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The DNA of Handel's Messiah by Simon J. Woodstock

1 March 2019
 March 1, 2019

The DNA of Handel’s Messiah: The Concert of Musical Abstraction, Immaterial Minds, and Microbiological Considerations

 

By Simon J. Woodstock

 

While this blog article (that essentially turned into a mini-position paper) certainly intends to present several comprehensive evidences for the existence of the Christian God, on equal grounds, it sets out to encourage music enthusiasts to travel beyond the regular passive variety of musical experiences (as essential as they are in their own right) towards contemplating some of the deeper, philosophical aspects of the applied sound arts. Thus, considering music’s oft overlooked potential contributions to the discipline of Christian Apologetics.[i] This writing, then, will progressively discuss several topics related to the afore stated tasks; subjects such as the definition and origin of music (with a biblical model presented in contraposition to the secular approach), the philosophical categorization of musical notes as they immaterially exist (and their concerted interaction with human minds); and, how a composer and his specific musical composition might serve well in analogical illustration, effectively offering corroborative support for God’s existence. Also, this will be done while taking a close look at some of the characteristic similarities between classical music and certain aspects of the microbiological world, using George Frederic Handel’s Messiah and bacterial cells as comparative/contrasting examples. Mind you, there is a helpful futuristic, illustrative thought experiment included as well, so hang on to your seats as I present to you what is intended to be a strong, philosophically coherent, biblical based assessment of some of the apologetic aspects of music in relation to some of the other sciences.

 

A Working Definition of Music

 

Let us start out by asking a very not so easy to answer question – what is the definition of music? While a proper response warrants an article of its own, the following basic definition should serve our present purposes well. Broadly defined, music is “the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity.”[ii] In accordance with this definition, referenced throughout this article are the “tones or sounds” that are ordered in succession (resulting in intelligent musical arrangements), also acknowledging that Western music fundamentally relies on 12 specific tones that standardly govern musical composition (e.g., the chromatic scale). And, it is these tones (used synonymously with the term “notes”) that will be referenced as we analyze some of the apologetic considerations of music.[iii]

 

The Historical Origins of Music: The Bible vs. Evolution

 

We shall now take a look at what is perhaps an even more challenging question to answer—Where did music, in fact, come from? When approaching this from the perspectives of historiography and archeology, further questions arise when trying to pinpoint exactly when music initially came onto the historical scene. Did human musical ability and interest evolve over a long period of time? Or, did musically able people rapidly burst onto the scene at a (relatively) definitive point in history? Basically, much is left open to interpretation, although there are extant musical instrument artifacts (e.g., some very ancient flutes) that have been excavated dating back tens of thousands of years that give us some archaeo-historical clues regarding origins.[iv] As far as said evidences go, assumedly music would have been played through these instruments (our referenced source dating them as old as approx. 43,000 years) so it almost goes without saying that music at least dates back that far in world history. Looking now for the historical origin of music from a purely biblical standpoint, we have the example of Jubal who “was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes” (Gen. 4:20-21) as the first mention of music/musical instruments in the Bible.[v] The biblical record, then, has music existing in the earliest reliably recorded genealogy of mankind; that is, the Book of Genesis (see endnote on angels and music).[vi] Of further important note, the findings of (even predominantly secular) archeology, when compared with the biblical record, are by no means in contradiction, as the earliest examples of flutes from approximately forty-three thousand years ago are ultimately not in chronological conflict with the biblical record of creation and/or its account of the inception of world history (see endnote on my views of the age of the earth).[vii] That being said, it is beyond such historical evidence that one must delve into the realm of speculation.

 

Contrasting, then, with the presented biblical view are the heavily speculative evolutionary/secular models, generally entailing that intelligent musical abilities historically developed “from the ground up” as humans (purportedly) progressed from apes to men over millions of years. Cutting right to the chase, there are major gaps/contradictions that exist between such evolutionary approaches and the factual evidence, and these problems essentially leave the secular views found wanting. For example, while the dating of the earliest flutes is in accordance with the biblical timeline of the inception of music, there is a considerable gap between the time of their dating and the evolutionary postulate that mankind (and subsequent developmental musical ability) began to progressively come on to the scene millions of years ago. That is, if the oldest extant musical instrument examples are approximately 43,000 years old, it would therefore be quite reasonable to conclude that the much more recent, biblical account of human origins would be the most consistent with the known facts of the world. Any purported Darwinian timeline of events would have to take an evolution of the gaps historical putty work approach towards placing early musical development anywhere that long (i.e., millions of years) before the forty-three thousand years ago mark.

 

It is no surprise, then, that evolutionary approaches are admittedly conjectural, and, upon further analysis, are also found to be conspicuously demeaning to the human race. As an example of this on both counts, evolutionist Cecil Forsyth offers the following brute speculation as to the earliest inception of musical beats, “We may suppose a time at the beginning of things when the naked savage squatted down on his native mud, his mind half entranced, passive and vacant to every influence of the wild, but still with a thirst in his nature which could only be quenched by the endless drum-drum-drum of his knuckles on the block earth. Beyond this we can imagine nothing but the animal.”[viii] These are some pretty demeaning historical musical conjectures (right?) with purported early humans portrayed as ‘knuckle draggers’ all of a sudden intuitively banging on the ground like progressively advancing apes. No bueno. While speculation is admittedly unavoidable when piecing together elements of past history, as is typically the case, the evolutionary (humanistic) assertions miss the mark as they have very little, if any, realistic support to back them up. In fact, Forsythe admits that he is only guessing here, and therefore has no factually based assessment of the historical origin of music. As is standardly the case, macroevolution is just presumed to be factual from the get-go, and the speculations are thusly generated out of thin air.

 

Conversely, a systematic approach to the evidence (both direct and indirect) tilts in favor of the biblical view of music’s origin—the view that has fully developed humans initially coming into existence by God’s special creative acts (Gen. 1:26; 2:21-23) with a chronological indication of comprehensive music coming on the world scene some relatively short time after that fact (Gen. 4:20-21). In support of this, it is important to note that, globally speaking, music has shown to be both universal in scope and cross culturally technical in merit. As creationist, Robert Doolan, has pointed out, “Among all societies we find music in some form” and he furthers that comprehensive, technical merit is universally evident as even tribal forms of music express “features familiar to European music, such as harmony and imitation.”[ix] In these regards, according to my estimation, evolutionary theory cannot account for either the societal universality of music, or its culturally transcendent technical merits found throughout the global scene. That is, at best, purported atheistically “evolved” music would be globally spotty, having some compartmentalized cultural forms evidenced as strictly brute, with others very technical, and even some cultures having evolved without having any music societally evident at all. Whereas, in order for the biblical account to be supported, we would then see both the culturally connective, universal existence of music (think also back to society leading up to the Tower of Babel, Gen. 11), and, its subsequent technical transcendence, both of which are, in fact, supported by the evidences.

 

Getting now to the heart of the matter, for the biblical account to be further consistent with the facts of the world (still playing an investigative role here), there would have to be evidence in support of one original source for the initial origin of music. Such is understood to be the case, as even non-Christian researchers acknowledge “even music in its most elementary state represents a later stage of development ‘from an unknown original.’”[x] To phrase it another way, it is commonly held that music generates from one original source, although the identity of the source might be left open to further interpretation. Abductively speaking; if there seems to be a universal ‘unknown original’ source of all music, isn’t it logical to conclude, at least at some level, that God would/could be that universal source as we know it? Based on the collective perspectives presented here, I think it is reasonable to answer in the affirmative. In sum, the evidence shows music to be globally universal, cross culturally technical, and as being derived from an ‘unknown original’ source. While these findings all, at some level, contradict the (secular) evolutionary anthropological approach to musical development, they do, in fact, conversely lend support to the biblical account of the historical origin of music.[xi]

 

The Metaphysical Origin of Music

 

Traversing now to the deeper, theological and philosophical issues behind the inception of music, we can phrase the question another (much more technical) way. That is—What is the very metaphysical origin of music? Simply stated, one might answer that music, before the creation of the universe, existed in the mind of God, and this reasonably seems to be where the evidence leads (according to my thesis, anyway). My submission to you here is that music, or, more precisely, tones/notes and all of their potentially (beautiful, logically consistent) forms and arrangements, are not metaphysical attributes of God themselves, but, rather, they exist exhaustively in the mind of God. Hence, in that respect, musical notes exist initially in God’s very own intellect, and then were ‘created’ at the cosmic singularity of the universe as abstract entities, accessibly entering the finite realm “Through Him” as “without Him nothing was made that was made” (cf. John 1:1-3).

 

Music and Abstraction

 

Asking now a further, related question geared towards better understanding the abstract nature of tones from the chromatic scale: In what ontological sense do musical notes fundamentally exist? In response, I present that they exist in the universe “out there” as immaterial abstract entities, with similar existence to that of mathematical numbers. Basically, things that exist in the abstract (as opposed to existing in the concrete, physical realm) are things that have no onset spatial dimensionality to them, yet they do, in fact, obviously exist. My proposal is that such immaterial existence is the case with both mathematical numbers and musical notes. As one source helpfully explains, “Concrete objects can be seen and touched by our senses. They are material, with causal relations that obey the physical laws of nature. Abstract entities are immaterial, but some of them can still play a causal role[.]”[xii] According to my estimation, this is essentially how musical notes and mathematical numbers both exist; and, it is how they exist (and/or have existed) universally for every human, past, present, and future. For example, working toward a better understanding of the immaterial nature of both numbers and notes, you can think of an actual number 4 in your mind before you then accurately count 4 physical oranges in a bowl. Or, you can add 2 + 3 in your head to equal 5 before you even place 2 more apples in a bag that already has 3 apples in it (thus totaling 5 apples) with the immaterial number in the mind matching the material amount of calculable apples in the bag. And, any such accurate calculations are true universally (that is, they are not merely so-called personal truths that are only true for one individual, and not true for others). The point being that numbers exist in the non-physical abstract before they are even tallied by the immaterial mind, and are then subsequently used to quantify physical objects in the material world, with the numbers never losing their ontologically immaterial status.[xiii] In similitude, you can think of how a musical note sounds (and/or its position on a scale) in your head before you even hear it played, and a composer/musician can think of a whole arrangement of notes in the mind before even playing (or writing down) any of the single notes.

 

Further wrapping our heads around the concept of non-physical existences, think also for the moment about other immaterial things that exist, such as the principals of love and justice. A disgruntled individual might shout “All I need is an ounce of justice here!” but that “ounce” is not to be taken in a literal sense. Similarly speaking, one might tell their beloved “My love for you is very deep” but they would not follow up by pulling out a depthometer in hopes of expressively measuring the quantifiable depth of their love.[xiv] I think you get the point; musical notes, much like numbers, in similitude with the concepts of love and justice, fundamentally exist in the immaterial realm until they are tethered to, or expressed in, the physical world by some means.[xv] Moreover, abstract notes are acted upon as they come into the concrete. Notes simply played on a guitar might help to illustrate this, as a guitar is a concrete (i.e., physically tangible) instrument that can be used to play musical tones, which, before being played, are immaterial in existence. Basically, the idea is that notes essentially exist in the abstract, are (or, rather, can be) discovered by humans, and are thus able to be organized together to create musical compositions. And, they are (typically) brought into the concrete by way of musical instruments, used (optimally) for the enjoyment and pleasure of created humans—ultimately done so to the glory of God. The emphasis in transition here is that the notes as they exist prior to being played (or, in other instances, being physically sung vocally, etc.) have a sustained immaterial existence, as this leads to a very important apologetic point.

 

The Question of Abstract Musical Origins

 

If mathematical numbers abstractly exist as expressed in relation to their proper physically quantifiable representations (calculable fruit was used in example), and, in similitude, if musical notes immaterially exist in precession to being played on a physical guitar (or the like), then where did both numbers and notes originally come from (ontologically speaking)? Please allow for what I believe to be the best explanation. Abstract entities could not have always eternally existed all on their own. This is because there are many distinctly diverse categories of abstractions (a number is not a note, nor is a note a number; they are each in their own sub-categories of existence) and there would therefore, then, have to be many diverse, compartmentalized, infinite existences existing all at once, which is impossible as there can be only one infinite existence that, in fact, exists.[xvi] What is more, such diverse abstract truths could not have caused themselves to exist, because then they would have had to have already existed in order to bring themselves into existence, which is obviously self-refuting. According to my understating, the following third example is the only viable option; abstract musical notes (and also mathematical numbers) were caused to exist by another.[xvii] In short sum, musical notes existed (and still do exist) immaterially (first) in the mind of God and then they became accessibly abstract (i.e., immaterially accessible) in the universe as consequent aspects of God’s created order. That is, musical notes “came intro existence” (analogically speaking) as far as humans are concerned at the initial instance of creation (Gen. 1:1), thus being caused by God. Moreover, humans are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27) and have the ability to ascertain truths that are “out there” in the universe that God created, and therefore they have the capacity to discover (and use) abstract truths; mathematical, musical, philosophical, and the like.

 

Numbers, Notes, and the Immaterial Mind

 

Stated up front, the immaterially of musical notes in symbiotic concert with the human mind serves well as apologetic evidence for the existence of God. That is, music notes (again, like numbers) have an ontologically immaterial existence. Therefore, a composer arranging non-physical notes in his or her head, pre-concrete manifestation, must also be arranging them by usage of an immaterial mind. How does this evidence God? It does so by striking at the foundation of the atheistic worldview, as for the atheist/evolutionist (typically speaking) all that exists in totality is the material world; and, this type of materialism is simply presupposed as anything otherwise would leave the door open for the existence of an immaterial God. That being said, the acknowledged example of the symbiotic musical composition process (that of immaterial notes interacting with an immaterial mind) serves as evidence for the existence of the non-physical aspect of human nature (i.e., the soul), and thus (contra materialism) opens up that immaterlistic (if you will) doorway to God. Moreover, if the atheistic worldview were true, at best, notes in compositional process would be merely likened to physical raindrops that drop out of the sky, subsequently hitting the (exclusively) physical brain of the composer, thus causing materialistically determined proclivities in the composer to act out musically. This could hardly be the case, as played music, by its very own creative and expressive nature, evokes immaterial emotion in humans and stimulates the heart, mind, and will of men; and, these are all sensations and activities that have no spatial temporality or physical measurability assignable to them whatsoever. Basically, in short, if immaterial notes can be arranged by the non-physical human mind, and the notes arranged, then physically played, can evoke immaterial sensations in humans, there are, then, multi-faceted, corroborative evidences of ontologically immaterial processes taking place here. These examples, therefore (again, contra materialism) subsequently open up the possibility for the existence of an immaterial God as well.

 

Classical Music and Microbiology

 

With the door now open for the existence of God as evidenced by immaterially diverse musical processes, let’s do a little thought experiment. The year is 2194 A.D. and some urban explorers find an example of what they determine, after a searched media history review, to be a well-preserved compact disc from 200 years earlier. On their own, they figure out a way to play back some very small sections of what’s on the disc, and, in doing so, they determine that it contains some sort of tonal message or code. Upon being able to haphazardly play additional sections of the CD, there are further evidences of ordered tones arranged in succession, forming a composition that has the characteristics of unity and continuity. There are recorded vocals evidentially present on the track as well; these characteristics are all then collectively understood to be some form of music. The explorers are not familiar with the particular music on the disc, so they take it to a noted historian of music at a local college who happens to have a functional apparatus to playback CDs at his immediate disposal. Upon first listen, the music historian detects diverse choral parts, some expressed in homophonic harmony while others are in polyphonic complexity. Overall, the analysis finds the composition of strings, keys, brass, and vocals (and the like) to be bold and simple, yet also strikingly complex, with mathematical intricacy, formality, symmetry, and variety. The historian has some familiarity with centuries old classical music, and as more of these organized sound characteristics become evident on the track, he then accurately classifies the music as being of the classical music genre and era. The final section of the music track technically builds to a fugue on the vocal phrase “And He Shall Reign” and thus the historian is able to effectively identify the musical piece as the iconic Messiah composed by none other than George Frederic Handel (1685 – 1789 A.D.).[xviii]

 

Some additional observations to note from the process of our thought experiment: An artifact was discovered, a small disk, that had no known specific function as far as the explorers knew at first (for all they new, pre investigation, it could have been a small Frisbee). Upon initial analysis, it was found to be a CD that contained what was believed to be an audible type of message, later discovered to consist of tones that were ordered in succession that had the form of a composition, which turned out to be a detectable form of music (that is, a specific intelligent message). After some further expert identification of the expressed characteristics (the particularities and complexities of the piece) the genre and era of the music were determined. And, when the discernable lyric of “And He Shall Reign” was heard, the historian was able to then accurately identify the specific composition and composer (e.g., the Messiah by G.F. Handel).

 

Composition Implies a Composer

 

In stride with our thought experiment’s progressive analysis of the CD evidencing a complex musical arrangement (with the historian also rightfully assuming the composition’s essential need for a specific composer), the complex organization evidenced in biological entities should logically yield similar conclusions as well. Let us first contemplate the general complexity found in bacterial cells at the molecular level. According to biochemist, Michael Denton, “Molecular biology has shown that even the simplest of all living systems on the earth today, bacterial cells, are exceedingly complex objects.”[xix] Now, comparatively speaking, think back for a moment to the technical aspects of Handel’s Messiah that were evidenced in the arrangements (e.g., strikingly complex organization, with mathematical intricacy, formality, symmetry, variety, etc.) and how such skilled, detailed elements of assemblance undoubtedly presumed the intelligent organization of the notes and so forth. Then, let us now compare such detailed musical aspects to the amazingly complex characteristics of bacterial cells, which, according to Denton, are each in effect “a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built [or musical score composed] by man and absolutely without parallel in the nonliving world.”[xx] The similitude of intricacy between Handel’s musical composition and the bacterial cell should be obvious. There would be no way to consistently hold the former to be intelligently composed and the latter to be entirely self-organized. Moreover, consider the fact that that bacterial cell is tremendously more complex than our historical musical example, and the conclusion that the microbiological arrangement was composed by a composer ought to be even stronger than that which was necessitated for the Messiah. In short, the more specific, organized complexity that is evidenced in any example, then there is even all the more need for an intelligent organizer of said complexity.

 

Of considerable note here: Back in Charles Darwin’s day (b. 1809 – d. 1882), biological cells were understood at an elementary level, without much (if any) explicit knowledge of their inner workings—similar to the initial, limited understanding that our urban explores had of the compact disk upon first discovering it. Further likened, then, to our previous thought experiment, the discipline of molecular science, traversing from modern into contemporary times, can be compared to the process that the urban explorers went through as more detailed information (progressing from limited to advanced) was discovered about their found disk. What at first seemed simple (and perhaps without much functioning ability) on the outside was then later understood to be a recorded compact disk that contained specifically organized information on the inside. When comparing the CD to the single bacterial cell in biology, it is a non-extrapolation to connect the dots between the complex musical composition of the Messiah as being in similitude with evidence of complex examples from the biological world. Much like the CD that contained Handel’s composed music, the single cell in biology has been found to have an even grater amount of composition in its arrangement; and, again, thus, it is also reasonable to conclude that there exists a composer of the composition found in the bacterial cell. Or, to state it another way, there must have been a designer of the design that is undeniably evidenced in the cell.

 

Information Must Come from a Mind

 

Continuing with the comparison between the aspects of music and biological characteristics at the molecular level, the 12 notes that govern western music are not merely appealing tones, but are (as has been argued) immaterial, and serve as building blocks (so to speak) in the assemblance of communicative musical information. They are fixed, and are essential to the development of elaborate compositions and scores.[xxi] Which brings us to another apologetic point; that is, encoded, immaterial information has to come from an intelligent mind. To say there has been an exquisite amount of information processes found at the molecular (genetic code) level in deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) would be a grave understatement. Therefore, in further correlation to our thought experiment, the encoded DNA information itself is non-physical, with similitude to the immaterial nature of Handel’s music as it had been recorded on the material compact disk, serving as an example of abstract immaterial organized information that was found resident on the concrete material CD. Philosopher of science, Stephen C. Meyer, summarily advances a relevant apologetic point; “The DNA molecule is literally encoding [immaterial] information into alphabetic or digital form. And that’s a hugely significant discovery, because what we know from experience is that information always comes from an intelligence, whether we’re talking about hieroglyphic inscription or a paragraph in a book or a headline in a newspaper [or a classical music piece recorded onto a CD]. If we trace information back to its source, we always come to a mind, not a material process.”[xxii] Further, think now of the vocal cues that indicated to the music historian that he was, in fact, listening to the Messiah by George Frederic Handel. The organized, expressed formation of the letters into the short phrase “And He Shall Reign” had led the historian to finally identify the specific composer of the piece. The pertinent issue is this, the organized information in the composed lyric had to have necessarily come from an intelligent mind. And, there certainly never would have been a theoretical thought in our hypothetical music historian’s mind that the (pre and/or post-performance) lyrics had arranged themselves together to form the phrase “And He Shall Reign” through entirely unintelligent, unguided processes. Also, towards further interesting apologetic corroboration between music and science, recall that the Messiah had been noted for its fundamental simplicity while also being characteristingly complex. Prolific scientist, A.E. Wilder-Smith, offered the following similar observations about the nature of the genetic code, and its attending theistic implications; “The almost unimaginable complexity of the information on the genetic code along with the simplicity of its concept (four letters made of simple chemical molecules), together with its extreme compactness, imply an inconceivably high intelligence behind it. Present-day information theory permits no other interpretation of the facts of the genetic code.”[xxiii]

 

While there are obviously contrasting differences between the disciplines of music and molecular science, I consider it to be relatively un-nuanced to correlate them on such communicable fronts. What is more, please consider a crucially important, circumstantial element spanning the course of our thought experiment from the year A.D. 2194—the question as to whether or not the musical composition on the CD needed to have had a composer at all never even came close to arising. Sure, the identity of a specific composer was ultimately sought (and determined to be George Frederic Handel), but, generally speaking, once the musically encoded information was detected, the notion of a general composer of the composition was obviously assumed throughout the analysis without ever giving it any additional thought. This is because even brief snippets of Handel’s Messiah, a beautifully rendered masterpiece from the Baroque era of classical music (1600 – 1750 A.D.), served as an example of how information that evidences specifically organized composition immediately implies (or, to take it further, even necessitates) a composer that must have composed it. Again, it simply should go without question. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that, much like the organized, informative “And He Shall Reign” Messiah lyrical message, the complex organization of the encoded DNA information (ATCG) by no means could have come about by way of unintelligent, unguided processes. There had to have been intelligent intervention. There had to have been an informer of the information—an immaterial mind (e.g., God) that was no doubt the composer of the encoded message. To hold otherwise (such as atheists typically do) is to hold a hypothesis that is contrary to the facts.

 

Does Life Truly Imitate Art?

 

Oscar Wilde once opined that, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”[xxiv] And, in the preceding section of this position paper, it is obvious that the two (i.e., classical music and microbiology) certainly have some interestingly comparative characteristics. Nevertheless, it is obvious that George Frederic Handel first had to have a unique biological life all his own before he could give any subsequent life to the composition of his iconic magnum opus: his human existence thus necessarily preceded the creation of his musical art. Which leads to an emphasized point in conclusion: Any specified composition (musical, microbiological, etc.), by its very nature, necessitates a composer. Master music composers, like Handel, use pre-existing concepts in their mind to skillfully assemble arrangements that are complex, yet simply beautiful, inspirational, and emotional. This is further in similitude to the way that a skilled painter has a pre-existent concept in his/her mind that is then manifestly evidenced in the form of a painted work of art. So also, the entire universe, with all of its awe inspiring glory (musical, mathematical, microbiological, etc.), was a pre-existent concept in the mind of God, who authored, composed, and created the natural world out of nothing (Gen. 1:1); a world of undeniably intelligent, seemingly infinitesimal composition as is clearly evidenced to every cognizant human being (Psalm 19:1; Rom. 1:20). God is the composer of the entire universe (which obviously includes bacterial cells), and He is the Uncaused, First Efficient Cause of everything created that exists. Whereas, in comparison/contrast, a finite musical composer, even a great such as Handel, is merely a ‘middle man’ that serves as the secondary cause of a particular musical piece, nevertheless serving as a great analogical example of the intrinsic necessity of the composer/composition relationship (as far as any evidenced specific compositions of diverse sorts are concerned).

 

In sum, the existence of abstract notes (in constructive coalescence with immaterial human minds) further supported by the specified complexities of musical arrangements and microbiological entities (both necessitating intelligent composers) provide us with great apologetic evidence for the existence of God. Reflecting now on a much earlier section of this writing, a further contemplation of the ‘unknown original’ source of all music brings to mind Acts 17 where the Apostle Paul referenced the ‘Unknown God’ who is the source of all created things (Acts 17:23-26), encouraging those present at Mars Hill to philosophically consider biblical truths. Since finite musical notes are created things (Col. 1:16-17) there is therefore only one (logically possible) original source of all music, the God of the Bible. This particular God (YHWH) set Himself apart from all other purported gods by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to the world, saving whosoever truly calls upon His name (John 3:16; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13). This beloved Savior is also know as The Messiah (John 1:41; 4:25-26), the one whom Handel elegantly communicated to the world by way of the transcendental aspects of truth, beauty, and goodness as expressed through the notable composition of his magnificent music. In conclusion, as far as the natural world is concerned, with infinitely greater (analogous) similitude to George Frederic Handel, there exists necessarily a Great Composer of the universe, that is, the Uncaused, First Efficient Cause of all its subsequent physical and informational composition; this Great Composer has a Son who is the exemplary Light of the world, and, as implicitly supported by microbiological evidences, and as eloquently emphasized in the classical masterpiece, the Messiah, “He Shall Reign” forever and ever. Amen.

 

Glory to God in the highest!

 

 

 

 

[i] For the record, Christian Apologetics is that branch of theology that seeks to present a rational, comprehensive, evidential case for the biblical worldview.

 

[ii] Merriam-Webster “Music” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/music (accessed December, 2018). What is more, the broader definition of music is quite difficult to entirely pin down. Please see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry “The Philosophy of Music” for some further exposure to the intense depth of the discussion at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/music/

[iii] I am indebted to my friend, colleague, and master musician, Brian Archuleta, of the Eureka Music School for his helpful insights on Western music and the chromatic scale.

[iv] For a brief, initial investigation here, see the article titled “8 Oldest Musical Instruments in the World” which summarily details the following: Tutankhamun’s Trumpets, the Jiahu Flutes, Lithophones, a Bullroarer, Isturitz Flutes, the Hohle Fels Flute, and the Geisenklösterle Flutes (all dating from approx. 3,340 years old to 42,000-43,000 years old respectively).http://www.oldest.org/music/musical-instruments/ (accessed December 2018). There are other more scholarly articles available via web access that yield similar results that are also ironically/unfortunately based on models of evolutionary theory.

 

[v] Herbert Lockyer, All the Men of the Bible, All the Women of the Bible: Two Books in One (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958/1967), 209. See also: Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Phillip W. Comfort & Walter E. Elwell, eds. (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 746.

[vi] Here, one might feel led to bring up the common teaching that Lucifer would be (as far as the unfolding chain of biblical events would go) the first musician from the Bible (thus technically preceding Jubal). This notion would be based on Ezekiel 28:12-19 and Isaiah 14:12-15 purportedly being references to Satan having been a worship leader in the angelic pre-fall presence of God. In short, this teaching is not conclusive (although there are harps referenced in heaven; see Rev. 5:8; 15:2), and, while it may be the case that Satan was a previous musical leader, there are also alternative, scholarly views to the contrary (cf. Thomas A. Howe, Ph.D.). Therefore, for the purposes of this writing, I have gone with Jubal as the first clear chronological biblical reference to music. See “Was Satan in charge of music in Heaven?” https://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-music.html

[vii] Again, please note that I buck tradition here by holding that the earth is probably somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 years old. As of now, I believe this view to be in the most consistent accordance with the evidences from (predominantly young earth) creation science and the Bible (allowing for time gaps possibly extant in the genealogies). Thus, the approx. 43,000 year old flutes correspond to this atypical creation rubric as well. (Again, cf. Thomas A. Howe, Ph.D. on the age of the earth).

[viii] See Orchestration, Cecil Forsyth, Second edition, Macmillan, London, 1935 (1966), p. 14. I am indebted to the Creartion.com article “Music—evidence of creation” by Robert Doolan, not only for this Forsyth quote, but for influencing my rebuttal and counter perspectives expressed in this section as well. see https://creation.com/musicevidence-of-creation (accessed December, 2018).

[ix] Robert Doolan, “Music—evidence of creation” Again, thanks Prof. Doolan, cf. https://creation.com/musicevidence-of-creation

[x] Ibid. cf. New Age Encyclopaedia, Seventh edition. Bay Books, Sydney, 1983, 20:120.

[xi] In some respects, music can obviously evolve; such as over the course of a band’s existence when their musical ability, tastes, and style express noticeable progressive changes, etc. That is not what is being referenced here. Rather, evolution in this context is meant the unsupported evolutionary view that music supposedly tagged along with purported “ape to men” evolutionary human development over the course of millions of years.

[xii] The Metaphysicist “Abstract Entities” http://metaphysicist.com/problems/abstract_entities/ (accessed December, 2018).

N.B.: Once the notes are played, there is physicality/physics involved (sound waves have levels of material physicality to them, see Chaz Celaya, The Sound Guide, sections 2 and 3) but nevertheless, the physical sound waves causally stem from the immaterial realm, and then subsequently stimulate the immaterial soul in humans.

[xiii] This actually works both ways in that you could first unknowingly have 5 apples in a bag, and then count them thus then calculating that you do, in fact, have a total of 5 apples (with the concrete apples chronologically preceding the numerical knowledge of the proper amount). Nevertheless, the ‘immaterial numbers’ principle of the illustration still remains in tact either way.

[xiv] I am indebted to the teachings of J.P. Moreland for my understanding here.

[xv] There are some important ontological distinctions that need to be made at this juncture. Finite examples of love and justice are transcendental, analogous expressions of the unchanging moral attributes of, correspondingly, God’s eternal Love and Justice. Numbers and notes may be seen as ‘flowing’ from God in a categorically different way. Notwithstanding, perhaps a case could be made that numbers characteristically transcend the universe (and here I stress that they do so logically and analogously) by way of God’s Oneness, Tri-unity, Infinity, and Eternality (these being God’s ‘numerical’ traits, albeit tacitly/metaphorically speaking towards the “numerics” of Eternality and Infinity) and that exquisitely simple musical notes could, in theory, transcend from God’s metaphysical attribute of Divine Simplicity and/or from His moral attribute of Beauty, etc. (Thanks Ted Wright for inspiring these latter thoughts).

[xvi] Basically, an infinite cannot consist of multiply infinite strands, compartments, or parts. That is, there can’t be an infinite ‘bundle’ of diverse, abstract existences out there in the ethereal realm somewhere. There is only one Infinite Existence, that is, God. Everything else is created, and thus not infinite in existence.

[xvii] I am indebted to the teachings of Norman L. Geisler for my understanding in this section (as well as most of my understandings of just about anything apologetics/philosophy related).

[xviii] For further background information on Handel’s Messiah and an explanation of some of these technical terms, e.g., homophonic harmony, polyphonic complexity, fugue, etc. see Encyclopedia Britannica “Messiah: Oratorio by Handel” https://www.britannica.com/topic/Messiah-oratorio-by-Handel (accessed December, 2018).

[xix] cf. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 1986, p. 250. See also https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/341701.Michael_Denton (accessed December, 2018).

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] That is, notes are fixed insofar as, for example, a B note played on a guitar is universally a B note for all people. It is not a B note for some and an F# for others. Admittedly, the immaterial B note when played on its corresponding physical guitar string can be bent upwards to become another note, or it can be distorted to the point of complete indiscernibility. Notwithstanding, in either case, the B note has literally been physically changed to something entirely (tonally) different; all the while the original B note still abstractly remains what it is (i.e., a B note) and is not subjectively relativistic in its existence.

[xxii] Stephen C. Meyer, BIOLA Magazine, “Can DNA Prove the Existence of an Intelligent Designer?” http://magazine.biola.edu/article/10-summer/can-dna-prove-the-existence-of-an-intelligent-desi/ (accessed December, 2018).

[xxiii] A.E. Wilder-Smith, A Basis for a New Biology (Einigen: Telos International, 1976), 258-59. Cited from Bert Thompson, Cracking the Code—The Human Genome Project in Perspective [Part II] (Apologetics Press) http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=206 (accessed December, 2018).

 

[xxiv] Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying: An Observation, via The Literature Network: http://www.online-literature.com/wilde/1307/ (accessed December, 2018).

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