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Among the issues that man has tried to deal with, certainly this has been one of the most enduring questions through the ages. While some vigorously question the existence of a supreme being that created the universe, others take God's being for granted, and many wonder if it matters. You'll see why it matters as we learn how to resolve this issue. So let's get started!
Consider first the most popular scientific theories for the existence of the universe and how man came to be: the Big Bang and Evolution.
The Big Bang theory says the planets, stars and heavenly bodies are the result of a massive cosmic explosion, billions of years ago. The matter of the universe-to-be suddenly exploded, and hurled pieces outward that eventually became the stars, planets and other heavenly bodies. Billions of years later, here on earth, life in the form of microscopic creatures formed from the elements, and in stages, became more and more complex organisms that finally resulted in the evolution of man. While experts can and do debate the pros and cons of each of these theories, some questions remain, such as:
Where did the matter come from in the first place?
What caused the big bang?
How did life actually begin?
How does one explain evolution's 'missing links?'
How does one explain the tremendous odds against the evolution of species, many of which, for example, have a symbiotic need for other organisms in order to exist and survive?
Here's how such problems can be resolved: everything has a cause.* A person's thought to move one's finger sends electrical/nerve impulses from the mind, down their arm into the hand to the finger that is moved. The finger's movement is caused by the prior events. A domino chain is made, set up and the first domino must be tapped to cause the resulting chain reaction. Every event has a prior cause, so following back through the chain of events we would find the ultimate First Cause of all other events! Similarly, it is from the First Cause, the original necessary being, that all other things come to exist.
Logically, the First Cause is unchanging, or it would also need a cause. Since we know that matter is always changing and decaying, the First Cause would need to be immaterial as well. When we consider how vast the universe is, we must logically presume the First Cause is infinitely powerful. That First Cause must have made the matter that produced the big bang, and accounts for the many unknowns in evolution.
One name used to refer to the First Cause is God.
What Can We Learn About The First Cause?
Our reasoning and observational abilities can tell us many facts, some of which we've already noted. For example, the First Cause would have to be immaterial, since matter is always changing. There would have to be incredible power to create so great a universe. Since nothing can give itself what it doesn't already have (e.g.: a 'piggy bank' doesn't give itself money, currency has to be placed in that bank), the qualities that man as a species has must exist on an even greater scale in the First Cause. So the ability to: know, reason, judge, beauty, seeing/perceiving and other qualities of mankind must be infintetly possessed by God, the First Cause.
The unity and organization of the body, in nature and the universe must also be qualities of the Creator. As Albert Einstein put it: the order in the world and the universe is as likely to have been caused by a random big bang, as an explosion in a print shop is likely to produce a completed unabridged dictionary.
What About Evil In The World?
We know from experience that there are two general types of evil in the world: natural events that cause problems, and man-made evils. But first, what is evil?
Common sense reveals that evil is the absence of good. For instance, when we lack proper food (since food is necessary and thus good), we suffer hunger (an evil, or a lack of the good). Objectively, we observe that certain events that cause problems (such as flooding) are a result of the laws of nature or physics. Yes, the Creator for some reason allows floods to happen, yet the rain that causes a flood is in itself necessary and often good. Because the Creator is Good and is intellectually superior to Man, we can certainly suppose there may be some good from floods and other disasters we don't fully understand.
Most evils are directly caused by people and the choices people make. God could stop us from doing any evil, but to do so would mean that man would be like a robot, a moral slave. Only by taking away our free will, that ability to choose, could the Creator end the evils caused by man, such as: crime, oppression, violence, dishonesty, murder and war. We know from experience that sometimes 'evil' moves people to help others, to do good. A greater Good knows 'Why.'
Immaterial Cause? How Can That Be?
As we consider new concepts, especially ideas that we may have disbelieved or resisted before, we tend to reach out for thoughts that seem to argue against the new one. Isn't it true that personal changes are often resisted?
But consider your own experience with the immaterial. Your THOUGHTS are immaterial! Your EMOTIONS are immaterial! If you weigh a person moments before death, and then again after the moment of death - the weight is the same. Their is something that animates the body that has no weight. It's clear that everyone is made up of matter, and something immaterial. Philosophers call that invisible 'something' the 'soul.' We could argue that as long as the soul is in a body, the body 'lives,' but once the immaterial soul leaves, the body 'dies.' The soul gives life to - animates - the body. Since the soul is immaterial, unlike decaying matter, can our soul die?
Even before a person becomes 'religious,' knowledge of a First Cause, of God, opens a new way of looking at our world. Consider the development of a child in the womb. How does one explain the precise manner that cells develop? The billions of neurons that form the synapses of the brain; the miles of capillaries, veins and arteries needed to move blood through the body; the development of the organs: what is it that causes every cell to form so correctly and so rapidly before and after birth?
Random chance argues against human development. So our very being argues for a Designer and a Maker that literally gives each of us Life. **
Our Maker personally gave us our first gift: life. The Creator placed us in a world filled with beauty and wonder. We are in a solar system near the edge of a galaxy that would appear as a dazzling light show if we could see it all from the darkness of space. A planetarium simulates that experience, as could a computer program projected on a view-screen.
Which brings to mind the occasion of the atheist who visited the astronomer.
The atheist viewed the program in amazement, which began with a glorious view of our world from space. He watched as Earth faded behind our sun, which shrank and merged in with other stars as the image changed to a picture of the Milky Way and other galactic clusters.
'Who made that program?' the atheist asked, 'It was great!' "No one." replied the astronomer. 'What do you mean, 'no one?' Of course someone made that program! Something can't be made by no one!' "You're right, of course," said the astronomer, "and just as someone made that computer generated program, Someone also Created the planets, stars and galaxies of the universe we live in."
The atheist smiled. He realized if a building requires a builder, so too the Universe needed a Cosmic Builder.
|If you see a globe in a classroom, do you think, 'Gee, did that globe make itself?' No, you know that someone made it. A globe is just a copy of our world, but it reflects thought, design and effort. If a copy had to be made to exist, it isn't hard to imagine that the earth itself, reflecting thought, design and effort, had to be Made by our all-powerful Creator. |
How Can We Learn More?
The Creator gave us the ability to reason this far, so we can learn about our Maker from the world around us. He also wanted us to know Him better by communicating to us directly. It's no coincidence that world-wide, archeology and history demonstrate man is religious. The forms of those religions vary, but the religious or spiritual (immaterial) impulses on the part of man is a fact.
Scholars say the oldest existing religious system is Judaism. From their faith, we have the books of Moses, and stories beginning in Genesis. Note that scientists have stated that all people share common genes and DNA, scientific evidence of a 'genetic Adam and Eve'. Humanity really did have a set of 'first parents.'
The discovery of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls*** in 1947 demonstrated how accurately Jewish and Christian Scriptures have been saved. The odds against such accuracy boggles the mind. Unlike today, with computers and modern presses, in ancient times, writing was a laborious process of ink on parchments, papyrus and other surfaces that aged and decayed.
Consider your experiences when hand-writing-or-copying, and the mistakes you made. Such experience is a silent witness to Something aiding the scribes who hand-copied Scriptures onto materials subject to decay and threats by enemies during social disturbances.
This ancient text reads in part:
"Hear, oh Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone"
The Old Testament reveals health and hygiene information allegedly given to 'God's People' superior to anything known by their ancient neighbors. Modern archeology proves the accuracy of many Biblical site locations. Though Scriptures use some poetic and symbolic literary forms, there is a surprising amount of accurate information that skeptics can't easily explain away. More revealing are Old Testament prophecies, hundreds of which were fulfilled centuries later in the New Testament period by Jesus Christ. Jesus' influence on us has been so great, that we even date our calendars by his birth (B.C. = before Christ; A.D. = 'Anno Domini,' Latin for, 'In the Year of Our Lord').
Of all the world's religions, Christianity is the largest, numbering some 35% of the earth's population. The Bible relates facts about Christianity's founder, Jesus of Nazareth. Who is Jesus? We will learn more about the "Nazarene" soon.
We also need to know, why did God create us? An all powerful Creator obviously didn't need matter, people or any created things, so there must be another reason for His Creation. We will address these and related topics, and give
added proof for God's existence in Part II.
More precisely, "everything that begins has a cause." For a truly detailed
and scholarly proof of God's existence, see Dr. F. J. Kovach's book, "Scholastic Challenges", Essay One, (Western Publications, Stillwater, OK, 1987). $21.95 ppd, 1426 Beverly Hills, Norman, OK 73072.
This is just one of many fascinating topics covered by this tremendous resource and reference!
On December 21, 1997 A.D., the National Association of Biology Teachers spokesman, Wayne Carley, told the New York Times about a change in the association's position on teaching evolution in U.S. classrooms. The group had previously held that evolution was "an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process." Now the association has dropped the words "unsupervised" and "impersonal" from its description of how life evolved. Why the change?
For years, this biology teachers association had resisted such a change, and it came at a time when some top thinkers in this field have begun to question the so-called "proofs" for evolutionary theory. Specifically, they point to the fact that the complexity and design of living organisms, which can only be explained as the work of an intelligent Creator with a purposeful plan. Michael Behe, a biologist at Lehigh University and author of the book, "Darwin's Black Box", argues that the molecular makeup of cells is proof of the purposeful design of a Creator. Many scientists and thinkers are coming to the conclusion that only a creating God can explain life and the existence of the universe.
Did you know that Charles Darwin wrote a letter stating the fact that belief in evolution was compatable with faith in God? Click here to see an article about God and Darwin!
This will launch a window, click it closed at the top right "x" to return to this page. :-)
*** Found near Qumram, 8 miles south of Jericho and 20 miles east of Jerusalem.
God Always Existed (Eternal): Ex. 3:14, 6:2-3; Jb. 36:26; Ps. 90:2,
102:25; Is. 57:15; Dn. 7:14.
Only One God: Dt. 32:39; Is. 43:10, 44:6-8, 45:5; Hos. 13:4; Mal 2:10; 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:6.
God is Immaterial (Spirit): Jn. 4:24; 2 Cor. 3:17.
God is Creator: Gen. 1:1, 1:31, 2:4; Job 26:13; Ps. 33:6, 148:5; Prv. 8:22-31; Is. 13:16, 45:18; Jn. 1:3; Acts 17:24; Col. 1:16; Heb. 3:4, 11:3; Rev. 4:11.
God is Infinite: Jb. 36:26; Ps. 145:3; Is. 66:1-2; Acts 7:48-50. 17:24.
God is Unchangeable: Nm. 23:19; Ps. 102:26; Mal. 3:6; Jas. 1:17.
God is Almighty: Gen. 17:1, 49:24; Ps. 24:8, 50:1; Is. 10:21, 44:24; Jer. 32:18.
Soul created by God: Gen. 1:26-27, 2:7; Is. 57:16; 1 Cor. 11:7; Col. 3:10.
Soul survives death: Gen. 35:18; 1 Sam. 28:11-15; 1 Kngs. 17:22; Mt. 22:23 to 33; Lk. 8:55.
Soul distinct from body: Mt. 10:28; Acts 2:27; 1 Thes. 5:23; Heb. 4:12.
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The entire ABC's of Faith web site and its contents, as well as all original graphics, are copyrighted by L.A.K., FSC & BTNA Consulting. © 1998 by BTNA Consulting, FSC & L.A.K. All Rights Reserved. Contact us for any requests! This page built on 6/14/98 A.D. Last updated on 03/31/06 A.D.