Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What I believe: There is a God.

I believe that there is a God.

I can't tell you all the reasons why I believe this, and I certainly cannot prove definitively and objectively that it is unquestionably true. However: I do believe that the existence of God is definitely, objectively and unquestionably true.

This is not to say that there are not moments when I have a niggling doubt: What if this is not true? But those doubts last only for a moment. As Job said, so say I:
"I know that my Redeemer lives." (Job 19:25a, ESV)

I can't tell you all my reasons, but I can tell you THREE.

(1) The Bible
proves to me that there is a God.

The Bible is a most remarkable book. Unlike the scriptures from any other religion, the Bible was compiled over a very long time by a very large number of authors.

We do not know exactly when the oldest book of the Bible, Job, was written. Scholars think it was written sometime between 2000 B.C. and 1800 B.C.

On the other end of the spectrum, the "youngest" book of the Bible is the book of Revelation which is dated at A.D. 95. That means the span of Biblical writing covers almost 2000 years, and possibly even a few more.

Approximately 40 different people wrote books of the Bible. They did not all know each other or work in cahoots with each other. Many of them had no idea that their writings would some day be cataloged into one great book of Holy Scriptures.

Some people say that the Bible certainly could not be true because of minor discrepancies, for instance: the fact that the four gospels each record something different written on the sign on the cross over Jesus at His crucifixion. Here is what each of them says:

Matthew: "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews," (from Matthew 27:37, ESV)
Mark: "The King of the Jews," (from Mark 15:26, ESV)
Luke: "This is the King of the Jews," (from Luke 23:38, ESV)
John: "Jesus of Nazareth. The King of the Jews." (from John 19:19, ESV)

Now, if the Bible were a hoax, and people had made it all up, wouldn't you think that someone would have gone back and fixed that? It would have been easy enough to massage the data to get 100% agreement in these statements. But nobody did. To me, that says God is behind it, not man, and it is a true book... just like how real teeth are not as straight and white as dentures.

Sure you can find "inconsistencies." But they are very minor, and further study will often show you that what appears to be an inconsistency is not inconsistent at all.

Actually, the fact that things match up as remarkably as they do--over time and from the non-synchronized pens of different men--proves to me that there is an Almighty God behind the whole thing, directing the writing to reveal exactly what He wants to reveal to us about Himself.

Consider that in approximately 681 B.C., the prophet Isaiah wrote,
"[Thus says the Lord]...who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid”... I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the LORD Almighty.'"
(Isaiah 44:28 and 45:13, ESV)

In about 450 B.C. Ezra the scribe wrote about what happened at the end of the Babylonian Captivity (which God predicted would last 70 years, and it did). Ezra 1:1 begins, "In the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia..."

Cyrus' first year was 538 or 539 B.C. That is 143 years after Isaiah wrote his prophecy, and there he was, the very Cyrus that God had named in advance, and he did exactly what God said he would do. He sent the exiles back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, and provided them with the materials to do so. I don't know about you, but to me, things like this prove the existence of God.

(2) The fact that there must be an ultimate Source
proves to me that there is a God.

In the movie, The Sound of Music, right when Maria and Captain Von Trapp fall in love, they sing a song together, and one of the lines in the song says, "Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could."

And that is a true statement.

Nothing comes from nothing.

Plants come from seeds. Baby birds come from eggs. Dirt comes from decomposed organic matter. Rain comes from condensed humidity which comes from (I think) the oceans and such.

Nothing comes from nothing.

You can make a lot of stuff in an organic chemistry lab. I know this because my daughter is a synthetic organic chemist. She can make hormones and pheromones and all manner of compounds and molecules. But she can't make any of them out of nothing. In fact, the chemicals they use to make the things they make are often extremely rare and expensive, limiting how much product they can make... because nothing comes from nothing.

Nothing comes from nothing, and yet... we live on a planet in a universe filled with stars and moons and other planets. On our earth we have metals, rocks, gems, plants, animals, sand, water and fire. We have people, houses, trees, cars, clothes, appliances and accessories.

Some of the things we have are easy to trace back to some sort of source: the handbag came from Gucci. That sort of thing.

Others are harder: Where did the mountains come from? The glaciers. Where did the glaciers come from? The Ice Age. Where did the Ice Age come from? From variations in the atmospheric composition of the earth where concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere fluctuated. Well, where did the carbon dioxide and methane come from, and what caused them to fluctuate? Ummm... ?

Ultimately, there must be a Source. Nothing comes from nothing. Even if the Big Bang Theory were true, it begs the question: Where did these original particles of matter come from, and why were they floating around in space, and what was the source of the bang that kindled them into something that could eventually produce life?

If you think back to origins, as far back as you can possibly think, I don't see how you can avoid at least postulating the probable existence of a Source. Because no matter how many billions and trillions and bajillions of years you think it took for evolution to happen, it doesn't cancel out the fact that--no matter what--at the very, very beginning, something had to come from Something. I submit that the original Something, the Source, is God.

(3) The complexity of nature
proves to me that there is a God

I am going to focus on this more in my next post. For now, I will quote two Bible passages and then leave you with a question to ponder.

Psalm 19:1-3 (ESV)
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.

Romans 1:19-20 (ESV)
For what can be known about God is plain to them,
because God has shown it to them.
For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature,
have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,
in the things that have been made.
So they [those who deny God] are without excuse.

God plainly states in His Word that He has revealed Himself to mankind through nature, and since we all have access to this revelation, all of us will be held accountable on Judgment Day.

I did not pursue much math and science, back in the day. But I did study some math and science courses. And the more I learned, the more I realized I how much I did not know. The elaborate designs of the particles that compose all of creation took my breath away. The processes of regeneration, procreation and DNA replication made me shake my head in wonder. The concept of infinity struck me with awe. It seems to me that the more you know and understand about the complexity of nature, the more convinced you ought to be that all this wonderful stuff around us could not be the result of a series of random coincidences.

So here's my question: Do you really (really?) think that it is more logical to explain God away than to believe in Him?

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