The Moon Isn’t Made of Green Cheese … Is It?

A moon made of cheese is cut, and a wedge is pulled awayIn a fable going back centuries within various cultures, a simpleton sees the reflection of the full moon in water and imagines that it’s a wheel of green (that is, young) cheese.  It’s a tale that we often pass on to our children and that we discard with time, like belief in the Easter Bunny.

But how do you know that the moon isn’t made of green cheese?

Physicist Sean Carroll addressed this question recently.  After a few moments exploring physical issues like the moon’s mass, volume, and density and the (dissimilar) density of cheese, he gave this frank broadside:

The answer is that it’s absurd to think the moon is made of green cheese.

He goes on to say that we understand how the planets were formed and how the solar system works.  There simply is no reason to suppose that the moon is made of green cheese and plenty of reasons to suppose that it’s not.

This is not a proof, there is no metaphysical proof, like you can prove a statement in logic or math that the moon is not made of green cheese.  But science nevertheless passes judgments on claims based on how well they fit in with the rest of our theoretical understanding.

Bringing this thinking into the domain of this blog, how do we know that Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead?  The answer is the same: it’s absurd to think that Jesus was raised from the dead.

  • We know how death works.  We see it in plants and animals, and we know that when they’re gone, they’re just gone.  Rats don’t have souls.  Zebras don’t go to heaven.  There’s no reason to suppose that it works any differently for our favorite animal, Homo sapiens, and plenty of reasons to suppose that it works the same.
  • We know about ancient manuscripts.  Lots of cultures wrote their ancient myths, and many of these are older than the books of the Old Testament: Gilgamesh (Sumerian), Enûma Eliš (Babylonian), Ramayana (Hindu), Iliad (Greek), Beowulf (Anglo-Saxon), and so on.  For whatever reason, people write miracle stories, and we have a large and well-populated bin labeled “Mythology” in which to put stories like those in the Bible.
  • We know about how stories and legends grow with time.  We may have heard of Charles Darwin’s deathbed conversion to Christianity (false).  Or that a decent fraction of Americans thought that President Obama is a Muslim.  Or that aliens crash-landed in Roswell, New Mexico.  In our own time, urban legends so neatly fit a standard pattern, that simple rules help you identify them.
  • We know that humans invent religions.  There are 42,000 denominations of Christianity alone, for example, and uncountably many versions of the myriad religions invented through history.

Natural explanations are sufficient to explain Christianity.

Might the moon actually be made of cheese?  Science doesn’t make unconditional statements, but we can assume the contrary with about as much confidence as we have in any scientific statement.

Might Jesus have been raised from the dead?  Sure, it’s possible.  But the facts don’t point there.  Why imagine that this is the case?

Photo credit: TV Tropes

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14 thoughts on “The Moon Isn’t Made of Green Cheese … Is It?

  1. “Or that aliens crash-landed in Roswell, New Mexico.”

    C’mon Bob! You know there hasn’t been enough time for a legend like that to develop, so it must have really happened. If there wasn’t aliens in Roswell, and it didn’t actually happen, the people who were alive thebn would have spoken out. The fact that it is so silly is exactly why we should believe it! How could a story as silly as aliens crash landing be perpetuated unless it was true?

    I, for one, would like to corgially welcome our wonderful extraterrestial friends. If they eat people, I’m sure they’ll eat you unbelievers first.

    All hail our new alien overlords!!!

  2. Well, The first problem with Jesus raising from the dead is, Bob’s Atheistic naturalistic , materialistic worldview will not allow the supernatural. Bob’s presuppositions immediate rule out the supernatural.

    Logic tells us if God created out of nothing , time and the universe, and all animal kind..Raising the dead would be Childs play for God. Nothing illogical about that.

    Second error is Bob’s 42,000 Christian denomination bogus argument. ( Bob must of heard a few RCC apologist debating Protestant apologists who use this argument to disprove “sola scriptura”.) If one reads this list of 40,000 Christians denominations we see most of them are not Orthodox Christianity..So it actually comes down to maybe 7,000 true variations of the protestant religion. And if one looks at the statement of Faith of those the majority all agree on the essentials of the Christian faith..The difference may have to do with baptism rites, eschatology, church government.

    So as usual we have Bob lumping everything under the Christian umbrella that has nothing to do with the true church of Christ.

    • Bob’s presuppositions immediate rule out the supernatural.

      Wrong again. I’m pretty sure we’ve been over this. I accept that the supernatural is possible.

      Logic tells us if God created out of nothing , time and the universe, and all animal kind..Raising the dead would be Childs play for God.

      Agreed. Now explain how the antecedent is true.

      Second error is Bob’s 42,000 Christian denomination bogus argument.

      You followed that link, right? To the International Bulletin of Missionary Research?

      If you don’t like this statistic (I don’t know–maybe the IBMR is just a bunch of liars), take it up with them.

      So it actually comes down to maybe 7,000 true variations of the protestant religion.

      Good catch! Everyone knows that no Catholic is actually a Christian. Or something.

      So as usual we have Bob lumping everything under the Christian umbrella that has nothing to do with the true church of Christ.

      As usual, Bob is doing his best to characterize Christianity correctly. Work out your differences with the IBMR and then tell me what changes they’ve made. That your definition of Christianity differs from that of most other Christians doesn’t much interest me.

  3. “Logic tells us if God created out of nothing , time and the universe, and all animal kind..Raising the dead would be Childs play for God. Nothing illogical about that.”

    Logic would also tell us that a God like that couldn’t actually die. A God that could forgive would also logically forgive without the need for an innocent person to be brutally murdered. What’s so logical about a God sacrificing Himself to Himself for the forgiveness of the sins of the fallible creatures that He created?

  4. Atheist Bob said:

    ‘….As usual, Bob is doing his best to characterize Christianity correctly. Work out your differences with the IBMR and then tell me what changes they’ve made. No you do not characterize Christianity correctly, you lump everything and everyone who mentions Christianity under the Christian umbrella..And that is the major problem with your blog..And that is why most of your blog is irrelevant because it has nothing to do with true Christianity

    Bob said:

    “.. your definition of Christianity differs from that of most other Christians doesn’t much interest me.”

    I bet it doesn’t interest you, because it refutes most your bogus blogs. As the scriptures say ..”Many are called but few are chosen” And when Jesus said “Many will come to me on that day saying Lord we cast out demons in your name, and did miracles in your name, and prophesied in your name. I will say to you depart from me you who practice lawlessness. These so called believers did not have saving faith, but an intellectual false faith.. Not Christians.

    We can see millions of so called Christians proclaim the name of Christianity..But do not have saving faith..Sorry Bob only those the Father gives the Son have true saving faith.

    And this is not my definition of Christianity this is the teaching of the Bible..And I do not know anyone Christians in my life of 32 years who disagree with me.

    • you lump everything and everyone who mentions Christianity under the Christian umbrella.

      Right–I put all Christians into a bin labeled “Christian.”

      And that is why most of your blog is irrelevant because it has nothing to do with true Christianity

      Your true Christianity and your false Christianity are both a problem in my book. If you want to pretend that my attacks against Christianity are only aimed at your version of Christianity, that’s fine.

      I bet it doesn’t interest you, because it refutes most your bogus blogs.

      I’ve yet to see any refutation of anything from you. But perhaps I’m being forgetful.

      As the scriptures say …

      And why should that compel me?

      We can see millions of so called Christians proclaim the name of Christianity..But do not have saving faith.

      Y’know what’s going to be cool? When you and the tiny band of true Christians get to heaven and get to look over the ramparts down into hell and see people like me writhing in torment forever. What fun!

  5. Retro said:

    “….Logic would also tell us that a God like that couldn’t actually die. A God that could forgive would also logically forgive without the need for an innocent person to be brutally murdered. What’s so logical about a God sacrificing Himself to Himself for the forgiveness of the sins of the fallible creatures that He created?

    Yes, Logic would tell us God can not die. And God did not die. So if you assume God died you are illogical.

    I think you like Atheist Bob learn the Christian doctrines before you make a fool of yourself and mischaracterize it.

  6. “Yes, Logic would tell us God can not die. And God did not die. So if you assume God died you are illogical.

    I think you like Atheist Bob learn the Christian doctrines before you make a fool of yourself and mischaracterize it.”

    Explain to me exactly what I’ve mischaracterized. Wasn’t Jesus God? Didn’t Jesus die on the cross? How can you say Jesus resurrected if he didn’t actually die?

    Also explain to me logically why a God could not forgive without the need for an innocent person to be brutally murdered. What’s so logical about a God sacrificing Himself to Himself for the forgiveness of the sins of the fallible creatures that He created?

    These things might make sense to you if you have been taught and believed your whole life, but to an outsider, these things really do not make logical sense.

  7. Retro asked:

    “….Explain to me exactly what I’ve mischaracterized. Wasn’t Jesus God? Didn’t Jesus die on the cross? How can you say Jesus resurrected if he didn’t actually die?…”

    Yes, the eternal Son took on the form of a man at the incarnation and the “man Jesus was born” Jesus Christ is now the God man..Jesus is 100% divine in nature and 100% man. Jesus is one person with two natures the Divine nature (God) and the human nature “Man”

    The “man was tortured and killed on the cross” Jesus the man experienced physical death. ( and keep in mind death does not mean ceasing to exist. we will all experience physical death but our souls never dies). And Jesus physical body was raised from the dead. ( just like all mankind will be)

    So God did not die. Jesus the man experienced physical death, and reserection.

    I hope that helps ..

  8. To BobC,

    Retro is right. I got the same question. Why can’t God just forgive us on request? Why was pain (someone’s pain) a requirement for forgiveness? Suppose your child acts up but then feels guilty and apologizes. Would you bite your own hand to get the “right” to forgive him? And the more serious the misdeed, the harder the bite???

  9. RF2
    RF2

    God can forgive on request to His elect. Because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ for those He was the substitute for.

    God can not forgive on request for the reprobate ( You and Bob to mention a few) because of God’s Holy nature. God is so pure and Holy and Just that by breaking His law one must be punished for it..

    God is so forgiving and good that you can have a perfect Holy substitute pay for the laws you have broke. Jesus can take the wrath of God for your sins. Or you can pay for them yourself. Either way justice will be done.

    • God can not forgive on request for the reprobate ( You and Bob to mention a few) because of God’s Holy nature.

      RF2: See you in hell, bro!

      God is so pure and Holy and Just that by breaking His law one must be punished for it..

      What does purity and holiness have to do with anything? This is only a meaningful cause because you say so.

      How about this instead: “God is so pure and holy that his grace extends to every human. Jesus paid for all our sins, and that extends to everyone. When your mortgage is paid off, you needn’t do anything else to get away from your debt, and the same is true in the celestial domain.”

      God is so forgiving and good that you can have a perfect Holy substitute pay for the laws you have broke. Jesus can take the wrath of God for your sins. Or you can pay for them yourself. Either way justice will be done.

      Jesus paid for our sins. There’s nothing more to be said.

      Let’s have a coherent story here. A debt can either be paid or forgiven. Why does God insist on both?!

  10. Bob asked:

    “How about this instead: “God is so pure and holy that his grace extends to every human….”

    God’s justice extends to every human as all men have sinned against God. The worst anyone will receive is Justice.

    Bob asked:

    “… Jesus paid for all our sins, and that extends to everyone. When your mortgage is paid off, you needn’t do anything else to get away from your debt, and the same is true in the celestial domain.”

    False assumption Jesus only paid for the sins of those the Father gives the Son. Jesus is their substitute. Yes the mortgage is paid for those the Father gives the Son (John 6:37-44)

    Bob Calvan said:

    God is so forgiving and good that you can have a perfect Holy substitute pay for the laws you have broke. Jesus can take the wrath of God for your sins. Or you can pay for them yourself. Either way justice will be done.

    Bob’s reply:

    “…Jesus paid for our sins. There’s nothing more to be said….”

    Again Bob falsely assumes Jesus died for every human that has ever lived.. Jesus only died for those the Father gives the Son.

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