We are Without Excuse: You Can Be Sure About the Existence of God
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”
God expects all mankind to recognize His existence through observation of what He created. Paul wrote that His existence and eternal power has been clearly evident since the beginning of the creation. Defining the creation as the world in which we live contained within the observable universe. In other words, the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the sky, etc, etc. God simply said “the things that are made“. We are going to call this the universe. God said that his existence has been so evident that all those who refuse to acknowledge this and find themselves standing in shame before the judgment seat will be unable to plead a case based on ignorance of God because He has clearly shown His eternal existence, nature and power in His creation. God says he will not accept ignorance as an excuse.
Now when we peel all the layers off of this and get right down to the core issue, do Christians have objective or subjective faith? Is our faith objective, based on facts and not influenced by personal feelings or, is our faith subjective, based on feelings, attitudes, opinions and whimsical hopes? Jesse Ventura, governor of Minnesota, made a statement in an interview once where he said “religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people”. God says this is not true. God says that faith in His existence is something clearly proclaimed throughout His creation and that people like Mr. Ventura are going to have no excuse. Everybody has faith in something. Mr. Ventura has faith but it clearly isn’t in God. The atheists have faith that everything in the observable universe came about as a result of purely naturalistic processes which brought about the creation of everything in the universe. The Atheist denies anything supernatural. So then who’s faith is really based on observable fact (objective) and who’s is really based on feelings, attitudes, opinions and whimsical hopes (subjective)?
I will submit for consideration that the faith based on observable facts is the faith we should build our hopes on and not faith based on feelings, attitudes and opinions. The purpose of this lesson is to consider some of the basic most fundamental facts that support our faith in God and to see who’s faith really is based in fact and who’s is only a crutch for the weak-minded. To do this we need to keep in mind that these observable facts have been built into God’s creation since the beginning. The first people who ever walked on the earth were expected to be able to see this and draw the conclusion that God existed. One would think that with all the passing millennia and with all the technological advancements we have and with all of our accumulated scientific knowledge that something as apparent as God and His eternal power, that was said to have been clearly evident since the beginning would be all the more easy to see today. One would certainly think that. But obviously it is not the case. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Does God exist? Can we be sure of His existence?
Atheists and agnostics say no. Christians say yes. Atheists claim the universe and everything in it came about as a result of natural processes over vast amounts of time. Christians say “in the beginning God created.” So we have two models here to examine. One model says the universe was created, the other says it came into existence naturally without any outside help at all. Now it is important in our examination of this that in order for the universe to exist according to the atheists, there can be no supernatural intervention whatsoever. No God; no creator; no higher being who was able to operate outside the laws of nature in order to bring about the universe we live in.
So, how did the universe get here? To answer this question, we need only look at three options. There are only three options available to explain the existence of the universe.
1) The universe has always existed.
2) The universe created itself out of nothing.
3) The universe was created.
The law of exclusion states that when given all the available options, when the impossible has been eliminated, what remains must be the truth. So if we can eliminate two of the three options, the one that remains must be the truth.
Lets look at option number 1, Is the universe eternal? Now keep in mind, if there is no God, and everything came about by natural processes then we must operate within the laws of nature. We cannot step outside the boundaries of the natural if there is no God. The instant we have to rely on something supernatural in order to answer these questions, the discussion is over. The atheists can pack their arguments away and go home.
Scientists have observed the manner in which matter behaves and has given these behaviors the status of “Law”. The reason they can call these behaviors the “laws of nature” is because there are no known exceptions. Some examples of these are gravity, the laws of motion and others. A law is an absolute rule. It is not possible for the material that makes up our entire universe to operate outside these laws of nature without cause. The only way a law of nature can be broken is by supernatural means. In other words, something or someone acting outside and independent of the laws of nature must cause matter to operate outside its given nature. Matter cannot cause itself to behave in a manner inconsistent with itself.
The law of gravity will not cause itself to stop working. The laws of motion will not cause themselves to stop effecting objects at rest or in motion. The laws of nature cannot change themselves. The laws of nature cannot be broken naturally.
1). Is the universe eternal?
Lets define the word eternal to be something that has always been in existence and will always be in existence. An important element to consider in answering the question of whether or not the universe is eternal is found within the words “things that were made“. Paul used those words by inspiration of God for a reason. Things that are made all possess one common characteristic for which we know of no exception. Things that are made are temporary. Things which are not temporary are eternal, meaning, they have no beginning or ending. We do not know of any material thing in our universe that is eternal in existence. The sun and the stars are all burning balls of gas which will some time in the future be exhausted. Their fuel supplies will eventually be exhausted and their fires will eventually go out. Our sun gives us life. Without it, we would perish from the earth in a very short period of time. Our sun is not permanent. It is using its own resources every day to sustain itself in its present state and that fuel is not being replenished. When that fuel runs out, it’s over. Our sun cannot have been always in existence or the fuel which sustains it would have been long since exhausted. Our scientists know this. We all know that the sun and the earth we live with are not permanent. They had a beginning and they will have an ending. let’s keep in mind that we are focusing on this from the perspective of someone living thousands of years ago, however looking at this from a scientific standpoint only reinforces the notion that if those who lived in the beginning had no excuse, we certainly don’t either.
In science we have three laws called the laws of thermodynamics. Science likes to use long fancy words but the meaning for this is very elementary. Thermo means heat, and dynamic means power. So the laws of thermodynamics are the laws of heat power. As far as science can tell, these Laws are absolute. All things in the observable universe are affected by and obey the Laws of heat power with no known exceptions. We will be using the first 2 laws in our examination of this subject.
The First Law of heat power, commonly known as the Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed in nature. The total quantity of energy in the universe remains the same. It can change from one form to another, for example, heat can change from motion to electricity to light, but the total amount of energy in the universe remains constant. There is a similar law called the Law of Conservation of Matter which states that matter cannot be created or destroyed in a closed system, although it may be rearranged by the application of energy. The First Law of heat power should therefore be combined with the Law of Conservation of Matter to state that the total amount of mass and energy in the universe remains constant. Matter and energy are interchangeable which brings us to the second law of heat power.
The Second Law of heat power is commonly known as the Law of Increased Entropy. “Entropy” is defined as a measure of unusable energy within a closed or isolated system (the universe for example). As usable energy decreases and unusable energy increases, “entropy” increases. Simply stated, useable energy is constantly becoming less and less available in a closed system and will eventually run out. To illustrate this, think of the gas that powers our cars. The fuel burns and that energy is used. Once the fuel is burned, part of it is converted into unusable energy. All matter has energy. However, all energy is not useable. Once the usable energy has been exhausted, none remains. In the future, there will be no more gas for our cars, there will be no more coal to burn, there will be no more natural gas and, eventually there will be no more sunlight. All of the useable energy in the universe will have been exhausted. This is known as the law of increased entropy.
What these laws teach us is that we live in a universe that had a beginning. It had a moment in time from which all that we can observe had to be set in place and started. Modern science does not dispute this fact at all. It is accepted throughout the scientific community that our universe is not eternal. They know this and it makes them very uncomfortable. Why? Because we have eliminated option #1. The universe is not eternal and there is no way to get around it. What we have left is option 2 and option 3. Since the universe is not eternal then it either had to have been created or it created itself out of nothing. There are no other options to answer the question of the origin of the universe. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. God expected people who lived at the beginning of the creation to be able to figure this out on their own. One does not have to be a 21st century rocket scientist to see this.
So what about option 2? The universe created itself out of nothing. At face value one would think that could be answered easily. We would have eliminated it and have only one option left. But science, eager to explain away the existence of God has come up with numerous theories on how the universe might have been able to create itself. And every single one of them have fallen by the way side because of one inescapable fact. None of them can occur without violating the natural laws which govern the physics of the universe we live in today and atheistic scientists have to prove a completely naturalistic origin of the universe.
We have two major issues to contend with in option two. First issue: The universe created itself. The second issue: out of nothing. Let’s deal with nothing first. There have been several theories out there in the so called scientific community which try and explain how the universe got here. None of them claim that it came from nothing. Why is that? Because ‘nothing’ has no potential. It is has no substance. If nothing exists, in nature, nothing is possible. Our scientists know this and their theories have come close, but none of them have tried to explain how the universe came from absolutely nothing.
If there were ever a time in our past when absolutely nothing existed, then nothing would now exist, because nothing can create anything from itself. Something now exists. Since something exists now, and nothing cannot create anything, something has been in existence forever. Under the laws of nature which govern the behavior of all matter, the universe could not have come from nothing.
So how about the first issue; The universe created itself?
In addition to the laws of of heat power we have the law of cause and effect. This law states that all material effects must have an adequate and preceding cause. A fly by itself landing on a book is not an adequate cause to effect the falling of that book from a table. The cause must be adequate to accomplish the effect. And the cause must have preceded the effect in time. There is no such thing as a retroactive cause to an effect. Modern science teaches that our universe had a beginning so then what caused it to come into existence? If there was nothing in existence before the universe was caused then what caused it? In order for there to be a cause something had to exist before the universe did. This something was greater than the universe, possessed more power than the sum total of all matter and energy which made up the universe and from looking at the way the universe is ordered, possessed considerable intent and purpose in so doing.
In a nutshell, if option number 2 is true then the universe and everything in it had to have come from nothing without an adequate cause. Scientists know that and they don’t like it. They know that nothing creates nothing but nothingness. They know that if our universe came about naturally that at some point in time nothing had to create something without cause. Option number 2 is eliminated. Why? Because it’s impossible. And it shouldn’t take a scientist to know this either. And when we eliminate the impossible whatever remains must be the truth.
Option 1; the universe is eternal, has been eliminated. Option 2; the universe created itself from absolutely nothing with no cause has been eliminated because it’s impossible. There is only one left. Option 3, the universe was created. That’s the only one of the original three options left. So, then the next question in our search for the truth of the existence of God is, who or what created the universe? The universe was created so it was either created by a “who” or a “what”; a “someone” or a “something”.
Let’s look at “what” may have created the universe. We have already determined that nothing can create something with no cause. But what about those who say “the universe was in another form prior to this one”. Ok, then what caused it to change forms and what caused it to come into existence? Because if it had to change forms then it had an ending, so it was temporary just like our universe is. Therefore it had to have a beginning just like our universe did and in order to have that beginning it had to have an adequate cause. We can go on and on and on back through as many hypothetical forms of universes as we want but in the end, if the universe was created by something, then there has to be a first creation from nothing with nothing with no cause. That is an inescapable fact because every material thing in our universe now is temporary and had a beginning somewhere, sometime.
Our universe could not have been created by a “what” or a “something” and remain within the natural laws that govern the behavior of all material things because matter cannot create or cause itself to be created. So what about the “who”? If the universe could not have been created by something material and we have eliminated that as one of two options then what remains must be the truth. It has to be “Who”. So now we have to determine the characteristics of “who”. The “who” that created the universe had to have certain characteristics in order to qualify.
First, whoever created the universe had to be greater than the universe and powerful enough to cause it to come into existence and intelligent enough to accomplish it.
Second, whoever created the universe has to have pre-existed all matter. The implications of this are that whoever created the universe cannot be a material being made of matter. He has to exist without form or substance and he has to be able to exist outside of our closed system universe.
Third and last, whoever created the universe has to be an eternal being. In order to have created anything temporary within eternity, someone has to have lived who never had a beginning. In order for anything temporary to exist, someone eternal has to have existed forever.
Now it’s important to keep in mind that if someone who possessed all these characteristics did not exist, then it would be impossible for anything else to exist. In order for anything material to exist, something must exist with the intelligence, power and the ability to create it.
There is an unconfirmed story that Sir Isaac Newton had an atheist friend with whom he used to debate the existence of God. They were great friends and spent some time together. At one point in Newton’s life he acquired one of those models of our solar system that is set up with a complex machinery that causes all the planets and their moons to rotate in their orbits around the sun which is in the center. Isaac Newton was quite proud of this acquisition and when his atheist friend came over for a visit, Newton invited him in to see his working model of the solar system. Upon seeing the model in action, Newton’s friend was quite enthusiastic about it and he asked Newton who built it for him. Isaac Newton always ready to make a point to his atheistic friend in favor of the existence of God told him, “nobody built it for me. It just happened naturally.” Anyone can look at a model of the solar system and draw the conclusion that someone had to build it. If the model had to have a builder, how much more so the real thing? If the model couldn’t just happen, what makes anyone think the real thing which is vastly more complex could either.
This story, whether true or not, teaches us the basic concept that with intelligent design there is understood the existence of an intelligent designer. When there is order, there is understood the existence of an organizer. If something is created, then there must be a creator.
Our universe was created. There is no doubt about it and scientists know it. They are still struggling with whether it was created by something or someone and the only real reason they are doing so is because they don’t want to admit it. Now to be fair to science in general, there have been several renowned scientists who have come forth and admitted that something is very wrong with the naturalist theories of the origin of the universe. Big gun scientists who literally wrote some of the textbooks which outline many of the scientific theories used today have jumped ship because they have realized that there is no other possible logical conclusion, other than a creator, that can be drawn from the facts. For this they are ostracized from the scientific community, rejected as scholars and treated like superstitious idiots. Their once famous names fade from memory and have been replaced by new naturalist champions who tell the people what they want to hear. Once one admits there is a creator, what naturally follows is, what does this creator expect of me? People don’t like expectations because that implies following someone else’s will or direction. People don’t want to accept the fact that there is a creator because they are uncomfortable with the concept of doing His will, living by His direction and ordering their lives around His expectations.
We stated earlier that if some material thing which had a beginning exists now, that something which does not have a beginning and is not material in the sense we know it must have existed forever. If something is not material, then it must be immaterial or, spiritual. Everything in the universe can be placed in one of two categories. Matter and energy are interchangeable so we can put them all together into one category. On the other side, we have all that is not material or made of matter. What is that? The answer is…. “Spirit” or “Mind”. Everything in the universe can be categorized as either mind or matter. Does “spirit” or the “mind” exist outside of or independent of matter and energy?
A scientist by the name of John Eccles believed that our minds were independent of our material bodies. During his life, he set out to prove or disprove this theory. During his studies and experimentations he was able to determine that the human mind can display intent, purpose and perception without ever showing a hint of brain activity. He was able to establish a dual existence within man’s brain and he called it man’s mind. Basically our minds operates within our brains similar to how a librarian operates within a library. Our minds use our brains like a librarian uses a library. It exists, works inside and uses the brain but it is not the brain. as one would imagine there is a lot of controversy over his findings, however it should be noted that John Eccles received the Nobel prize for science which lends a great deal of credibility to his findings. That means he’s hard to argue with on the matter. He wrote a book about it too. It’s called “How the Self Controls its Brain.” What this means to us is that there is some credible researched scientific evidence out there which points to the reality of a mind operating independently within a person’s brain.
God says man was created in His image (Genesis 1:27). This was never said of the animals. God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul, (Genesis 2:7). Again, this was never said of the animals. There is a dual existence within man. Mankind possesses something given to him by God which is different than anything any animal on earth received and at the same time is similar to something that is inherent with God or in His image. What is that? Something with the capacity to hope, to have compassion, to aspire, to understand morality, know right from wrong, to reason and to live forever. we have a mind. God is a spiritual entity existing outside our natural boundaries. There is nothing about Him that is material. Therefore if He gave us something in His image it cannot be a material thing. It has to be immaterial. We have something, given to us by God, that exists independently of our natural boundaries.
Something material exists today that is not eternal. In order for anything temporary to exist, something has to have existed forever that is not material. What is it? Mind? That great, eternal, all powerful, all knowing, mind. Bigger than the universe, older than time itself, intelligent and powerful enough to create what we see around us from nothing, possessing compassion, love, aspiration, knowing right from wrong and possessing the ability to reason. What some would call that great mind, I prefer to call, my God and Creator.
We share something in common with the Atheists. We have faith in something. The Atheists have faith that the universe got here naturally with no creator. If there is no creator, matter and energy had to have created itself. If there is no creator then matter and energy, which have not always existed, had to have created itself from nothing with no cause. If there is no creator, then this universe we live in and everything in it had to have just happened by accident with nothing to produce it. Nothing to fuel it, guide it, or direct it, or organize it. If there is no creator, then at some point in time nothing had create something with no cause.
If there is no creator, then the laws of nature which govern all matter and energy had to be set aside naturally. If there is no creator, then everything that exists in this universe had to happen by accident. If there is a creator, then the laws which govern matter and energy were set in place when matter energy were created. Both models must work outside all natural laws. The universe can’t get from nothing to something naturally.
Both Atheists and Creationists have faith. Given the evidence, it takes considerably more faith to be an Atheist than it does to be a creationist. The Atheists believe in creation outside the normal laws of nature with no explanation for cause. Christians believe in creation outside the normal laws of nature with the only possible explanation for the cause.
Now, who’s faith is based on logical facts and not influenced by personal feelings. And who’s faith is really subjective, or based on feelings, attitudes, opinions and whimsical hopes? Who’s faith is really a sham and a crutch for the weak minded? Certainly not our faith in God.
God exists, and His existence is proclaimed loudly and plainly in the things which are made. The Psalmist wrote, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalms 14:1). “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Psalms 19:1), and indeed it does. For all who will accept it and respond to the call.