how do you know god exists? – part two

Posted: June 15, 2009 in Christianity, Theology
Tags: , , , , ,

In my previous post, I said the proof that I have for believing in God is a personal and experiential proof. Hebrews 11:6 says “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (NLT) Believers live by faith, bottom line. God wants it that way. So there is no absolute quantifiable proof that He exists – you can’t prove God in a lab. If there were absolute proof we wouldn’t need faith, which He obviously wants us to have.

However, even though the existence of God is based on faith, there are many things that point to the fact that believing in the God of the Bible is very logical and not just a position held by ignorant fanatics. In his book Skeptics Answered, D. James Kennedy makes the point that while still faith, our belief in God is a reasonable faith. I’ll leave the debates and scientific discussions to the apologists who feel called to that. Here, I’m simply going to attempt to bring up a few big-picture points that – for me personally – lead me to believe that my belief in God, while based on faith, is very reasonable.

1) The existence of time and matter. The fact that time and matter exist begs the question “where did they come from?” Even big bang theorists have to start with a) a point in time, b) the pre-existence of matter and c) energy that eventually caused the matter to explode. But where did the point in time, the matter that exploded and the energy that powered the explosion come from? Something can’t come from nothing in the natural realm. Of course, my belief in the supernatural God of the Bible easily answers those questions. The fact that there is a here and a now demands the existence of a creator.

2) The existence of the earth and life. If someone told you that two lovers’ names carved into a tree, a sand castle on the beach or even Mt. Rushmore happened by chance and without premeditated design, you’d think they were crazy. Yet that’s what evolutionists do everyday using the magical ingredient of time. These examples are extremely simplistic creations by man but imagine the detail of the human body! You wouldn’t think a computer evolved from a calculator over millions of years would you? Yet the human body (or any life form for that matter) is way more intricate than a computer. And again, there has to be some sort of energy or catalyst for the change. Darwinian evolutionists say that mutations, natural selection, and a lot of time is that catalyst. The fact that there has not been a single beneficial mutation observed in nature kinda turns me off to that. Think of it – DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling each and every cell to act in a certain way. It also requires RNA to get the message to cells.  Which came first – the information in the DNA or the RNA needed to carry the message? You can’t have one without the other. Am I supposed to believe they magically evolved at the same time and in perfect harmony? There is a much easier solution: God exists and He is a creator, and a good one at that!

3) Ordered Laws. There are many laws that serve as as constants in our universe that create order and unity. The mere existence of these laws point to a Creator who purposely designed them. For instance the laws of logic are universal, gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will always get cold, the earth rotates each 24 hours, etc. How can an accidental, chaotic creation produce law and order? I’m sure there are many long-winded answers that can attempt to explain it. However, there is a one-word answer that makes it all perfectly clear: God.

Again, the things I’ve written here are not proof for the existence of God but observations made to reinforce that if you do believe in God, its a very reasonable belief. You shouldn’t be made to feel stupid, uneducated or inferior because you believe in the supernatural. On the contrary, with the sheer volume of unanswered questions that Darwinists have been unable to answer in over 100 of years of theory, it might be safe to assume that the most intelligent people are the ones who believe the simplest solution.

Romans 1:19-22 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. (NLT)

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Comments
  1. penultima says:

    I came across this blog post and I would like to respond to some of the ideas presented here.

    Let’s start with ordered laws. You said, ‘How can an accidental, chaotic creation produce law and order?’

    Let’s assume that everything was randomly created in a big bang. Let’s also assume that the particles, which are the direct result of the big bang, had random characteristics of (seemingly) all possibilities. These particles themselves over time work itself out into an organized state.

    Let me give you an example. A bucket of balls at the top of a hill is tipped over the balls roll down the hill. Each ball has its own characteristic. One may be bouncy like a tennis ball another could be heavy like a bowling ball.

    When this hill is observed a person could determine that the balls must have been created because the balls are acting in ordered ways. e.g tennis balls always bouncing the same way, etc.

    But it is totally possible that there are unseen balls acting in unordered ways. IT is also possible that at the top of the hill (too distant to be seen) balls stay in position and refused to roll down the hill. It is also possible that fragile balls smashed and are no longer existing.

    It is a natural for all chaotic things to organize themselves over time, mainly because the things that are too chaotic are too unstable to exist as long as the stable less chaotic things.

    Try this, drop a whole bunch of pennies on the ground. Doesn’t it amaze you that the randomness in the how they fall and spin once on the ground ends and you can see patterns of certain one’s spinning to the left and other ones wobbling to the right. If you slowed this down enough and had a video of this playing for years it would seem as if it was ordered.

    Therefore it is possible for ordered laws to appear without design.

    If you actually get to the science of all this, you will find out that these laws do not apply to the very big and the very small, meaning that they are not laws but rather observations from the flawed perspective of mankind. I mean if it was a god created law why would it only work in some of the cases some of the time?

    On time…and matter…how can it be created out of nothing and needs resources. It is totally possible for our universe to be created from the collision of other dimensions or other universes.

    Think about a car accident. A red car and a blue car lose control and smash into eachother the contact point of both cars where the red meets the blue could be our universe.

    Imagine it in slow motion. Where on sept 30, 2009 the cars are still colliding and where on sept 30 3014, the cars are still colliding and where on today + 1 billion years the cars still colliding.

    The collision point, the point where things seem to melt into one, where red becomes blue and blue becomes red. This is what could be considered a big bang from within this new universe.

    • Jamie says:

      Penultima, thanks for reading and posting! I was hoping I’d get a few comments like this so a third party perspective could add depth to the topic and hand. I also appreciate your non-combative delivery! Please understand, while I am going to specifically address a few things you bring up, I want to reiterate that this is post in no way attempting to explain the mysteries of the universe in detail. Again, it is simply to provide big picture observations for believers to encourage them that their beliefs, while based on faith, are very reasonable beliefs.

      You said, “Let’s assume that everything was randomly created in a big bang. Let’s also assume that the particles, which are the direct result of the big bang, had random characteristics of (seemingly) all possibilities. These particles themselves over time work itself out into an organized state.”
      See this is my point. Believers are often made to feel “less than” because they use faith as a starting point in their explanations of existence, time, life, and the universe. However, your sentence does the exact same thing and is based on faith. Why assume everything was randomly created in a big bang? Again, where did the original matter, point in time, and energy needed to create the big bang come from? Since that theory can’t be tested or observed (no one was around), isn’t the big bang a belief? We Christians begin our belief system with faith in God. It seems that those who don’t buy design or creation theories begin their belief system on faith in preexisting elements (time, matter, energy). That’s certainly fine to believe but lets be honest – its just another belief based on faith in the unseen. And how can particles work themselves out over time? How can unintelligent inanimate objects “work themselves out” without an energy source? Time doesn’t help you here – it hurts you. I can leave eggs, flour, and sugar on a table and 3 million years later there will not be a cake. Instead, there will be a nasty glob of goo (if anything). Even if you have the right ingredients, it takes energy, forethought and design for any kind of creation to take place (and I’m not even touching on the need for the preservation of existing materials). I get logic of the tennis ball analogy. However, the analogy still required faith in certain assumptions to work. By the way, do you think tennis balls evolved or were created? 🙂

      You said, “I mean if it was a god created law why would it only work in some of the cases some of the time?”
      The answer is by design. My computer only works in some cases some of the time. Its needs a specific power source, it must have an OS loaded, and it needs user input to function. Yet, it was obviously designed that way. Besides, the idea that some laws may require certain input means they are more complex and even harder to evolve. The fact that some laws only work some of the time is a perfect example of design.

      You said, “On time…and matter…how can it be created out of nothing and needs resources. It is totally possible for our universe to be created from the collision of other dimensions or other universes. Think about a car accident.” Again, I get the logic of the analogy but surely you have to concede that your alternative theory of universes colliding still needs time, matter, and energy. Your example uses a cars as symbols of preexistent universes – that would be matter. You speak of a collision – that would be energy. And then you allude that there was a specific instance where the universes first touched – that’s a point in time. Again, your theory requires faith in time, matter and energy. Who created those? Aren’t you placing faith in their existence? How is that different than a belief in God?

      I look forward to your comments.

      • penultima says:

        There is a difference between faith and a neccessity. For example, do you have faith that you had great-great-great-great grand parents (that you’ve never met, nor seen) or do you know that it is such because thats how it must be.

        The fact that I say I assume ‘X’ isnt because I have faith in ‘X’ but rather ‘X’ must have been the case based on what I am able to observe now. This is inference, not faith. I know you must have grand parents because of the nature of humans, not because I have faith.

        You said, “I can leave eggs, flour, and sugar on a table and 3 million years later there will not be a cake,” but this was not the description I gave you. Lets take your example and extend it to the one I tried to explain. You assume that your cake ingredients are stationary and not moving, I never suggested this.

        Find me anything in the universe that is standing perfectly still? Everything is moving from a state of unstable to stable. So infact, if you dropped all of your cake ingredients to the floor, the time it takes for the flour dust to settle, the egg yolk to stop spreading and the sugar to stop dissolving, IS the picture of the universe I am presenting. Not before and not after, but right now.

        There is no thought needed in how the particles, flour, egg yolk and sugar react toward eachother. Why? Because as I already tried to suggest, the big bang could have happened when two things crashed into each other,and as a result of the crash, particles from one thing intertwined with particles from another thing, at random.

        And just like the cake ingredient mess on the floor, our universe is expanding and cooling as much as it possibly can.

        Now as for the question of, well were the other universes created or did they form with other big bangs. That is not the point. My point is it is possible, and a pretty good theory exists right now of how our universe could have come to be without the effort of some being. Which makes your “reasonable belief” in faith kinda not reasonable.

        You said, “The answer is by design. My computer only works in some cases some of the time.” I think again you misunderstood what I was getting at. Lets assume that 1+1=2, this is an example of the very small. Now imagine 100+100= 345. This is an example of the very large. Your computer example can not do this. it is illogical for something to design something that handle two cases differently when observed in the same way. To use a computer example, Imagine if the response you get right clicking was different if you squinted your eyes.

        The laws of the universe that you claim are proof that your faith is a reasonable belief, DO NOT WORK, in all cases. Which can be proof that things are not actually ordered at all and that there is no real design. But rather there is chaos and things at one end worked themselves out and things at the other worked themselves out in another way.

        On what you said about my theory on the need for time, energy and matter as faith. Again, this is not faith this is inference based on what is observable.

        And in fact, things like time, matter and energy are observable by our flawed humanity and may not exist at all. How can you confirm the time when you read this as that is very subjective. How can you confirm that you read this in order one word at a time from left to right rather then all at once.

        Matter could be an illusion as well, as supposedly everything is made out of atoms and some how we intrepet it to be something tangible.

        I mean you can’t even prove when you were born, as you just have to believe what people tell you. And you seek to prove that your religious faith is reasonable? Seriously?

      • Jamie says:

        You said, “There is a difference between faith and a necessity.” Ok, so your pre-existing matter, time and energy needed to prove your theory correct has to exist because your theory is correct. Hmmm. That’s not circular reasoning? So when I believe in God its faith, but when you believe in something that is untested, unobserved, and can’t be demonstrated, its a necessity to prove your predetermined outcome? Sounds a little too convenient. I think its hilarious how people who try to explain existence without God refuse to admit their faith. In the words of Ben Folds, “Why ya gotta act like you know when you don’t know?” 🙂

        You said, “The fact that I say I assume ‘X’ isn’t because I have faith in ‘X’ but rather ‘X’ must have been the case based on what I am able to observe now. This is inference, not faith.” You honestly don’t see the self-indulgent nature of that statement? Its like saying “I know that my theory is right because its has to be right since I said it and I’m always right.” You trust your observations and purposely disregard any other possible deductions that can be extracted from the observation because they don’t fit your predetermined end.

        You said, “You assume that your cake ingredients are stationary and not moving, I never suggested this.” Ok, lets assume they are moving. Where did the energy come from that makes them move? Oh yeah, and where did the ingredients themselves come from? See I’m not questioning your argument. I’m questioning the assumed foundation that your argument stands on. I’m asking you to ask yourself “and where did that come from?” over and over until we uncover the assumptions your theory is based on. I’ve been upfront about mine. Its my belief in God. Lets take a look at yours.

        You said, “Now as for the question of, well were the other universes created or did they form with other big bangs. That is not the point. My point is it is possible…Which makes your “reasonable belief” in faith kinda not reasonable.” But oh, my friend, this is the very crux of the point I’m making. The point I’m making, and I fear you keep missing, is that whether one believes “in the beginning God created” or “in the beginning two universes collided,” both require unconfirmed belief. You can call it inference, necessity, deduction – it doesn’t change the fact that your theory requires belief in an unseen force, namely two pre-existent universes. So again, why attack my belief and call it unreasonable when your belief is just as unreasonable?
        .
        You said, “I mean you can’t even prove when you were born, as you just have to believe what people tell you. And you seek to prove that your religious faith is reasonable? Seriously?” I’ve said several times that I seek to prove nothing. In my first post on this subject (which if you heavne’t already, I encourage you to read for context’s sake) I specifically said you can’t prove God and you can’t disprove Him. The proof is in our experiences which, by nature, can’t be objective verified. The point of the post is to encourage Christians who believe God created everything we see and let them know that it is a reasonable faith when held up against the other theories out there. Your input here has helped me prove my point perfectly. With all that’s been written here, neither one of us can explain the origins of matter, time, energy, and animated life beyond a reasonable doubt. You have a theory that requires that you believe in something you’ve never seen. So do I. The difference is I’m OK with that and admit it.

        From your 2nd post…

        You said, “I personally feel that saying that the matter of our universe could have come from the collision from two unrelated universes/dimensions/whatever and that everything we are experiencing now is a result of the collision, seems more reasonable (even though it is also conjecture) because there is an active dialogue documenting and trying to explain observable events.” OK, you admit yours is conjecture. Now we’re getting somewhere. Can you also admit it assumes unexplained time, matter and energy?

        From your 3rd post…

        You said, “Does not ‘reasonalizing’ your faith take away from your faith, as you are not relying on God as the only answer but rather rooting your faith in the ‘proof’ that God should be the answer (because of the evidences your suggest)?” Yeah you definitely didn’t read my first post. I’m not reasonalizing (?) anything. I am simply providing encouragement to those who believe in God as the creator; I’m showing them that the best theories on why the universe and life exist still require faith in unseen assumptions – just like their own. So when someone like you (no offense) tries to ridicule their belief as unreasonable, they can know they you are in the same boat of unanswered questions that they are. Use just gloss over your beliefs with words like “inference” and “necessity.” Look mom, the emperor has no clothes!

        For the record, I hold no ill-will against you and I hope this post hasn’t implied otherwise. I appreciate the comments as I believe any person reading our discourse would see the folly of a person proclaiming their theory based on conjecture as better than another theory based on conjecture. Peace.

      • penultima says:

        One final message (unless you reply with a specific question).

        I would like to expound on what I meant by inference, in order to demonstrate that I was not using it in the sense that you suggested, i.e. “I know that my theory is right because its has to be right since I said it and I’m always right.”

        Let’s say you are 1 year old and as today is June 16, 2009 you have a perfect recollection of the last 365 days.

        When reflecting backwards in time when you get to June 16, 2008 and you stop and say, well since I wasn’t there it is wrong for me to assume that there was ever a June 15, 2008.

        Keep in mind that you have no proof that indicates that there was no June 15, 2008 (i.e. no acts of creation are observable). I do not see how concluding that there might have been a June 15, 2008 a circular arguement.

        Jumping to the conclusion that something supernatural occurred is an illogical next step, especially when theories are postulated that suggest something based on the nature of the world, observed within the 1 year example.

        Lets bring this example to life. The bible indicates that the world is approximately 6000 years old. Science can and has come up with theories and/or evidence that things on the very earth you live are older than 6000 years let alone 50,000.

        So ignoring this evidence outright (and calling this ‘ignoring of the evidence’ reasonable, is, I am going to say, more irrational, than sticking with inferred ideas.

        If you can not see this its fine, you don’t have to.

      • Jamie says:

        I understand inference.

        Let’s recap. I ask, “Where did we come from?” You say “Maybe two colliding universes caused our universe.” I say, “OK, where did the two universes come from?” You say, “I don’t know but they have to exist because we are here.” That is, in fact, circular reasoning.

        Also, you have already decided God is not an option and yet you also have already decided its somehow OK to ignore the fact that your theory has no beginning but is contingent upon pre-existing time, matter and energy. You’ve made peace with that hole in your theory and that’s OK. Just be honest about it. And don’t call mine “less than” when yours suffers the same problem.

        We’ve gone back and forth on a few things but I want to get back to my main point. The bottom line is this: all theories on the beginning of existence require belief. Mine requires belief in God. Yours requires two pre-existing universes/dimensions that you have no evidence for. The typical big bang theorist needs a swirling dot. The directed panspermia people need an alien race. Something can’t come from nothing so we all must believe in something pre-existent that caused our current existence. I don’t care what you believe. But the Christian should know and be encouraged that any theory on the beginning of life requires faith, just like their belief in God as creator.

  2. Sam says:

    I’m sorry, Jamie – I just can’t let this one go…please forgive your older brother for intruding… 🙂

    penultima –

    You seem like a conscientious and well-read person. But I must take exception with your comments here. They have theoretical merit but when numbers are put forward, the “totally possible” events you describe become a little weak.

    “Let’s assume that everything was randomly created in a big bang. Let’s also assume that the particles, which are the direct result of the big bang, had random characteristics of (seemingly) all possibilities.”

    That is Jamie’s point. Directionality in natural evolution is not something anyone has proven to date. Assuming that anything having to do with cosmological origins is rather unscientific when plausible origins (whether you choose God or something like panspermia – the alien “seeding” of the earth) since none of those events have been verified. So everyone is still in the same boat of faith in that regard. Both require conjecture.

    “It is a natural for all chaotic things to organize themselves over time, mainly because the things that are too chaotic are too unstable to exist as long as the stable less chaotic things.”

    Let’s “assume” evolution has that directionality in random mutation you believe it does. As you say, let’s get down to the “science” of all of this. Here’s the math of your belief: the chance of one random genetic mutation occurring is 10 to the 20th. But if random mutation requires dependence on more than one genetic mutation at a time (which is mostly the case in nature), then the chance of random mutation happening jumps to 10 to the 40th. Unfortunately scientists estimate that only 10 to the 30th (a billion trillion trillion) bacterial cells exist on earth each year. Therefore it’s mathematically unreasonable to “believe” that at any point the number of bacterial cells on earth is greater than the chance of randomly mutating into something more complex. The problem with that scenario is not that 4.5 billion years is too much time – it’s that it’s never been enough.

    But what about the mutations that do occur – like those in sickle cells and e. coli? Every empirical labratory test shows that those mutations adapt towards simplicity and energy efficiency – most strands mutate into smaller and less efficient organisms in order to save energy. Life doesn’t naturally move towards complexity to evolve – rather, it simplifies for survival’s sake.

    “It is totally possible for our universe to be created from the collision of other dimensions or other universes.”

    Of course, you may chose quantum mechanic’s theory that 20 to the 32nds of alternate universes exists and that we inhabit the one universe that made no “mistakes” on it’s way to complexity. But if you do that, people may consider that multiverse scenario more difficult to believe that something more along the lines of Occam’s razor: the existence of Being outside of naturalism. Of course, that’s your call – pick whichever choice fits your definition of “totally possible.”

    • penultima says:

      Conjecture: “the formation or expression of an opinion or theory without sufficient evidence for proof”

      You see this is my point. In Jamie’s article he said, “I’m simply going to attempt to bring up a few big-picture points that – for me personally – lead me to believe that my belief in God, while based on faith, is very reasonable.” Conjecture IS NOT REASONABLE in and of itself.

      While, Jamie is allowed to maintain his personal beliefs, the idea that he asserts that his faith is reasonable is no more than conjecture. And even more so, it relies on ignoring our observations.

      Yes, if I walked to a tree and saw someone’s name in it, I would say that it must have been put there. But we are not talking about a single tree with a name on it, we are talking about the universe.

      I look into sky and I read the literature on how the universe is expanding, stars are dying, the universe is cooling, that we are spinning throughout space, that there are multiple (11ish) dimensions and etc.

      When I see no explaination for such observable events from people like Jamie (no offense) I call it suspect, especially when they say they are being reasonable.

      Answering every question with, “by design” is not adequate. I personally feel that saying that the matter of our universe could have come from the collision from two unrelated universes/dimensions/whatever and that everything we are experiencing now is a result of the collision, seems more reasonable (even though it is also conjecture) because there is an active dialogue documenting and trying to explain observable events.

      As for evolution, I made no mention of the word. And I can see that complex systems move from unstable to stable in the way that you descibe, “most strands mutate into smaller and less efficient organisms in order to save energy. Life doesn’t naturally move towards complexity to evolve – rather, it simplifies for survival’s sake.” I have no contention here.

      The only thing I would say is that there is definate adaptation where for example a 2008 AD Lion and a 1900 BC Lion would not be neccessarily be the same type of creature.

      But when things do not have life, and they are unstable, they self destruct over time, e.g. planets falling into stars, stars burning out, etc etc.

  3. Jamie says:

    Totally.

  4. penultima says:

    One more thing…

    Does not ‘reasonalizing’ your faith take away from your faith, as you are not relying on God as the only answer but rather rooting your faith in the ‘proof’ that God should be the answer (because of the evidences your suggest)?

  5. […] 06 2009 So we’ve covered how I know God exists and we’ve also covered why I believe those who believe in God have a reasonable faith.  Now I want to cover a few common objections people sometimes bring up when it comes to belief in […]

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