Are there sufficient reasons for man to believe there is a God if he does not accept the Bible as God’s Word? Yes! More and more in the age we are living in, the Bible is being set aside by those in society… especially by those who run from accountability and desire to justify a selfish lifestyle. We easily see this around us, from the youth of our day to those in the market place and in academia. Where do we go in conversation? The Scripture is the last place to begin, for that is not a common ground for conversation with them. Where are the entry points for discussing truth with those who have distanced themselves from the authority of the Scripture?
As Christians, we can go on their turf, appeal to the reasons available to all men, and begin a dialogue with men of the world. If their hearts are seeking truth there are plenty of areas for dialogue with those who presently reject the Bible. Paul and the early believers faced this alot in their day and we will face it more and more in ours. If we insist on telling them what “the Word of God” says, when they do not even believe there is a God, we will only be talking to ourselves.
Our understanding in this day must go outside the small minded presentation of truth so many of us have. We must allow the Lord to make us wise in communication as we pray for those we are called to reach with the gospel. There are plenty of areas to engage the men of this world with before we attempt to share the Scriptures. What are some of the ‘reasons to believe’ which we can use when conversing with unbelievers who are not sure God exists? In this first part of ‘Reasons to Believe,’ will be look at questions concerning the existence of the universe along with several secondary questions.
THE EXISTENCE OF THE UNIVERSE
The existence of the universe is one of the undeniable facts within man’s observation of life. God uses the observation of the cosmos to arrest man’s attention toward His existence. Let us hear the words of the Apostle Paul as he proclaims,
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” – (Romans 1:20)
We see from Paul’s declaration that God uses the cosmos as a testimony to His existence. This testimony is present in creation to cause all mankind to wrestle with the meaning and purpose of existence; not only of the universe, but the existence of himself. This testimony from the existence of the universe brings several questions to bear on the conscience of all men: Why is there something instead of nothing? Where did the universe come from? Who/what made it? These three questions can kick off dynamic conversations if someone is looking for answers to the big questions of life. Understanding *cause and effect* will be necessary for discussion in this area. (i.e. To every effect there is a sufficient cause.)
1) Why is there something instead of nothing?
The basis of all big questions. The bottom line is that when any man claims that nothing produced something, he commits the gravest of all errors. He states that ‘the universe’ has no reason, purpose or origin of existence. He will deny this, but it is our job to lead them to see the meaninglessness their position ascribes to life. The saddest part is that many highly educated men believe this and are teaching our youth in universities. The “something from nothing” dictum is self-defeating and irrational. The simpliest and most uneducated among us know that “nothing cannot produce something.” It is rationally and physically impossible, and it goes against every honest man’s observation about life. Those who hold this ‘must’ be pushed to admit some origin. This leads to the next question.
2) Where did the universe come from?
Once someone is honest with the truth that something caused/created the universe, then the conversation turns toward the origin of the cosmos. Many modern men will focus upon the Big Bang Theory. (BBT) This theory is not a problem for the Christian as it can easily fit into creation paradigm of Scripture. The problem is that the secularist will want to stop here, but there are major problems for them. If the BBT is the initial explosion for the origin of the universe, and the explosion consisted of energy and matter, where did the energy and matter come from? So the questions continue beyond their BBT, because this proposed explosion cannot take place out of nothing! If there was a ‘Bang’ which began the uncoiling of the various dimensions of energy, matter, time and space, who or what caused it? Who is the ‘Banger’ or the source of the Bang? This leads us to our third question. (There are other major problems with the secular view of the BBT which we will discuss in other posts.)
3) What/Who made the universe?
Man only has a three options once we lead him to this point of the conversation. (a) It came from nothing. We addressed this earlier and it is so irrational and self-defeating we will not discuss it. (b) It came from a non-personal source or (c) it came from a personal source.
(b) It came from a non-personal source – This position, which will be offered by atheists/agnostics, is self-defeating also. If the universe is a result of an eternal non-personal energy or power, then personality within the universe has no grounding for definition or meaning. The non-personal cannot produce the personal. The loss of the meaning of man and life is a result of a non-personal origin of the universe. From this position human life and existence becomes a stream of chance and accidents, losing all true value or purpose.
(c) It came from a personal source - This is one of the strengths of the Christian’s understanding of the origin of the universe. The Creator of the cosmos is an Infinite-Personal Being. Through His Infinity, He created the universe and all of its complexities and diversities. Through His Person, He gave personality to His creation and grounding for meaning and understanding. Man is a personal being because his Creator is a Personal Being. Personality demands that the originator/creator of the cosmos was a personal ‘being.’ We cannot get personality from a non-personal source. Since man is a personal being, his origin or creation must come from a source which is a personal being. This is an inescapable fact.
Therefore, if man abandons looking for a sufficient cause for the existence of the universe, he is left without a sufficient meaning to his life. If the universe and all that is within it came from nothing, then *nothing* is the ultimate meaning for everything. This is the horrible and brute reality for those who attempt to find meaning in life apart from a Personal God. If they work against the testimony of creation by continually grasping to ‘nothing’ as the source of creation, nothing becomes their value, meaning and purpose.
As Christians, we know that God’s existence is the ultimate grounding and cause for the universe and everything within it. Therefore, the meaning and purpose of life is rooted in the fact that God created the universe and man for a specific reason. And that reason is revealed within His propositional truth–the Bible.
The fact there is “Something rather than Nothing” is witness to the fact that there is a “God rather than No-God.” Within this framework are many areas to explore when discussing the meaning and purpose of life with unbelievers. And the ultimate conclusion is very simple–either there is no God and no meaning to life, or there is an Infinite-Personal God with great meaning to life.