God is NOT Dead
How do you respond when people claim that there is no God?
My wife, daughter, and I recently went to see the movie “God’s Not Dead.” The movie deals with the conflict between atheism and Christianity. One of the story lines in the movie concerns a college freshman who is taking an introductory course in philosophy from a notorious atheist. The professor of this class uses the first lecture to belittle those who would be idiotic enough to believe in God. Then the professor demands that the class members sign a statement that they agree with the statement that God is dead.
The young Christian refuses to sign such a statement, so it sets up a very tense confrontation with the professor. The student is subsequently challenged to defend his faith in front of the class. I don’t want to give away more of the story, but I do believe the movie is worth seeing.
The proponents of atheism are gaining momentum in our present culture. They use intellectualism in an effort to attack those who believe in the existence of God.The truth is that in our current culture, it is not politically correct to trust in God. As a result, people will say “…all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake.”
My purpose here is to share with you why I believe that God, the creator of the universe exists and why I believe that God is the God of the Bible. My hope is that you will be able to stand under the cultural pressure to back down in your representation of God to the community around you.
Why I believe that God created the universe in which we live
I want to keep this fairly simple and so my complete arguments will not be discussed.
My journey started where many end—in my early years of college. As depicted in the movie “God’s NOT Dead” most people stop looking for God when they get to college. But not for me.
Universities are designed to make naturalists out of the students. Their agenda is to move faith out of the life of students and replace it with intellectual propaganda. Of course, at this time, you accuse me of being an idiot and you dismiss me. But don’t be so quick to judge. I hold BS, MS, and PhD degrees from top universities. I worked as a research scientist for over 30 years and have published nearly 200 professional, peer-reviewed articles.
My interests were always in science and math, even from my youngest years. When I was a teenager, I pondered concepts such as eternity and the size of the universe. I tried to reconcile in my mind how evolution could have worked. I couldn’t understand how evolution could start. I often considered ideas of time and time travel.
I also wondered about the existence of God. For some reason, I had an incredibly strong conviction that God must exist. The complexities of life demanded it. The beginning of time demanded it.
Once I got to college, I desire to know more about God seemed to intensify. I wanted answers to my questions and though I wanted to study science, I found the answers given by many were unconvincing and contrived. In my early years of college, I believed that Jesus, the Christ was provided as the sacrifice that brought me back into relationship with God.
As I grew as a Christian, I was still considering time in relation to creation and evolution. Then, a couple of key classroom lectures helped my understanding.
The first was in my Geology class. The professor was explaining how fossils and substrate was dated. He reasoning was circular in that his summary was that you date the fossils by substrate they are in and you date the substrate by the fossils contained within them. That caused me to sit back in absolute bewilderment. I understood that I could have no confidence in the dating techniques used in science. (NOTE: I am keeping this simple. If you want to understand more concerning this issue and others, take my course in Science and Bible at Northern Plains Biblical Seminary (www.npbsonline.org)).
The second monumental turning point in my thinking occurred in a class on morphogenesis of the vertebrates. The intent of this class was to connect the evolutionary history of higher life forms. The statement that made me doubt evolutionary processes came from the text. When discussing the birth of mammals (and in particular humans), the text went into detail to explain that a hole was necessary in the heart so that the unborn fetus would not interfere with the blood purification process. This was to be done by the mother and the attached cord. But, during birth, this hole would need to be covered so that the newborn baby could sustain life. The text said, “Coincidentally at this time…” How could it occur billions and billions of time and be a coincidence? This could only happen if information was present in the DNA to tell the body when to plug the hole. (This was only one of many issues I saw with the theory of evolution).
So, my thinking continued to develop. I realized that time was something we could not and did not understand. I also realized that evolution could not be the mechanism through which life emerged. By putting the pieces together, I realized two things.
1. Only the existence of God makes sense regarding the origin of the universe
Atheists have said that the universe is eternal and didn’t have a beginning. But that very statement contradicts the Laws of Thermodynamics. If the universe didn’t have a beginning then it would have suffered the fate of all physically materials—it would have eroded away. Now science has clearly shown that the universe did indeed have a starting time. This leads to all sorts of issues. If the universe had a point where it was not but then was, what started it? Where did the material come from? How could all of the material in the universe be compressed into an infinitesimally small point? How could the universe be created from nothing? These questions cannot be answered by the Atheist.
2. Only the existence of God makes sense of the complex order in the universe
How could intelligent life evolve from non-intelligent life? When we look at the universe, it seems much more likely that the conditions of the universe would prohibit the evolution of life. The existence of life must be so exact that the probability of life emerging are incalculable. For example, Stephen Hawking has estimated that if the rate of the universe’s expansion one second after the big bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million-million, the universe would have re-collapsed into a hot fireball. British physicist P. C. W. Davies has calculated that the odds against the initial conditions being suitable for later star formation (without which planets could not exist) is one followed by a thousand billion-billion zeroes, at least. There are only three possibilities for explain the presence of life in the universe: natural law, chance, or design. Natural law posits that there is some unknown theory that dictates that the universe had (chance was not an issue) to exist and it had to be life supporting. This is untenable and requires complete faith to be believed. By contrast, the second option supposes that all that is in the universe exists purely by chance. That makes us extremely luck since the probabilities are in essence zero. The third option calls for the existence of a designer who permitted life.
The only plausible notion of these three is that the universe exists because there was a designer. We call that designer God. For this reason, I believe that God created the universe in which we live.
Why I believe that the creator God is the God of the Bible
Many people believe that God is a component of all religions and that all are speaking of the same God. Norman Geisler has presented the attributes of God, which make him identifiable. These include:
- God’s pure actuality (God is everything He could be, He is and always was and always will be)
- God’s infinity (God is limitless)
- God’s immutability (God is unchangeable)
- God’s eternality (God was before time and He created time; He cannot be a part of time)
- God’s oneness (God is one)
- God’s simplicity (God cannot be divided—He is indivisible)
- God’s personhood (God has intellect, feeling, and will)
- God’s transcendence (God is beyond comprehension—He is above and beyond the limits of our universe)
- God’s moral perfection (God is perfect in his nature, knowledge, and will)
The God described in the Bible is the God of theism. He is different from the gods described by other systems. For example, Pantheism denies the transcendence of God. Deism denies the very character of God and His ability to perform supernatural activities (such as creation). Godism and dualism presuppose that God is finite and impotent; the God necessary for creation is neither.
Rather, the God of the Bible is unique. He possesses the characteristics necessary for the creation and sustaining of life. Since God—the designer—is necessary for creation and only the God of the Bible has the characteristics required to create and sustain the universe, I believe the creator God is the God of the Bible.
We must respond to the God of the Bible
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:18–23, NKJV)
This passage warns us that the righteous God of the universe is directed against all those who deny Him. These people suppress the truth. This is what we are seeing in the atheists of today. God has shown Himself to all of us. This is what I saw as a child. I knew God had to exist even though I didn’t know Him or have a relationship with Him. But God had shown Himself through His creation. His invisible attributes are clearly seen in the creation of all things. We can know and understand that God exists because we can see them all around us. Life could not jump into existence by chance. Natural science cannot account for the rise of intelligence within the fabric of life. By looking at the creation, we can see God’s eternal power. I saw this as a child and I believed. Humankind is without excuse.
The passage goes on to say what we are hearing from present-day atheists. Atheists do not want there to be a God. They refuse to give Him glory; rather, they profess to be wise (intellectual), but they are fools. They have created for themselves other gods. They decided it was better to serve the created rather than the Creator, so God has given them up to the lusts of their hearts (Rom 1:24). Mankind has fallen woefully short of the mark God has set for us.
However, God has taken the steps necessary for us to enter into a relationship with Him. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is what we need to believe in—trust in. The world may say all sorts of things against you. The world might persecute you. But the world cannot take away the fact that Christ died for you and He has given you eternal life.
I don’t intend this post to be a philosophical treatise on the existence of God. I simply wanted to share the outcome of my thinking over the past 40+ years. No thinking person can deny the potential existence of God. I stand with Paul who wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”” (Romans 1:16–17, NKJV)
God is NOT dead. I choose to live by faith in the one true God who created heaven and earth.
How about you?
May 5, 2014 (11:09 pm)
Jon, This post is well thought out (40 years gave you time) :-), well written, and well documented. Bravo! And thanks for your kind, loving commitment to sharing your testimony and God’s truth.