For the sake of determining the viability of the Biblical God, I would like to introduce the word eternal. The Webster’s American College Dictionary defines “eternal” [without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing; perpetual; ceaseless]. If, as scientists say, we exist in the space/time dimension, then eternal objects extend beyond space and time and are infinite in existence.
The Bible declares God to be eternal!
· Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
· John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
· Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
· Malachi 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Practical understanding recognizes that tangible objects do not materialize from nothingness. By tangible, I mean objects recognizable with our five physical senses. Let’s think together, all things that are physically comprehended have an origin (a beginning), nothing that is physically observed willed itself into existence. Clearly, the source of the physical realm must be eternal.
The Bible outlines an intelligent eternal someone (God) exists free from the bonds of space and time and is responsible for the existence of this physical realm.
I propose that an eternal some-one/thing, free from the confines of space and time, is essential in any explanation of the existence of this physical reality.
What do you say the eternal-something is?
If the eternal is a thing, then it cannot be intelligent and the events, which constitute its existence, must be random.
So an eternal thing can only be eternal in existence. It occupies a given amount of space over an infinite time. If time and the material universe have always been, then given infinite opportunity, one could imagine the random formation of our current existence. But if you look further is it possible?
What do we observe?
Certainly the Universe is in an ongoing state of change.
Uniqueness (one-time events) occurs.
Is it possible for a “one time event” to occur in a random environment of infinite opportunity?
Consider a deck of cards, a card (10 of Spades) is drawn from the deck and replaced. The drawing of the 10 of spades is a random one-time event in a finite environment (the deck). If cards were drawn and replaced back into the deck an infinite number of times, is it possible that the 10 of spades would never be drawn again? Of course not, it would be drawn an infinite number of times. In conclusion, “one-time events” cannot exist in a random environment of infinite opportunity. Clearly, we witness uniqueness (one time events), thus the physical universe cannot be eternal.
“Thing” About It!
Why is there Something instead of Nothing?
If there was only Nothing, then Something could never be! While Something may produce Nothing, Nothing cannot produce Something. So Something must have always been!
If Something has always been, then Something is eternal. Is the eternal, Something or Someone?
How can Something be eternal?
Rick--Which book(s) did you draw this from?
I'm aware of none other than the Bible and Webster's dictionary. However, at my age who knows!
Practical atheism can take various forms:
1) Absence of religious motivation—belief in gods does not motivate moral action, religious action, or any other form of action;
2) Active exclusion of the problem of gods and religion from intellectual pursuit and practical action;
3) Indifference—the absence of any interest in the problems of gods and religion; or
4) Ignorance—lacking any idea of gods.
To me, atheists who have not taken time to truly study and grasp their reasoning for their belief are no different than people who become a vegetarian "just to take a stand." I think that any belief or any lifestyle should be truly studied before full-on pursuit--Christianity included. I feel that most people who call themselves atheists might fall into category 3, Indifference.
When there comes a time to throw blame around for a bad or negative life experience, these folks wouldn't hesitate to blame a God in whom they do not believe. When there is a time of success in life, these folks will pat themselves on the back for their efforts--not attributing this success to anything besides themselves in the grand scheme of their existence.
If there is no god of any kind, then there is no reason to understand ourselves or our purpose. A life without purpose is as physcially meaningful as dirt or a rock. A life without purpose is as emotionally meaningful as the indifference one human feels when someone of a different race, color, creed etc. is killed in a car-bombing incident 3000 miles away.
If all we are is "dust in the wind," why do some have the need to get ahead financially, or why do some feel the need to help others less fortunate? If you are just inhaling oxygen for the purpose of breathing, and not pursuing a greater goal than what that oxygen has allowed us to pursue, what are we really doing here? Following atheist logic--Mankind is no more superior or entitled than a dried up starfish on a beach, dead leaves in the fall, or displaced gravel on a country road. Life, without purpose, is meaningless.
Unless an atheist is a category 4, Ignorant, there is usually some socialization that has occurred in his or her formative years bringing about a disdain for a god of some kind. It's all too likely that a church provided this soul with a bad experience, an uncomfortably restricted viewpoint, or some negative action that this soul hasn't forgotten about.
I'm guessing that 40%-50% of atheists take a stand as an atheist in an attempt to coerce a spiritual experience that will help them believe in something. They've simply lost their faith in a feeling similar to losing a parent at a young age, or some other lingering abandonment they have suffered. Deeply they want to "experience" God, their Creator. They seek physical proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, like a jury ready to find a guilty murderer "not guilty" because they simply lack physical evidence. Inside, they know the murderer committed the crime, but due to a lack of evidence, they just won't convict.
Why should I pray for an atheist? Why do they deserve a spiritual physical experience to obtain the proof they need? Simple history should suffice for their proof. A simple human was murdered. That human then was alive again. None of my deceased grandparents have come back to spend Christmas with me? This simple human who was murdered in public for his belief, then became alive again is all the proof I need. I believe, if this human was dead then alive again, that whatever this man says is truth. Need more evidence?
I'll pray for you...
Dear Lord, I pray for your unexplainable perfect will to occur in every human's life on this earth. I pray that one day, when we least expect it, those who are lacking in faith will have that faith restoring experience they are seeking. In a world of spiritual distraction and daily battles of good and evil, I pray for those souls whom you created that have forgotten that you are there in that room with them. You are on that walk to their car with them. You are there everywhere all the time. If I can help in this spiritual battle, I pray that you will make me a fighter willing to die for you, Lord.
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
You bring up some very good points.
Like you I also believe indifference is the predominant attitude most atheists hold toward God. Horatius Bonar is one of my favorite old authors and he said, “If God is worth anything then He is worth everything”. The sad thing is indifference also exists in the church today.
Unlike many today, I do not believe hate is the opposite of love, but rather indifference. I would always prefer being told-off to being ignored. To often we ignore God.
Your right it is comical when atheist blame a god that they don’t even believe exists. Also, claiming to have a purpose without a creator is equally difficult to reconcile. Atheist and agnostics that blame bad Church experiences for their lack of faith is equally difficult to swallow, because faith should never be placed in the church, but rather God.
Your paragraph referring to those that take a stand in order to coerce a spiritual experience is most interesting to me. I came to a spiritual crossroad during a family crisis. I faced God and confronted Him with all my doubts. It was at that moment I quit propping up God and genuinely faced Him. It was at that moment that He began revealing His truth to me.
Many today deny God because they don't want to be held accountable. If we are created then we must attempt to understand the intentions of our Creator. If there is no God then I am not liable to anyone. Under those circumstances I like you lose direction.
Expecting physical proof of an eternal being is irrational. Only temporal things can be physically discerned. Eternal (Infinite) things must be comprehended by faith.
Finally, we do need to pray for one another. We also need to anxiously anticipate opportunities to discuss the reasons for our faith with unbelievers.
In this life, I often wonder if I am missing something elementary that everyone else understands, or I have simply overlooked. As in most of my writings, I have had very little feedback as to their veracity and relevance. Most of my writings are original and seldom reference other texts than the Bible. When a personal thought, or insight, is confirmed by an outside source, it is affirming to me.
What follows is a writing that perhaps only I was unaware of by Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas wrote about Five Ways, or Five Proofs, regarding the existence of God. He summarized them in his book, Summa Theologica.
What follows is copied from Wikipedia.
The Argument of the Unmoved Mover:
"The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God."
The Argument of the First Cause:
"The second way is from the nature of the efficient cause. In the world of sense we find there is an order of efficient causes. There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. Now in efficient causes it is not possible to go on to infinity, because in all efficient causes following in order, the first is the cause of the intermediate cause, and the intermediate is the cause of the ultimate cause, whether the intermediate cause be several, or only one. Now to take away the cause is to take away the effect. Therefore, if there be no first cause among efficient causes, there will be no ultimate, nor any intermediate cause. But if in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect, nor any intermediate efficient causes; all of which is plainly false. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God."
The Argument from Contingency:
"The third way is taken from possibility and necessity, and runs thus. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to corrupt, and consequently, they are possible to be and not to be. But it is impossible for these always to exist, for that which is possible not to be at some time is not. Therefore, if everything is possible not to be, then at one time there could have been nothing in existence. Now if this were true, even now there would be nothing in existence, because that which does not exist only begins to exist by something already existing. Therefore, if at one time nothing was in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have begun to exist; and thus even now nothing would be in existence — which is absurd. Therefore, not all beings are merely possible, but there must exist something the existence of which is necessary. But every necessary thing either has its necessity caused by another, or not. Now it is impossible to go on to infinity in necessary things which have their necessity caused by another, as has been already proved in regard to efficient causes. Therefore we cannot but postulate the existence of some being having of itself its own necessity, and not receiving it from another, but rather causing in others their necessity. This all men speak of as God."
The Argument from Degree:
"The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But 'more' and 'less' are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God."
The Teleological Argument:
"The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God."