|The Real God: Proofs and Promises|
|By Douglas S. Winnail|
Why is the God of the universe not real to most people today? Why is there so much skepticism and doubt about God? If you have ever pondered these questions, the answers could change your life! In this booklet we will examine the sources of modern misunderstandings about God, and consider seven proofs that reveal the true God.
|Questions About God?|
Have you ever wondered whether God actually exists? Can you know for sure? Can you prove it? Is there one true God, or are there many gods? Is the idea of God merely the product of the human imagination? Does it make any difference if you believe in God or not? These are among the most important questions you could ever ask. However, in our modern secular world, we know more about television schedules, celebrities’ private lives, and professional athletes’ statistics, than we know about God!
While millions profess to believe in God, the true God is just not that real to most people. How real is God to you? Is the God you worship the same God revealed in the pages of the Bible—or is your concept of God something conjured up in men’s mind? Has the doubt and skepticism permeating our society influenced your ideas about God? Today many people have real difficulties when it comes to finding solid answers about God.
It may come as a shock to you, but our modern, sophisticated, well-educated world has been deceived when it comes to life’s biggest questions! The truth about the real God has been perverted and suppressed—not just by atheistic philosophers and secular scientists, but by misguided theologians! This may sound like an outrageous statement, but it is exactly what the Bible revealed would happen, and it is verified by historical facts, as we will see in this booklet.
Atheists claim that God does not exist, and that the idea of God is an invention of the human mind. Agnostics say it is impossible to know whether or not God exists. Evolutionary biologists prefer to think that God is not necessary. Secular scientists want to eliminate God from all discussion on the assumption that the whole idea of God rests on personal belief and not on proof. Unwittingly, misguided and misinformed theologians play into this deception by suggesting that you can take God’s existence on blind faith—just believe—no proof is necessary or possible!
With so-called experts offering such conflicting ideas, it is no wonder that the average person has doubts and reservations about God. Do you have doubts? We ask for a receipt as proof that we have purchased an item. We get a deposit slip when we put money in the bank. Yet when it comes to the most important question in life, we are told we can just “take it on faith”—blindly, without any proof—that God exists! Or we listen to “experts” claiming that God does not exist, or that we cannot know for sure, but we do not seriously question or demand any verification for such dramatic statements.
For much of the last century, many have taken for granted that science can explain the universe without God, and that His existence is doubtful at best. Sometimes it is claimed that intelligent people no longer believe in God—yet nothing could be further from the truth! Theologians who make excuses for the Bible and shrink from making dogmatic statements about God and His Word, in an attempt to harmonize science and religion, have only succeeded in undercutting their own influence. Much of organized religion is in decline today simply because the truth about the real God has been ignored, perverted and suppressed.
The God of the Bible challenges us to prove that He really does exist—and He offers specific ways to do that. The real God predicts the future, and challenges anyone to do the same with any similar degree of accuracy. The God who inspired the Bible boldly states that to live contrary to His instructions invites disaster. The real God is going to send Jesus Christ back to this earth to put a stop to human misrule and establish His kingdom—on this earth, not in heaven—as a world-ruling government with the aid of His saints. Is this the God you worship? Is this the God you hear about when you go to church or tune in a religious broadcast on radio or television? Probably not!
In this booklet, you will see how and why the knowledge of the real God has been perverted and suppressed. You will learn why our modern society is so skeptical when it comes to questions about God. You will see why mankind’s questions about God will just not go away. You will also be able to study for yourself seven definitive proofs that demonstrate that God is real and very much alive.
But first, we need to understand why our modern culture is so skeptical and mixed up when it comes to questions about God, and how it became that way. Let us notice why belief in God has been discounted as being unimportant, and examine the consequences of that misguided approach. You cannot afford to remain in the dark about such fundamental issues. The real answers may shock and surprise you!
Current surveys indicate that approximately 95 percent of Americans believe in God—yet many Americans live their lives as if God does not exist. More than 80 percent seldom or never attend church or read a Bible. Only about 30 percent view the Word of God—the Bible—as the ultimate authority in their lives. Most just follow their conscience and do whatever they think is best—or whatever they please! In European countries, belief in God is much lower, and the number of people who do not regularly practice any faith is even greater. In Britain, France, Italy, Germany and Scandinavia, only 30 percent or less believe in a personal God (The Empty Church: The Suicide of Liberal Christianity, Reeves, 1996, pp. 51, 61–65). These figures indicate that for most people today—even in so-called “Christian” countries—belief in God is just not a relevant part of their lives.
While interest in religion among Americans runs high, America has been described as a secular and materialistic society. Vanderbilt Divinity School professor Edward Farley asserts “religiosity is marginal” to most of our cultural institutions—government, business, education and entertainment. Pollster George Gallup found that America is a “nation of biblical illiterates” where fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels of the New Testament (ibid., pp. 49, 63). Fewer than half of Americans can name even five of the Ten Commandments—the fundamental principles that the real God outlined for human society. When one cannot even name the commandments, it is not surprising if one does not live by them!
Today, many practice a superficial “consumer Christianity” or “cafeteria religion”—that is, people pick and choose what religious tenets they wish to believe and reject those teachings that do not appeal to their interests. For many people, religious beliefs are often personal, vague, generalized and casual. Levels of confidence and conviction are often rather low. Doctrinal specifics are usually fuzzy. Each person tends to believe what seems to be right in his or her own eyes. This is part of the legacy of the Protestant Reformation—where the individual, not the church or the Bible—becomes the sole authority (ibid., pp. 61–62). As one teenager responded when asked by a reporter about what she thought about God: “God is everywhere. God is in me. I am God.” These are, as we shall see, sadly misinformed opinions!
America and the European countries are described today as having entered a “post-Christian era” (ibid., chapter 2). We no longer believe the actual teachings of Jesus Christ, as found in the Word of God. The Bible states that Jesus Christ will return to reign on this earth with His saints (Daniel 2:44–45; 7:27; Revelation 5:10, 11:15–18), yet mainstream Christianity teaches, and most professing Christians prefer to believe, that we all go to heaven. God said to remember the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8–11); yet most people “do their own thing” on this day. The Bible condemns fornication, adultery and murder; yet these behaviors permeate our societies. Noted educator, author and American civil servant William Bennett has written, “We have become the kind of society that civilized countries used to send missionaries to” (ibid., p. 66). This is largely because we have forgotten, rejected, or perhaps never heard about the real God. But just how did this happen?
Reason Replaces Religion
The America that on its coins proclaims to the world, “In God We Trust,” developed from European roots. Europe had received the knowledge of the true God from the Apostles, who brought it from Jerusalem to the European peoples. We learn in school that western civilization was built on the noble ideas of Greek democracy and Roman law, yet both the Bible and history reveal how the misguided religious ideas of these ancient pagan cultures have contributed to the current confusion. In the book of Acts, we read that the Apostle Paul told superstitious pagan Athenians about the one true God. Noticing an inscription “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD,” Paul stated: “The One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim unto you” (Acts 17:23–24). They may have practiced democracy, but they were sadly misinformed about religious truth!
In Rome, Paul was even more explicit. He told the Romans that “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 [evident] among them, for God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:18–19). He told these educated Romans that they were without excuse for not knowing about the true God, “for since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20). Paul further states that misguided humans “although they knew God… did not glorify Him as God.” As a result, their understanding was darkened so that, “professing to be wise, they became fools… who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature [creation] rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:21–25). The Bible reveals a remarkable human tendency and its consequences: “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind,” which has led to widespread spiritual confusion, physical immorality and social evils that still confront us today (Romans 1:26–32).
Many today do not realize that the knowledge of the true God and true Christianity, which Paul brought to Greece and Rome, was soon corrupted with a mixture of pagan religious ideas. As Roman Catholic historian Will Durant writes: “Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it.” The form of Christianity that developed in Europe and later spread to America and the rest of the world “was the last great creation of the ancient pagan world” (Caesar and Christ, Durant, 1944, p. 595). Durant and other historians explain that belief in the one true God became belief in a Trinity as a result of the influence of pagan philosophy. They note that perverted Gnostic ideas “obscured the Christian creed” and that theologians schooled in pagan philosophy tried to explain the nature of God through speculation instead of teaching what God had revealed about Himself in Scripture. After centuries of such discussion and debate, it is not surprising that the often abstract God of modern Christianity bears little resemblance to the true God of scripture.
Other European ideas also undermined and altered the teachings about the real God. The Enlightenment of the 18th century, and scientific discoveries that seemed to contradict Scripture, led some to conclude the Bible and its God were only myths (see God’s Funeral, Wilson, 1999). Darwin’s speculations about evolution seemed to remove the need for a God of creation. Julian Huxley, a promoter of Darwin’s ideas, confidently stated: “There is no longer either need or room for supernatural beings capable of affecting the course of events in the evolutionary pattern of thought. The earth was not created, it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body.” Huxley also asserted boldly that, “operationally, God is beginning to resemble not a ruler, but the last fading grin of a cosmic Cheshire cat.” In the face of what seemed to be overpowering discoveries made by scientists, theologians retreated and back-pedaled in their teachings about God.
Huxley made another observation that is still influencing contemporary views of God. He commented: “Our concept of God needs to stress religious experience instead of a belief in a particular dogma.” In other words, God is the warm feeling that you feel in your heart—not a Supreme Being whose existence you can prove and who intervenes in history. This idea was promoted in the 1600s by the French philosopher Pascal who said: “It is the heart that experiences God, and not the reason.” The Reformation theologian, John Wesley, also spoke of the “warmed heart” as a sign that one had discovered religious truth. Yet all this clashes dramatically with Paul’s admonition to a Greek audience to “prove all things; hold fast to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The prophet Malachi quotes God as saying: “Prove Me” (Malachi 3:10, KJV). Proof involves solid and convincing reasons. Belief in the real God involves the mind—not just warm feelings in the heart!
Over the last two centuries, belief in God has come under attack by many intellectuals in the West—the children of the Enlightenment. The German philosopher Nietzsche asserted that “God is a thought.” Freud termed belief in God a form of mental disorder that mankind would eventually grow out of. Karl Marx termed religious belief “the opium of the people.” Atheist H. L. Mencken asserted: “God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable.” Playwright Tennessee Williams described God as a “senile delinquent.” In the 1960s, prominent theologians echoed Nietzsche’s earlier sentiments and actually asked: “Is God dead?” Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins asserted, in a speech titled A Scientist’s Case Against God, that there is no evidence to support religion, and that better educated people today admit this (Science, August 15, 1997, p. 892). He claims that anyone who believes in a Creator God is “scientifically illiterate.”
In light of such assaults against belief in God, the near absence of powerful biblical teaching by clerics, and the dearth of honest, objective presentations of physical evidence by scientists, it is not surprising that the real God of this universe remains little known to most people today. But questions need to be asked. Are the critics right, or have they been deceived? Have the rantings of secular, atheistic individuals tragically misled our society about God? Let us notice several important lessons that we can learn from the Bible and our recent past that relate to questions about God. We will then examine seven proofs that demonstrate the reality of the true God.
New Evidence, New Lessons
David wrote in the Psalms more than 3,000 years ago: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Solomon states: “The mouth of fools pours out foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2). Looking back over the last few centuries it is painfully obvious that many of the “enlightened” intellectuals who have molded our modern world were simply wrong! They made foolish assumptions and foolish statements that many people believed! These misguided individuals were essentially the blind leading the blind.
Marx’s communism proved to be a dismal failure that caused untold suffering. Freud’s psychological theories have largely been discredited. While Freud proclaimed religion a neurosis, one of his students, Carl Jung, found religion to be very beneficial in treating psychologically disturbed individuals (God: The Evidence, Glynn, 1997, p. 69). In fact, a growing body of scientific literature documents the positive effects of certain religious beliefs on personal health. Marx and Freud, whose ideas did much to secularize our society by undermining its religious and moral foundation, were sadly mistaken about many things.
The same is now being said about the ideas of Charles Darwin and his free-thinking contemporaries. The evolutionary theories of Darwin that supposedly did away with the need for a Creator God have come under increasing criticism in recent decades. A growing number of scholars—among them cosmologists, biologists, biochemists and paleontologists—are admitting that the theory of evolution simply does not and cannot explain the origin of the earth, the origin of life or the origin of species. The ideas generated by Darwin and others simply do not fit with the facts of the fossil record or what has been discovered about the universe in the last century (see Creation and Evolution, Hayward, 1995; “Debating Darwin,” Christian Century, July 15–22, 1998, pp. 678–681).
As the 20th century comes to a close and we begin a new millennium, questions about God are being asked with a new earnestness. Evolutionists’ purposeless universe has proven to be a psychologically empty and depressing concept. Surprising discoveries about the universe point to an intelligent creator (see Newsweek, July 20, 1998, pp. 47–52; November 9, 1998, p. 88). Naturalistic science that seemed to provide answers to all questions is now recognized as having serious limitations. In the remainder of this booklet, we will see what can be learned about the real God by examining proofs from both the natural world and the Bible. The evidence is astounding and it is powerful—and it comes from “scientifically literate” scholars. You can prove that God exists—you do not have to doubt or just blindly “take it on faith.” The God of the universe is real!
Proof 1 —
Creation Demands a Creator
The theory of evolution postulates that the earth and the universe came into existence slowly over eons of time, or that the universe has always existed. The atheist astronomer Carl Sagan once stated that, “the Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” However that simply is not true! Studies in cosmology have demonstrated in recent years that there was a time when the cosmos did not exist—that it had a beginning at a specific point in time. This is exactly what the Bible states. In Genesis 1:1 we read: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Both the Bible and the discoveries of science clearly indicate that the earth and the universe have not always existed.
Astronomers studying galactic motion have observed that the universe is expanding outward from a given point, but at a decreasing rate of speed. The universe appears to have begun with a large explosion. This is referred to as the “big bang.” Scientists have been able to detect echoes of this explosion that still reverberate through the universe—called the “radiation echo” or “background noise.” Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist at Cambridge University, has written that the big bang cosmology may reveal “the mind of God,” and American astrophysicist George Smoot has suggested that background radiation represents “the handwriting of God” (Science, August 15, 1997, p. 890). Such evidence is forcing scientists to reevaluate long-cherished naturalistic theories.
Physicists have also formulated laws concerning thermodynamics. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that the amount of energy in the universe remains constant. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the amount of usable energy in a closed system (the universe) is decreasing. This means the universe is running down—thus, “it could not have existed forever in the past and will not exist forever into the future” (When Skeptics Ask, Geisler and Brooks, 1996, p. 220). It had a beginning. The existence of radioactive elements (such as carbon-14) which decay at a measurable rate (called a half-life) also points to a time when those elements were made radioactive. Again this points to a beginning. This, too, is contrary to what evolutionists have theorized, but is consistent with Scripture.
But what causative agent brought the universe into being? Science operates on the principle that for every effect there is a cause. But what caused the “big bang?” Was it merely blind, natural forces, or was it an intelligent being, a Creator God who carefully planned it beforehand? Since this was a one-time event that was not observed or repeatable, the scientific method is of little value in rendering a decision on this matter. The subject of origins lies beyond the realm of scientific investigation. However, the Bible describes the origin of the universe and the earth in terms that are compatible with facts ascertained by scientists. The discovery that the universe had a definite beginning agrees with clear statements in the Bible.
Scripture repeatedly refers to God as the Creator of the physical earth and universe (Genesis 1; Isaiah 40:28; Mark 13:19; Revelation 4:11). However, the real God is concerned with far more than just the physical creation. The Bible also reveals there is also an ongoing spiritual dimension to God’s creation.
The Apostle Paul writes that when a person chooses to turn from a self-centered way of life, and chooses to begin living by the teachings of Jesus Christ, that person becomes a “new creation” or a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). As we will see, God has an incredible purpose for human beings who are willing to embark on this challenging spiritual journey. The Bible indicates very clearly there are more aspects to life than naturalistic science can discover. These aspects are revealed by the Creator—the real God of the universe—and are not discoverable in a laboratory by the scientific method! Creation, in all of its aspects, requires a creator.
Proof 2 —
Life Demands a Life-Giver
The origin of life presents another challenge to those who want to reject the idea of a supernatural God. Evolutionists have suggested that life formed spontaneously in a pool of chemicals as the earth cooled billions of years ago. We are told that carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and ammonia combined randomly, with the aid of solar energy and cosmic rays, to form amino acids and DNA molecules. Over eons of time, cells supposedly developed from these accidental combinations. While this may sound plausible, biochemists know better. Scientists who have tried to produce life by these methods have learned that it is much more difficult than their theories would suggest. A DNA molecule contains as much information as a volume of an encyclopedia. Proposing this evolutionary theory of life’s origins is analogous to suggesting that an explosion in a junk yard could produce a fully assembled automobile—and that this automobile could then begin reproducing itself!
In the 1950s, Stanley Miller performed a simple experiment to see if these theories would actually work. He succeeded in producing some simple amino acids, and his experiment was hailed as proving that life could be generated spontaneously from non-living matter. However, the proclamations were premature. No one has yet produced life from a pool of chemicals (pre-biotic soups)—in spite of a lot of tinkering. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross comments: “Even under highly favorable conditions of a laboratory, these soups have failed to produce anything remotely resembling life. One problem is that they produce only a random distribution of left- and right-handed pre-biotic molecules… Life chemistry demands that all the molecules be either right- or left-handed. With all our learning and technology we cannot even come close to bringing life together in the lab” (The Creator and the Cosmos, Ross, 1993, p. 148).
Forty years after his initial experiment, Miller stated: “The problem of the origin of life has turned out to be much more difficult than I, and most other people, envisioned” (Scientific American, February 1991, p. 117). German biochemist Klaus Dose has observed that all the experimental efforts have “led to a better perception of the problem of the origin of life on earth rather than to its solution. At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance” (The Creation Hypothesis, Moreland, 1994, p. 176).
This is not surprising. Anaxamander of Miletus, the ancient Greek philosopher, also speculated that life could develop spontaneously from non-living matter. This superstitious idea prevailed until the 1800s when experiments done by Redi and Pasteur proved otherwise. These now-classic experiments revealed that maggots appearing in spoiled meat came not from the meat but from the eggs of flies that came in contact with the meat. Life came from life—not from non-life. Until recent decades, this was referred to as the law of biogenesis. Only in the last several decades—when scientists have attempted to generate life spontaneously to verify evolutionary theories—has this once-accepted law been ignored. Still, there is no evidence that exceptions to this law exist.
Human beings can speculate that life could be generated spontaneously from non-living matter, but the facts do not agree with these speculations. Man has not been able to produce life—in spite of considerable effort on the part of highly intelligent individuals. Scripture portrays God as creating life. In Genesis 2:7 we read: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being”—something all the sophisticated laboratories in the world have been unable to begin to duplicate. Life demands a life-giver. There appears to be no other way.
Proof 3 —
Laws Demand a Law-Giver
Science exists because scientists understand that the universe operates in an orderly manner according to laws—the laws of physics (of gravity and of motion), the laws of chemistry and laws of biology. As one writer comments: “Ever since Isaac Newton, science has blared a clear message; the world follows rules, rules that are fundamentally mathematical, rules that humans can figure out” (Newsweek, July 20, 1998, p. 49). Even evolutionists begin their speculations assuming that the rules, or natural laws, worked the same in the beginning as they do today. If the universe did not operate on these rules, or laws, it would cease to function and would come apart in chaos. Notice several examples of how these laws work.
Gravity holds the planets in their orbits. Without gravitational forces there would be no solar systems. Stars and planets would be hurtling through space in a helter-skelter manner. Gravitational forces hold the earth at a distance from the sun that makes it possible for life to exist on this planet. If gravitational forces were either stronger or weaker than they are, stars (such as our sun) would not burn hot enough, or would burn out too rapidly and certain chemical elements essential for life would simply not be produced. Our bodies exist because chemicals combine in only certain ways. If chemical reactions did not occur the same way every time (according to laws), we would cease to exist as living, breathing human beings. Life would cease to exist.
For years, biology textbooks have referred to another law known as fixity of the species—that there seems to be a genetic limit to the amount of variation that can occur within a species. Plant and animal breeders are aware of these limits. Charles Darwin was aware of the variety that could be produced by breeding domestic animals (such as dogs, pigeons, cows and horses). During his cruise on the Beagle, he also observed striking variations among finches and turtles on islands in the Pacific Ocean. In formulating his theory of evolution, he speculated that, given enough time, these small variations could eventually produce totally new species—that natural forces alone could produce new life forms without the need for a creator. These ideas had a profound effect on the Western world—especially on its religion—and seriously undermined belief in God.
However, time has exposed serious problems with Darwin’s ideas. No one has ever observed a new species coming into existence in nature in this way. In spite of many attempts, neither has anyone been able to produce new species by selective breeding. Dogs may vary in size, color and many other characteristics, but they are still dogs. Horses are still horses. Fruit flies are still fruit flies. The Bible clearly states many times that God created each type of plant and animal “according to its kind” (Genesis 1:11–12, 21–25). There is no evidence from the biological world that one species can turn into another. The Bible also indicates that God created human beings after the “God kind”—which, as we will see, has profound implications for the purpose of human life.
Even the fossil record supports this fundamental biblical principle. Darwin speculated that intermediate forms of life must have existed as species evolved, yet he knew this was not the actual case. He wrote in The Origin of Species: “Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain, and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection that can be urged against my theory” (see Geisler and Brooks, p. 228). Darwin assumed these intermediate links would be found, but a hundred years after his book was published they are still missing! This absence of transitional forms has been called “the trade secret” of paleontology. When species appear in the geologic record they appear fully formed. This makes sense if they were created. The evidence of the fossil record lends further support to the biblical concept of the fixity of species and a real God that operates according to laws and rules.
The fundamental question is: how did these laws originate? Where did they come from? Who set them in motion? How are they sustained? Evolutionists do not know. Natural scientists do not have a clue. Physicist Stephen Hawking, a scientist attempting to answer questions about the universe without the aid of Scripture, has acknowledged “the laws [of physics] may have originally been decreed by God” (Ross, p. 91). This is interesting because the Bible refers to the real God repeatedly as the “Lawgiver” (Isaiah 33:22; James 4:12). As the Creator, God designed and set in motion the laws and forces that hold the universe together (Job 28:24–27). We are also told in Scripture that God is “upholding all things [the universe] by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3)—that He sustains the laws that He originated and set in motion.
On the subject of law, the Bible reveals a dimension beyond the physical. While God is described as a law-giver in the physical sense, Scripture contains spiritual laws that God designed to govern human conduct. The Ten Commandments form the basis of the spiritual law of God. We are told plainly that if we obey those laws we will be blessed and if we disobey those laws we will reap negative consequences (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). Solomon wrote in Proverbs that life will be difficult for a person who transgresses the laws of God (Proverbs 13:15, KJV). Why would this be so, unless there is a real God who designed and sustains those laws? Evolutionary theory has no answer for this. One of the reasons people want to do away with the concept of God is that without God there are no laws of conduct and any type of behavior becomes permissible. We are living with the consequences of that philosophy today—and it is destroying our society! The existence of laws requires a law-giver. For those laws to continue to operate, a sustainer is necessary. This is how the real God operates.
Proof 4 —
Design Demands a Designer
One of the most powerful proofs of God’s existence, and one of the most revealing aspects of the true God, is the wondrous evidence of design found throughout the universe—from the smallest atom to the cosmos. It is on the issue of design that naturalistic evolutionary theories have run aground. It is in the area of design that surprising discoveries have been made in recent years that are compelling even skeptical scientists to consider the reality of God.
Solomon wrote: “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens” (Proverbs 3:19). David, referring to the human body stated: “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works” (Psalm 139:14). Abraham Lincoln once observed: “I can see how a man can look upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he can look up into the heavens and say there is no God.” Even Albert Einstein realized “God is not playing dice with the universe.”
The profound truth in these statements has begun to register in the scientific community, as a result of surprising recent discoveries in fields as diverse as molecular biology and cosmology. Darwin acknowledged that “complex organs such as the eye would be difficult to explain in terms of the gradual stepwise process outlined by his theory,” but he did not realize how complicated the molecular biology of vision would turn out to be (Christian Century, July 15–22, 1998, pp. 679–680). Biochemist Michael Behe writes in Darwin’s Black Box that evolutionists’ inability to explain the development of such complicated structures and processes is “a very strong indication that Darwinism is an inadequate framework for understanding the origin of complex biochemical systems” (ibid.).
Discoveries about the universe have been just as profound. As man’s knowledge has grown, so has the evidence that the universe could not have come about by chance. One writer observes: “The very science that ‘killed’ God is, in the eyes of believers, restoring faith. Physicists have found signs that the cosmos is custom made for life and consciousness. It turns out that if the constants of nature—unchanging numbers like the strength of gravity, the charge of the electron and the mass of a proton—were the tiniest bit different, then atoms would not hold together, stars would not burn and life would never have made an appearance” (Newsweek, July 20, 1998, p. 48). Physicist John Polkinghorne, who became an Anglican priest, wrote: “When you realize that the laws of nature must be incredibly finely tuned to produce the universe we see, that conspires to plant the idea that the universe did not just happen, but that there must be a purpose behind it” (ibid.). Astrophysicist Hugh Ross discusses 33 of these finely tuned conditions that make life possible on this earth (see The Creator and the Cosmos, Ross, 1993, pp. 131–145).
A growing number of scientists in the fields of physics, astronomy and cosmology are acknowledging what is called the “anthropic principle” (Greek anthropos=man). This principle, suggested in the 1970s by physicist Brandon Carter, states that for life to exist on earth, all the conditions had to be “pre-planned” from the very beginning of the cosmos. As Harvard Ph.D. Patrick Glynn notes: “The most basic explanation for the universe is that it seems to be a process orchestrated to achieve the end or goal of creating human beings” (God: The Evidence, Glynn, 1997, pp. 7, 32). Glynn states further: “From the scientist’s viewpoint, the fact that the universe looks as though it had a definite beginning might be upsetting enough. But what appears to drive cosmologists nearly to distraction is the anthropic principle”—that the earth and the universe was created for mankind (ibid., p. 42). That is an astounding observation for a scholar to make today!
While a universe pre-planned for mankind may be shocking for atheists and evolutionists to consider, this is exactly what the Bible clearly states. Scripture reveals that God created human beings for a purpose. In Genesis 1:26–28 we read that God created human beings in His own image (not in the image of apes) and gave human beings dominion over the earth—to rule it or manage it. The Apostle Paul told the Romans that we can become “children of God” and “heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ” (Romans 8:14–17). This means we will share, by inheritance, what Jesus Christ has—that is, eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:50–53) and rulership on this earth in the coming kingdom of God (Revelation 5:10). The Bible reveals that human beings were created for the ultimate purpose of becoming part of the family of God (1 John 3:1–4; Hebrews 2:1–11) eventually to rule this earth with Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:10; Daniel 7:27). This is the purpose of human life, yet this exciting information has been perverted and suppressed over the centuries! This is not even understood today by most theologians.
Compare this astounding future, as outlined in the Bible, with the common idea that either we go to heaven and sit on clouds and play harps, or else we burn forever in hell fire. Compare the future revealed by the true God, to zoologist Richard Dawkins’ ideas that, “the universe we observe has… no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pointless indifference… we are machines for propagating DNA… It is every living object’s sole reason for living” (Science, August 15, 1997, p. 892). Is it any wonder that people today see no real purpose in life, or have no hope or excitement about the future? Science, philosophy and theology have failed to grasp the real meaning of life!
The Bible clearly states that mankind has been deceived by a very clever deceiver (Revelation 12:9). Evolutionary theories that undermine faith in a real God, and the misguided reasoning of theologians, have also played their part in this deception. So have human beings, who simply do not want to consider that God exists, because of the restraints on behavior this would entail. However, the real God who designed this universe also has a design and a purpose for mankind. Scientists are discovering astounding evidence of intelligent design in the cosmos. Scripture reveals God’s amazing, ultimate purpose for mankind. Intelligent and purposeful design—both physical and spiritual—requires a supernatural Designer—a real God!
Proof 5 —
Fulfilled Prophetic Promises
Some of the most compelling evidence for an all-powerful, supernatural God comes from the disciplines of history and prophecy. The astounding accuracy of Bible prophecy is a constant challenge to skeptics. Yet it is amazing to realize how many people, including secular scholars, are simply unaware of how Bible prophecy is so remarkably confirmed by known history. Even more amazing is that prophecy is seldom mentioned today by the clergy—yet fulfilled prophecy absolutely proves that there is a real, all-powerful God. Isaac Newton, one of the most brilliant minds in Western civilization, was fascinated by Bible prophecy (Science, August 15, 1997, p. 892).
The real God of Scripture literally defies others to predict the future accurately and bring it to pass. The prophet Isaiah quotes God as saying: “Present your case… Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods… indeed you are nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination” (Isaiah 41:21–23). Those who study forecasting understand the folly of trying to predict future events in detail—especially in the volatile fields of political science and sociology—yet Scripture does this repeatedly with striking accuracy! Nearly 30 percent of the Bible is devoted to prophecy, yet this subject is rarely the topic of Sunday morning sermons in most churches. It is no wonder the powerful God of the Bible does not seem real today.
A striking example of fulfilled prophecy is found in the book of Ezekiel, which dates from about 600bc. Ezekiel records very different futures for two major Phoenician cities, Tyre and Sidon. This would be like predicting what will happen to San Francisco and Los Angeles, Toronto and Ottawa or London and Paris over the next 2,500 years! Sidon is promised to have a bloody history but to continue to exist (Ezekiel 28:22–23). By contrast, Ezekiel very specifically prophesied that many nations would come against Tyre like waves of the sea (26:3). Tyre would be scraped bare like the top of a rock (v. 4), the debris thrown into the sea (v. 12), never to be rebuilt (v. 14). This mighty city, the center of a great trading empire, would become an insignificant place where fishermen would spread their nets (v. 5). All this has happened—to the letter (see Evidence That Demands a Verdict, McDowell, 1979, vol. 1, pp. 274–281). A real God predicted the future in detail, and brought it to pass (see Isaiah 46:9–10).
Another series of remarkable prophecies concerns specific promises about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These prophecies were recorded many centuries before Christ was born. The first two chapters of Matthew quote prophecies that Jesus was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He would have to flee to Egypt (Hosea 11:1). Before His death, he would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). In death, His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16), and lots would be cast for His garments (Psalm 22:18). David prophesied that Christ would be resurrected (see Psalm 16:10). Here again, the real God of the Bible predicted specific future events and brought them to pass—to the letter!
Fulfilled prophecies, however, are not just limited to ancient history and long-vanished empires. Additional prophecies are being fulfilled today, as you read this booklet! The key to understanding prophecies that apply to our time is the identity of the modern Israelite nations. The God of the Bible promised Abraham that his descendants would become great and be a blessing to the peoples of the earth (Genesis 12:1–3). God foretold that they would eventually come to possess the gates of their enemies (Genesis 22:17; 24:60).
The modern Israelite nations are descendants of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, whose name was changed by God to Israel (Genesis 32:28). Jacob had 12 sons including Judah—the father of the Jews. However, two of Jacob’s grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were prophesied to become the primary inheritors of the birthright promises originally made to Abraham. Manasseh was to become a great nation, but Ephraim was to become a great company of nations (Genesis 48:14–20). The blessings promised to Manasseh and Ephraim have been inherited by the United States and the nations that made up the British Commonwealth. This amazing story and the sobering future that is prophesied for these birthright nations is described in our booklet, available free upon request, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.
The record of history, as well as of world events today, confirms the incredibly accurate prophecies recorded in the Word of God. The Bible is inspired by an all-powerful, supernatural God. Its prophecies are not merely the product of mortal men trying to formulate a philosophy or religion. Scripture’s fulfilled prophetic promises demand an explanation—they cannot simply be ignored or explained away! The God who inspired those prophecies and brought them to pass has to be real!
Proof 6 —
Another dramatic proof of God is that He fulfills His promises of answered prayer. For those who do not believe in God and have never prayed, this is merely a matter of doubt and skepticism. However, for individuals who believe in God and who do pray—which includes up to 90 percent of Americans—answered prayer is one of the most powerful personal proofs that God exists. To those who know their prayers have been answered, the doubts of skeptics are of little significance.
It is from the Bible, not naturalistic science, that we learn about prayer. Scripture abounds with examples of answered prayers. Solomon’s request for wisdom was granted with even additional blessings (1 Kings 3:5–13). We are told that “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain” (James 5:17–18).
The New Testament records many examples of dramatic answers to prayers. Jesus prayed all night, asking God for guidance, before choosing the Twelve Apostles He would use to build His Church (Luke 6:12–13). Jesus had been praying during the hours before He came—walking on the water—to the disciples (Matthew 14:23–25). Lazarus was resurrected from the dead as the result of Jesus’ prayer to God (John 11:41–44). When the members of the fledgling New Testament Church prayed for boldness to preach the gospel, God acknowledged their request by shaking the building in which they were meeting (Acts 4:23–31).
The Bible also teaches us how to pray. Just as a child must learn how to talk, we must learn how to pray. Jesus was asked by His disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Jesus gave us a model to follow (Matthew 6:5–15). We can see from this example that prayer is an earnest conversation with God about our needs and concerns—not just repeating some words and phrases over and over (v. 7). We are told that God hears the prayers of the righteous—individuals attempting to obey Him (1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 3:22). The Bible reveals that the prayers of the saints are pleasing to God—like sweet-smelling incense (Revelation 5:8).
Jesus encouraged His followers to “ask, and it will be given unto you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7–12). One challenge in learning to pray is learning to ask in accord with God’s will (1 John 5:14). To understand God’s will, we must study Scripture—God’s instruction manual. Through prayer, we can talk to God about all our concerns.
If you have sensed a void in your life, if you feel cut off and alone, why not talk to God about it in prayer? If you can see the lack of meaning and purpose in our secular, materialistic world, why not get down on your knees in a private place and talk with your Father? If you have sensed the emptiness and irrelevance of organized religion, just share your feelings with your Creator, the real God of the universe! Ask Him to help you come to understand the Bible and the true meaning of life. Ask Him to guide you to where He is working through His Church. Ask Him to help you learn how to live life according to His instructions, so you can receive the rewards that are His to give. Follow the instructions of Jesus Christ that you read in Matthew 6:5–15 and Luke 11:1–4. Begin to pray!
You can experience the proof of answered prayer for yourself when you begin to ask according to God’s instructions. God does not change (Malachi 3:6). He has answered prayers in the past. He answers prayer today. He will answer prayers in the future. The Bible clearly states, “the eyes of God run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Answered prayer is a powerful and personal proof that God is real!
Proof 7 —
A Way of Life That Works
The final proof that a real God exists and His Word is true is a sobering one. This proof may be more meaningful to individuals who have lived life and made a few mistakes. However, this can also be an important proof to anyone, young or old, who has “eyes to see and ears to hear”—who can learn by seeing what happens to others. This proof involves comparing the results of two contrasting ways of life.
The message that permeates our modern society is that whatever works is right for you—that there is no such thing as absolute right and wrong. The message God has recorded in the Bible is very different. Scripture shows that there is God’s way of life, and there is the world’s way, where we just do our own thing. And, as the old saying goes: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Scripture clearly outlines these two contrasting approaches to life. Moses explained God’s instructions to the ancient Israelites: “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15–20). Today, this is still one of the major challenges of life.
As human beings with free moral agency, we have the freedom to choose to obey God and experience His blessings, or to ignore and live contrary to His instructions (by following our own reasoning) and reap the consequences (Deuteronomy 28; Leviticus 26). Solomon recorded similar advice: “The way of the transgressor is hard,” yet “when a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 13:15; 16:7). Jesus described these same choices—a narrow, challenging way that leads to life, and a wide easy way that most people choose that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13–14).
The sad story of human history is that most people “go with the flow”—we do what seems right in our own minds. Instead of seeking to learn from our Creator how to live life according to His instructions, we seem to prefer doing things our own way. The result of this approach to life is sometimes called the “school of hard knocks.” If your life has been a series of difficulties, disappointments and blind alleys, why not try another approach? Look into the Word of your Creator, and begin to do things His way for a change. Let the “proof of the pudding be in the eating.” Live God’s way, and prove it for yourself!
Let us look briefly at the way of life that God recommends in Scripture, so that you can put His way to the test. Anciently at
In the New Testament we are told that Jesus came to explain the law more fully for Christians (Matthew 5:17). He explained how to live by the spirit of the law, not just the letter (Matthew 5:21–28). Here again, it was God’s intent that those who choose to follow His instructions would become lights [examples] to the world, that God’s way works.
Jesus clearly stated that “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). He was definitely advocating a better way to live. The contrast between Jesus’ teaching and the ways of this world was likened to the difference between night and day (John 3:16–21). When His disciples began urging people to come out of this world and live according to the real teachings of Jesus (2 Corinthians 6:11–18) they were pelted with accusations that, “those who have turned the world upside down have come here, too” (Acts 17:5–6).
God’s way of life as outlined in the Bible is not some vague, nebulous, watered-down approach that people can take or leave and modify to suit themselves. God’s way is based upon His laws. It involves specific attitudes, behaviors and practices that not everyone is willing to follow and adhere to. We are told the truth of God will actually separate friends and families (Matthew 10:34–36), but it works and following it will bring certain rewards (Revelation 3:10–11).
One of the major reasons that mainstream Christianity is floundering today in western countries is that theologians have watered down the teachings of the Bible so much that religious beliefs have literally no impact on how people live their lives. One mainline denomination has been described as “an institution in free fall… with nothing to hold on to… no shared belief, no common assumptions, no agreed bottom line, no accepted definition” of what it means to belong to that church (The Empty Church, Reeves, 1996, p. 10). A chaplain in that denomination has declared that he “is not in the business of dispensing dogmatic answers about anything” (ibid., p. 24). This is simply not the same church, founded by Jesus Christ, that you read about in the pages of the New Testament! Compromising and watering down Scripture does not work. Churches die, spiritually, when they try to do that. This, too, is living proof that God’s way works—the way that seems right to the human mind does not (Proverbs 14:12). This is what the real God clearly states in His word.
A Coming Judgment
Modern professing Christianity offers to the world a benign God who is nice, loving, forgiving and endlessly patient. He just lets people do pretty much what they want, and is happy if they pray once in a while and attend church a couple of times a year. However, this false idea of God—which is the product of the human imagination—is not relevant to the lives of most people today, as we have seen in this booklet.
The real God of the Bible, however, stands in striking contrast to mankind's imaginings! The God that emerges from Scripture is a powerful creator, an intelligent designer, a life-giver and law-giver who intervenes in the course of history yet still answers the prayers of individuals. He has clearly outlined in His word two contrasting ways of life. Although loving and merciful, He is a God of justice and judgement who rewards us according to our works. He gives us the opportunity to make choices, and He lets us reap what we sow. This is why the God of the Bible commands His true servants to “cry aloud and show My people their sins” (Isaiah 58:1) and not just preach “smooth things” that deceive people (Isaiah 30:9–10). God wants human beings to understand what life is all about, so they will learn to make the right choices that bring the lasting rewards they desire—and that are His alone to give. The real God also forgives us when we repent—when we come to understand our mistakes (when we break His laws and sin—see 1 John 3:4). God is pleased when we begin to change our lives, and live as He has instructed.
The Bible reveals that God is working out a plan and purpose on this earth. The real God is going to send Jesus Christ back to this earth to establish the soon coming Kingdom of God. This is literally the heart and core of the true gospel message. This is what Jesus taught and His disciples proclaimed (Mark 1:14–15; Luke 9:1–2; Acts 8:12; 28:23, 31). This same message will also be proclaimed to the world by God’s true Church just before the end of this age (Matthew 24:14).
At His return, Jesus Christ will literally change the course of human history in a very dramatic fashion. He will judge this earth in righteousness—according to His divine law (Psalm 96:13; Revelation 19:11). He is going to put an end to human suffering and human misrule. The Apostle John writes of this time when God takes His great power and reigns—rewarding His servants and destroying those who destroy [pollute and corrupt] the earth (Revelation 11:15–19). God will make a distinction between those who choose to do things His way and those intent on doing their own thing (Matthew 25:31–46), between those who know what the Bible plainly teaches and those who have been deceived by the false ideas of misguided teachers. That time of judgement appears to be just ahead of us.
Jesus Christ is going to reorient human societies toward real peace, justice and truth (Isaiah 9:6–7; Revelation 11:15–18) with the aid of His saints (Daniel 7:27). The prophet Micah relates: “He shall judge between many nations afar off; and rebuke strong nations; nations shall not lift up swords against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Micah 4:3). This all-powerful God reveals through the prophet Ezekiel: “I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Surely it is coming, and it shall be done, says the Lord” (Ezekiel 39:7–8). The deception, doubt and skepticism about God that so permeate our society will be removed forever.
The real God of the Bible commanded His chosen people not to worship any other god or gods (Exodus 20:1–7). He warned His chosen people about the consequences of following other gods (Deuteronomy 8:11–20). The Apostle Paul told the church at Rome they would incite the wrath of God if they began creating ideas of God according to their own imagination (Romans 1:18–23). He warned the church in Corinth of the same thing (2 Corinthians 11:1–4). Yet all this has happened in our time today. Misguided theologians have chosen “to abandon so-called natural proofs for the existence of the Creator and emphasized personal faith and the presence of God in the human conscience” (Reeves, pp. 95–96). The unfortunate result of this modern, liberal approach is that many have been deceived about the real God.
As the end of this age approaches, do not let yourself be deceived. Jesus clearly warned about this possibility on several occasions (Matthew 7:15–20; 24:4–5, 11, 24). The Apostle Paul urged members of the early New Testament church to “prove all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). You can prove that God exists; you do not need to just blindly “take it on faith.” You can have a real faith, based on real evidence, and a real relationship with your Creator! The God of the universe—the God who inspired the Bible—is real. The Creator, Designer and Sustainer of the cosmos is alive. He is going to bring to pass what He has prophesied in His word. Jesus Christ is going to return to this earth to establish the kingdom of God that will rule over all nations. This is what the gospel of the true God is all about. You can be part of this exciting future if you get to know the real God.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
The Real God: Proofs and Promises
Posted by David Ben-Ariel at 9:07 AM