Evidence for the Almighty

Interact with people long enough online when discussing God, and the inevitable demand for “evidence for your sky daddy” (or other pejorative) will arise. So, let’s talk evidence.

Evidence

That’s a decent definition for evidence. As another prerequisite, how do we define God. God as revealed through his creation, through his Word, and through Jesus can be defined as The All powerful, All Knowing, and All Loving Eternal Creator.

We need to talk about three more things before we talk about evidence:

  1. All evidence is interpreted by your worldview. Evidence does not speak for itself. Let me give you an example of how people interpret evidence according to their worldview. The evidence is a fossilized dinosaur bone.
    • A Christian will look at the fossil and interpret it to be exactly what one would expect to find when digging in sedimentary rock layers because the dinosaur was rapidly buried by water-born sediment. Since the animal now exists as a fossil, it avoided decomposition from scavengers/bacteria, so it had to be buried quickly by a massive flood like the one revealed as historical evidence in Genesis 7-9. We know from calculations on ages and historical markers that the flood took place about 4500 years ago, so the bone has been buried for about 4500 years.
    • A non-Christian will look at the fossil and interpret it to be exactly what one would expect to find when digging in sedimentary rock layers because dinosaurs lived millions of years ago and so the rock layer in which the dinosaur is buried is also that old. Because the rock layer has this fossil in it, we know that the fossil was buried about 65 million years ago.
    • Same evidence.Wildly different conclusions. There is no special atheistic evidence, and there is no special christian evidence. There’s just evidence that people interpret within their worldview framework. Can evidence ultimately convince someone of God’s existence? So, we have to ask how valid is it to put out evidence to convince someone that God exists.
  2. What things count as evidence?
    • Laboratory evidence or repeatable evidence. There are all kinds of examples for this, but let go easy: Water at sea level boils at 100 degrees Celsius. This is repeatable and consistent. Most of the time, when I have interactions with people online, they want this kind of laboratory evidence to prove that God exists. We’ll talk more later about why a demand for evidence on this level of the Almighty is absurd.
    • Historical or Forensic evidence. Clearly, one cannot go into the laboratory and prove with repeatability the existence of Ghengis Khan or Thomas Jefferson, but one can, with a high degree of certainty, rely on historical records. Biases play a major role in the documentation of historical records, so it’s helpful to recognize bias and read multiple accounts of a historical event to get the truest picture of the past.
  3. This is not specifically about evidence, but the demand that people make of God. “God you show me the evidence or you’re not real!” To demand this of the Eternal Almighty is audacious, prideful, and dangerous. On a much smaller scale, it would be similar to saying, “The President of the USA better show up to my birthday party and light my candles, or he’s not really the president.” This demand is completely unreasonable for his authority/position, and it ultimately has no bearing on the president’s authority/position.

 

What is the evidence for God?

  1. Since God is the Creator, all evidence is evidence for God. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities-his divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” A key question would be: What evidence would convince you that God exists, even though he says you already have enough evidence?
  2. Without God, you couldn’t prove anything at all. As the Ultimate Truth, He can fulfill the necessary preconditions for intelligibility. To be absolutely certain of something, one must know everything or have revelation from Someone who does know everything. We all know things, therefore God exists.
  3. There are immaterial, invariant, universal entities. Those who believe in a naturalistic worldview cannot account for these entities, because the naturalist is bound by constantly-changing matter. Since God is immaterial, invariant, and universal, He can substantiate both the material and immaterial entities. Because there are things like good, beauty, truth, mathematics, and information we know that God must exist to be the source for these things.
  4. The Bible. Scripture claims to be divinely inspired. These claims are internally consistent and continually verified by forensic science. As verification of their divine nature, fulfilled prophecies have been recorded throughout scripture and later come true. Ultimately, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the pivotal point in history. Multiple lines of evidence are compelling for this miracle.
  5. Specified Complexity – DNA is a biological code that exhibits specified complexity. It is both highly ordered and elaborate. Scientifically, only intelligence is known to create specified complex code like computer programs. DNA is not just a code, but exhibits informational capacity in multiple dimensions. Complexity of this magnitude requires a magnificent Power.
  6. Irreducible Complexity – “A single system which is composed of several interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, & where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced gradually by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, since any precursor to an irreducibly complex system is by definition nonfunctional.” God shows Himself to be a master designer by creating mechanisms that cannot function with any missing parts. Examples of IC are most of the  biological systems: respiratory, circulatory, immune, etc…
  7. Fine Tuning – There are properties of the universe that could have any number of values. If any of these values were different in even the slightest degree, life would not be possible. The universe appears to be not just perfectly fine tuned for life but perfectly designed for the flourishing of life and scientific discovery.
    1. A sub-category of the fine-tuning evidence is the specific evidence for earth being designed for human life:
      1. Perfect distance from the sun provides for liquid water and optimum temperatures for humanity
      2. Unique near-circular orbit prevents massive climate swings
      3. Protective atmosphere – Van Allen belts protect humanity from dangerous radiation. As a secondary benefit of the belts, the beauty of the northern lights can be enjoyed by humanity.
      4. The earth is the perfect size for generating a magnetic field of the right strength, which protects the Earth from all kinds of dangers.
      5. Transparent atmosphere allows us to use the visible light spectrum for vision. Because of this, humanity can observe evidence both inside and outside our atmosphere.
      6. The atmosphere is also the perfect ratio of elements for respiration, combustion, flight, photosynthesis, condensation, evaporation, and UV protection. The atmosphere is also a great medium for passing smell and sound.
      7. The proximity to the moon and sun provide perfect amount of force to control tides and keep the oceans from becoming stagnant.
      8. We can view a perfect solar eclipse because the moon appears to be 400X smaller than the relative distance of the sun, which is 400X further away. Coincidence or design?
      9. The placement of the earth within the solar system protects the earth from most meteor strikes. The large gas planets “vacuum” up most of the dangerous ones.
      10. The placement of the earth within the Milky Way appears to be perfectly designed because it is in a relatively safe part of the bands of stars that allows for the greatest level of discovery.
  8. Symbiosis – Symbiosis is defined as “interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.” Unrelated biological systems that cannot exist independently are best explained by a master Designer, who planned their advantageous interactions.
  9. The Moral Argument – While not a specific piece of evidence, the argument that there are ultimate moral laws necessitates a moral law giver. Again, naturalistic worldviews cannot account for universal, immaterial, and invariant moral laws.

This list is not comprehensive, but it is a good start when studiously researching the evidence for the existence of God.

I mentioned earlier that most atheists demand a level of evidence for God on par with 2+2=4 or the repeatable boiling point of water. This demand is absurd, because it does it is a category error.

God is by definition beyond nature, so demanding a natural evidence for a supernatural event/entity does not make sense. As an example of this, a miracle was recorded in the Bible where Jesus changed water into wine. Jesus did not use a law of nature or mathematical formula to perform this miracle. It is by definition supernatural and does not produce evidence that can be repeated or the process described step-by-step. It’s very much like the character in a video game who demands that the video game designer bring himself into the video game to prove his existence.

So, if your limited worldview has barriers that ignore/suppress/disallow the supernatural, no evidence will ever be good enough.

To know the Creator, you must admit and repent of your rebellion against Him. He is faithful to forgive and only faith in his Son can bring the mercy and peace that we all need.

Advertisements

Suppress the Truth at Your Own Peril

I’ve listened to Shermer debate several different Christians, and his debate style has grown tiresome.
In this debate, Shermer declared victory in the opening paragraph and spent the rest of his time “killing” straw men, showcasing red-herrings, and refusing to provide justification for his assertions. It was terribly frustrating to hear Shermer, who failed miserably at defending atheism, declare victory in the closing remarks when Hernandez chose not to join Shermer outside the debate boundaries. His entire argument (as Hernandez correctly pointed out) was “I don’t like God.”
It’s time for Shermer to retire from debate. He was never able to understand the depth of Dr. Hernandez’s transcendental argument. Shermer continued to “argue” against tired classic Christian apologetics, which Dr. Hernandez never employed.
I find similar responses from atheists with whom I interact. They do not understand the depth of their philosophical dilemma, and they resort to scientism (“we have evidence….you don’t”), wild accusations (“stone adulterers and children!”) and vicious circularity.
In many ways, Christians must do better at framing the debate, so that atheists can at least try to tackle the real philosophical problems rather than fighting on the surface. But it’s certain that those outside the church who continue to suppress the truth will bring on themselves the “futile thinking…with foolish darkened hearts.” (Romans 1)…and thus never be able to understand the freedom of Truth (John 8:32).
It comes down to authority. The atheist chooses dirt (material) as the eternal authority. The follower of Jesus chooses the revealed Creator (and his Word) as his authority.

Goodness Gracious!

God is good. We can see this from several texts in the Psalms and in the gospel of Mark.

jesus-christ-good-shepherd-religion-161289.png

Psalm 119:68 You are good and do good

Psalm 135:3 Praise the LORD, for He is good

Mark 10:17-18 A man ran up and asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’

While this list is not comprehensive, we get a picture that one of the characteristics of God and the way that he acts is his Goodness. The English word from these passages that has been translated to be “good” is the Hebrew transliteration: towb.

This same word is used in Genesis 1 as God describes his new creation. After the first, third, the fourth, and the fifth days, God describes his creation as ‘towb’ or good. Genesis 1:29-31 says, “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it- I give every green plant for food. And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning the sixth day.” In fact, since God called his creation “good” twice on days 3 and 6, there is a total of seven “good” descriptors of his creation. As seven is seen throughout scripture as the perfect number, God is bringing extra emphasis on the goodness of his creation. Creation wasn’t just “good” in a trivial sense, it was made to reflect God’s goodness and glory (Psalm 19:1).

We know that later on in chapter 3 of Genesis, it describes Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God’s one command. Sin caused pain, thorns, and death to pervert God’s “very good” creation. Romans 8 confirms this when it says, “creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole of creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

Sin perverted God’s “very good” creation. And God revealed that the curse of sin included death, pain, thorns, and creation being in bondage to decay.

When archaeologists dig down into the layers of earth, what do they find? Fossils of billions of dead things. Fossils of dinosaurs and other animals that had terrible diseases like cancer are found. Some fossils show teeth marks of predators in layers that evolutionists date as having been buried millions and millions of years before mankind walked the earth. Even fossilized thorns have been found in layers that evolutionists date as being 400 million years old.

sharp_thorns

But there are Christian teachers out there, who are trying to harmonize clear teaching of scripture with billions of years of bloodshed, suffering, and death. Is this what the Psalmist would relay as a character quality of the Almighty? But that’s exactly what Hugh Ross,  the Rossians, and John Walton would have us believe. To make this work, they have to re-define the Hebrew word “towb” to mean potential or ordered.

It is no small thing to attribute billions of years of cancer, bloodshed, pain, and death with the perfect character of the Almighty. Yet, when Walton and Ross redefine the same word “towb”, which is used to describe God’s character, as inclusive of death, one has to question their understanding of scripture.

Lastly, Isaiah 11:6-9 describes a time when God will restore his perfect creation. God revealed to Isaiah that there will come a time when predatory behavior, harm, and destruction will be a thing of the past. But Ross and Walton would say that predatory behavior, harmfulness, and destruction was a part of creation prior to Adam’s sin. Their interpretation of scripture has serious problems that affect the gospel. If death and destruction and harm were part of God’s very good creation, then why did Jesus have to die a horrific physical death on the cross? Romans 8:21 “Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay.”

Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

We can trust the Good God Almighty about what he has revealed about the past, and we can trust him about the good He plans for the future. Praise Him!!!

Christians = Terrorists

Sadly, the church in America has gotten a little too cozy with the government of the USA. There’s too much “rah-rah; kick ’em in the jaw!” when it comes to bombing Muslim extremists or assassinating Bin Laden. The church has been fine supporting and giving more power to the government.

What will happen if when the government adds Christians to the terrorist bucket?

It has only begun.

Now, the SPLC is not the government, but the government has been using the SPLC’s lists of hate groups to build their strategies. The SPLC even added Dr. Ben Carson to their extremist list back in 2015. There is a strong desire by those in power and those with “the microphone” to marginalize Jesus and his Word.

All of that to say that being an outspoken disciple of Jesus is becoming and will become more unpopular. All the more reason for us as Christians to stay grounded in the Word because our hope and our citizenship is not in this world (Phil 3:20.) Since we recognize Jesus as King, we must continually be reminded that our King’s kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). The kingdoms of this world have fallen and will continue to fall, but Jesus’ kingdom is an eternal kingdom, and it is for this kingdom that we should endeavor to serve. There is a battle, but our enemy is not abortion or liberalism or agendas or the Gaystapo. Those seem like ripe targets as Christians, and I’ve struggled with battling those physical targets. Ephesians 6:

For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

So let yourself be filled with righteousness, truth, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Word of God.

Remember that history is written by the victors and we know that the victory has already been won. So, it will be unpopular and it will get tougher to be a disciple of Jesus, but that should not dissuade us from being lights in a dark world.

 

UPDATE: Now the courts are making it a standard practice to punish those who express quiet thanks to God in a public place.

If You Want to Defame the Bible…

…at least do it properly. Do a little research, and then shoot your best shot. Christianity has survived 2000 years of constant attack and persecution.

Meme-DefameBible

At least a dozen “science” reporting outlets falsely reported that the Bible got history wrong. If they had just done a few minutes of research by actually reading what the Bible said, they would see that forensic science is only JUST NOW catching up with divine revelation.

Here’s one of the headlines:

“The Bible was WRONG: Civilisation God ordered to be KILLED still live and kicking”

Sadly, God’s people were duped (Joshua 9) and flat out disobeyed in several other circumstances (Judges 1) to allow the Canaanites to live among them. The findings of this forensic research doesn’t conflict with the Bible…it confirms scripture!

Finding Canaanite DNA in living people is exactly what one would expect to find, because that is how the Bible reported it.

We can trust God’s divine revelation about history, and we can trust him with the forgiveness of sins. Jesus fulfilled the scriptures by taking on the punishment of sin and defeating death. It is his great love that leads us to repentance.

Dear Justin

Dear Justin,

My little younger brother pointed me to your show a couple of years ago, and I’ve been listening ever since. I really appreciate the friendly format of the show. Every guest is treated with sincerity and the “debates” are free from personal attacks. Thanks for putting on a great show.

So, I just listened to your latest Unbelievable podcast with Phil Copan. He handled a tough position of answering critical questions with dexterity. It did seem however that the atheist caller, Andrew, got the best of Phil when Phil was unable to answer the major flaw of old earthism. We could all hear the relief in Andrew’s voice when he knew he would not have to contend with a Christian who consistently and faithfully interpreted the Bible. When Andrew pointed out that since Phil believes in billions of years that there would have to have been terrible suffering and destruction prior to the sin of mankind, Phil could only deflect the question. His defense was to say that the atheist was in no position to judge evil, and this is true: atheism cannot account for evil in their worldview. But as a Christian, he did not present a positive and compelling case for believing that the suffering and bloodshed was a beautiful part of God’s “Very good” creation. His only defense was a very poetic passage in Psalm 104, that he mistakenly believes was part of the pre-fall world. A proper exegesis would show that this passage poetically deals with both creation, flood, and post-flood times.

As I have listened to your show, almost every Christian guest that you have capitulates to the atheist’s origins story of billions of years. But there is no reason to give up Biblical authority to accommodate the atheist’s origins story. Biblical authority is at stake here.

Here is a short list of contradictions that are introduced into biblical interpretations when one accepts the atheist’s origins story of billions of years:

  • Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The earth was not formed billions of years after the beginning.
  • Genesis 1:29-30 “everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food.” Animals were created as vegetarian. No predatory behavior until after the fall.
  • Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Because of God, we recognize goodness, and death/suffering/bloodshed is not part of this goodness. God chose to represent the death of his Beloved for thousands of years by having his people sacrifice an animal. But if animals had been callously dying for billions of years, why would the Almighty symbolize the cruel death of his son with something as common as animal death?
  • Genesis 3:18 “It (the ground) will produce thorns and thistles for you” If thorns are a result of the fall of mankind, why are there fossilized thorns that evolutionists claim are millions of years old?
  • Genesis 3:20 “Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all the living.” Phil and other old earthers disregard this passage by claiming that Adam and Eve could have been a representative couple within a large clan of hominids. All of humanity has to be a descendant of Adam and Eve for these Biblical passages like Gen 3:20 and Romans 5 to make sense theologically.
  • Genesis 6-9 Global flood. There is so much here that gets missed when old earthers disregard scripture to preach a local flood.
  • Exodus 20:9,11 “Six days you shall labor and do your work…For in 6 days the LORD made the heavens and the earth” It wasn’t billions of years or eras.
  • Isaiah 66:25 “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox…they will neither harm nor destroy” This passage is pretty clear that predatory behavior is harmful/destructive and is not part of God’s intention.
  • Mark 10:6 “At the beginning of creation God made them male and female.” Jesus was teaching that mankind was created at the beginning of creation and not billions of years after the beginning…or must you question whether the Creator knows about modern cosmology?

There are many more biblical reasons to reject old earthism and there are just as many scientific reasons to reject it as well.

It would be nice to hear Christians defend God’s word without having to capitulate to the atheist’s primary tool for hammering at Christian foundations…the Word of God. And it is a shame that some Christians have rationalized the marginalization of scripture to accommodate modern political correctness in science, culture, and relationships.

We can trust God’s revelation about the past; therefore He is trustworthy about the future! Praise the Creator!!!

The Enemy Within – Part 2

In today’s Christian culture, things labelled as Christian are allowed almost complete free-reign within the walls of Christendom. Christian music, Christian singles websites…attach Christ to it or stick a Christian fish on it, and Shah-bang! It’s acceptable to the millions of people, who identify themselves as Christians…with hardly a challenge. In an effort to engage the Christian culture through printed media, the periodical, Christianity Today writes articles about religion and other contemporary issues.

In The Enemy Within, Part 1, an analogy was crafted using Homer’s epic poem, The Illiad. The Greeks brought down the mighty city of Troy without massive siege-works or modern explosives. Instead, they used Guile, Deception, and Temptation.

Today’s modern Trojans, the protestant Christian church, has been fighting off attacks for centuries. A new tactic emerged in the 1800’s to replace God’s involvement in Creation through a “scientific” cause…evolution. And until recently, this tactic was wielded only at the hands of atheists. Although the mighty Trojan wall, God’s Word, has repelled the direct attack in a head-on fashion from the interior of protestant Christendom, the plot of evolution has recently been courted by those claiming to be have the interests of Christianity at heart.

Christianity Today’s article, The Search For the Historical Adam, is a prime example of the Trojan Horse at the gates. As soon as the solid wall of God’s Word can be marginalized through the deception of evolution, the final destruction on the effectiveness of the church can begin from within.

There are guardians on this wall. Those, who feel it is their duty to preserve God’s Word with valiant efforts. Answers In Genesis, Creation Ministry International, the Institute For Creation Research, and a hundred others are fighting the likes of Francis Collins and Reasons to Believe, who choose to rationalize the Bible by claiming it to be mythology. It is truly beyond the pale to hear these modern Greek warriors in their veil of scientific credentialism, their Trojan Horse, wield the enemy’s weapon, evolution, as if it were something that the church should embrace. And why did Christianity Today fail to interview even one of the guardians in their “unbiased” article? Only those within the Trojan Horse were interviewed for their contribution to the battle.

Scanning the websites of the guardians, it is easy to see that there is plenty of scientific evidence and scriptural evidence to deflect the flaming arrows of the enemy. But we on the inside of the walls must not yield to the pressure of desiring cultural acceptance, and we must continue to trust God’s Word as true.

Let’s not end this prolonged war the way the Trojans did by opening the gates willingly to the enemy. We must recognize the attack for what it is and stand firm on God’s Word.