Monday, August 13, 2012

The Missing God

I didn't used to like reading, but now I do. I read. I read the Bible, blogs, books, and many other things. I read about science. I read about atheism, naturalism, Darwinism, and it seems like a lot of other "isms". One of the titles that often appear when one reads on such things is something like, "The God Delusion" or, "Is God Necessary", or "No God Needed".

Now it may be obvious, but I am interested in the debate about God's existence. There was a time when I feared listening to what atheists had to say. I'm a Christian, and I was born again without high-flying intellectual arguments to support what I knew God was doing in my life. Later, when I caught wind of some of the things atheists would say, I was confident that they were wrong, but I frankly didn't know how to answer them. One day, however, I took a dive into the deep end and listened to what leading atheists were really arguing. Boy, I was relieved!

I didn't have answers for everything I heard, but I had enough. What I've come to find out, almost as a rule, is that if you listen to an atheist's arguments for long enough, they will give you the answer themselves. And, if you listen to various top atheists, you will learn something else; they cannot agree on how to argue against the existence of God. Where one concedes one argument, another concedes yet another, and like dominoes, before you know it, they're all lying flat. Eventually the vitriol bubbles over and, consequently, the often heard quip that, "if atheists don't believe in God, why do they hate Him so much?" Before his conversion, C.S. Lewis, if I remember correctly, was quite put off by the idea that there should be a God in the universe, but was equally angry at God for not existing.

So with that quite long introduction to what I'd really like to talk about (being my first post it's also a bit of an overall introduction to the blog as well), let me attempt to deal with one argument that comes up often, the missing God. Atheists are pretty confident in their assertions that, if God existed, certainly He would want people to know it and do something extraordinary to prove Himself. This argument is often couched in a more subtle form, I think, when atheists say simply that there just isn't any evidence for God. But clearly the position is one and the same. They want some form of tangible evidence for God like we have for air, gravity, or magnetic forces.

This position has many weak points. Firstly, it should just be pointed out that perhaps, for reasons we cannot understand, God does not want to make Himself known in any more clear terms than a Book, the Holy Spirit, and Christians sharing their testimony. To take the position that He must want to make Himself known unmistakably by some sign or signs is not supportable. It is simply guesswork to say, "I don't believe in God because if He did exist He would make it plain to me or everyone." How could this be known if God didn't want it known? It seems a pretty haughty position to say that God doesn't exist because I know what He'd do if He did. Either way, haughty or not, it simply has no legs to stand on. But I'll get back to this.

Further, there are many things that we accept as true, and scientific even, that we do not have direct tangible evidence for. I've already mentioned gravity and magnetic forces. We believe in them because of their effects, not because we can observe them directly. And if the universe was created by God, then everything! is an indirect measurement of, and evidence for, GOD! So saying that God would make Himself more plain or that we'd have more evidence if He existed has to presuppose the nonexistence of God. Needless to say, presupposing the nonexistence of God isn't an argument against His existence at all.

Now these are a couple of reasons I've had for some time that show this particular position fails. But I write about it now because I had a thought this morning, while reading something an atheist said no-less, about what the Scriptures say on this matter. I'd bet that most atheists are familiar with this part of the Bible narrative as well, as it sits at the very root of our human nature and sin. I'll quote the portion below.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Genesis 3:1~10

Now, back to my first point about not knowing what God would do in order to make Himself known. If you take note of the italicized in the quoted text, you see that God was not present with Adam and Eve. He was not there before, during, or immediately after they sinned (they had time to sew fig leaves and then also hide). This is very significant. This tells us that God is not unwilling to be left open to the charge of not being present! There was a time, even BEFORE Adam and Eve sinned and created a barrier between themselves and God (Isaiah 59:1,2), that God was not present and deemed it necessary to leave Adam and Eve to themselves. It also shows that the argument that God would certainly do more to prove His existence is false!

There are other implications of this fact of the Bible narrative as well, but for this discussion, and the integral atheist, it shows that one of the common arguments against God's existence needs to be judged as the serpent was; without legs.


  1. Another common argument from the 'intellectuals':
    Why does God allow evil and suffering in the world?

    God gave us free will, plain and simple.

    We create the evils and suffering in the world, not God.

    I often find atheists are unfamiliar with the very subject they deny, religion. How can you reject / object to something you know nothing about?

    1. Thanks again, Jason.

      Many atheist arguments are actually not bad . . . if they'd realize that those arguments are only good against a caricature of Christianity and not the actual thing; the "one" believed on the ground, you know, by actual Christians. LOL

      They do a commendable job of discrediting all the other things we don't believe, however. I'd like to thank them but doubt they will be very accepting.

  2. "Before his conversion, C.S. Lewis, if I remember correctly, was quite put off by the idea that there should be a God in the universe, but was equally angry at God for not existing."

    Of course, the idea that "God is in the universe" cannot be squared with Christianity, or with any other coherent conception of 'God'.

    The things that are "in the universe" are effects ... and God is not, cannot be, an effect.

  3. Good point, but how do you articulate that in view of Jesus' coming to earth, and also His indwelling through the Holy Spirit. Wouldn't one say that God, though not contingent upon the existence of the universe (or anything), exists both within and without?

    And, do you recall how C.S. put it? Did he say "behind" the universe, perhaps? There is a quote on a YouTube video somewhere. I'll try to look it up later.