Archive for June, 2010

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The Question of God’s Existence- Why Does it Matter?

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Several years ago, I wrote the following words in the flyleaf of my Bible: “If there is no God, then nothing really matters.  If there is a God, nothing else matters.”  I don’t recall where I heard it, but as far as I’m concerned this one statement covers all the bases in very few words- it really is the bottom line.  Notice that the question is not whether one believes in God, but rather, is there really a God? Does He really exist? This is the ultimate question, isn’t it?  It has to be the ultimate question because absolutely everything about your life and mine depends upon the answer to that question, whether the answer is “yes” or “no.”  All of the important, relevant questions that we ask about our lives are ultimately grounded in that question.  Where did we come from?  How did we get here?  Are we here by the purposive act of a Creator Who made us, or are we simply the product of random, blind forces of nature?  What is the purpose and meaning of life?  IS there any purpose or meaning to life?  What is the basis for ethics and morality?  On what basis do we determine what is right or wrong?  What about truth?  Is truth relative, or is there absolute truth?  If so, is there any way that we can discover it?  What happens to us when we die?  Does life simply terminate at the grave or will we survive the grave?  If we survive the grave what will become of us?  Where will we go after we die?  As I said, the question of God’s existence is the ultimate question.

When it comes to this question, there are many today who would tell us that it’s rather pointless for us to even ask such a question since there’s no way that we can ever really know.  Others would insist that such a question is a complete waste of time since we cannot know anything about God.  But to say that we can’t know anything about God is not only a cop-out, it’s self-contradictory.  After all, the person who says that we can’t know anything about God is actually claiming to “know” a lot of things about God!

For instance, they may be assuming that God is some “impersonal force” that lacks the ability to communicate with us.  Either that, or they are assuming that even if God is a personal Being Who can communicate with us, He is either too distant to do so, or else He simply doesn’t care to do so.  They are assuming that  none of the world’s religions nor any of the religious texts within those religions could ever be seriously considered as the means by which God has attempted to communicate with us.  And finally, they are assuming that God has not taken the initiative to reveal Himself to us in any way through the physical, material world that He created.

As I said, the question of whether or not God really exists is, by far, the most important question that anyone could ever ask.  With so much at stake, we dare not brush it aside or ignore it on the assumption that we “cannot know”.  Not only can we know, I am convinced that the answer to that question has been clearly revealed to us and is available to anyone and everyone who is willing to approach the evidence with an open mind.

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Posted in Theology | 53 Comments »

Does the Problem of Evil Disprove God?

Monday, June 14th, 2010

It has been noted by some historians that later in his life Albert Einstein expressed the view, based upon his observations of the universe, that there must be a God Who initially set the universe into motion.  However, those same historians go on to point out that Einstein ended up backing away from a Judeo-Christian concept of God and settled for more of a deistic view of God, similar to a watchmaker who creates the watch, winds it up to get it going, but then walks away, never to be heard from again.  Apparently, one of the biggest reasons that drove Einstein to this conclusion was the problem of evil that he observed in the world.  He could not reconcile in his thinking a “good” God Who would allow evil to exist in His creation.  Similarly, historians who have studied the life of Charles Darwin have pointed out that his quest to find a purely naturalistic explanation for everything, without any reference to a Creator, all began with the death of his beloved daughter, Annie.  These, of course, are only two examples out of countless others who have come to the conclusion that since our world is so full of evil and suffering, there either isn’t a God, or if there is, it cannot be the God of the Bible.  But is that the case?  Does it logically follow that the existence of evil either “disproves” God or is inconsistent with the idea of God’s existence?

On more than one occasion, I’ve had someone say to me, “I can’t believe in God because I see a world that is full of evil and suffering.”  I often respond to them by saying, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds to me as if you’re really saying that when you look around the world, you see a world that is not the way it’s supposed to be- that things are not as they should be.” Of course, such a comment only makes sense if there really IS a way things are supposed to be, referring to some original plan or purpose.  To put it another way, how does one know what evil is unless they know what good is? And how do they know what good is unless there is some objective standard outside of us,  by which to differentiate between the two?  According to C.S. Lewis, this same observation regarding evil was instrumental in leading him out of his atheism.  As he puts it, “(As an atheist) my argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust.  But how had I got this idea of just and unjust?  A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

So, as it turns out, rather than disproving God, the question of the problem of evil actually requires God’s existence in order to make any sense.  Without Him, our observations and objections to “the problem of evil” become meaningless and irrelevant.

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Posted in Evil | 20 Comments »

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  • In today's world, there is a great deal of confusion when it comes to matters of truth, meaning, morality, our origin, and our destiny. The purpose of Renewed Thoughts is to bring clarity to such issues by examining them in light of a Biblical worldview, using the tools of science, philosophy, and critical thinking.