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Why should I believe in God? by Eugene Rudder
July 11, 2011
Please accept my humble apologies for neglecting you my subscribers; this submission should have gone out when the article was published; it was authored on February 12 2011. The time requirements for fulfilling the requirements of a new contract for delivery/courier tasks have rearranged my schedule dramatically, and this was just overlooked. I failed to “trigger” the email newsletter to subscribers immediately after publication. I will try to be more attentive to these details in the future.
Why should I believe in God?By Eugene Rudder, February 12 2011
(Previously posted in A Blessed Journey.)
Late last year, I posted an article in A Blessed Journey about reading Scripture and began by sharing the story of my seventh-grade CCD class challenging my co-teacher and I regarding the very existence of God. I made it clear in that article that what we both tried to do that day—and we were totally unprepared to do so I might add, was to share with our students why God was real to us. But like most twelve and thirteen year olds, that was really not enough. So for them and myself, I will in this article, take it a step further and talk explicitly about why I believe in God.
When the Soviet Union first put a man into space, the Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin actually circled the Earth three times, and as he crossed the threshold of our atmosphere in his little tin can of a spaceship, he looked out the portal window of his capsule and declared to the world, “I don’t see any God out there … ”
The Apostle Paul approached the city of Athens where he was amazed to see so many statues and memorials to different kinds of gods and gathering a crowd around him, he said this: "You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, 'To an Unknown God. What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is He served by human hands because He needs anything. Rather it is He who gives to everyone life and breath and everything” (Acts 17-25).
So, why believe in God and if there is a God, what difference does it make? More importantly, if I am to know this God and then Worship Him, who is He and how can I know Him? These are some of the more fundamental questions that I wrestled with as I approached the threshold of Christianity and even then I knew there would be no easy answers.
With all the advances of modern technology and the knowledge that powers it, why does man still believe in God? In every culture in every corner of our world, there is this sense, seemingly stronger than ever, that something greater exists in the universe than what we can see, touch, and feel. The Bible declares in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that “He has made everything appropriate to its time and has put the timeless into their hearts, without men’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.”
Could it be then that God has planted in us a sense that He exists? And if so, why do some people still deny the existence of God today? In my mind, there are several ways to believe when it comes to believing whether or not God really exists:
1 I am God, I am the center of my world and the only thing that matters is my life and what I do with it: The unfortunate truth about this is that it doesn’t take one very long to discover that there are many things in life I have absolutely no control over.
2 There is no God—He does not exist—Only the material world exists and the only thing that matters is what I do with my life while I have it to live: By virtue of the fact that someone declares that they know all things about this subject, they are in fact declaring that they are God, the all-knowing One who is at the center of their universe.
3 There may be a God, but there is no way to know for sure and it really doesn’t matter anyway (the personal favorite of twelve and thirteen year olds everywhere): This person chooses to live as if there is no God and therefore, their lives reflect the same attitude as the first two positions mentioned.
4 If there is a God, He is not involved in our world: This is the deist belief which many of our founding fathers held to. God was seen as a “clock maker” who makes a clock and then lets it run on its own. In their hearts, they may believe in a God but it is the God of Scriptures only and does not have any real relevance in their lives.
5 There are many Gods and they must be appeased: People who think like this are like those who greeted St. Paul that day as he entered into Athens. They live a life of service to a spirit world where there is always a sense of deal making. If I do this, then God will bless me.
6 God is in everything: In this belief system, God may be seen as a force or energy or even as nature itself. In essence, a person who holds this view worships creation and tries to live in harmony with nature. Religion is all about controlling man’s interaction with nature.
7 There is a God, but He is both evil and good: Many people hold on to this view of a God who not only created good but is also the creator of evil and therefore cannot be completely trusted. Those who have been hurt by the ravages of nature or disaster or most especially tremendous personal loss choose to believe that if there is a God, He is the problem. He cannot be known, loved or trusted. Sadly, I myself fell into this category for many years.
8 There is a God, but I don’t care: There are many who count themselves as Christians or Muslims or Jews who believe in God’s existence, but they also believe that He has absolutely no impact on their life. These are generally people who due to circumstance or some other phenomenon have lost their faith or never had a true sense of faith from the beginning and so it was easy to eventually drop out of their relationship with God.
9 There is a God and He desires to interact with His creation: Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” Happily, this is the category in which I belong today, and it is my prayer and hope, that you are here with me as well — or will be soon.
How then do we come to faith in God? Any honest search for the answer to that question must begin with other questions: Why am I here and where did I come from? Does it matter whether or not I believe? Is there reason to believe?
My father used to tell me the story of a woman in a town of religious people who did not share their beliefs. One day, the preacher had had enough and so he provoked the townspeople to grab her and take her down to the river for baptism. After dunking her in the water, he screamed at her, “Do you believe?” No response. Again, they dunked her in the water and again he screamed, “Do you believe?” No response. And so, she was dunked in the water a third time and when the preacher screamed if she now believed, she responded, “Yes — yes I believe!” And so the preacher, now delighted asked her, “What do you believe?” And the woman responded, “I believe you are trying to drown me.”
The challenge is not whether God exists or not, but rather, are we honest enough to search for real answers. If He exists, can we know this? How can we be sure? Science cannot prove God exists, but science can discover evidence which points to a designer. The universe has design and order. Why?
Romans 1:20 tell us, “Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made. As a result, they have no excuse”
Albert Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” Einstein is called the father of the theory of relativity. But the fact of the matter is that Einstein did not create the theory of relativity, for it existed before he was born and it exists since his death. He is not the creator he is instead the discoverer of relativity’s existence.
Professor Edwin Carlston, a Princeton University mathematician said this about the universe happening by accident without a designer, “The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the unabridged version of the Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing factory.”
Look at the Bible in search for an explanation of God. You will not find it. It simply begins with the words: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible does not attempt to explain God. It does say however that God always was and always will be.
Once I was finally able to come to accept the premise of an infinite God, the rest kind of fell into place. I realized that if God can be completely understood by us then He would cease to be infinite.
But what kind of God have we chosen to believe in? Is it the God who doesn’t care, or the God who isn’t involved, or the God who can’t be trusted, or the God who is both evil and good?
The noted Christian author A.W. Tozer once wrote, “What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.” We all carry in our minds a picture of what we think God is like. Fortunately, God has provided us with three critical ways to discover Him:
1. Creation reveals his attributes. “The heavens tell us of the glory of God. The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship” (Psalms 19:1)
2. Scripture reveals God to us. “This is the message He has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all” (1 John 15:1).
3. Jesus reveals the nature of God to us. “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He made the universe and everything in it” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Do you want to know God better? Do you want to discover for yourself whether or not God is real?
Then study nature. Look at the majesty of creation. Open the Scriptures and read with a prayerful, seeking heart. Pray this: “God, if you are real, reveal yourself to me. Help me to know you.”
And most importantly, study the life of Jesus Christ. There you will discover that God is all knowing, all powerful, ever present and ready to reveal Himself. You will discover a God who is holy, gracious, loving and good. The promise of Scripture remains the same: “Seek me and you will find me. Knock and the door shall be opened. Ask and you will receive.”
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