Big Questions of Life: Is There a God?
Logical Verses Relational
0 + 0 = 0
0 x 0 = 0
The purest of all sciences, math, tells me that nothing comes from nothing.
Therefore, for something to be, there must have always been something that was.
The universe is. Therefore, it cannot, logically, have come from nothing.
What, then, is the something it came from?
It cannot be of this universe, for that is a contradiction. A material thing cannot pre-exist itself.
Also, the universe cannot be eternal, for evidence is everywhere that it had a beginning and is getting older, winding down like a mechanical clock (in response to this very truth the big-bang theory was thought up). Implying, then, that there was a time it was fully wound up and new.
But what existed before the universe’s beginning? Before it arrived in all its newness?
Was it a mind (thinking) or matter (non-thinking), not of this universe?
Mind or Matter
From where do you think the universe and life originated?
The universe encompasses incredible complexity and all the hallmarks of, what appears to be, intelligent arrangement.
Therefore what pre-existed the universe cannot have been matter.
Whose is this Mind?
What are some of the things I can deduce regarding a creative mind who dwells beyond this material abode and who is able to produce such a place as this universe?
Beyond the obviousness that they are immensely powerful and able to order things on a magnitude I cannot fathom, can I deduce much else?
Such a being is definitely beyond me, their thoughts not my thoughts, their ways not my ways. After all, they are not of this universe.
That being so, I might also conclude this being(s) is above me (as any inventor is above the invented); my very existence the result of their knowledge, ability and will, completely outside anything I could do for myself.
However, thinking more deeply, what else could I deduce?
Although they are not of this universe, they authored it; it would seem logical then that something of their being could be seen within it.
They love beauty (for it surrounds me), and they have given me the ability to appreciate it too; they have purpose (it too is seen in all life; I and all mankind are very purposeful beings by-and-large); Also, I, my body, mind and soul, are a product of their ability and will, and therefore —possibly— even a [dim] reflection of themselves... but let me not race ahead.
- Moore Perspective: The Most Powerful Argument Against God?
Do “bad things” necessarily disprove the existence of a supreme causal entity beyond our universe?
Why areThere Bad Things in the Creation?
What of the "bad" things of this universe, what can I deduce from them? (Remembering the maker(s) also gave me an appreciation of what is good as opposed to bad.)
After all, the cosmos is winding down; dying. The world is a violent place. I hurt. Bad things happen and people and other creatures suffer horribly, everything eventually dying. Why?
Why would such a powerful being of such ability and supreme will, allow this?
Having asked that, I must also ask: why wouldn’t they? And also, does the fact that ‘bad happens’ take away from what has already been considered. That is: does my incomprehension, my questions of why, my accusations and rants of unfairness really have any bearing on the existence of a being beyond my universe ...is my ignorance so powerful that I can justify using it to banish the maker(s) as if they never existed?
I observe these bad things, I wonder why, but is it logical to conclude that ‘bad things’ existing denote that a maker does not?
Is it possible that there is a problem in this universe I have difficulty perceiving? Maybe I am the problem, or part of it? Maybe there is a reason for the ‘bad’ in this universe that has its roots outside this universe...
Maybe there is a purpose to the ‘bad’ that I am not seeing. Maybe the ‘bad’ has a solution I am not looking for, or not willing to accept. Maybe the reason is not my concern.
And then again, maybe there are things I can’t know the reason for... unless I am told... after all, I am only a made being, not an omniscient maker.
Hmm... Is it a feasible suggestion that maybe They have done that very thing... told us... Communicated with this universe? Have they reached through and left an explanation?
Have we been told? Or are we just Here, with no possibility of knowing why?
I have arrived at this point using only what seems logical to me.
But can I go further on such reasoning, or have I hit a wall that requires something more, something different; something deeper maybe?
If there is a maker, as logic (mine at least) seems to suggest, and if the maker has made it possible for me to understand why I am here, as we might hope they have, will that same logic that brought me to this point be enough to determine what they have to say, what they want?
I have my doubts that logic by itself is enough. You see, my logic is limited to what I can induce, deduce and infer from this universe; and is weighted heavily by my experiences. Such a limited view surely makes an imperfect platform from which to determine divine will, for if their dwelling place is unfathomable to me, how much more so their will and purposes. As is written;
Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know?
The divine aside, even the thoughts of my fellow man are a mystery beyond logic in most cases. For example, I can use logic to determine that my wife has performed activities around the house. I see the clean kitchen, the made bed, and the wet shower floor, I can hear the washing machine spin and the music playing. Yet no amount of applied logic can make me sure of what she is thinking, how she feels, what she wants... unless , that is, she communicates her thoughts and feelings to me; writes me a note, whispers in my ear, etc.
But then we have moved from logical explanations, to relational experiences. I then know because she made me know, not because I deduced it.
Maybe, then, the maker is the same. Maybe it is also relationship, and not just logic, through which we can understand God & what he has to say.
If that is the case, then faith is not so much the step taken toward accepting there is a maker, to me that is logic, but rather it is the step taken toward actively seeking to have a relationship with him, to the end that we might know him.
Seeking, Believing, Knowing
This may fly in the face of many who will not believe in God while difficult questions remain unanswered (difficult to them at least); for example: if there is a God, why is there so much suffering in the world.
Ironically, maybe he will only answer if they first believe and seek him.
This is the same rule my wife applies to our relationship
In actively pursuing a relationship with her, I come to understand her world - the why's, what's and How's. I would be a fool to demand she first reveal everything to me before I move toward her.
Relationships, I have come to believe, are the only way to discovering deeper truths. Logic will only get one so far, in any relationship.
The one who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.— The Bible
Where to begin
So, where would one begin in establishing this relationship with the divine?
As creatures without any true sense of who God is, let alone where to find Him, but with a budding appreciation of his awesome power, it makes sense to start from a position of humble petition.
But, as one of the wisest of men once said;
"Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on the earth, so let your words be few..."
I am dumbfounded at times. To speak with the Creator... it goes without saying that we should be humble. It also goes without saying that we need his help if we are to have a relationship with him; for we first need to find him.
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth... he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything; because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else... he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.— The Bible - Acts 17:24-27
A Reader's Digest version of why I am a Christian.
Sadly it is all too easy to insulate ourselves from God (I speak personally, but believe I am not alone). Like autistic children, their world a cocoon of introverted perceptions, so we also can become isolated from the divine; self-secluded and devoid of spirituality. Pretending contentment with the world as we see it -or using our discontent as excuse in rejecting the divine further- we limit our perceptions only to what we can see; yet without higher wisdom we are helpless but to see delusion.
The Maker reaches out, but we pull away like the autistic child that screams when touched by a relatives hand... "He shall not touch me"... and, as relationships design demands, He cannot touch them. Except, maybe, to shake the ground they’re on, their world. Though they will likely interpret that as yet another reason not to believe.
However, a few do accept his touch, even step toward him, hesitant, confused, unsure; and yet knowing. Knowing that here is one who holds the truth; truth to set them free.
For thousands of years faith has been a difficult medicine to swallow, but a natural inclination of all mankind nonetheless. Yet many in our enlightened age are now ridiculing it as a childish notion grounded in superstition; illogical and unscientific.
Oddly, we may believe the universe is endless, we may believe the stars are innumerable, we may believe any number of incredible but "scientific” things (we may even believe that some advanced alien power manufactured us); but a supernatural Being... Bah, superstition!
Yet, something calls to man, beckoning him from somewhere unseen, aching for him to see beyond the veil of his own short-sighted vision; a veil that comes in many devices, even masquerading today in the halo of science.
Click here for Part 2. Relative to Relationships >>
© 2010 Richard Parr