Especially for those who may be seeking, or who wonder what makes a professing Christian tick, here is the personal reasoning and motivation which augments my faith. I haven’t always been a Christian. I had no particular beliefs, and no particular convictions…
I need to state up-front that the predominant reason I have faith is that my God has drawn me to Him, and I have responded. God draws all people by revealing something of Himself to them, but not everyone responds.
Most fundamentally, we exist, despite the claims of some philosophies and religions. We are not imagining ourselves. So how did we get here? There are only two realistic possible alternatives: one is that we evolved out of nothing-the universe and everything in it created itself. The other is that we were created. Ideas such as pan-spermia are really not alternatives, because any alien life had to either evolve or be created.
I have seen no evidence for evolution. Bacteria remains bacteria and cows do not change into whales, except in the fertile imaginations of those who don’t want to respond to whatever revelation God has given them. Nobody has observed a universe popping into existence from nothing. Nobody has observed life evolving from non-life, except in pseudo-science magazines. The notion of DNA evolving is nothing more than wishful thinking by the sceptic: it was designed. Nobody has observed the all-important photosynthetic organelle being formed by an inorganic molecule capturing a bacterium. No museums contain a real series of fossils demonstrating legs lengthening or tails forming. A few skeletal likenesses are highlighted, but this is no evidence of nothing-to-rock-to-man evolution: a great designer will use similar beneficial structures for different inventions.
So I’m convinced we did not evolve-we were created. Where is the Creator? Is he still around? What is He (or she or it) like? How can we know?
A creator’s handiwork will always reveal some features of his character, his ability, his intentions, his power. So when we look at creation, we see that it is vast beyond our comprehension. It is beautiful beyond words. It is complex beyond our ability to explain. We can know that the creator must transcend his creation. He must be able to control time, space and matter in order to create them. If, or since this creation is so vast, we have to conclude than the creator is even greater; he is even more beautiful that his creation and has an even greater aesthetic sense than is displayed within it, and the complexity of his make-up must also be greater. His intelligence must be far beyond anything we can imagine., as is his power. We could almost-we may as well say-that he is infinite.
Are there multiple creators?
Do all gods qualify for the position of God? Try gathering all the politicians in DC and make them all President of the United States at the same time. Obviously it would not work. So it is in the spirit world. Try aligning humanity’s gods and philosophies: they do not and cannot fit together: they differ in so many ways, and they are frequently at odds with each other. It is therefore impossible for them all to be God in the sense of supremacy. Refer to Aristotle’s law of non-contradiction which holds true today: no two contradictory statements can both be true. Humanity’s gods cannot all be the creator of heaven and earth (and some don’t even claim to be).
There is so much order in the universe and in nature that it had to be designed by a singleness of mind. That is, one being-one entity. The supreme being and the creator cannot have a multitude of conflicting characteristics as if he/she/it were some cosmic schizophrenic or someone with multiple personalities. His character must have unsurpassable integrity and unity and singleness of thought and purpose.
Of course, many philosophies and religions and gods claim to be the right one or the only one. It seems necessary, then, to study and make comparisons. I’ve done some of that, and I’ve seen, to my own satisfaction, that the God of the Bible fits the above description of our Creator. The plethora of religions and philosophies is a result of Pascal’s “God-shaped vacuum” inside us, and man’s hunger for meaning and for something greater. Not only that, but the Biblical God claims and insists that He is the only true and the only supreme God. All others are imposters and are nothing more than empty shams:
“I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6 NIV).
God, in both Old and New Testaments, claims to be the creator of the universe. The very first verse of the Bible describes what man outside of God’s guidance only decided in the twentieth century: that time, space and matter all came into being simultaneously:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”.
It’s my conviction that God is perfectly capable and willing to create and preserve a message to his ultimate creation, mankind. Besides the message everyone can see in nature, that message is more specifically recorded in the Bible. The Bible is a collection of books written by at least forty different authors over many hundreds of years, but at the centre of them all is one story: the story of the Messiah.
It makes sense to me that in the Middle-East, the cradle of civilization, the ancient Jews were the race chosen to provide the genealogical line to the Messiah. The Old Testament tells that story, complete with family trees, histories of associated places, leaders, and events and people, many of which are attested to by archaeology and history. There are numerous examples of people or places or kings, having been once ignored by sceptics and “experts” as fictional, being found to be actual. The Flood more than adequately explains the earth’s rock layers, and why there are billions of fossils of creatures buried rapidly all over the earth. The Bible’s narrative has been preserved because the message giver claims that His word will never pass away.
Love it or hate it, the Bible is clearly an exceptional collection of books. It has survived numerous attempts to snuff out its message, its pages, and its characters even as they lived. It provides encouragement and inspiration for literally billions of people. Its narrative discusses actual characters and their lives in a warts-and-all fashion, as being real and believable. It touches upon and answers all the big questions of life and death, origins and destiny, right and wrong, good and bad. It has an explanation for suffering, and for evil and hatred. It has made sense of life and death for me. It has given me unquenchable hope for this life and for eternity, an inner peace, and at times intense joy. I have experienced the God of the Bible, and His presence, as something which is unmatched in all of life. The Bible contains hidden and explicit codes which defy human invention. For examples, see http://www.khouse.org/articles/1995/102/ and https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/larkin/dt/28.cfm
As I wrote in my post, “Ex-ing the Experts”, I am not dependant on any form of proclaimed expert. The people who poo-poo the scriptures are, to me, those who are intentionally ignoring the evidence of God all around us. However, if experts are what you demand, there are believing experts, hidden and ignored by your teachers and TV documentaries. It’s claimed by some that the Church invented miracles and theology to attach to the narrative of Jesus Christ hundreds of years after his life. Dr. Gary R Habermas, a New Testament historian, received his Ph D from Michigan State University and his DD from Emmanuel College, Oxford. In his book “The Historical Jesus”, Habermas discusses the creed quoted below as found in 1st Corinthians, and writes:
“That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum” (3).
This is the gospel that Paul preached in the first century:
“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…” (1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).
Jesus Christ, as I shared recently, is demonstrably a real, historical character. But what of the theology associated with him? It’s generally accepted that he was indeed a “good man”. But if you read the gospels, you can’t help finding that not only was he a good man who loved, forgave, gave and healed all without prejudice, but within his words and actions are woven the fact that he was no mere man. He did indeed claim, un-ceremonially, to be the Son of God, in words and in actions. He was declared, by his immediate disciples, and here I include Paul, to be God in flesh. Who else can raise the dead? Who can make a blind man see but the One with ultimate power over all things? Equally compelling to me are the multitude of prophecies penned hundreds of years before the time of Jesus, which attest to the Christ who was to come:
…he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
As some declare, all religions have martyrs-yes indeed. But how many of them die without trying to kill or threaten others? More significantly, how many die willingly for what they know is untrue? Paul and most of the other apostles died by persecution-those who claimed to be eyewitnesses of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But they didn’t die before they-uneducated and unlearned fishermen and tentmakers-turned the world upside down with their message.
If I were not a Christian now, I would still be horrified at the direction our Western world has been heading in for some time. I see a denial of and disregard for truth and justice taking hold, the media being the worst perpetrators. The most important building block of society, the family, has been attacked by immorality and faithlessness. People “don’t know” what gender they are. These are all signs of a rapidly decaying society. The words of God are an anchor, a signpost, a warning and a guide. The ways of God are to me right, natural, good and beautiful.
I’ve lived long enough to see how a predominantly Christian society worked. That’s gone now. People, as imperfect as human nature is, were far more unified in thought and preference; more faithful to their spouses and families; more respectful to authority and others; more honest and God-fearing, and more realistic about life and eternity. At the other extreme, atheistic societies have been those which attack and enslave their own populations and their own foundations. Examples are numerous: Pol Pot’s Cambodia; Lenin and Stalin’s Russia; Mao’s China, and Hitler’s Germany (no, Hitler was not a Christian. His God was Mother Earth and he wrote about the evolution of man. He had lots of dissenters within the Church executed. See my posts on these characters and societies).
I’ve experienced change in my own life. I didn’t suddenly become a “good” or a holy person, but overnight my life had meaning and purpose and direction. I felt a freedom within me that I never felt before. I began to lose my foolish ways, and began to change into the new creation my Father intended me to be. You can search (top) for “My Testimony”.
The Bible foretells future events, many of which have been fulfilled, and others which have yet to be fulfilled. For example, the Old Testament not only contains hundreds of predictions of the Messiah concerning his first coming as recorded in the New Testament, but many concerning his return. Luke’s gospel records an incident in which Jesus read part of the scroll of Isaiah, known to have been written long before the life of Jesus, for all to hear. In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus read aloud a portion concerning the Messiah, then said:
“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:16-21).
Christ’s birth was foretold, in Isaiah 9:6-7, and his death in Isaiah chapter 53.
In our time a fulfilment of New Testament and Old Testament prophesies about Israel and particularly Jerusalem appears to be in process. Some prophecies are yet to be fulfilled.
I am a Christian because I responded to the call of my God. Then I began to build an understanding of how God the Father and His Son have been and are at work in our world, and in my own personal life.