God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

What's Important About Consistency?

In my posts and in my discussions about worldviews, I stress consistency. When I say "consistency" I'm talking about the beliefs within a worldview being logically compatible with each other and beliefs being compatible with the adherents' behaviors.

One of the "worldview tests" that Kenneth Samples discusses in his book on worldviews, "A World of Difference", is a test for internal consistency. Any worldview that claims to accurately reflect reality (be true) must maintain consistency among its beliefs. Truth cannot conflict with truth. So, if a worldview were to say that 2+2=4 and that 3x2=5, it would have a serious problem. The fact that the second claim is false has no bearing on the truth of the first claim, it only has bearing on the truth of the worldview as a whole. Any worldview that contains two contrary beliefs that cannot be resolved within the framework of the worldview without creating more contrary beliefs must be discarded.

Atheism and Morality

Its been quite interesting to see how many atheists there are who believe that objective morality exists. Actually, I would say that the majority believe in objective morality. However, objective morality is inconsistent with the atheist worldview; they don't have a foundation for acting in a "moral" way versus an "immoral" way. I'm not saying that atheists can't be moral; they can. I'm just saying that they can't justify it. Here's why.

Morality implies "oughtness". How something ought to behave. That implies that you understand that that thing (that ought to behave in a certain way) was designed to behave in the expected way. Example: A watch ought to keep time. It is designed to keep time; therefore, it ought to. If it were not designed to do anything, it ought (is expected) to do nothing.

Atheism posits that humans and the universe have no design or purpose, period. Therefore, it must be concluded that atheism has no room for moral (among other types of) "oughtness".

Does "oughtness" flow logically from "design" or "expectation"? The atheist might be able to get away from the conclusion above by claiming "oughtness" just implies an expectation. But I would have to question what they base their "expectation" on. If they want to base it on history (rather than design) then, they must determine which parts of history they want to base the expectation on, and I would ask them why they choose those certain parts of history and not others.

Now, some atheists have tried to explain the foundation for their belief in objective morality by pointing to examples in the world. They argue along the lines of "look at society; obviously, murder is wrong" or "obviously, stealing is wrong". They use examples to prove "why". The problem is examples don't prove "why" something is true; they only prove "that" something is true. Atheists still need to provide a reason "why" they ought to act a certain way.

Once again, I'm not saying that atheists can't be moral. I'm saying there is no objective foundation for determining why a certain behavior is moral or immoral in their worldview.

Not only does Christianity explain "why" objective morality exists (it is the very nature of God), but it explains "how" an atheist can be moral, yet believe something completely opposite.

Here's a good article on the subject from Dr. William Lane Craig:
Can We Be Good Without God?

Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Greg Koukl is a good book about atheism and morality.

Here's a video from Greg Koukl. He is asked if pain and suffering disprove God's existence.

Natural Evil

With all the inclimate weather Oklahoma has been having lately (tornadoes in Feb), I've been thinking about natural evil in the world. This will probably touch a bit on a couple things that I already covered in "Suffering Sucks...or Does it?". If you haven't already, check that post out before you continue with this one.

Many people have asked why an omnibenevolent (all-loving) God would allow such disasters to happen. These people tend to associate anything that causes pain with being evil. In my post about suffering I addressed why this argument does not logically follow. But on this post I would like to provide a short defense of why God would allow such things to happen at all (whether they affect people or not), and why this is actually the opposite case- these are, in fact, the works expected of an omnibenevolent God.

This argument is pretty much weighted on the impression of extreme design of our planet specifically for the existence of intelligent life.

One of the necessary factors required for a planet to support advanced life forms is "plate tectonics". In short, plate tectonics is the movement of a planet's rocky material. The way most planets form is that they start out as complete "water-worlds". Basically, they are nothing but a ball of water with a rocky center. Movement of the planet's crust allows the rocky material to come to the surface and produce landmasses.

Unfortunately, another effect of plate tectonics is that is that it interacts with the atmosphere (another just-right component) and produces natural disasters such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Plate tectonics, by itself, can also produce earthquakes and tsunamis.

All of these disasters are side effects of have a planet that can sustain our living here. We are stuck with them, if we want to live.

Some prominent Christians have said that recent natural disasters are "divine judgment" on humanity. They base this claim on the fact that God did use some natural disasters in the Bible as judgment. However, it does not follow that God used these natural disasters for this purpose.

If you take a look at the damage from natural disasters in the past, they did much more damage (in monetary terms) in the early 1900's than they do now. This is because humanity has been able to develop technologies that can keep them safe(r). Some have said that today, these same "natural evils" may be considered "moral evils" because of the fact that the more advanced nations have not implemented the same technologies in the poorer nations of the earth, and thus the loss of life may be indirectly the responsibility of the more advanced nations. So, an argument could be made for this. I don't know that I quite agree with that, but I digress.

My point in all this is that God created the universe with fixed laws of physics that have certain requirements in order to support life. God created our planet specifically so that the human race could not only live, but thrive. This is what is to be expected of an omnibenevolent God. Here's a quick video from Greg Koukl from Stand to Reason:

But this brings up another question: "Why did God not choose laws of physics that would allow for us to thrive without all the natural evils?" Here is an episode of the podcast "Why The Universe Is The Way It Is" in which Dr. Hugh Ross answers that question.

If you would like to do more research into this check out these great resources:

Web Pages
Natural Disasters- Reasons to Believe
Design Found In Earthquake Activity- Reasons to Believe
What If There Were No Hurricanes- Reasons to Believe
Problem of Evil- Reasonable Faith
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

Creator and the Cosmos by Dr. Hugh Ross
Why The Universe Is The Way It Is by Dr. Hugh Ross
A World Of Difference by Kenneth Samples
Without A Doubt- by Kenneth Samples

Why The Universe Is The Way It Is
I Didn't Know That
Straight Thinking
Reasonable Faith
Just Thinking

Who Created God?

I like this question. Its one that is a "show stopper" for many debates, and the level of knowledge of the debaters will determine on who's side it stops. Let's look at it.

As mentioned in my post "How It All Began- Part 2", people who hold a naturalistic worldview believe that life on earth was planted here by a superior race of aliens. These people are often challenged by pointing out that they have not eliminated the need for God; they've only moved His need back one step. "Who created the aliens?" If they hold to a naturalistic worldview, they are stuck- unless they want to posit another race of aliens created the aliens who planted life on earth. Of course, they could keep going infinitely back in time, and they would never actually explain an ultimate beginning of any life.

Many Naturalists know this, so they throw the question back to us. "Who Created God?" They believe that we are in the same predicament that they are. They anticipate our response of "God is eternal" and are prepared to laugh us down by rhetorically asking, "how can you posit attributes of something that you haven't proven even exists?"

However, the table can be turned on the Naturalist by the Theist who is armed properly. Since Naturalists don't regard the Bible as a reliable source, I won't appeal to it, and neither should the Christian in this position (if he does, the Naturalist will target the Bible as a reliable source rather than the issue- not that they would provide any good evidence, they would just laugh it away, along with the audience). I will appeal to the Bible as a source for the Christian's benefit later in the post, though.

According to the general theory of relativity space, matter, energy, and time came into existence at a single point in the finite past (The Big Bang). The key here is that time itself has a beginning. Keep in mind that "create" is a verb that requires time (creator...some time passes...creation). If time did not exist before the Big Bang, then whatever is out "there" is "time-less". Whatever is out "there" is also "beginning-less" and "end-less". If something has no beginning, it has no need for a beginner (creator).

The cause of the universe caused time, therefore is outside of time, therefore has no beginning, therefore has no beginner. The Christian faith teaches that God is the Cause of the universe; therefore God is outside of time; therefore God has no beginning; therefore God has no beginner.

Not only does the Bible teach that God created the universe, it also teaches that God existed before time existed.

John 1:1-3, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." If creation includes time, then God existed before time.

John 17:24, "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." God was active before time.

I Corinthians 2:7, "No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began." God was active before time.

That list of verses is certainly not comprehensive, but provides a good start for the Christian looking or the non-Christian checking that the Bible actual does teach this.

Here's a quick video from Randall Niles:

For more information:



Beyond the Cosmos- Hugh Ross