a God or Not?
This question eclipses all other questions that mankind might ask. Should you feel that statement is the opinion of a theologian or a preacher, then listen to this statement, found in The Great Ideas Syntopicon, the crucial study guide for the Great Book series, a remarkable collection of most of the combined wisdom of Western civilisation from the time of Thales to the present. Mortimer Adler states, ‘With the exception of certain mathematicians and physicists, all authors of the Great Books are represented in the chapter on God.’ The reason is obvious. More consequences for thought and action follow the affirmation or denial of God than the answering of any other basic question. The whole tenor of human life is affected by whether men regard themselves as the supreme being in the universe, or acknowledge a superhuman being whom they conceive of as an object of fear or love and a force to be defied or a Lord to be obeyed. In this time of militant, marching atheism, which is spreading itself like a deadly fungus across our world, we need to consider the significance of this question and the evidence for the existence of God.
Perhaps one of the most commonly held opinions of modern sophisticated Americans is that somehow science has disproved God or, as Julian Huxley said, they have reduced Him ‘to simply the disappearing smile of the Cheshire Cat.’ Has science really disproved God? In his book God, the Atom and the Universe, James Reid states: ‘Science is preparing a surprise for mankind! At least it will be a surprise for those who have doubts about the Bible and its God. It will also come as a surprise for those who are labouring under the misapprehension that science has undermined the Bible. In fact, it may even shock some scientists, who may be startled to find that their newly uncovered fact, or accepted theory, provides still another link in the chain of evidence that is showing the facts of the universe support the Bible’s statement including creation.’ He further states that for years, as a man of science, he had endeavoured under the old classic physics, the Newtonian physics, to discover support for these in the Bible and had been unable to do so.
As we moved into this century and the old classical physics gave way to the new quantum physics, the atomic theory, a whole new concept of the universe emerged. As Einstein’s theory of relativity revealed the inner relationship of mass and energy, he suddenly found that the new discoveries of science were establishing the teachings of the Scripture. The facts of the universe are supported increasingly by the findings of science, and the consequences of this are incalculable. We live in a time in which there is a popular idea that there is no God to whom men are responsible. I believe this thought is basically responsible for the enormous incidence of crime, murder, rape, robbery, and every conceivable civil evil that we face in our society today. I have heard scores of men, supposedly knowledgeable on the subject, discuss a variety of remedies for the situation, and I am amazed at their incredible blindness. It seems none of them realises it is the rampant denial of the God of the Bible that has caused men to become increasingly animalistic. Teach men that they are animals and eventually they will act like animals.
L. Woodward, Oxford’s Professor of Modern History, states: ‘The value of our Western heritage, justice, mercy, kindness, tolerance, self-sacrifice are incompatible with materialism…’ materialism being the view of the universe that there exists nothing but matter – no soul, no spirit – no god. ‘If I may borrow a well-worn phrase about the State [which he borrows from Marx] these values will wither away in a materialistic culture.’ He further states that ‘it is meaningless to talk about human ‘rights’ in a materialistic society: one might as well make a moral appeal to the Atlantic Ocean.’
Have scientists disproved God? There is no branch of science which looks at a larger portion of God’s handiwork than do astronomers. The Scripture says: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.’ (Ps. 19:1); ‘For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen’ (Rom. 1:20). Ninety percent of all astronomers today believe in God! Those who have most thoroughly examined his handiwork believe in God. That is a higher percentage than will be found of butchers, bakers, or candlestick makers. Those who have looked most intently and to the farthest extent that man has been able to see in the universe have concluded that the hand that made it is Divine.
Pierre Simon de La Place, one of the greatest of our astronomers, said that the proof in favour of an intelligent God as the author of creation stood as infinity to unity against any other hypothesis of ultimate causation; that it was infinitely more probable that a set of writing implements thrown promiscuously against parchment would produce Homer’s Iliad, than that creation was originated by any other cause than God. The evidence for God as opposed to the evidence against Him as the Creator of this universe was an infinity to one. It could not even be measured.
There are many different arguments for the existence of God. One is known as the cosmological argument. Though Kant and Hume directed their attacks at the various classical arguments for God, they did so without suitable evidence and without sufficient proof to refute them. Since the various theistic proofs are not mathematical (they are really arguments for overwhelming probability), these arguments still stand, and the mind of the creature still recognises in them evidence of a Divine Creator. Sir James Jeans, one of the greatest of modern astronomers, said that the more he examined the vast expanses of space and the tremendous complexity of these things, the more the universe seemed to be one gigantic thought of a great mathematician.
The cosmological argument comes from the term cosmos, which means ‘the universe’ and from which we get the word ‘cosmetic.’ It means ordered and beautiful, and there is within the universe so much evidence of order that it would be impossible to list it all. Quantum physics has demonstrated that at the level of subatomic particles, there is an irresistible urge of electrons toward symmetry and that there is an amazing cosmetic aspect to the universe. One author said that nature is a great architect….It is also a great astronomer, a great chemist, a great physiologist, a great psychologist, and a great mathematician, demonstrating an incredible knowledge of the facts of the various sciences now known to mankind, which have all said the same thing.
There is also the teleological argument. The word telos in Greek means ‘the end,’ and teleology is that view of philosophy which sees that in the universe things are designed for a purpose, for an end. Atheists and evolutionists (they must almost invariably be one and the same) detest the words ‘purpose’ and ‘teleology’ because they believe that the world has no purpose. They believe it is all one gigantic accident, simply the concatenation [the linking together as in a chain] of atoms that happened to come together in a chance fashion. Although people may say that things exist in an incredibly complex way and that is the only reason why we are here, it is hard for the human mind to disregard that fantastic number of evidences that Someone has been providing for our well-being.
Consider the mass and size of this planet upon which we have been placed. It is just right. Dr. Wallace says that if the earth were either 10 times larger or 10 percent smaller than it is, life would not be possible upon this planet. Furthermore, it is just the right distance from the sun, and thus we receive the right amount of heat and light. If it were further away, we would freeze, and if it were closer (such as the distance of Mercury or Venus) we would not be able to survive.
Consider the amazing fact of the tilt of the axis of the earth. None of the other planets is tilted as ours is – 23 degrees. The angle provides that the earth is slowly turned in all parts of its surface before the rays of the sun, much as a chicken would be turned on a spit. If there were no tilt to the axis, the pole would accumulate enormous masses of ice, and the centre part of the earth would become intensely hot.
Another amazing aspect of our relationship in the solar system is our moon. Many people do not realise that without the moon it would be impossible to live on this planet. If anyone were ever to succeed in deflecting the moon from its orbit, all life would cease on this planet. God has provided the moon as a maid to clean up the ocean and the shores of all our continents. Without the tides created by the moon, all our harbours and shores would become one stench pool of garbage, and it would be impossible to live anywhere near them. Because of the tides, continuous waves break upon the shores of the ocean, aerating the oceans of this planet and providing oxygen for the plankton, which is the very foundation of the food chain of our world. Without plankton, there would not be oxygen and man would not be able to live upon this earth. God has made the moon the right size and placed it the right distance from the earth to perform these and numerous other functions.
There is the wonder of our atmosphere. We live under a great ocean of air – 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, and the other 1 percent is made up of almost a dozen different trace elements. Spectrographic studies of other planets in the stellar universe show that no other atmosphere, no other part of the known universe is made up of these same ingredients or anything like this composition. These elements are not chemically combined but are continually mixed mechanically by the tidal effect of the moon upon the atmosphere. This has the same effect that it has upon the seas and always provides the same amount of oxygen. Though man dumps a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, this is absorbed into the ocean and man is able to continue to live on this planet. If the atmosphere were not as thick as it is, we would be crushed by the billion pieces of cosmic debris and meteorites that fall continually upon our planet.
Then there is the amazing nitrogen cycle. Nitrogen is extremely inert – if it were not, we would all be poisoned by different forms of nitrous combinations. However, because of its inertness, it is impossible for us to get it to combine naturally with other things. It is definitely needed for plants in the ground. How does God provide to get the nitrogen out of the air into the soil? He does so by lightning! One hundred thousand lightning bolts strike this planet daily, creating a hundred million tons of usable nitrogen plant food in the soil every year.
Sixty-five kilometres up there is a thin layer of ozone. If compressed it would be only six millimetres thick, and yet without it life would not exist. Eight killer rays fall upon this planet continually from the sun; without ozone we would be burned, blinded and broiled by them in just a day or two. The ultraviolet rays come in two forms; longer rays which are deadly and are screened out, and shorter rays which are necessary for life on earth and are admitted by the ozone layer. Furthermore, the most deadly of these rays are allowed through the ozone layer in just a very thin amount, enough to kill the green algae, which otherwise would grow to fill all the lakes, rivers and oceans of the world.
How little we realise what God is continuously doing to provide for our life. We see that we live with a tiny ozone layer protecting us from an unseen deadly bombardment that constantly comes down upon our heads. Beneath us is a thin rock crust, thinner than the skin of an apple in comparison. Beneath that is the molten lava that forms the core of this earth. So man lives between the burning, blackening rays above and the molten lava below, either of which would burn him to a crisp. Yet man is totally oblivious that God has so arranged things that he can exist in such a world as this.
Then we have the wonder of water. Nowhere else in the universe do we find water in any abundance except here on the earth. Water, the amazing solvent, dissolves almost everything on this earth except those things which are life-sustaining. This amazing liquid exists as ice, breaks up rocks, and produces soil. As snow, it stores up water in the valleys. As rain, it waters and cleanses the earth. As vapour, it provides moisture for much of the arable land of this earth. If we had clouds like Venus, Earth would not exist. But we have exactly 50 percent of the surface of the earth covered by clouds at any one time, allowing just the right amount of sunlight to come through. As steam, it runs the powerful machinery that we have here on earth. Other than bismuth it is the only liquid that is heavier at 4⁰ C than it is at freezing. If this were not so, life would not exist on this planet. Therefore, when it is frozen, it is lighter and it rises. If this were not so, lakes and rivers would freeze from the bottom up and kill all the fish. The algae would be destroyed and our oxygen supply would cease, and mankind would die.
Even dust provides an incredible function for mankind. If it were not for dust, we would never see a blue sky. Twenty-seven kilometres above this planet there is no dust from this earth, and the sky is always black. If it were not for dust, it would never rain. One drop of rain is made up of eight million droplets of water, and each one of those eight million droplets is wrapped around a tiny particle of dust. Without these, the world would become parched and life would cease to exist.
Within human beings, there are many things that tell us we have been made by God. Our life is based upon the blood that flows in our veins. The amazing red blood cell, created in bone marrow, immediately gives up its nucleus when it reaches the bloodstream. For any other cell, this would mean death, like cutting the heart right out of man. A red blood cell is formed like a doughnut with a thin membrane across the hole. Without a nucleus it is able to carry more oxygen for the body because of this membrane and the shape of the cell. If it were shaped like other cells, it would require nine times as many cells to provide oxygen for the human body.
Then there is that wonder of wonders: the human eye! How could anybody look at a human eye and suppose that it just happened? Evolutionists tell us that where there is want, nature will provide what is needed. Can you imagine that we needed sight? No one had ever seen anything, but there was a need to see something. So nature created an eye. Imagine creating two eyes on a horizontal plane so that we not only can see but we also have a range finder that determines distances.
Did you ever wonder what happens to your tears that continually flow across your eye? Dr. William Paley wrote a classic work entitled Natural Theology in which he discusses the eye. ‘In order to keep the eye moist and clean – which qualities are necessary to its brightness and its use – a wash is constantly supplied by a secretion for the purpose; and the superfluous brine is conveyed to the nose through a perforation in the bone as large as a goose quill. When once the fluid has entered the nose, it spreads itself upon the inside of the nostril and is evaporated by the current of warm air which in the course of respiration is continually passing over it….It is easily perceived that the eye must want moisture; but could the want of the eye generate the gland which produces the tear, or bore a hole by which it is discharged – a hole through a bone?’ Let the atheist or the evolutionist tell us who bored the hole in the bone and laid a water pipe through it for the dispersion of our tears.
Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, famous English physiologist of Oxford who wrote a classic work on the eye, said: ‘Behind the intricate mechanism of the human eye lie breath-taking glimpses of a Master Plan.’ When confronted with darkness the human eye increases its ability to see one hundred thousand times. The finest camera ever made does not even vaguely approach such a thing, but the human eye does it automatically. Furthermore, the eye will find the object it wants to see and focus upon it automatically. It will elongate or compress itself. Both eyes moving together must take different angles to fix themselves upon what it is to be seen. When the eye got ready to create itself, it also had the forethought for its own protection, and built itself beneath the bony ridge of the brow, and also provided a nose on which to hang the glasses that most of us need. Then it provided a shutter to protect itself from any foreign object.
Lastly, we might mention the incredible mind of man. Sir Henry Fairfield Osborn, the noted modern anthropologist, said: ‘To my mind, the human brain is the most marvellous and mysterious object in the whole universe.’ Weighing but 1.5 kilograms, it can perform what 500 tons of electrical and electronic equipment cannot do. Containing 10 to 15 billion neurons, each a living unit itself, it performs feats that absolutely boggle the mind. Dr. H. M. Morris said: ‘Therefore men who reject or ignore God do so, not because science or reason requires them to, but purely and simply because they want to!’
The Scripture says, ‘And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind’ (Romans 1:28).
Not only are these compelling reasons for the existence of God, but I believe in God because I believe in Jesus Christ. The prophecies, the birth, the life, the miracles, the teachings, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and His continuous performance of those things which He said He would do convince me that God lives and that God lived in Jesus Christ and even now can transform people.
In his best-selling book Through the Valley of the Kwai, Ernest Gordon told about American soldiers captured by the Japanese in the Malay Peninsula who were tortured and starved. They were turned into a group of animals, clawing and fighting and stealing food from each other. Finally things became so bad they decided to start reading the New Testament. As Ernest Gordon, a university graduate, read those words to them from the New Testament, these men were converted to the living God through Jesus Christ. This community of animals was transformed into a community of love, because God lives and He lives in Jesus Christ. Christ is willing to live in the hearts of those who will trust in Him. This joy, this peace, this transformed life, and this assurance of eternal life are what Christ offers to those who will place their trust in His atoning death.
What does the unbeliever have to offer? Such an unbeliever, W. O. Saunders, wrote in the American Magazine:
‘I would like to introduce you to one of the lonesomest and unhappiest individuals on earth. I am talking about the man who does not believe in God. I can introduce you to such a man because I myself am one, and in introducing myself you shall have an introduction to the agnostic or skeptic in your own neighbourhood, for he is everywhere in the land. You will be surprised to learn that the agnostic envies your faith in God, your settled belief in a heaven after life, and your blessed assurance that you will meet your loved ones in an afterlife where there will be neither sadness nor pain. He would give anything to be able to embrace that faith and be comforted by it. For him there is only the grave and the persistence of matter. After the grave all he can see is the disintegration of the protoplasm and psychoplasm of which my body and personality are composed. But in this materialist view, I find neither ecstasy nor happiness.
‘The agnostic may face life with a smile and a heroic attitude. He may put on a brave front, but he is not happy. He stands in awe and reverence before the vastness and majesty of the universe, knowing not whence he came nor why. He is appalled at the stupendousness of space and the infinitude of time, humiliated by the infinite smallness of himself, cognisant of his own frailty, weakness, and brevity. Certainly he sometimes yearns for a staff on which to lean on. He, too, carries a cross. For him, this earth is but a tricky raft adrift in the unfathomable waters of eternity with no horizon in sight. His heart aches for every precious life upon the raft – drifting, drifting, drifting whither no one knows.’
I believe in God. However, to believe in Him is not enough, for even the devil believes in God and trembles. It is necessary not only that we believe He exists but that we believe He became incarnate in Jesus Christ and that He died for our sins. It is necessary that we believe and that we repent of our sins and cast ourselves at His feet and place our trust in Him – in His atoning death for our salvation. If not, we shall face Him as our angry Judge in that great day. I believe in Him, and I know He is alive. He lives in my heart, and He has granted me the assurance that I shall live with Him forever. It is my earnest desire that that assurance may be yours, if it is not already. Have you trusted Him?
Edited from Why I Believe, by D. James Kennedy, WORD BOOKS, Waco, Texas.
Are you certain you have the gift of
What could be more important than obtaining everlasting life – to spend an eternity with God in heaven! But who gets to enjoy this special privilege? Is it for everyone? And how about you – are you sure that when death comes, you’ll be ready for it?