Have you wondered why people, who otherwise seem so intelligent, can believe such things? After all we haven’t seen anything like this on the six o’clock news lately. And there is much more in the Bible that seems rather implausible to the modern mind. Just to mention a few, we find a man walking on water, raising the dead, feeding 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes, and healing people.
These things are miraculous and we all know, or have been led to believe, that miracles do not happen. Why, you ask? Because science has shown that God does not exist. Or has it? Isn’t that what we have been led to believe? Anyhow, what difference does it make? See if you agree that it makes all the difference in the world!
The answers to the foundational and fundamental questions of Identity (Who am I) and Significance (Do I matter), and Purpose (What should I be doing) are radically different, and indeed, opposite based on where you start in your line of thinking. Are we mere accidents, products of random events? Do we have any enduring significance or any purpose at all beyond an enlightened self interest?
Are we mere accidents, products of random events? Do we have any enduring significance or any purpose at all beyond an enlightened self interest?
WHAT IS BEHIND IT ALL?
Here is an interesting approach. Let’s see what you think. Take a moment and examine the three lines of evidence that together, conclusively, show that the Bible could not possibly
be the result of mere human origin.
The Bible is a collection of sixty-six documents, written over a period of more than thirteen hundred years by some forty authors. Among its many scribes were shepherds, a tax
collector, a physician, fishermen and others who lived on three continents – Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Consider any other book written by a group, who for the most part did not know each other. These men were from different times and cultures, wrote during different periods of time, yet, their understanding of God was congruent, and the concept of God’s unfolding plan was consistent and coherent. No other such book exists. That in itself is remarkable. Most books are out of date after only a few decades.
Over the hundreds of years archeology has explored the Holy Lands, millions of dollars and millions of man hours have been invested in the excavations.
The researchers have learned a great deal. A vast number of names of people and places from thousands of years ago have been unearthed. Even with all these discoveries, not one has ever disputed a biblical statement.
Perhaps the most concrete evidence of the Bible’s supernatural origin is the recording of prophecy that has been documented to have been fulfilled.
The prophecies of Daniel concerning the coming Messiah and the destruction of the Temple (fulfilled in A.D. 70) have been attacked by critics who suspected the book must have been written after the events.
However, Daniel and the rest of Jewish Scriptures were translated from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek in the 200 BC era. This fact, clearly establishes that the prophecies were written hundreds of years before the events took place.
Many other Jewish Scriptures foretelling the Messiah’s birth and first advent are recorded in Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and other places. You can Google “Messianic prophecies”.
This can be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt. That should dramatically change a secular skeptic’s view of the world and everything in it.
Some have questioned the reliability of New Testament documents. They believe much of the Scripture was not contemporaneous with the events proclaimed in its pages. They say much of the book may have been written later, perhaps a hundred, or even hundreds, of years after the actual events.
Secular history records the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. Yet, there is no mention of this in the New Testament. The Temple was far more significant in the lives of the Jewish people of that day than the World Trade Center was in the lives of most Americans today.
The World Trade Center was so large that it had its own zip code and subway stops. Suppose you found a travel brochure about the Center. It would tell you many facts: the number of people who worked there, the number of visitors on a typical day, and perhaps the number of restaurants and meals served each day.
Now, assume you find no mention of 9/11 or that day’s collapse of the towers? Isn’t the most likely explanation that the booklet was printed before the events which destroyed the towers ever took place?
The destruction of the Temple fulfilled the prophecy of Jesus. This would have validated His credentials as a prophet. The fact that the New Testament has no mention of it is best understood by concluding that the New Testament accounts were written before the events of A.D. 70 took place, just as the Bible records.
But what about other religions? Do not “many paths lead to the top of the mountain?”
Of course, that question raises another thought — “Who/What is to be found at the top of the mountain?”
Hindus believe there are millions of gods. Buddhists believe in no god at all. Christians believe in the God of the Bible.
The existence of God speaks to the foundational issues of Identity, Significance and Purpose.
The practical applications are life altering. How shall I treat others? Are humans mere accidental results of random processes? What if I can gain significantly by taking advantage of people? What if they are easily exploited? I am tempted, why not? If we conclude these issues have no lasting significance, and if we are cunning enough to get away with it, and temptation allures us, we are left with just the question, “Why not?”
What if others feel this way about me? I know that some are stronger and smarter. Who can I trust? Statistics on crime are not encouraging.
So we can begin to see how leaving God out of the picture has rather profound implications.
What does it mean to be human? “No God” means we are mere accidents of nature. With that outlook, we are considered no more than a product of random chance events.
We live only a few short months. You must live 83 years and 4 months to attain only 1,000 months of life. A month goes by pretty fast, leaving a limited time to pay the bills, balance the check book, and the like. It’s often said that life is 90 percent maintenance and 10 percent living.
Then how shall we live? Without God it is difficult to find an enduring purpose to life. How shall we view others? If they are made in the image of God, we must assign them high value and accord them basic rights.
From where do our rights come? If the government “giveth” rights, then the government has every right to take them away. That seems to have been what Hitler and Stalin believed. History records that on the order of one hundred million people were murdered by totalitarianism in the 20th century alone…at least partly because of an atheistic world view.
Stalin’s and Mao’s atheistic communism assumed their citizens possessed no rights beyond what their governments offered. Because their subjects’ lives had no lasting, intrinsic value or rights, countless citizens were liquidated as inconvenient enemies of the state.
With God out of the picture, why not? How could you call it wrong?
You need some basis to challenge it beyond, “But that’s just your opinion!”
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and other founders of our republic affirmed, “. . . they [we] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
From time to time, each and every one of us experiences temptation. How do you handle the temptation to do wrong?
With God in the picture, we know that we, ultimately, must give an account for each time we give in to temptation. We will answer for each time we take advantage of another, whether we have lied, stolen or surrendered to other immoral infractions. Any form of exploitation or fraud will be adjudicated by a perfect and divine justice. Knowing there is One to whom we are accountable, provides a decisive basis for saying, “No!” to temptation.
But what if God is out of the picture? Isn’t this what many believe? Without God, we may take advantage of whatever nefarious opportunity is available.
We become experts at rationalizing behavior:
“It’s not so bad.”
“Everyone is doing it.”
“No one will know.”
“It’s no big deal.”
Yet when we are the victims and not the perpetrators, then it becomes a different picture. This is not how we want others to view the situation when our cell phone, iPod, stereo, spouse, children or other treasured possessions or people are in peril.
And yet the question may remain, why not? Most of us are influenced, to varying degrees, by the behaviors of others around us. If others are convinced that God is out of the picture, that no one is keeping score, and if we feel we are likely to succeed in getting away with it, the temptation is intensified.
The Orlando Sentinel newspaper recently reported that there are “hundreds of unsolved murders in Central Florida.” Include the other 66 counties in Florida, and it likely totals thousands of unsolved murders. Add in the other 49 states, and it is probable that the unsolved murders in the United States are in the tens of thousands.
These uncaught murderers found no reason not to murder their victims. The question of “Why shouldn’t I steal from this person?” can slide into, “Why shouldn’t I kill this person?” Thankfully, most will never cross that Rubicon, but some will.
WHO IS TO SAY WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG? WHO GETS TO DECIDE?
You are sometimes left with the impression that each person gets to decide for themselves. Well why not? If there is no unmoving standard of right and wrong (God), then each certainly decides for oneself.
“That may be true for you, but not for me. Who made you the judge?”
It’s widely reported that a majority believe truth is relative, that there is no settled, objective standard (God) of truth. Does that make you feel safe when you go out after dark?
What is the solution? Isn’t it the overwhelming scientific consensus that God does not exist? Sadly, many scientists and educators think that way.
On the other hand, large numbers of contemporary scientists and educators have a robust belief in God, and their transformed lives attest to that reality.
EVER WONDER WHY WE BELIEVE AS WE DO?
We come to our positions of belief, whether we believe in God or not, in a confluence of differing authority groups. Most likely, we agree with whatever the reigning consensus was in the home in which we grew up. It may have been molded by schools, social environments, and/or business settings.
So, often without a great deal of thought, we come to our conclusions. A wondrous thing then happens. These now become our positions. We tend to protect them, defend them, live by them, and hold on to them, as if we had arrived there by the most rigorous and disciplined process of reasoning.
After all they do “free” us, don’t they? We are now the final authority for what we will do and how we will live. We are invested in those patterns. We develop a “stake” in them, hardly aware of any perilous implications they might bring to bear.
The longer our life investment in these standards, the more difficult it can become to cut our losses. We’re then likely to operate more from resolve than rationality.
In this state of affairs, we may resolutely resist the logic of God’s certain existence.
So then, is there a factual basis for belief in God? We’re betting our lives on the answers. Before that, let’s consider a few questions:
What is the rationale for atheism? Is there a factual basis? What is it? Is there a logical basis?
I believe you will come up empty on those quests because of the impossibility of proving a negative.
The universe is large. How can you know that nowhere in the vastness of space God does not exist?
Shrink the quest down to size. You might be able to prove there is not a spider in the room. You could make a careful and meticulous search and cover the entire area. But spiders come in various sizes. And you could not know for sure that one of the little ones did not scoot past while your attention was focused in the other direction.
So, is it rationally defensible to declare that God does not exist?
“Okay,” you say, “Even if it is granted that God may, or even probably, does exist, why should we believe in the talking snake that you initially discussed?”
Isn’t it widely accepted by educated people that the Garden of Eden was just a myth, or a fable? Doesn’t everyone know that?
Well, not everyone. In fact, there are three powerful lines of reasoning for the open-minded. The evidence weighs heavily toward the factual basis for Eden’s existence.
The law of causality, or the relationship of cause and effect, states that outcomes tend to be in a proportional relationship to the causes. For example, a firecracker produces a firecracker-size effect. A hand grenade, a blockbuster bomb, and a thermonuclear device each produce effects proportional to their size, force, and power.
So when we find a universal effect, it would logically follow there is a universal cause.
An undisputed truth is that everybody and everything dies. Why? It all goes back to the Garden of Eden and the Snake — Satan, the enemy of life.
Tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in research to learn why we age and how we can live longer. And yet we all die. Why?
Scripture testifies “In the day you eat thereof, you shall die.”
Snake said, “You will not surely die.” All of us know that is universally untrue.
The second proof is also found in Scripture, and its effect is also found in our worldly experience. Before man declared independence from God, he was “centered” in God. The world was then in harmony. But man switched centers; he became self-centered and thus selfish. And the world was broken, and we are broken with it.
Selfishness is why we resist God. Convinced by the lie that “our” way is best, we do not trust God’s goodness and we reject His way. Selfishness equals sin. And we are all selfish to a greater or lesser extent.
A part of being human is to be self-centered. Can you name even a single problem facing the culture today that is not, in some way, a result of selfishness? We have broken homes, children abandoned by their parents, crime, corruption in government, environmental outrages and wars. The list goes on.
The third strong corroboration is the all-pervasive belief in the LIE.
“What lie?” Snake said. “What we want for ourselves, what we choose is better, and to be preferred, compared to whatever God wants for us.” The charge against God is, “He is not good.”
We have all, at one time or another believed the lie and, often, still do. Perhaps that is the rest of the explanation of why we resist, often with monumental resolve, the evidence of God’s existence.
And this very declaring of our independence gives us a false sense of empowerment, self determination and control. Of course, we are not in control in any real sense, as we realize when we buckle up in an airplane.
In fact, there is very little we can exercise autonomy over. Unless you are independently wealthy, you have limited choices over where you live and work.
You do not get to choose the family you are born into, nor the century or culture. You do not get to choose your gender, your body style, I.Q., temperament, personality, nor coloring.
The most important choices we get to make are decisions about whether or not to believe the lie.
Further, there is almost nothing you have that you can hang on to. You cannot be sure you will keep your eyesight, your hearing, your mental capacity, your health, your job, your spouse or mobility.
The one thing you are able to retain is that standing between you and the life for which you were made. Your will. In this, you are sovereign.
You can continue in your declaration of independence from God. You can spend your entire life in this state of rebellion and take your last breath and die—unsurrendered to God.
But why would you? Isn’t that irrational? The only reason I can imagine is that you believe the lie—what you want for yourself is better, and to be preferred, to God’s benevolent, gracious, and infinitely perfect plan for your life. You believe you cannot trust God.
It is true that some of the things God forbids can be very alluring. When God says “Don’t,” He is really saying, “Don’t hurt yourself.” Although proof can be tenuous, the moral laws are just as real as those of physics. Violate the law of gravity and the results are immediate. Moral law violations may or may not produce an immediate visible effect. An acorn takes a long time to produce a tree.
Believing the Snake has brought us to the hurting place in which the world now exists.
So, what will you believe? Before “Big Bang” cosmology, those who did not want to recognize the existence of God attempted to find comfort in the belief that all matter is eternal. Science tells us that matter cannot be created. It can change its form, say from liquid or solid to gas, but it cannot be created. For matter to exist, there must have been a Creator whose existence transcends the science of known physics.
We, inherently, know that the universe had a beginning. Science theorizes how it began. Because of the fine-tuning within many forces such as, gravity and velocity, some suggest that instead of just one universe, there are “multiuniverses”. The assumption is that with enough universes, fine-tuning is a given rather than evidence of design.
Of course, the multi–verse hypothesis is unprovable. The premise offers nothing to solve the problem of how it could have started on its own, without God.
Anyone with average intelligence, without support from a scientist in a white coat, can see the evidential facts regarding existence.
You may remember a particular scientist who, at the beginning of every TV episode of Cosmos, stated assuredly, “The cosmos, all that is, or ever was or ever will be.” As far as I know, no one ever asked Carl Sagan, “How do you know that?” The answer is, “He didn’t.” The statement is an unprovable assertion. There is no possible way to scientifically test it. It is a statement of faith. Imagine that!
Yet, it is likely that millions, untrained to test assertions critically, accepted his recurring declaration as gospel truth.
Much of what we can know, without having to rely on the claims of the experts, is as plain as the nose on our face.
It is self evident that existence depicts a very high degree of order. The Earth is highly organized, and many believe its environmental balance is fragile and threatened. Enormous diversity exists throughout the world. In the 1970s Science Reader reported that perhaps as much as one half of the plant life in South America was yet to be classified.
There is a mind-boggling complexity to all existence, ranging from living cells and DNA to the subatomic structure of the elements.
Ecology and environmentalism declare the interrelatedness of nature.
The dependability of water always boiling at 212 degrees at sea level and all the other laws of physics and chemistry demonstrate that the universe operates under a system of laws.
The world is highly rational, knowable, and intelligible. Think about it. Scientists could not formulate experiments, must less test them, without this assurance of conformance to law.
Big Bang Cosmology cannot account for this. Naturalism/Atheism is forced to believe:
• Nothing created everything
• Chaos created order
• Non-life created life
• Non-consciousness created consciousness
• Non-personal created personal
• The blind created vision
• Non-hearing created hearing
The list could go on.
This isn’t rational. The existence of God is proven by the rational, logical nature of things being understood as it is.
God Is Love. And He loves you. Yet, we declare our independence from God, which is an act of rebellion, or sin. And God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all sin.
Recently a vase was discovered during an archeological dig with the inscription, “A thing is worth what someone will pay for it.”
What are you worth? God loved you so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for your rebellion against Him. (John 3:16) He paid a terrible price to save us all from an awful fate.
That is quite a price to pay. You and I can resist this knowledge with a resolve that is beyond all logic and rationality.
Why? It is because on some level, we believe the Lie that originated in Eden. What lie? The lie that, “What we want for ourselves is better, and to be preferred, to what a benevolent God has planned for us.”
Don’t believe it. Millions and millions of Christians testifying over two thousand years proclaim God’s truth. God is love. And He loves you.
Snake says “God is not good.” The more common, modern statement is, “God does not exist”. Either concept renders you being of little value, significance, or meaning.
You are asked to believe all this without any factual basis to back it up.
WHY WE KNOW GOD EXISTS
The realistic foundation establishing God’s existence is the order of our world and universe. From the very smallest things to the very largest, we can perceive a universal order. That order is demonstrated by the laws of physics, chemistry, mathematics, music, botany, geology, and more:
Big Bang cosmology offers no explanatory power to account for those.
“Oh, yes we do!” exclaims the atheist. “Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection explains them all!”
Do they really? Natural Selection is so God-like in its presumed authority that Richard Dawkins feels the need to go to great lengths to explain that natural selection “is blind, mindless and without purpose.” He doesn’t offer where or how he learned that. I suspect his is another “faith” statement for which there is no method for proving. Otherwise, it could be said that natural selection is just his name for God.
After all, wasn’t the purpose of the whole enterprise of natural selection an attempt to account for things without the need to refer to the supernatural or to God? It’s a small wonder that many of us can feel our lives have little purpose.
A fertile imagination finds few limits. “It may have happened like this,” or “it could have been this way.” So given enough time, say billions of years, and a blind, mindless, and purposeless process “could” account for the order, complexity, and diversity, and so forth, that we all see and experience.
We have seen photographs of man’s footprints on the moon. The Lunar Lander was designed with the assumption that dust on the moon’s surface would be consistent with known rates of accumulation on Earth, based upon more than a century of recordkeeping (factored by the moon’s lower gravity and lack of atmosphere). The supposed billions of years was expected to result in dust depths measured in feet, as the Lander’s design shows, not the couple of inches the photos reveal—a depth consistent with six to ten thousand years of accumulation.
Of course God could do it any way He chose — through billions of years, or if He could make Adam as an adult male, he could also make mature trees, rocks and galaxies, fully mature with all the signs of age.
Much of what we think we know about the age of the Earth is founded and grounded on the assumption that the “clock in the rock” began it’s countdown from zero. Or in the case of space, that velocity has always remained constant.
They believe they can compute the age of the universe by calculating the distances of galaxies from the center, and in other places they say they cannot know where the center really is.
This is, of course, an unproven and unprovable assumption. There is no way to verify it. In any case, you need Someone to get it all started. It begins to sound like a fairy tale for adults. You know, like a rabbit out of a hat, except without a hat and even without a magician.
If you begin with “No God,” then you must come up with another explanation. When you renounce the Snake-lie you no longer need another version.
THE GOD OF THE BIBLE IS:
• Love, and more
And He must punish rebellion (sin).
Scripture declares that the evidence for God’s existence is clearly seen by everyone. We resist the evidence in order to serve our own mistaken self-interest. We choose to believe the Snake.
Knowledge really does have power. With what you now know, you can act upon your own best interest. And is it not wonderful you have the great honor and privilege of testing the message in the laboratory of your own life?
Now you can ask who can you trust? Some may dethrone God in their lives, but that doesn’t change the fact that He continues to rule and reign.
CONSIDER THESE PHENOMENAL STATEMENTS:
MATTHEW 7:13 “Enter in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many go in there.”
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17-21 “Therefore if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. And all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God. For He made Him to be sin for us; Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
(If you feel an impulse to resist, you do not have to yield to it. You have the power to choose God.)
Is not this the most wonderful news anyone can ever receive? A brand new life. A fresh start. Finally—a true reason for living.
Don’t miss out. Ask God to reveal His salvation to you. What do you have to lose? Don’t trust the Snake.
Some are troubled by the aspect of mystery found in the Bible.
It has been observed that the four most mysterious words in the Bible are, actually, the first four: IN THE BEGINNING GOD.
With God in the picture miracles are to be expected.
Carl Marx famously said: “Religion is the opiate of the people.”
The shooters in schools, after murdering classmates and teachers, often take their own lives supposing they have avoided culpability.
The real opiate of the people is the inculcating of the belief that after death, there is only nothingness.
God in the picture makes all the difference in the world. May He grant us conviction of sin and show us our Savior.
Whether you know it or not, there exists an infinitely powerful and good Being, who is holy, righteous and just (and much more) who loves you and me.
And beyond our ability to comprehend, in spite of knowing every wrong choice we have ever made, He desires to be reconciled to us. Is not this the greatest thought that can occupy the human mind? Invite God to show you that this is true. Then, when asked you can tell others “I believe God Himself proved to me it is true.” What do you have to lose? What do you have to gain? Ask. Seek. Find.
Will you let this be your moment of truth?
Compiled by Don Cain
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