Category Archives: First Cause

The Question For Atheists Is Not “How Do I Find God?” | The Question is “How do I Miss Him?”

While God is a hidden God and is surrounded by mystery (we will never totally understand Him – He transcends us), He also has revealed much about Himself in the world that He has made (cosmos) and in how He has made human beings with an in-built God awareness (conscience). This is what theologians call “Natural Revelation.” This in itself provides enough evidence for a reasonable belief in God and renders us without excuse.

In Romans 1:20, Paul states: “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 men are without excuse.”

God has planted evidence of Himself throughout His creation so that we are without excuse. Even if you were a non-Jew without the Torah, according to Paul, you are totally responsible for your behavior and cannot plead ignorance of God or His ways because God has revealed Himself to us in what He has made.

Paul’s argument is this: If you looked long enough at what God has made, you would come to understand something of His beauty and nature. Glittering stars flung across a black heaven. The earth in perfect orbit around the sun – close enough to sustain life but far enough away to keep from burning up. Sculpted mountains. The earth’s crust carved into breathtaking canyons. Fish that glow in the blackest depth of the sea. A butterfly breaking free from a cacoon. The meticulously spun web of a gray spider. The growth of a child in the womb. Birth. God’s fingerprints are all over.

After all of this, how could we ever come to the conclusion that we can live life any way that we want; that there is no God; that life is all about my glory, not His. From the greatest feat of forming a beautiful cosmos out of nothing to the intricate details of the smallest little insect or cell, each act of God in creation serves as a missionary in miniature form. They are sermons without preachers; they are biblical texts without Bibles. And while general revelation is not adequate to explain the Gospel, it renders all mankind without excuse and calls for a response.

God is everywhere, yet invisible. God is a hidden God. God has given us just enough evidence so that those who want Him can have him. Those who want to reject Him can do that as well. Think about it. It’s the only way a relationship with God could not be forced. If He was here in visible form, ruling with great power, would anybody choose differently? Evil melts away in his presence. So God must hide and self-limit in order for a free-will world to be possible. The direct presence of God would inevitably overwhelm our freedom. God gives everyone the room to either choose or reject. He’s a hidden God and He will not force love.

What you will find in your spiritual journey, is that it’s not so much that you find God; He finds you. And you realize you knew Him all along, but you suppressed knowledge of Him in your life (Romans 1). So don’t so much focus on “How do I find God?” Turn it around. “How has He already found me?” He brought me to this blog. He’s communicated via the Bible (Special Revelation). He’s placed me in an intelligently designed world that operates according to natural laws. He’s used crisis, confrontation, catastrophe, and even some fantastic blessings in life, like friends, baseball, family, and a day at the beach to get my attention and to cause me to tune in to Him.

Many former atheists have come to this conclusion: “God has found me! He’s known me all along and has never lost me, even though I’ve suppressed knowing Him. If I would have just looked at things close enough, I would have seen Him looking back at me. I don’t want to suppress Him anymore. I want to see and know Him.”

“How do I find God?” you ask. I reply: “How do you miss Him?” Look closely, and the very fact that you’re looking indicates this startling reality. He already found you.

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Filed under Agnosticism, Atheism, Atheist, Christian Worldview, Conscience, Creation, Earth, Existence of God, First Cause, Free Will, Hidden God, Intelligent Design, Theism, Truth

The Existence of God (without Using a Bible)

If you were to ask me to argue for the existence of God without using a Bible, I would argue along these lines (see my other blog posts for an elaboration of these arguments).

I would argue from a position of conscience, this internal sense of right and wrong that we have written into us; this natural law of the heart that guides us in our moral decisions. And if there are moral laws there is a Moral Lawgiver.

I would argue from a position of design in nature. All that we see and experience in nature has structure built into it. It’s not a random cosmic carwreck that we see; it’s design and if there is design, there is an Intelligent Designer.

I would argue from a position of special revelation or Jesus Christ. Extra-biblical sources verify that Jesus existed during the time period and in the place that he supposedly existed found in the Bible. Furthermore, if he was the Son of God, then there is a First Cause – God the Father.

Finally, I would argue along the lines of the apologetic of human desire. Humans desire truth, beauty, honor, justice, courage, love, heroism. These longings go beyond just our senses. We can’t smell truth or touch love, yet we reach for them. We desire to be free, to discover our self-worth, to correct our immoral behavior, to piece the hurts of life into some larger picture of meaning (Mark Cosgrove). All of these desires are seen clearly in our mass production down through the ages of literature, art, music, worship, and movies, each of them featuring the innermost longings and deepest needs of human beings.

We reach out to worship something, even atheists do. How do you explain this longing for things beyond the natural, empirical realm, and our interest in blogging about them? Just like the presence of appetite presupposes the existence of food, the presence of worship and human longing presupposes that something or Someone exists who can satisfy these longings. And if there are these human desires, then we can conclude that there is a place or experience where they can be ultimately fulfilled – Heaven and a New Earth.

God exists and we don’t even need a Bible to know that this is true. But what the Bible does do for us is that it tells us His Name with specificity and invites us to know Him.

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Filed under Anthropic Principle, Anthropology, Apologetic of Desire, Atheism, Atheist, Beauty, Bible, Christian Worldview, Conscience, Desire, Existentialism, First Cause, Intelligent Design, Pleasure, Theism

Human Beings – Accidental, Coincidental, or Designed by an Intelligent Designer

Let’s say for a moment that there is a creature from another planet. And even though this creature is not a human being, he/she/it does have the ability to investigate, reason, analyze, love, appreciate beauty, and blush (By the way, these facts alone are enough to prove that we are made in the image of an Intelligent Designer. What other living creature has this ability?).

But for illustrations sake, a mechanical machine from another planet – whom we’ll call TOFU, discovers earth and finds living here, human beings. What would TOFU discover about human beings that would prove that they had to be designed by an Intelligent Designer? TOFU would discover that there is no way that the complex human system called man and woman, evolved over time to form this living human body.

DNA
You would have to conclude that at the cellular level, you have a very complex thing called DNA. One author has shared how that human DNA contains more organized information than the Encycolopedia Britannica. The languge of life is stored within it. The organism accesses the information that it needs from DNA so it can build some of it’s critical components. The DNA stores more information in a smaller space than the most advanced supercomputer on the planet. States one author: “300 different proteins, a source of sugars, nucleotides, amino acids, and fatty acids all placed together in working order.” Each cell is like a miniature factory town, humming with power plants, automated plants, and recycling centers. The nucleus houses the cellular library, where blueprints are copied and sent to the factories. These manufacture the immense array of products needed within the cell, with the processes all regulated by enzymes that function like stopwatches to ensure that everything is perfectly timed. The outside surface of the cell is regulated with sensors, gates, pumps that regulate traffic coming in and out. It’s like a complex train system where things are so precisely timed, that no crashes happen (Behe, summarized by Nancy Pearcey). And how does evolution know where to take us as humans? Who codes the new DNA? Each cell has a specified message (specified complexity). Think about what evolution would have you to believe. A simple single cell creature… spontaneously generated from primordial soup… the cell mutated and survived a very harsh natural environment… evolved into a species that could swim… then evolved into a species that could fly… all the while surviving while scales are not feathers and feathers are not scales… and gills are not lungs and lungs are not gills… finding food… avoiding predators… and self-assembling new DNA… and reproducing these mutated changes….etc…etc… DNA. Design or accident/coincidence?

Reproduction
You would have to conclude that all the reproductive parts of the male and of the female had to arrive simultaneously together, not over millions of years. Otherwise, every significant development in the male reproductive system would have had to been matched by a female development concurrently, a very unlikely scenario. If evolution is true, the fossil record should reveal millions of intermediate sexual beings and congenital freaks. Human genitals fit snugly together and always have. Everything about the act of fertilization is reciprocal. Design or accident/coincidence?

Brain
Every body function is controlled by the brain. If you need energy, the brain tells the stomach. If you need oxygen, the brain tells the lungs. If you drop in blood pressure, the brain tells the heart to beat faster. The body is covered all over with sensory receptors. It computes millions of computations with just a walk in the park: adjusting to temperature, sensing balance via the inner ear, and taking in audio/visual aids to compute a human response. But most of the brains work happens underneath conscious awareness: a heart that beats, every breath, an eye-blink when the eye is getting dry, light waves and sound waves, every moving joint or muscle – triggers physical, hormonal, and chemical responses that are handled by the brain automatically. It lets you know if something doesn’t taste right, or smell right, or look right, so the human can be freed to pay attention to other things. The brain regulates growth, the endocrine, respiratory, gastrointestinal, circulatory, musculoskeletal, and excretory systems, all of which fit together into a wonderfully designed, interactive living being. Design or accident/coincidence?

Eye
The eye is placed at the top of the head, and gives distance vision. We can also see where we’re going and what we’re touching. Both eyes are set back inside a bony protective socket, but they protrude enough for a wider plane of sight. The eyes are spheres so they can roll around easily. They are set just enough apart to allow for depth perception. Eyebrows protect from glare. Pupils dilate. Eyelids close during sleep and are thin to allow for an awakening at dawn. They water when irritated and wash out irritants. And only humans summon tears in profoundly sad times or extremely happy times. The eye is not a survival organ or a random mutation. There are a minimum number of parts that are necessarily for it to work. Irreducible complexity is an argument made in the discussion on evolution. This concept says that the origin of complex organs must be explained. How do you account for the complexity of the human eye? Some living mechanisms are too complex to arise by the short steps required by evolution. There are many things that evolution cannot explain. Irreducibly complex organs is one of them. The eye has more than two million working parts, and can discern a candle light from miles away. Several well-matched interacting parts contribute to basic function and if one part is removed, the whole part is jeopordized and in many cases ceases to function. What good is a retina by itself? Or ocular muscles and no lens. The eye is a package. Yet Darwin would assert that the eye could not come as a package; that the eye parts each must be useful in some way by itself and performing a function in order for it to evolve in small, incremental steps. Accident or Design?

Ear
The ear catches sound waves like a satellite. It converts it into electrical impulses and sends it to the brain for processing. Even as we age, the ear gets larger to offset the loss of hearing that comes with age. Inner and outer hair cells allow for fine-tuned hearing: cracks of a floorboard, a single instrument in an orchestra, and the sounds of someone breathing, and yet somehow, they tune out the blood splashing through our veins. Speech and sound would have had to evolve together in an evolutionary system. So, you would have had the simulataneous development of the vocal chords. Accident or design?

Nose
It’s really the brain that smells thousands of odors and millions of combinations. It impacts what we eat, when we make love, who just walked into the room, and when we should get out of the house. It filters dirty air and permits us to breath without having to have our mouths open. The nostrils point downward and are placed to receive aroma input, especially before ingesting. Accident or design?

Mouth
The mouth does so much: speaking, tasting, communicating, kissing. The teach allows for consuming food. The tongue allows for taste and swallowing. It also senses texture, helps create an appetite, and aids in digestion. Accident or design?

Touch
Millions of sensory receptors line the human body. Touch tells us when our clothes are too tight or the water is too cold or a blister is developing on our heel. Touch provides comfort and closeness. Many areas are ready to fire off responses when touched – they are hyper-sensitive and chemicals are released when these places are stimulated. Accident or design?

Skin
Skin protects us. It is waterproof, antibacterial, elastic, and flexible, self-repairing, washable, and self-replaces. It makes us look better too. Accident or design?

Our “from another planet – called TOFU” creature will also recognize, upon further investigation, that humans are built for something more than just survival. Humans are overbuilt for the world. We just needed a stick and drum but we have orchestras and Beethoven. And Spielberg and Mozart, and Celine Deion and Einstein and Van Gogh. They take us far beyond mere survival, beyond “competition”. They celebrate each others accomplishments and paint murals to capture beauty and use body language to convey a message. They laugh at each other and write poetry about people and things they love. They are not just trying to “survive”; they are celebrating something – something called life. They can imagine things and display morals. They have a sense of pride in their work. They love to create great scultures or simply doodlings. The coordinate colors and textures and mimic people and animals. They smile and plan for the future. They set priorities and gather food. They dance and perform, write and create. They reason and teach complex ideas. They pray and worship and reach out to a Someone. They show facial expressions and feel regret. They seek justice and long for grace. They deceive and are embarrassed when caught. They remember and hope, taste and touch, see and hear, eat and digest, hold and make love.

And if this “from another planet – TOFU” creature would read the documents of Atheistic Man and Christian Theism Man, he/she/it would theorize that…

Humans are either…
a descendent of a tiny cell of primoridal protoplasm…an arbitrary product of time and place, chance and natural forces…a grab bag of atomic particles, genetic substance…who exists on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in a corner of a meaningless universe, only slightly different from a banana or an amoeba…coming from nothing and going no where…

Or humans are…
a special creation of a good and powerful Intelligent Designer… who made them in His image…with a unique capacity to think and feel and know things…set above all other life forms…to observe all of the rest of creation…discovering how a world works…all the while, engaging this Designer in relationship… encountering His love… and changing the world for the better… and fulfilling a God-given purpose, minus the suffering eventually…on a new earth…

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Filed under Anthropic Principle, Anthropology, Atheism, Atheist, Beauty, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Desire, First Cause, Human Being, Imago Dei, Intelligent Design, Irreducible Complexity, Pleasure, Sex, Worldview

Irreducible Complexity, Occams Razor, and the Anthropic Principle for a New Year

There are three great concepts that one needs to process when thinking about the existence of God and competitive worldviews that endeavor to answer the deeper questions of life.

Irreducible complexity is an argument made in the discussion on evolution. While there are parts of evolution that can be substantiated (by this I mean, microevolution – one type of a sparrow evolving into another type of sparrow; contrast this with macroevolution, which I totally disagree with, that one species evolves into another species), this concept says that the origin of complex organs must be explained. Some organs require a minimum number of parts to work. The infinite number of small steps necessary for these kinds of developments is not likely in a strict evolutionary system. How do you account for the complexity of the human eye? Some living mechanisms are too complext to arise by the short steps required by evolution. There are many things that evolution cannot explain. Irredicibly complex organs is one of them. This fact alone wrecks Darwinism. Before you side with a Dawkins who said that evolution makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist, explain irreducibly complex organs for starters, and then work from there. Evolution doesn’t know when its done. It doesn’t know that it shouldn’t turn us into whales, or crickets, or ground hogs. With far more people around today than centuries ago, you would expect some mutations, some development of more complex organs. Where are they?

Occams Razor simply states that there are a number of possible explanations for something and that one should go with the explanation that requires the fewest assumptions. Even Carl Sagan advised to go witht the hypotheses that was the simplest. The best route from point A to point B should not be a zig-zag theory. Evolutionary atheists invent a fantastically complicated set of circumstances in an attempt to explain our origins. Faith is not irrational, but offers a very clear explanation of how our universe and multiverses began. The vast majority of physicists admit a “Big Bang” that started it all, a First Cause.

Finally, the anthropic principle states that our universe was designed just right, so that we could live on planet earth. It’s as if someone “monkeyed with the physics”. It knew humans and life-forms were coming somehow. Modify the physics just slightly and we implode into the planet or explode off of it. It is precise; earth is a sanctuary of life.

We are irreducibly complex creatures, living in a world that was intelligently designed, with precise physics to sustain our survival. Faith is rational, even scientific, and yet some atheists describe it as a “mental illness”. The only thing mental about any of this is how and why human beings go to such great extremes to avoid the logical, succinct explanations offered by Christian Theism.

I agree with Dinesh D’Souza who argues that atheism is not primarily an intellectual revolt; it is a moral revolt. Atheists don’t find God invisible so much as objectionable. Like a supervisory parent, God is in the way and must be removed, discredited (using the error-filled Bible ironically enough), and He must be shown to be a “mental illness.”

How about starting out 2009 with a new worldview? You are irreducibly complex in your make-up, living in a world that is balanced on a razors edge, and playing dumb to what you know to be true is no longer the best way to answer life’s deeper questions. There’s a better way in 2009.

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Filed under Agnosticism, Anthropic Principle, Atheism, Atheist, Christian Worldview, Earth, Evolution, First Cause, Intelligent Design, Irreducible Complexity, New Year, Occams Razor, Theism, Uncategorized, Worldview

The First Cause and the Imagination

Henry Morris talks about the First Cause. Everything that exists is the result of a chain of events which has its root in some omnipotent First Cause. Furthermore, by studying the effects or all that we see around us, we can draw some implications about the First Cause. Simply put, says Morris “…Since the universe appears almost limitless in extent, the First Cause must be virtually infinite. Since the universe appears almost endless in duration, the First Cause must be virtually eternal. Since the universe pulsates with energy, the First Cause must be virtually omnipotent. Since the universe in phenomenally complex and contains intelligent life, the First Cause must be virtually omniscient. Since the universe (namely man) contains feeling and emotions and love and human relations, the First Cause must be personal. Since the universe contains goodness and righteousness and love and justice, the First Cause must be moral.”

“Thus reasoning from cause-and-effect leads us to conclude that the great First Cause of all things is an infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, personal, emotional, moral, spiritual, living Being. (Morgan, Beyond Reasonable Doubt!: Evidence for the Truth of Christianity).” This first cause is a Creative Artist who goes beyond the functional into the imagination and delights in it.

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A “Just Right” World – Created by a Someone

The earth is a sanctuary of life. We live on a visited planet. It’s fine-tuned for life. Earth is the only planet we know of that contains an atmosphere that can support human, animal, and plant life. The earth has all the marks of an artist hand. Our Earth is perfectly designed for life. It is “just right.” If gravity was slightly less, we would explode off the planet. If it was slightly more, we would implode into the ground. Its size and corresponding “just right” gravity force hold a thin, but not too thin, layer of gases to protect us and allow us to breathe. The Earth is also placed at a “just right” distance from the sun and the other planets in our solar system. If we were closer to the sun, we’d burn up. If we were farther away, we’d freeze. Because Earth’s orbit is nearly circular, this slightly elliptical shape means that we enjoy a quite narrow range of temperatures, which is important to life. The speed of Earth’s rotation on its axis, completing one turn every 24 hours, means that the sun warms the planet evenly. All of these values are just precisely what is needed to sustain life. Modify one of these things just slightly, and like a house of cards, our world collapses. Someone took great care in building our earth and it’s balanced on a razor’s edge. The dials are set too precisely to have been random accident. Somebody has monkeyed with the physics to make it work. I would wager to say that it’s not a “fairy.”

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Filed under Atheism, Creation, Earth, First Cause, God

Why is God Hidden?

Theologians always talk about the hiddeness of God, how God is there, but yet He seems shy to intervene or show Himself directly to us. But He has given you clues you can follow, some of which are breathtaking. God has given us just enough evidence so that those who want Him can have him. Those who want to reject Him can do that as well. Think about it. It’s the only way a relationship with God could not be forced. If He was here in visible form, ruling with great power, would anybody choose differently? God gives everyone the room to either choose or reject. He’s a hidden God. But yet what the Bible so clearly teaches is that He remains active in his “hiddenness.” He is working a plan in our lives. And His first objective is to woo and win our hearts, to have us stay at His table forever. The problem is not that God hasn’t spoken; it’s that we haven’t listened. We’ve suppressed the truth and yet still he pursues.

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Filed under First Cause, Free Will, God, Hidden God