Basic Definitions and Premises
Music: How Great Thou Art
Is There a God?
... how do I know there's a God whom I can't see or touch? ...
Introduction: I just finished discussing what our purpose is in the physical universe.
I touched quite a bit on the role of God and think it is now appropriate to discuss God as a separate topic. Being a Christian, one particular question about God is bandied about quite frequently (usually in a condescending tone) by agnostic/atheist non-believers:
– you really don’t believe there is a God whom you can’t see or touch? –
I’ll bet this is a question that all Christians have pondered and we kind of stumble around trying to answer it … finally giving an answer based on faith or pointing to the universe outside … which will never satisfy or convince a non-believer. So … my attempt here will be to address this question of a God head on and to my satisfaction, based on my core beliefs, and in a way that made me a believer; and … hopefully be rational, straight forward, and believable enough to convince the most die-hard non-believer. Impossible – maybe - but I believe easier than finding a solution to the Middle-East crisis.
Starting is always difficult and discussing the topic of GOD is no exception. I want to give some of my early feelings and beliefs which center on this subject – BUT FIRST – I want to express my belief in that there is a reality (the Physical Universe exists and is something we can sense in terms of our five senses) and not just some philosophical concept. That is, I believe the Physical Universe exists and just isn’t something in our imagination! So my discussion will focus around what we observe. And what we observe will come down to
“is there a creator that created that which we observe?”
“is what we observe a creation that always existed?”
I know the last statement contains an "Oxy Moron". That is, how can a creation always exist?!
Now continuing on to some of my early beliefs which definitely affect what will follow:
When I was young and attending Catechism I was instructed that we are spiritual beings; that is, I am transcendent to my physical body. When I die, my spirit (me) leaves the body and my body is left behind to return to dust (after the worms get through with it!). This seemed to me to be a very novel concept and I’ve held on to this belief ever since. Why? – There was one significant incident early along my educational path that left an impression on me: In reading In Search for Bridey Murphy – a woman experienced a past life. This made sense and plausible in light of us being spiritual transcendent beings – be it true or not. Also I read numerous accounts of people experiencing “out-of-the-body” encounters which further firmed up my belief in being a spiritual being. And then there is the Holy Scripture which says we are made in God’s image and likeness – and God truly is not a physical entity. Now let me throw some light on this path of enlightenment and how I came to believe, beyond any reasonable doubt, that there is a God.
Let’s all bow down to the Box – praying on planet Earth to a God created physical-universe object – Agnostics/atheists are hell-bent on discrediting our belief in God vice
sincerely wanting to know the answer to their question.
Agnostics/atheists want to hold on to what their pagan forefathers believed in –
gods that represent non-transcendent physical objects: be it the moon, sun, stars, etc.
I liken this to someone building a box out of wood (materialistic); then someone coming along and seeing how nice and powerful the box looks and bowing down in reverence to it. This person was someone of important and gets others to bow down to the box.
And now you know ... the rest of the story.
However, after eons of in-depth thinking, the agnostic/atheistic line of thought have gotten
... rid of the “box” and replaced it with another non-descript materialistic term ... Mother Nature
Mother Nature is the physical universe – a non-living entity made up of matter and energy existing in four space-time dimensions - which in reality is God’s creation based on God’s laws and constants which unfolded into the universe that we see today. Again
Agnostics/atheists are bowing down to something created and not to the Creator.
Not only that, agnostics/atheists believe life can be self-assembled from non-living material
given enough time – an exceeding long time - verging on the infinite (if not longer!)
So … I’m essentially coming down to a discussion between a Creator versus something that the Creator created,
... or ... God of Creation (with purpose) vs. Godless Creation (Mother Nature with no purpose) ... I will couch my discussion in two ways ... Is there is a personal God who created all this around us
(with a Purpose)
Is all this around us can be assembled from non-life material
(with No Purpose – just chance)
… Roll the Die …
Purposeless-universe proponents never address the how, when and why the universe started – that is, the universe is assumed to have always existed and for an infinitely long time, being infinitely large and in an indefinite life-favorable static condition. This is a given! Without this premise none of the evolutionary chance happenstances can occur, not to mention not having a model showing how life can be assembled from non-life material in the first place.
German philosopher, Kant (1724-1804) aptly (really should be Can’t), put it:
In a static (life-favorable condition persisting indefinitely), infinitely old, and an infinitely large universe would allow the possibility of an infinite number of random chances. With an infinite number of building blocks (atoms and molecules) and an infinite number of chances to assemble them in random ways, any kind of final product would be possible –
even something as highly complex as a German philosopher.
(Creator and the Cosmos by Hugh Ross)
There are lot's of conditions without origins that have to be in play in making this statement
without knowing what life is in the first place and the how/who is doing the assembly! .
… How Come the Sky is Dark at Night? …
This is an interesting question (and may sound stupid at first) and runs smack into Kant’s given premise of an infinitely large universe. And how is that you may ask?
In an infinitely-sized universe, there should be an infinite number of equally-spaced stars – thus an infinite luminosity. But at night (when the Sun sets), the sky is literally dark with a few thousand noticeable stars. The proponents of an “infinite-sized” universe state that star luminosity decreases the further away the stars are, thus the very distant stars put out little to no perceivable light.
Whoa Nelly! you say – it is true that luminosity (brightness) decreases proportional to the inverse square of the distance (1/R²) the star is from us BUT the number of stars within that volume encompassed by the “R” distance should increase as the cube of the distance [volume = (4/3)(pi)R³], giving an overall resultant in luminosity proportional to R (R³/R²); thus, the further away, the more stars and thus the greater the perceived luminosity should be. For an infinite-sized universe, the luminosity would be infinite (R = infinity). Since we do not perceive an infinitely bright sky at night, Kant and his proponents of an infinite-sized universe are wrong in their assumption.
… so much for an infinite-sized universe ...
! CRAPS !
(on the first roll of the die)
But you say: what about an “infinitely-old” universe?
… Einstein to the Rescue …
(or maybe not)
In 1916 Einstein proposed a set of field equations (General Relativity) describing the physical universe; however, he noted that his equations described the physical universe as expanding and decelerating at the same time. Expansion and deceleration posed a problem to the proponents of an “infinitely-old” universe in that it is indicative of an explosive event – which in turn is indicative of a beginning, thus a Beginner. This flew in the face of Einstein who knew (wrongly) that the universe was infinitely old; so he added a term (cosmological constant - an accelerating, repulsive, stretching factor for space) to cancel out this effect!
… Einstein’s re-Kant! …
In 1929 Edwin Hubble established that the velocities of galaxies result from a general expansion of the universe in the same manner predicted by Einstein's original equations. So … Einstein reKANTed and removed the cosmological constant from his field equations. Further scientific investigations eliminated all models but the “Big Bang” model, putting the final nail in the “infinitely-old” coffin. Not only does a “Big Bang” indicate a transcendent cosmic beginning a finite time ago but it represents:
“an immensely powerful yet carefully planned and controlled release of matter, energy, space and time within the strict confines of a very carefully fine-tuned physical constants and laws that govern their behavior and interactions”. (Creator and the Cosmos by Hugh Ross)
No infinitely-sized universe; no infinitely-old universe; no … possibility of self-assembly or evolution. This leaves little to be said about an evolving universe from chance and ...
all this around us can be assembled from non-life material
(with No Purpose - just chance)
!! DOUBLE CRAPS !!
However, this does not adequately prove that there is a God, even though items touched on above give strong hints of a God. So
... on to the other side of the story ... there is a personal God who created all this around us
(with a Purpose)
the Universe started with a BANG!
... and Life started with a smaller EXPLOSION ...
To create our physical universe (heavens and Earth), our Creator must be outside (transcended) that which He was creating.
… can’t create from within something that one is trying to create …
a nonsensical circular argument
As discussed in previous paragraphs, the “Big Bang” rules out an infinitely-large, infinitely-old and indefinite static universe. The Big Bang also implies a transcendent event outside the physical universe (starting to sound more like God all the time). In addition, the background cosmic radiation from the bang is still observable along with its cooling down to about 3-degrees above absolute zero. These facts validate the “Big Bang” model. Scientists are so sure now about the beginning event that they are being accused of running to and joining the
Church of Christ of the Big Bang!
There also is an earlier principle, Kalaam’s Principle, which logically describes the necessary steps to determine if a Creator is involved:
… Kalaam’s Principle …
1. If something comes into existence, it must have a cause (cause always preceeds effect);
2. The universe came into existence (Big Bang);
3. Thus, the universe has a Cause (Creator);
… this Cause (Creator) which transcends the physical universe is called …
Not only did the physical universe start off with a bang – so did life! During the Cambrian era – about 540 million years ago - the Earth suddenly became populated (no time for evolution) with about 70 complex animal phyla which defy naturalistic (evolutionary) explanation! Today only 30 of those phyla exist and none of these 30 phyla are new!
It's getting to sound a lot more like God all the time
Life started with an EXPLOSION!... put away those tree trimmers and bring out the lawnmowers ...
No tree of life starting with a simple cell, no ... Darwinian evolution ... just an upside-down tree (some call it a lawn). Still not convinced … try justifying life’s transcendences that
defy evolution and chance observables in life. Definition of Life:
God (and His image-and-likenesses)
impinging in the physical universe
God, as well as all life, transcend our physical universe (spiritual, not material) and can be observed through fingerprints God and life leave in this matter-energy-space-time physical universe. Life’s fingerprints are transcendent properties, observable by man, that are not attributable to matter and energy alone. Life’s transcendent fingerprints include:
Intelligence; design; information; understanding; ability to create; ability to dream, love, and care; perceive; awareness; aware that one is aware; motion (following God’s natural laws which are consistent and can be represented by mathematical equations); ability to make reproductions (duplicates of itself); and other transcendent properties. .
… Leap of Faith …
There comes a time when we say – we believe. Some folk take only a little amount of evidence and have lots of faith; and there are those, like me, who require a lot of evidence and little faith before taking the … leap of faith. At this point,
I took the leap
However, I’ve cemented my leap with additional readings and viewings of DVDs/ CDs/ books that turned out to be just awesome and which I wish to share with you at this time.
My Experience: Early in my career, I got interested in OBE’s (“out-of-body” experiences). After reading several books, I was convinced that anyone’s spirit could leave his body at will. After reading one book in particular – Journeys Out of the Body – I had a conscience experience of leaving my body! It scared the hell out of me and I didn’t try it again. There is quite a difference between experiencing an OBE than from reading about one. As I previously mentioned, I am a firm believer that we are spiritual beings (spirits) and I didn’t need much convincing after this episode.
Robert Monroe: Journeys Out of the Body
Scriptures: Scriptures are very important to include into this ongoing topic because –
THEY ARE GOD’s WORDS
that accompany His physical world creation. Both are true (even though interpretations by theologians and scientists are subject to error) and go hand-in-hand. In starting out I believe one needs to find one thing he can believe in and build from there. That one thing should be inerrant, factual, and historically correct. That is, one must first select one thing from the Bible he knows is correct and then work out from there. So … I decided to take one item of great important in the Old Testament – the Exodus with Moses parting of the Red Sea. This is of great importance to the Jew/Christian and is one of God’s greatest miracles. This is also one of our critic’s (agnostic/atheist) fervent attacks on our faith and the Holy Bible; it is just unbelievable to them. There are numerous PBS, History Channel, Discovery Channel, etc specials addressing this particular event – most if not all are just hatchet jobs in trying to explain away God with Mother Nature’s roll of the die. However, there is one DVD, in my opinion, that properly addresses the Exodus:
Exodus Revealed by Dr. Lennart Moller
I am high on this DVD because it actually sets out to prove the Exodus by following the text of the Bible and validating the text with evidence along the way! All the specials I’ve seen never looked for evidence to validate their hypothesis – in fact, they even change the Bible words to go along with their hypothesis. In Dr. Moller’s DVD he uncovers several important finds along the way: the starting point (Ur of the Chaldeans), cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the name and date and Pharaoh of the time, the real crossing point in the Red Sea, and the location of Mt. Sinai. In fact, when they found the Red Sea crossing point and did underwater search and camera work, it looked like a junkyard of chariot parts! This DVD literally knocked my socks off. I consider this DVD and accompanying book to be good investigative reporting.
The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller
I've come to find out more on this archaeological subject by reading Ron Wyatt's works, "Discoveries Volume". Mr. Wyatt was the first to cover this area using the Bible as the ultimate source. Dr. Moller corresponded with Ron and re-traced his steps on a few of the subjects covered by Mr. Wyatt in his books and videos. Wyatt Archaeological Research published much of his works in hardback as well as video. These can be purchased over the web at http://www.wyattmuseum.com. This material is highly recommended.
Wyatt Archaeological Research
Intelligent Design: The “ID movement” as it is called shed indisputable light on the subject of transcendence and again further sealed my belief in a transcendent Creator; it also showed how far evolution has gone astray. One DVD in particular is awesome and described two topics in detail:
Irreducible complexity of the flagellum bacteria motor and
DNA coding of intelligence
In Darwin’s book on the Origin of Species, Darwin himself states
… if it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed
which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive slight modifications,
my theory would absolutely break down …
And guess what – flagellum motors and DNA exist and could not have been done in
numerous, successive slight modifications Unlocking the Mystery of Life
Other DVD/CD/books: There are several other items of great interest that bring home the point of a Creator and are excellent. Without going into them, those of you of little faith, you might find that these will assist you in making that great leap of faith:
Journey Toward Creation (Hugh Ross)
Privileged Planet (Gonzalez/Richards)
The Case for a Creator (Lee Strobel)
The Elegant Universe (Brian Greene)
Icons of Evolution (Jonathan Wells)
Jesus, the Great Debate (Grant Jeffrey)
Left Behind series (1, 2 and 3)
Life of Abraham (R.A. Vernon)
Life of Joseph (R.A. Vernon)
Daniel (Jack Van Impe)
I AM A BELIEVER
The Lord our God is one Lord
Thou shalt love with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind