Confession: Atheism good for the soul

I and the rest of Christianity have lived off of the intellectual capital of our past fathers for far too long. The New Atheists have jarred many Christians out of their small faith and spurred them on to attaining a greater faith, one that is grounded enough to envelope evidences and the entire material world. For a while it was, and still is to a great degree, the Bible against the world. The problem was that our definition of the world included all of nature as well. God was against the world he created. God said one thing; the creation said another. The Christians went with God, the atheists and so-called heretics went with creation. But, just because we can discern a distinction between the two, however, doesn’t necessitate a separation. We, as Christians, need to stop thinking with the enlightenment’s “either/or” mentality and start thinking in the “both/and” mentality.  The New Atheists have done a lot to disabuse us of the “either/or”. Thank God for that. It simply cannot be defended. But, there are still many of us who do not get it; so many who are still playing by the materialist’s rules and don’t even know it. So, to all you New Atheists out there, step up your game. Bring the game closer to home. Try to rid us of God. We need more of what you do, so that our spiritual muscles will once again begin to grow.

Reverse Psychology

When the veil of human ignorance is taken away, we find out what has been happening all along: that we only seemed to be the questioners, the teachers, the testers, the judges, the knowing ones acting like scientists looking for God in a test tube. In reality we are the questioned, the tested, the students, the judged, the known ones. When God asks a question he either is the answer or the answer lies within him. That is the nature of God, which man does not have. Truth is not simply around God or known by him, truth is him. This is why when we answer his question, it does not leave us lost, but found. And not only found, but joined to the Truth himself. People who observe the world around us with the intent only to know ourselves better (our origins, our present condition, and our future), are still left with uncertainty, for who knows what new discoveries will confuse the present ones and suffer man to redefine himself once again. If men observe the world and ask the question, “Who is God?” instead of, “Who is man?”, we can obtain certainty. For this reason, belief in God is not religion, it is the discovery of the true nature of reality, for God is reality. Reality based on man is fictional, delusional, a fairy tale: as evidenced by the absence of satisfying truth in man based answers. Questions that originate in man leave us lost at sea. Questions that originate in God set us on dry land.

Choose Your Own Adventure

When we are young we have faith in our parents. We obey them (hopefully) because they love us and they show us how life is, and what it should be. As we get older we put faith in our teachers trusting that they are authorities on Mathematics, Science, English, and so on. Each time we learn, we receive by faith the things they teach us since we have no first-hand knowledge of the things they relate to us. It’s better than making each generation rediscover everything over again. However, there is a time to learn what others teach and a time to gather knowledge ourselves. We begin to have faith in ourselves that we have the capabilities to understand the right ways of life. In the process of attaining knowledge we endeavor to reject faulty knowledge. But, we cannot be 100% certain that the knowledge we acquire is free of corruption since it cannot be independently verified by an outside source. Although some people see evidence of a Creator,  no 3rd party materializes in front of us to provide confirmation or denial of our findings, and these findings are subject to further criticism from every other person looking for answers or just looking to poke holes in other people’s findings. At this point, two types of people can emerge. The first is a person who begins to find the answers of life within himself, picking himself up by his bootstraps, so to speak, creating his own meaning and purpose, reality and truth. He has faith in himself. The other man perceives that his own reason has limitations and is therefore inadequate to get the answers needed. Since he perceives that the human experience is common to all, he looks for answers outside of himself and humanity. He puts faith in a 3rd party in order to confirm or deny his findings.

What is the difference between a man who has faith in himself and his human teachers, and the man who puts his faith in God? Both of them have faith, but the object of their faith is different. What are the outcomes?

The man who puts faith in himself eventually becomes selfish. This does not mean he only thinks of himself, but rather that all of his charitable and self-serving acts come from values formed from his own authority. His self and others like him are the highest forms of life he can find. He creates his own meaning, his own reality, his own purpose, and his own morality. Essentially he is his own property. He can do with himself what he wants. The obstacles to this, however, are others and laws of society. He respects others because it is reasonable, but he may decide that it is not reasonable if he so wishes. As his self grows in value, he can reason anything he wants. He eventually does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone it was for a good reason even if society does not agree. If he commits suicide he is only hurting himself and it is just fine because he is his own property. If he hurts others it can be justified. Reasons exist to respect other’s “property”, but reasons also exist that justify the disrespect of other’s “property”. The choice is his. He is the judge and jury. He could be the most moral person or the least moral person. Most everyone will not take it this far. They adopt this philosophy in moderation. Herein lies temporary harmony with the rest of men. However, this philosophy taken to the end of itself can lead to the destruction of self and others and it’s perfectly reasonable.

The man who puts his faith in God eventually becomes selfless. This does not mean he never thinks of himself, but rather that all of this charitable and self-serving acts are derived from values given by his Maker. God is the highest form of life he can find. In understanding God’s identity, he realizes his own identity, and derives from God his meaning, reality, purpose, and morality. Essentially, he is God’s property. He can do with himself what he wants, but he gives his self away to the Self of God. In this act, a new identity emerges that naturally follows the character of God. He respects others because they are God’s property, and we are all tenants, so to speak. He does not need society to decide what is right and wrong for him to do. If he kills someone he goes against God’s character. If he commits suicide he is destroying God’s property. If he justifies hurting others, he must ignore God’s laws. Reasons exist to respect God’s property. Reasons not to respect God’s property are products of a corrupt mind. The choice is still the man’s choice, but God is the judge and jury. The man’s degree of morality is dependent upon his conformity to the character of God. Most everyone will not take this as far as it will go. We don’t like to give up our selves completely. We adopt this philosophy in moderation. However, herein lies contention with men, God, and self. This philosophy taken to its end can diminish the self and the lead to a new identity created by God.

Now the paths are laid out before you. Which path will you choose?

 

(Picture created by Luke.)

God Created Evil!

(Isa 45:7)  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Definition of Evil: The perversion or corruption of good.

I acknowledge that God creates evil, as he says in Isaiah 45:7. However, to create evil, good is created first. If God had stopped at creating good, evil would not have come to fruition. Only good would have existed. Up until that point, creation had no choice in what it did. But, the moment he gave man choice, evil was created. That does not mean that anything in the world had been corrupted, it meant that the choice was man’s to make. God created evil, more specifically the capacity for evil, when he created good and gave man the ability to corrupt it, deviate from it, destroy it, or pervert it.


A Changing God

I do not necessarily believe the following:

When did God decide that he would send His Son to die for our sins? The Bible says he was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20) It would seem that God decided this before man took of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But maybe not. Which world was God talking about? Some people claim there are two worlds mentioned in the Bible, an old world and a new world. 2 Peter 2:5 mentions an old world. This old world was the world before the flood. The new world was the world after the flood. Psalm 24:1-2 says this new world was established on the floods.

So here’s how his works:

  1. God had one plan for creation from the beginning.
  2. Adam sinned.
  3. Man became depraved.
  4. God saw his plan was not working anymore.
  5. God sent the flood to destroy everything making a new world.
  6. God started over with a new plan. (Jesus dying for our sins)

However, the earth may have been established on the floods from the beginning of creation as suggested by this video that discusses the hydroplate theory:

So… what’s the point of believing there are two worlds?

Maybe God didn’t know that man was going to sin. And God didn’t necessarily put the tree of knowledge of good and evil there to give man a choice. I’m sure that was part of it, but God may have intended for man to eventually eat of the fruit once he had matured. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was not inherently wrong. The tree didn’t bring death. Man’s actions did. Death came by sin. This may be illustrated by the following story of a little girl riding in a car with her father. She asks, “What is sex daddy?” Her father said nothing but continued the journey and eventually parked the car. He got out and asked his daughter to carry his briefcase. She pulled the briefcase out of the car and it fell heavily to the ground. She tried to pick it up but could not do so. As he watched this struggle her father replied, “Some things are too much for you to handle at this age. Just like this briefcase some subjects you will not be able to carry correctly till you mature.”

So, God may have intended for us to eat of the tree of knowledge at a certain time in the future.

Conversely, the tree of life was supposed to make man live forever. Both trees were in the midst of the garden. The principle follows that when I would do good, evil is present with me. If Adam was to choose the tree of life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil was there as well. This leads me to believe that Adam had not eaten of the tree of life because man obviously does not live forever. Gen 3:22 further relates that man should not be allowed to eat of the tree of life because then he would live forever in sin. The power of life was apparently more potent than death. However, the ban might have eventually been lifted on the tree of knowledge once man had matured.

I said all this to say that God may have waited to see what man would do before he decided to send his son to die for us. But does this mean he didn’t know what man was going to do? This thought seems to violate a natural attribute of God: Omniscience (all-knowing). So… God doesn’t know the future? What am I saying?

God gave man freewill, the ability to choose. Man is the wild card of creation choosing this or that at whim. However, God does know your thoughts before you think them as evidenced in Psalms 139. Could not God have known what Adam was going to think and know he was going to sin? But if this is true, then God provided the tree planning that man would sin and accordingly, Jesus was the lamb slain from the foundation of the “old world.”

What if it is true that God had one plan for the old world and a replacement plan for the new world. Does God change like that? Does he know the future or choose not to know? The Bible has a few stories where God changes his mind.

  1. God was going to destroy the Israelites and Moses stopped him. (Exodus 32:9-14)
  2. God was going to destroy the city of Nineveh but changed his mind after they repented. (The Book of Jonah)
  3. God divorced Israel and said he would take them back if they repented. Jeremiah 3:8-11
  4. God changes people from the outside in (Old Testament), God changes people from the inside out (New Testament)

It would seem that God’s mind can be changed by the will of man. Let me stress before we go any further that God’s character doesn’t change but his actions can be changed. I don’t know how that works if God knows the future though. It may be that this is just the way that God likes to do things: i. e. Wait and see what man is going to do.

So here are my questions to the reader:

  1. Did God change plans?
  2. If God changed plans, what was his first plan?
  3. Are there really two worlds?
  4. What do you think about the Hydroplate Theory?
  5. Does this really affect our lives?

What in the Universe is “Ex Nihilo”

 larson1

“The Bible teaches that the universe had a beginning. It does not teach that this beginning was recent. That is a mistaken inference based on adding up the life spans of various Old Testament figures. But the Old Testament genealogies do not purport to record every generation, and in any case, such a reckoning would take us back only as far as the creation of life on earth, not to the very origin of the universe.”

-William Craig Lane

Science, however, does support the Bible’s conclusion that the universe was created, just not in the way that most Christians think. In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered through his observations of light in the universe that the universe is growing apart. Not only was the universe expanding, but it was expanding the same in all directions. To illustrate this, imagine a balloon with buttons covering every square inch of it. As air is blown inside, the buttons get farther and farther apart.

MF_thagomizer

The implication of this expansion is what brings us to the same conclusion as the Bible. Basically, if one were to travel backward in time, he would witness the universe returning to the point of origin. It would shrink in size until, at some finite point in the past, it reached a point of infinite density from which the universe began to expand. This point becomes known as the “singularity”.

“At this singularity, space and time come into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation out of nothing.”

– John Barrow and Frank Tipler

There can be no natural cause of the outward expansion for nothing existed before the singularity. Thus, there is an apparent supernatural cause of the universe. The Bible is clear that the universe was created, it just does not specify when.

GaryLarsonMicrocopeMammoth-full;init_

My thoughts:

I, being from an Independent Fundamental Baptist background, was taught that the earth was only six thousand years old. The basic reasoning mainly came from the genealogies of the Old Testament. I never questioned this until a few years ago. My pastor said, recently, that he believes the earth to be around ten thousand years old. I don’t know his reasoning, but it did take me by surprise. He’ll have to explain himself at some point. I only assume that is what he was taught from whatever seminary he went to. Some account for the age of the universe by adding evolution into he process, evolution being the chief way in which God created life. I’d like to think I did not come from amoebas.

 farsideme0

If the time calculations are true, and the universe did begin some billions of years ago, it still has no relevance as to when God created life on earth. God, existing outside of time, could have chosen any point in time to come upon a planet that was “without form and void” and create life there. He is not bound by time constraints.

Science and the Bible are not enemies as some claim.

far-side-hcl