Friday, 4 October 2013

Does God exist? (Part 3)

Click for Part 1 or Part 2

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In the last two posts we looked at three proofs of God's existence: Creation, Morals and Religion. But within those posts I made the comment that the one true God who exists is the God of the bible. Now it's time to verify that.

The first point we need to make is that to establish the God of the bible as being the true God, we need to establish the bible as truth. The bible clearly declared who God is and that he is the only true God, but can we trust the bible?

What makes the bible true?
The only point needed in this question is that the bible is God's word, and he doesn't lie (Therefore we can trust the bible). But alas, that wouldn't satisfy me if I wasn't a Christian - even if it was the truth. So here are some other things to consider.

  • Historical Evidence
How do we know the bible was written over a long period of time? There are copies of the books of the bible from different times. For example the dead sea scrolls. These copies show that the bible was not all written at once.

How do we know the bible isn't just made up? Well there are a number of reasons for this. Historically it fits quite perfectly with everything else we know about the world and if verified by a whole bunch of ancient documents that record similar events. Likewise through archaeology many discoveries have been made that have backed up the biblical accounts (For example the Pool of Siloam from John 9 has been discovered fairly recently). There are also other documents that support the evidence that the biblical account is true. There are so many books on the subject! Do some research! If you're interested I did an essay on the accuracy of the gospel of Luke for school, I could send it to you if you comment below.

The bible is made from eye witness sources. In history, these sources are the most reliable (How can you get more reliable then people who have seen it?). Adding to that is the fact that many of these Christians were persecuted and killed for their faith. If they had simply lied about it all, why would they be willing to die for it? They also recorded things that would have been embarrassing for them (e.g. Peter's denial of Christ and the women being the first to find the tomb empty, because at that time the accounts given by women were considered far less reliable).

  • Evidence within the bible itself
The bible was written over thousands of years, yet it is entirely consistent and doesn't have contradictions. Yes, you will be able to find websites full of alleged 'contradictions' in the bible, but I've looked through one or two of those sites and been able to explain almost all of them without too much research (and the others would have good explanations too if I had time to research them). Most of the seeming contradictions come down to translation issues or taking verses out of context. It was written over about 1500 years, by many authors, and yet the themes and ideas are consistent throughout. 

Another thing to consider is that the prophecies in the bible have all been fulfilled, except for those about the end times. Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies about him, even from hundreds of years before his birth. Many of these prophecies couldn't have been fulfilled on purpose if Jesus was just a man (Like where he was born, Herod killing the children, how he died and other things), and some of the key points are verified by other documents at the time.

  • Evidence in our lives
Making our proofs out of what we see and feel is often unreliable and flawed - since we taint those things with our own perspectives, ideas, hopes and dreams. Nevertheless it is clear that the bible, and God, has had a massive impact on people throughout history. Christianity has been one of the biggest influences on the world we live in - yet if God doesn't exist it should simply be considered foolishness (e.g. people don't come back to life). Even though God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27), he has still had a massive impact on people and the world. If God doesn't exist then there is no reason that the bible should have been accepted at all.

The bible has changed peoples lives - talk to Christians around, you should be able to see this. God through Jesus offers complete forgiveness and he has transformed lives through his Holy Spirit.

With all this in mind...
If God is real, and if he is the God of the bible then how do we need to respond? We need to realise that we are sinful and have rebelled against him. That means we deserve his punishment eternally (hell). It is only from that position that we can realise that we need Jesus. We are utterly sinful, yet he was perfect. He (God) came into the world as a man, lived perfectly and then died in our place. On the cross he took the sin of all who put their faith in him - he took our sin and he took God's wrath for it so that we can be forgiven. That's the gospel! Jesus alone can deal with our sin and he calls us to give it up by repenting (turning away from sin and living for God) and by putting our faith in him - trusting that he has done it. 

This brings it back to you. Do you accept this as truth? It is the truth, regardless of if you accept it.

  • If you are a Christian then great! Are you telling people about Jesus and all he has done? Are you asking questions and seeking to grow and more more to know God and all he has done for you?

  • If you're unsure about it all then keep reading! Keep asking questions, keep seeking answers and don't give up until you are completely satisfied!

  • If you don't accept it, if you claim either that God doesn't exist or that he isn't the God of the bible, then don't be so proud and stubborn as to disregard this straight away. You could be wrong, so consider why you believe what you believe. What evidence do you have to offer for whatever faith you hold (whether that be the faith that 'science' is right, or faith in another 'god')? Keep asking questions, keep testing things and seeking the truth!

I hope that was helpful to read through and think about. 
God Bless,

9 comments:

  1. Can you at least see why some people have such a hard time accepting the bible? It's not like it's any other history, it has resurrections and plagues and talking animals and world-wide floods...lots of things completely contrary to our experience in the world.

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  2. Yeah, I understand completely why it's hard to accept. But assuming God exists, none of it would be impossible. He created people from dust so it's no stretch to say he can raise them back to life. He made the universe out of nothing so it's no stretch to say he can make animals talk and control the laws of nature.

    The question comes down to if we accept that God is real. If he isn't then the bible's a lie, but if he is then the miraculous things in the bible aren't that far-fetched, right?

    Another aspect of that is the question of why God would act in one way in the past, but not do it any more. Without doing any reading on it, I think the answer is in Hebrews 1:1-2: "In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe."

    In the past God did miracles and things to prove his word as truth. Now we have Jesus and we have the complete bible, so we don't need signs to prove what God's words is (he has given it to us, 2 Timothy 3:16). He also did some things in the past as judgement (e.g. the flood), whereas now he doesn't because he has provided a way for sin to be atoned for (Jesus) and will judge completely when he returns.

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  3. Does that make sense? Thanks for posting a comment: I appreciate discussion, and thanks for doing it respectfully too - most people don't.

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  4. It makes complete sense with the assumption of God, that's why these apologetic claims are appealing to those already indoctrinated into a religion. I see the assumption as completely unwarranted.

    And thanks for the thanks. I know the Internet seems to be 90% jerks sometimes.

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  5. In the other two posts I tried to explain some reasons for God's existence (not sure if you read through them), but what do you believe? Evolution?
    One of the biggest things I find faulty about The Big Bang/Evolution is that everything had to come out of something - No one I've talked to yet has been able to explain where the supposed singularity came from, or why it expanded, and how that could possibly create matter and the laws of the universe. Similarly no one seems to have an answer to how atoms and molecules turned into living, breathing. moving, thinking lifeforms. Or even how it turned into single celled organisms for that matter.

    Yes, yes it is - it's good to meet people you can just discuss with, and not have to worry that it'll turn to personal attacks or just staw-manning everyone else's arguments

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    1. I have read your other two posts. Because of the evidence, I believe evolution, yes. Both the Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang Theory are explanatory models up to a certain point. I admit we don't have as complete theories on abiogenesis and anything before the Big Bang, but that doesn't mean we don't have many hypothesis regarding these events that adhere to natural laws much better than God. I can go over some of the hypothesis is you want, but only if you'll give them as fair a look as you have for the idea that a deity snaps things into existence.

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  6. I'm keen to hear the theories, but in honesty I probably won't look at them as fairly as you'd like - we all are biased. But I'd love to read them and think through them. What annoys me is that so many people hold to evolution as absolute truth, yet it is simply a theory. In all likelihood it will be disproved some day like so many other theories have been. That doesn't mean we shouldn't consider it, but we shouldn't teach it as absolute fact when it is just a theory - it isn't based on repeated experiments or observable fact, it's based on extrapolation of data (feel free to disagree if I'm wrong on that).

    The point is that God doesn't have to stick to the natural laws because he created them - and it seems to me that by natural laws a single celled organism doesn't become anything different then a single celled organism.

    Also, my replies might be pretty sparse over the next few weeks: I'm in the middle of my end of school exams, which is pretty stressful and busy, so bear with me.

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    1. Yeah...you don't seem to know what a scientific theory entails. There is so much evidence for evolution that I've given up on those who don't accept it. I'd recommend researching it outside creation-biased websites. It's been nice talking with you.

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  7. Feel free to tell me what science is if it isn't repeatable, experimental research. Sure, theories are good - but they're just theories. I'll do some research when my exams are done.
    If you get some free time watch this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ
    It's from a Christian viewpoint, and I have no idea if he only included stuff that makes it look like thee are massive holes in evolution or if the people he asked were actually people who would know a lot about the subject, but the questions he raises are still fair and if you want to then I'd be keen to hear your answers to them. If not, then it was good talking to you too.

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