The first sentence of the Bible is, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
I consider that statement to be absolutely true, not simply in terms of giving mental assent, but after the manner of a conviction, I trust God as real and pre-existent. That is, nothing made God because he has always been. Only God is infinite and the ultimate cause of existence. We can go no further than God in the search for the origin of the universe.
Today’s popular, secular world views expect to understand the origin of the universe by examining the properties of the physical universe, itself. A secular world view is based on the presumption that there is nothing — no reality — beyond the physical universe that could have created it. However, a Creator, by definition, must be differentiated from his creation. Materialist thinking by necessity makes the a priori exclusion of God’s existence, because unless God is taken out of the picture, materialistic cosmology won’t work.
The scientific study of the universe is a good thing. But as we seek to increase our knowledge and understanding of the universe, we should also be prepared to learn about its Creator, because metaphorically speaking, his finger prints are all over it. Romans 1:19-20 says, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it 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 what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” God has shown us what we can know about him through his creation. Study the creation and learn about God!
I believe God exists, not because that conveniently explains things I couldn’t otherwise understand, but because God’s reality gives me purpose, function, order, meaning and love. Such things cannot exist without God. They are gifts of life God gives to those he made in his own image (see James 1:17). People who think they can bring about such gifts on their own, without giving credit to their real source are being foolish, childish, rebellious and self-seeking. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Acts 17:28 says, “In him we live and move and have our being”.
Human effort alone can achieve great things, but only for a brief time. God’s gifts are forever. I am only one small speck in the universe. And yet, like the rest of the universe, my life has purpose, function and order. I didn’t create myself. I didn’t design my reality. But the fact that my life has design gives it meaning — value, pleasure, reward, even loss and pain. It’s irrational to think the universe could swirl together, of its own accord, without the loving hand of God to direct it. There is no meaning or reason or love in a universe that just happened to come about by the chance behavior of the elements themselves.
Darwinism was first put forth as an attempt to refute creationism by presenting a viable alternative theory of how we got here. It grew in popularity as “science” was seen as a better explanation. Belief in God, and the reliability of the Bible began to lose credibility as the result of a double standard in world views.
One world view is based on the pre-existence of the infinite Creator God. Another world view is based on the presumption that all knowledge of reality is subject to the laws of science, which automatically preclude the existence of anything outside the physical universe — nothing supernatural, certainly not God. That presumption itself is neither scientifically verifiable nor falsifiable. It’s simply an unsubstantiated philosophical opinion.
Here is the double standard: creationists are told they have to “prove” that God is real, despite belief in God being a matter of faith, while Darwinists, who claim to rely on “science”, have neither proven their theory nor the non-existence of God. They simply make the philosophical presumption that God does not exist, based on the impossibility of proving his existence using materialistic methodology. Darwinists insist on their faith in evolution despite their inability to prove it. And despite its popularity, more than a century of teaching Darwinian theory has produced inconclusive evidence. It only “works” if you do not allow for the existence of God.
I don’t believe we are here by chance. I believe the Bible, particularly where it says the fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). Those who say there is no God, in effect, step into that role and become their own god. It’s a matter of who has ultimate authority and to whom will we be held accountable. Here’s our choice: either God made us, or some purposeless, random juxtaposition of elements accidentally came together to form incredibly complex and beautiful living organisms.
Either God is real or not. To my way of thinking, God is not only real, he is the greatest reality. So, when a secular world view declares God irrelevant, it greatly reduces the size and scope of reality itself. Big God, big reality. Small god, small reality (Man being the small god).
I happen to believe that reality, as well as our knowledge of reality, surpasses that of the physical universe. It is evident that there is a design to creation. The presence of design in creation demands the existence of a Designer who is beyond the constraints of his creation. The “bad boy” of science, Intelligent Design, has been well-argued from different standpoints, including probability and principle. (See chapters 6 and 7 of Total Truth, by Nancy Pearcey for documentation.) Secular views of cosmology are problematical. The idea that in order to be true to science, one must reject the Biblical view of creation is not true, and not good science.
The real issue isn’t the academic question of God’s existence, but whether or not we believe he exists, and how we respond to that belief. God’s existence is not dependent upon our approval. But our future in eternity depends on our response to God. I believe Hebrews 11:6 when it says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Faith, then, is not an abstract notion, limited to one’s own consciousness. It’s about our very real, interactive relationship with God.
The debate over the existence of God involves the clash of opposing world views. We don’t all think alike and we don’t all make the same assumptions about reality. We hear some people try to elevate their arguments by saying how “logical” they are. But any good argument must be logical. Good logic will lead to different conclusions depending upon the basic assumptions with which one begins. Those basic (often unspoken) assumptions are part of our world views. Therefore, world view is more critical than logic. But most of us get caught up in the minutiae of our arguments without being aware of our own world view.
My world view is Biblical. God exists. He created us and all that is good. Man chose to rebel against God’s authority, which made things bad. But God chose to restore us to a right relationship with himself through faith. He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin. Whoever receives Jesus and believes in his name is forgiven. It’s all about God having the authority to say what is good and what is bad, and our willingness to be held accountable to him.
Does your world view allow you to be receptive to the truth? Or are you determined to filter out everything you hear through your unexamined pet assumptions? Will you hold off faith at arm’s length because you insist it is not real, and nothing more than a personal preference that has no business in the “real” world? These are crucial questions for you to answer honestly, for the Bible has some important things to say about it.
Does faith come from “magical thinking”?
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” — Romans 10:17
If you want to learn about, examine or test faith, you need to start by being open to what Jesus said. It’s in the four gospels, the first four books of the New Testament. Jesus often said listen if you have ears to hear. It amazes me that anyone would try to discuss faith without knowing what Jesus said. The “gospel” (good news) that Jesus proclaimed was that the kingdom of heaven is here. This was significant to the Jews at the time, and you can learn why by reading the Bible yourself.
Are you unwilling to submit to God’s authority?
“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” — Matthew 13:13
Jesus did not hide truth from anyone. But sometimes he only spoke to believers…not unbelievers. “Hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17) happens when you have ears to hear, eyes to see and a mind to understand. That’s where the right world view can help.
Are you unable to hear God speaking?
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” — John 8:47
But, not so fast. Perhaps you simply aren’t listening. Give it a chance. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” If you want to hear, you must be listening. You can’t have so much going on inside you that it makes you unaware of God’s presence. Be still and know God.
Are you open to God?
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness'” — Hebrews 3:7 (quoting Psalm 95:7)
This refers to Israel in the Old Testament. They were God’s chosen people, yet they rebelled against God because they had hardened their hearts. They were not open to God, and chose to “go astray in their heart” (Hebrews 3:10). As a result, instead of being led into the promised land, God made that generation continue to wander in the desert for 40 years, until they died, without having entered the promised land.
Another description of ancient Israel was “stiff-necked” (as in Exodus 33:3), meaning stubbornly resisting God’s efforts to be turned in his direction. Both stiff-necked and hard-hearted describe an unwillingness to be held accountable to God. Bottom line, it’s all about whether or not we are open to God and listening for him.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In the end, the sheep will follow the Good Shepherd because they know his voice (John 10:3-18).
Listen, if you have ears to hear.