My Creator: Right and Wrong

Speaking in a TED Talk David Christian, who is the creator (notice the word I used there) of a university course called Big History, says

“Let’s wind the clock back 13.7 billion years ago to the beginning of time. Around us there is nothing. There’s not even time or space. Imagine the darkest emptiest thing you can and that’s where we are. Then suddenly, BAM a universe appears.  An entire universe.”


Really David? We are supposed to believe that absolutely nothing “existed” then all of a sudden an entire universe existed? This is not science, this is faith. It’s funny how Big Bang promoters love to push the science vs religion discussion saying that religion is not scientific. It seems clear that the big bang theory is far more faith based than the creation account.
As a believer in God the creator and a literal 6 day creation I find it remarkable that evolutionists use terms like “we know…” and “this is how it happened…” There is no possible way they could ever know since no one was there to record it.  There were no scientific experiments or tests done at the beginning of time that we can look back to and say, “Ah so that’s how it all started”.  In the end we all come to the same conclusion – my belief is based on faith after examining the evidence around me.

I respect the atheist who says that after examining the evidence as he sees it he has come to the conclusion there is no God but that he cannot prove his faith.  I don’t respect the atheist who says there is absolute proof that God does not exist. That belief is foolish and juvenile.

Let’s be honest Christian, we do not believe in God because there is 100% scientific proof that He exists. There isn’t.  We believe God exists because of evidence that includes science but goes far beyond it.  In fact we believe in God because of faith.  We can argue with people about our evidences (and they are necessary as we are challenged in scripture to be ready to defend our faith) but at the very heart of the discussion we must come the subject of faith.  Over the next several Mondays I’d like to share my personal evidence for My Creator. Some of these are non-scientific and non-biblical and some are.

 


Morality


 

This is a very troubling problem for the atheist. If you agree that there is no God and we are just a collection of cells with no moral base then you cannot accept any right or wrong in the world. Richard Dawkins says, “We live in a universe which has ‘no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” [1] William Provine of Cornell University agrees and writes, “There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.” [2]

Now leaving aside the Bible for a moment even the most basic preview of human life would be aghast at this belief.  Tell the young woman who was raped violently that there is no evil and no meaning to life. Tell the Jewish daughter whose parents were tortured and exterminated in the Holocaust that their life had no value and her pain is imaginary. Tell the families of the victims in 9/11 that it was just a big chemical reaction that caused those men to fly planes into the World Trade Centre and that animal instincts took over.

The problem the atheist has in getting 90% or so of the world to buy into this concept. You can’t remove a moral standard (such as God), preach that there is no morality and expect the world religions to crumble. That’s because at the heart of all of us there is a basic belief in morality. I find it interesting that the Bible says in Psalm 2, “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” It’s not the mind that is the problem but the heart. Thomas Nagy, atheist professor at New York University is surprisingly honest when he says, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and naturally, hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” [3] He has a heart problem not a head problem.

Now let’s come back to the Bible since this is my evidence for a creator.  The Bible’s view of morality is consistent in that it presents a God who establishes moral conduct. If there is a God who created us (and I believe there is) then it is entirely consistent to believe that right and wrong exists and that there is meaning to life. I don’t have to contradict what I already know in my heart is true. When I see evil in the world I have a solid basis for why that evil exists.

Finally the Bible gives an explanation to the meaning of life. God has told us that He created us to have an intimate and personal relationship with Him. He has created us in His own likeness (don’t mistake that to mean we are all gods) so that we might experience a life that is far beyond our physical existence.

So in conclusion the atheist cannot explain morality in their theories so they dismiss it and say it doesn’t exist. Well that is not something I (and most of the world) are ready to accept as a plausible explanation.  Faith has brought me to agree with God about His existence and morality.

 

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Jump to the next post in this series…

Sources:
1. Dawkins, R., River out of Eden, Weidenfeld and Nicolswi, Chapter 4, 1995.
2. Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1):9, 1994. 
3. Nagel, T., The Last Word, Oxford University Press, New York, 1997, p. 130.

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13 comments

  1. Brian Westley

    If you agree that there is no God and we are just a collection of cells with no moral base then you cannot accept any right or wrong in the world.

    Incorrect. You might think so, but other people like me don’t agree.

    • Thanks for commenting Brian. Please elaborate on your view of a moral world without a moral giver. Are you suggesting there is a moral base outside of a higher being such as God?

      In the purest form of atheism morality is not possible which is what I was referring to. Some might say that morality evolved as well but even on the basis of evolution this doesn’t make sense since there is no standard to judge which definition of morality is acceptable.

  2. Brian Westley

    Please elaborate on your view of a moral world without a moral giver. Are you suggesting there is a moral base outside of a higher being such as God?

    Yes, humans. Besides which, as a practical matter, people don’t agree on what gods exist or what god considers moral (e.g. is polygamy moral? Depends what god you think exists, and what theology about that god you think is correct), so we’re stuck with humans in any case.

    In the purest form of atheism morality is not possible which is what I was referring to.

    I realize that. You’re incorrect. That can be shown by the existence of moral atheists.

    Some might say that morality evolved as well but even on the basis of evolution this doesn’t make sense since there is no standard to judge which definition of morality is acceptable.

    You’re assuming your conclusion. You’re saying you need a supernatural lawgiver to judge; I don’t agree, and I don’t accept your assumption that a supernatural lawgiver is needed.

    • Hey Brian! Thanks for your thought provoking comments. While it’s clear that your worldview is different than those of us who blog here, we DO appreciate your participation in the conversation– we hope that you will stick around and continue to contribute.

      I’ve had this and similar conversations many times before. IMHO the bottom line seems to be faith for both the monotheist and the atheist. Neither can really prove they are right. While I do believe there are excellent arguments and even ‘proofs’ for the existence of a Supreme Being, after all of those arguments are cited one must rest their belief in God on faith.

      However, I would argue that the exact same thing is true for the atheist. No one can prove that God does not exist either. No one has traveled to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. No one has even built a tool strong enough for us to even see the entire galaxy. How then can one possibly make an absolute statement that something doesn’t exist? So, after all of the atheist’s arguments are cited, one must rest their belief in no God on faith.

      I’m intrigued by your assertion that humans are the source (or the base) of morality. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts regarding the process of how such a moral system would work. Who exactly decides what is moral or not moral? A democratic process? Might makes right? Everyone is free to choose their own version of morality?

      • Brian Westley

        I’ll go farther than that; I can’t prove your god, and/or Zeus, and/or Loki, and/or Odin, and/or thousands of other gods don’t exist, or any number of things which are somehow hard to detect (e.g. ghosts) or that have abilities that make them hard to detect (e.g. aliens with advanced technology).

        The question more becomes, why believe any of such things exist?

        I’m intrigued by your assertion that humans are the source (or the base) of morality.

        I’ve never seen any laws passed or any philosophical arguments posed by gods; at best, what you get are humans who claim they represent this or that god in some way. I see no reason to believe any of them, and good reasons to ignore all of them.

        I would be interested in hearing your thoughts regarding the process of how such a moral system would work.

        Just check human history. People have set up all kinds of moral systems.

        By the way, if your god sets morality, was slavery moral 2000 years ago? Was selling your daughter? What should happen to a rapist, and his victim? Assume she was raped in town and didn’t cry out.

  3. Of course in this question of proving the existence of God, the Bible is central. The historical evidence for Zeus, Odin, aliens, etc. is not on the same level of historiography that one encounters when they come to the Bible. Christian claims of morality are rooted in the historical person of Jesus Christ who was authenticated by physical resurrection – an event that was confirmed by hundreds of witnesses. When Paul was throwing down that gauntlet in 1 Corinthians 15, Christianity’s critics could still go and interrogate them for most of them remained alive at the time. In the case of atheism, one can say arbitrarily that they have morality and are an atheist, but what is the basis for morality in atheism itself? Mr. Westley refers to the Biblical comments on slavery, dealing with rape, and so forth. Careful reading of the Bible shows that the jurisprudence of the Old Testament was night and day above the polytheism of the surrounding Canaanite nations (many of which destroyed their young, i.e. through child sacrifice). It also far surpasses the moral systems imposed on the world by prominent atheists such as Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot. Christian morality rests on the character of the God of the Bible who revealed Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. The risen Christ continues to transform people’s lives today through their personal reception of Him (Ephesians 2:8-10).

  4. Brian Westley

    Christian claims of morality are rooted in the historical person of Jesus Christ who was authenticated by physical resurrection – an event that was confirmed by hundreds of witnesses.

    No. You see, you need to distinguish between hundreds of actual witnesses, and one person CLAIMING there were hundreds of witnesses. You have the latter.

    In the case of atheism, one can say arbitrarily that they have morality and are an atheist, but what is the basis for morality in atheism itself?

    Being human.

    Careful reading of the Bible shows that the jurisprudence of the Old Testament was night and day above the polytheism of the surrounding Canaanite nations (many of which destroyed their young, i.e. through child sacrifice).

    So you’re defending slavery on the basis of relativism? Other people were worse, so the immorality of the old testament is somehow OK?

    Doesn’t sound like a perfect lawgiver to me.

    It also far surpasses the moral systems imposed on the world by prominent atheists such as Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot.

    So what? There are immoral atheists and immoral theists.

    Christian morality rests on the character of the God of the Bible who revealed Himself through His Son Jesus Christ.

    The Southern Baptist Convention was created to defend slavery. Since this was fairly recent, and there haven’t been any Jesus sightings in the meantime, does that mean slavery really IS moral? Or did 19th century Christians manage to get their god’s laws wrong? If so, why should I think they have it right this time?

    • Robert Sullivan

      The evidence for Christ’s resurrection goes well beyond the claim of one witness. If I can draw an analogy with something that was said by Chuck Colson, founder of Prison fellowship Ministries.

      Before becoming a Christian, Chuck had been known as the White House’s “Hatchet Man”. He received this moniker as he was known to be a tough political operative while serving as Special Counsel to President Nixon. Ultimately, he was implicated in efforts to cover up the administration’s connection to the Watergate scandal. This led to his eventual imprisonment for seven months.

      It was amid this scandal that a friend gave Chuck Colson a copy of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity . This was used of the Lord to bring about his conversion. During his time in jail, Chuck developed a real love for his fellow prisoners. Out of this, came forth the ministry that would serve as his legacy – Prison Fellowship . I believe Prison Fellowship is presently working in some 1,300 correctional facilities nationwide and has programs in 110 different nations . More than 14,000 volunteers regularly participate in these efforts .

      Chuck Colson would go on to author at least 30 books. He also went on to found BreakPoint – a daily radio broadcast ministry that would provide Christian commentary on the day’s news and headlines. It’s the commentary he gave during the March 29, 2002 broadcast that speak well to the discussion about Christ’s resurrection:

      “I have been challenged myself many times on the resurrection. My answer is always that the disciples and five hundred others gave eyewitness accounts of seeing Jesus, risen from the tomb. But then I’m asked, “How do you know they were telling the truth? Maybe they were perpetrating a hoax.

      “My answer to that comes from an unlikely source: Watergate.

      “Watergate involved a conspiracy to cover up, perpetuated by the closest aids to the President of the United States—the most powerful men in America, who were intensely loyal to their president. But one of them, John Dean, turned state’s evidence, that is, testified against Nixon, as he put it, “to save his own skin”—and he did so only two weeks after informing the President about what was really going on—two weeks! The real cover-up, the lie, could only be held together for two weeks, and then everybody else jumped ship in order to save themselves. Now, the fact is that all that those around the President were facing was embarrassment, maybe prison. Nobody’s life was at stake.

      But what about the disciples? Twelve powerless men, peasants really, were facing not just embarrassment or political disgrace, but beatings, stonings, execution. Every single one of the disciples insisted, to their dying breaths, that they had physically seen Jesus bodily raised from the dead.

      Don’t you think that one of those Apostles would have cracked before being beheaded or stoned? That one of them would have made a deal with the authorities? None did.

      You see, men will give their lives for something they believe to be true—they will never give their lives for something they know to be false.” – Chuck Colson, BreakPoint Broadcast – March 29, 2002

      Chuck’s reference to the 500 eyewitnesses who saw Christ after He had risen from the grave is a reference to I Corinthians 15: 3 – 8 where the Paul states:

      “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, He was seen of James; then of all the Apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

      Paul goes on to state in the rest of the chapter that everything he believed about Christ stands or falls on His bodily resurrection from the grave. The resurrection confirms everything Christ claimed about Himself and His purpose. And no doubt, this was the stance of the early disciples and continues to be the stance of the Body of Christ to this day.

      We know from history that Roman governors presented the Apostles and other early disciples with a choice. If they would renounce Christ as God, their lives could be spared. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t. This is a quote from a letter sent by Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan. At the time, Pliny was the Roman governor of Bithynia (in modern Turkey along the Black Sea):

      “Meanwhile, in the case of those who were denounced to me as Christians, I have observed the following procedure: I interrogated these as to whether they were Christians; those who confessed I interrogated a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; those who persisted I ordered executed…

      “Those who denied that they were or had been Christians, when they invoked the gods in words dictated by me, offered prayer with incense and wine to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for this purpose together with statues of the gods, and moreover cursed Christ–none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do–” – Pliny, Letters; 10: 96 – 97

      Pliny makes it clear that in order to spared, those being persecuted just had to renounce Christ. It’s quite telling that he admits that true believers in the Lord could not be made to renounce the Lord.

      We also know from history what happened to the Apostles and a number of the early disciples. Almost all of the Apostles were martyred or suffered imprisonment for refusing to deny Christ. I pulled this information together from the writings of several historians (both early Church and otherwise), including Hippolytus, Eusebius, Josephus, and Irenaeus :

      What Happened to the Twelve?
      1. Andrew was crucified on an olive tree in Achaia (Greece) – Hippolytus
      2. Bartholomew was whipped and crucified upside down in Allanum (Armenia / southern Georgia) – Hippolytus
      3. James, the son of Alpheus, was stoned to death in Jerusalem (was first thrown off a 100 ft Temple pinnacle) – Hippolytus
      4. James, the son of Zebedee, was run though with a sword under Herod – Acts 12: 2 (also Hippolytus and Eusebius)
      5. John was banished to the Greek Isle of Patmos, but later was released due to old age and died at Ephesus – Hippolytus
      6. Matthew (Levi) appears to have died from a sword wound received in Ethiopia…numerous sources
      7. Peter was crucified upside down near the present location of the Vatican – Hippolytus
      8. Philip was crucified in Hierapolis (Turkey) – Hippolytus
      9. Simon the Zealot apparently died of old age after taking a lead role in the Jerusalem meeting – Hippolytus
      10. Thaddeus (a.k.a. Judas the son of James) was martyred in Kara Kalisa (Parthia / Iran) – Hippolytus
      11. Thomas was thrust through with a spear at Calamene (India) – Hippolytus
      12. Matthias, the Apostle chosen to replace Judas (see Acts 1: 26), was stoned (and then possibly crucified or beheaded) – Eusebius

      What Happened to the Lord’s half-brothers, James and Jude?
      1. James, the Lord’s brother, was stoned by the Jews in Jerusalem – Josephus
      2. Jude, the Lord’s brother, was shot with arrows under decree of Trajan – Eusebius

      What Happened to Paul?
      1. Paul was beheaded along the Ostian Way outside of Rome under Nero – Irenaeus

      What Happened to Others?
      1. Mark was dragged by horses through the street in Alexandria, Egypt – Numerous Coptic Sources
      2. Luke may have been hung in Greece, although this is not conclusive
      3. Stephen was stoned to death in Jerusalem – Acts 7: 54 – 59
      4. Barnabas was stoned most likely on Cyprus (although some conflicting sources say Thessalonica)

      There are a number of proofs that the resurrection of the Lord took place. But there is perhaps none more profound than the witness of those who went to their deaths proclaiming a Risen Savior. In the words of Chuck Colson, “You see, men will give their lives for something they believe to be true—they will never give their lives for something they know to be false.”

      Secular historians and Church historians agree that these men (certainly the Apostles) claimed to have seen the resurrected Christ – and that they went to their deaths over this very claim.

      And this is just the tip of the iceberg on proof of the resurrection.

      At the end of the day, if the laws of this time-space-matter universe can be suspended – then only something outside of nature (Supernatural if you will); outside of the material universe must exist. The resurrection of Christ is a suspension of the normal operating laws of this universe.

  5. Brian Westley

    Don’t you think that one of those Apostles would have cracked before being beheaded or stoned?

    Lots of people have died defending their religion; they can’t all be right, and at best, all you can say is that they believed in their religion (as did all the other people who died for their religions). I don’t consider this good evidence, as people believe all kinds of things that I don’t. This is particularly true with people of centuries ago.

    At the end of the day, if the laws of this time-space-matter universe can be suspended – then only something outside of nature (Supernatural if you will);

    Sorry, that’s an unsupported claim on your part. Kindly provide some evidence that it’s impossible to suspend such laws inside of nature. You’re spouting near-nonsense at this point.

    outside of the material universe must exist.

    I don’t agree with your assumptions.

  6. Hi Brian, I am really interested in trying to learn how you come to a moral law without a moral lawgiver. You keep answering that it can happen because we are humans. That doesn’t explain anything. You mention, “Just check human history. People have set up all kinds of moral systems.” That certainly is true but most (if not all) were based on some kind of belief system beyond humanity. The USA for example, was founded on the principles of a belief in God.

    If as you say it’s just a matter of humans making their own laws and systems what reference point is there that one human system is right and another is wrong. If Hitler had been able to conquer the world and had exterminated every person that wasn’t to his liking would that make his moral system right?

    I don’t base my belief in God only on morality. I have many reasons for my faith which I will address in the coming weeks but this is one piece of the puzzle that to me is foundational and I still haven’t heard anything from you that even remotely explains how you can get to a moral law without God.

    • Brian Westley

      Hi Brian, I am really interested in trying to learn how you come to a moral law without a moral lawgiver.

      I think. Also, empathy.

      You keep answering that it can happen because we are humans. That doesn’t explain anything.

      Neither do gods. If you thought your god ordered you to kill someone, would that automatically make it moral?

      You mention, “Just check human history. People have set up all kinds of moral systems.” That certainly is true but most (if not all) were based on some kind of belief system beyond humanity.

      I disagree with “most if not all,” but in any case, many of them were set up with radically different god(s) in mind. The ancient Azteks sacrificed humans to their gods; does that make it moral?

      If as you say it’s just a matter of humans making their own laws and systems what reference point is there that one human system is right and another is wrong.

      I would say it’s pretty obvious that the proponents of each law think theirs is correct and the others are wrong, and vice-versa. It’s clearly just like any other difference of opinion.

      If Hitler had been able to conquer the world and had exterminated every person that wasn’t to his liking would that make his moral system right?

      No, it would mean his moral system won out. That’s got nothing to do with whether you or I think it’s “right” or “better.”

      I still haven’t heard anything from you that even remotely explains how you can get to a moral law without God.

      I don’t think “moral laws” exist, so that’s no surprise.

      • Hi Brian. I think that probably no Christian is going to convince you of God. So I have been praying that God will reveal himself to you instead. Last night our small church prayed for you that when he does show himself to you that you will be open to seeing and not resist. Your soul is loved by the God of the universe and by us as well.

  7. Brian Westley

    Well, I’m still an atheist. I notice you left yourself the usual “out” in that you can just explain it away by saying I somehow wasn’t “open to seeing” the truth.