Can I Believe In God?
Despite the yearly polls to the contrary that tell us that about 90% of people in this country believe in God, our society is moving farther and farther away from its past history in which most people were God-believing and God-fearing people. I know what the polls say, but I also know that what people say in a poll and what they will say and do in a religious discussion are two different things. Years ago, the people I had conversations with about the Bible knew it and knew its author, but less and less often this is found to be true. The consequence, therefore, is that since less and less people know the Bible, less and less know God. That leads to the inevitable result that fewer and fewer believe in God, for as Paul said, "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?" (Rom. 10:14)
And the existence of God does not rest solely on evidence found within the Bible, for within God's word, He has told us that "since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." (Rom. 1:20) And in one of the most obvious references within God's word to the extra-Biblical evidences, the psalmist tells us: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork." (Psa. 19:1, NJKV) Clearly, there is evidence that God exists when we look around the world in which we live.
The Creation points to God! Let us understand very early in the discussion that the evidence we will consider will not be God Himself; I won't be able to put your hand literally in His. I will not be able to show you God face to face, either. But, I can believe He exists through other evidences in the same way I believe the city of Paris, France, exists: though I've never been there, I have read many books, seen pictures, and heard firsthand from those who have been there that leads me to believe that it actually exists. The same goes for Abraham Lincoln; though I've never met the man, I have read scores of stories and accounts of his life, seen pictures that are supposed to be of our 16th President, and I believe he exists though I will never see him face to face, and even though I will never reach out and touch him.
As we consider the evidence, we will look at three basic arguments that lend great credibility to God's existence. Due to space limitations, we will not investigate these fully, but we will touch on some of the arguments both for and against God's existence.
The Cosmological Argument.
(Argument from creation.) The basis for this argument rests on the reality that everything has a cause. Since everything that exists had a beginning, the universe had a beginning and that beginning was caused by something other than itself. (In our case, we believe God was the cause.) Some, obviously, do not agree with this, and have stated, "The cosmos (creation) is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be." [Carl Sagan, Cosmos, p.4]
Now, which takes more faith: Believing that everything came from nothing by itself, or by special creation (God)? Even the Second Law of Thermodynamics dispels this idea, and no reputable scientist disputes its truthfulness. Even those scientists who do not believe in God hold to some view that there was some sudden, cataclysmic event that began it all. Physicist Stephen Hawking said: " In real time, the universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to space-time and at which the laws of science break down." (A Brief History of Time) In other words, there was a beginning, but by science we cannot explain either how it came to be or what existed before that point. We can by faith, and that is true whether you want to believe it just happened or that God created it.
The Teleological Argument.
(Argument to purpose.) Design demands a designer! As logical as this is, there are some who deny the logic and hold to the belief that everything by nothing but pure chance evolved into the complex, multicelled creatures we have today, and pushing an extreme age for creation since this would require a staggering amount of time.
Again, which takes more faith: Believing that everything came from nothing by itself and evolved from inanimate particles into living creatures over billions of years, or that it came through special creation (God)? Both take faith, but which is more likely?
If we were walking through the forest and discovered an Encyclopedia Britannica lying on the ground and no evidence as to how it got there, I am pretty sure none of us would believe that it "just happened." I believe we would all be led to believe that someone had compiled all the information, had it organized, typed or printed, and bound together before it somehow appeared where you discovered it. Yet, when scientists look into a single DNA molecule (that contains the same amount of information), they conclude that it "just happened"?
Even by mathematical calculations, we find that the chance of such an event is beyond impossible, due to time constraints even after being given 1000 times longer than what even the most liberal estimates theorize. There is simply not enough space and time to allow for such a series of complex, uninterrupted, and successful events that would lead to life as we know it today.
The Moral Argument.
Simply put: Moral laws demand a moral Law-giver. The objections to this are that moral laws are subjective and that there are no absolutes. I (hopefully) do not have to point out the contradiction of such a statement, but we should address the "subjective" argument, and the answer is that, even though morality has varied over centuries and throughout all cultures, the general morality has always been the same. As an example, we can point to the fact that in no culture has cowardice and double-crossing ever been rewarded; murder, rape, and stealing has never been deemed morally good. The fact that the basic moral laws have existed throughout all time and all cultures points to a supreme, moral being that delivered these moral laws (God). C.S. Lewis pointed out that just the fact that we argue means we believe in some standard of moral law! I agree!
Can I believe in God? Yes, for the evidence is there. But, the real question might be more correctly phrased: Do I want to believe in God?
By Steven Harper
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