by Steven Gledhill for FREEdom from MEdom Project
“I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide. I am aware that if we admit a first cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came and how it arose… The safest conclusion seems to be that the whole subject is beyond the scope of man’s intellect.” —Charles Darwin (1873 letter to Dutch writer and friend, Nicolaas Dirk Doedes)
What happened? How did it all begin, this big, bad universe? What about this thing known as life? Did it all start with a bang… the big bang? What banged? What made it bang? Was it a fluke… coincidence? Was it an accident?
Perhaps the question is, WHO made it bang?
“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” —Albert Einstein
Is the science of evolution possible without God at the helm?
Was it God? What is God? Who is God? Can God be seen? Can God be heard? Can God be experienced?
Is God real?
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
Is believing in God like believing in Santa Claus?
But… but, what if…? What if Santa…? What if Santa Claus landed on your roof?
Would you believe in Santa Claus if he actually (for real) landed on your roof, came in and blessed your life? Then Santa came back and did it again… and again. Would you believe in what you experienced? Would you really? Would you come to trust in your experience? Would you tell anyone about it? Or maybe, you would tell everyone about it!
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.” John 20:29 (NKJV)
So many that choose to reject the very existence of God will insist, “I cannot believe in a God I can’t see.” Atheists often insist that believing in an invisible God is ridiculous, and so many are so offended by those who believe in God that they’ll be insulting in their critiques of believers. Atheists can be quite passionate in their criticisms of Christians, in particular.
You know, people accept and believe and trust in things they do not (and will not) see everyday. Who has seen gravity? Who has seen oxygen? Who has seen hot or cold? Who has seen wind? Who has seen the actual nutrients in food? Have you ever seen the active ingredient in the medicine you’ve taken? Ever seen a cell phone signal, or electricity?
You see the substance and the evidence of things you cannot see all the time. Everyday, you experience gravity and electricity and nutrition. You may think you’ve seen and heard wind, but what you’ve seen and heard is the evidence (outcome) of wind. You’ve seen things blowing around. That howling sound you’ve heard is resistance to the wind. You have certainly felt wind. And of course, you have felt heat, and you have felt cold, but you’ve never seen them. You have seen the evidence of cold in something frozen but you have not seen cold. You’ll see something cook or melt but you have not seen heat. By the way, what does air look like, sound like, and feel like? Does anyone doubt its existence?
Believing in something or someone we can’t see with our eyes isn’t far-fetched at all… so why not God?
I have not seen the person of God with my eyes. I have not heard God’s audible voice. I have, however, experienced God… felt God from within. I know that I have heard from God in my thoughts. I have seen God in my circumstances through specific activity in direct correlation to something I needed.
Of course, these “unbelievable” responses to prayer can be explained away by skeptics as coincidental; a fortunate turn, perhaps. It must have been this, or it could’ve been that. But I know better. I know in the very fiber of my being that the same God that banged the universe into existence, while forming its every detail, intervened in my very specific circumstance, having confronted and altered the most likely, even the most certain of, inevitable outcomes.
In some cases, God has changed my mind from the natural course of how I process things intellectually and emotionally, leading to stark contrasts in behavioral choices from my more natural tendencies. I’ve been protected, even saved, from probable danger and risk because of changes in how I think and act beyond and within the make up of typical character flaws of mine. It’s as though my brain has been transformed; renewed in some way. And I am most grateful to God for changing the way I think and behave.
Why did God do that for me? Because I asked him to.
Was it God? Really?
Yes! It was God! There was, and is, no doubt about it. Am I a fool to believe that? Then so be it. I’ll take what comes with being that fool every time. Why? Because the alternative is living life without God, and there is nothing… NOTHING… more fool-hardy than that. But you have to make up your own mind about that as you consider for yourself whether or not there is something more out there… bigger than you can imagine… personal, and willing to engage in relationship with you.
I’ll say this about my experience. Just as I have experienced gravity, and I’ve experienced wind, and I’ve experienced the benefits of nutrition, and I’ve experienced hot and cold, I have indeed experienced God. And not you, nor anyone else will ever take that away from me. Experiencing God is as real as having experienced anything else. And you know what? There are millions upon millions of people today, and billions throughout history, who would tell you the same thing about their experience with God.
I asked my young grandson, “Have you ever seen your brain? How do you know that you have one? Have you ever seen your heart?” He looked at me like I was simply messing with him, as I am prone to do. What I sought in asking what seemed to be ridiculous questions, was for my grandson to take a critical look at his belief in God, rather than just accepting it because of what someone else expected of him. I hoped that he would see the sensibility of what he believes.
We know we have a brain and a heart through the evidence of our experience. Since it’s so common to our collective experience, it is common sense for all of us to expect they exist within us. The way billions have come to have faith in God is not blind acceptance of a presentation, but has been experienced within and throughout day-to-day life. So believing in the reality of God, and having relationship with God is so common to the experience of so many that it is indeed what makes the most sense.
To all who believe, relationship with God is common sense. It’s a culture of faith; not just some religious crutch to survive the chaos, injustice, and brutality within and throughout our social culture. We see the struggle of the masses that don’t believe or have faith, and from an attitude of love, are compelled to share the witness of our own experience. That (divine) love is my motivation for this presentation.
I believe that should you take a critical approach to examining God’s existence—rather than blindly rejecting the possibility—you’ll be able to conclude that it actually makes more sense to rationally accept God as the originator of all that is and ever was.
It’s like anything, though. Until you experience it for yourself, it’s typically not enough to take my word for it; or anyone else’s, for that matter. For everyone else outside of what I, and millions more, have experienced, it is merely speculation.
Atheist types will tell me that they believe in science for truth. But asked what science looks like, feels like, and sounds like, well, that’s a particularly challenging question to answer. The other question about science that cannot really be answered objectively is, where did science come from? And if that sounds like an overly ignorant question, it can be more eloquently asked, where did the materials, intelligence, and all of the ingredients essential to the make-up of science come from? And if the questions can never really be definitively answered, then why ask them? If the problem of the unknown mysteries of it all cannot be solved, then why try so hard to solve the mystery?
If atheistic scientists are honest (beginning with themselves), they should admit that evolution by “natural selection” without God is indeed theory and not fact. Once a theory is proven it is no longer a theory. Then, it is simply fact; undeniable and indisputable, according to the evidence. So atheists who say they put their trust in science for their explanations of life’s origins, have put their trust—their confidence—and yes, their faith, in an unproven idea, and not in an actual experience that validates their lives.
Atheists who put their faith in the scientific theories of evolution say unapologetically that faith in a supernatural, spiritual deity is ridiculous, but then have no issue with something such as RNA and DNA, the foundationally essential ingredients for life, evolving initially from absolutely nothing. They must believe that something somehow came from nothing… they have to… or else they are left with, well… nothing.
Sure, atheistic scientists get excited about “revelations” along the way that fuel their speculative notions, even though they’re still not, and will never be, definitive. They have not, and still cannot, prove theories of how life originated.
Now, where does speculating these indeterminate possibilities get them? What is the destination? What is the ultimate reward for the atheist’s human experience when all is said and done?
It’s been said that you cannot believe in spiritual literature (i.e., the Bible) as indisputable truth since it was written by human people. But we accept historical literature as truth and reality all the time. Whether it’s something written about that happened decades ago, centuries ago, or millenniums and even millions and billions of years ago, these literary accounts are accepted as fact again and again; usually without argument.
We are always trusting in the historical written word that we sense is reasonable. It’s not a bother so long as we’re not threatened by it; so long as it doesn’t render us uncomfortable. No threat… no risk… no conflict… no problem.
Who has a problem accepting that George Washington was the first President of the United States of America? A few out there might dispute it, but almost all Americans believe it to be historical fact. Has anyone you know ever seen George Washington? Was anyone around around when the first “George W” was the President? We’ve read about it. We’ve heard about it. There does not seem to be any argument concerning what has been said and written. Therefore, it’s reasonable to suggest that this written documentation of history is indeed factual, beyond dispute.
The same can be said for the theory of evolution. Evolution is taught to children throughout most of the civilized world as historical fact. How does anyone know? How can anyone prove the origins of life through this idea known as natural selection; these random mutations over time that evolved into everything living today? Was anyone there? Was there anyone throughout human history that was there? Who can substantiate the claims for any of it with any degree of certainty? So why then is evolution without a creator is being taught to our children as something factual?
Why God? Why Not God?
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” —A.W. Tozer
Where and when did it all begin, this thing we call life?
How does one actually explain it? How does it make sense that God always existed?
On the other hand, if God didn’t always exist, what did? If not God, what then?
Nebula image taken by NASA appears as though God has is eye on creation
Well, something had to always exist. Was the universe always out there? Was there something smaller than a speck of dust that always existed, that somehow randomly mutated into every intricacy that is within and throughout life… that somehow contained within it all of the matter, DNA, and intelligence of everything that ever was, is, and ever will be? Whatever it was, was it alive? Wouldn’t it have to be to beget life? Is it possible that one random mutation (incarnation, or whatever you want to call it) after another somehow, in some way, just happened to fashion together all of the aimlessly roaming parts in some infinitely vast space that through some arbitrary fluke sparked into existence the “miracle” of life?
Or, did something come from… nothing? Hmm. If so, then ‘nothing’ is ‘something’, and ‘nothing’ had to come from ‘something’ with the capacity to become something more… to eventually through random coincidences calculate the full measure of its evolutionary course. The least believable quality of ‘nothing’ is that it would have to originate from within itself the core ingredients and organization for ‘something’ to live.
How did the original first cell reproduce? Why did the first reproduce? How did it “know” to reproduce? What was the catalyst for cell production and reproduction? How did the first cell reproduce into a variation of itself, instead of duplicating itself repeatedly according to its original make up? How did the same original cell reproduce into both living and non-living organisms? How? Why?
“I think you can say that life is a system in which proteins and nucleic acids interact in ways that allow the structure to grow and reproduce. It’s that growth and reproduction, the ability to make more of yourself, that’s important.
“People have tried to find more general, more universal definitions of life. They’re speculative, because we don’t know about any life other than ourselves… First, you have to be able to reproduce and make more of yourself. You also need a source of variation so that all of the new generation is not identical either to the previous generation or to all its brothers and sisters. And once you have that variation, then natural selection can actually select, by either differential birth or death, some of the variants that function best. That may turn out to be a fairly general definition of life wherever we might find it.
“It’s pretty clear that all the organisms living today, even the simplest ones, are removed from some initial life form by four billion years or so, so one has to imagine that the first forms of life would have been much, much simpler than anything that we see around us. But they must have had that fundamental property of being able to grow and reproduce and be subject to Darwinian evolution.
“So it might be that the earliest things that actually fit that definition were little strands of nucleic acids. Not DNA yet—that’s a more sophisticated molecule—but something that could catalyze some chemical reactions, something that had the blueprint for its own reproduction.” —Andrew Knoll, Paleontologist, Professor of Biology at Harvard University
Professor Knoll is certain about one thing. Even for this renowned paleontologist, evolutionary theories about the origins of how even the most primitive living organisms evolved into anything more than what they were is anything but certain. And what about these little strands of nucleic acids, molecular variations and bacteria? How and where did they originate? And whatever the answer is to that question… how and where did it originate? And for every response follows the same question… Where did they come from, and how did they advance on their own from what they were? Shouldn’t there be something more definitive to hang your hat on?
There is only speculative conclusions about how nucleic acids developed proteins that morphed into bacteria, that somehow formed cell walls to advance into cell membrane structures, that through innovations into the evolutionary process, “may help to resolve the early key steps in evolutionary development of the bacterial domain of life.” (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
“How did life begin on Earth? The fact is that no one knows the answer yet, and it remains one of the primary unsolved questions of biology. We may never know with certainty because life began on Earth nearly four billion years ago. The events that initiated life no longer occur, and even the conditions of the early Earth are not known with any certainty.” —David W. Deamer, American biologist and Research Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California-Santa Cruz
“DNA is the center of all life, but it can’t be considered alive even though it has all the information required to make a living thing. DNA cannot reproduce by itself… We will never know with certainty how life did begin.” —David W. Deamer
Okay, no doubt there has been evolution through the millenniums of time; throughout the ages of everything living. I’ve watched nature shows on television that suggest that for a species to survive some sort of evolutionary flaw that would inevitably arouse it’s extinction. It needed a fin, or an appendage, or something or other to protect itself from the elements, and… well… it just happened. Evolution took care of the problem. Whatever the species needed magically evolved into being… over millions of years, of course. It can just do that? Evolution isn’t random? Evolution is somehow intentional and specific? Really? Amazing!
How is any of it actually possible unless God is directing its course, attentive to every detail necessary to get it right?
I suppose one could release into space a trillion-piece jigsaw puzzle, each piece a billion miles away from the other, and they would, without any direction or purpose, somehow find somewhere in the vast space to find each other, solved, with every mindless piece perfectly fitting into just the right place. That’s possible, right? The odds of that happening are pretty good in comparison to billions and billions of years of incidental anomalies forming into the universe and life as we know it.
I had a chance recently to get into it with a couple of recovering suicidal teenagers who insisted they believed in science, and that something of the universe was always out there. I asked them, “Even if it was, how did the universe make life without a creator unless it was already alive? How did the evolutionary process occur through random, accidental mutations and occurrences? I asked them (paraphrased), “If the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle you’re playing were scattered a across the floor, and then just laid there a few billion years, would the puzzle put itself together and create a picture that made any sense? Would something like a strong wind come through and blow the pieces over time to eventually fit them all together just so? Would the building deteriorate and over time the pieces would find each other? Or would the pieces deteriorate as well? How would the pieces of this puzzle come to life, and then reproduce to make more puzzles, each with their own unique pictures, that with some built-in mechanism, put themselves together?”
They agreed that the puzzle would not solve itself or be solved without help.. Someone had to do something with it. I then asked them, if they were to accept that they were made by a Creator, if everything after that is possible (including the resurrection of the son of God)? The response? “That’s a good point. I have to really think about that now.”
These two teenagers, a boy and a girl, both made the point that they were against religion. So I made sure they understood that I was not all talking about religion. I was talking to them about what made the most sense in regards to the origins of it all. Their initial reaction was an emotional one against religion. Don’t even get them started about religion. But once the emotional opposition to religion was taken from the equation, we were able to have a reasonable discussion on what made the most sense to them on an intellectual plane. All of sudden they were open-minded about a lot more after that; certainly willing to listen and ponder likelihoods and probabilities, according to their own understanding, rather than being limited by preconceived notions and misguided conclusions.
Alright, so maybe you didn’t like the puzzle idea to illustrate the point of gazillions of random occurrences culminating into life as we know it. Try this one on for size, then.
Imagine all of the most ingenious inventors and researchers throughout history all gathered together somewhere all at one time in their endeavor for discovery. Cram them all in; there’s a lot of them. They each go about their day-to-day routine every day without any sense of intention or desire or purpose to accomplish a single thing… ever. Yet somehow, someway, everything that has ever been invented and discovered; every disease that has ever been remedied; every food element that has become known to nourish the human body… every this and every that that has made living and sustaining life possible, came to be… BY ACCIDENT!
No one meant to discover anything. No one meant to research anything. It just happened. Relating this to the incidental, mindless, random occurrences and mutations over millions and billions of years of evolutionary process without God, all of the best ingenious inventors and researchers throughout history never did a single thing to be educated into any kind of knowledge… and yet they still just happened to (mindlessly, randomly) stumble into their inventions, discoveries, and remedies. Again… every action being accidental, incidental, and coincidental. It somehow, someway, simply came to be.
Is any of this at all believable?
But we’re to believe that from the big bang, a universe happened, that something in the universe happened in the way that was all so perfectly fashioned and conditioned for the next thing to be formed perfectly into the next thing… that somehow in some way just happened to accidentally form perfectly into another next thing… and the evolutionary formula for this then thing, and that next thing, and all of the other next things to follow in this convoluted mess of things happening, forming and accumulating, all so altogether perfect to somehow, and in some way through it all, without any sense of purpose or reason, breathe into existence the ultimate best next thing… life.
Okay, okay. As impossible as it may be, what if it somehow did occur? How did this life form, whatever it is, develop any semblance of intelligence or ability to reason, or more than that, care to do what’s necessary to produce enough to survive?
Answer? Instinct. That’s how the atheist scientist responds to this dilemma.
Well, if instinct is an innate impulse, tendency, or inclination, how did it develop the disposition to want or like or care enough within its core… about anything… to have a natural (automatic) impulse, tendency, or inclination that is productive, and not counterproductive? How did the will to carry out a pattern of enough instinctive actions necessary to survive and live come into the evolutionary process of things?
Here we go again. Having formed from the “miracle” of random molecular development and massive cell production and reproduction, we have a life form—an infant. We have to assume that our life form survived long enough to form into an infant. Now, imagine placing a newborn infant in the middle of a field… alone. That’s right, a field. Not a desert or an ocean. We have to give it a chance, here. Or to be more fair, the infant is there with a whole bunch of other infants. Still not fair? Will place this bunch of new born infants in a fertile field of fruit and vegetable near a fresh-water lake. Now what?
How will these infants figure out how to get to food and water before they die of starvation or dehydration. How would they know they even need to eat before they die? How would they somehow consume the right foods and absorb sufficiently usable nutrition to support their survival? And if they did know somehow that their survival required nutrition, how would they know what to eat or drink before they die? How would they know the need to feed, in the first place? Don’t they have to learn somehow to transport themselves to where the resources are? Even if those resources are merely inches and meters way, how do they know what to do… and, most important… have the will to do it?
On instinct alone? In a few billion years, someone got lucky and just so happened to stumble into some destined discovery?
Again, really? That’s possible? That makes sense? Or, am I simply too naive and ignorant to recognize how lucky this evolutionary process is to have defied these astronomical odds to have made this far without God?
Every one of the infinite number of evolutionary formulas for life had to progress in their process so perfectly that they meticulously and, dare I say, miraculously all fit together just so. And it all happened without plan or design or purpose (without God). And yet, it was alive. It all just happened. Not only did life randomly morph into existence, but it somehow, on its own by chance, became intelligent, and emotional, and nurturing, and predatory. R-i-i-i-i-g-h-t. And it’s believing in an ever-existent God that’s ridiculous? Think about it. Doesn’t not believing in God necessitate more faith than believing?
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein
Have you ever considered how much has to go just right for life to even possible on a planet receiving constant force from a mammoth incendiary power source? Have you wondered how we can be spinning and flying through the universe at phenomenal speeds, trusting stratospheric and atmospheric realities—not to mention gravity—to remain stable so that we can exist? What maintains order in the universe to prevent planetary—and perhaps even galactic—destruction? Doesn’t it make more sense that some sovereign mindful entity has to be the catalyst at the center of it all?
Have you ever considered everything that has to go exactly right for our bodies to even function? Why does it all work? What about the intricacies of our brains transmitting specific informative signals just so we can wake up and get out of bed? Why does our heart beat and keep beating? Why does breathing work? Why does food nourish our bodies and provide systemic sustainability? Why does sleep restore order and energy when we’re exhausted and broken down? Why do we grow? Why do we decay and die? Why do we think and feel and reason? That all just happened… by chance… accidentally… without purpose or intention?
Did it really? That’s believable? That is acceptable? How is it even possible?
“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” —C.S. Lewis
The evolution of life without God… the genesis of life with God… where lies the evidence—the verifiable proof—for either?
While it may not seem altogether possible to offer tangible proof that God is all that God is, a reasonably intellectual case can indeed be made when applying common sense. On the other hand, since atheists rely on scientific evidence to prove the theories they want acknowledged as fact, the burden of evidentiary proof is then laid before their throne, to prove their assertion that something somehow came from nothing.
By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. Hebrews 11:3 (NLT)
“I say if it says it, it means it. People will laugh at me and say, ‘Well, you know, you can’t really believe that.’ And I go, ‘Well if I can believe that God created the world and everything in it, why wouldn’t I believe a simple thing like that? That’s not a hard thing.” —Vincent Furnier, a.k.a., Alice Cooper, regarding the Bible as the Word of God
Let There Be Light
You see, I have no problem with the ‘big bang’ notion of how things came to be. “Let there be light…” Then… BOOM! Something (or someone) blew stars and galaxies into what became the ever-expanding universe and then, well… “there was light.”
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light… Genesis 1:3 (NLT)
“We have for the first time a detection for the mythical gravity wave signal that people have been searching for so hard, for so long.” —Clem Pryke, associate professor at the University of Minnesota
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1 (NASB)
“Inflation is the theory about the ‘bang’ of Big Bang… It explains why we have all this stuff in the universe.” —Chao-Lin Kuo, assistant professor of physics at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
If you are dependent on the field of evolutionary science to understand the origins of the universe and what evolved into life, what will you do with mounting scientific evidence suggesting that the big bang was not the “steady state” of an ever-expanding universe that for decades has been the prevailing opinion of how it all happened? What if that mounting evidence—the new discovery of traces of gravity waves—now suggests the likelihood that something from the “outside” of the big bang caused it to occur… faster than the speed of light… something closer to instantly? Would less than a trillionth of a second be considered instantly?
“Certainly everything in the universe that we see now, at one time before inflation, was smaller than an electron. And then it expanded during inflation at faster than the speed of light.“ —Kent Irwin, Stanford physicist
Scientists have studied and continue to study a theory they refer to as inflation to explain the discovery of gravitational waves that “ripped apart space” faster than the speed of light on the space-time continuum that banged throughout the universe in an instant. This theory was predicted decades ago by Albert Einstein as part of his theory of relativity. Scientists today are amazed that he may have been onto something even then. There is now a discovery process with the BICEP2 telescope that one scientist suggested may be the “smoking gun” (Marc Kamionkowski, professor of physics and astronomy) for the gravitational waves considered by Einstein.
According to Dr. Irwin, the gravitational waves, suggested by the BICEP2 discovery, would have expanded across the entirety of the universe at that time. He reported that the length of one of these waves—the distance between the peaks and troughs in the wave—would have been billions of light years across in way less than a second. It is remarkable that science is unearthing, so to speak (pun intended), revelations that may actually support the creationist approach to instant light if the universe instantly banged through space into existence.
“The remarkable discovery of ripples in the space-time fabric of the universe rocked the world of science—and the world of religion.
Touted as evidence for inflation (a faster-than-the-speed-of-light expansion of our universe), the new discovery of traces of gravity waves affirms scientific concepts in the fields of cosmology, general relativity, and particle physics.
The new discovery also has significant implications for the Judeo-Christian worldview, offering strong support for biblical beliefs.
The prevalent theory of cosmic origins prior to the Big Bang theory was the “Steady State,” which argued that the universe has always existed, without a beginning that necessitated a cause.
However, this new evidence strongly suggests that there was a beginning to our universe.
If the universe did indeed have a beginning, by the simple logic of cause and effect, there had to be an agent – separate and apart from the effect – that caused it.” —Leslie Wickman, former Director, Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University, and engineer for Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, where she worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and International Space Station programs
If it was God that is responsible for the creation of the universe and the life therein, did he do it in six days before he rested? Well, what does that even mean in the first place if time was not at all relevant until the earth turned on its axis in a day’s time, while simultaneously orbiting around the sun with barely any variation in its distance from it as it makes its way around every year. It’s more likely that there were various stages in the evolutionary advances in the formation of the universe and life as we know it on earth.
It very well may have occurred over the course of 14 billion years as speculated by some of the most intelligent, curious minds to ever grace the planet. It just so happens that their discoveries are no accident. There’s been a sovereign creator at the helm from the beginning, gifting his creation with the genius to begin putting this puzzle together piece by piece. While there has been progress, there are still so many holes to fill, it’s a never-ending project. If the puzzle is to ever to solved and make any sense, science cannot discard all of those pieces that display God’s hand in the operation from the beginning.
“Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” —Albert Einstein
Were there dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals walking upright before the days of the first civilized human beings as identified in the Bible and the rest of the literature? Of course, there is archeological evidence of prehistoric life in museums and relics around the world, and there is likely a great deal more to be discovered. It’s silly to dispense of Christianity because its historical manuscripts speak of “days” in its narrative to account for various stages of the genesis of the universe and life on earth.
Understand that both of these “theories”, random evolution and intentional creation, require a degree of faith. I simply find it more reasonable to wrap my mind around the reality of an eternal creator. If that makes me the fool, then so be it. If I’ve somehow missed it believing in God, I’ve lost nothing. But if God is alive, and is loving and gracious, then I have everything to gain believing that. Please understand that truth is not subjective. It is what it is. One way or the other, truth is truth whether I believe it or not.
“That our idea of God corresponds as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us… where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse.” —A.W. Tozer
Acceptance in the reality of God tends to lie in the perception of who and what God is. If God embodies the sovereign standard throughout the universe, and God is loving and accepting of me, then I am all in with God. If God is judging me, critical of what I want and do, why would I want anything to do with God? A predatory, condemning God is not good for me. I am not at all comfortable with that. That God is a taker of life and must not exist. But… hmm… What if God accepts and loves me, and judges and opposes things that I do when I do not live up to his standard; yet is compassionate, merciful, a giver of life, and remains generously favorable towards me? What then?
Why Heaven and Hell?
It’s often asked, “How can a sovereign, loving God send anyone to hell? How is that love?”
It’s a fair question.
What is heaven? What is hell?
What if hell is merely the absence of good… the absence of compassion and mercy? You would find nothing that is good in hell. What if hell is best described as an existence without good, where evil is given free reign to breed, grow, expand, and abound, seeking to overwhelm and overcome everything in its path? What if hell is the ugly, painful, miserable condition of this world without love in it at all? What if possessing free will leads to selfish thinking and behavior? What if selfish thinking and behavior results in the opposite of giving, which is taking? What if the essence of giving is love, and that taking produces jealousy, resentment, injustice, and ultimately hatred… until it is evil?
What if hell is the light going out in an otherwise dark existence?
…And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:4 (NLT)
“The people who walk in great darkness have adjusted their eyes.” —John Eldredge
What if hell is the absence of God’s presence? What if hell is the absence of conviction concerning right and wrong… good and evil? What if hell is the survival of the fittest without any regard for who gets hurt?
When He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (regarding) sin, because they do not believe in Me… When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. John 16:8, 9, 13 (NKJV)
What if hell is the absence of the truth that rescues us from what’s destructive within; truth that defends us against the bane of evil throughout?
While I have suggested this idea of what hell could be, I do not really know or understand what or where hell is. There are a great deal of people suffering in the world for one reason or another who feel like they are experiencing hell right now. There is so much hate and evil in the world. We all live in the world together. We carry the burden of injustice, entitlement, jealousy, and resentment, doing evil to one extent or another. Then what? We blame a sovereign, loving God for the consequences for our collective behavioral choices?
What if heaven is everything good and right… absolutely everything? You would find nothing bad or wrong in heaven. What if you could go to heaven until you did something wrong or bad and then, oops, to hell with you? Wouldn’t you be living in constant fear in what is supposed to be utopia—paradise? What kind of heaven would that be? So how can heaven remain without flaw with flawed people living there? What if a loving God had—has—a viable solution to such an unsolvable dilemma?
What if heaven is freedom from hatred and evil into all that is loving and good without measure? What if heaven is freedom from all displeasure, discomfort, disturbance, and disharmony into fulfilling peace and contentment? What if heaven is freedom from conflict, anxiety and stress into the experience of what is truly unconditional love between every single one of its inhabitants? Are you kidding me… who wouldn’t want that?
What if there was a sure way out of hell into heaven? What if the only condition to experience freedom into that kind of living is having a relationship with the most honest, sincere, compassionate, generous person that ever lived? What if that is all it costs? What… that’s too much?
Why set conditions at all, right?
Conditions… standards… expectations… a convenient excuse to justify dismissing the matter of relationship with God. What about family relationships? What about romance? What about friendship? While some might like to believe the love in those relationships is without condition, be rest assured these relationships are absolutely conditional and loaded with expectation.
What about scholastic and professional relationships? No standards or expectations there? Are there no conditions to meet to get a good grade and diploma… or to keep your job, or to get a raise or promotion… or to get paid, for that matter? What about conditions for even healthy competition? Does everyone win, or do certain conditions have to be met?
People in relationship with each other expect honesty, trust and loyalty if they’re going to expect the best out of the relationship. Without necessary standards and conditions relationships are untenable, unmanageable, unstable, and then finally miserable until they fail and die. Parents expect to have trustworthy relationships with their children in order to trust them enough to bless them to the full with the best of their resources. Spouses expect undivided loyalty and commitment for their relationship to thrive. Otherwise, their relationship fails to survive.
Conditions and standards are essential and make sense in all relationships. Why would relationship with God be any different? The literature I read tells me that God doesn’t care about rules and religion. All God cares about is love in relationship… God with us, and us with each other. That’s it!
Why would God set it all up like that? I don’t know. Ask him! Because if that’s how it is, then that’s how it is. It doesn’t matter if we think relationship with the life-giver costs too much. It doesn’t matter if having a relationship with the creator of the universe who loves what he has created sounds unfair. The reality is that our world is in free-fall into self-indulgent entitlement, and evil and hatred have a clear advantage. If God is goodness and love, and this world is consumed with evil and hatred, the contrast between these realities couldn’t be more stark.
Which side are you on? You best make the right choice about it. Or else, just continue to live with what you already have until the hatred and the evil in the world catches up with you, if it hasn’t already.
To believe or not believe? Is there a creator? Does God exist? Is God alive? Does God matter? Is God involved in what happens here? Is God at all interested? Is God interested in me? Why believe in God? Why not believe in God?
What gets in the way of me believing in God? What do I risk if I am wrong about God one way or the other? What’s at stake, here?
What makes the most sense and what does not? What about all of this that is beyond explanation? What really is tipping the scales one way or the other?
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise
and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 (NLT)
If you believe that God doesn’t exist, then I suppose you best pray that he does, and that heaven is real. Because the alternative is truly hopeless and worthy of every fear you’ve ever had.
How can you know that God is real… and that he knows you and loves you?
I suspect that those who do not believe in God, tend to not believe because they cannot believe in God. It isn’t that they don’t believe. They won’t believe. It isn’t so much that they resist believing in the existence of God as much as they refuse to believe in the existence of a bigger-than-life authority. After all, justice is ultimately about what’s comfortable, isn’t it? So, how can God exist if it makes me at all uncomfortable?
Why is it that those who don’t… I mean, won’t… believe in God are so passionate in their opposition? Why care so much about something if it doesn’t exist in the first place? Why care about being judged by those who believe in this “God” that doesn’t exist if they are the fools?
“No one… not even God… dare hold me accountable! No one… not even God… dare tell me what to do and what not to do. No one… not even God… dare dictate to me what is best for me. Who can know me better than I know me? Only I know what is best for me.”
Is that right? Where then lies the hope for any kind of mercy from this hell on earth? Where then lies the hope for redemption from imminent suffering and death? Where then lies the hope for anything more than this… or anything beyond this life? Where then lies the hope for a better life?
The Scriptures say, “If you hear his voice today, don’t be stubborn like those who rebelled.” Hebrews 3:15 (CEV)
Inmates at the prison I counseled at would talk about having an axe to grind with someone out there, and how they might seek revenge when they get out… that it would be worth it, even if they had to do life for the manner in which they acted out their vengeance. “It would be worth it?” I asked. “Worth it until when?” There was always someone in the therapy group who would reply, “Until you have to do life.” Then it matters. Then it matters big time.
You might not be concerned about anything beyond this life at this time. But when will it matter? It will matter when it matters. Then it will matter big time. Thank God that he is indeed real and loves you. It’s good that God is paying attention. Because God is for you and not against you.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 (NKJV)
Once concluding that God is real and alive, originator of all creation, the catalyst and life-giver to everything evolving and living, then everything after that is possible. If God created the heavens and the earth and all of the life contained therein, then something like the virgin birth and the resurrection of his son, Jesus, are unquestionably possible. If God continues to be invested and involved in what he has made and loves, it only makes sense to be on his side of things. If God is all that he is, and he is for me and with me, then who or what can prevail against me?
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:35 (NKJV)
Once realizing that I was made to live by God, then I need understanding of what it means to live the life that he intended when he gave me life. I accept that I was afforded the favor to choose. Whether I choose wisely or foolishly, I decide. I was made to desire. I was made to love and be loved. I choose to believe that God is loving, and that he loves me. God’s love, once experienced, is most liberating.
With all that is happening in the universe and in the world, how do I know that God is interested in me and loves me? What if in the same way we love what we make and try to repair and restore what we’ve made when it breaks, God loves what he has made and repairs and restores what he’s made from it’s broken condition to whole once again? What if like loving parents that forgive their wayward children when they return, God forgives you and me when we go our way and then return to him?
Why is God Necessary?
Why do we need God?
Well, consider the alternative. If everyone who ever lived, loved their neighbors as themselves, perhaps we wouldn’t feel the need for God. We would find contentment in gladly taking care of each other. Instead, we are selfish. We don’t know how to love ourselves in ways that are healthy enough to love each other.
So then, flawed by selfish desire and motivation, we are prone to selfish mistakes. We are entitled and corrupt. We then on some level contribute to the evil in the world. Because we contribute to the problem of evil in the world, we are all subject to its wrath as a logical consequence. Our lives are therefore vulnerable to infection. Evil is a malignant cancer that is always terminal. No one’s immune.
Imagine the oceans have been filled by wrongdoing, one bucket of water at a time, for at least thousands of years. Over the course of my life, perhaps I have dumped a large pond’s worth of water into the sea of evil. By comparison, someone like Hitler or Stalin may have dumped a large lake’s worth or an entire ocean into the sea of evil. In any case, I contributed something, and continue to through selfish behavior. My selfish behavior has the potential for harm to me, and harm against you. Your selfish behavior can cause you harm and be harmful to me.
The waters in the sea of evil by nature find their way back to us. When we see clouds, it’s safe to say that evil is lurking. Evil may come back, metaphorically speaking, in the form of rain. There is a storm rolling in. Evil can come on like a flood. It might rush on us like a hurricane or a tsunami. Evil doesn’t care who contributed what to it. Evil is not partial to anything or anyone. Evil doesn’t care who it hurts, or kills for that matter. When it comes it comes. When it rains it pours. Its floods can be devastating. Evil is a furor with not a drop of mercy.
We all contribute to the problem of evil. Yet, when evil crashes in on us, we tend to blame God. Where was God? How could God allow such destruction to occur? How does blaming God for the evil, that I in so many ways contribute to, justify rejecting God? Or is it perhaps a convenient excuse for denying God’s very existence?
In any case, how does blaming God for the evil in the world help in the face of its harm against me?
Our reality is that we need God. You know, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” We need to be loved by God to be truly capable of loving ourselves, and in turn, our neighbor. It’s what I need; it’s what you need; it’s what the world needs. It’s what we have always needed from the beginning of time.
Reconciling Sensible Truth with Faith and Religion
God this, Jesus that. Another component to rejecting God is by linking God to religion, and then rejecting religion and religious people. Maybe you are reading this and you’re struggling with it because you’ve been scorned by religion or burned by religious people whose rhetoric is not in line with their behavior. I get it, but this is bigger than that. This is less about what sounds or feels religious and far more about recognizing what makes the most sense.
Why does religious banter commonly emote such hostility and tension if it’s supposed to be a cerebral thing… you know… so-called intellectuals (scholars and scientist types) making their claims to truth about our existence while interjecting vigorous, and perhaps even venomous, attacks against faith, religion, God, and (especially) Jesus Christ? Why is faith and religion such a hotly contested topic that so many are uncomfortable with it? It’s not exactly a loaded weapon aimed right at their soul or anything, is it?
So, again, why so intense? Why so angry? Why this need to be right… to prove we’re wrong… to convince us, “the enemy,” that believing in God is so ridiculous? Why care so much about us?
The conflict within themselves is the threat that cannot prevail. The conflict is determining truth. The simple fact is that truth is truth whether or not anyone believes it. So what is truth about God? And what is really at the heart of opposition against God, particularly if it turns out that God is loving? Is it the reality of having to surrender to truth that poses a threat to one’s self-indulgent motives and behavior?
What it’s really about then, is the emotional conflict from within that is the catalyst for such contentious debate. Those who take issue with faith, again, are very passionate about their “rational” arguments. They accuse “believers” of being dogmatic about their faith, yet it seems those opposing faith are just as fanatical in their need to persuade believers to stop believing in something they cannot see.
Rather than take on the intellectual sensibilities of faith, those who passionately oppose the ideals and principles of faith attack not faith, but religion as though it was the embodiment of the moral standards and causes they oppose. It’s their way to justify the pursuit of what they desire and covet that otherwise are morally suspect. Should God oppose their behavior in any way then it is beholden to them to oppose God.
Since what is desired and coveted doesn’t entirely satisfy, it becomes necessary to encroach the moral challenges waged by the assertion that such selfish pursuits are inherently vain. What matters ultimately are the pursuits that have the most certain and sustained benefit to best quality of life; the way of life that is most enjoyed with far more to gain while minimizing cost and the risk of loss.
Please, do not be persuaded by emotional arguments that are in actuality offensive to your deepest intellectual sensibilities; that which you already know to be truth. Allow the light of what you already know at your core to shine brightly on those deceptions lurking in the shadows so that when they are sprung will not catch you unaware.
God didn’t create religion, people did. A long, long time ago.
Even Jesus didn’t care much for religion; more specifically, the institution of religion. In his day the religious leaders used their position as a club to beat people down and break their spirit. Jesus called out those religious leaders as corrupt hypocrites who were dangerous. It was the institution of religion that killed him. Jesus (central to solving the puzzle) understood that it’s all about relationship with God and loving one another.
What God created is relationship, and relationship is what living is all about. The questions raised here should not be dismissed because of barriers erected by religion. Putting up walls doesn’t do anything but veil sensible truth. The answers to these questions will inevitably lead to choices about what to do about them.
The essence of faith is to be embraced and experienced… not feared and thereby thwarted.
If interested to investigate more into this whole deal about this Genesis of life with God versus evolutionary theories of life’s origins without God, consider clicking on Reasons to Believe to continue to your own exhaustive search into what it’s all about and how it all began.