Did God create man or did man make god?

The commentary below was a response I wrote to an article entitled “Science and religion: God didn’t make man; man made gods” which originally ran as an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times (July 18, 2011) and was republished by the Lexington Herald-Leader (July 20, 2011). Citing recent research that supposedly unravels religion’s “DNA,” the article by J. Anderson Thomson and Clare Aukofer argued that man invented gods because we needed them and that faith in the supernatural is just another evolutionary adaptation to help us survive. I wrote the Herald-Leader editor and asked if they would publish a rebuttal, and they agreed, but gave me only 700 words. You can read it along with all the reader comments (72 comments at the time of posting) here. The version below is the full version not edited by the paper to make it fit, along with some other expanded content that I included after reading some of the responses to my commentary. I would love to hear your comments.

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Imagine a world without religion.

That’s what Thomson and Aukofer, the writers of the recent article “God Didn’t Make Man; Man Made Gods,” ask us to do. Then they point to several radical, negative examples, such as Osama bin Laden, in an attempt to write off all religion.

OK, let’s imagine life with no religion. Most hospitals wouldn’t exist. Many of the best universities in the world wouldn’t exist. Many of the charities. Perhaps even the United States themselves. All these institutions and many more were founded in the name of religion, namely Christianity. If this kind of selective thinking is the basis of the so-called scientific research that Thomson and Aukofer offer as evidence that man created God, then I put little credibility in their conclusions.

There’s nothing wrong with their scientific methods and observations. It’s the conclusions that are wrong, because they filter their results through the assumptions of the theory of evolution. For example, some of their research found that humans have an innate need for attachment and for protectors. Since the writers begin with the assumption of evolution, they interpret this as evidence that humans created “super parents”—gods—to help them cope. But if you begin with an assumption that the Bible is true, the same experiments would support the Scriptures’ truth that man was created in the image of God. God wants fellowship. That’s why He created us. He wired us with the need to live in community and in families. And He built into each one of us a God-shaped vacuum that only He can fill.

Take another one of their findings: that even infants have a built-in sense of morality, an “evolved” trait, they assume. Yet the Bible tells us in Romans and other places that God built into each of us a sense of right and wrong—a conscience—that points us to God. It’s one of the ways He has revealed Himself to us.

My point is that there’s nothing wrong with their empirical evidence. It’s their interpretation that’s wrong. They come to erroneous conclusions because their presuppositions come from their authority—the unproven theory of evolution. Christians come to different conclusions because our presuppositions come from our authority—God’s Word.

Even their overarching proposition fails to pass the logic test. On one hand they say faith is a bad thing for the human race. But their argument wouldn’t pass a freshman logic course. Because on the other hand they argue: Evolved traits make creatures more fit to survive. Faith evolved. So the only logical conclusion is that faith is something that makes us more fit, a good thing for humans.

It’s beyond the scope of this letter to debate the shortcomings of the theory of evolution, but my point is that all science—properly interpreted—supports God’s Word.

There are limits to what knowledge can be obtained and proven using reason and empirical evidence. History can’t be proven this way. And supernatural truth cannot be proven this way. Therefore, the man who says he will only believe what passes the judgment bar of human reason and empirical science is selling himself short. There is much more to God’s universe than that.

Of course, I could rehearse all the classic philosophical arguments for the existence of God—the cosmological argument that says there must be a first cause: God. Evolution and science don’t explain the existence of matter. Faith in God does.

There’s the teleological argument: The world is highly complex and organized. Take the human eyeball, for example. Like a fine watch, something that intricate argues for a Designer, not something that fell together in time as the result of a series of birth defects/mutations. From galaxies to solar systems to eyeballs to atoms, there is so much order and complexity in the universe that it takes much more faith to swallow the theory of happy accidents (evolution) than that the Supreme Being designed it all.

There’s not space here to go through all the arguments for God. And there’s really little point. God has revealed Himself clearly to us through His Word—the Bible, through creation, through our conscience, through history, and supremely through His Son, Jesus Christ.

In fact, no man can with intellectual integrity truly claim to be an absolute atheist. An absolute atheist says that God does not exist. But what man would claim to possess 100% of all possible knowledge? Say you claim to know even 50 percent (quite presumptuous). You would still have to admit that God might exist in the portion of knowledge that you do not have. Therefore, there are no true atheists, only agnostics, who can truthfully only say, “I’m not sure if God exists.”

If you’re not sure, then you should look in places in which reason and empirical evidence do not shed light. That is faith. Science has limits. It says, “Seeing is believing.” Faith has no limits, because it says, “Believing is seeing.”

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My commentary generated a lively online discussion. And after reading the reader comments on the Herald-Leader website, I was surprised by two things: 1) The high number of people who commented. In less than 48 hours, the story had 72 comments. I read the Herald-Leader online most every day, and that’s a lot for a piece that was practically buried on the op-ed page. 2) How overwhelmingly negative the comments were: 3:1 negative to positive. I had imagined that my fellow Christians, also angered by the original article that attempted to dismiss God as a mutation of our imagination, would flock to my defense. After all, Kentucky is still in the Bible belt, isn’t it? Or have we loosened our belt? Anyway, of the 72 comments to date, 48 were against me, 16 for me, and 8 were neutral or no particular position. And of the 16 in support of me, probably half were from my daughter Ginger who loyally–and quite articulately–defended her Daddy and her Heavenly Daddy.

I don’t have the time to respond to every comment, but most were centered around the same themes anyway. So after reading all the comments, here are my observations and rebuttals:

1. I’m amazed at how militant self-proclaimed atheists are about their, uh, beliefs (?), uh, non-belief (?). You would expect an evangelical Christian to be passionate and proselytizing. After all, we sincerely believe that Jesus is the only way to avoid an eternity in hell, and we are commanded and compelled to rescue as many people as possible from the burning building. But why does an atheist care what anyone else believes? If they truly believe there is no God, what difference does it make to them if I believe? I don’t care if a child believes in the tooth fairy. The fact that atheists are getting more and more militant about their worldview and more and more antagonistic toward Christians is characteristic of the “New Atheism,” led by “the Four Horsemen of the New Atheism,” Christopher Hitchens (who several readers mentioned), Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris. These four men have recently published best-selling books on atheism. If you’re looking for a concise primer on New Atheism, I can highly recommend Atheism Remix by Dr. Al Mohler.

2. I’m amused that evolutionists have such a huge blind spot when it comes to seeing that they, too, are “believers” in a faith system. They think their system is based on facts, but the mysteries of the universe are so vast, and all they have are a few random puzzle pieces for which they have extrapolated a fanciful theory, filled in with broad presuppositions and conjecture. Science hasn’t even begun to answer fundamental questions, such as “Where did matter and energy come from in the first place?” Nor specific questions, such as “Why are there no transitional fossils?” The mysteries of life forms are mind-boggling. Scientists cannot begin to create life in a laboratory. How can they be so sure they have figured out how life formed in the beginning? That’s true arrogance. And that’s true faith—in science fiction. I’ve often said that it takes more faith to believe that a fine-tuned athlete like John Wall (brain, senses, muscles all coordinated perfectly) just fell together through a series of accidents, than it does to believe that a Creator designed him. Yes, evolutionists live by faith, too.

3. I’m annoyed that that so many readers are putting their faith in the fact that 99% (or whatever number they happened to pull out of their hat) of scientists believe in evolution, so that makes it true. Truth isn’t true because of popular vote. If it is, then I’d like to turn that on them and say, OK, Christianity is true because more people follow Christianity than any other faith system, including atheism. Christianity is true because it is fact. Many readers don’t get that. They think that faith and fact are two separate worlds. Nonsense. The Bible is true because it is fact. And faith follows fact. You don’t commit intellectual suicide to become a believer. You can read much more about this in excellent books such as Josh McDowell’s, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Lee Strobel’s The Case for…series. Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis resources. The Bible stands up to any truth test.

  • The Internal Evidence Test: The Bible has complete unity among 66 books written by 40 authors over 1,500 years in two continents and three languages. The only explanation is that there is one ‘Publisher.” God. There’s much more evidence, such as the more than 300 prophecies that were fulfilled by Christ.
  • The External Evidence Test: Ancient historians and modern archeologists have confirmed the historical accuracy of the Scriptures. The Bible is scientifically accurate, too. After all, it was written by the One Who created the world and science. Two millennia before scientists discovered that they were wrong all along about the earth being flat, Isaiah wrote, “It is He that sitteth upon the circle of the earth…” (Isaiah 40:22). How did Isaiah know the earth was a circle? Because God inspired him to write it. God wrote the Bible. He knows a little more about the world than scientists. Is it possible that today’s scientists just could be just as wrong about evolution and the big bang?
  • The Bibliographic Test: The Bible is supported by more manuscripts by far than any other piece of literature from antiquity. The New Testament has 24,633 extant manuscripts. 2nd place: Homer’s Illiad with 643.

What’s my bottom line in all this? It’s this. The authors of that original article, God didn’t make man; man made gods are partially right—man has made a lot of gods (little “g’). They’ve been doing it since the Garden of Eden. And man himself is the chief of all these gods. All man-made gods have one thing in common: they are made in the image of man. As I’ve studied the man-made gods of ancient cultures (Roman, Greek, Sumerian, etc.), I’ve observed that they are all made in the image of their creator—man—with the same attributes as man. They’re petty, jealous, bitter, unforgiving, and on and on—just like man. And salvation always comes the same way. Man makes a way to God. The atheists are right: man is better off without these gods.

Only one God is different. The true God, the God of the Bible, Yahweh, the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. He is not made in the image of man. He is all-loving, gracious, merciful, forgiving. And instead of man finding a way to God, God came to man in the person of Jesus Christ. That’s what sets Christianity apart from all the other religions. “Religion” is man striving, climbing a mountain to find God. Christianity is God coming down the mountain—Mt. Calvary—to save man. That’s no man-made God.

So take your pick. God, Who made man in His image. Or man, who made god in his image. God, Who came to man. Or man, who tries to make it to god. As for me, I’m not smart enough to make a god. But I’m too smart to ignore the God Who made me.

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. (Psalm 53:1)

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1:21)

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37 Comments

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37 responses to “Did God create man or did man make god?

  1. Charity

    The greatest of these is love. Thank you as my brother for following God’s command…that is, my brother in Christ. God is our Father. Obey your parents. Pretty simple huh?

  2. A Dorothy Carter wrote a letter to the editor that was published in the Herald-Leader on Sept. 5, 2011. You can read it here:
    http://www.kentucky.com/2011/09/05/1869933/letters-to-editor-sept-5.html#storylink=misearch
    Here is the reply I posted in the online comments:
    Dorothy Carter should go back and re-read my (Larry Thompson’s) Aug. 15 Feedback column “Faith goes beyond science.” She says I try to explain away science through religious argument.” Yet my column said, “There’s nothing wrong with their scientific methods and observations. It’s the conclusions that are wrong, because they filter their results through the assumptions of the theory of evolution.” And then I wrote, “There’s nothing wrong with their empirical evidence. It’s their interpretation that’s wrong.” And then, “All science, properly interpreted, supports God’s Word.” Carter and I agree that faith and science can co-exist, properly interpreted. But she is wrong that faith and science are separate. God is the Lord of science and all knowledge. He created everything that science studies. A proper understanding of Him and His creation are essential in order to properly and scientifically study His creation.

  3. Lauren

    It’s awesome to see a brother in Christ articulate Biblical truth with so much humility and passion. I’m glad that you debunk the common assumption that science opposes God’s Word, when they go perfectly together with the proper interpretation of scientific evidence. God is so good!

  4. You; and many other creationst-Christians who try to argue with evolutionist-athiests are making a fundamental error; you’re coming at the argument backwards.

    Although your arguments are Biblically sound and logical to a Bible-believing Christian, they are utter nonsense to someone who doesn’t have the Bible as their foundation. In other words, your arguments only make sense to people who already believe what you believe – you are quite literally preaching to the choir.

    Your original article wasn’t nearly as bad about that as the second part that you wrote rebutting the comments to the original article.

    I think you need to remember your audience when you’re doing Christian Apologetics. Your audience should not be Christians – you’re wasting breath preaching to people who share your beliefs. Your audience is the person who does not believe in God, does not believe in the Bible. To say we know creationism is true because the Bible says so and it’s the word of God makes no sense to them. You are doing the very thing you start out accusing the authors of “Science and religion: God didn’t make man; man made gods” of doing – filtering everything through a pre-concieved notion (in their case the theory of evolution, in your case the Bible). This is no way to do apologetics, no way to win converts, no way to convince people of the existence of God or the truth of the Bible. All this method of arguing does is make both sides want to bang their heads on a brick wall, it gets you nowhere.

    • The Bible is my authority and is the primary way God revealed Himself and truth to us. It would be self-defeating to attempt to convince a non-believer to adopt a biblical worldview without using the Bible as the primary source. Ultimately each person much decide 1) Is there a God?; and 2) Did He write the Bible? Unless you answer “Yes” to both questions, then you have no hope of becoming a Christian, going to Heaven, or discovering ultimate truth. God said that; not me. See John 14:6.

  5. Amy

    The bible was written after Jesus Christ died. Hardly any of the bible was written as any of the events occured, words were spoken. It is man’s biggest tall tale. I do believe there is a God. Just one. and we may have created him, or not. Either way, we all have desires to comfort ourselves and explain life and death. There is no way to know our true beginnings, human beings are creative enough… its possible that our ancestors, 50,000 years ago had no gods at all. I respect religious beliefs and find Christianity to be the nicest one of the bunch. Science is the exploration of what is really there, between our beliefs, and our creation.

  6. matt

    I am Catholic and I believe in God. I also accept the theory of evolution. I do not interpret the Bible literally. I believe there is something out there, a power or presence. Whether or not you believe in God or (anything) you can’t deny the He is a symboI of hope which is important to have in the world.I also think that all religions are equal. They come into conflict but are all important and all have their pros and cons. Catholics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, etc. Sometimes people look at what differentiates them as opposed to what similarities they share. Interesting fact, a few hindus believe that Mary and Jesus are reincarnations/avatars of a few Hindu Gods. I think that’s pretty cool. Also, Hindus may pray to a God for a certain thing, like helping them succeed in something, a god for good luck, etc. Kind of like how Christians pray to specific saints – ex. in spanish, San Cristobal (St. Christopher) is the saint of travellers. I have nothing against Science, rather I encourage science and scientific endeavours. World Religion in high school in grade 11 was my favourite religion class by far. Sorry if I went on a rant there.

    Something about people which we forget sometimes:we are all the same because we are all different.

  7. A.N.

    You people are borderline retarded.

  8. Great article, and if there are those who don’t believe remember they have that double blindness John 3:19 ” And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”
    And
    2 Corinthians 4:4 “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

  9. Ben

    there where “spirits” first according to humans` primitive life practice,than the “gods” appeared and after the technology and population growth the monotheist “creator” appeared . It creates and supervises.Soon after humanity`s creativity further growth we`ll discover some new “supergod” with the new functions.

    • Ben, the source of and authority behind my worldview is a document that has stood up to every conceivable objective test–the internal evidence test, the external evidence test, the bibliographical test–as well as the test of time. What authority and evidence do you have for your worldview? Are you willing to risk your eternity on human reason and intellect when humans can’t even create a simple cell from non-living matter and have absolutely no idea where matter came from in the first place? My prayer is that you will discover the God Who loves you more than you can comprehend.

  10. “He is all-loving, gracious, merciful, forgiving.”

    Eeehh, you mean as depicted int eh New Testament, right? Because the one in the Old Testament is anything but. Rather, he is hateful, cruel, vengeful, unfair, and downright evil.

    • Bjørn, God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Among His many attributes, God has two that may seem in opposition: He is just, and He is gracious. There are plenty of examples of God’s graciousness in the Old Testament (Noah and family, Abraham, Lot, Moses, Esther, Ninevah, not to mention all the loving-kindness and long suffering mentioned in the Psalms). Likewise, there is plenty of God’s justice and judgment in the New Testament (from Romans to Revelation, just Google it!). The redemption story of man’s fall and God’s grace demands that the bad news be presented first (man’s sin and his condemnation) in order for the Good News to be good! God hates sin and loves the sinner. That’s the overarching theme. He loves you and was willing to die for you. Why choose death over life? Don’t bet your life that you know more than God.

      • Killing babies is just? Plagues on the Egyptian people because their ruler didn’t let the “chosen people” go is just? No, all those and many more things he did in the Old Testament are universally considered evils, and you know it. No amount of good-doing can excuse the bad things God did before Jesus showed up.

        P.S. I need not say that I believe everything about God and Jesus being divine is fiction, right? Arguing with Bible verses gets you nowhere, as they were written by man.

  11. Bjørn, God doesn’t kill people or commit other evil acts. Sinful people exercising their own free will commit evil. God sometimes allows it and even channels it for His purposes because without free will men are robots and love is not possible, and God is all about love. God used men to write the Bible but inspired every Word of it, so He is the ultimate Author and Authority. God is a Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. There is so much truth you will never understand if you rely totally on your human reason.

  12. You call 1 Chronicles 21:9-14 channeling free will? “So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead.” How can God’s injustice be more explicit?

    “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:9). This is God’s order for his people. Do you think this is just?

    Looking forward to seeing you explain those away.

  13. No, I don’t believe God is totally just. Because if He were totally just, every one of us deserves to die and go to hell right now because of our sin. But He is also loving and gracious, and made a way for us to receive forgiveness for our sin by trusting in Jesus Christ alone. Suffering, death, and evil are all the results of man’s sin. God created a perfect environment. Man is to blame. Don’t judge God until you’ve created a universe (Job 38:4-11) and died for someone who hates you.

  14. How is man to blame for God’s decree that the children who curse their parents are to be put to death. And why don’t we do that?

    I’m really sorry, but your rationalizing away the evils of the Old Testament God just doesn’t cut it. He was an evil God because the people who wrote those parts of the Bible were warmongering mortals who used religion to get what they wanted for themselves.

  15. God’s ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). Using human reason to understand everything He does is like a baby trying to understand why a man would take a knife and plunge it into his tiny chest. But if that man were a surgeon performing a heart operation, we might understand. Here’s the bottom line: Man deserves death because of his sin. So no man gets more punishment than he deserves, and some (the ones who trust Christ for forgiveness) get rewards that they don’t deserve. So God is just to everyone and gracious to those who believe. Choose carefully which category you want to be in. If I’m wrong, there’s no harm done because I’ve enjoyed a wonderful life. If you’re wrong, you will have all eternity to regret it.

  16. Man deserves death for his sins. It is God’s own construct – it is God who originally decided that babies should suffer and die for nothing they have personally done but the original sin. It is God who has decided that those people who don’t believe in him must suffer for eternity in the afterlife. It’s a bs story, and you know it.

    Why do fish get diseases? Did they sin too?

    Lastly, Pascal’s wager FTW.

  17. Not trying to win any arguments here. The only reason I’m investing my time in these comments is because I love you and want you to spend eternity with God. Satan, evil, sin, and death are not God’s design. They are the necessary potential by-products of free will and love. God created a perfect, death-free, disease-free world. Satan and sin corrupted it. There was no death before sin. After the fall, even creation now groans under the effects of sin (Romans 8:19–22). Fish and other animals were even affected, but no, they don’t sin. Plants have bodies. Animals have bodies and souls (mind, will, emotions). But man alone has body, soul, and spirit—and the spirit will exist forever, either in heaven or hell.
    Pascal’s wager is certainly not the strongest argument I have for becoming a believer, but since you seem to be a rationalist, I was trying to appeal to your sense of reason. Here is a quote from Dr. Adrian Rogers that I read and thought would be good to share with you:
    “Whoever says that (they don’t believe in God and the supernatural) must believe that nothing times nobody equals everything. The doubter must believe that in the beginning the heavens and the earth created themselves, then generated life spontaneously. Such a person believes in a colossal miracle without anyone to perform it. He should not pride himself on his intelligence.
    “The greatest minds of all time have believed in a Creator. Socrates, Lord Bacon, Galileo, John Newton, Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein, rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun—all believed in a higher intelligence.
    “It is impossible to believe in a sovereign God and not believe in miracles. Ignorance of God makes belief impossible, but knowledge of Him makes unbelief impossible.”

  18. I don’t want to spend eternity with God. It really honestly sounds awful. Especially because I am expected to sit in Heaven having a good time while many other people are forever tormented in Hell. What about the people who I love that are in Hell? I could never and would never enjoy good times when other people are tormented (for the stupid reason that they didn’t believe something for which there is no rational and credible evidence).

    Of course, I don’t need to repeat that I don’t believe God is real nor that there is an afterlife, a spirit, or a soul – like more and more people in the US and all over the world.

  19. In reply to your “greatest minds of all time”, here are a few others. http://i.imgur.com/d4wlXQu.jpg

  20. Bjørn, hell is no joke, and you won’t enjoy the company or anything else there. Indeed, it is something to be feared (https://bible.org/article/what-bible-says-about-hell). Rather than laugh about it with Miley Cyrus, why not listen to someone who is actually down there right now: read Luke 16:19–31. Will you not listen to Moses and the Prophets? Do now what you’ll be glad you did five minutes after you die. Trust Christ for forgiveness of your sins (https://knowbedo.wordpress.com/good-news/).

  21. Knowbedo, Hell is a joke because it doesn’t exist. That there would be a God who loves us but is willing to send us to Hell (he is omnipotent, no?) for sins that he decided are sins is the stupidest concept ever. Answer me this: How can you find happiness in Heaven when your loved ones are in Hell? Just because he is almighty I could never forgive him for doing that to someone I love.

    Luke 16:19–31: How can the rich man call out to Abraham when he is “in fire”? I think humans cannot really speak full sentences as they are burning, do you? Am I taking the passage too literally? Are you?

    Eskimo: ‘If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?’
    Priest: ‘No, not if you did not know.’
    Eskimo: ‘Then why did you tell me?’

  22. Your opinion, my opinion…we could go on forever. Here’s the thing…your authority is human reason, an authority that has been responsible for dubious conclusions such as the earth is flat, leeches are a medical remedy, and men could be bought and sold as property. And that’s just in the past 500 years. These from the best minds of the day. Now you believe human reason has suddenly reached a pinnacle. The theory of evolution. Yet this same human mind hasn’t the foggiest notion where matter originated nor how to take inanimate matter and create life. You believe that something as complex as the human eye fell together by chance, as if a 100 billion tornadoes sweeping through a Boeing factory would one day assemble a 777. Out of all available knowledge in the universe (including history, the future, and all hidden and unexplored areas of the universe), what percentage do you think the most knowledgeable, intelligent man in the world has? 1%? 10%? 0.001%? And you think with that small pool of knowledge, the human mind is capable of reasoning out what happened billions of years ago, what will happen in the afterlife, and what lies beyond our observable time-space environment? Please! The only conclusion that human reason can truly draw is that human reason is severely limited. Severely.
    My authority on the other hand is a Book that God Himself wrote. The One Who created the universe, crafted man and a plan for love, free will, and redemption. He know all–past, present, future. He understands our minds and motives better than we ourselves know. He loves us unconditionally and always operates to maximize His glory and our good. I don’t understand everything about Him. I wouldn’t want to. I don’t want to worship a God that will fit inside my finite mind. I want an infinite God that gives me everything I need to know—nothing more, nothing less.
    If you want to follow your puny <1% knowledge of the universe and draw conclusions with your finite human reason, God gives you that choice. I choose to believe in something bigger than myself. I gladly submit myself to His authority. He created me. He loves me. He lives in me. I live in Him.

    • Humans have made all sorts of mistakes. And then made a lot of progress, too. Slavery is condoned in the Bible. I don’t believe human knowledge has reached a pinnacle. The theory of evolution is work in progress (this is what I do, for example), but have already made many predictions that turned out to be right. We are working on understanding abiogenesis (it’s hard, there is much left to learn). No scientists believe the human eye “Fell together by chance” (a common canard, so please try reading up). Yes, we can reason what happened in the past (we all do this in some way or another, in science and otherwise). There is no credible evidence of an afterlife, so that point is moot. Yes, human reason is limited.
      Your authority is a book written by men who had no clue about anything mentioned above. There is just no credible evidence anywhere for all the crazy things you claim about God. It is purely wishful thinking and a very credulous reading of scripture (which is just another book).
      God maximizes our good?!? By setting up a universe with Hell for sins he defined? It is simply amazing that you don’t see how incredible and pernicious that story is for human life.
      My puny knowledge can actually be used for something, whereas yours is all hokum.

    • It’s easy to go on forever when you just refuse to answer any of my questions. Please give me some answers.

  23. You say I haven’t answered your questions, but as I look back through your posts, all your questions and objections seem to be along the same theme: you perceive God as hateful, cruel, vengeful, unfair, and downright evil for His acts of wrath and punishment, namely in the Old Testament. I believe I have addressed these by saying that God is both just and merciful. Were He 100% just, all would die and go to hell because of their sins. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a) Were He 100% merciful, Hitler and other atrocious people would all go to Heaven. But He made a way so that ANYONE COULD go to Heaven. The Bible says, “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b) So it’s all dependent on our free will. Free will is necessary if love is to exist. God is love (1 John 4:16). He doesn’t want to punish us for our sins, but because of His justice, He must. But if we die and go to hell, it is our own sin and our own choice that sends us there, not God.
    Jeremiah 44 is a good representative passage for this. You may read it and misperceive that God is evil in killing people. But notice what the Bible says in Jer. 44:7, ““So now, this is what the Lord, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: Why are you doing such great harm to yourselves? You are cutting off man and woman, child and infant…” God offered to let them repent, and then He would relent. But they insisted on sinning, so they signed their own death penalty. God allowed other wicked nations to carry out His justice against the sinners. Yet even in this, His grace is evident because any infants that were killed went to Heaven, instead of growing up and probably following in their fathers’ own sinful footsteps. See, God has foreknowledge of all events. He can see the past, present, and future, and everything He does is ultimately for His glory and our good. Yes, there are mysteries in this and His ways are so much higher than ours, we may never understand them fully. It’s like a baby trying to understand an adult. But He gives us more than enough to understand what we need to know, if we seek Him honestly. And that reminds me, you brought up canards, and your understanding of God and the Bible is full of them. Take slavery. God and the Bible don’t condone slavery. To the contrary, the Bible set forth new regulations that were revolutionary in that culture which essentially brought slaves up to the level of employees. Your perception of God and your understanding of the Bible is warped. How can you reject a God that you don’t really (want to?) understand? And speaking of unanswered questions, you keep avoiding mine. Where did matter, time, and space come from? And how can you speculate about the origin of life billions of years ago when you can’t create it in a lab now?

    • Here are some questions that I think you haven’t answered. Try to answer yes/no when possible (not that you shouldn’t elaborate, but an initial yes or no will make it clear what you think).

      “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:9). This is God’s order for his people. Do you think this is just?

      How is man to blame for God’s decree that the children who curse their parents are to be put to death. And why don’t we do that?

      How can you find happiness in Heaven when your loved ones are in Hell?

      Luke 16:19–31: How can the rich man call out to Abraham when he is “in fire”? I think humans cannot really speak full sentences as they are burning, do you? Am I taking the passage too literally? Are you?

      “But if we die and go to hell, it is our own sin and our own choice that sends us there, not God.” Sure, but why does the punishment have to be so unfair? Surely he could arrange for some appropriate punishment that isn’t burning skin for eternity, since he is omnipotent, no?

      “How can you reject a God that you don’t really (want to?) understand?”
      That’s just because there is no credible evidence that any of this is more than human-made fairytales. And I do want to understand, and I think I do: God in the Old Testament is sometimes evil because this suited the purpose of the men that made up God

      “And speaking of unanswered questions, you keep avoiding mine. Where did matter, time, and space come from?”
      Oh, sorry. I didn’t answer because I don’t know. Matter and space were created at the Big Bang, and time is merely a measure of matter and energy changing. So goes one incomplete explanation that is in line with the evidence. I don’t know what caused the Big Bang (or if it is even true), but that’s how it goes in science: we can only say as much as we have evidence for. Saying “God did it” is no explanation at all, though; that is just giving up.

      “And how can you speculate about the origin of life billions of years ago when you can’t create it in a lab now?”
      What an odd question. We can of course speculate about it because we are interested in how it happened. That we don’t know enough about it yet to recreate life in the lab doesn’t mean we know nothing. There is a lot more we have to learn, and we may in fact eventually find that the conditions for creating life from molecules requires physical/environmental conditions that we cannot create in the lab. But again, just because we don’t have the whole answer to these fascinating questions doesn’t mean that “God did it” is a better answer.

  24. “He know all–past, present, future.”

    “Bjørn, God doesn’t kill people or commit other evil acts. Sinful people exercising their own free will commit evil.”

    You should realize that if God knows the future, then there is technically no such thing as free will. There is only one future possible, and God knows it, and there is no possibility of doing anything than what God already knows. That is not free will. I don’t think you’ll ever understand this but there it logically is.

    Secondly, God doesn’t kill people? How about Lot’s wife? How about the 42 children. How about all the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? How about the Egyptian kittens? Er and Onan? Etc. etc. etc. You are pulling of a gigantic feat of ignoring your own cognitive dissonance.

    http://io9.com/gods-12-biggest-dick-moves-in-the-old-testament-1522970429

  25. “He know all-past, present, future.”

    “Bjørn, God doesn’t kill people or commit other evil acts. Sinful people exercising their own free will commit evil.”

    You should realize that if God knows the future, then there is technically no such thing as free will. There is only one future possible, and God knows it, and there is no possibility of doing anything than what God already knows. That is not free will. I don’t think you’ll ever understand this. but there it logically is.

    Secondly, God doesn’t kill people? How about Lot’s wife? How about the 42 children. How about all the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? How about the Egyptian kittens? Er and Onan? Etc. etc. etc. You are pulling of a gigantic feat of ignoring your own cognitive dissonance.

    http://io9.com/gods-12-biggest-dick-moves-in-the-old-testament-1522970429

  26. You asked for simple answers to your questions, so I’ll do my best:

    Is it just to be put to death for cursing parents?
    Yes, one sin against holy God is a capital offense. But a better question is…Is it just for someone who has killed a thousand people to go to Heaven? Yes, if they trust in God’s grace. In God’s economy grace is the currency, not good works.

    In response to your follow-up question about why don’t we still put people to death for cursing parents…The Old Testament contains three types of laws: 1. Civil, 2. Ceremonial, 3. Moral. We are no longer bound to these laws, only the moral principles behind them. Christ came to fulfill the law. The law’s primary purpose is to show us how far short we fall of God’s holiness, which in turns points us to Christ.

    Happiness in Heaven when loved ones in hell? Christ is going to be the focal point in Heaven, and He is so wonderful beyond our utmost comprehension that it will obscure thoughts about people who rejected Him.

    Rich man speaking while burning? Easy. God temporarily suspended his torture long enough for him to voice a message, a warning to those who still have time to repent. What a gracious act.

    Eternal hell too severe a punishment? The Bible teaches that there will be degrees of punishment in hell, and the worst will no doubt be reserved for those who had the clear truth presented to them, like yourself, but rejected. Again, a better question is…Isn’t Heaven too wonderful of a reward for sinners?

    How can there be free will if God knows the future? You’re treading on mind-blowing material here, because it’s very difficult for us fish in water to imagine reality outside the time-space continuum, but knowing the future is not the equivalent of dictating it. This is a feeble metaphor, but I know that if a man lays a hand on my wife, he’s going to pay for it. But I’m not in control of that man.

    God doesn’t kill people? God doesn’t kill people any more than the person who administers the lethal injection at an execution. The offender writes his own death sentence when he breaks the law. Just God simply executes the penalty.

    You probably have a million other questions, and to some of them, I would probably have to borrow your answer to my question about where matter, time, and space came from. I don’t know. God is infinite, and my faculties are finite. I’m glad God is bigger than I can understand.

    Now, back to my question about why do you reject a God you don’t understand? Here’s my take: You draw conclusions exclusively from the natural realm—what you can observe and reason. I experience God from two realms: the natural and the supernatural. You discount, no, probably totally dismiss the supernatural realm. And that’s your fatal error. There’s literally a world of information in that supernatural realm that you reject because your worldview submits only to natural information that you perceive through your five senses. To perceive the supernatural, you need a sixth sense: faith. I refer you to a blog post I wrote on this very subject: https://knowbedo.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/the-sixth-sense/

    Bjorn, these exchanges with you make it apparent that you have an exceeding fine mind. You ask good questions, and I like to think your motives are because you are on a quest for truth. If so, I’ll be glad to continue investing the time to reply. If your motives are to change my mind or to try to win an argument, please let me know, because I don’t have time for that. I wish we had your intellect on God’s side, we could really use it. The Bible says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ (Psalm 14:1). Please don’t be an intelligent fool. My prayers go out to you.

  27. Knowbedo, thank you for replying. My motives indeed include a quest for truth, so to speak. For example, I want to understand why people can think it is okay for anyone, including a deity, to murder children because they make fun of a bald man. I find that appalling, and I think most other people do too.

    But I must admit that I also want to win an argument. I don’t want to win it in spite of truth, but when I think – after much deliberation – that the way I think about these things makes the most sense, then I sure would like to convince you. That’s not to say that I think I would, because I am confident that you could not change your mind. But another ulterior motive here is that other people who read your blog and see these exchanges will come to agree that this kind of apologetics for God’s wrath does not make much sense, and is not something we should build present-day morality on. No one today advocates killing children for swearing, but Christians do take other screwed-up moral teachings from the Old Testament (on that, I do know why homosexuality and the eating of shellfish – both abominations – aren’t equally important to Christians, but I do really not know how those same Christians think they can get away with only taking one of them seriously).

    Lastly, your answer about Jesus being the focal point in Heaven I honestly find to be not just akin to but exactly like a drug-addict that cannot any longer care for the important people in his life even though they miss him and need his help. What a sad, sad story to tell one’s own children, I would have to say.

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