And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
God has never removed the need for faith, and faith by definition is coming to a conclusion that is one step beyond what we can prove. Any researcher knows the moment when we have amassed all of the data we can find on any subject and then must make a commitment where this evidence is pointing before we can proceed further. And this is the way it is with faith in God – we come to the end of all the light we have and must take one more step.
We cannot believe in God until He calls us personally, which He does by His Spirit and through His word and gospel. The personal call is an invitation for us to draw near to Him, and though I am discussing general knowledge of God, or general revelation, He makes personal calls to our hearts, and these personal calls are essential for our salvation.
As I have personally examined the data available surrounding the existence of the earth and the universe – considering not only scientific research but also philosophy and literature and the arts – I have come to the conclusion that the most logical assumption to make is the biblical position that there is a God, that He created the universe, and that, even further, He created human life perfect and we have gone astray, as a race. Often research or apologetics or defending the faith relies mostly, if not solely, on scientific, historical, and archeological evidence, and argues from those vantage points. And I believe that is a valid approach to consider the existence of God and the resurrection of Christ. Yet they are not the only ways – my undergrad studies were in literature and the humanities and there are also logic and arguments put forth from the perspective of literature, from the way people tell stories universally, that support the concept of the existence of God.
In examining evolutionary theory, for example, there are many missing factors for proving the theory and that though there is some impressive research, it all still falls short of validating for my satisfaction proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a Creator no longer is necessary. In fact, for me, it does just the opposite. The primary observable fact that evolution has never gotten beyond is that in this universe things go irreversibly from organized to disorganized – that there is a principle of decay in the essential make up of the universe. Though evolutionists have sought to explain their way around this in numerous ways, their efforts all fall short, in my opinion. The usual method is to place the operation of this principle at some majestic level, as though the principle of decay pops up from time to time but does not constantly operate. And to me this is a violation of the laws of physics. So from all of the information that I know regarding the scientific effort to explain the existence of life without God, I remain unconvinced that they have done so.
A PhD and researcher from Ohio State University, Guillermo Gonzales, along with Jay Richards, wrote The Privileged Planet in 2004, which gives a scientific case for creation. And Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee wrote Rare Earth in 2000, also giving scientific credibility for the existence of a Creator. You can actually find a video summarizing their concerns on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFaSBEXum5g
From all I know about science and from what I have studied and read, the evidence pushes me into a corner where I have to logically decide whether there is enough scientific evidence to say that the universe and life on earth just happened. And I have come to the Theistic persuasion that logically, I have to put my faith in the existence of a Creator, a Spirit who stands outside the physical system itself and is powerful and intelligent and has brought the created order into existence.
From my education in the humanities I am also persuaded from what I have learned and considered from that field as well that there is a Creator. No amount of explanations from an atheistic perspective has satisfied my own evaluation of the human soul – that we are merely the result of random evolution. That explanation does not satisfy me personally, that there is beauty and symmetry in the world and that I recognize it says to me that there is something else that exists within my heart and mind and psychic make-up – something that is not explainable in chemistry and biology alone. I recognize something profound in human life, something that sets us apart from animals.
If I see a beautiful sunset or majestic mountains or the beauty of the ocean, it touches me within. An evolutionist would try to explain that away based on some notion that it is merely a vestige of emotion from when my ancestors howled at the moon. But I think it is more profound than that and am only satisfied with the idea that there is a Creator who made me and cares about me. That we can recognize beauty and love and purity, that we humans have a conscience and noble aspirations – to me those point also to a Creator.
So to me the most profound thought imaginable is that the Creator has done something from His part to redeem us and reconcile us with Himself. I have not discussed the proofs of the resurrection of Christ – the eye witnesses, and existence of the church, etc – perhaps next posting. But John 3:16 makes perfect sense to me, that God, out of His love, sent Christ into the world that all who believe might have eternal life.
I am as troubled as the next person by some of the ways that some of my fellow Christians present their arguments for God and creation. I wish there was more graciousness and humility coming from some, and less dogma on subjects where God has not spoken and more kindness toward opponents. Personally I hold to the position of the appearance of age in the universe, which simply means that in terms of when that we leave the whole mystery of the origins in the hands of God. So I have no problem when someone speaks of the universe’s age in terms of billions of years.
I am a fan of A.W. Tozer, who wrote some great devotional books, many of which are now online. I recommend you read chapter 6 in The Pursuit of God, online at: http://www.theboc.com/freestuff/awtozer/books/the_pursuit_of_god/the_speaking_voice.html