Category: The Meaning of Life

EVIDENCE FOR GOD

Is there any evidence for the existence of God? It’s not “cool” or politically correct to ask such questions in our age, but I say “Ask”! And here I offer some (but not all) answers to the secret seeker…

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Consider first that there are three possibilities as to how we all got here. 1, We were created by a Creator; 2, We evolved; 3, We aren’t really here, we just think we are. Other evolution-related concepts such as “Pan-Spermia” (life evolved somewhere else in the universe and was then seeded on earth) are not really alternatives, since all life, wherever it came from originally, either evolved or was created .

I have no time for the third option: I’m here, and so are you. That leaves two possibilities. I’m convinced that if you’re in the evolution-from-nothing camp, you’re determined to be there, against all the available evidence to the contrary.

DESIGN

I see incredible design in all of nature. Out of the thousands of examples I could give, one of my favorites is a moth I saw late one night near where I live, under a bright light. It was on the ground with its wings fully open on the ground. It had a five-inch wingspan (12.5 cm), and on the back of each wing it had a large fake fearsome eye, so that you seem to be looking at a formidable, intimidating five-inch wide face. Presumably the moth has these “eyes” as self-defense to avoid being eaten. I asked myself how a moth would “evolve” those “eyes” for itself, even given millions of years. Why didn’t all its progenitors get eaten, and if they didn’t, why did it need the eyes?

When we look around at our world we see beauty everywhere, and things which fit and have meaning and purpose. We live, love and exist in a world of wonder, not a world of chaos. Science is not evidence against God, it’s evidence that God is The master scientist.

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INFORMATION

One strand of DNA, invisible to the naked eye, contained in each of the trillions of cells in our body, is packed with more information than a huge library of books. Where did that information come from? So called “simple” life forms are really incredibly complex: how did that first information arise out of nothing, or out of inanimate matter? Information has never been observed to come from nothing or from chaos, and so to believe it did is blind faith, not science. Researchers scan the skies for a radio message from space which, they are convinced, would confirm intelligent life out there, yet ignore the incredible message in plain view within life on earth, as seen in our DNA, in our brains, and in all of life.

 

O is for ORDER. The universe operates in a very orderly, lawful way, as does our own solar system and our own planet. The laws of nature hold all things together and allow us to exist and function. Sir Isaac Newton, whose laws of motion and gravity are still employable and were used to land man on the moon, attributed that orderliness to a Creator.

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ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE

This principle, dismissed as mere “coincidence” by the evolutionist, demonstrates clearly that Earth is uniquely placed and equipped for life in our galaxy and in our solar system. It benefits from many hundreds-thousands-of extremely fortuitous conditions. As an example, if earth were tilted any more or less in relation to the sun, its temperature ranges would be too extreme to support life. If we didn’t have our moon, or if the moon were not at just the right distance from us and at just the right relative size with just the right orbital pattern, we would have no tides to keep the oceans alive and fresh, and there would be no life on earth. Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the harmful power of the sun’s radiation. Water is unique in many of its properties, enabling life to exist and continue.

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ORIGINS

Even famous evolutionists admit that they don’t know for sure how life evolved from non-life, and they’ve never seen it happen. Millions of people are convinced that life has been made, or almost made, in the laboratory: this is not the case. The Miller experiments made a few amino acids only. When the proverbial first living cell miraculously produced itself according to evolution theory, defying multitudes of natural obstacles, who did it mate with and what did it eat? I can much more easily believe in an intelligent creator than in a rock producing all the complexity we see.

There’s plenty of scientifically supportable reason to believe in the Biblical view of origins. Try http://www.icr.org for a start, or http://www.answersingenesis.org

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HUMAN HUNGER FOR GOD

Man has an inbuilt hunger for the spiritual, which explains the existence of many religions throughout history and in every culture. Religion is not always a product of superstition: perhaps superstition is born of  a natural longing for God, and the realization that there’s something much greater than us.

ATHEISM

The condition of atheistic societies to date has not been impressive or endearing. Atheistic philosophy has been the cause of far more evil in our world than any religion has. Hitler, in his book “Mein Kampf” expressed the need to “cleanse” the human race for the sake of “Mother Nature” and healthy human evolution. Also refer to the regimes of such men as Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Once man sees no God to answer to, and no  fixed, objective standards of right and wrong, tyranny is the likely outcome, along with the degradation of the value of human life. We can see this at work in our world now. Please note I am not saying that every atheist is a “bad” person: they are usually no more evil than anyone else. Instead I’m demonstrating  that having a God-less society is not the answer to our problems.

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EMOTION

Most of our emotions would be superfluous and even detrimental if we were only here to contend with other life forms so as to emerge the winner (as we have, if we evolved). The God of the Bible made us in his image, and is himself a feeling, emotional being.

LOVE

Real love produces commitment, caring, empathy, loyalty, faithfulness and truthfulness. Where does love come from if not from a loving, faithful designer? How could chemical reaction and interaction alone-born of rock-produce love? When your significant other asks if you love her or him, do you reply that yes, you are currently experiencing some chemical and hormonal interactions, and as long as they occur you will stick around and refrain from killing and eating him or her? Love in today’s popular definition is a reductionist ploy with the aim of reducing our relationships to good vibes and temporary mutual use while the going is good. Godly love, as found in the Bible, is that which produces stable relationships, happy kids, and successful societies.

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JUSTICE

Our sense of justice is evidence that we were made by a just, moral God. If we “evolved” a sense of justice, why do we still have crime, war and murder, at every level of every society, no matter how many new laws and regulations are created? And why would or should we care anyway? The fact is that we recognize naturally in our hearts that there is such a thing as evil at large in our world, and that it needs to be controlled. This recognition was given to us by a God of justice.

AESTHETIC SENSE

We have an inbuilt appreciation for beauty and for all of creation, and not merely for our mate when we’re having sex, or for the food on our plate. We desire to be creative, to entertain, and to express ourselves, and we appreciate those who do so skillfully. We love art, music, literature, and all forms of recreation and creation. We imagine-often without any practical reason but the pleasure of it. We philosophize and think deeply (some of us do anyway).

SIN and EVIL

The Bible is right about human nature: just look around. You probably need look no further than the mirror, or your own family and friends.  Those who claim that people only abuse each other when they’re impoverished are often the same people who berate the ultra-rich for abusing the rest of us. If poverty were the cause of crime and terrorism, half of India and Africa would be in absolute turmoil. And if we evolved, why shouldn’t the rich abuse the rest of us, since life is all about the “survival of the fittest”?

EXPERIENCE

In the years I’ve been a Christian I’ve experienced God in many ways. This includes an acute awareness of His presence, a feeling of indescribable completeness at times, an inner peace and joy, and answered prayers. It’s important for me to remember those experiences and continuous states of mind, and not to let them be dismissed as mere superstition, hormonal balance or positive thinking. I’ve seen the difference made by the Spirit of God in people’s lives, in homes, and in areas of society where God has been allowed or invited in.

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WHAT IS GOD LIKE?

A couple of weeks ago I discussed very briefly the three main theories humans use to attempt to explain our existence. A fourth, one which I dismissed from consideration, is that we aren’t really here at all-we only think we are. If we don’t exist, you’re not really reading this post, so there’s no point in imagining that you’re reading it, because it doesn’t exist anyway…

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I concluded, based on tangible evidence, that we do exist and that we’re here because God created us. We didn’t get here on this planet because aliens “seeded” us here, and we didn’t develop in some fantastical evolution from nothing. We were created, by a being far above our own abilities and perception. Today I’ll consider what that God must be like.

For such a universe to exist, God must be a sovereign being. There could be no order and consistency if there were many gods vying for supremacy and having different ideas about how things should be. Just look at the mess of our political scene as a contrary example, or at the Greek Pantheon and its constant quarrels and childish actions and reactions. The real God is One, and is supreme.

The farther astronomers look into space, the more they see. The closer researchers look into cells and living systems, the more mind-boggling features, processes and detail they discover. The longer we as individuals live, the more beauty we recognize. There seems to be no end to what we can discover and experience in this incredible world and universe-there’s only a limit and an end to the time we have to explore and enjoy it.

Since the universe is this way, and since things do not create themselves and do not arise and develop from disorder, we must conclude, if we’re honest with our reasoning and logic, that what we see, feel, hear, taste, smell and otherwise spiritually detect with our senses comes from what God has created. The fact that we have the ability to test, enjoy and benefit from the world around us is one evidence that God is gracious, generous, kind and loving to enable us to experience these things, and to interact with our environment and with each other. We would not even know that the universe outside our immediate surroundings existed if we didn’t have the eyes to see, the bodies to move, and the brains to comprehend what’s there.

The creator must be eternal and unlimited by time. He created time along with other things. Einstein concluded that time and space are inseparable, and that you can’t have matter without time and space also. Perhaps unwittingly, he was confirming the first verse of the Bible, which states that “In the beginning (time) God made the heavens (space) and the earth” (matter). The three had to come into existence simultaneously, and of course, secular scientists have had to incorporate the three together in their “big-bang” theory. But the Bible said it first-a long time ago. So to create time, space and matter, God must be outside of it all: apart from it and above it, and not subject to it.

God must be able to control  the universe and all it its constituent parts. That makes him omnipotent-all powerful, and omnipresent-everywhere. And so all the order we see in the universe-the precise order of the planets and their movements in our galaxy, all depending as they do on the order and consistency of the sun’s power, is evidence, as Isaac Newton concluded, that God is unfathomably intelligent, ordered and powerful, and is in fact The master mathematician and The master scientist.

The integrity of God’s design speaks of the integrity of his character. He is faithful, consistent and committed. Just as the universe hasn’t changed in its operations, laws and principles, so God must be unchanging.

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When we look around at our own world, we see beauty which constantly astounds and amazes us. This makes God not only the master of beauty, but beautiful in his nature. Beauty can only be created by beauty.

When we consider the terrible things that man inflicts on his own kind, we see the patience and mercy of God in action, because the all-powerful God, who created what we damage and destroy, endures it all- at least, for now.

As we know, large numbers of people deny the existence of God, or they twist and deny his character as expressed in creation. The apostle Paul wrote about the clear evidence for God all around us. He declared that there’s no excuse for denying His existence and His nature:

“For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

The real truth is that God is far above any words we have available to us, and any power of imagining we can conjure up. God is great. Glory to his Name.

There will be a part 2 to this post, coming soon…

WHERE FREEDOM IS

Whatever our view of the beginnings of mankind, we can imagine the first humans having a huge amount of freedom…

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There-wherever it was-the first man and the first woman wandered the land. In every direction they looked they were free to roam. There were no streets, no traffic lights, no private lands, no “No Trespassing” signs, no busy roads, no Mc Donalds restaurants with one-way drive-in lanes and “stop” signs. It was all open, wild and free.

Adam and Eve, or if you like, “Aarg” and “Thug”, had no bills to pay, no car payments or mortgages to struggle with, no taxes, no boss to answer to, no fear of getting a ticket for riding their horses too fast, and no fear of getting locked up for trespassing or for trumped-up charges of collusion or lying to investigators. Their kids were content, attentive and helpful, because there was nothing to encourage them to be otherwise.

However (and in every human story there has to be a “however”) at some point in the virtual bliss of life along came Mr X: the new neighbor. Mr. X decided that he liked Thug, Aarg’s mate, very much, and also that the land the Aargs were living on looked a lot nicer than the land he was on. X plotted in his primitive but fertile mind how he might extricate Aarg and acquire what Aarg was enjoying, and make it his. He first attempted to “move in” on Mrs. Aarg, who wasn’t altogether against the idea of being acquired, because X, after all, was more handsome than was that guy she’d been stuck with for some time.

There ensued a battle between Aarg and X, in which X’s features were somewhat re-arranged, and he didn’t look quite so handsome or appealing any more. So X plodded off with his metaphorical tail between his legs.

However (and there’s another “however” already) while X’s pride and face were damaged his determination was not. Remembering that just over the hill lived that rather large and imposing man “Donk”, with his rather large and imposing sons, he took some trinkets: shiny rocks, fruit, and a nice jaw-bone hair brush, and went to make a deal with Donk. The following morning X, Donk and his rather large and imposing sons swaggered over the hill to where Arrg was banging some sticks on the cave wall- working on some pretty intricate para-diddles, and, with the gang behind him, he raised himself above Aarg, X declaring that he was now king of all he surveyed-including Mrs Aarg.

Aarg was forcefully employed twenty hours a day, digging for shiny rocks and cooking mammoth chops. He was confined to his cave at night, because everything else now belonged to X and his deputy, Donk. Aarg’s rent was two shiny rocks a day, for the cave which once belonged to him.

The worst irony of the story is that after some time, Donk’s slow but deliberate brain determined that he hadn’t done quite so well out of the deal as he could have, and X shortly found himself digging for shiny rocks with Aarg, and doing the dishes. He was, however, Aarg’s supervisor, so that poor old Aarg remained on the bottom social level of X’s kingdom.

I write this sad little story not because I believe, as the Communists do, that “property is theft”-I don’t: or as an example of how all unpleasant human circumstances come about. Obviously there are other causes of loss of freedom besides violent tyrants. Instead it’s intended to be a demonstration of how we as humans have moved from being once free to being under the thumb of the society we live in. We think we’re free in the West, but compared to the original freedom Aarg enjoyed, we’re rather constricted and constrained.

Step out of your door and you immediately find that there are places you cannot go, things you cannot do. Where once Aarg could wander and roam, you have an extremely limited path of legality and propriety. The fact that you can see buildings and roads and gardens and fields gives a false sense of freedom, because if you walk over someone’s lawn or through their house or over the field you’ll have the owner’s dog, or the owner or the police, chasing you. Don’t wander in the road or you’ll get squashed by a forty ton truck. Don’t drive too fast or go through the red light or you’ll get a ticket. Don’t try to explore that interesting structure or the security man will evict you and turn you in. Don’t say certain things in public or you’ll be verbally or even physically attacked or jailed.

Pay your bills on time or you’ll be on the streets in the cold. Pay your taxes or the weight of the government will come down on you. Don’t grumble too loudly against the government or you could be locked up for incitement. Don’t dress out of fashion or people will sneer and reject you. Vote to please those around you or lose your “friends”. Construct your sentences well and like all the right things and say all the right small talk and wear the right clothes and appear meek and yet at the same time confident and cool or people will shun you.

We, like Aarg, have been enslaved to the society we live in. To top it all off we’re enslaved by our mortality, and our lives are limited in time. What we like to think of as a free world and a free life is actually very restrictive.

However, true freedom can be found in the creator of all that we are and all that Aarg, or Adam, surveyed. This is the creator who has promised to restore what he originally made-this time under his own, good government. For life in this present world, the apostle Paul said:

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

And Jesus Christ said:

“If you hold to my teaching, you really are my disciples. The you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

Freedom is to be found in Jesus Christ, and our Creator, who will be in us if we want Him, where no-one can take it away.

 

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS?

What is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it socialism? Is it just one of many ways to God? Is it an invention of white American men? I’ve posted this message before…and I’ll post it again…

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The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us?

In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life. The gift-if we accept it for ourselves and change our ways-takes us from being subjects of God’s wrath into eternal life, even though for now we are in mortal bodies.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood, the education establishment and by certain authors, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented or altered hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth.

Lee Stroebel, with an MA in Law from Yale University, and a former award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, in his book “The Case for Christ”(note 1) interviewed a number of believing scholars such as Cambridge educated Sir Norman Anderson. Anderson was a Professor at Harvard, and lectured at Princeton. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London. Anderson said that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, which contains a clear definition of the gospel as outlined below, can be confidently dated to around 55 AD.

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 Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and writes that the gospel existed in the form below even before Paul’s letter:

That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum”(2).

THE GOSPEL

Here, then, is Paul’s first-century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

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).

So the gospel of Jesus Christ is this:

1 Christ died for our sins, as prophesied in Old Testament Scriptures. We can be forgiven for all our sin because of Christ’s death on the cross;

2 He was buried;

3 He was raised from the dead on the third day;

4 He appeared alive to his disciples after his resurrection.

The gospel is here spelled out for you. Accept it, believe it, pray it, confess it, and live it.

NOTES

1 Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” Pg 230. Pub. By Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49130. © 1998 by Lee Strobel.

2 Gary R Habermas “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri, © 1996 Gary Habermas) p 153.

IS GOD CRUEL?

One of the countless reasons people give for not having faith in the God of the Bible is that He’s cruel, angry and sadistic. Are they right?

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Perhaps the most important answer to this question is that the universe is not a democracy. The God of the Bible created it and sustains it. He has no equal, and He therefore has every right to do with it what he wants to do. God is God, and we are not. Not only that, be we can’t stop him doing what he wants to do. So perhaps the question should be worded differently: Can I believe that there is a God such as this, one who appears to be so cruel?

Surely, even if God were terribly cruel and sadistic, the fact would not rule out the reality of his existence, except perhaps from the point of view that no all-powerful being who is also mean and sadistic could or would create and maintain such an amazing and  beautiful cosmos. So then the question must be more correctly worded this way:

Is God so cruel that I don’t want to know him?

Here we’re getting down to the nub of the problem, because such questions are usually-but not always-thrown out as an argument from people who have no desire to know God in the first place. It’s a cop-out; an excuse.

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But what about it: is the God of the Bible cruel? He doesn’t claim to be cruel. In fact, scripture says that, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

The gospel is all about the love of God for the pinnacle of his creation-mankind. He didn’t send his son to condemn the world, but to save it.

What about suffering? Why, if there is a God of love, do humans suffer so much, and then die? This is a subject for another post, and I’ve answered this question to the best of my ability in several posts. Please see the links below *

The skeptic will raise the subjects of God’s treatment of the Canaanites and the ancient Israelites, and the whole concept of hell.

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God told the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites under the leadership of Joshua, including women and children. This is seen as extreme cruelty. The charge is made by people who are either ignorant of all the facts, or who are determined to deny God the right to decide how mankind will behave on his earth. The Canaanites had descended to the lowest pits of human depravity, so that they were sacrificing their own children to their idols. They had abandoned their creator and were worshiping wood and stone. They were engaging in every depraved activity they could imagine. And God did not suddenly decide to swat the Canaanites without giving them a chance to change. In fact, he gave them more than four hundred years to repent (Genesis chapter 15).

We humans don’t have a “right” to do what we want without consequence, because we are owned by our maker. Our maker has standards. I’m personally very thankful for that. How could The master mathematician, biologist, scientist and philosopher, not have standards? Why should he not want to enforce and maintain those standards? Does he not have a right to run his universe his way?

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And what about hell? Is the concept really so awful? Well, it certainly is awful for anyone who may go there. But suppose for  now, if you don’t believe, that God is indeed our creator and the creator of our universe, as the Bible claims he is. Where then can those people go who do not want to know their creator and refuse to adhere to his standards? Where can they go, if once having failed his standards, they then refuse his mercy also? Can they create their own universe? Can they go and settle another part of his universe? Unfortunately, God cannot, according to his nature, tolerate willing rebellion, anywhere in his creation.

He therefore has a special place reserved which we call “hell”, away from Him and the universe which those who love him will inhabit. Without God Hell can have no light, no love, no comforts, no hope, no fun, no beauty. It can only be a terrible place without God. Choose Him or lose Him and all his benefits.

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There is, therefore, no part of His universe people can move to to escape his will. And if he sent everyone, against their will, to his heaven, it would be mean to those people who hate him, his ways, and his people, to make them endure all three for all eternity. Not only that, but it would be cruel also to those who do love him and his ways, to then have to endure the godless for all eternity. Heaven would be just like the earth is now, with war, aggression, immorality, hatred, abuse, decadence, and all the evils men and women perpetrate upon each other.

The  Bible says that “God is love”. God created love, and God is love. But that doesn’t preclude the need for right, wrong, and the necessary judgment of wrongdoing. God is as just as he is loving, and the two go hand in hand perfectly. True justice is as beautiful as is true love, for all eternity. Glory to God!

*Below is a link to the first part of my series on the subject of suffering. You can search for subsequent parts in the search box above, using the words “Why do we suffer? Part 2”, Part 3, etc. You can pay a lot for some “expert’s” book on the topic, or you can read these for nothing:

https://nickyfisher.com/2017/05/31/why-do-we-suffer-part-1/