Is There a God?

Article by Sinclair Ferguson (original source here)

Answer the question “Is there a God?” in around 775 words? Is this perhaps the easiest assignment Tabletalk has ever commissioned, since the answer is so clear? There are no consistent atheists, only people hiding from God. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). God is the inescapable given who undergirds all things.

Or, is this the hardest assignment Tabletalk has ever commissioned? A comprehensive answer might fill an entire library. What follows, then, is only a stray fragment from one chapter in a book in that library.

➝ 1 God the Creator is the only solution to Gottfried Leibniz’s and Martin Heidegger’s ultimate riddle: “Why is there something there, and not nothing?”

Ex nihilo nihil fit—“Nothing comes from nothing.” Let us note that nothing is not a “pre-something”; it is not “something reduced to a minimum.” Nothing is NO thing, no THING. Nothing—a concept impossible for the mind to comprehend precisely because nothing lacks “reality” in the first place. To transform Rene Descartes’; famous dictum Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) we can say, Quod cogito, non cogito de nihilo (Because I am, I cannot conceive of nothing).

That leads to another Descartes-esque thought: Quod cogito, ergo non possibile Deus non est (Because I think, therefore it is impossible that God does not exist). The cosmos, my existence, and my ability to reason all depend on the fact that life did not and could not come from nothing, but requires a reasonable and reasoning origin. The contrary (time + chance = reality) is impossible. Neither time nor chance is a pre-cosmic phenomenon.

➝ 2 This God must be the biblical God, for two reasons. The first is that only such a God adequately grounds the physical coherence of the cosmos as we know it.

Second, His existence is the only coherent basis, whether acknowledged or otherwise, for rational thought and communication. Consequently, the nonbeliever of necessity must draw on, borrow from, indeed intellectually steal from a biblical foundation in order to think coherently and to live sanely. Thus, the secular humanist who argues that there are no ultimates must borrow from biblical premises in order to assess anything as in itself right or wrong.

I have recently tried a simple but unnerving experiment, directing my mind to think its way into the assumption that there is no God, and then to explore the implications. I strongly discourage performing this mind experiment. It leads inexorably to a dark place, a mental abyss where nothing in life makes sense, indeed, where there is no possibility of ultimate “sense.”

Here, all that we think of as good, true, rational, intelligible, and beautiful has no substructure to give these concepts coherence. Thus, the nature of everything I am and experience becomes radically deconstructed and disconnected from my consciousness of them. That “consciousness” that seems intelligible is then an unjustifiable fabrication of my own imagination. And then that imagination ceases to have coherence in itself.

In essence, then, my highly complex consciousness becomes merely an inexplicable series of intricate chemical reactions grounded in no rationality and having no inherent meaning. “Meaning” itself in any genuinely transcendent sense is itself a meaningless concept.

As experimenters in the pilgrimage of consistent atheism, we will then conclude that it is the “atheists” who are driven to despair, as they yield to the unbearable conclusions of their premises, who are the only consistent atheistic thinkers with the courage of their convictions. Those who calmly claim to be atheists are unmasked as in fact refusing the conclusion of their professed convictions, repressing what they know deep down to be true (that God is)—the very point Paul makes in Romans 1:18–25.

The novelist Martin Amis recounted a question that the Russian writer Yevgeni Yevtushenko asked Sir Kingsley Amis: “Is it true that you are an atheist?” Amis replied, “Yes. But it’s more than that. You see, I hate Him.” Far from being able to deny the existence of God, he confessed both God’s existence and his own antagonism toward Him.

Amis was not alone. Neither a knight of the Realm, nor any of us, can escape being the imago Dei (however mutilated). We can therefore never deny the Deus of whom we are the imago. For God has placed a burden on us: “He has put eternity into a man’s heart” (Eccl. 3:11). As Augustine said, our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Him.

Why then does the Bible not ask the question, “Is there a God?” Because its first sentence answers it: “In the beginning, God… .”

The Atheist Delusion

Having to prove the existence of God to an atheist is like having to prove the existence of the sun, at noon on a clear day. Yet millions are embracing the foolishness of atheism. “The Atheist Delusion” pulls back the curtain and reveals what is going on in the mind of those who deny the obvious. It introduces you to a number of atheists who you will follow as they go where the evidence leads, find a roadblock, and enter into a place of honesty that is rarely seen on film.

From Living Waters, creators of the award-winning TV program “The Way of the Master” and the hit movies “180” and “Evolution vs. God,” comes the powerful film “The Atheist Delusion.” Executive produced by TV co-host and best-selling author Ray Comfort (Hell’s Best Kept Secret, Scientific Facts in the Bible).

Learn more at http://www.AtheistMovie.com

Former Atheists (Quotes)

James Bishop in an article entitled “Former Atheists Speak. 44 Quotes” writes:

Here follows a list of quotes I’ve collected and compiled from over the last two or so years (my digital quote library is bursting at its edges!). There is no particular form that these quotes take, rather each is from the unqiue story of each former atheist. Where possible, I’ve left links that readers can follow to find out more about each conversion testimony, or articles that they’ve authored. The others are predominantly from books that i’ve read.

Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, assistant professor of apologetics at Biola University, Christian case maker and author. He was once a vocal atheist.

“In the end, I came to the conclusion that the gospels were reliable eyewitness accounts that delivered accurate information about Jesus, including His crucifixion and Resurrection. But that created a problem for me. If Jesus really was who He said He was, then Jesus was God Himself. If Jesus truly did what the gospel eyewitnesses recorded, then Jesus is still God Himself. As someone who used to reject anything supernatural, I had to make a decision about my naturalistic presuppositions.“
-Warner Wallace (‘Jesus Is Evidence That God Exists.’)

“If skeptics were willing to give the Gospels the same ‘benefit of the doubt’ they are willing to give other ancient documents, the Gospels would easily pass the test of authorship.”
-Warner Wallace (‘Cold Case Christianity.’)

Frank is a mathematical physicist and cosmologist, holding a joint appointment in the Departments of Mathematics and Physics at Tulane University.

“When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”
-Frank Tipler (‘The Physics Of Immortality.’)

Alister is theologian, scientist, and a priest. He has delivered various lectures and presentations on God, faith, and science.

“Atheism, I began to realize, rested on a less-than-satisfactory evidential basis. The arguments that had once seemed bold, decisive, and conclusive increasingly turned out to be circular, tentative, and uncertain.”
-Alister McGrath (‘Breaking the Science-Atheism Bond.’)

“Christianity offers a worldview that leads to the generation of moral values and ideals that are able to give moral meaning and dignity to our existence.”
-Alister McGrath (‘Christian Quotes: Alister McGrath.’)

Lee was once a self-described militant atheist who worked at the Chicago Tribune. He is now a widely known Christian author, journalist, apologist and pastor, as well as author of the book Case For Christ.

“It was the evidence from science and history that prompted me to abandon my atheism and become a Christian.”
“To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that Christianity could radically transform someone’s character and values. It was much easier to raise doubts and manufacture outrageous objections that to consider the possibility that God actually could trigger a revolutionary turn-around in such a depraved and degenerate life.”
-Lee Strobel (‘Case For Christ: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity.’)

“…the scientific data point powerfully toward the existence of a Creator and that the historical evidence for the resurrection establishes convincingly that Jesus is divine.”
-Lee Strobel (‘Finding the Real Jesus: A Guide for Curious Christians and Skeptical Seekers.’)

Rick Oliver has his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California, Irvine. He is a member of the American Federation of Herpetoculturalists, the California Science Teachers Association, and the New York Academy of Science.

“I remember how frustrated I became when, as a young atheist, I examined specimens under the microscope. I would often walk away and try to convince myself that I was not seeing examples of extraordinary design, but merely the product of some random, unexplained mutations.”
-Rick Oliver (‘Designed to Kill in a Fallen World.’)

William Ramsey (1851 – 1939) was a Scottish archaeologist and New Testament scholar. By his death in 1939 he had become the foremost authority of his day on the history of Asia Minor and a leading scholar in the study of the New Testament.

“Christianity did not originate in a lie; and we can and ought to demonstrate this as well as believe it.”
“Further study . . . showed that the book (Acts) could bear the most minute scrutiny as an authority for the facts of the Aegean world, and that it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement.’”
-Sir William Ramsay (‘The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament.’)

Lewis (1898 – 1963), a former atheist, is one of the most widely read Christian apologetic author today. He is the mind behind the Narnia entertainment series, and some of his most popular Christian writings read widely today are Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters.

“Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.”
-C.S. Lewis (‘Mere Christianity.’)

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”
-C.S. Lewis (‘The Case for Christianity.’)

“A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.”
-C.S. Lewis (‘Surprised by Joy.’)

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918 – 2008) was a Russian writer, and winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in literature. He was pivotal in revealing what life was like in the days of the atheistic communist Soviet Union. He is the mind behind his powerful book Voice from the Gulag.

“Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. (‘Voice from the Gulag.’)

Antony was a world leading atheist philosopher who belonged to the analytic and evidentialist schools of thought. He was known as a strong advocate of atheism, arguing that one should presuppose atheism until empirical evidence of a God surfaces. He also criticised the idea of life after death, the free will defence to the problem of evil, and the meaningfulness of the concept of God. In 2003 he was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto. In 2004 he stated an allegiance to deism, more specifically a belief in the Aristotelian God. He stated that in keeping his lifelong commitment to go where the evidence leads, he now believed in the existence of a god.

“It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”
“I now believe there is a God…I now think it [the evidence] does point to a creative Intelligence almost entirely because of the DNA investigations. What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.”
“…we have all the evidence we need in our immediate experience and that only a deliberate refusal to “look” is responsible for atheism of any variety.”
-Antony Flew (‘There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.’) Continue reading

Is there a God?

the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God.1 On the other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there, he says, “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.”2 Before you look at the facts surrounding God’s existence, ask yourself, If God does exist, would I want to know him? Here then, are some reasons to consider…

1. Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.

Many examples showing God’s design could be given, possibly with no end. But here are a few: Continue reading

Atheism – a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt

HT: Coggin Baptist Church

Ravi Zacharias, regarding the atheistic worldview:

In the field of science when it comes to answering the question of God’s existence—

THERE IS BY NO MEANS A CONSENSUS.

Think about it. If science has definitively disproven the existence of God and the scriptures, then doesn’t it necessarily follow that all reputable scientists be Atheist, or at the very least Agnostic*?

John Polkinghorne is one of the worlds leading quantum physicists and he came to the exact opposite conclusion (as the young man questioning) with the exact same data while being the Dean at Cambridge. The “scientific position” is often portrayed as a united front—An army of the enlightened, ready to pound theism into dust. Do not be deceived. Their unity is a mirage.

David Berlinski, a leading philosopher who has also worked in mathematics and physics, claims to be Agnostic, and borders on Atheism. This excerpt is from His book entitled The Devil’s Delusion (which was written in response to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion), and while he is a scientist, his view on what science, atheism, and naturalism* has offered humanity is stunning.

“Has anyone provided a proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close.

Has quantum cosmology* explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close.

Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close.

Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough.

Has rationalism* in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough.

Has secularism* in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good? Not even close to being close.

Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences? Close enough.

Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational?
Not even ballpark.

Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.”

———————————————————————

* Atheism – system of belief that asserts there is no god. Affirms the only form of existence is the material universe.

* Agnostic – sees any discussion regarding the existence of god as irrelevant because God cannot be proven or disproven. They are neither for, nor against a deity.

* Naturalism – form of atheism that teaches the natural universe is the sum total of reality, which negates human freedom, absolute values, and why we exist.

*Quantum Cosmology – field that attempts to study how the universe came to be.

* Secularism – belief system that denies the existence of God, religion, and supernatural order by maintaining that reality only entails the material world.

Why I am not an atheist

On April 4, 2013 at Princeton University, Dr. Ravi Zacharias taught a remarkably profound and penetrating lecture on the subject, “Why I am not an atheist.” Here is the video:

Here is the question and answers forum that followed the lecture:

Wouldn’t that be something?

“Your priorities are so messed up Ray, I think without religion, world peace could be possible; wouldn’t that be something?” Andrew Molina

They tried world peace without religion through atheistic communism. It resulted in the slaughter of an estimated 110,000,000 people. The North Korean regime is atheistic, and they are a continual threat to world peace, while religious extremists in the Middle East want to blow Israel off the map. The history of humanity is soaked in the blood of those who have been killed in the name of religion and in the name of atheism. So it’s clear that the problem is deeper than atheism or religion. The unexposed root of the problem is sinful human nature that branches out into religion and politics to carry out evil agendas. Human nature is so stubborn, proud, and rebellious that we can hardly agree with each other about anything. I’m sure you would disagree with that. – Ray Comfort

To be an atheist…

To be an atheist one has to be able to say, buy “I know everywhere God could possibly be in the entire universe. I can see all this all at once, erectile and I can absolutely guarantee that He is not there.”

Isn’t it the height of human pride to be able to claim such knowledge?

On the other hand, the Bible claims that God has made His existence clearly known to all people (Romans 1:18-22). Therefore, to be an atheist requires the suppression of revealed truth.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 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. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools…

God does not believe in atheists.