What do you see when you look at the world around you?
I pride myself on appreciating intelligence over emotion. This is not to say that I am not, myself, an emotional person. It means, rather, that I look at many of the problems within today’s world and firmly believe they could be solved if folks would think critically rather than just emoting.
Thus, when presented with the question pertaining to whether or not God exists, I want to be able to point to something other than a fuzzy feeling or personal experience. Therefore, I have to put aside all of the many times upon which I believe myself to be the recipient of tremendous grace and timely providence. Instead, I have to point to those things which are objective rather than subjective.
Even the Hebrews’ writer states that faith is “evidence” or “conviction” of things unseen (cf. Hebrews 11:1). To serve as evidence or to have the ability to convict a person implies that it is not something baseless. In other words, for it to be “faith” it must likewise have a foundation outside of feeling. Indeed, we note that faith comes from testimony. The persecutor-turned-preacher, Paul, notes that “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17 NASB). Ultimately, it is a matter of whether a person chooses to believe the testimony provided.
Elsewhere, Paul states that evidence for God exists in our observation of nature (cf. Romans 1:18ff). Indeed, one can ask how we are even here when one considers how many random “accidents” would otherwise had to have occurred in order to enable life here on the earth. For example, our planet is in that coveted Goldilocks-position in relation to our sun. We are not too far away to receive the sun’s warmth, like Mars, or so close, like Venus, as to wither all vegetation. The placement of Earth in its orbit is just right. When one hears about Higgs boson particles or the Big Bang, he must marvel at the mathematical odds that were against our existence. And, yet, by dismissing the intervention of an all-powerful God, he is essentially saying that which observation tells us is impossible must have occurred in the remote past. Nothing once produced something. Chaos brought about order.
What would it take for you to take that extra step?
Allegedly, people like Einstein, though not believing in a “personal God” could concede that the order and harmony of the universe would seem to suggest something greater at work. Essentially, Einstein said that the universe did not have to be this way. Yet, it is. No, I am not suggesting that Einstein was a deist. However, I believe it indicates that he recognized those “invisible attributes” of God to which Paul alluded. He is on record as stating he believed in Dutch philosopher, Baruch Spinoza’s view of God. When asked by Rabbi Goldstein if he believed in God, Einstein responded, “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.”
That is interesting to me. It is also sad. I say I take for granted that God exists. I do so because it seems to require precious little from me to go from Einstein’s conception of God to my own. It becomes merely a matter of accepting that not only is His presence indicative of the order within the cosmos but that He likewise wishes to impart that same order to my life through His communication with me via His word. I think ultimately the reason why such intelligent people like Einstein cannot see this is because they focus too much on the failures in the system.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, who will forever be on my fecal list for helping demote Pluto from planet status, gives the “classical” atheistic reasoning for his disbelief in a God akin to the Judeo-Christian God. He referenced tragedies and simply stated either that God, as believers define the concept, isn’t good or isn’t all-powerful. He further implies that it is simply a matter of time before science steals from God any place He may have left in the universe. Tyson stated this belief while noting that some believers, in their quest to have “science” and “religion” coexist harmoniously, end up relegating God to a place he terms as “the gaps.” In other words, God is relegated to places where science still has no explanation for events or processes. Tyson says that science just doesn’t have those answers yet. He assumes that eventually science will have an explanation and that the believer in the personal God will be left with egg on his face. (Whether he realizes it or not, that seems to suggest that he, too, embraces the idea of a type of day of reckoning, though, perhaps, in reverse from one believing in God.)
How then do I nonchalantly embrace what the more learned reject?
At this point, I am sure that more than one person would feel compelled to accuse me of falling prey to the type of subjective reasoning I prided myself on rejecting at the outset. In other words, I am sure that some would say that my emotions step in where my intellect stops. My emotion, they say, causes me to interject a God where no God is to be found. He exists because I wish Him to, otherwise I cannot bear existing in this cold, barren universe where all is left up to chance.
I never met Louis Chevrolet, co-founder and namesake of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. Yet, I observe an automobile branded with the name “Chevrolet” today. I even have a 10-year old Chevrolet Malibu. I suppose that my emotion might cause me to color who Louis Chevrolet was. As such, I might interpret him incorrectly. Yet, how could I deny the existence of the one who engineered the first of a long string of automobiles that are on the road today? I do not see a Chevrolet and think that it spontaneously sprung into being. I could not do so even if Chevys were a more simplistic Flintstones-type of car powered by one’s feet. Design demands a designer. Engineering demands an engineer.
In other words, I am saying it becomes a matter, not of book sense, of advanced degrees, but, rather, of what is in pitifully short supply: common sense. Why seek to ignore what nature itself suggests? “I have a Designer.” “I have a Maker.” “I have a Builder.” Though it is not my place to explain, here, why there are those ignoring this testimony, I will briefly say that is has more to do with not liking the content of the testimony that was left by Him who made us.
So, what do you think? Do you take God’s existence for granted? Or do you count yourself among those who cannot be persuaded of His existence?