the Lord (1 Timothy 1:18-19). It gives expression to the Gospel and is identified with Jesus Christ who is our strength and our song (Exodus 15:2). Music of the redeemed through Jesus Christ is new, distinctive, glorious, pure, true and beautiful (Psalm 33:3; 96:1; 149:1; Revelation 5:9-10). Music is creative and redemptive (Psalm 96:1-13). It expresses worship and praise to the One Triune God (1 Chronicles 25:1-8). The angels sing, the elect sing, and the day will come when we will hear Jesus Christ "sing praise in the midst of the assembly" (Hebrews 2:12; Revelation 15:3-4). It is the only art that has a place in heaven and will endure for eternity.11

David Bailey has beautifully said, "Like God, music is invisible and intangible, but undeniably powerful. Like God, music moves [one] emotionally, though often [we] do not understand why. Like God, music does not yield to [our] efforts at logical analysis, although it is infused with logic, order and beauty. And when [we] want to praise God, and words utterly fail [us], [we] can play a joyful bluegrass riff on [our] mandolin and trust that He knows exactly what [we] are trying to say."12

In his book No Free Lunch, William A. Dembski relates that certain Church Fathers as Gregory of Nazianzus have compared God's created universe to a musical instrument. Dembski states the following:

But what if the universe is like a musical instrument?...Then it is entirely appropriate for God to interact with the universe by introducing design (or in this analogy, by skillfully playing a musical instrument).So long as there are consummate pianists and composers, player-pianos will always remain inferior to real pianos. The incompleteness of the real piano taken by itself is therefore irrelevant here. Musical instruments require a musician to complete them. Thus, if the universe is more like a musical instrument, it is appropriate for a designer to interact with it in ways that affect its physical state. On this view, for the designer to refuse to interact with the world is to withhold gifts.13


When we sing or play music on instruments, we should "feel His pleasure,"14 acknowledging God's immanence and providence and design. We are giving witness to our Creator and Savior and King who indwells us and has given us reasons to believe through music.

Subjects: General Apologetics

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References:

1. Fred I. Dretske, Knowledge and the Flow of Information (Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications, 1999), 1-82.; Werner Gitt, "Information, Science and Biology," Technical Journal 10, no. 2 (August 1996),181-87; John R. Pierce, An Introduction to Information Theory, 2nd revised ed. (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1980), 107-124.

2. Gitt, Ibid, 181-187.

3. William A. Dembski, The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2004), 134-138.

4. W. Maxwell Cowan and Eric R. Kandel, Synapses (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 1-87; Rodney Douglas and Kwan Martin, The Synaptic Organization of the Brain, ed. Gordon M. Shepherd (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 459-509; Idan Segev and Michael London,  Dendrites, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 205-230; Spikes: Exploring the Neural Code, eds. Fred Rieke, David Warland, Rob de Ruyter van Steveninck, and William Bialek (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999), 103-187; Nelson Spruston, Greg Stuart, and Michael Häusser, Dendrites, eds. Greg Stuart, Nelson Spruston, and Michael Häusser, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 231-270.

5. J. W. Poulshock, Christ and the World (Tokyo: Journal of tokyo Christian University, 1998), 81-91.

6. Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man (New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc., 1977), 21-68.

7.Paul Davies, The Mind of God: The Scientific Basis for a Rational World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), 161-193; Ronald H. Nash, The word of God and the Mind of Man (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1982), 59-69; Hugh Ross, Beyond the Cosmos, 2nd ed. (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1999), 69-70.

7. Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 273-292.

9. Ibid.

10. Steve Camp, The Character of Christian Music, Part Three, http://www.bargenquast.com/steph/theses/theses.html.

11. Ibid.

12. David Bailey, "God and Music: Intangible and Powerful," Washington Post, July 2, 2006, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/30/AR2006063001144.html (accessed March 15, 2007).

13. William A. Dembski, No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002), 328.

14. Chariots of Fire, Hugh Hudson, director; (Burbank, CA: Warner Brothers), 1981.