Which God Is the Real One?

As I wrote before, if our universe came into existence by chance, then we have no purpose in life (except for whatever we make up ourselves). However, I believe the most logical conclusion we can make, based on our observation of the universe, is that a powerful, intelligent being created everything. If so, then the creator determines our purpose. 

But how do we know who this creator is?

God has not only revealed himself in creation, he has revealed himself through the Bible. The Bible is God’s book to us. 

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable
for teaching, for reproof, for correction,
and for training in righteousness, 
that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:16

But aren’t there other gods and bibles? How do we know the Christian Bible is the right one? The Bible is internally coherent and is confirmed by our experience in the world. A person can read the Bible and compare it with other Scriptures and decide for himself which one, if any, is from God. You should not take another person’s word for it. Read the Bible and decide for yourself.

Voddie Baucham explains why he believes the Bible is God’s Word: “I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents, written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies, and they claim to be divine rather than human in origin.”

I am suggesting that these facts are obvious: God created everything, and the Bible is his Word. So, why are there so many other religions and worldviews? Are there really logical and scientific arguments against what the Bible teaches about God? In Romans 1 Paul explains why people reject God. He says that “by their unrighteousness” they “suppress the truth” (Rom 1:18). He goes on,

“For although they knew God,
they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him,
but they became futile in their thinking,
and their foolish hearts were darkened. . . .
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie
and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.”

Romans 1:21, 25

Yes, there are difficult questions about God, the world, and the Bible. But there are many reasonable and satisfying answers for those with an open heart and mind. Yes, what scientists say often seems to contradict what the Bible says is true. But “scientific” conclusions have changed throughout history. Everyone has his own bias, even scientists. In addition, there are laws of nature and observations about the universe that point to the existence of God and his creation of everything.**

I know that some people are genuinely confused and want to know the truth. If they honestly seek the truth, they will find it. In the end, those who reject God do not do so based on scientific evidence or intelligent reasoning. They don’t believe in God because they don’t want to. They don’t want to believe in God because they don’t want to be accountable to him. They are not making a mental choice; they are making a moral choice.

** [Here are six scientific observations you can study more about and how they point to a Creator: 1. The order of the universe (the teleological argument); 2. The existence of DNA; 3. The impossibility of spontaneous generation; 4. The Second Law of Thermodynamics; 5. The gene pool and the limits to change; 6. Fossil gaps and intermediate forms.]

The Benefits of Local Government

I was recently trying to explain to a friend of mine some of the basic principles upon which I base my philosophy of government. I was amazed to read a verse this morning (which I don’t remember reading before) that seems to explain one of these principle very well.

“If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them” (Eccl 5:8).

Solomon connects the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness with multi-layered bureaucracy that places power further and further from the people. It has been observed throughout history that power has the tendency to corrupt those who have it. Lord Acton wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” His conclusion is that the extent of the power is proportionate to the corruption.

How do we construct a government that reduces the probability of this tendency playing out? By allowing as much power as possible to be held by as many as possible as close to the people as possible. All I’m really talking about here is an emphasis on local government. This gives ownership, responsibility, and accountability to the people and those who lead them. It means that leaders are leading in their own communities so they have a vested interest. The well being of their lives, and that of their family and friends is directly affected by their leadership. And they are directly accountable to the people they are leading.

I would not argue, thought, that there is no need for centralized government and I acknowledge that there are certain matters that are best dealt with at that level. Some believe that an emphasis on local government with more leaders than less is inefficient. I have two responses to this argument. First, I believe local government is much more effective in preventing the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, which is more important than whatever efficiency may be in mind. Second, I would argue that the efficiency of a centralized government is an illusion. The further government gets from the people that it is supposed to be serving, the more resources are required to maintain it.

Sherlock Holmes, Spock, and Philosophy

I recently watched one of the old Sherlock Holmes movies starring Jeremy Brett. In it, he made this statement:

"If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

- Sherlock Holmes

About a week later I watched the new Star Trek movie. It was a very cool moment when, in a moment of mystery and confusion, Spock (the logical Vulcan) said, "If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

I can't help but wondering if this argument might be of some use in philosophical discussions about God and reality. To be sure, we are constantly blinded by our preconceived ideas and prejudices about what we want reality to be. It is therefore easy for us to rule out what seems improbable to us because it is not what we hope for. I am therefore using the term 'improbable' to refer to what seems so to finite human perception.

I would argue that it is not possible to establish with reason and evidence that the existence of God is impossible. If it is true that questions about God are difficult to establish with absolute certainty due to his invisible nature and our limited knowledge, I believe that one can make a powerful and irrefutable argument that God is the most probable explanation of this world. I believe that if we exercised pure reason and observable evidence, we would find that Jesus Christ is indeed "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14;6).

The Problem of Goodness

"What Darwinism has never been able to account for is human kindness or altruism. . . . The evolutionary explanation for altruism is really just selfishness in disguise. . . . But that, of course, isn't altruism at all. . . . In contrast, Christians understand that while all of us are born with the capactiy for selfishness and curetly, we are also capable of caring for others. . . . Recent advances in neurobiology show that the impulse toward altruism may even be hardwired. . . . Our opponents are always quick to point to the problem of evil in the world. But as we can see, an equally important problem exists for the secularist: the problem of goodness." - Chuck Colson, "The Problem of Goodness," Christianity Today (Dec 09)

"Apologetics is a very powerful too, but it's ultimately janitorial. . . . You are doing no more than clearing away debris that blocks the door to faith, and ultimatley it is God's love that has to work its way into a heart." - Dinesh D'Souza

The Logic of Abortion

One of my favorite class discussions in our Public Speaking class at Appalachian State is on "Building Powerful Arguments." In it we talk about logos, pathos, and ethos, and deductive and inductive reasoning. In order to demonstrate how a logical appeal (logos) can be made with a deductive argument, we use the topic of abortion. I lead the class in an attempt to create a deductive argument for a pro-choice and a pro-life position. I emphasize how important it is to be able to accurately articulate the view of the opposing argument (that is, to the satisfaction of one who hold that view). If this simple step were taken in such discussions, much misunderstanding, straw-man arguments, and talking past each other would be eliminated. Deductive reasoning argues for a claim based primarily on the logical relationships of certain premises. First, the students must establish a major premise. This is an assumed principle that both sides should agree upon. Next is the minor premise. This is where the one logically connects the major premise to his or her claim. A simplified version of a deductive argument (a syllogism) for both sides of the abortion issue may look like this:


Major Premise:            Women have a right to control their bodies and # of children. Minor Premise:            Abortion is an exercise of that right. Claim:                         Protect abortion rights

Pro-Life Major Premise:             Taking the life of another human is wrong. Minor Premise:            Abortion is taking the life of a human. Claim:                         Stop abortion

There are other ways to argue both sides, but this is a start upon which both sides generally agree. Anyone have any suggestions on how to improve this beginning point for discussion? Next time I will explain how both sides usually criticize the logic of the other.